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Lies, Damnable Lies, and Political Commentary

bringiton's picture

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

V.I. Lenin

Are there any limits to what can be said about political opponents? Should there be any limits? Does anything go, no matter who is the target? Are we all no better now than Karl Rove?

The moral reason we ought not to lie is because it damages others without justification, and that is as basic a human wrong as there is. The practical reason we ought not to lie is because it damages us; when we are caught, and liars always get caught, our credibility suffers and we can no longer participate in a conversation from a position of authority or respect. Telling political lies, as well as uncritically spreading them, is anti-progressive, un-liberal, and eventually ineffective in support of any agenda intended to improve the lot of humankind. It is an indefensible practice in political dialogue, and I have no patience for it.

What constitutes ethical reportage and discussion in the blogosphere? Are there standards? Should there be standards? What would those standards look like? Do they apply equitably, or can we employ baseless trashing of our perceived enemies while whimpering like little babies when it happens to those we support? If we employ a double standard, demanding that those who argue against us are despicable creeps when they make stuff up but insist that we can do it ourselves against those we oppose, do we really do ourselves and our cause any favors? Or do we so undermine our own credibility that no intelligent discussion can occur? If the latter, and I cannot see any plausible argument against it, who benefits? Not the downtrodden or the oppressed, that’s for damn sure.

When every crass lie and foundationless rumor is repeated and discussed as though it were real, on an equal basis with rational and logical positions, then every topic becomes suspect; when all sides are spreading baseless rumor and lies, then every commentator is seen as equally unreliable. When meaningful conversation is no longer possible, organized opposition to the established order also becomes impossible. I may be seen by some as old-fashioned with my rigid bottom-line morality and insistence on the societal value of gentlemanly ways, but I am absolutely certain that there is a depth to which we must not sink or all hope of progress is lost.

From the Clintons and Vince Foster to John McCain and his secret illegitimate black baby to Al Gore and the internet and Love Story to John Kerry and the Swiftboaters to every single public word that has ever come out of the mouth of George W. Bush, the VRWC lies as it breathes, without heed or concern for the consequence beyond the destruction of others and their own immediate gratification. The only long term plan is more and bigger lies.

For the rest of us, in trying to disarm and defeat the forces of tyranny and oppression, the most powerful weapon we can wield is the truth. If you don’t subscribe to that principle, you will be my enemy – just so we’re all clear with each other. If we allow ourselves to sink to the level of those we despise, we cannot win anything; we will defeat ourselves.

So how is that battle with our own better selves going? Lately, not so well.

Larry Johnson, Michelle Obama, and a great big pile of nothing

Johnson, for reasons that remain opaque but in my experience is probably due to his being a self-serving moron, chose to spread around a rumor about Michelle Obama. Why anyone would ever spread such vile rumor about any other human being is beyond me. Why someone who holds themselves out as a supporter of freedom chooses to employ the tools of tyranny cannot otherwise be explained except by the basest and most venal of self-interest and greed. There is no “good” explanation.

And he has gotten what he wanted. Based on nothing at all, he has become the recipient of a seemingly endless stream of attention and discussion. The number of search engine hits are extraordinary, for any topic, but one based on the rumor of a rumor? Here’s a recent comment here at Corrente, assessing Johnson and his methods:

I’m convinced that Larry is convinced there is such a tape. It’s entirely possible he’s the victim of a hoax, but I don’t think he’s lying.

And that, apparently, is all it takes. For myself, I would want more evidence than that for a report of a new sale at WalMart. Third or fourth or fifth hand or whatever it is by the time it got here shouldn’t be good enough for anyone about anything. All that has happened in the Johnson affair is a pre-existing anti-Obama bias has been supported by a rumor spread by someone else whose pre-existing anti-Obama biases and selfish desires are in turn being supported by the unsubstantiated rumor mongering and/or lies of unknown others, anonymous sources whose own agendas and motives remain secret and carefully hidden away. But hey, it’s fun! Pass it on.

Is it lying? Oh, hell no; innocent victim, that’s our Larry; dumb as a stump he is, wholly unable to see that anyone who would claim to have a devastating tape of the wife of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee but who also is not going to release it until some later, more devastating time, is an agent of the VRWC; so is anyone who would lie about the existence of such a tape in the hopes that someone gullible and selfish and dumb as a stump would spread it around. That’s a tough one to figure out, for sure. That Larry, less sense than God gave a cabbage or he would have been able to suss that out. Or wait; maybe he isn’t so dumb; maybe he does know all of that and he’s spreading the rumor anyway. Maybe he is a liar. Or maybe he’s lying and greedy and dumb as a stump all at the same time, and only appeared to be smart and liberal because he’s been critical of Bush - in retrospect, not all that much of a challenge.

What is the cost for spreading VRWC propaganda? Diminishment of an innocent woman, no small thing in and of itself, not to mention untold damage to the political prospects of the only human being standing between the whole wide world and the unfathomable damage that will unfold from another four years of the Nixon/Reagan/Bush/Bush/VRWC. Surely a cheap price to pay for those website hits. Great work, Larry; nicely done.

In Re: Steve Diamond

I know his work, quite well. He’s very smart, well educated, and for a teacher he is soundly grounded in real-world experience. It is on balance good to have him in academia. On corporate, labor and international finance law, he’s very rigorous and relentlessly logical. With labor practices and labor negotiations, he is well-meaning and more than decent in his intention but inclined to take a harder partisan tone than is sometimes beneficial – forgivable, if occasionally irritating.

But like so many people, people other than me, he has a flaw; once settled on a position, he will go to any lengths to promote and defend it. This is fine, even admirable for a courtroom advocate and useful sometimes for a labor negotiator, but as a political analyst it leads to behaviors that in my mind are not defensible. That’s what has occurred here; he has crossed the line from hard criticism to baseless, unprincipled trumpery.

To understand what has happened and why it cannot be allowed to stand, we should take a couple of steps back up the narrative get the bigger picture. As Sarah has suitably exposed here, this cycle will give us more of the same character assassination tactics from the VRWC and they will be spread by the corporatist controlled M$M as they so recently did to Hillary Clinton. The base units for these smear campaigns are again the “independent” 527s and 501(c)3s and the like, providing plausible deniability for the candidate who is in fact using the technique.

One of those VRWC front groups has exhumed the body and what is left of the congenitally deranged mind of an old acquaintance: Herb Romerstein. In his teens, Herb was an ardent Stalinist but he soon turned away and by the time he got back from service in the Korean War he was as fanatical an anticommunist as ever existed. He made his bones as a staffer for a New York State legislature committee investigating the Great Communist Conspiracy, eventually denouncing as Communist agents his high school teachers, summer camp councilors, family friends and assorted acquaintances; essentially everyone he had ever known who had ever uttered a kind word about any progressive policy, dozens of innocent lives ruined.

His zeal was great enough to catch the attention of national figures, and he moved up the Commie Hunt foodchain in the 60s to become Chief Investigator on the Republican side for the US House Committee on Internal Security – the renamed successor to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). More than anything Herb wanted to be the next Joe McCarthy, and he was every bit as loathsome a character. For his final VRWC reward, he was appointed by Reagan to be Head of the deliberately misnamed Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation, part of the United States Information Agency. Herb’s job there was actually to produce disinformation, with the intent to destroy the reputations of everyone seen as an enemy of the VRWC.

[One often repeated trope is that the current ideological struggle we are urged to “get over” by Obama and his supporters if that of the 60s; this is incorrect. The struggle is as it ever was, between Them As Have Got and Them As Have Naught. The objective of the VRWC is to roll back all progressive policies and return America to the pre-FDR glory days of financial domination by a 1% elite. The framing of the attack today is in the same terms used by the Plutocracy to attack the progressive policies of FDR, just substituting the conjured enemy’s name over time from Commie to DFH to Liberal and now back again to Commie.

[In one of the more interesting political twists of all time, it was fear of Communism taking hold in America during the Great Depression that drove FDR and his allies to institute the New Deal programs; FDR co-opted the very social changes being advocated by the American Communist Party and used them to promote and eventually stabilize a new American Middle Class as the dominant socioeconomic structure, the first time in history that was ever achieved. One could say, without any exaggeration, that the publically-voiced political deceits of the Communist Party (in private truth they were of course terrible totalitarians) saved American democracy – but that isn’t the way history is taught, is it?

[More on Herb and the great struggle is here, in a 1999 analysis written back when the New York Times actually employed journalists instead of VRWC hacks.]

Herb is one of those articulate, persuasive, socially functional paranoid delusionals who see Commie Sympathizers everywhere. He truly believes, and has spoken and written extensively about it, that Harry Hopkins, FDR’s closest aide and advisor, was a Soviet spy who controlled FDR as an unwitting Soviet dupe; other Soviet spies he has helped “uncover” were J. Robert Oppenheimer, the brilliant scientist and compassionate human being whose career was destroyed and health ruined by the false accusations, and the great and good liberal journalist and author I.F. Stone. Herb Romerstein is a very sick and very, very dangerous man.

Which makes him the perfect choice for participation in a new disinformation campaign from an outfit called America's Survival Inc., originally funded by the Sarah Scaife Foundation and the Armstrong Foundation but supported exclusively from 2001 through 2006 by the Carthage Foundation – to the tune of $325,000. They’re big fans of Ron Paul (and David Vitter!) so plenty of badmouthing against Romney and McCain, but since April Fool’s Day they’ve swung their full attention to Obama. Every baseless screed you can think of they’ve posted on, but most of the emphasis is on Obama’s status as a tool of international Communism and the UN-mediated One World Order. For 325 large you can buy a lot of tinfoil.

This tiny, clearly fringe group consisting of a couple of flakes and a cadaver-in-waiting announced a press conference in DC for May 22, to be held in the basement of a DC coffee house. Not to disparage, but these kinds of little events go on all the time without notice from the press. (Go ahead; hold a basement press conference without a big name speaker on global warming or universal health care or the criminal conduct of Bush and Cheney and see what coverage you can get.) At best, some free-lance stringer might stop by to see if they can scrape together enough dregs for a spec piece to peddle to the Village Voice or McClatchy; no way would anyone of importance lower themselves to deal with this kind of trivia. The Washington Post sent Dana Milbank.

Soft-voiced, gentle, affable, charming, androgynously-named Dana, with his non-threatening big doe eyes and his please-don’t-punch-me glasses and his oft-repeated (see Lenin on lies) reputation as a trustworthy “liberal” and harsh establishment critic, had absolutely nothing better to do on May 22 of 2008 than to sit in a coffee shop basement and listen to a bunch of whackjobs – and nothing better to do that night but write about them. He delivered a full column’s worth the next day, as his bosses wanted him to, because in the whole wide world nothing more important was happening. Nothing mattered as much as making sure the message of the VRWC got the widest possible coverage.

And boy, did Dana deliver. Not a point-by-point takedown of scurrilous VRWC lies and trash-talking, no, and not a thoughtful explique on the sad consequence of cutbacks on out-patient mental health programs, oh no, not that either. What he did is what he does best, a full regurgitation of the VRWC talking points under the guise of criticism. Witness his lede, what the casual reader skimming through will assimilate and what the VRWC will be able to cut and paste as evidence that the Washington Post and even its Liberal Columnist Dana Milbank are seriously discussing:

Obama as You've Never Known Him!
By Dana Milbank
Friday, May 23, 2008; Page A03

Here are some things we can look forward to learning about Barack Obama:

• That he was mentored in high school by a member of the Soviet-controlled Communist Party.

• That he launched his Illinois state Senate campaign in the home of a terrorist and a killer.

• That while serving as a state senator, he was a member of a socialist front group.

• That his affiliations are so dodgy that he would have trouble getting a government security clearance.

• That there is reason to doubt his "loyalty to the United States."

There follows in the rest of the column a pretense at dismissal of these claims, all the while carefully repeating them along with a whole host of others; Milbank made very sure to give every one of the America’s Survival-VRWC talking points plenty of room to breathe. (Well done, Dana! Here’s another wad of cash to tuck in your pocket, along with a coupon for free eats at the next McCain BBQ. Enjoy!)

Which brings us directly to Steven Diamond.

Diamond, for reasons he best expresses himself, wrote an essay two days later on May 25 entitled Believe me, Barack is no Communist, But.... because:

Since I have been a critic here of some of the policies the Senator appears to support and people that he appears to be close to - and precisely because of their potential authoritarian implications - I thought I should address this issue.

Sure, of course. Never mind that the original source is a two-bit fringe group holding a meeting in the basement of a coffee shop, the Very Important and Well-Respected Dana Milbank is writing about it so I should write about it too because my opinions are also Very Important and Well-Respected. (Ego problems much these days, Steve?)

But wait; first thing, is there any substance to the claims about Obama and communism? Diamond says not, right in the title, and then offers more detail:

There are some indications that Obama brushed up against CP [Communist Party] members or fellow travelers in Hawaii (apparently Frank Marshall Davis, the black CP poet and journalist was friends with the Obama family in Hawaii) or in that Berkeley-lite, Hyde Park, over the years and these people may have influenced him to be more on the left side of the spectrum rather than the right. But that is a far cry from becoming a CP member or even a sympathizer. Believe me, the American CP had long stopped attracting young people to its cause by the time Obama was a teen-ager.

[Editorial aside; Hyde Park is “Berkeley-lite”? I like that; very much.]

OK, then; Obama is not a communist or a communist dupe. There is, however, that lingering “But” to deal with. Diamond has, as he says, written in the past about ties between Obama and Bill Ayers and through him to some “authoritarian Left” as Diamond would have it. Is there a real danger that the “authoritarian Left” controls or dictates or guides the policies and thinking of the next President of the United States? Here’s Diamond again:

But does this new "left" authoritarianism have the ability to control a presidential candidate, manchurian-style? Hardly, even if some in this movement had an interest in doing so.

Well, I feel better; no ability to control Obama, and no interest in trying. Even better, there apparently isn’t even an actual entity to worry about, no central organization and no discipline:

This new movement is very diverse in form and structure and plays in a variety of arenas, but has no central organizational structure or discipline.

Which would be even more of a relief to me, but Diamond senses their interconnectedness in more ephemeral ways:

There is, instead, a kind of shared, almost cultural or instinctual, identity with each other. This accounts, in part, for what is broadly known as "politcal [sic] correctness."

Oh, damn, the PC police; probably the same sort of people who natter on about my devotion to being a gentleman. So annoying, Steve; I know just what you mean. He almost has my sympathy, but then he lets slip his true self:

But the reality is that you can find these new authoritarian types all over the place: in higher education…Schools of Education…the labor movement...the Chicago anti-war movement….

OH NO! They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere! Grab the children, Ma, and head for the hills! In a darkened coffee shop basement somewhere, Herb Romerstein is smiling and nodding, gently nodding his approval.

Having dismissed claims of an Obama-communist link as well as saying that whatever sort of “authoritarian Left” there might be has no controlling effect either, Diamond still goes on to speculate. Within what looks to be some 2000 words or so, he scatters an endless stream of little rat droppings: the totalitarian regimes of Tito’s Yugoslavia and China, Che Guevara, the murderous cowards Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn and their erstwhile Weather Underground associates and convicted terrorists Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, Mexican Zapatistas, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Even the benign SDS and the perfectly fine and upright Carl Davidson (called by Diamond a “Fidelista” for opposing the continued Cuban trade sanctions) and Marilyn Katz, both of whom broke early and unequivocally from Ayers and Dohrn over using violence for political action, are seen as part of some dark design.

It is a tangled web that Diamond weaves; reminds me very much of those generated by spiders under the influence of caffeine; oddly beautiful and intriguing, but functionally useless. He’s been at this “authoritarian Left” business hot and heavy for a while now; his 2007 PhD thesis, 500 pages worth about the Sandanista Movement and associated influences, is surely much on his mind and his passion for finding some more contemporary relevance is understandable.

Still; when after 2000 words the conclusion is that

It is hard to believe that Obama really supports the full politics of Ayers and Dohrn (does he really believe, as they do, that living in the U.S. is "living in the belly of the beast"?) or Katz and Davidson.

what you’ve got is pretty thin gruel. It might be that Obama shares some views with Davidson and Katz, who are pretty unremarkable if solidly leftist, but I just can’t see Barry sitting around the kitchen table with Michelle and Bill and Bernie plotting to go blow up the Pentagon; he just doesn’t appear to have the temperament for explosives.

But hey; maybe with a little creative thinking there is a thread to pull here:

Nonetheless, Obama has been unwilling to explain his relationship to them;

And there ya go; Obama has failed to deny unfounded accusations – Gotcha now, you slippery bastard! Nothing happened, therefore it must mean something; it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

Plus, there’s this stark evidentiary trail of philosophical collusion:

…his [Obama’s]education advisor advocates one of Ayers' key policies: repaying the "education debt" - race based reparations in the form of dumping more money into a broken school system; and Obama himself has spoken sympathetically of the same idea.

Damn; really nailed Obama there. As Diamond more thoroughly documents in earlier postings , Obama’s education advisor Linda Darling-Hammond co-authored a report from the Forum for Education and Democracy advocating an aggressive Federal push for improvement in public education with particular emphasis on the disaster that is entrapping our poorest children in a lifetime of ignorance and continued impoverishment. Obama has suggested, as have many others including myself, that the issue of slavery “reparations” can be addressed through collective investment in social benefit programs such as public education for both rural and inner-city poor, and jobs training and higher education assistance for poor adults.

Diamond sees this, the salvaging of public education and the providing of economic opportunity to the downtrodden, as evidence of “authoritarianism of the Left.” I say Diamond’s claim is bullshit.

But wait, there’s more. Let’s give Diamond his full due on this topic. He has also penned an article on April 22, now with several updates, entitled Who “sent” Obama? which attempts to tie Obama tightly to both the Chicago political corruption machine and the violent authoritarianism of Ayers. It fails at both, but this time it takes him 4500 words – the thing about bullshit is the higher you try to pile it, the more work it takes.

These are Diamond’s linkage words in the critical accusation (para # 25, m/l), dissected like bones from the covering fleshy text so we can see the strength of what he has to offer as proof:

I can only speculate…it is possible…That might have happened if…if…might have…My best guess….

