Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Poe, Drones and Boston -- UPDATE

"A skillful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents--he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design."

 -- Edgar Allan Poe, May, 1842
Was I on acid, or was the first question at the eight o'clock press conference dealing with the Boston Marathon bombing last night really somebody's asking Governor Deval Patrick whether the attack on the spectators was a "false-flag" operation?

Why, no, It turns out I was quite sober after all.
"Is this another false flag attack to take our civil liberties away?"
Oh, dear Jesus, the very first question? You have to be kidding me. Is this country really that far around the bend?

I took a little incoming last night, not only from The Dumbest Man On The Internet, (tm/The Lovely Wonkette) but also from people who can't read and see words that are not there, and from (I think) the Glenn Beck crew for this post that I put up almost immediately after the bombing and in which, you will note, the words "rightwing," "rightist," and "conservative," do not appear. (Also, a Pro Tip for the folks who dropped by from Glennbeckystanstan. I was a left-leaning sports columnist at a Murdoch tabloid for five years. I've know from political invective and you kids really need to step up your game.) It appears that poor Nick Kristof got in more trouble than I did. Hey, Nick. You write for The New York Times. You should feel more free to tell pipsqueaks like the guy from Tiger Beat On The Potomac to piss off. Fk the begrudgers, as the late Mr. Behan used to say. You were right, too. Remember Charlie Skinner from The Newsroom, and the only truly memorable line in that entire series so far.
"I am too old to live my life in fear of dumb people."
It is in no way "politicizing" the events by mentioning that history teaches us that, on events like this, the universe of suspects is wider than many people would like to believe. All indications are that, one way or another, the bombing was a political act. It may have been the political act of madmen, but it was a political act, and it does us no good to pretend — as Chris Matthews attempted to do last night — that it was not. Somehow, somewhere, this act came from a dark vein of violence in somebody's politics...
Yes, Charlie, you were quite sober; the first fucking "question" right out of the box at that presser really was from some dick trying to upholster his personal hobbyhorse with other people's public tragedy.

Meanwhile, a few thousand miles away and less than an hour later -- less than a day after the bombing -- Mr. Glenn Greenwald also weighed in.

Sure, the Boston Marathon attack was tragic and all:
There's not much to say about Monday's Boston Marathon attack because there is virtually no known evidence regarding who did it or why. 
But, see, the real issue is, as always:
As usual, the limits of selective empathy, the rush to blame Muslims, and the exploitation of fear all instantly emerge 
The widespread compassion for yesterday's victims and the intense anger over the attacks was obviously authentic and thus good to witness. But it was really hard not to find oneself wishing that just a fraction of that compassion and anger be devoted to attacks that the US perpetrates rather than suffers. These are exactly the kinds of horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade, with very little attention paid.
And of course no Glennjacking of whatever-today's-news-is into his boilerplate assay of drones and America's deep moral failings would be complete without Mr. Greenwald building his conclusions (many of which are perfectly valid) atop a ziggurat of assertions about anti-Muslim bigotry manifesting itself as reckless conclusion-leaping.  And worry not, gentle reader: even when scant evidence exists for such assertions in this case -- even when the available evidence in this case points overwhelming
President Obama: Don’t Jump To Conclusions On Boston Marathon Explosions 
“I don’t want to overly speculate because as you know early reports are often wrong, we could be way off base but clearly they are saying this was an explosive device, an improvised explosive advice, in other words, a bomb.” — CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  
“We’ve been careful all afternoon, did not jump to conclusions.” — FNC’s Bret Baier. 
I’m getting suspicious with everyone telling me not to ‘jump to conclusions.’ I hadn’t, but now I’m beginning to …” —  Ann Coulter.
-- Mr. Greenwald will scour the cable news fringes and outermost barrier islands of muttering paranoia until he locates, say, an entirely predictable rage-gasmic outburst by bugfuck-crazy Pamela Geller or a couple of stupid things said by a couple of dolts on CNN.  The minimum perfunctory gesture required before we sprint back in time to let Glenn make his main-line argument, viz:  there has been a "rush, one might say the eagerness, to conclude that the attackers were Muslim" which has been "palpable and unseemly":
 The rush, one might say the eagerness, to conclude that the attackers were Muslim was palpable and unseemly, even without any real evidence. The New York Post quickly claimed that the prime suspect was a Saudi national (while also inaccurately reporting that 12 people had been confirmed dead). The Post's insinuation of responsibility was also suggested on CNN by Former Bush Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend ("We know that there is one Saudi national who was wounded in the leg who is being spoken to"). Former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman went on CNN to grossly speculate that Muslim groups were behind the attack. Anti-Muslim bigots like Pam Geller predictably announced that this was "Jihad in America".
(And not to worry, Independents and Centrists: just so you needn't feel that you are being asked to pick an icky partisan side on this made-up issue, Mr. Greenwald helpfully dips into Twitter long enough to dredge up a couple of comments by people you've never heard of so that he can rail on "particularly unscrupulous partisan Democrat types" too!
(some particularly unscrupulous partisan Democrat types were identically suggesting with zero evidence that the attackers were right-wing extremists).)
Then we must hurryhurryhurry back so as not to miss Mr. Greenwald's next amazing point:
Of course, the quest to know whether this was "terrorism" is really code for: "was this done by Muslims"? That's because, in US political discourse, "terrorism" has no real meaning other than: violence perpetrated by Muslims against the west. 
Which, leaving aside the fact that I can't think of a single sane person who does not consider Scott Roeder or Eric Rudolph or any of America's other self-appointed, shark-eyed Killers for Jebus and Freedom to be terrorists, is just a remarkably stupid and ugly thing to assert three days shy of the anniversary of the second largest terrorist attack in American history: the murder of 168 people by a right-wing American terrorist 

