Supplemental: The nature of State Department email!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 27, 2015

As Baldwin pretends with some polls:
Briefly watching mid-afternoon CNN, we just saw Brooke Baldwin hyping a “bombshell report.” In a brand-new Quinnipiac poll, Biden performs a few points better than Clinton against the leading Republicans!

In August of the year before, with Biden not even in the race, that’s a bombshell in much the same way that Baldwin is Pliny the Elder reborn. Also, with people like Baldwin, press corps-wide, working hard to fluff Uncle Joe while knocking Vile Clinton around.

Our “journalists” routinely say it—they say they have a professional bias in favor of creating a lively race. Perhaps that explains why the corps is fluffing Biden. Perhaps it’s Clinton hatred.

Whatever it is, it isn’t journalistic. This brings us back to the press corps’ ongoing obsession with the Clinton email non-probe.

We say non-probe for a reason. By now, any news org—in theory, that includes CNN—could have catalogued the issues involved in the email matter. As far as we know, there are two major claims:

First claim: Clinton put national security at risk by using a non-secure email account. Also, Clinton stymied FOIA requests by maintaining her own server.

By now, CNN, or anyone else, could have created a coherent account of the various charges, crazy and otherwise, being made against Clinton. No one has done so because our imitation, Potemkin “news orgs” simply don’t function that way.

That isn’t what our “news orgs” do. Instead, they spend two years obsessing over meaningless polls while gossiping about a wide assortment of silly distractions.

What would it look like if major news orgs tried to clarify the email debate?

We’ll direct you to this post by Kevin Drum, in which Drum links to an AP report.

The AP report starts to sift the ball of confusion surrounding the security aspects of Clinton’s email practices. Below, you see the start of Ken Dilanian’s report:
DILANIAN (8/26/15): The transmission of now-classified information across Hillary Rodham Clinton's private email is consistent with a State Department culture in which diplomats routinely sent secret material on unsecured email during the past two administrations, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Clinton's use of a home server makes her case unique and has become an issue in her front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it's not clear whether the security breach would have been any less had she used department email.
Say what? “It’s not clear whether the security breach would have been any less had she used department email?”

Later in his report, Dilanian mentions similar practices from the Bush years. He seems to say that Clinton’s email system wasn’t any less secure than the State Department’s corresponding system:
DILANIAN: In five emails that date to Condoleezza Rice's tenure as secretary of state during the George W. Bush administration, large chunks are censored on the grounds that they contain classified national security or foreign government information.

[…]

Such slippage of classified information into regular email is "very common, actually," said Leslie McAdoo, a lawyer who frequently represents government officials and contractors in disputes over security clearances and classified information.

What makes Clinton's case different is that she exclusively sent and received emails through a home server in lieu of the State Department's unclassified email system. Neither would have been secure from hackers or foreign intelligence agencies, so it would be equally problematic whether classified information was carried over the government system or a private server, experts say.

In fact, the State Department's unclassified email system has been penetrated by hackers believed linked to Russian intelligence.
“It would be equally problematic whether classified information was carried over the government system or a private server?” According to Dilanian, that’s what experts say.

This past weekend, on Fox News Sunday, Ellen Tauscher discussed the nature of the State Department’s “unsecure” email system. She also tried to explain the distinction between the State Department’s separate-and-distinct classified and unclassified email systems.

Dilanian seems to be plowing the same fields here. He seems to be saying that the State Department’s regular unclassified system would have been no more secure than the private system Clinton used.

If our “news orgs” were really news orgs, they would have tried to clarify these matters by now. That said, our “news orgs” quite plainly are not news orgs—haven’t been any such thing for a very long time.

Our TV news orgs are corporate arrangements whereby attractive, youngish men and women can sit around discussing worthless polls all day. After that, they spend some time discussing who interrupted whom, and how loudly, at which event last night.

At night, the propagandists come out. Did you watch the horrific Maddow sifting your info, and clowning around, on her program last night? Has any news figure ever been so devoured by the twin monsters, wealth and fame?

You’re living inside an “I, Claudius” bubble. Live and direct from Atlanta, Baldwin was pretending nicely as we clicked off CNN.