That’s it. That’s all that Diamond has; speculation, ifs on top of ifs, capped by a guess. Very impressive though in its own malicious way, impressive enough to generate radio talk show appearances for Diamond

What is the influence of Bill Ayers on the Obama campaign? I will be discussing that question this Sunday (June 16) at approximately 11:30 PM West Coast time (8:30 East Coast) in part II of my chat with John Batchelor. Click here to listen live on the web on KFI-640 AM (LA).

Hot damn again! A real honest-to-goodness two-part radio interview! Respect! Fame! Knowing what it feels like to be a Very Important Person, just like Dana Milbank! Mission Accomplished!

And like all good demagogues, Diamond has now declared victory over the horrific influence of the “authoritarian Left” that he conjured but failed to document. In a column today, June 10, titled Obama's retreat from Bill Ayers begins - is there room under that bus?, Diamond writes:

Finally understanding that the links between Obama and former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers are toxic, the Obama campaign has begun a strategic retreat from Comrade Ayers. Now they are hiding behind the petticoat of Hizzoner Mayor Richie Daley as explained today at Hot Air.

If you’re into Ed Morrissey - and I will unhesitatingly and proudly state that I am not - by all means go and read, but again there is no there, there. No retreat from anything, in any way at all, except in the minds of Morrissey and Diamond and those who think like them.

Recap and Conclusion

In both cases discussed above, we see the same pattern. Some VRWC operative, known in one case and unknown in another, starts an unfounded rumor designed to damage Barack Obama’s chances for the Presidency. In Larry Johnson’s case he was approached by the VRWC operatives covertly, perhaps directly but probably through trusted intermediaries, and Johnson was used to spread the deceit through the blogosphere and eventually into the M$S. In Steve Diamond’s case, the overt VWRC operatives were first facilitated by the M$M tool Milbank, whose work was picked up not only by other M$M operatives but the blogger Diamond from whence it spread again like an infection throughout the web community.

The time course is terrifying; from a VRWC presser on May 22 to the MSM on May 23 to a colluding attack by a blogger on May 25. It couldn’t be infecting faster if it were Ebola. Clickety-click, the lies are spread about Obama just as they were about Hillary and Kerry and Gore and Bill Clinton and Dukakis and Carter and on backwards as far as anyone cares to look. This cycle, however, was a big step upwards in complexity for the VRWC with a very great many of the supposedly progressive blogs joining the M$M to destroy Hillary Clinton, the stronger of the two dominant Democratic candidates.

With her apparently out of the way the M$M is now beginning to follow the lead of the VRWC and turn on Obama, again aided by foundationless attacks from supposedly progressive bloggers. I am not alone in seeing this as cause for serious concern. Anglachel, concisely and stoutly, describes the magnitude of the hazard smartly here and again more recently here. I don’t always see eye-to-eye with her, but in these two posts she is spot-on. The progressive blogosphere is systematically destroying any chance of defeating John McCain and thereby enabling the continued horrific destruction of the Plutocratic Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

The question, of course, is why. Is it just the seemingly endless inability of the Left to get along, the apparently inevitable in-fighting that has allowed the VRWC to control the presidency or the Congress or both for such a large percentage of the last 40 years? Or is there something more going on here?

Since we’re all into speculation and supposition and connecting the dots, because it is so much fun, let’s have a go at it right here. It seems to me, looking at the above, that the migration of bloggers from the Right to what was widely seen as at least semi-progressive political positions was not what it appeared to be. Instead of being rejectionists of Bush and the Republican Party, these bloggers including Huffington and Sullivan and Kos and so many others were in actuality trained and funded operatives of the VRWC. They were sent to take over the blogosphere and allowed to establish a cover by attacking Bush et al because the VRWC powers knew that it wouldn’t matter; Bush/Cheney would just keep doing whatever they wanted anyway.

In this most perilous time, when the VRWC is on the one hand close to a full takeover of the Federal government by co-opting the courts while on the other hand teetering on the brink of possible real investigations and even criminal convictions should a Democrat gain the White House, the agents were turned loose along with the M$M to exclude Edwards and the other white males by ignoring them (Step 1) so they could focus on attacking Hillary Clinton. The Republicans knew that she would be a real threat in the general election, so she had to be shut down in the primary. It was touch and go, but with a level of virulent sexism and misogyny exceeding any plausible bounds of justifiable political discourse, they achieved Step 2.

Now, with the weaker national candidate chosen for the Democrats, the job of the VRWC is to damage him so completely that even with the American public completely disenchanted with Republican policies they will still elect John McCain (Step 3). Long buried secret agents like Steve Diamond have been activated to echo the VRWC anti-Obama talking points, so that he can seen to be under attack from both the Right and the Left for being an un-American secret tool of some kind of authoritarian conspiracy to sell out American freedom. If everyone is saying it, it must be true.

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

V.I. Lenin

Now these lies and baseless character assassinations have been brought to Corrente, by anonymous posters who are either paid operatives for or agents of the VRWC – or, possibly, their unwitting dupes. If this scurrilous behavior, this concerted effort to destroy any chance of a Democratic victory, this full-out effort to ensure that the Republican McCain will be victorious, this unrelenting drive to make certain that the crimes and destruction of the past 40 years by one Republican after another will stay protected, continues here at Corrente it will have me as an implacable foe.

One more Presidential victory is all they need; after four more years the courts will be completely overrun by VRWC agents, from Federal District Courts to the whole of the SCOTUS. The operational branches of the Executive will have been totally restructured as tools of corporatist expansion, the social safety net and public education will be destroyed beyond rescue, American Empire will squat across the Middle East at whatever cost in blood and treasure is demanded, and the broader American public will be so demoralized and subservient that extraction of capital wealth for the benefit of the upper socioeconomic 1% can continue unabated. The Plutocrats will have won.

If this despicable, destructive movement cannot be stopped here, then where? If it cannot be stopped now, then when? I will not tolerate the spreading of falsehoods that benefit the cause of the VRWC. I will not tolerate the spreading of lies about the only remaining individual who stands in the way of the destruction of my country.

I Will Not Tolerate It.

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Comments

Submitted by hipparchia on

i go out to spend part of the not-yet-here economic stimulus check on something completely frivolous and come back home to find --

But like so many people, people other than me, he has a flaw

dude! you owe me a new keyboard.

lj and enablers: damnable lies and lie-mongering indeed. also, creepy, spot-on.

dana milbank: you read dana milbank so i don't have to, and for that you have my undying gratitude.

steve diamond: i agree with your assessment of him on corporate, labor and international finance law, not because i know much about any of them or about steve diamond, but because his writings that i've read in those areas [thanks to the michelle obama whiteyfest] seem sane and logical and and fact-based and well-reasoned.

caffeinated spider webs: nice analogy, and i can't argue for or against them based on reason or logic, or even willingness to do more reading than i already have, but i just gotta say, based on my years of hanging out with marxists, neo-marxists, anarchists of various stripes, and commie pinko red diaper babies all grown up, i don't for a minute believe they've been able to recruit obama to be their mole, the one they've been waiting for, who finally takes down the man. in fact, it looks to me more like he's co-opting real leftists to dress up his centrism with some much-needed street cred.

strictly anecdotal evidence [and meta, at that] and irresponsible speculation that i'm offering, i realize that, but i'm not seeing any left authoritarian control here. i could always be wrong, there are politicians with remarkable acting talents out there, and i hear obama has been playing poker for years now, so i suppose he and his handlers have me bamboozled.

oh, and i'm feeling left out, not being to run youtube videos at dialup speeds.

BoGardiner's picture
Submitted by BoGardiner on

for this post.

You are right, bringiton. Thank you for this.

And while I have less faith than you that Obama stands in the way of destruction, the ends do not justify the means. We must not become like them.

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

Without commenting on the rest of your post, which makes excellent sense: You quote from a comment of mine concerning my opinion of Johnson's veracity, then write, "And that, apparently, is all it takes."

Is all what takes? I don't understand the disdain you obviously have for that comment. I didn't make it in a vacuum; others in the comment thread had said they believed Johnson was lying, but that hasn't been my impression. What's wrong with my saying so? I haven't been spreading the rumor, just watching it spread, as have you. And I did not say I thought the rumor was true--to the contrary. Nor was I praising him for making it public.

Seems to me if Johnson is lying, if he himself made up the rumor, you can't make a case for the rumor originating with the VRWC, so the issue of his veracity or lack thereof is important.

Help me out here! What's the problem?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it...i think he's made that clear.

he's like the Milbanks and Dowds who dutifully repeat and spread this stuff, i think.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

he was actually unacceptable to all various powers-that-be? (and that includes many rightwing figures and conservatives -- Mr. Right? )

And do you actually think these kinds of "he's a commie" slurs accomplish things beyond ensuring that he'll move even further right to counter them? (and isn't that in fact one important goal/result of the eternal painting of all Dems as radical and outside the mainstream?)

And when even Maureen Dowd--the uber-Heather and propagator of oh-so-many smears of Dems--is talking about that video rumor-- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/opinio...

, don't you think that anyone else (without her platform, or Drudge's or Politico's, etc) mentioning it pales in comparison to the most important thing about all smears: How the candidate deals with them?

As opposed to the muslim emails, which have already done their permanent damage, this is flowering now--in real time--and is important for a host of reasons. These things are expected--and we'd all think that someone who accomplished their own versions of them against the Clintons would have been ready, no?

It's not about truth or lies, but about what happens every cycle. And about what goals are achieved by these things--every time.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

countering these things with the truth is often really really damaging for those of us who actually are liberals and believe in things--

Obama's for school vouchers, which hurt public schools--for just one example on something you listed.

And for a commie, backtracking on letting Bush's tax cuts expire (which he's done already--subject to "if they advise it'll hurt growth", he said) is a weird way to make this a worker's paradise, no?

...

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

is giving any slack to this kind of behavior at all. It needs to be called out for what it is, either a lie or damn foolishness, on the spot.

As I read your comment, it appeared to me to read that you were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, that he's earnestly repeating what he's been told, and that this earnestness somehow mitigates the perfidy. If I'm mistaken in that interpretation, please explain to me what else you might have meant.

The internet is an incredible force; for good or ill, depending on how it is used. When people like Johnson use it as he has in this case, for no beneficial good at all for anyone but himself, I say he needs to be condemned. Whether he is honestly propagating the truth, honestly propagating a lie, or knowingly being part of a deceit does not to me matter one whit. The damage comes from propagation of an unsourced, unproven claim that damages others. Too damn much of that going around.

Nothing against you as a person; kind, well-intentioned people often make undeserved allowances for the unacceptable behavior of others.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i also saw it for what it was--and this is politics, where it's expected.

i see Johnson and others on all sides as doing the same things that candidates, rightwing groups, leftwing ones, professional ppl like Stone/Atwater/Rove/etc, all do--smearing their opponents.

Blogactive and others who have outed ppl are a good comparison too--they've spread rumors and unproven assertions too--to stop closeted GOP officials from hurting us. I applaud those guys, but you wouldn't, i guess.

(i'm up too late--to be continued tom'w...)

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

it appeared to me to read that you were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, that he’s earnestly repeating what he’s been told, and that this earnestness somehow mitigates the perfidy.

I do think there are degrees of perfidy, yes, and that it's important to elucidate them. Granted, it makes appropriate condemnation more difficult; it's so much easier just to kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out.

But as I noted--and you haven't addressed--we can't lay the rumor about the tape at the feet of the VRWC if Johnson made it up. If we just blame Johnson and assume he was lying, and in fact he was telling the truth about what he was told, then the real perps escape condemnation altogether.

So Johnson's perfidy in spreading the rumor at all, even if he believed it to be true, even if it is true, is a separate issue, one I was not addressing at all. (Although I did point out that I was not a Johnson fan, so that might have given you a clue that I wasn't happy about what he was doing.)

I might also note that when you originally referenced my comment via a link in the thread on your "Sack of Pus" post, and orionATL objected, you claimed you had "copied and pasted a link to the wrong screen" and that you only wanted to link back to your original post. Turns out that wasn't true. You said you weren't attacking me, but you've now made it clear that you were most certainly attacking my judgment.

Nothing against you as a person; kind, well-intentioned people often make undeserved allowances for the unacceptable behavior of others.

Ironically, here you've mitigated my "perfidy": my judgment may be terrible, but that doesn't mean I'm not kind and well intentioned.

In any case, my original comment asked why Johnson was being charged with racism for publicizing the rumor--a whole 'nother degree-of-perfidy issue. I'm still interested in that one.

Submitted by lambert on

I think the default setting here needs to be that anybody's arguments can be attacked at any time, because bad arguments deserve to die, and the only way to kill them is to kill them (because bad arugments, ignored, spread). Further, attacking somebody's arguments isn't the same thing as attacked the person.

I really have less than no interest in who said what to whom when. It's a tiresome tangle and who wants to take the time to sort it out? Not me.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

speaktruth's picture
Submitted by speaktruth on

which was to get the tape out in order to save Hillary as the nominee, while there is still time.
He has been told that the Repubs are only postponing releasing it until Barack has the nomination sewn up. In other words, if you are afraid of Pres. McCain, you should be very anxious for this tape, and all other devastating info on Obama to come out, toute suite.
I believe Johnson sees Hillary as the strong and competent candidate, and sees Obama as a disaster in the general election. He was hoping (vainly, as many of us) that the outing of the tape now would deliver Hillary as Dem candidate, our only chance for Dem president. The same thing you want.
It was the opposite of stupid or selfish reasons.

The rest of your post looks interesting, too, but I've only had time to skim it tonight.
It deals with an issue that seems very important and paradoxical - who is Obama, and why do some people think he is lefty communist and others (like me) see him as right-wing, no policy, New Deal killer, Republican corporate shill.
The fact that MSCM sells him 24/7 is kind of a clue. Oh, I forgot, they're all liberals. Including GE, Viacom. Of course they are.
Definitely deserves further discussion. Other question is what is it about Obama that encourages such diverse speculation and projection? Who is that masked man? And what will he do for (to) our country?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

that need sorting out. It is impossible to do that, for you or I or Obama, in the midst of a constant rain of lies and misdirections coming from all sides. The VRWC will try to muddy the water as much as they can. Obama will have to deal with it. My complaining here, let me be clear, is with the portion of the blogosphere that calls itself progressive - or liberal or at least earnestly antiestablishment - that is also propagating lies and malicious half-truths against Obama. It is the wrong thing to do, just as it was wrong to do it against Hillary.

Discuss, attack if you must, on the real basis of where you see deficiencies in Obama's policies. No problem there from me.

But claims that Obama is an endorser of or is influenced by authoritarians and terrorists? That Michelle Obama is a raging racist? Either cough up the proof - real proof - or STFU.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

are those better? worse? just as bad?

and the lies candidates themselves tell us--both about themselves and against opponents? and when they themselves use those rightwing smears to stop opponents but end up killing possibilities for progress (like using Harry and Louise on healthcare)?

isn't there a "live by the sword, die by the sword" thing operating?

and is "truth" really a good principle to use given the realities of our systems (of politics/govt and information/news/media) when the actual goals and policies and actions desired seem to only be attained thru winning by any means--the destruction of opponents and silencing/discrediting of opposition being proven widely successful?

dotcommodity's picture
Submitted by dotcommodity on

When Axelrod was shopping around his slimy assassin-Hillary "golf" when she pointed to a memorable primary event in June in her response to WWTSBQ ...well, now! again, now, ok now! geez! NOW, its gottabe NOW!

However, that said, I will not stoop to rumourmong, like them.

I will counter absurd lies from now on, even though it is too late for the main threat to the oiligarchy to win, at least till 2012.

I bitterly regret that the exile blogosphere was not organised in a way to stand up to the unreal lies kos spread about HRC. Or maybe you were, I only discovered these other political blogs recently as a refugee.

Aside from the moral correctness, as the tiny surviving vestige of the reality-based counter-media, we must retain our dispassionate coverage or all our heads WILL EXPLODE!

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

what benefit do you get to avoiding gossip and rumors and smears besides feeling superior ?

What impact does your truth have when that's not what gets spread, and is in fact not wanted at all by your candidate? When it's not going to affect the things any candidate does in office -- especially this cycle? Or the goals you want achieved? When neither candidate is running on issues and they're both using lies and smears to get elected?

It's like one sapling falling in a forest when all around they're clearcutting the whole thing for grazing land for McDonalds beef.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Pretty passive, that. Did somebody make him chew and swallow and regurgitate too?

No excuse for Johnson; he's responsible for what he did, not some mystery person. If he knows for certain that the tape exists, he should out whoeverhas it so we can all see for ourselves what it is. If it doesn't actually exist, then we can all move on. What he's done, tell about it but leave it hanging like a sword over Obama and the Democratic Party, is purely damaging with no good acomplished.

Everybody else does it is also no excuse. If Milbank and Dowd are the standards for acceptable behavior in the progressive world, all is lost.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

he posted pushback of some transcript or something, which further spread it.

And the bigger media did not simply get it from Johnson--whoever told him told many others, and Novak teased damaging video that Clinton refused to use ages ago, for instance...the stage was set for this not by Johnson--he was simply one person who ran with it for his own reasons--others are running with it for their own reasons too.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i don't know what drug they put in their salsa [the one of chopped-up tomatoes and onions and cilantro, not that liquidy sauce stuff] but what with killer tomatoes and all, i had to settle for less.

i'll check that one out.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Ah, yes.

Otherwise, all is lost. If we don't strive to defend and employ some reasonable semblance of "truth" then we are no better than scavangers squabbling over a corpse. Without the aspiration of, the struggling towards, a set of "truths" there really is no point to civilization at all. I'm a civilized person, and I have no patience for anarchy.

What about other people who lie? They need to be condemned. Just like I'm doing here. That lots of people lie a lot of the time does not justify anyone else doing it.

That rigidity aside, for the sake of your argument, please explain to me exactly how progressive/liberal/ antiestablishment interests are furthered by promoting lies about Obama? Any way at all.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

I'd say that because he isn't progressive or liberal or antiestablishment in reality, and is actually to the right of even Hillary in many ways, spreading any and all rumors and/or lies about him--ones that are intended to hurt him or to help him, btw--are all part of the usual election noise.

Facts are not being spread by him, his campaign staff, his supporters -- or his opponents -- not about him, people around him or the guy he is running against. And of course the media is almost never spreading facts either, but constructing drama, narratives, and following scripts, etc.