who felt entirely justified in killing as many innocent people as possible -- including slaughtering 19 children -- because The Gummint is Evil!
"I didn't define the rules of engagement in this conflict. The rules, if not written down, are defined by the aggressor. It was brutal, no holds barred. Women and kids were killed at Waco and Ruby Ridge. You put back in [the government's] faces exactly what they're giving out."
Today, Boston is a story of mass-murder showing up at a public festival with a mind to steal as many innocent lives as possible and leave as much terror and grief and damage in its wake as possible. 

But that is not the story Mr. Greenwald wants to write about.  

He  wants to write about drones and anti-Muslim bigotry.

And so into that Procrustean Bed Boston must be crushed, along with some raving from Pam Geller, a few minutes of CNN, some Tweets and "whatever else may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect."


As we now move into the official Political Aftermath period of the Boston bombing — the period that will determine the long-term legislative fallout of the atrocity — the dynamics of privilege will undoubtedly influence the nation’s collective reaction to the attacks
And moves straight to his Provocative Thesis, which Mr, Sirota headlines as follows:
Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a White American
See, according to Mr. Sirota, America doesn't treat white domestic terrorism qua terrorism seriously.  This is because a well-coordinated bomb attacks at a public event is so nearly identical to a dangerously mentally ill individual killing his mother and shooting up a school that something something ergo proper hoc white male privilege.
This has been most obvious in the context of recent mass shootings. In those awful episodes, a religious or ethnic minority group lacking such privilege would likely be collectively slandered and/or targeted with surveillance or profiling (or worse) if some of its individuals comprised most of the mass shooters. However, white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for those shootings — even though most come at the hands of white dudes.
All of which is going to come as a shock to organizations like the FBI, the Secret Service and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been around for 42 years and which:
"... monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public. We publish our investigative findings online, on our Hatewatch blog, and in the Intelligence Report, our award-winning quarterly journal. We’ve crippled some of the country’s most notorious hate groups by suing them for murders and other violent acts committed by their members.

"Currently, there are 1,007 known hate groups operating across the country, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, border vigilantes and others.

"Since 2000, the number of hate groups has increased by 67 percent. This surge has been fueled by anger and fear over the nation’s ailing economy, an influx of non-white immigrants, and the diminishing white majority, as symbolized by the election of the nation’s first African-American president.