HAPPILY ANCHORED: In the one play we know!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 27, 2015

Part 3—That bag of hammers is us:
In her 2003 memoir, Living History, Hillary Clinton aimed an ugly slur at lawyer David Kendall.

Nothing was subtle in Clinton’s attack. Peter Baker recalled the episode in a front-page profile of Kendall in Monday’s New York Times:
BAKER (8/24/15): [T]he Clintons leaned on Mr. Kendall heavily. “He became an anchor in our lives,” Mrs. Clinton later wrote in a memoir.
It’s just like the Clintons to do this!

Before this past weekend, we might have missed the import of Clinton’s remark, in which she suggested that Kendall is Hispanic (anchors are brown) and compared him to an inanimate object, thereby implying that he's dumb as a bag of hammers.

Before this past weekend, we might have missed that! Luckily, we read the comments to Kevin Drum’s recent post about the disturbing term “anchor baby.” As a result, we understood what Clinton actually meant by her ugly remark.

At this point, can we talk? Almost surely, Clinton wasn’t insulting Kendall when she described him as “an anchor in our lives.” Almost surely, she wasn’t saying that he is brown, or even inanimate.

When the Carter Family sang “Anchored in Love,” they weren’t deriding the love they felt they received from God. When Walter Cronkite was called an anchor, he wasn’t being compared to a bag of hammers.

None of those associations are obvious when we use the word “anchor.” But alas! Last Friday, Kevin Drum issued what has come to be known as “the ‘anchor baby’ challenge.”

Drum asked his readers to explain why the term “anchor baby” should be seen as “offensive.” Because taking offense is the only play we modern liberals seem to know, his readers leaped to comply.

Alas! We the modern pseudo-liberals live for such assignments! We’re extremely skilled at taking offense—at finding the slur in all manner of speech by The Others.

We’re deeply clueless—hapless; inept—at all other plays in the playbook.

We’ve been trained to take offense, and we’re eager to do it. Consider a pair of responses to Drum’s iconic challenge.

Bless our hearts! We rushed to explain why that term is offensive—even super-offensive, as the increasingly ludicrous Rachel Maddow super-phonily said. One reader explained it this way:
COMMENT TO DRUM: It’s kinda insulting to insinuate you’re so rapacious as to purposefully get pregnant and have a kid just so you can stay in the U.S. It suggests you see the child as a legal boon, not someone to love. In a more family-oriented culture that’s very hurtful.
The reader said it would be “kinda insulting” to make a certain insinuation. That may or may not be true, but Drum had asked a different question.

Drum had asked what made a specific term offensive. It isn't entirely clear that he commenter spoke to that point.

Having said that, let’s note the general background to that reader’s comment. Over the past fifteen years, people who have discussed “anchor babies” have generally been criticizing the conduct of the parents of the babies in question.

As a general matter, they haven’t said that the parents in question “purposefully get pregnant” just so they can stay in the States—and the term “rapacious” has never been used, according to Nexis. More often, these people have simply claimed that some parents come to the States when it’s time to give birth so that the baby will be an American citizen, possibly letting the parent and other family members reside in the U.S.

(That’s the way the claim began. The nature of the claim has changed through the years, a point we’ll note tomorrow.)

The people who speak about “anchor babies” disapprove of this alleged practice. That doesn’t mean that the term they’re using is a racial slur. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the term is “super offensive.”

It doesn’t mean that they meant for us to think that anchors are brown. It doesn’t mean that they were comparing people to bags of hammers.

Was the term meant or intended as a “slur?” The commenter didn’t explain why we should view it that way. Meanwhile, just for the record, it’s perfectly plain that some people do come to the U.S. for the purpose of giving birth to a baby who's an American citizen. Whatever a person may think of that practice, it’s plain that the practice exists.

When a reader responded to the comment we’ve posted, he or she took note of this fact. In our view, this responder helps us see how anchored we are to the tribal practice of eagerly taking offense:
COMMENT TO DRUM: It’s kinda insulting to insinuate you’re so rapacious as to purposefully get pregnant and have a kid just so you can stay in the U.S. It suggests you see the child as a legal boon, not someone to love. In a more family-oriented culture that’s very hurtful.