Truth is not involved in any aspect of it--except when it comes to factchecking statements (which includes rumors and lies and exaggerations both pro and con). If that was a priority months ago, i'd see a case for it continuing--unfortunately, i won't defend those who gleefully used lies and smears to demean and smear good Democrats--and to tar all the many millions who didn't vote for the nominee.

And the standards can't all of a sudden start now--that's closing the barn door long after all sides have been benefited --and hurt-- by all the lies--after months of savaging one candidate to favor another. Calling for truth now is very convenient and will be ignored as usual. It also is both hypocritical and hobbling--especially when the candidates themselves lie every day in multiple ways.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

should be a big enough boy or girl to deal with all this--it's not like any of it is new or a surprise.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Whatever integrity the Left may have had is fast slipping away. The more we behave like Rove, the more difficult it is to condemn him. If there is no separation from your enemy, why bother with the struggle? Why bother with morality at all? Why not just raid and pillage and steal and kill and rape and lie? Other people do it.

Submitted by scoff on

Regardless of what others do, I want to do what's right to the best of my ability. Otherwise I'd be just like them, and I don't want that at all.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

if you can win with truth, you do. If you can win with destroying opposition, you do. If you can win with lies, you do. If you can win running on issues, you do.

You can't implement any goals without first gaining power and winning--If we had a candidate who cared about the issues and goals, he'd run on those things--he's not, so why should anyone else?

Why should anyone act honestly when the person they're supposed to support doesn't? When you can't use the truth of them ? (their resume, accomplishments, or even their vaunted "judgment")

And when the other party wins with smears, rumors, and lies every single time?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

politics and elections and what happens in them--every single time for more than 100 years if not 200.

Invading Iraq was evil, but it wasn't about "winning an election" or "winning a contest" so that you could use government to help people (or to help your friends only, if you're GOP).
There were people in power who either planned on doing it all along or decided to do it after 9/11--there was no comparison to an election---but the key thing was that they had already won and were able to do it because of that previous win.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Ah well. I love my cable.

Pat Benatar - Hit me with your best shot

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm seriously considering it. pat benatar rocks. thanks.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

he may be a dupe, but he was straightforward as to what he knew and didn't know.

The MSM/OFB knew damn well the truth about the RFK/"as far as I know"/"fairy tale" fauxrages and they kept repeating the dishonest versions.

------------------------------------------------
“Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

My standards, my condemnation; your tolerance may vary.

I have no use for the behavior, nor do I find the excuse persuasive that some other people are somehow worse. Damn them all.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Had DSL, but cable is better in my experience. From dialup it is the difference between walking and flying. A whole new world opens up.

Benatar can be good; as a package, I'm more about Joan Jett.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i has them

joan jett: pioneering grrrl rocker extraordinaire
pat benatar: wider range of musical styles
i have to choose? just shoot me now.

used to have dsl. minor tiff with isp. holding off on any extra expenses, saving up for family reunion later this summer.

i'll probably go with cable this fall.

BoGardiner's picture
Submitted by BoGardiner on

That when the netroots use the tactics of mainstream and right-wing faux journalism, our power is vanquished.

Larry surely began as more well-intentioned. But unfair smears cannot be rationalized by "but theirs was worse." And yes, their smears against Clinton and us were worse. Much, much worse. But we must not give up our moral authority so that we can no longer call it out.

The answer must be to clean it up, not to give up and surrounder to the nihilism, as bringiton points out eloquently and passionately.

It is my hope that those who feel criticized by bringiton's post can try to move past perhaps an understandable defensiveness and swiftly into more of a "yeah, point taken, ok now what's to be done?" mode.

Submitted by cg.eye on

I don't have either the experience or the talent to discuss the authoritarian left in any context related to Obama's past, and electing him instead of McCain is too important to risk.

There is no such thing as leverage.

Submitted by lambert on

Indeed. Not everything is equally infectious though, for some odd reason.

I'd like to think that the battle is between truth and truthiness, but unfortunately things aren't that simple.

What a dispiriting post, bringiton. Great, but dispiriting.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Why not just raid and pillage and steal and kill and rape and lie?

I'll just bring this all back to reality and point out that all Larry said originally was "Heads Up".

The rest is history.

Now if you want to call Larry a "liar", I could care less.

But I don't think we really want to get into a discussion about "ethical reportage and discussion in the blogosphere" lest some A-listers get their feelings hurt.

Interesting that your ire was directed towards Larry though.

I'll steal from Lambert (no ethics!)

Not everything is equally infectious though, for some odd reason.

Pffff.

PB 2.0 might be stillborn.

Submitted by gob on

we can muster enough fortitude to love the truth more than we love "our side".

There's been plenty of criticism directed at the A-listers, by name, and there should be more. I don't know the extent of the damage they've caused with their unbridled hate-fest. I've never seen anything like it.

But I have seen the like of the damage that can be done by the conspiracy-mongers touting Obama's "connections" to Communists, etc. I saw it in the drug-induced fantasies of my lefty peers in the late sixties and early seventies. It's stupid, it's evil, it should be called out wherever it rears its ugly body parts of any kind.

Thanks are due to BIO for bothering to analyze this idiotic stuff, so transparently malicious and idiotic that it made me roll my eyes so fast they practically fell out after one paragraph. Oh yeah, and for having a great sense of humor.

Submitted by lambert on

... if Corrente has anything to do with it.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I make a big stink about setting up an infrastructure because we seem to be piecing things together in a very ad hoc manner which, to me, doesn't seem stable.

Personally, I think something like PUMA is a good idea. But it seems mostly based on anti-Obama sentiment. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I've been skeptical of the whole online progressive movement for years and years.

The reactionary nature of PB1.0 should have made the abandoning of principles vis a vis Hillary Hating obvious. There were no fundamental principles discussed or debated. It was all about reacting. The right will talk about Milton Friedman or Nozick or Buckley or whoever. I almost never hear about Rawls or Hobbes or Kant or Mill in liberal political discussions. The left seems to be stuck in a Platonic "philosopher king" mindset without any balance by ideas from Isaiah Berlin or [insert name here]. There are bright people on the left, but we seem stuck in an adolescent intellectualism when it comes to political philosophy. Winning should be about more than elections. The Right shifted the entire political spectrum while the Left just wants to win by electing Dems who are part of the shifted political spectrum. Look at Big Tent Dem at TalkLeft, good guy but chose his candidate based off "electability"--adolescent intellectualism at its finest. We won't get far that way.

Sorry for the rant (but not really).

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

This is worth a post of its own. Not to make assignments, but it would be well worthwhile right at this time and better served by being at the top of a discussion rather than down here in the cellar.

Tough choices, sometimes, in electoral politics, between the electable yet flawed candidate and one who is policy excellent but unelectable.

Submitted by lambert on

The great Terry Pratchett wrote a terrific novel of that title about, oddly enough, a newspaper of that name. In the book, the following cliche is oft repeated:

A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.

And so, apparently, this primary season. And we have a paradigmatic, classic example. The Howler has (yet another) must read post on this very topic:

THE PROBLEM WITH TELLING/NOT TELLING THE TRUTH: For our money, the problem with telling/not telling the truth came home in Monday’s New York Times. John Broder and Robin Toner were being truthful—or, perhaps, were being un-truthful—in this part of their report on “the complicated Clinton legacy:”

BRODER/TONER (6/9/08): Allies of the Clintons and neutral observers alike said Mrs. Clinton had much to be proud of in this campaign. ...

But she also made comments that divided voters along racial lines, stretched the facts and last month raised the specter of assassination as a justification for remaining in the race to the bitter end despite a mathematical near-certainty that she had lost weeks earlier.

Wow! According to Broder and Toner, Clinton “raised the specter of assassination as a justification for remaining in the race to the bitter end.”

Quick note: That statement by Broder is so opaque that you’d have no real idea what it meant if you hadn’t been following the story. But if you have been following the story, you’d know exactly what it meant. According to John Broder and Robin Toner, Clinton said she was staying in the race in case Barack Obama was murdered. Of course, for people able to read and write English, it was always clear that Clinton hadn’t said that—and for people who are able to reason, it was always clear that such a “strategy” wouldn’t really make sense. But so what? Clinton was slimed—savagely slimed—by many journalists. They proclaimed that she had made that remarkable statement.

Which brings us to the current problem—the problem of telling/not telling the truth. Do Broder and Toner believe that Clinton made that statement?

So it would seem that we really do have a litmus test here for people who are FITH or not. If, with the Obama campaign, you originally propagated the baseless RFK assassination smear, and haven't stopped propagating it -- and, ideally, have retracted -- then you're FITH, like Broder and Toner.

And it's important to be able to sort out who's FITH and who's not, as Eric Boehlert pointed out at Eschacon, oddly, or not, to applause from about half the room:

What’s happening online now is potentially dangerous: HRC has gotten dreadful press, not fair, “gotcha,” and so on — there’s a portion of the blogosphere that has ignored that and there’s a portion that has encouraged that.

It’s dangerous because the media criticism has to be consistent and relentless, and we can’t very well say, “You can’t go after our candidates … except this one.” I get nervous about pushback regarding disingenuous coverage - our response needs to be, “You can’t treat Democrats this way.” When people in the left blogosphere are quoting an anonymous Matt Drudge source, it makes me nervous.

And bringiton is indeed being "consistent and relentless" here.

The problem here -- and I'm not being tendentious, this is really causing my head to explode -- appears in bringiton's closing peroration:

If this despicable, destructive movement cannot be stopped here, then where? If it cannot be stopped now, then when? I will not tolerate the spreading of falsehoods that benefit the cause of the VRWC. I will not tolerate the spreading of lies about the only remaining individual who stands in the way of the destruction of my country.

I Will Not Tolerate It.

The problem here is that the Obama campaign, and much of the A list propagated the RFK smear. They're FITH in the worst way. The methods and the result are exactly the same as the methods and the result of what the VRWC does. Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.

So, truth is more important than electing a candidate? Or not? If it's not more important, then what relevance does the truth have to what LJ is doing? If it is more important, then what is the difference between the VWRC and the Obama Movement except new faces and the passage of time?

UPDATE Further, the sheer quantity of lies is vast. How to categorize which lies to attack first, and which to let go under pressure of time? Personally, I feel that by the side of the press, the campaigns, the A list, and the OFB, that LJ and Diamond are pretty small beer. But maybe I'm wrong. Is there a taxonomy or hierarchy of lies, such that some should be attacked first? I suppose I'd go for "the lies told by my enemies" if I were the nly actor in the system but I'm not. "Lies told by my enemies that others are not dealing with capably" might be more appropriate, but even that leaves a lot of lies to be dealt with.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by cg.eye on

Obama -- yes him, not his subordinates or his handlers -- allowed the RFK smear to continue until it stopped serving his purpose. It was a lie, he knew it, and he allowed it to be spread through his organization's deliberate actions.

When we told the truth, provided tape, quoted Clinton's interviewers who endorsed her after their talk, what changed?

If lies are more powerful, more filled with meaning, than the truth, and we have lost again and again and again through telling the truth -- hell, what's the latest impeachment posturing about except putting that truth one more time into the public record -- then how do we fight?

If lies are nuclear, do we stick with unilateral disarmament, when the conventional wisdom is M.A.D.?

And, if the people who oppose (not dismiss, but actively oppose) the necessary difficult reforms to restore representative democracy to this country -- through purging of civil servants who were hired in violation of the Hatch Act, the war profiteers in government and in the defense industry, or through investigation of the agencies that have sacrificed truth for profit (that's what 'non-partisanship' boils down to, a lack of opposition to this present administration's crimes) -- do so with a (D) after their names, and I am told I must vote for them else the crimes they really aren't opposed to will continue -- won't they, after all, turn out to be the authoritarian left?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and getting our checks and balances restored and true opposition reborn in Congress outweighs any possible worry about authoritarians on the left--there never really are any people who are on the left in the Exec Branch--ever--especially Presidents. It's not a realistic worry--especially now that we have a candidate who refuses ALL MANDATES for everything good and progressive, and only has tepid proposals that won't withstand the GOP anyway.

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

...you nailed it yet again:

If [truth] is more important [than electing a candidate], then what is the difference between the VWRC and the Obama Movement except new faces and the passage of time?

My head has been wanting to explode; you just gave it permission to do so by articulating the problem so clearly.

I hope to Goddess my state isn't in contention come election day, because the lesser of the two evils just isn't lesser enough for me. I'm afraid I'll walk into the voting booth and stand there paralyzed, and they'll have to drag me out on a stretcher, babbling incoherently.

Submitted by gob on

Faced with the rich selection, that's a hard question indeed.

I'd like to advocate for going after the lies told by my friends, too. Funnily enough, political discourse is not just a battle where we try to annihilate "the enemy." Isn't that obvious from the effect of the Obama trolls on the Clinton refuseniks?

A few, very few, but maybe determinative few are persuadable. One reason I took a close enough look at Clinton's record and policy proposals to jettison my oh-so-predictable bias in favor of Obama is that his supporters started purveying obvious hateful lies early in the process. If they hadn't told those lies, who knows, I might still be all blissed out on our coming post-everything Presidency.

Lies told by my friends discredit me more than lies told by my enemies. Is that just too naively high-minded?

Submitted by hipparchia on

the popular interpretation of karma is something along the lines of what goes around, comes around, but i've always liked the interpretation if you see a bad situation that you can do something about, then it is incumbent upon you to step in and do what you can to right the wrong [or prevent something bad from happening if you see it coming over the horizon].

the corollary of that being that yes, sometimes people rush in on white horses, the horses trample the garden, thus destroying the food supply for that year, and in the meantime the riders in white hats don't take the time to aim their guns and instead of winging the bad guys they shoot all the kittens. karma also means that you must not shoot the kittens and trample the garden in your efforts to stop. bad. things.

pb2.0 can be our collective pool of karma, each of us can tackle those lies we feel equipped to handle and collectively maybe it adds up to enough weight to save the kittens [and the flowers and the veggies].

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

about context:

your post here puts on display your admirable erudition.

it is also emotionally overwrought.

there is a reason for that subtext of anger, bringiton and if you are as self aware as i think, you know very well what it is.

in this article you appear to be using your erudition to get at the truth.

when in fact, you are faking an interest in getting at the truth,

in order to use your erudition vindictively.

question for you bringiton:

spreading lies is dishonest

but is not, also, operating under the GUISE of seeking truth.

you can do better bringiton, and you have done better.

now about the diamond writings:

to me they seem relatively inoffensive, rather straightforward, and provide a specific view of chicago politics that i found interesting.

furthermore, i trust my judgment about how to interpret "propaganda" or "lies" better than i trust yours.

i would hope every reader of diamond would feel similarly.

are diamond's articles on obama's intellectual history so offensive that you need to verbally stomp on it and on diamond?

isn't what you have done here to diamond, what obama's true believers have done to senator clinton?

should we not TRUST voters, citizens, fellow readers at corrente to read diamond and make up their own minds what bits of info are useful?

i guess what leaps out from this article of yours, other than the subtext of anger, is intolerance for other points of view.

now about specifics:

i'm still not sure, after wandering in the maze that is the lush cornfield of your prose,

just what "lies" diamond is spreading.

diamond's prose is straightforward.

it is filled with the kind of insider use of language that one finds in the writings of every close observer of a field.

i just don't see the dishonesty,

in diamond.

all in all

i'd give you an a+ for rhetoric,

a d for a tightly reasoned argument,

and an f for abusing the trust of your admiring readers here, of which i am one.

Submitted by lambert on

Certainly LJ seems a transmitter in a different mode than Johnson, if that is what is going on.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

this comment among others of yours seems rather authoritarian to me:

[ The problem, as I see it
Submitted by bringiton on Wed, 2008-06-11 02:16.

is giving any slack to this kind of behavior at all. It needs to be called out for what it is, either a lie or damn foolishness, on the spot.
.
.
The internet is an incredible force; for good or ill, depending on how it is used. When people like Johnson use it as he has in this case, for no beneficial good at all for anyone but himself, I say he needs to be condemned. Whether he is honestly propagating the truth, honestly propagating a lie, or knowingly being part of a deceit does not to me matter one whit. The damage comes from propagation of an unsourced, unproven claim that damages others. Too damn much of that going around. ]

a couple of small points:

we do not yet know that the tape johnson talked about does not exist.

are you forbidding talking about it?

are you forbidding political gossip?

what do you say to your readers if indeed such a tape shows up in september or october?

what do you say, "sorry"?

when i speak of your overwrought prose, i am thinking of comments like this:

{The damage comes from propagation of an unsourced, unproven claim that damages others.]

sounds reasonable, even admirable, doesn't it.

and very, very, very socially correct.

but about those specifics,

just how WAS obama damaged by the discussion of a cd starring his wife? i don't see it affected him in the least. all it really did was give noquarter a headache with their servers.

is it just POSSIBLE that larry johnsaon is as passionate an advocate as you are?

and is it just POSSIBLE that he knows more about the truth of what he was speaking than you do, bringiton?

and then there's this:

[for no beneficial good at all for anyone but himself,].

how do you know the truth of that statement, bringiton?

how do you know the truth of your own statement?

having read his work on outing valerie plame, on iraq, on the bush admin's pr for invading iraq, on iran

i would never in my life consider larrry johnson as acting solely in his own interest.

more overwrought language, bringtion.

Submitted by lambert on

Assessing evidence and reasoning isn't censorship, for pity's sake. Substantive responses, please.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I am so disgusted with the Left right now, with the American people as a whole, I do not trust myself to fully vent. All through the early campaign, there was a sorting out amongst the blogosphere. Fair enough, to mull things around, but too much focus was expended on process not on policy. (Not here at Corrente; there are some places still with Liberal standards.) As soon as Edwards was gone, however, the vast majority of the higher traffic blogs all swung to Obama for apparently emotional reasons and they set about destroying Hillary with the same words and the same enthusiasm the VRWC had used for years – plus charges of racism, something even Karl Rove hadn’t the Audacity to try.

And it worked. Hillary is vanquished. All the Democratic Party has remaining is a flawed and tenuous candidate, who is in for a difficult struggle against the combined forces of the VRWC, the M$M and the openly criminal conspiracy that is the Republican Party and the full might of the Executive branch that they control. It is no exaggeration to say that the only person standing between ourselves and the final takeover and destruction of American democracy is, Goddess help us all, Barack Obama.