"These factors also are feeding a powerful resurgence of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, which in the 1990s led to a string of domestic terrorist plots, including the Oklahoma City bombing. The number of Patriot groups, including armed militias, has grown 813 percent since of the Obama was elected – from 149 in 2008 to 1,360 in 2012.

"This growth in extremism has been aided by mainstream media figures and politicians who have used their platforms to legitimize false propaganda about immigrants and other minorities and spread the kind of paranoid conspiracy theories on which militia groups thrive."


What people say:
Mr. Sirota, your observations are both amazingly dickish and poorly constructed.
 What Mr. Sirota hears:

David Sirota: the blogosphere's very own Dick Solomon 



zombie rotten mcdonald said...

OK, Glenn, citing Pam Gellar in support of your argument? THAT'S what you want to go with?

Anonymous said...

I know how to shut that nasty Greenwald up... Don't make his job so easy. Just get Washington to stop invading, imprisoning, torturing and droning innocent Muslims!

That'll show HIM. Boy will he be FURIOUS!

Anonymous said...

Really? Ragging on Greenwald is where you want to go? Sheesh. He's correct about the knee-jerk -all-terrorists-are-Muslims crowd, which far outpaces those who even think of Atlanta, Oklahoma City, etc. as domestic terrorism. You blew it on this one.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

He's correct about the knee-jerk -all-terrorists-are-Muslims crowd,

No, he cherry picked his sources to make it seem that the rush to judgement was universal, when it was not.

Greenwald is using his Procrustrean Blog to make every story conform to his desired narratives. driftglass is pretty much spot on, Nonnie Mouse.

bisham said...

The only thing better than reading the fresh off the anvil poundings of the redoubtable (TM) Charles P. Pierce is Drifty riffing on CPP and taking it to the next level. Sci-fi as stream of consciousness reality interpretation. Epic. bro.

Pinkamena Panic said...

And the Greencock suckers are already in, cowardly as ever.

Another day, another chance to show their undying love for privilege.

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

Agreement with Greenwald shows a love for privilege?



Apparently, putting a Dinocrat in the White House serves as an effective test for distinguishing true progressives from fauxgressives:

The fauxgressives will spin 180 degrees and support the imperial wars and growing police state of the United States of Fubarica, as long as a Dinocrat presides over them.

Pinkamena Panic said...

DG, you really ought to clean this mess up.

Lit3Bolt said...

Hamfast, is this before or after the one world currency is issued by the Twelve Elders of Zion from their bunker deep inside the Federal Reserve?

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

Tsk, Lit, I figured you knew that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a forgery by the Czarist secret police from the late 19th Century. :P

As for a unified world currency, that would not necessarily be a bad thing, but I doubt it will happen in my lifetime, as I turn 50 next month.

I'm not entirely sure what to think about the Federal Reserve.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

support the imperial wars and growing police state of the United States of Fubarica, as long as a Dinocrat presides over them.

The funny part is how somehow you've managed to overlook the fact that the "Dinocrat" as you put it, is managing the cessation of the two major wars that were in place when he was elected, and that there have been no imperial adventures begun in the last five years.

Not that I would support them if they were begun, but you can say so if it helps you feel better about yourself. Zombies made of straw are the easiest to defend against.

gratuitous said...

I might agree with Driftglass, except that most of the citations he pulls from Greenwald (Geller, Townsend and the New York Post) I have seen in other settings in the popular media and my favorite websites. So I can't agree with the characterization that Greenwald is cherry-picking "the fringe." Looks like it's woven right into the warp and woof of our tapestry of national discourse.

And while sane people agree that Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist, you ask the next 10 people you encounter walking down the sidewalk to identify either Scott Roeder or Eric Rudolph. I'll bet a shiny nickel on the number of folks who could give you the right answer, putting the over/under at 1, and I'll take the under.

Pinkamena Panic said...

