The Republicans still think that Sidney Blumenthal is a winning issue. Seriously:
Blumenthal was an aide to President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001 and one of his most reliable hatchet men. Luca Brasi without the charm, Blumenthal had smeared Monica Lewinsky, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, Republicans — and, when the time came, presidential candidate Barack Obama himself. His nickname: “Sid Vicious.”
Ken Starr was "smeared"? Starr was the obsessive prosecutor who pursued the President over a bullshit sex scandal that had nothing to do with Whitewater, Starr's alleged focus. He kept Susan McDougal in prison on inane pseudo-charges in order to force her to cooperate with his inquisition. How can anyone possibly smear
a guy like that? It's like smearing Grand Moff Tarkin.
Not long ago, I heard Monica Lewinsky give an absolutely wonderful TED talk
. I did not hear one complaint about Blumenthal. However, in the past, she has
had many an unkind word to say about Linda Tripp and Ken Starr.
From a legal standpoint, the most important thing that Blumenthal said about Lewinsky was the she was the one who instigated the sexual relationship with Clinton. Since she herself has stipulated that such was the case, there was no smear.
Blumenthal did describe Lewinsky (privately
) as a "stalker," which is not language I would ever have used. However, Lewinsky did say in that aforementioned TED talk that she "fell in love with her boss" -- and after Clinton broke off the affair, she (understandably) became very emotional and blabbed about the whole thing to a Clinton enemy. Is that stalking? No, but I'm not sure what
the right word would be. Maybe we're not exactly in "Potato, poTAHto" territory, but -- to be completely honest -- what Blumenthal said behind the scenes wasn't a million miles away from the truth.
Yes, Blumenthal spread negative stories about Obama in 2008. So did I. So did a lot of other people, including the entire Republican party. Not every negative story constitutes a "smear" -- although much of what Fox News broadcasts falls into that category.
Incidentally, Matt Drudge once published a false claim that Sidney Blumenthal had abused his wife. So who is smearing whom?
Je ne suis pas Charlie. In a piece that I should have mentioned earlier, Glenn Greenwald
points out the hypocrisy of French society: The populace marched in solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo victims, but the highest court in the land upheld the stiff fines levied on twelve people who had committed the crime of wearing "Boycott Israel" t-shirts.
A great, best-selling book by French philosopher Emmanuel Todd released this year argues that these “free speech” marches were a “sham,” driven by many political sentiments — nativism, nationalism, anti-Muslim bigotry — that had nothing to do with free speech.
The Beast is red:
For a while now, I've been complaining about the necon writers who have been carefully seeded into centrist or (allegedly) liberal publications. Greenwald here
identifies a particularly egregious offender, Sam Charles Hamad of The Daily Beast, whose entire job seems to be the promotion of anti-Putinism.
As Greenwald demonstrates at length, Hamad ignores all sorts of vile behavior by governments with whom the neocons have no quarrel. The Daily Beast would have you think that the only people capable of evil are the ones that (say) Michael Ledeen or Dick Cheney would consider evil.
What could possibly explain Hamad’s stunning, disgraceful silence about these massacres, abuses, injustices, and extreme levels of avoidable human suffering? One might conclude from his utter silence that he supports these heinous actions. Or perhaps he is an apologist for the perpetrators, seeking to conceal their culpability by never acknowledging these crimes? Or he could just be a propagandist, fixating on certain acts of abuse and violence committed by some regimes while systematically ignoring those of others.
A Syrian math problem.
Or could it be that — as a single individual with finite time and energy — he’s capable of focusing only on a relatively small handful of injustices at once, and chooses the ones where he thinks he can have the greatest impact, thus necessarily paying little to no attention to other grave injustices where he thinks he can have little or no effect? Or might it be that he perceives that some injustices receive a great deal of attention in the West (e.g., the Evils of Russia, China and Iran) but that other injustices receive far less attention (those perpetrated by the West and its allies) and thus chooses — as a corrective of sorts — to devote himself to trying to shine much-needed light on the ones that are typically overlooked or ignored entirely?
No, it cannot be that, because — like so many others — he has declared that paying attention to some injustices but not all injustices constitutes “a gruesomely perfect example of … hypocrisy.” So, as he and like-minded advocates have taught us, there must be something pernicious and deeply morally culpable in his silence and the silence of so many like him on this panoply of world horrors.
America has sent special forces "advisers" into Syria to help the alleged moderates in Syria -- even though, as we've seen in many previous stories, those moderate forces (forever described as "vetted") are a joke. Amusingly, we have declared the Russian presence in Syria to be illegal, even though the Russians are there at the invitation of the Syrian government and we are not.
We have also airdropped 50 tons of ammo
into Syria in the hope that these same spectral "moderates" might find the stuff before, say, Al Qaeda does.
The US has now thrown in the towel on the ill-fated (and that’s putting it lightly) strategy of training Syrian fighters and sending them into battle only to be captured and killed by other Syrian fighters who the US also trained.
The Pentagon’s effort to recruit 5,400 properly “vetted” anti-ISIS rebels by the end of the year ended in tears when word got out that only “four or five” of these fighters were actually still around. The rest are apparently either captured, killed, lost in the desert, or fighting for someone else.
So. There are only four or five vetted moderate fighters left? Well (as Sheldon Cooper might ask), which is it: Four or five?
Do you think that they will divvy up that 50 tons of ammo evenly?
If there are five vetted moderate fighters, that comes out to ten tons of ammo apiece. But if there are only four vetted moderate fighters, the math becomes more difficult. I do hope that there are five, because I hate doing long division.
Also, it seems to me that a ten-ton bandolier must be awfully
heavy. Perhaps those kindly Green Berets will lend a hand...?