He’s all we have for now. He is all we have to work with, the only tool available with which to slay the Beast. And yet, what does the rest of the so-called progressive blogosphere decide to do? Attack him as well with the same words, and using the same talking points as, the VRWC and their lackeys the M$M. Of course. Grand. Just the right thing to do, because baseless character assassination and systematic political destruction of the only human being standing in the way of functional Plutocratic totalitarianism is - fun!

Same exact tools of character assassination and guilt by association and media manipulation as McCarthy, dot-dot-dot connection right from him and HUAC through to the present VRWC and the work of Johnson and Diamond. If you took their work, on Obama/Ayers and Michelle/whitey, and dropped it in with the posts up on America’s Survival Inc they would fit right in. Literally, in tone and content, you wouldn’t know they came from supposedly liberal, supposedly progressive authors.

I’ll tend this thread a while longer and then I need to step away; I am so disgusted, so repulsed, so offended by so many people right now I cannot express myself in any way close to cordiality. Some of this nonsense will, I know, wane as people’s feelings sort themselves out. Once they do, it will be easier to have sensible discussions about what to do next about the presidency. Meanwhile, there are other topics of interest to discuss, where I will be less likely to offend.

Apologies to all who may have been unfairly harshed on here, as collateral damage; I am, I confess, in a foul, foul mood. No apologies whatsoever to those who had this coming; stop your nonsense, sort yourselves out, identify the true enemy and put your effort there. Whether I like it or not, Barack Obama is my guy. Stop the unwarranted picking on my guy, or else.

Submitted by lambert on

.. that's a sign that the system is totally broken, and we are so fucked. Generally, such a man is found riding a white horse, and such stories tend to add badly.

I may be misinterpreting, but my $0.02....

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless
his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

shit and bad policies and bad actions, etc, why not turn your focus to where the sausage really gets made--like Congress and state governments, etc?

There's really no reason to do Anyone but Bush/McCain/Reagan this time--he sucks--objectively.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Lambert, no real structure here for me in sorting out what to condemn. Perhaps a bit like dealing with biting flies; the ones that happen to come close to me get swatted. I could go out amongst the thickets and hunt them down, but likely not. When they come buzzing right under my nose, though - smack. Think of it as Nature's Way.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

muster enough fortitude to love the truth more than we love “our side”.

Being a man of no faith, good luck with that.

Stop the unwarranted picking on my guy, or else.

See...

LOL

Or ELSE!!!!

WTF?

"Unwarranted"

Oh fuckin boy.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

About sums it up, Lambert, thought we were in agreement on that at least. I'm not happy, but what are, exactly, my choices now?

Between Obama (are you sure white horse is OK to say?) who may indeed turn into a problem versus McCain who is 100% certain to be a problem, simple game theory compels me to be an Obama backer. 1/1000 chance of improvement, any chance at all, is better than none and with McCain, things will only get much, much worse than they are now. On a ten point scale, Obama may be at zero plus or minus not much; McCain is minus one hundred – on a ten point scale.

Meanwhile, where Obama has faults they need to be openly discussed, preferably with constructive improvements included. You Suck! may be true, but in and of itself it is not helpful. If as the summer progresses he does not gain traction and continues to lag behing McCain, then it should be clear to all that the problem with his polls was not Hillary or that people don't know him. In that case I will be right out front with a call for replacing him at the convention with Hillary. I am not a big fan of Barry's.

What I'm complaining about here, however much some may wish to deflect, is malicious unfounded accusations and lies. No patience from me for them being directed at Obama, or Michelle, or the Democratic Party or its leadership. There is real Evil to be vanquished, and I will not tolerate anything that gets in the way.

Anyone discomfited by that? Tough.

Submitted by lambert on

Totally with you. That's why "unwarranted" is a key word, yes? IOW, the truthful calling of bullshit is to be encouraged, not deplored.

I'm intrigued by the argument above that lies by my "friends" are more important to combat than lies by my enemies, since lies by my friends discredit me, where lies by my enemies don't. If I don't distort the point made. Thoughts?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by gob on

just to take care of an obvious point:

Lies told about me by my enemies discredit me in the eyes of others, and badly, if people believe them, and must be fought.

Lies told by my friends, whether believed or not, discredit me absolutely if I don't disown them. Witness the way you (and I) feel about voting for Obama after the RFK episode.

I suppose there's a pragmatist's rejoinder that, then, we should make sure we all tell the bestest, most believable lies ever. I don't see that working out well.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Indeed there is a need to tell the difference between warranted and unwarranted attacks. When people just make shit up, or pass along shit that somebody else just made up, I put it in the "unwarranted" bucket. Your sorting system may vary, but that's for you to worry about, not me.

"Or else" is I come around and get all up on their ass, like this. It isn't much, but I'll do what I can.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

BIO,

I agree with you about truthfulness, in fact it is one of my primary problems with Obama and the OFB. Not my ONLY problem, but very, very high on the list. Which is why I personally don't believe that Obama is the "only remaining individual who stands in the way of the destruction of my country." You gotta admit, that is some very fine hyperbole there, no matter HOW much your mileage varies.

So having said that I completely disagree when you say

"Whether he is honestly propagating the truth, honestly propagating a lie, or knowingly being part of a deceit does not to me matter one whit.", because I think that in that statement you jump the shark. I don't agree with what Johnson did, I don't think he is a liar, I think he was a fool, which is worse. He was a fool to trumpet what people of obviously questionable motives said to him. He was a fool regardless of whether it was true or not, because what he said couldn't possibly damage anybody more than it damaged HIM.

But let's agree on the main point, I have zero truck for anybody spreading rumors, false or not. I also have very little truck for johnny-come-lately fauxgressives who are only in it for what's in it for them. I have zero truck for assholes like John Aravosis, Markos, Booman, WKJM etc. who's primary goal in life appears to be to destroy via unprincipled lies, sexism, classism and/or racism, at least half of the Democratic party and the integrity of the progressive "brand".

When compared to their crimes and impact, Larry Johnson and his stoopidity isn't even a zit on our collective ass.

Which is not to say we can't call him an idiot, just doesn't warrant sending in the carrier group (as you did here).

-----------------------------

Good night and good riddance!

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

lambert sez:

[Silliness
new
Submitted by lambert on Wed, 2008-06-11 12:01.

Assessing evidence and reasoning isn’t censorship, for pity’s sake. Substantive responses, please.]

apple pie and patriotism and

"assessing evidence and reasoning"

are all wonderful things.

but writing ABOUT "assessing evidence and reasoning" is not the same as actually DOING them.

specifics:

do you, lambert, consider THIS an act of assessment:

bringiton writes:

[Larry Johnson, Michelle Obama, and a great big pile of nothing

Johnson, for reasons that remain opaque but in my experience is probably due to his being a self-serving moron, chose to spread around a rumor about Michelle Obama. Why anyone would ever spread such vile rumor about any other human being is beyond me. Why someone who holds themselves out as a supporter of freedom chooses to employ the tools of tyranny cannot otherwise be explained except by the basest and most venal of self-interest and greed. There is no “good” explanation.

And he has gotten what he wanted. Based on nothing at all, he has become the recipient of a seemingly endless stream of attention and discussion. The number of search engine hits are extraordinary, for any topic, but one based on the rumor of a rumor? Here’s a recent comment here at Corrente, assessing Johnson and his methods: ...]

is that really an analytical assessment?

sounds like angry rhetoric to me.

perhaps you'd like to provide specific illustrations of assessing evidence and reasoning in bringiton's article.

when commenting, i often cite SPECIFIC sentences or paragraphs from a post and then i comment on them.

i do this quite frequently here. perhaps you have noticed, e.g., Wed, 2008-06-11 11:47.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I don't read NQ. I tried, but it got a little too foily there(the beliefs held by some front pagers that he wants to start a war against Israel on Palestine's behalf, etc cause it's FITH), and I could smell the ratfuckers in the comment threads, so I stopped looking. But Johnson does have some cred with people I have gained respect for, like Joseph Wilson, so I won't automatically disavow everything from NQ, it all needs to be researched and corroborated.

It seems to me that Larry Johnson started out doing oppo research on Obama, to find what the Repubs would throw at him, which is where this whole thing started.

To my eyes, it seems more of a "They are saying they have this, shouldn't somebody from our side find out for sure" sense to the whole "whitey" story(though that has evolved to some nasty shit, I agree), because if, Goddess forbid, it is true, the election is lost. It is sad to say that about our country, but that is the unvarnished truth.

What Obama's supporters should be doing, is finding out if it's true, instead of pooh-poohing it, b/c given Michelle's history of tactless speaking(not that that's a bad thing), it is too possible, IMO. And even if they don't, I'm sure that have some Uncle Tom Repubs ready to come out and say "Yes She Did Say It I was there", and it will run like Swift Boats, so Obama and his campaign have to demonstrate NOW that they can deal with this shit.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

exactly--and the fact that the messenger gets attacked instead of people taking all of these things seriously is why we saw Obama just today throw his "vetter" under the bus like Wright and Ayers and Phleger and tons and tons of others--after first attacking the questioners and dismissing the whole thing--he is terrible at all of this stuff---and no one does him or any of us any favors by wanting to shut down speech -- even lies and rumors and gossip.

He has to immediately stop dismissing all questions HE doesn't like and stop attacking the messengers--it's way way too GOP -- and it's also way way too selective to be honest.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

exactly--and the fact that the messenger gets attacked instead of people taking all of these things seriously is why we saw Obama just today throw his "vetter" under the bus like Wright and Ayers and Phleger and tons and tons of others--after first attacking the questioners and dismissing the whole thing--he is terrible at all of this stuff---and no one does him or any of us any favors by wanting to shut down speech -- even lies and rumors and gossip.

He has to immediately stop dismissing all questions HE doesn't like and stop attacking the messengers--it's way way too GOP -- and it's also way way too selective to be honest.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

That allows individuals plenty of wiggle room to define in their own minds what exactly is "unwarranted" and what isn't. (which was I think a part of Somerby's point, what happens when the Village hacks on YOUR side, who's making these judgment calls?)

Which may be exactly how we ended up in the position we're in now.

One of Atrios's excuses for what he did and did not bother to comment on, was the fact that it's his blog and he can blog what he wants to.

To reward Obama with "protection" after the fact might be more damaging than not. IMO. Let every wound and sore be exposed as far as I'm concerned.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Bad idea, pretty much always, and I'm going to be real strict about personal responsibility. My friend lies, that is not my guilt nor is it my responsibility.

It is easier, one would hope, to sort through lies with friends, because there is some basis for understanding and communication. Assumes that the people you thought were your friends actually are your friends, and hasn't this winter been instructive in that regard.

Lies from your enemies need to be dealt with, but without the expectation that they will be convinced - the best that can be hoped for, my experience, is to thwart them. Doing that is a full-time job already. Making up and spreading more falsehoods from our own side about our own allies simply is not helpful to the cause, never mind being flatout morally wrong.

That this is even a subject of debate....

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

lambert,

would this be an example of the "assessing evidence and reason" you were talking about:

bringiton writes:

[Yeah well dispiriting whatever. I am in a really foul mood
Submitted by bringiton on Wed, 2008-06-11 11:48.
.
.
.
No apologies whatsoever to those who had this coming; stop your nonsense, sort yourselves out, identify the true enemy and put your effort there. Whether I like it or not, Barack Obama is my guy. Stop the unwarranted picking on my guy, or else.]

sounds like a statement of political preference/ political action to me.

i find the "...or else." telling.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Why yes.

Because I seem to remember one of the long running critiques of right-wing blogs was their frequent use of exaggeration to try to make their points...

seems to be what Sadly, No (dicks) lives for.

If we're trying to be consistent.

Your sorting system may vary, but that’s for you to worry about, not me.

Ha!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Just a routine patrol sweep, with a little light artillery for mop-up. You haven't seen the big guns yet.

Jiohnson's fate here came because he happened to be mentioned on the same thread with Diamond on a day when I'd just had more of this crap than I could stand. I'd feel sorry for him, but I don't.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

aeryl sez:

[My very cheap two cents
new
Submitted by Aeryl on Wed, 2008-06-11 12:45.

I don’t read NQ. I tried, but it got a little too foily there(the beliefs held by some front pagers that he wants to start a war against Israel on Palestine’s behalf, etc cause it’s FITH), ]

i understand exactly what you mean about the tenor of some of the posts and comments at noquarter.

some are eccentric, some clearly involve cheap political opportunism.

furthermore, no quarter is clearly a redoubt for the passionate supporters of senator clinton.

my view is that i can go there and read or refuse to read what i choose. just this a.m. i left a comment at a post there. the post was a strange one, though the poster often writes very interestingly, but i was happy to leave my two cents worth and go.

i don't know larry johnson's persona or his motives,

and i do not believe that bringiton does either.

if bringiton wants to condemn, impugn, call out, rake-over-the-coals, verbally assault, expose

larry johnson, that's his perogative.

i'm very happy to just go there and make up my mind what to read,

to go where my curiosity leads.

for example,

i STILL go to the great orange satan. i never went there regularly, ever, because the place did not have a good feel and much of what was written there was a bore to me.

but i do like some of their diarists, especially those who write about science and history. shall i cut off my access to interesting ideas?

nope, not me.

i have daily visited talking propaganda memo mostly to see how they are looking at the obama/clinton struggle. by doing so i learned a lot about how a fine weblog journalist, one of the few with actual journalism training, came to let himself and his weblog be ensnared in a trap of one sided, deceitful journalism.

did i stop going there because they were supporting obama in the most egregious journalistic manner possible?

nope.

and i learned from going to tpm what happens when the dynamics of a cocktail weenee eating circle of professional friendships and socially correct behavior meld;

the result is precisely the sort of thinking i am criticizing here.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

look at how enlightening this election season has been--and how eyeopening and depressing and outrageous and ...

but it's been an education--the net really is always always one, even when it's lying to you. : >

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

bringiton,

you need to clear up something.

that something is this.

swift loris wrote above:

[...I might also note that when you originally referenced my comment via a link in the thread on your “Sack of Pus” post, and orionATL objected, you claimed you had “copied and pasted a link to the wrong screen” and that you only wanted to link back to your original post. Turns out that wasn’t true. You said you weren’t attacking me, but you’ve now made it clear that you were most certainly attacking my judgment. ]

bringiton,

i, too, distinctly recall your writing that your pointing the "purple prose" at swift loris' comment was just an accident - "those things happen", you wrote.

earlier today, when i saw you had once again pointed to the same quote by swift loris,

i went seraching for your comment to the effect that your pointing to it in the "sack of pus" article was an accident.

i couldn't find your comment.

i tried using "search" but was told by the software that i'm not allowed.

bringiton,

would you please find AND POST HERE your earlier disavowal of having purposefully pointed to swift loris' comment.

Submitted by lambert on

OATL, for reasons that I don't feel like explaining right now, I am working on a laptop, and your style of very short paragraphs combined with no indents for quotes makes it almost impossible for me to track your comments, given my small screen. So it's very likely I'm not following the thread of your argument, whatever it may be, closely.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Didn't mean to be ignoring you, just too many thought-threads coming too fast for these old fingers.

I've gone back and read what you've written. Surely my limitations, but I'm not exactly clear what you are saying. Not useful for either of us for me to get it wrong, so I'd rather not start in where I'm not certain.

What I can see you saying is that everyone else is doing it (including Obama/Obama campaign/Obama supporters) and the end justifies the means anyway, so why not use lies and falsehoods and unfounded rumor. I hope you don't mean all that, because then we won't be able to have a productive discussion at all - I just won't bend on the need to have some standards for "truth" and "honesty". Understood those are subjective and often elusive, but it is the pursuit of them that matters most not the achievement.

You seem to be very agitated by what I've written - which may or may not be a bad thing. I'm more than happy to exercise this with you, but if you would do me a big favor first I'd appreciate it very much. Could you sort through and put your thoughts together into one comment? Sorry to be a dullard, but I'd rather not just chase all around and then find I've misinterpreted. Thanks in advance.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

But I thought it interesting, in re the "ladies and gentlemen" discussion we were having the other day, and how using those terms is dangerous because everyone uses them differently.

This morning on the news, there was a story where a man was referred to as a gentleman, and it has stuck with me all day. The "gentleman" in question was a man who feigned car failure, enticed a woman to give him a ride, then forced her to drive at gunpoint to a local cemetary, where he raped her, then made her give him a ride back to his car.

The police spokesperson(a woman, no less) referred to this man as a "gentleman".

Shudder.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

did agitate me--you very very selectively expressed fauxtrage at 2 guppies and as a sidenote hit some big media people--but no one is exempt from what you accuse those people of. No. One. On. Any. Side. Anywhere.

And it smells when it's now that you call for truth--and now that you're all upset about a very very tame smear in the scheme of things--and in an evironment when there are hundreds if not thousands of these things flying around every single day.

It's odd--and it's not based on reason or any kind of realistic look at this whole seaso--or any election season. Was the whitey video talk the straw that broke your back? Why not the RFK thing? Why not any of the million of other things daily propagated with much much greater spread and impact?

It's like that Britney crying youtube guy in a way, i think--what do you want as a result of this post? Seriously--and what do you realistically think will happen?

And why not acknowledge that wanting some things stopped because they're not true is just what you want--that and 2 bucks gets you on the subway, you know? We're all just voices--and our voices do not drown out or counter others even when we're fighting a "good fight"--that's just reality.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

in service to power, in service to bad goals, in service to good goals, in service to evil, in service to improving lives, in service to ending lives, ... You have to get the office to start doing things, and that's what all this is in service to.

Whoever lies best in this country wins--and damn the consequences--that's just fact.

Venting is great and i do it all the time, but target it better maybe or id the real instigators of shit or something--or call for something that effectively fights this shit or something. Simply trashing people who spread this stuff means you really should have been hitting the big fish instead of these 2--or those of us who have been questioning both Obamas---based on their own acts and friends and statements, etc.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

bringiton -

referring to my comment immediately above

you wrote in your sack-of-pus article :

[ For hell's sakes Orion, detune yourself
Submitted by bringiton on Mon, 2008-06-09 02:01.