RESPONSE TO COMMENT: I agree. It’s the notion that an undocumented person is having a kid to “anchor” them in the United States, and hence, beat the system.

It's possible that it could be viewed neutrally—as describing a functional reality—and hence not offensive. But look at the word “homosexual.” That strikes me as a neutral description, but some in the gay community don't like it at all. Why? Probably because it's mostly used by people hostile to them. Which is a description of the majority who use the term “anchor babies.”

In the picture accompanying Kevin's post someone is holding up a sign "NO BIRTH TOURISM!" A couple of years ago there was a big story about a place east of Los Angeles that had pregnant Chinese visiting for about two to four weeks, timed so that they would give birth in the U.S. That seems to me to merit the description “birth tourism.” I’m not sure what the consensus is about the offensiveness of that expression.
In our view, that response is a bit sad, but instructive. Let’s note what this first responder said.

Needless to say, the responder agreed with the original comment. He seems to feel that the term in question is offensive because it’s “kinda insulting.”

At the same time, the responder was vaguely aware of the fact that quite a few people do come to the U.S. for the express purpose of giving birth to babies who are American citizens. That said, his information on the matter is a bit out of date.

In this May 1 news report, the Los Angeles Times reported ongoing federal prosecutions connected to the practice, which is indeed called “birth tourism” or “maternity tourism.” These prosecutions have been reported in the Times on an ongoing basis.

Rightly or wrongly, those prosecutions were being conducted by Eric Holder’s Justice Department. That said, let’s look at the extent to which this responder is anchored to the practice of eagerly taking offense.

First, note the way this responder seems to decide if a term is offensive. It almost seems that he holds this view:

If a term is used by people who object to a certain group in some way, then by definition the term in question can be deemed “offensive.”

In his view, some gays object to the term “homosexual” because it’s used by The Other Tribe. We don’t know if any gay person has ever actually felt that way. But as a general matter, this comes quite close to describing the way our low-IQ tribe now functions.

Increasingly, how do we function? Increasingly, like this:

Has a statement been made by The Other Team? Then, almost by definition, we judge that it must be offensive! It’s left to us to invent some rationale, however absurd, with which we can sell this claim to the wider world. But the assessment is automatic.

That’s what happened when Drum’s readers took his iconic challenge. By definition, everyone knew that the term in question had to be offensive—super-offensive, a slur. And then, we invented our rationale:

The Other Tribe was comparing babies to bags of hammers! Also, anchors are brown!

In that middle paragraph, the responder describes a basic part of our current tribal game. If it’s said by The Other Tribe, it’s by definition offensive.

In his third paragraph, the responder displays another part of the way we currently function. When he mentions the term “birth tourism,” he offers this sad glimpse of the pseudo-liberal mind:

“I’m not sure what the consensus is about the offensiveness of that expression.”

Is the term “birth tourism” offensive? Is it super-offensive, a slur? On his own, it seems that this reader can’t tell! Apparently, he’ll have to wait until he receives “the consensus.”

Lucky for us, multimillionaire tribal leaders now appear on TV each night to feed us our tribal consensus. We used to laugh at The Dittoheads for this. Now, it’s the way we play!

Kevin Drum’s readers were eager to say that the term in question was offensive. They invented some deeply inane rationales. But they all agreed to agree.

Drum’s readers just knew the term was offensive. At the same time, we couldn’t help noticing this:

They didn’t seem to know very much about the actual facts on the ground with respect to The Other Tribe’s complaints. We’re skilled at eagerly tasking offense, but we’re weak at discussing the possible merits of complaints The Others have made.

To what extent has The Other Tribe been making valid complaints in this area? To what extent might The Other Tribe’s complaints make some sort of sense?

We pseudo-liberals are highly skilled in finding their language deeply offensive. We’re useful as a bag of hammers when it comes to the rest.

Tomorrow: Concerning the other tribe’s claims

Supplemental: Back inside the “I, Claudius” scam!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2015

While haplessly letting it happen:
By now, it’s fairly obvious. We’re back inside an “I Claudius” bubble.