Hey Greensuckers:

Leaving since you're not finding any rubes here? Don't forget your fedoras.

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

ZRM: "...no imperial adventures begun in the last five years."


As for the cessation of the Chimperial fiascoes in Iraq and Afghanistan, if anyone thinks Uncle Sam Caesar is really pulling out of those hellholes as long as valuable natural resources exist under them, I would suggest those people not buy any used cars.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...


When did we send troops to Libya? Your definition of Imperialism is pretty wide ranging, there.

if anyone thinks Uncle Sam Caesar is really pulling out of those hellholes as long as valuable natural resources exist under them, I would suggest those people not buy any used cars.

Oh. I see. Something does not conform to your predetermined opinions, so it HAS to be wrong.

"Natural Valuable Resources"? Under AFGHANISTAN? You sure you want to go with that?

Hef said...

Oy Drift...seems the premise of your essay was missed by a few commentators. It's too soon to grab the pitchforks and burn the witch that did the bad thing. The professional witch finder generals are simply sniffing out the gold in this here tragedy. It's as diabolical as it ever was and will end with more than a few innocents burned. The problem with our modern zeitgeist is, nobody will remember the Boston Massacre and the stupid conclusions we leapt to in a few years. I only hope we find a cure for our collective ADHD soon. It's literally killing us.

Compound F said...

"the dog is on that gopher hole again, Mom."

"He's got a scent, but he ain't caught a gopher in years."

lostnacfgop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lostnacfgop said...

Due respect, Drifty, my favorite Charlie Skinner line (and one of my faves from "Newsroom") comes from the Season 1 finale:

The rest were pussy-ass, coward-ass, pussified pussies!

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

ZRM, I lack the cyber-savvy to make links on Blogger's bare-bones comment system, but you might want to go to Wikipedia and check out the "MINING AND ENERGY" section of the article on Afghanistan, and the separate "MINING IN AFGHANISTAN" article.

Not only are there fossil fuels under that country, there are (free metals or ores) rare earth metals, lithium, iron, copper--you DO remember copper, that metal so valuable these days copper theft has practically become a major industry in the United States of Fubarica? Why, there's even gold in them thar hills.

Of course, it'll probably be our Chinese creditors who develop most of those minerals--we shed the blood, they take the profits.

If our troop numbers really are being reduced, how can I know that's true when it's being told to me by the Corporate Government and the Corporate Media? Those institutions, and the corporations which own them, all lie to me so often I tend to assume they are lying to me whenever they speak--"The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and all that.

kfreed said...

"The widespread compassion for yesterday's victims and the intense anger over the attacks was obviously authentic and thus good to witness. But it was really hard not to find oneself wishing that just a fraction of that compassion and anger be devoted to attacks that the US perpetrates rather than suffers. These are exactly the kinds of horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade, with very little attention paid."

Just the other day Christopher-something-or-other, who I lately noticed hovering around the comments section of The Daily Banter, usually Ben Cohen’s section as he’s the easiest for Greenwald’s trollbots to brow beat into submission (Chez don’t play dat), made a comment parroting the above quote nearly verbatim.

I couldn't help myself. My response to this preening arse was to the effect that he was pathetically transparent and utterly predictable and that he was furthermore to pull his head out from between Glenn Greenwald's butt cheeks.

That was before having read anything at all mentioning Greenwald responding to the Boston tragedy. This blog post is the first I’ve read about it as I don’t hang in Greenwaldian circles.

It’s gotten so’s I can pick Greenwald’s schlubs out of a lineup from 500 paces with a single glance. Oddly enough, (win, wink) they usually end up revealing themselves as decorated Paultards. If you poke them in their squishy heads long enough, they'll start squealing and out themselves. It's a fun and productive hobby if you have time and a sense of humor.

kfreed said...

In response to Anonymous: "He's correct about the knee-jerk -all-terrorists-are-Muslims crowd"

Glenn Greenwald, Tea Party pusher, should know, it's his crowd, for nobody hates Muslims like the Tea Bag Brigade:

"Re-rise of the Naderites: Glenn Greenwald’s third party dreamin’ **UPDATE: on Libertarianism...