I copied and pasted a link for the wrong screen; it happens. All I wanted to do is link back to my earlier post named Anticipating Hillary. No attack on anyone was intended.

If I go after someone, believe me, there won’t be any question. Everyone will know.

Swift Loris, good of you to come back. I’ve read several of your comments and you’ve seemed more than capable. ...]

the sequence of events was this:

- swift loris published a comment there

- bringiton pointed to that comment and criticized it.

- i objected to bringiton's criticizing a newcomer

- in response, bringiton wrote the above words averring that he had pointed to swift loris accidentally.

- today, we find that bringiton once again has referenced to that same swift loris' comment from the "sack of pus" article.

bringiton, this sounds a bit, hmm, shall i say disingenuous for a man of truth.

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

bringiton, this sounds a bit, hmm, shall i say disingenuous for a man of truth.

I have to say I'm flabbergasted and disappointed by his behavior toward me in this sequence of threads. How can one take to heart the righteous rantings about dishonesty of a person who doesn't treat his readers honestly?

I really don't want to be given a pass because I'm a "newcomer," though. As I pointed out earlier, I'm not all that new; but why should even a newbie be excused for saying something offensive? Thing is, bringiton obviously misread my initial comment, but he has refused to acknowledge that as well.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

A lie is a lie is a lie. No gentleman at all, and wrong of anyone to say so - but…. The cops have been beaten around for using pejorative language - remember we were talking the other day on one of Sarah's posts about "rape" not being allowed into testimony about - rape.

There is now a whole industry on cop-speak, classes and books and guidelines about language so as to not end up with the courts having to deal with tainted jury pools and mistrials. Cops - and I say this with some sympathy and admiration - have a very wicked and cynical sense of humor. If they can't call somebody like this creep a "perp" or a scumbag or a hump or in some jurisdictions not even a suspect, what can they do?

What you heard is the result of PC run amok, and cop dark humor in response. I hear it all the time out here on the West Coast now, calling some absolute stone-cold red-handed guilty jerk a "gentleman". Appalling, but what can I do? I'll keep trying to use the term correctly; I refuse to surrender the language.

Oh, and, you’ll love this. To be perfectly honest, (and man-oh-man am I going to be walking that tightrope now!) I have a double standard here. While I would never call the guy you described a gentleman, I would refer to the lowest most pathetic scummiest crack-whore arsonist bank robber car thief ever as “the lady in question.” Why? Because it is the gentlemanly thing.

I try to be consistent, really I do, but sometimes there is a little hitch in my get-along.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Wouldn't the term suspect suffice?

I mean, it was a continous statement that was broadcast, she was saying everything this asshole did(and they didn't shy away from calling what happened rape, so yea a victory), then she said, "And then the gentleman forced her to take her back to his car" or some such. I was walking past the TV, and it brought me to a dead halt.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Could have been a brain-fart, could have been remembering getting dressed down by the judge and trying to strike a balance, dunno. You know me, always trying to think the best of people....

Could have been insensitive, stupid and thoughtless. Lot of that going around, too.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

for the presidency in 2004. Personally, I think it was a trial run to see if they could flat out take over a Democratic campaign. Look at Obama's legislative career and tell me how that man wound up running for the presidency with about 1.5 years of legislative experience to his name.

I think Obama is part and parcel of the VRWC boutght and sold. Let's remember that Rezko, to whom he is in debt, is a generous donor to the Republicans.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

That is the word they use here. "This "individual" then...."

I'm sure "gentleman" was a snide reference.

-----------------------------

Good night and good riddance!

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Nothing snide about the way the cop was talking.

Here's the news site, it's the lead story "Rape Suspect Sought", anyone who wants to watch it and put up their own impressions.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

ba: "I think Obama is part and parcel of the VRWC boutght and sold." And other people think that if they believe hard enough he will bring them a pony. Back up your contention, or put a sock in it.

ba: "Let’s remember that Rezko, to whom he is in debt, is a generous donor to the Republicans." In debt? Is there a loan we should know about? Some documentation you could share? Or do you think that a favor always incurs an obligation? Rezko spread money all over town, he didn’t care what anyone’s political affiliation might be; an equal opportunity scumbag. If there’s a criminal connection between Rezko and Obama, Patrick Fitzgerald will learn about it and if its actionable, he’ll bring an indictment. Or are we supposed to believe that Fitzgerald is in the bag too?

More character assassination and guilt by association. Shameful.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

As in money debt, but as in owes favors to.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

please send me $5,000. if this blog were a matter of "health care," i could send creditors after you to make sure you'd pay. hehe.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I have always depended on the kindness of goddesses. Five large is not an option, but I will make a burnt offering in your honor.

So pleased, actually, that we trust one another enough that you know you can just step in and straighten me out any time - and I will always be grateful.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Where were we? Some lack on my part, to be sure.

But first, let’s chat about the truth shall we? As I said previously, I mistakenly copied a link to your comment on Johnson into a comment of mine where I only wanted to link to the entire Anticipating Hillary post and thread. I had a window open with your Johnson comment, specifically because I intended to use it in this essay. I copied the URL for the wrong window; a simple mistake, no intention at that point and in that comment to single you out, which is what I explained and you seemed to find reasonable. That was the truth then, and it is still the truth today; nothing about it has changed.

Comes this essay, and indeed I did choose to use your Johnson comment as an example of what is to my mind a sort of rationalization and parsing that is not justified; a making of distinction based on whether or not Johnson is lying about the phantom “tape”. From my POV, it is no different in terms of degree of reprehensibility; either way his behavior was damaging for no potential gain to anyone other than himself. If that effort backfired on him, well and good. What are we saying these days? Oh yes; He Deserved It.

SL: “But as I noted—and you haven’t addressed—we can’t lay the rumor about the tape at the feet of the VRWC if Johnson made it up.

I don’t purport to be able to read Johnson’s mind, nor do I know the truth about the mystery tape. And, I don’t care. Whatever the truth is will eventually come out to be dealt with, or not. Whatever it is, if it needs dealing with by me, it is something I’ll deal with then. What I’m on about here with Johnson is that his action was damaging to Michelle Obama and by extension to Barack Obama (orion pretends to not see how there could be any linkage, but…well…whatever). It is the effect that concerns me, not Johnson’s motivation. I tried to cover that; let me try again.

Does it matter if Johnson lied in terms of effect? No, it does not. There are to my mind only a few alternatives (feel free to add more if you see them.)

1) Johnson is lying, he knows there is no tape and he is simply trying to sabotage the Obama candidacy.

2) Johnson is telling the truth absolutely, and knows that the tape as described is real but refuses to identify who has possession.

3) Johnson is telling the truth dependently, based on his belief that someone else is telling the truth to him. He is correct in this belief, there is a tape as described, but he still refuses to identify who has the tape.

4) Johnson is telling the truth dependently, based on his belief that someone else is telling the truth to him. He is, however, not correct in his belief; his source is lying or mistaken. Still he refuses to divulge the source of his information.

For me, it is of no importance which of these is accurate. All that matters is that Johnson spread a rumor – a rumor – that cast doubt upon the character of Michelle Obama in a way that leaves her unable to defend herself. That is a wrong thing to do, for whatever reason. Barack Obama is damaged in the same way, by extension, and he too is left with no clear way to defend himself. That is also a wrong thing to do.

Surely no one believes that Johnson, who his defenders here keep describing as fully engaged, smart and dedicated, could have not foreseen the consequence of putting it out that an embarrassing tape of Michelle existed. Can he be that dumb? No.

What he decided to do was put out as a rumor, without providing any substantiation, a claim that Michelle had done something awful – supposedly in the best interests of the Party, or the public, or something. But Johnson had other choices; he could have simply not published. If his source demanded anonymity, so be it, but without attribution he would not publish. As someone pointed out, others were also soon spreading the rumor so it isn’t as though the safety of the free world rested on Johnson getting the word out. A simple decision to reach; spreading unsubstantiated rumors that are hurtful to others isn’t a morally defensible act – period.

Alternatively, if he believed the information to be true and he cares about the prospects for the Democrats, for the country, and sees disaster if the tape is delayed until after the Democratic Convention, then out the source. The future of the nation, of democracy, is at stake; no? Again, a simple decision to reach – save the free world, or burn a source. Judith Miller made similar choices and what has been said about her?

However it is sliced, Johnson’s act was either colossally foolish or fed by self-importance; regardless, either way, lying or not, it is indefensible. That is my point, and I’m sticking to it. Others who spread the rumor are, in my view, equally culpable; it should have been condemned at the source and then not further discussed, yet here we are still.

Your point, that it matters, in terms of a socioanthropological analysis of how information spreads on the web, whether or not he can in the moment be shown to have lied, is something I might have some interest in discussing but it does not address my main point here. I included it, however, as a demonstration of how the main point, the irresponsibility of his having said anything without saying it all, can get buried in the meta. As I tried to make clear but apparently further offended in the process, I am not in any way passing judgment on your judgment; you see it as you do and it is a very human trait to do so. I point it out as an example that I see as instructive about how we process rumor on the web, and how the discussion can be sidetracked by perhaps psychologically interesting but phenomenologically unsubstantiated further speculations.

Unless, of course, your contention – your belief – that Johnson is not lying is based on information you are not sharing. Have you had contact with Johnson or others and had your curiosity satisfied in some way? Do you know that Johnson is telling the truth? If so, please share how. If not, well then; you are certainly welcome to your belief.

As to the source of the rumor, let’s take your POV; that Johnson is earnest and telling the truth as he sees it. Where does that lead?

Could it be an Obama supporter who has it? Then why tell Johnson at all? If in confidence, why would Johnson spill it? The rumor itself can only harm Obama and the Democrats, and help Republicans. Keeping mum would be a good course. Also good would be to contact the Obama campaign directly; someone would call back, surely. Going public with an anonymous claim that can only harm Obama and help the VRWC? If so, pretty damn stupid and we’re all agreed that Johnson isn’t stupid – so that’s out.

Could it be a Hillary supporter? Why sit on the tape? Why not put it out immediately? How is Hillary benefited if it comes out later? Doesn’t make sense at all. Again, the only ones harmed are Obama and, if it is released after the Convention, the Democrats. Why would a Hillary supporter want to harm the Democratic chances in the general? Why not turn it over to Hillary and let her decide what to do? Why not a lot of things, but not this – so that possibility is out, too.

Leaves us with only one other plausible option – the ultimate source is someone from the VRWC. Feel free to sort out for yourself if Johnson is a recently activated VRWC mole or a simple dupe and a fool for doing their dirty work; I don’t care enough about him to bother.

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

"Your point, that it matters, in terms of a socioanthropological analysis of how information spreads on the web, whether or not he can in the moment be shown to have lied, is something I might have some interest in discussing but it does not address my main point here."

That wasn't my point, sorry. How rumors spread on the Web and acquire accretions of mythology that have nothing to do with the original rumor is just a personal interest of mine.

You've provided a number of examples of such accretions because you haven't followed the details of the genesis of the rumor and have filled in with details you've made up your own.

You may not be interested, but I'd like to correct a few points for others who might be:

First, the origin of all the Web discussion was Johnson's posts about the alleged tape. Nobody, as far as I'm aware, heard about it independently.

Second, according to Johnson, the tape is and always has been in the hands of Republicans who plan to use it against Obama in the general. Johnson's primary motivation in revealing what he'd been told, according to him, was to pry it loose somehow so that it could be used against Obama in the primary and Hillary would be nominated instead.

I don't know why he didn't burn his sources--these were people who had spoken to people who had seen the tape, which he says they told him was being shown to Republican donors--but there could be any number of good reasons for not doing so, including that it wouldn't further his cause.

If the tape does exist, there is one potential benefit to Obama of Johnson making the rumor public: Obama, who surely knows what Michelle said, is now aware that a tape of it is in the hands of Republicans who plan to use it against him in the general. He thus has a chance to prepare a defense rather than being blindsided by its release. Granted, this wasn't Johnson's intention, or he would have let Obama know on the QT.

I don't think Johnson is doing the VRWC's dirty work. I think he saw a chance to derail the Obama Express and have Hillary nominated. (He says if Obama is the Democratic nominee, he'll vote for Barr.) He's got until the convention to find a way to make the tape public, if he wasn't lied to about its existence.

I'm not quite finished with what I want to say, but I'll have to get back to it; I have to attend to something else now.

Submitted by hipparchia on

that's what johnson's i'll have something earthshaking for you on monday about michelle obama announcement was.

he's worried that only he knows of the existence of some poison that the republicans are going to use against obama? the only logical thing to do is for him to contact the obama campaign and tell them everything that he knows. let them take it from there. if david axelrod can't mount an effective defense against it, then it's unlikely that no quarter has the resources to do so.

instead, he gives us a weekend [?] melodrama, the perils of pauline -- now with darker skin!

pure self-aggrandizement on lj's part. makes me think of the spam e-mails i've been getting lately, the ones with the subject line: update your penis!.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Yes you do and did.

But whatevs.

Why don't YOU ask Larry yourself.

He chops it up regularly in the comment section over there.

Simple no?

Probably too much so.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Either he outs the source or he does not, nothing magical about me that would open him up.

I outgrew the need to cure everyone a long time ago. My interest is here, in this space, where I play and would prefer to not have lies and misrepresentations and false attacks rained down on Democrats. Call it a matter of taste.

And what I did with Johnson in the body of the text was to offer either possibility and show it doesn't matter. At the end, I posited a scenario using Let's-connect-the-dots-for-fun to show where it can lead - and my dots are closer that Diamond's for damn sure.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Evidence? It was Obama's $625K that bought the house. Or do you have proof that Obama got it from Rezko? If you do, that would be awesome - put it out. If not, then you are fabricating - and that is, as I keep saying, shameful.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

My interest is here, in this space, where I play

Sweet Jesus.

Have a good night.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

immature response. I'm not advocating spreading false rumors but on the other hand, to deny that Rezko's involvement in the Obama home purchase is scandalous is also wrongheaded.

What strikes me about Obama is that his principles are not perceivable through actions he takes primarily to benefit others and that his personal ethics are quite seriously compromised.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

you are one slippery dude.

whenever i hear a person with a political agenda

preaching to us peons

about truth, and ethics, and morality,

yes, even hope,

i think to myself

there goes one slippery dude.

over the course of this conversation, you've proved me right again.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

in the course of following this discussion,

i have come to think of you as intolerant,

a very sly "inside the organization" politician,

and

a verbal bully,

who uses his status at corrente to threaten folks with what most of us fear greatly,

being publicly scolded for having behaved "improperly" or "unethically".

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Yes, I think a $625k favor by a mob affiliate always
Submitted by basement angel on Wed, 2008-06-11 12:08.
incurs obligation - 100% of the time. You may chose not to believe that.

is immature?

I asked for evidence of your claim. You don't have any.

Your response is yet more claims:

to deny that Rezko’s involvement in the Obama home purchase is scandalous is also wrongheaded. Sure is. Who is doing that? Not me.

What strikes me about Obama is that his principles are not perceivable through actions he takes primarily to benefit others [not sure exactly what that means] and that his personal ethics are quite seriously compromised. Specifics, please, with links to supporting evidence - not rumor, evidence.

Here's the thing. Obama probably does have some sketchy stuff in his background; this is Chicago, not faeryland. Does he have anything worse than the average person seriously running for President? Doubt it, or we would likely know already; Patrick Fitzgerald has been sniffing around Rezko for a couple of years, if it was there he'd have found it. Does it bother me that he's got some shady characters around? No, not particularly. I've always found that the shady characters are the most interesting; known quite a few pretty well myself and I'm undamaged.

Do you have specific evidence of a monetary debt to a mobster, or criminal ethics violations? If so, put it up. If not, as much as I appreciate your earnestness, please stop spreading unsustantiated rumors.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

falls off chair laughing, busts a gut

Orion, I have no status at Corrente. I log on, I post, I log off, same as you.

You've thrown up a lot; I've been waiting to see if you would stop spinning around the rings of Saturn and settle down to an addressable point or even a theme, but no luck. RL calls now, so maybe tomorrow. Try to figure out exactly what it is you're upset over - and that is actually your business and not someone else’s - and put it into sentences and paragraphs. You're trying to communicate something, I'm pretty sure of that, but the ee cummings thing isn't working for me. Consider it my impediment.

i have come to think of you as intolerant, About some things I am very intolerant. The whole point of the post; was that not clear somehow? "I Will Not Tolerate It." Maybe that was the giveaway.

A verbal bully - well, we could take a vote on that. Rough tough world out here.

being publicly scolded for having behaved “improperly” or “unethically” If I think that's what has happened, I may choose to say so. Deal.

Try again when you get organized.

Submitted by lambert on

... I have to say that I prefer, say, The Howler's approach to LJ's, because the Howler is always totally evidenced and LJ is not (why I only read him lightly -- I've got no time to sort out what's good from what isn't). And ditto for WKJM if it comes to that.

And as far as "verbal bullying...." Well, I'll have to ask bringiton to write more bad and use stupider arguments, just to make it easier for everybody.

I mean, come on people. I'm persuaded that the LJ stuff on Michelle is truthy, based on what we know now. Bringiton's right. And we may not be able to cleanse the world of truthiness, but at least we can keep this house clean! Truthiness leads to bad writing and bad analysis and it fucking mildews the garden. And I can't believe I'm even having to say this.

Let's elevate our game a little, shall we? Because, as always, the scandal is what's legal.

NOTE And speaking of elevating one's game -- and like bringiton, I'm extremely cranky, and I think I've got dental work coming because I'm grinding my teeth at night -- playing gotcha and making character judgments about who said what to whom when on the threads is just childish. In the heat of battle, doing five things at once, shit happens. I know, I've been there, and ya know? It's going to happen to you too!

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Go get yourself a sports mouthpiece. Any sporting goods place will have them, cheap, just a few bucks. Save yourself the dental bill, which will be huge.

See what I meant about pissing everyone off? Time to write about nature for a while.

Submitted by lambert on

PB 2.0 cannot be established on a basis of truthiness!

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Larry fought the good fight on Valerie Plame but really has gone off the hook this primary season. I don't entirely agree with BIO that there is NO DIFFERENCE between lying and being a fool, but in his situation, I never would have done what he did.

If he named the people who told him, that would not entirely restore his reputation but would at least help.