Here’s what we mean by that:

In 1976, the Robert Graves novel became a massively popular PBS series. In each format, Graves’ entity created a fascinating picture of the way politics can work—more particularly, of the way the public can be deceived about the way their republic is functioning.

On the PBS series and in the novel, we were taken behind the scenes of the Roman republic. We saw what was actually happening inside the halls of power—and we saw the way the public was misled about the nature of the deliberations which controlled their alleged republic.

We’re back inside that world today as we get handed a very familiar old story. Candidate Clinton is being portrayed as the world’s biggest liar. We’ve been handed this tale every step of the way during the Clinton/Gore years.

The liberal world has always accepted this treatment. We’re accepting it once again.

Quite correctly, Joan Walsh is complaining today at Salon. More specifically, she's noting the contradictions of the industry-wide, melodrama-driven, good-old-Joe Biden build-up.

Unfortunately, Walsh accepted the familiar “biggest liar” charade when it was worked against Candidate Gore. Her mentor, Chris Matthews, was one of the most important authors of that disastrous deception—a twenty-month onslaught which sent George Bush to the White House.

Walsh has never told the truth about that version of this play. She’s complaining about the revival now.

The mainstream press corps is up to its ears in this familiar revival. They led the charge against Candidate Gore. Their complicity is only slightly less this time around.

Question:

Does anyone have the slightest idea what is actually being alleged in the latest revival of the long-running hit, “The press corps against the Clintons?” Does anyone understand the ball of confusion contained in Ruth Marcus’ Sunday column? And how about the various things Ellen Tauscher just said?

Tauscher, D-CA, is a former six-term member of Congress. From 2009 through 2012, she served in two different major posts at the State Department.

This Sunday, Tauscher appeared on Fox News Sunday, where she pushed back against the current ball of confusion, which our major news orgs are making exactly zero effort to clarify, explain, unpack, delineate, explore or resolve.

To her credit, guest host Shannon Bream let Tauscher speak at some length about the current ball of confusion concerning State Department operations. As Gene Lyons notes in his current column, her most striking remark concerned the claim that federal judge Emmet Sullivan recently said that Clinton violated policy in some way:
TAUSCHER (8/23/15): If we're going to cherry-pick, let’s stay with the cherry tree. You talked about what Judge Sullivan said. Judge Sullivan’s extraneous remark was about something completely different and it was about something going on with somebody else, an employee. And so, it has really nothing to do with what is going on right now.
For the full transcript, click here.

Judge Sullivan’s widely-quoted statement wasn’t about Clinton? Is there any chance that Tauscher’s statement could possibly be accurate?

We don’t know, and it’s unlikely we ever will. At present, the press corps is running a familiar old scam, of a type it knows quite well. No one is trying to clarify matters as the excitement, drama and gossip build. In fairness, there’s no reason to think our “journalists” would have the chops to do so even if they tried.

(It has been a very long time since they used any such skills.)

In I, Claudius, we saw the world through the eyes of “the street”—and we saw what was occurring behind the scenes, where “the street” wasn’t allowed. As of now, we the people are back in the scam zone again. If you think this can’t send a Republican to the White House again, we own screen rights to a very good novel we would be happy to sell you.

The liberal world has tolerated this long-running scam every step of the way. Has there ever been a less vigilant tribe than the one we belong to?

Obvious question, widely ignored: Didn’t everyone in the White House know that Secretary Clinton was using a private email address? Absent some technical explanation, how could they not have known? Did she never send an email to anyone in that realm?

It seems like the world’s most obvious question. We hear it asked every now and then.

As far as we know, no one ever tries to answer it! But then, that’s what the world looks like inside an “I, Claudius” bubble—in a world where the national “press corps” mainly just clowns and pretends.

HAPPILY ANCHORED: In the mouthing of dogmas!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2015

Part 2—Reciting what leaders have said:
As it turned out, Kevin Drum made a valid point.

He’d read a piece at the New Republic denouncing the use of the term “anchor baby.”