"At a talk given the day after the 2010 election — one that was a disaster for Democrats — “progressive” writer and civil liberties lawyer Glenn Greenwald gave a talk at the University of Wisconsin, and expressed the hope that Democrats might suffer the same fate in 2012.

Greenwald’s speech mainly focused on civil liberties and terrorism policy “in the age of Obama.” But it was his approach to politics that got members of the Young Americans for Liberty — a Paulite Libertarian group that co-sponsored the event — excited..."


Libertarian Glenn Greenwald of Cato Institute has got some real nerve defining Democrats as the war whores...

Yes, Libertarian of Cato Institute:

I'm not the only one to notice:

Ahem: Becasue Cato is so Principles on the War, right?

"Independent and Principled? Behind the Cato Myth"...

"Cato Claim #1: The Cato Institute was one of the earliest and most principled critics of the Bush Administration’s wars abroad and attacks on civil liberties at home (here and here).

Fact: The Cato Institute’s actual record during the Bush administration years was anything but principled and far from heroic.

John Yoo, author of the
notorious “torture memo,” served on the Cato editorial board for Cato Supreme Court Review during the Bush presidency. At the same time, Yoo was writing the Bush administration’s legal justifications for waterboarding, Guantánamo, warrantless wiretapping and more. Yoo also contributed articles to Cato Supreme Court Review and a chapter to a Cato book titled The Rule of Law in the Wake of Clinton criticizing President Clinton’s “imperial presidency.”

The “Cato Policy Report” attacked progressive critics of Bush’s “War on Terror” as “Terrorism’s Fellow Travelers“ in its November/December 2001 issue. Former Vice President of Research Brink Lindsey wrote, “Most of the America haters flushed out by September 11 are huddled on the left wing of the conventional political spectrum.”

Another Cato executive, Ted Galen Carpenter, former VP for defense and foreign policy studies, enthusiastically supported Bush’s “war on terror” and called on Bush to invade Pakistan.

The Cato Institute advised the 2002–04 Republican-dominated Congress to commence military strikes in Pakistan in its Cato Handbook for Congress arguing, “Ultimately, Afghanistan becomes less important as a place to conduct military operations in the war on terrorism and more important as a place from which to launch military operations. And those operations should be directed across the border into neighboring Pakistan.”

Another Cato Institute executive, Roger Pilon, vigorously supported Bush’s attacks on civil liberties. Pilon, Cato’s VP for legal affairs and founding director of the Cato Institute’s “Center for Constitutional Studies,” supported expanded FBI wiretapping in 2002 and called on Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act as late as 2008..."


There's so much more to tell, yet so little space to tell it:)

He's a master manipulator, courtesy Koch industries and the Libertarian Party... the "both sides" meme being the Libertarian Republican MO. Odd how Greenwald, the progressive, has no fury for civil liberty trahing Tea Party lawmakers and manages to heap his dally scorn on Democrats, Obama in particular.

Anonymous said...

Both Droneglass and his fanclub seem to be growing more and more remote from basic human decency in recent weeks.

Obama leads the Democratic wing of the Property Party and is the commander-in-chief of U.S. imperialism. He bears direct responsibility for its crimes... as committed by his administration.

Why does that simple assertion of fact drive you all so nuts?

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

"Why does that simple assertion of fact drive you all so nuts?" --Anon @ 2:24 pm

There are multiple possible explanations, not mutually exclusive, but the simplest would be:


They can't bear to admit they got hornswoggled back in 2008.

I reckon quite a few of the Chimperor's fans were feeling the same way during his 2nd term.

David said...


Reporter: "Sir, how do you feel about America?"

Man, sure is crazy to think that people are eager to say that there's a problem with stereotyping the Muslims and foreigners. Man, those people are crazy. Glennzilla and Sirotaville and all those chicken littles. So silly.

jim said...

Ewww ... fanboy spoor.

Amber said...

This is cool!