-----------------------------

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

lambert-

when a foremost poster starts ranting like bringiton has here, you can bet a large number of folks will be wondering what is o.k. to say and what is not, about johnson or diamond for sure, but also about criticism of obama in general.

surely you can not be oblivious to this phenomenon.; it leads to folks being shunted aside or kicked out, say at dkos.

that is verbal bullying and its consequences.

if that was your intention in having bringiton write this, fine. interdicting information on the ground of propriety does does not seem to me the way of the enlightenment.

perhaps you noted, lambert, that as the day wore on, the enthusiasm for bringiton's thundering fit of cromwellism wained.

samples:

1.
Hey willyj; you got a problem with my hyperbole?

Submitted by bringiton on Wed, 2008-06-11 12:39.

Indeed there is a need to tell the difference between warranted and unwarranted attacks. When people just make shit up, or pass along shit that somebody else just made up, I put it in the “unwarranted” bucket. Your sorting system may vary, but that’s for you to worry about, not me.
“Or else” is I come around and get all up on their ass, like this. It isn’t much, but I’ll do what I can.

2.
the system is totally broken, and we are so fucked

Submitted by bringiton on Wed, 2008-06-11 12:29.

What I’m complaining about here, however much some may wish to deflect, is malicious unfounded accusations and lies. No patience from me for them being directed at Obama, or Michelle, or the Democratic Party or its leadership. There is real Evil to be vanquished, and I will not tolerate anything that gets in the way.
Anyone discomfited by that? Tough.

3.

Hierarchy of lies

Submitted by bringiton on Wed, 2008-06-11 12:03.

Lambert, no real structure here for me in sorting out what to condemn. Perhaps a bit like dealing with biting flies; the ones that happen to come close to me get swatted. I could go out amongst the thickets and hunt them down, but likely not. When they come buzzing right under my nose, though - smack. Think of it as Nature’s Way.
reply

4.
Apologies to all who may have been unfairly harshed on here, as collateral damage; I am, I confess, in a foul, foul mood. No apologies whatsoever to those who had this coming; stop your nonsense, sort yourselves out, identify the true enemy and put your effort there. Whether I like it or not, Barack Obama is my guy. Stop the unwarranted picking on my guy, or else.

5.
Degrees of perfidy

Submitted by Swift Loris on Wed, 2008-06-11 09:16.

it appeared to me to read that you were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, that he’s earnestly repeating what he’s been told, and that this earnestness somehow mitigates the perfidy.

I do think there are degrees of perfidy, yes, and that it’s important to elucidate them. Granted, it makes appropriate condemnation more difficult; it’s so much easier just to kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out.

But as I noted—and you haven’t addressed—we can’t lay the rumor about the tape at the feet of the VRWC if Johnson made it up. If we just blame Johnson and assume he was lying, and in fact he was telling the truth about what he was told, then the real perps escape condemnation altogether.

So Johnson’s perfidy in spreading the rumor at all, even if he believed it to be true, even if it is true, is a separate issue, one I was not addressing at all. (Although I did point out that I was not a Johnson fan, so that might have given you a clue that I wasn’t happy about what he was doing.)

I might also note that when you originally referenced my comment via a link in the thread on your “Sack of Pus” post, and orionATL objected, you claimed you had “copied and pasted a link to the wrong screen” and that you only wanted to link back to your original post. Turns out that wasn’t true. You said you weren’t attacking me, but you’ve now made it clear that you were most certainly attacking my judgment.

Nothing against you as a person; kind, well-intentioned people often make undeserved allowances for the unacceptable behavior of others.

Ironically, here you’ve mitigated my “perfidy”: my judgment may be terrible, but that doesn’t mean I’m not kind and well intentioned.

In any case, my original comment asked why Johnson was being charged with racism for publicizing the rumor—a whole ’nother degree-of-perfidy issue. I’m still interested in that one.

6.
"I" statements, MyIQ

Submitted by bringiton on Wed, 2008-06-11 03:49.

My standards, my condemnation; your tolerance may vary.
I have no use for the behavior, nor do I find the excuse persuasive that some other people are somehow worse. Damn them all.

7.
Plenty of people to blame; damn them all to hell and gone

Submitted by bringiton on Wed, 2008-06-11 02:57.

Whatever integrity the Left may have had is fast slipping away. The more we behave like Rove, the more difficult it is to condemn him. If there is no separation from your enemy, why bother with the struggle? Why bother with morality at all? Why not just raid and pillage and steal and kill and rape and lie? Other people do it.

8.
Submitted by bringiton on Wed, 2008-06-11 02:16.

is giving any slack to this kind of behavior at all. It needs to be called out for what it is, either a lie or damn foolishness, on the spot.

As I read your comment, it appeared to me to read that you were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, that he’s earnestly repeating what he’s been told, and that this earnestness somehow mitigates the perfidy. If I’m mistaken in that interpretation, please explain to me what else you might have meant.

The internet is an incredible force; for good or ill, depending on how it is used. When people like Johnson use it as he has in this case, for no beneficial good at all for anyone but himself, I say he needs to be condemned. Whether he is honestly propagating the truth, honestly propagating a lie, or knowingly being part of a deceit does not to me matter one whit. The damage comes from propagation of an unsourced, unproven claim that damages others. Too damn much of that going around.
Nothing against you as a person; kind, well-intentioned people often make undeserved allowances for the unacceptable behavior of others.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

--- why would that need to be condemned ever? --especially about a candidate most people don't know or trust?

Take the "bitter/cling" comments at the closed fundraiser--should that not have been reported? (it was reported as hearsay without evidence at first--just one woman telling what he said.)

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

lambert sez -

[...playing gotcha and making character judgments about who said what to whom when on the threads is just childish...]

really?

on a post about the need for honesty and integrity and blah blah blah,

it is inappropriate to point out that the poster dissembled with a commenter with whom he disagreed?

really, lambert?

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

i don't want to leave this debate, bringiton, without thanking you,

most sincerely,

for the very interesting "portrait" of herb romerstein you presented in your article.

i found that look into micro-history fascinating. it is a look into not-so-distant american political history. it reminds me of other left-wing to right-wing conversions like those of the krystol and podhoretz families.

in fact, your story about romerstein is of precisely the same interest to me as diamond's story about chicago politics and the ayers family -

both great samples of micro-history, history you will never find in a newspaper.

thanks.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

"straighten" you out. you are so naughty.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and so fast and is believed by so many people, it would be helpful to step back and assess it objectively--

Why do so many believe it? Is it just the usual smears against all Dems? Against all Dem spouses? Is it just the GOP playing their usual tricks? Is it dangerous and damaging because it fits with the image many have of her anyway? Of him? Is it about the fact that millions don't know them, and what they learn is not positive? Is it possibly both true and a smear at the same time? Is it neither? Is it karma? ...

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

i am very admiring of precise use of language and of precision in articulating what it is that one is concerned about in weblog dialog.

your comments all carry that imprimatur.

that makes them some what unusual in my experience in the the weblog world,

and has the great benefit of

making it a lot easier to follow and/or question information, debate, and opinion.

vid:

[ You’ve provided a number of examples of such accretions because you haven’t followed the details of the genesis of the rumor and have filled in with details you’ve made up your own...]

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

For the kind words. I've been doing this for a long time, probably longer than any of you. I started with electronic yack-yack back in the mid-'80s on local bulletin boards at 1200 baud...

But embarrassingly, I managed to leave a word out of the last line of what you quoted. It should read: "...and have filled in with details you’ve made up ON your own."

Submitted by hipparchia on

good oppo research is invaluable. it's why i spend waaaaay too much time lurking in rightwing blogs. ;-)

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

but everything McCain's team uncovers on Obama is new to the country, while all of McCain's dirt is old news.

Submitted by hipparchia on

it can't hurt to be reminded of all the bad stuff we used to know about mccain, but may have forgotten.

i would guess that obama was pretty thoroughly vetted, certainly not publicly until now, but probably privately by the dnc, or at least by the part of the dnc that wants him in the oval office.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

larry johnson's latest post.

you know,

larry johnson,

the guy that bringiton tried his damnedest to intellectually disembowel today

while leaving us with the impression that he, bringiton, was a man of honor (which of course he is):

larry johnson

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

and here's the latest from rezkowatch*

*obligatory note from bringiton: "take your truth pills first, boys and girls."

rezkowatch is the weblog from which i first learned a lot of details about obama's chicago background, including article by steve diamond.

they are an indispensable source of info, but,like the noquarter site, they are not "wholly pure" in the bringiton sense.

obviously,

one should always use one's own judgment about what info to accept from any site. but these folks have provided a LOT of info

that NO ONE ELSE would provide, including the very genteel correntewire.

i will add here:

media self-censorship of info is THE reason the u.s. is now a

BLIND CYCLOPS.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Crunchy peanut butter of creamy?

We are throwing around that term as if it means something. I'd rather know exactly what it means before getting ga-ga over it.

Submitted by hipparchia on

progressive blogosphere 2.0

lambert asserts that the progressive blogosphere as we knew it has gone extinct.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Lots of outrage from, ah, some quarters, about the notion that truth has any value in progressive philosophy, and especially that anyone would be held to such a standard. Really, how outrageous is that? Lying all the time is so much better; no, no - wait: lie some of the time, tell the truth some of the time, that'll fool 'em.

Serious for moment; it is, to me, incomprehensible that anyone would actually believe that the best way to counter lies and deception is by telling more lies and creating more deceptions. There's really nowhere to go with that for me; it is the most inherently self-destructive, self-defeating approach to progressive politics that I have ever heard. Doomed to failure. Amberglow, you've had a lot to say on this thread, about truth and lies and their value; perhaps you'd be willing to organize your thinking into a post of your own. That would be extremely valuable.

Orion, you've accounted for near half the comments and 2/3 the space, but still no real content. Lots of personal insults that I might care about but I shall not. Odd you should try and throw harrassment up at me as a charge; if I were swayed by such activity, it would be your harrassment I'd complain about. Serious again; surely you have something you're trying to say. Near as I can make it, you think that anyone should be able to say anything about anyone without evidence and not only is that alright, it is the grand best purpose of the blogosphere. I have no doubt there are many who agree with you; I've seen the threads at kos and hufpo, nothing but trash and namecalling. Odd you don't feel more at home there. As to censorship, not at all, not by me. I have no such power; talk to the Fellows if you feel that's happening. Be aware, though, that your insistence on speaking your mind should also extend to me; you keep posting bullshit, I'll keep calling bullshit. As near as I can tell the only things that are stopping you from putting up a post of your own are self-discipline and coherency - surely, with time, they will come. As to your note about a dropoff in comments supportive of my position here, I saw that too; from my viewpoint, though, it was in direct inverse correlation with the number of your comments. The more repetitive and insistent you became, the less welcoming the thread became for others. That's happened with you before, elsewhere, hasn't it?

Swift Loris, I have no idea what you're on about. My issue with Johnson is only about the effect of his action; IMHO all bad. His motivation is IMHO of no consequence in assessing the effect; if you disagree, then you disagree. If you want to finish, ah, setting the record straight, perhaps a post of your own would be appropriate rather than burying your hard work all the way down here at the end of a withering thread.

These questions still remain:

Who benefited from Larry Johnson's unsupported claim of an embarrasing Michelle Obama video? I say, only the VRWC. (Well, and Larry Johnson, although not in as positive a way as perhaps he had imagined.)

Who benefited from Steve Diamond's unsupported speculations about Barack Obama having deeper and perhaps sinister connections with Ayers, Dohrn and "authoritarian Leftists"? I say, only the VRWC. (Well, and Steve Diamond; he's on the radio now, Yeah!)

In what way did either the Johnson claims or the Diamond claims benefit progressive, liberal or antiestablishment causes? I say, not at all. I say, they were harmful.

In what way has repeating, endorsing, spreading or linking to either Johnson's or Diamond's actions benefited progressive, liberal or antiestablishment causes? I say, not at all. I say, doing so has caused harm.

Any more discussion on this thread that directly deals with those questions, I'll respond. More character attacks, or assertions that lies are good, will be ignored; save your keystrokes.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm in rather a nihilist mood at the moment. i'm nearly convinced that the plutocrats have already won, and that the impetus for a turnaround won't happen until we've lived through another 1929-1932.

question: not that i'm going to vote for mccain, i promise you that, but would a solidly democratic congress stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood more readily and completely if they were arrayed against a republican president, rather than mildly aligned with a democratic president?

unreasonably, i'm going to be mad if obama is elected president, and it turns out he lied to get there, that he's really a progressive in coyote's clothing after all.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

for sometime nihilists.

To answer your question: but would a solidly democratic congress stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood more readily and completely if they were arrayed against a republican president

No.

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

Swift Loris, I have no idea what you’re on about.

--that you have such trouble making sense of my comments.

In my most recent comment, I was making two points: one, that you had mistaken a statement I made in my Ur-comment about my own interests for a general prescription for solving the truth problem; and second, that you had made an elaborate presentation of your argument about Johnson that got many of the details of the episode wrong. I stated explicitly that I was correcting the details for those who were interested in the accurate specifics, i.e., not for you.

I had finished with the setting-the-record straight exercise. What more I had to say has to do with your main point that nothing matters but the effects of the episode.

On that, I disagree with you to this extent: sometimes, the specifics of an action, including motivation, do matter in evaluating its effects, but we can't tell whether they do or not unless we have the specifics straight before we perform that evaluation. And sometimes not even then: sometimes there are effects we miss, or effects we don't anticipate, no matter how careful we are to get the specifics straight. We don't always know, in other words, whether it's important to get the specifics straight. But we're more likely to arrive at a correct evaluation of the effects if we have the specifics straight.

Whether or not Johnson lied may affect the effects. Whether or not Johnson was right to believe what he was told may affect the effects. It's not clear at this point.

It may or may not hurt, but it certainly doesn't help in evaluating the effects to simply assume he lied, given the uncertainties involved.

One further general point: Sometimes an action with a benign motivation can go wrong and have unanticipated negative effects. We can't assume, in other words, that the motivation was malign just because it had negative effects.

Now, here's a question for you. Let's assume Johnson and those he talked to were all telling the truth: there is a Michelle tape that shows her making statements that would be unacceptable to a majority of Democratic voters (including superdelegates).

Let's further assume that Johnson's report about the tape flushed it out shortly after he'd made it, that it became public, and that a sufficient number of superdelegates endorsed Clinton as a result to give her the (presumptive) nomination.

Would that be a positive or a negative effect?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I lack in so many ways.

I'm not at all interested in alternative history scenarios while history is still playing itself out.

SL: "Let’s further assume that Johnson’s report about the tape flushed it out shortly after he’d made it, that it became public, and that a sufficient number of superdelegates endorsed Clinton as a result to give her the (presumptive) nomination." Doesn't lead me anywhere, since that isn't what actually happened. What did happen is that "the tape" did not appear, Clinton did not benefit, and Obama has been smeared and potentially damaged for no apparent gain to anyone other than the VRWC. That's the reality, and dealing with reality is struggle enough for me.

You insist there is some benefit to understanding Johnson's motivations, even though all you can do is guess at them. (IMHO, most people don't clearly understand their own motivations, most of the time; how are we to guess the true motives of others?) I say, rather, they are of no consequence to my point that Johnson's deeds are unjustifiably harmful. Speculative discussion of Why? IMHO acts as a mitigant and so detracts from what I see as the principle need - to condemn them.

Let me try a metaphor, something I can attest to from personal experience.

Picture me crumpled by the side of the road after being struck by a car. Amid the pain and the shock, I am exclusively interested in assessing what is broken, what is damaged, and what is still working. Nowhere on my list of immediate things important to understand, and nowhere on the list of eventual consequences to me, is anything concerned with the mindset of the person driving the car that struck me.

Doesn't matter, to either my survival or recovery, whether their intentions were malign or benign, willful or accidental. Eventually, perhaps, if they were actually out to get me, I may have to deal with that - if the law does not. But now, in the moment, I just couldn't care less.

Your whispering in my ear about what the driver may or may not have been thinking does me no good. In fact, I find it mildly irritating and well off point. Chalk it up to my current foul mood, along with a baseline testosterone-driven single-mindedness.

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

Speculative discussion of Why? IMHO acts as a mitigant and so detracts from what I see as the principle need - to condemn them.

...with your auto accident metaphor? That was supposedly designed to illustrate the principal need was to identify the effects, I thought. But now the principal need is condemnation.

And what good, exactly, does condemnation do? So we condemn the rascals; then what? Do they care?

In any case, my point about motivations for an action is that in many cases, the more we know about them, the better position we're in to evaluate effects of the action. The effects may not all be immediately evident. Some may be delayed; others may be obscure, but ultimately very significant.

Basically, if you have a big problem you're trying to solve, I think you need to know as much about its specifics as you possibly can; otherwise you're liable to go running off in the wrong direction, pointing fingers and issuing condemnations at the wrong people or for the wrong reasons, and maybe even inadvertently causing some damage yourself.

Plus which, as Lambert and others have pointed out, and you haven't addressed, your absolutism runs into a big problem when your "last hope" turns out to be as worthy of condemnation as the folks doing him dirt. The Clintons are race-baiters? Hillary was staying in the race in case Obama was assassinated?

I have the sense you're so pissed you're not thinking very clearly about this. Venting can be a good thing just for the sake of maintaining sanity, but it don't butter no parsnips otherwise; it's rarely a good idea to generate imperatives from venting.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

So how does this work...…with your auto accident metaphor? That was supposedly designed to illustrate the principal need was to identify the effects, I thought. But now the principal need is condemnation. Perfectly capable of addressing more than one objective at a time. But I’m a simple guy; I ask simple questions and look for simple answers. What was the effect of the act? Damage to something I care about. Was there any mitigation readily apparent? Nope. Next step = condemn the damaging act. QED.

And what good, exactly, does condemnation do? So we condemn the rascals; then what? (1) I feel better for having condemned. (2) People who deserve to be discomfited become discomfited by being condemned. (3) I feel even better at their discomfort. Works for me. Do they care? Do I care if they care? Not much. Hardly at all, actually. But if they are discomfited, what a nice bonus.