The term is offensive, the piece had said. But according to Drum, the piece in question never explained why the term is offensive:
DRUM (8/21/15): I'm curious about something. Last night I read a longish piece at TNR by Gwyneth Kelly titled “Why ‘Anchor Baby’ Is Offensive.” I was actually sort of curious about that, so I read through it. But all the article did was provide a bit of history about the term and quote a bunch of people saying it was disgusting and dehumanizing. There was no explanation of why it's offensive.
Drum went on to ask his readers to explain why the term is offensive. “I’m probably going to regret asking this,” he prophetically said. “But I am curious. It's not obvious from first principles what the problem is here.”

Uh-oh! To our ear, it sounded like Drum wasn’t sure that the term really is offensive. Tribal heresy to the side, he was certainly right about the TNR piece he had read.

Right in its headline, the New Republic said its piece would explain why the term is offensive. But despite that headline, Gwyneth Kelly never gave that explanation. She simply presented blurbs from pundits asserting that it is.

(For the record: On line, the full TNR headline says this: “Why ‘Anchor Baby’ Is Offensive—and a Distortion of Truth.”)

Kelly is just two years out of Northwestern, but she knows who we liberals should ape. This is the way she started:
KELLY (8/20/15): Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to lead not only in the polls, but with his crude rhetoric. In a Tuesday interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Trump questioned whether “anchor babies,” a pejorative term for babies born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants, are legal American citizens. “What happens is [the parents] are in Mexico, they're going to have a baby, they move over here for a couple of days, they have the baby," he said. A day later, Jeb Bush called for “[b]etter enforcement so that you don't have these, you know, 'anchor babies,' as they're described, coming into the country.” And on Thursday, Bobby Jindal said he’s “happy to use” the term “anchor babies.”

Nevermind that “anchor babies” are largely a myth. The term is also an offensive, derogatory slur.
At this point, Kelly presented a tweet from Chris Hayes saying this: “The term ‘anchor baby’ is disgusting and dehumanizing. I can't believe anyone in ‘mainstream’ American politics uses it.”

She followed with this response from Jamelle Bouie: “I can’t say it any better. ‘Anchor baby’ doesn't belong in our discourse any more than a racial slur.”

Blurbing completed, Kelly went on to say that the American Heritage Dictionary lists the term as “offensive” and “disparaging,” a change from its original neutral listing in 2011. A person may agree with this view, of course, but Drum was right in his observation—at no point did Kelly explain why the term should be so regarded.

Should the term “anchor baby” be viewed as offensive? Is that term really as offensive as a racial slur? Should it be viewed as “disgusting?”

To our ear, Drum didn’t seem real sure in his initial post. But tribal leaders were plainly instructing us in this view when Kelly’s piece appeared.

Her piece appeared last Thursday. On MSNBC that evening, Hayes described the term as “a deeply loaded phrase that’s offensive to many.”

In making that statement, Hayes backslid from his earlier designation, perhaps in a racist manner. But one hour later, Rachel Maddow topped Hayes. The term is actually “super offensive,” the perpetually clowning cable anchor said.

Is the term super offensive? In his initial post, Drum seemed unsure—and so, he asked his readers to take the “anchor baby” challenge. Saying he would likely regret it, he asked his readers to explain why the term is offensive.

In our view, the results were highly instructive. In our view, Drum’s commenters helped us see the way we modern liberals are strongly inclined to reason. In our view, they displayed a deeply scripted tribal approach which strikes us as possibly quite ineffective.

What was striking about the comments Drum received? For one thing, people had a very hard time explaining why the term in question should be seen as offensive.

Don’t get us wrong! Almost everyone agreed that the term is offensive. But as Drum would note in a later post, almost no one could explain why.

The comments were largely a big pile of crap, the mild-mannered blogger would later observe. We’d have to say that Drum was right—and we think his point is important.

Why is the term “anchor baby” offensive? It would take a month of Sundays to catalog the bad explanations Drum received in that thread.

Several commenters said the term reminded them of the offensive term “welfare queen.” But they didn’t explain why the term should strike people that way.

Many commenters noted that the term is typically used by people who are criticizing the parents of the babies in question. That’s certainly true—but it doesn’t tell us why the term should be viewed as equivalent to a racial slur, or as offensive at all.

Other commenters found unique ways to make little sense. This is one of the first explanations Drum’s question occasioned:
COMMENTER: It’s demeaning, denies the humanity of the child, and makes the parents out to be inhuman monsters.

Other than that, you know, it’s fine.
Snark was present, but this comment offered little else. How does the term in question “make the parents out to be inhuman monsters?” The commenter didn’t attempt to say. This commenter spilled with certainty, but so does Candidate Trump.

Inevitably, more than a few comments took us off the deep end of the tribal pier, with the anchor of our tribal certainty dragging us toward the bottom. Over-“educated” savants explored the meaning of the terms which constitute the hateful expression. Cover the eyes of the children as we show you this:
COMMENTER: “Anchor” = brown

Edit to add that for those with ears to hear, "anchor" sounds a bit like the more blatantly racist “wetback,” no?
Does “anchor” sound like “wetback” to you? It does if you have ears to hear! Meanwhile, do you typically think of anchors as brown? Is that what people meant all those years when they called Walter Cronkite an anchor?

Tribal belief is powerful; it has been down through the murderous ages. It lets us hear what we want to hear, as in the second part of this analysis:
COMMENTER: The term riles up xenophobia over something which happens rarely. But it is also offensive in itself. It is a metaphor which compares a human being to a dumb inanimate object.

“You are an anchor baby” has a bit of similarity with “you are dumb as a box of hammers.”
The term is offensive in itself! It’s like saying the babies in question are dumb as a box of hammers!

Others possessed those same ears—or in this case, those same eyes:
COMMENTER: [The term] impl[ies] an abusive relationship where a child was purposefully born into an unstable legal position solely for the mother’s benefit. And I might add, it does so through some awful imagery (am I the only one who pictures a baby literally being used as an anchor?)
How horrible is the imagery occasioned by that hateful term? This commenter pictures the baby literally being used as an anchor! But this is the way we end up thinking when we surrender to true belief—to the pure and literal ultimate truth possessed by the one true tribe.

Should the term “anchor baby” be viewed as “super offensive?” Different people will judge that question in different ways.

We’ll only note that Drum was right in what he said about Kelly’s TNR piece. Two years out of Northwestern, Kelly was certain, right from the start, that the term in question was “an offensive, derogatory slur.” But despite the headline on her piece, she never even tried to say why other people should think such a thing. She simply quoted tribal leaders voicing the same idea.

Is the term in question “offensive in itself?” We’d be inclined to say “not hugely,” unless we’re mainly looking for ways to make ourselves feel tribally pure and good.

That doesn’t mean that Candidate Trump is making sensible presentations and proposals concerning immigration. It means that our current tribal approach, based upon eagerly taking offense, may not be the most effective way to address his crackpot proposals, claims and behaviors.

In this follow-up post,
the normally mild-mannered Drum rejected the bulk of the explanations he received in response to his question.

We’d say that Drum made several good points as he reviewed the explanations he had received. Mainly, though, we were struck by the way he threw his readers under the bus in his exasperated comments.

Normally, Drum is fair-minded, perhaps to a fault. In this instance, he suggested his readers tend to be “tribal hacks” whose comments are almost totally worthless. (For background, see yesterday’s award-winning post.)

If we might borrow from Candidate Trump, we have a bigger heart than that! But we can see why the frustrated Drum made those despairing remarks.

We’re standing with Drum, not with Trump! We too had been struck by the rhymes-with-daiquiri which larded the comments to his post. And we were struck by something else. We were struck by how poorly many of Drum’s commenters seemed to understand the issues involved in this latest exciting dispute, which the corporate cable nets love.

We liberals! Increasingly, we tend to spill with tribal certainty—certainty which is now being sold, for profit and fun, at various corporate sites. Even worse, we tend to be low on the types of actual knowledge which might enable us to change people’s minds about the various unlikely proposals offered by Candidate Trump.

We’re scripted and certain and lack the first clue. Other than that, we rule!