In any case, my point about motivations for an action is that in many cases, the more we know about them, the better position we’re in to evaluate effects of the action. The effects may not all be immediately evident. Some may be delayed; others may be obscure, but ultimately very significant. Lot of maybes. More than I need right now, but maybe later. My position right now is clear to me, right now. No need to wait and see. Damage is being done now. My condemnation is happening now. Not waiting to see how it all turns out sometime later, maybe.

Basically, if you have a big problem you’re trying to solve, I think you need to know as much about its specifics as you possibly can; otherwise you’re liable to go running off in the wrong direction, pointing fingers and issuing condemnations at the wrong people or for the wrong reasons, and maybe even inadvertently causing some damage yourself. The infinite study approach; never enough information, must have more before making a decision. I disagree; I have sufficient information for my purposes. Je repeat – Damage is being done, for no good reason or, alternatively, for insufficient good reason. Either way, needs to be condemned.

Plus which, as Lambert and others have pointed out, and you haven’t addressed, [Yes, I have, repeatedly] your absolutism runs into a big problem when your “last hope” turns out to be as worthy of condemnation as the folks doing him dirt. Neither Johnson nor Diamond are running for president, and neither of them provides a viable alternative to John McCain. The slack I may choose to extend now to Barack Obama, in support of attempting to prevent McCain from destroying America, I see no need to extend to either Johnson or Diamond in regards to their attempts to impair this effort. Again, very simple; get in the way of defeating John McCain, gain my enmity.

I have the sense you’re so pissed you’re not thinking very clearly about this.I am very pissed off. Most of the Democratic Party ignored John Edwards, who at least spoke to things I think the nation should be doing. Idiots. Big chunk of the Democratic Party told lies and systematically denigrated the most electable remaining candidate. More idiots. Now that I’m stuck with a flawed, weak, inexperienced and unpredictable candidate as my last pathetic hope to stop the continuation of consummate Evil, another chunk of the Party starts telling lies and conjuring falsehoods and denigrating him. Is there no end to the number of idiots in the Democratic Party? Yeah; I am in actual fact sooooo very pissed, and I am also thinking very clearly - amazing, perhaps, but so none the less.

Venting can be a good thing just for the sake of maintaining sanity, but it don’t butter no parsnips otherwise; it’s rarely a good idea to generate imperatives from venting. Do you seriously believe that I just woke up one day last week all pissed off and decided on a whim that lies are bad and gratuitous damaging claims against the only remaining alternative to Consummate Evil are bad and that Truth is a desirable moral value? Just pulled that right out of my ass? The imperatives, as you say, that gratuitous or malicious damage done to others without substantive justification are bad things, and that truth is a valuable commodity and lies are to be condemned, preceded my current ire by many, many years.

Just to be clear, because there are people about who insist on lying about what I have said, you are of course welcome to your own ways, your own processes; I am not telling you, or anyone, what to think or how to behave. You are, without any restraint from me, free to express yourself on any topic at any time and I have no problem with your freedom to do so; this is not my site, I have no power over it, and in any event I’m all for freedom of speech. But – and that’s an unequivocal but – I insist on the same rights and freedom for myself. If I have something to say, I will say it. If I think something needs condemning, I’ll condemn it. If someone chooses to be offended by that, it will have to be their problem.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

--nor worst--it's simply another option/weapon in the arsenal that all sides use daily -- all sides.

and we're not outraged at all, but reacting to your outrage and blanket condemnation and blanket absolutism in our various ways.

Some of us recognize that ethics are always always situational--and that absolutes when it comes to politics are more suited to policy goals and priorities once in office, rather than to campaign smears, lies, and rumors (and even then, the process of making laws weakens those too).

For instance: No one should die because they don't have health insurance. No one should be homeless in such a "rich" country. No one should be illiterate. No one should be rewarded for moving jobs overseas or for polluting, etc. No one should be denied their equal rights. No one should ...

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

Obama's new fightthesmears.com Web site includes a lie about Johnson's posts on the Michelle tape. It quotes his post of Saturday, May 31, saying he would post an update on Monday about "new and dramatic developments," then says, "Truth: Johnson posted no such update."

In fact, he did indeed post such an update: The "new and dramatic" development he posted on Monday was that, according to Johnson, he had been told Louis Farrakhan was also on the tape.

The above is with reference to Lambert's earlier comment about the head-exploding problems generated by an absolute blanket condemnation of lying when it's not just the "bad guys" who do it. Here, Obama's campaign is lying to reinforce its claim that Johnson is a liar.

If Obama's campaign sincerely believes Johnson is a liar, is it then OK for the campaign to lie about Johnson?

Submitted by hipparchia on

talk about die by the sword, larry johnson gets his comeuppance, on center stage...

there have been all kinds of stupid rumors flying around the intertubez, but according to the article in time magazine, larry johnson's was the straw that broke the camel's back. obama has now set up a website fight the smears, debunking such items as he's a muslim! [i think it'd be pretty cool if he were], he won't say the pledge of allegiance! [i always skip the 'under god' part myself], and of course the [non]whitey [non]tape.

conventional wisdom apparently has it that openly fighting back against the rumor mill is a risky strategy, but i've always liked sunshine myself, so here's hoping it works.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

so here’s hoping it works.

No, it won't. It's a meta-solution to a RL problem. The blogger boiz will be fascinated by it, and they will send people who are online to it, but the average daily joe voter, won't know about it, won't hear about it, and wouldn't look at it even if they did, and if they did look at it, wouldn't believe it. Of course he's gonna deny all of it, that's what voters expect, so having a website where all the smears are denied isn't going to convice skeptics.

The better solution to this problem would have been to choose a nominee who is impervious to this shit, because so many fake smears have been propogated about them, they are all just crying "wolf" now. Hopefully it's not too late.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Submitted by hipparchia on

might run across it in time magazine, and on the front page of msnbc.com [or was it cnn i saw it on? i forget]. anyways, it's a chance to see if axelrod's mad astroturfing skillz are up to the job.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

they were also further propagating the "whitey" video stuff while reporting on the website--i don't think they had talked about it before at all.

And how many times do we have to hear -- "go to the website" -- it's absurd. Obama should be able to kill at least some of these things outright--especially things that aren't under-the-radar or email-only.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Swift Loris,

That still isn't good enough to sell.

For argument's sake I will assume everything LJ says he believes is true. So....

LJ did say that his sources were several (I think six is the number) Republican operatives who he "trusted"(!) saying they had seen a damaging tape of Michele Obama and they were holding on to it to use in the general election. If he had left it at that, in my opinion, that is valid, and for several reasons:

1.) It lets the reader know their are Republicans out there gearing up the love for both Obamas and they feel Michele is fair game.
2.) It lets the reader know who the sources are, they are direct, they are Republicans, they are operatives. You can draw your own conclusion.
3.) It doesn't REPEAT THEIR CHARACTERIZATION/SMEARS. That is where LJ goes off the rails and it is critical.

So why is it critical not to repeat their characterization? Let's start with this, what could possibly be their motivation for telling you Larry? Are they so concerned about the country they want to help you get Clinton nominated as an alternative to McCain? Yeah, right. Are they actually AGAINST McCain and want Clinton as an alternative? Yeah, right. Are they worried they will lose to Obama and want Clinton as their opponent, even though they are armed with this bombshell video? Yeah, right. Are they against both Clinton and Obama, want to "soften up" Obama and at the same time further fan the flames between the two camps by having a Clinton blogger do their dirty work for them? Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner.

As Anglachel said, ratfucking, and at it's finest.

-----------------------------

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Quote Karen Tumulty in Time Magazine (readership likely a little larger than Larry Johnson's):

"According to campaign officials, what finally launched Obama into a full rumor counteroffensive was a story that apparently first made a big splash on the Internet in late May in a post by pro-Hillary Clinton blogger Larry Johnson. Quoting "someone in touch with a senior Republican," Johnson claimed that there was a video of Michelle Obama "blasting 'whitey' during a rant at Jeremiah Wright's church." (Later versions of the rumor had Michelle's "rant" happening at a Rainbow/push Coalition conference.) No such videotape has surfaced."

And:

"Though the latest and most poisonous rumors about Michelle were ginned up by a pro-Clinton website...."

Those Republican "friends" of Larry, they must be just laughing and laughing.

Can we all just stop shooting ourselves in the head now?

-----------------------------

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

LJ did say that his sources were several (I think six is the number) Republican operatives who he “trusted”(!) saying they had seen a damaging tape of Michele Obama and they were holding on to it to use in the general election.

Actually, he says one was a Democrat. His first two sources were a Dem and a Republican, on opposite coasts, who did not know each other and who told him about it independently.

"They" (his sources), however, aren't the ones holding onto it; according to Johnson, they had only spoken to people who had seen it. It was being shown, sez Johnson, to Republican donors by Republican operatives. The tape is in possession, he says, of these operatives, not the people who told him about it.

You might want to revise your catalog of possible motivations in light of the correct information.

Please note that I am not defending Johnson. But as to his motivation, if he's telling the truth about what he was told, I think he hoped that the more specifics he provided, the more likely it would be that the tape would get sprung and made public in time to deny the (presumptive) nomination to Obama. Quite possibly he also hoped that if he were specific about what was on the tape, even if the tape didn't surface, it would make superdelegates nervous enough not to jump on the Obama train.

Obviously none of this worked; and it's a lousy rotten way to get one's candidate nominated, no question about it.

But aside from that, who is ratfucking whom is hardly clear yet.

Submitted by lambert on

Honestly, I didn't even know it was possible to cause a green line to run down the comments. Is it still there?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

If you read the Time's article, it reveals that the Obama campaign themselves have known about this rumor since April.

"What happens when the Village hacks on YOUR side?" - Bob Somerby

We may just find out.

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

If you read the Time’s article, it reveals that the Obama campaign themselves have known about this rumor since April.

...Johnson says didn't hear about it until May. Certainly he didn't make any posts about it until mid-May.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Swift Loris,

The details you provide only make LJ MORE irresponsible, not less. Now he doesn't even KNOW the specific people who are making these characterizations.

Again, what is the motivation for ANY of those people to say that to him? I laid out what I thought it most likely was. That he went along with it tells me he isn't as bright as he thinks he is. That the way this is actually playing out is damaging in equal measures to both Obama AND Clinton, while not proof, is certainly instructive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_ipsa_loquitur">Res ipsa loquitur

-----------------------------

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

The details you provide only make LJ MORE irresponsible, not less.

Could be, but at least they're the correct details about what Johnson has said.

That he went along with it tells me he isn’t as bright as he thinks he is.

Could be, but bear in mind there's a bunch of details we still don't know.

For instance, we don't know that he doesn't know the specific people making the characterizations, only that they didn't make them directly to him.

And we're just guessing at possible motivations. The details we don't know might well suggest motivations we've never considered.

I'm not sure what you have in mind when you say this is damaging to Clinton; could you elucidate? Exactly how is it damaging, and how would it be instructive?

And once again for the record: I'm not defending Johnson. I'm just interested in getting the damn story straight, however poorly it may reflect on him.

As long as we're pontificating about the evils of truthiness, we ought also, IMHO, to be concerned about the accuracy of our condemnations of those we perceive to be truthiness-tellers.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

that's really what underlies everything i've tried to say here--

I expect all this shit from all sides and all candidates--always.

I know for a fact that all sides will create, uncover and propagate all this shit--true or not.

I can't get outraged -- ever -- at anything that smears a candidate (or their spouse or campaign staff) who has himself damaged if not outright killed all expectations of realistic progress on healthcare, rights, and many if not all cherished goals-- by using the very same tactics gleefully and remorselessly--all while pretending to be for a "new kind of politics". I find that abhorrent, and enabling, and simply ensuring that the opposite result of what you call for will occur.

I still can't understand why you seem to be laying a marker down now-- a line in the sand -- over this little thing?

IT's as if it was ok all along to kill any hope for universal healthcare by reviving Harry and Louise, to run a scorched earth campaign against the only successful Dem in my lifetime, to compliment Reagan and Bush more than FDR, LBJ, Clinton, etc...but now it's not?

Submitted by lambert on

You can't be a progressive and truthy... any more than you can be a progressive and misogynist.

You keep repeating the argument, as I understand it, that both sides do it, and so it's OK if we do it because we will achieve our policy goals.

But truthiness drives out truth. Because what you're really saying is that we go with the truth when it doesn't matter, and with truthiness when it does -- that is, when there's actual conflict, and so we need "more powerful" weapons.

Where does it stop? The answer is that it does not stop.

Take DCBlogger's June 19th event. Would it be OK if HR 676 were passed on the basis of fake numbers and made up stories? I don't think it could possibly be OK, because the HR 676 passed in that environment would end up not doing what we need it to do.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

you cannot enable any good goal if you don't hold power.

And even holding power isn't enough as we see with Congress.

Me demanding truth or lies will not change that--fighting those who hurt progress does change that--and Obama hurts progress far far far far more than Larry Johnson.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

no question. If the goal can't be accomplished thru truth, then you do what you can.

This is reality, where truth does not sell as well as fear, smears, lies, exaggeration, etc.

Its passage into law would do enormous good forever--think of it like lawyer's tactics in trials--you do everything you can towards your goal short of crimes.

If you truly believe in your goals, then it's a no-brainer to me. Twisting arms to get votes, lying and exaggerating and opponent smearing to get support for your policies, you scratch my back-i'll scratch yours, etc........ all essential tools for all politicians and for all activists and fighters for causes.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Amberglow-

People can take everything you own, your family, your health, they can even take your LIFE. The only thing no one else can take is your integrity. It is the ONLY thing you have in this life that nobody can take away from you. But you can give it away, or throw it away, and the instant you do, it is next to impossible to get back.

That is a lesson I'm trying to teach my son.

In my mind, the PREREQUISITE to call yourself a "progressive" or "liberal" or whatever we want to call ourselves in these dark days, is to have integrity.

Integrity is the opposite of lying or smearing.

There's some kind of phrase about "gaining the world, but losing your soul". I'll look it up when I have a little more time.

-----------------------------

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

no?

And why is it that ALL politicians of all parties do it? And why has "integrity" not meant the same thing to you as it does to the politicians that are supposed to represent our goals and to fight for us?

Having integrity when the officials themselves don't is not working. And yelling in outrage about others' lack of integrity in service to your goals and how it damages your goals, etc, when the nominee himself won't service your goals at all is dumb.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

from larry johnson and time magazine.

for those who retain their curiosity and open-mindedness about possible obama negatives.

note: if you've become an obama loyalist

or a political moralist,

don't bother to read this.

larry johnson sez:

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Sorry I haven't joined in the discussion more. I had a very similar post, including analyzing Steve Diamond, to put up, and decided that Bringiton's was so good that it would be better for me to sit back and process the responses. I'm now reworking my own post accordingly. Much admiration and thanks to Bringiton for an important post, and for his participation in the comments.

I'm glad to see that so many of our commentators have been able to respond positively to the post. I will leave it there.

I'm reluctant to single out any particular comment, but hiparchia, I love that you love Joan and Pat, two of the greatest girl rockers ever. I say "girl," because they struck me as that, women whose performance persona was girl rocker. I'd looked forward to finding out what direction their later work might take, and suspected that they might be the two female rockers who would challenge the reality, thus far, that only guys can grow up in rock and roll, and even into old age. ( Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell and Carol King rock but aren't rockers) What happened? Where did they go? I'm sure if we dug down deeply enough we would find it was all the fault of Celine Dion.

Submitted by hipparchia on

or something.

[Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell and Carol King, now you're singing my song!]

'being a rocker', as opposed to being a musician of the rock and roll genre, strikes me as perhaps the equivalent of being the peter pan of the rock world. not sure how that might fit into the picture.

joan jett was just a teenager when she went off to make her fortune in rock-n-roll, so girl rocker was an authentic persona to adopt.

[keeping it short here so as not to threadjack too badly]

bio rocks!

Submitted by hipparchia on

the ringtone on my phone is georgia on my mind. not looking to replace it.

------------------

my first, last, only, and [mostly]nonparticipatory trip to a leather bar...

there we were, two kids from lower alabama, bff's in high school, went off to college in the big city. well, not too big a city, it was ag school, as i had plans to be a vet [i'm avoiding the cow porn thread].

we'd been there a couple of semesters, got some self-confidence, learned where all the kewl kids hung out, when my friend jack [to stick with the prevailing theme] talked me into going to this bar with him as wing[wo]man/cockblocker/guaranteed-ride-home-if-things-didn't-work-out. i'd heard about it, i knew what to expect... i thought.

so anyway, we walked in the door, i managed to keep my jaw from dropping too far, and after 10 minutes or so of staring rudely [and mutely] at the roomful of what were only vaguely identifiable as human bodies as i knew them, the one thought going through my head was that poster/bumper sticker you're ugly and your mother dresses you funny.

and an hour or two later [my how time flies], having performed admirably in my role as wing[wo]man, i waved gaily to my coterie of new-found admirers that i'd been drinking and chatting with in much the same manner as i would have sat on the front porch back home sipping lemonade with aunt sophie and aunt maybelle and uncle george, remarking on the weather and the crops and the cows.

----------------

oh, yeah, i sold the pleather catsuit on ebay awhile back 'cause it's just too damn hot here in florida and no animals were harmed in the making of this post, though considerable damage was done to the identifying details.

----------------

guess i'll just have to stop by the internet computers at the library next time i'm there and play the video.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Still there.

And is now running down the entire second page, including the post content.

Now that I think about it...

may be a feature and not a bug.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

the GOP played along, and it was the Democrats who refused to fight for it, while the GOP had no intention of ever allowing it anyway.

The GOP lied and killed UHC entirely. Democrats in Congress did too.

What goals were achieved? Who achieved their goals and who didn't? Did the truth succeed, or were the lies the thing that succeeded?

Who was helped by that?

Submitted by lambert on

So the Republicans lied about UHC. That's what they do.

The issue is not that the Democrats didn't fight; I agree that they didn't fight.

The issue is the weapons to use in the fight. They should have fought with the truth. That's the point at issue in this thread.

All the Republicans want to do is stop the government from working where it gets in their way and use it as a tool for looting and thieving. That's really it. Lying and truthiness are just fine in that context. We want government to work! We can't get that done on the basis of truthiness, because otherwise we're in the hall of mirrors we've been in for the last eight years.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

why isn't lying to get UHC worth it if that's what it takes?