Tomorrow: A problem with Trump’s basic portrait

Supplemental: Chuck Todd refuses to do his job!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2015

Once again, a witch hunt is on:
At the present time, you’re seeing a full-blown assault, all across the press, against Candidate Clinton.

Once again, a witch hunt is on.

Each morning, the opening segment of Morning Joe is an incoherent disgrace. Mika and Joe lead the charge, as aggressively and imprecisely as is humanly possible. Willie Haskell-Geist and a gang of sycophants refuse to note the obvious problems with the co-hosts' work.

That said, the hunt is on in a widespread way. Consider the way Chuck Todd refused to do his job on Sunday’s Meet the Press.

Todd spoke with Candidate Fiorina. After a few initial pleasantries, an L-bomb was deployed:
TODD (8/23/15): Do you still have great admiration and respect for Hillary Clinton?

FIORINA: In many ways I do. She's a hardworking woman. She's an intelligent woman. She has dedicated herself to public service. It is also true, however, that she is not trustworthy, that she has lied about some key things: Benghazi, her emails, her server—

TODD: Lying is a big charge. Do you know—why do you know she's lying on Benghazi?

FIORINA: Well, for heaven’s sake! The night of the Benghazi attacks, we now know that the State Department and the White House knew this was a purposeful, preplanned terrorist attack. Nevertheless, the next morning she went into the State Department and she addressed the American people and talked about a video that did not represent the values of this nation.

Several days later, she said the same thing over the bodies of the fallen. What she should have said was this was a purposeful terrorist attack and we will seek retribution.

TODD: You believe she purposely lied?

FIORINA: Absolutely, I do.
“Lying is a big charge,” Todd said. He then proceeded to show the world that he was only pretending.

Fiorina said that Clinton has lied about Benghazi. Pretending to act like a journalist, Todd asked Fiorina how she knows that Clinton has lied.

Well for heaven’s sake! Fiorina responded with this:

“The night of the Benghazi attacks, we now know that the State Department and the White House knew this was a purposeful, preplanned terrorist attack. Nevertheless, the next morning she went into the State Department and she addressed the American people and talked about a video that did not represent the values of this nation.

“Several days later, she said the same thing over the bodies of the fallen. What she should have said was this was a purposeful terrorist attack...”


According to Fiorina, Clinton knew, on the night of the attack, that the attack had been “preplanned,” presumably to coincide with 9/11. She implied that Clinton knew the attack wasn’t connected to the YouTube videotape which was, at that very time, roiling the Muslim world.

Did Clinton know or believe any such thing at that time? Does she know or believe any such thing even now?

As far as we know, the intelligence community has never reached those judgments. But so what?In an imitation of journalism, Todd failed to ask Fiorina how she knows that Clinton believed those things.

“Lying is a big charge,” Todd said. Assuming even minimum competence, he was faking nicely.

A sharp third-grader would have known what to say: How do you know that Clinton believed those things?

Politely, Todd forgot to ask. Did you know that a witch hunt is on?

HAPPILY ANCHORED: In taking offense!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2015

Part 1—Finally, Drum sounds off:
How dumb—how monumentally dumb—is our emerging pseudo-liberal world?

You can get the answer each day at the new Salon. This morning, the pitifully reinvented site published a pitiful, three-day-old screed under this package of headlines:
TUESDAY, AUG 25, 2015 04:00 AM EDT
Donald Trump keeps lying about his crowd numbers—and the media keeps letting him
On Saturday, The Donald spoke to 12,000 supporters in Mobile. The press would have you believe there were "30-40K"
ZAID JILANI, ALTERNET
Alternet had run the piece on Saturday, when it was at least current.

At Salon, they ran the piece three days later. We were struck by the claims we saw in Salon's package of headlines.

For the record, Candidate Trump spoke in Mobile last Friday night, not on Saturday. But that’s a tiny type of mistake, derived from an original bungle by Alternet itself.

The statement which caught our eye concerned the size of the Mobile crowd. Had Candidate Trump really spoken to just 12,000 supporters? Not to the roughly 20,000 news orgs claimed in real time?

We decided to check the Salon report. Inevitably, we found ourselves looking at this:
JILANI (8/25/15): As it turned out, the rally ended up featuring around 20,000 people—around half the capacity of the 40,000-person stadium. A decent rally, sure, for a billionaire with very high name identification in a conservative part of the country. But it was nowhere near what was touted by Trump’s own campaign, which was parroted by the media.
In his report, Jilani specifically said that the Trump crowd was roughly 20,000. In its headline, the new Salon dumbed the crowd size down, reducing it to 12,000.

As you can see if you read his piece, Jilani’s report was D-minus work from the start. Three days later, a headline writer at Salon made things that much dumber.

It has long been clear—the new Salon is one of the places where liberal brain cells go to expire. As commenters at the site frequently note, its headlines routinely misstate the actual contents of its reports. That said, this reinvention was especially dumb, even for Salon.

The pitiful, reinvented Salon is just one site, of course. That said, the dumbing down of the liberal world has been quite striking in recent years. Unfortunately, so is the love many liberals feel for this tribal dumbness.

At one time, we liberals enjoyed the fun of calling conservatives dumb. We’d hear the ditto-heads call in to Rush. We gained a false impression.

Alas! We gained the impression that their tribe was dumb while our tribe was “nuanced” and smart. In recent years, the new Salon has helped destroy that picture.

So have comment threads.

This weekend, it finally happened! Saturday afternoon, even the mild-mannered Kevin Drum threw his commenters under the bus.

Annoyed with their low IQs and their arrogance, he referred to them as “tribal hacks.” Quantifying his remarks, he said that 95 percent of their comments were basically worthless.

Normally, Drum is mild-mannered, perhaps to a tiny bit of a fault. At long last, though, he’d plainly had enough:
DRUM (8/22/15): Finally, I get why some lefties find this whole conversation amusing. Privileged middle-class white guy just doesn't get it, and has to write a thousand words of argle-bargle to understand something that’s obvious to anyone with a clue. Sure. But look: you have to interrogate this stuff or you just end up as a tribal hack. And since this is a blog, and I'm an analytical kind of person, what you get is a brain dump translated into English and organized to try to make sense. It can seem naive to see it put down in words like this, but the truth is that we all think this way to some degree or another.

POSTSCRIPT: On Twitter, Frank Koughan good-naturedly suggests that it should be a rule of blogging that if you ask readers a question, you post an update so that everyone doesn't have to wade through 300 comments. Fair enough. But this post is an example of why I don't always do this: it can turn into a lot of work! Sometimes there's a simple answer in comments, but that's rare. Usually about 95 percent of the comments are off topic and the other 5 percent all disagree with each other. So it's not as easy as it sounds.
Uh-oh! Finally, Drum had had enough. Here’s the background:

As we noted on Saturday,
Drum had asked his readers to explain a point he didn’t seem to understand. He’d asked his readers to explain why the term “anchor babies” is offensive.

Should that term be seen as offensive? If so, how offensive is it? In our reading, Drum didn’t seem sure about these points. So he invited his readers to explain—and ended up saying that 95 percent of their comments were just useless crap.

Needless to say, Drum also ended up deciding that the term “anchor babies” really is offensive. For ourselves, we don’t have a giant opinion concerning that question—and no, we don’t sign on to some proposition just because our corporate-paid, millionaire tribal leaders tell us that we should.

For our money, we thought Drum’s logic was a bit soft as he drew his conclusion. That said, we think his three posts on this topic are extremely instructive.

We think his posts help us see the way our liberal world now reasons. Increasingly, we’re happily anchored in taking offense—and display few other skills.

At one time, we liberals got to imagine that the other tribe was dumb.

We were the brilliant, nuanced tribe. The new Salon, and other orgs, have blown that picture to shreds.

Tomorrow, we’ll consider the hundreds of comments which provoked the wrath of Drum. We think they display the general lack of sophistication and skill which make our tribe so ineffective as we try to advance our ideas.

We’re dumb and unpleasant and nobody likes us. Other than that, we rule!

Tomorrow: Drum’s readers “explain