Why is it ok to call McCain McSame or Bush's 3rd term (all lies), but it's not ok to lie about those who would kill healthcare fixes?

Removing lies and smears on one side only is idiotic, and ensures defeat.

I don't need to feel moral or superior or to feed my soul or whatever--i need a govt that gets the right stuff done. I think it's wrong to hobble yourself in a dirty and uneven environment---it ensures defeat.

Govt is about getting stuff done--it's not about your soul or even integrity except as motivating forces or as tangential benefits.

It's like working--it's nice if it's fulfilling and satisfying and not evil, etc---but the point of working is not those things--it's to pay rent and feed yourself. Thinking you can pay rent and feed yourself when the only jobs available would hurt your "integrity" will ensure you're homeless and starving.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and it kills my soul far more to defend spineless horrors who are supposed to be working for us.

It destroys all integrity when people are hobbled by beiong expected to remain clean and to protect their soul in a dirty system against criminal, hateful dirty opposition who hurt us.

LBJ wasn't worried about his soul.

Submitted by lambert on

"Hobbled," forsooth? The Republicans torture, so we're "hobbled" because we don't? What kind of silliness is this? And if you really believe that truthiness is OK as long as it serves your policy, please explain to me why anybody should read your comments henceforward.

And I don't know if LBJ was worried about his soul, but I'm sure he had one -- not that he wasn't capable of great evil. LBJ got Civil Rights legislation passed and didn't run again over VietNam. The contrast between those actions and today's Republicans is instructive.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and politics and governing are not the same as torture and invasion.

We are hobbled if you insist on putting ideals over the practical job of governing-- the reality is that you are useless and worse if you can't implement good policy or stop bad policy.

Would you really say that lying to get torture stopped isn't ok? Seriously???? (if so, don't call me silly---ever)

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Well, on matters of importance.

I'll allow that a "white" lie (can I still say "white" lie?) is often the best course, for a greater good. The only correct answer, for instance, to the question "Does my ass look fat in these pants?" is always "No".

But on big topics, always a wrong thing to lie. The point, amber, and its been made here many times by many other voices, is that as soon as you start to lie to get what you want, you have already lost what is most important. You are defeated as soon as you engage on that basis. If you lie, you lose, because you have already abandoned the only thing that keeps society coherent.

The truth is the most powerful weapon we have. To abandon it for lies is the ultimate foolishness.

My judgment is not about anyone but me. Others may do as they please. But when I see lies being used against the only hope I have against continued Republican Plutocrat rule, I will object and do so harshly. I don't care who it is, or how well-intentioned they may claim to be. Tell lies about a Democrat, and you have become my enemy. Your choice - Your consequence.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

the truth is not the most powerful weapon, nor is being right, or being on the "good" side.

You add lies to your arsenal when appropriate--especially if the only way you can stop horrors and/or do good is to first win power of some sort so that you can actually effect change.

Taking the high road doesn't get you to your goals when it comes to elections, politics and most importantly--governing.

Trashing those who have different or lower standards than you ethically does not make you more effective or make you the winner or the one with power--in fact, it does the opposite, and simply lets you feel good that at least you didn't stoop as low as "them", etc.

Democrats lie as much as Republicans--especially Obama and his campaign, which is wholly built on lies, btw.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

but I accept that you will hold fast to your beliefs.

The problem now, of course, is that I can no longer accept anything you say as truthful. If you are, as you say, willing to lie to reach a desired end, then I have no choice but to assume that you may be lying whenever I read something you've written.

Thus ends our ability to communicate, and by that I am saddened.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i link to sources all the time when i can--and the fact that i fight, and that i don't exactly share your own situational ethics is not as big a deal as you obviously think it is--as Johnson's thing was not that important either, compared to what the candidate himself did and does to real policies and goals of Democrats everywhere.

I like gossip of all kinds, and i like political fights. They're fascinating--as all of politics is.

I don't ever expect purity or highmindedness from politics--i expect my side to fight to win, and i expect tangible results and policies that help the majority of people in all ways. I don't get disappointed in lies--i get disappointed and disgusted with those who won't fight, and who cave, and who don't bring enough weapons to the nuclear fights the GOP always fight. And hypocrites, of course.

: >

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

But you did say you wanted a threadjack :D

The only correct answer, for instance, to the question “Does my ass look fat in these pants?” is always “No”.

But this is another instance of your outmoded gender constructs(I'm assuming, since your straight, the person asking you that question would be a woman).

If someone is making an effort to look nice, you should always answer truthfully. As we were about to leave for a concert, I asked my fiance his opinion, and he responded, "Honestly, you look a little like Gene Simmons,"(Hairstyle, heavy lipstick and eye makeup). Looking in the mirror, I realized he was correct, and quickly changed my hairstyle, and then I looked great. I was very grateful for that piece of honest criticisms, as we all should be.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

It is so important to me to be gender equal – or is it gender neutral we’re aiming for? I get so confused.

That little bit of a lure was placed deliberately, just to see if anyone would nibble; so please you did. I have in progress a post on gender and contemporary politics, not so much about any one individual although Hillary’s experience is instructive, but about how it plays out in everyday life. The holdup, to be honest, is in trying to find a pathway that ensures an equivalent amount of outrage from all genders; no fun otherwise. Soon enough you’ll get to have a go at me right up front instead of what we’ve been doing down here at the tag ends. Won’t that be great?

It is such a cliché, the fat-ass pants thing, so it leapt to mind as a way to get in that of course lying can be useful for social lubrication; we all do that, all the time, and in most if not all marriages/LTRs the entire structure rests in a careful balance of mutually accepted lies and deceptions. A wonder that any of them survive. The compact that I’ll lie to you about some things if you’ll do the same for me is somewhere between acceptable and necessary; who wants to live with someone who is brutally honest about every little thing?

I was, however, very careful to phrase it so that no gender was called out and I did use the word “always” to include all possible partner mixes. One could, if one wished, consider your decision to assign stereotypes to be somewhat sexist all of itself – but that would be cruel, so let’s just move along shall we?

It isn’t only women who worry about how big their butts look; one of the remarkable effects of the recent de-emphasis on post-Edwardian gender dress and behavior models is that men have, as in the past, become much more concerned with their appearance and willing to spend big money to change it. While women still are the largest source for cosmetics and cosmetic surgery, men are by far the fastest growing segment. It would be very contemporary for it to have been me, in that little fat-ass scenario, who was asking the question.

Good to read that you and your fiancée have a relationship solid and open enough for that kind of honesty; most people do not. Cherish that in each other; a very special thing.

horseloverfat's picture
Submitted by horseloverfat on

You might want to check out Rezkowatch, Steve Diamond has a screed posted over there, filled with rage at Corrente and especially BIO. Apparently, guy is not too happy with this discussion over here.

Based on what look to be his reading comprehension skills, I am no longer regarding Diamond as credible, BTW.

Horselover Fat

Submitted by lambert on

Here.

Hey, maybe Diamond will denounce us on the radio! Fancy!

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

To Clinton and people who support her I put forward in a previous post. According to Time Magazine now "Clinton bloggers" are unfairly smearing Obama based on LJ's actions.

Soulless little Republican turdblossoms must be flapping their fatty little wet palms together in glee. They got a twofer; thanks Larry, we owe it all to you.

And that is REGARDLESS of whether or not they use whatever tape may or may not exist.

In fact, if it does exist, producing it may actually not be as effective for them. They've already turn us against each other, which is just as good.

Is it starting to click in yet?

-----------------------------

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

...I wasn't challenging you, I wanted to know what you were referring to.

You said it wasn't "proof," but it was "instructive." How is it instructive, and about what?

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

i think your point of view in this discussion deserves much more recognition than it has received, and much less condemnation. i am amazed and impressed that you have persisted in expressing your viewpoint throughout this long discussion.

i would say your viewpoint is much closer to the scientific viewpoint, say anthropology, sociology or poly sci.

it observes, it asks "what is", it asks "how do things work". and it accepts human behavior in politics as just that, human behavior in politics.

bringiton's viewpoint seems to me to be an unambiguously prescriptive viewpoint - bringiton says this is the way YOU must act.

it is important to me that bringiton does not say this is they way I (bringiton) must act, you can act as you see fit. he prescribes for all OTHERS.

there is another aspect of bringiton's "viewpoint " as expressed here that troubles me greatly.

i suspect strongly that bringiton is USING moral and ethical rules as a MEANS to a political end - providing support for his party's presumed nominee, senator obama.

under your viewpoint, amberglow, there would be nothing wrong with that, it would be expected behavior.

but under bringiton's own viewpoint - the moralistic, prescriptive one - acting so would be improper.

thus the fuss about bringiton's disingenuous assurances to swift loris in a comment he made in an earlier post.

i also wonder just how bringiton himself would act if presented with an opportunity to benefit from deceit. he might not take advantage of that opportunity. but i have no reason to know from his own behavior that he would not. and i doubt that bringiton himself knows quite how he would react.

my skepticism about whether bringiton would follow his own moral imperatives rests in part with what i take to be his complete commitment to a democratic win in november. and in part on my long observation of human behavior.

finally, speaking again from the scientific/practical/this is the way things ARE in the world,

i doubt any practicing politic an would consider this comment from bringiton realistic:

"For the rest of us, in trying to disarm and defeat the forces of tyranny and oppression, the most powerful weapon we can wield is the truth. If you don’t subscribe to that principle, you will be my enemy – just so we’re all clear with each other. If we allow ourselves to sink to the level of those we despise, we cannot win anything; we will defeat ourselves."

so amberglow,

you have my admiration for persisting in your view point despite having to endure implied or actual public moral sanction.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

of the system itself, but i do find it all fascinating and vitally important--we are deeply harmed by not looking at the existing reality clearly, and it prevents all progress when we lose for all the various reasons each time.

And pols themselves are much dirtier than all the rest of us and fight dirtier too--they're a very strange breed of human, i think--and they set the standards for many of their supporters online and off too. : >

I don't see politics or govt as anything special or highminded or noble--it's people working for us, and we're their bosses. It's not symbolic for me, or "the best in the world" or anything like that. It's just people who have jobs to do that affect our lives in every way.

And it's Congress where the real focus needs to be anyway-- especially if so many Dems refuse to fight to win the Executive.

And--blanket statements and condemnations and ethical "rules" that everyone is supposed to follow or else they suck are incredibly annoying and unworkable in real life--especially in politics and in our oppositional system--the founders knew that too.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

anyone here--i'm for the conversations and learning about stuff. : >

What bringiton thinks of me now is not anything that bothers me--it's common for most people to think that how they operate is the only right way (it's also absolutely false too).

No good things that come from Govt until us Dems wise up and realize that we're dealing with GOP criminals and psychopaths who don't care if we all starve and are homeless as long as they get theirs, and only on their deathbeds do they realize they should have had morals or ethics--after they've bankrupted us and ruined social services and infrastructure and education and everything... (see? I just pronounced moral judgement too! It's fun!)

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

so, bringiton,

you cut amberglow off if he don't "vote" for your viewpoint?

amazing; but very human.

this action of yours raises a question about your own high moral conduct conduct, bringiton,

how are we to react to your posts,

given your disingenuous response to that particular comment made by swift loris?

shall we take you at your word and be more charitable to you than you were to amberglow?

aside: you have a fondness for deploying the threat of a cut-offs, don't you bringiton.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

For you, where is the line over which it is simply wrong to go?

You've clearly shown you're not willing to stand up for the truth, although you'll defend truthiness to the last ditch.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

my principles are in my comments.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

swift loris:

[... Basically, if you have a big problem you’re trying to solve, I think you need to know as much about its specifics as you possibly can; otherwise you’re liable to go running off in the wrong direction, pointing fingers and issuing condemnations at the wrong people or for the wrong reasons, and maybe even inadvertently causing some damage yourself... ]

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

bringiton -

why did you interject a video of your choosing in the thread of this discussion with the comment "if ever a thread needed jacking"?

the discussion had moved beyond that point?

bringiton writes:

[ if ever a thread needed jacking
Submitted by bringiton on Thu, 2008-06-12 21:39.

(sorry, hipparchia - lyrics here - if you’re bold enough...]

what is the point of the video to this discussion?

is this an example of the political expedience you profess to abhor but amberglow sensibly acknowledges?

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

If I think something needs condemning, I’ll condemn it. If someone chooses to be offended by that, it will have to be their problem.

Remember how this started: All I said was that I didn't think Larry Johnson was lying, although he may well have been lied to. You chose to be offended that I should express such an opinion, at great length, assuming (incorrectly) that I was defending him, attempting to mitigate what he had done.

If you claim the same rights you say you accord others, you get to take the same responsibility as well. So the offense you've chosen to take to what I said is your problem, not mine--especially since it's based on your misunderstanding of my intentions.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

SL: Remember how this started: All I said was that I didn’t think Larry Johnson was lying, although he may well have been lied to. Yes, you did.

You chose to be offended that I should express such an opinion, Yes, I did.

at great length, Not really, although from your perspective it may have seemed so. Here’s the segment where I introduced a quote from you, as an exemplar:

Here’s a recent comment here at Corrente, assessing Johnson and his methods:

I’m convinced that Larry is convinced there is such a tape. It’s entirely possible he’s the victim of a hoax, but I don’t think he’s lying.

And that, apparently, is all it takes. For myself, I would want more evidence than that for a report of a new sale at WalMart. Third or fourth or fifth hand or whatever it is by the time it got here shouldn’t be good enough for anyone about anything.

Not counting your own words, that is a total of 61 of mine. Not exactly “at great length” by any measure. After that I did spend some verbiage on possible permutations of What Was Larry Thinking? In part to rebut his own claims of having acted nobly, in part as a rhetorical setup for my final tongue-in-cheek parody of the whole connect-the-dots approach to character assassination employed by far too many people these days and given credence where condemnation is due. I’d have done that whether your quote existed or not; it has nothing to do with you.

assuming (incorrectly) that I was defending him, I don’t see that in what I’ve written. It is for me unimportant what your motivation was, although arguing based on your perceptions and not on – apparently – anything other than his own claims that he is being truthful and was well-intentioned is certainly construable as a defense of sorts…

attempting to mitigate what he had done. And there you go. Offering up that Johnson is a truth-teller with the best of intentions, passing on critical information trying to save us all but unfortunately having done so in a way guaranteed to muck it all up, or that perhaps he is the innocent dupe of a clever VRWC psyop, poor naïve Larry taken in like a country bumpkin wandering about in the big city, is indeed a mitigating argument – whether you intended to have that effect or not.

If you claim the same rights you say you accord others, I do.

you get to take the same responsibility as well. Perfectly fair.

So the offense you’ve chosen to take to what I said is your problem, not mine Certainly, and I take full ownership of my offense. See above:

For myself, I would want more evidence than that

An “I” statement, owning my feelings and my words. Is that somehow not clear?

—especially since it’s based on your misunderstanding of my intentions Sigh. Again with the intentions. I have repeatedly said that I accept your intentions as you state them. The first time I did so you took offense, apparently seeing my simple statement of acceptance of your goodness as somehow condescending. Since then I have tried in multiple ways to convey that I have no issue with your intentions per se nor with your general decency as a person. From other comments you have made in other threads, as well as your comment about Johnson, you appear to me to be a good, decent, kind, caring, generous, gentle person who is willing to bend over backwards to give others the benefit of the doubt. [Well, some others; maybe not me so much.] Your intentions are not now nor were they ever at issue for me in this essay, any more than Johnson’s intentions are for me the key issue with what he has said and done.

What I’m concerned with, what I have spoken to, is the effect. Placing Johnson’s conduct within a framework of “ I don’t think he’s lying” [Good old honest Larry.] and painting him as perhaps nothing more than a well-intentioned rube “It’s entirely possible he’s the victim of a hoax” [Poor Larry, a victim, the little lamb.] has the effect of mitigating the degree of his culpability for his actions – as I see it.

My larger point in that entire passage was that actions like Johnson’s need to be condemned, not softened or mitigated or explained but condemned; indeed, they should be given No Quarter. Your brief comment was for me an exemplar of that sort of softening, a rounding off of the edges, a path to forgiveness for what I see as deserving far harsher treatment. It was to me just that, but no more than that; simply an exemplar that was close to hand.

I am sorry this has turned out to be so uncomfortable for you. It was not my intention to make you appear to be a principle object of my outrage, as indeed you were not. It appears I was clumsy in that particular passage, and in retrospect I should have found another way to do some mitigation myself, to speak in a more delineated fashion. For that failure, I apologize.

For what it is worth, I am pleased to see that you continue to comment on other threads and sincerely hope that you will settle in here at Corrente; this is, even allowing for my presence, a very nice corner of the multiverse.

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

Placing Johnson’s conduct within a framework of “I don’t think he’s lying” [Good old honest Larry.] and painting him as perhaps nothing more than a well-intentioned rube “It’s entirely possible he’s the victim of a hoax” [Poor Larry, a victim, the little lamb.] has the effect of mitigating the degree of his culpability for his actions – as I see it.

That's what you read into what I said. That's your framework, not mine. Nowhere did I suggest or hint or imply "Good old honest Larry" or "Poor Larry, a victim," nor that I thought he was less culpable because he wasn't lying. It's not a "path to forgiveness." You made that up out of your own head.

If you're now left puzzled by what I did mean, I suggest you go back and reread my previous comments, because I've already explained it several times.

And no, this hasn't "turned out to be uncomfortable" for me at all. I've been jousting on electronic forums for a good two decades; it's one of my favorite forms of recreation.

I appreciate that you're trying to make amends, but the best way for you to do that, from my perspective, would be for you to show me you understand that you were mistaken about what I said.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Because that's as amended as is going to be made.

You keep conflating, or confusing, or mistaking, dunno exactly, your intentions - which are what ever you say they are, no argument from me, you own them - with my interpretation of their effect. I keep owning my interpretation, but that isn't apparently good enough for you. What you want is for me to follow some script you've prepared, some speech you want me to make, that agrees with whatever it is you feel you've said about whatever it is you feel you intended.

Waaaay to complicated for me. Not a game I wish to play. My only focus has been on the effect of your words, the effect as I see it. That perception, that read as you call it, is entirely up to me; it is mine, and I own it. Your agreement with my perception of the effect of your words isn't something I require.

This makes an even 200 entries in the comment column. Thank you for helping me achieve that tally.