Monday, May 21, 2012

Fool me once

Angry Black Lady, the would-be MSNBC contributor who currently blogs for the extremely credible website The Raw Story -- after a career as a lawyer specializing in business and foreclosure litigation on behalf of underprivileged clients like J.P. Morgan Chase and Lloyd's of London -- writing back in March 2011 on the treatment of accused whistle-blower Bradley Manning:
I’m going to wait for some facts, if you don’t mind. And don’t sit here and snark at me about how I’m uncomfortable with the word torture. If it turns out Manning is being tortured, then I’ll happily take up that cause. But thus far, the reporting has been shoddy and bullshit and an appeal to emotion. There is no evidence that Manning’s treatment is torture . . . . Again, there is no righteousness in your position because you don’t know SHIT. If it turns out you’re not being grifted, then I’ll owe you an apology. But for now fuck off and take your self-righteousness back to the Lake where you belong. Leave the critical thinking to those of us who have the capability.
What's happened since then? Well, in April 2011 more than 250 legal experts, including Harvard University's Lawrence Tribe, "considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law," signed a letter that called Manning's detention both "degrading and inhumane," as well as "illegal and immoral." That detention entailed Manning spending 23-hours-a-day in solitary confinement, a technique that Craig Haney of the University of California, Santa Cruz, notes has "been used to torture prisoners of war."

Meanwhile, the United Nations' special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, writes in a report released March 2012 after a 14-month investigation that:
"[I]mposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence."
In addition, Mendez noted:
"[S]olitary confinement is a harsh measure which may cause serious psychological and physiological adverse effects on individuals regardless of their specific conditions." Moreover, "[d]epending on the specific reason for its application, conditions, length, effects and other circumstances, solitary confinement can amount to a breach of article seven of the international covenant on civil and political rights, and to an act defined in article one or article 16 of the convention against torture."
Mendez has called for a ban on all solitary confinement lasting more than 15 days, noting that the United States is one of the most frequent employers of the technique, using it against at least 20,000 of the country's more than 2.3 million prisoners every day. Manning's time in solitary confinement, for reference, was more than nine months.

Clearly, those concerned about Manning's treatment back in March 2011, be they lawyers or activists or concerned citizens of the world, were not "being grifted," in the words of an executive director of a Political Action Committee. Prolonged solitary confinement is just as much torture as water boarding, destroying a person's sense of self worth and, in some cases, their mind. Were George W. Bush still president it's doubtful liberals would invest so much time in denying that in favor of attacks on the alleged whistle-blower.

But back to ABL. Now, a year after some privileged fool had the nerve to bring up past things she has asserted:

Funny how that works. After initially feigning concern about evils like torture or indefinite detention, ABL then proceeds to denying that there's any reason to be concerned about Barack Obama's role in perpetuating them. Then, after declaring that there's nothing to see here, folks, move along, she then later adopts a pose of disinterested superiority when confronted with inconvenient facts, like a federal judge ruling that American activists did in fact have legitimate fears they could be imprisoned forever under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed by Obama or the UN special rapporteur on torture declaring that Manning's extended time in solitary confinement likely violated international conventions against torture.

At other times, she just decides to ignore past expressions of concern in favor of full-throated support for whatever its Obama is doing. For instance, when Zaid Jilani, at the time with that bastion anti-Obama hackery the Center for American Progress, argued ABL ignores Obama's bombing of poor brown people all because she studiously ignores Obama's bombing of poor brown people – and mocks as unserious, privileged “emoprogs” those – she responded, hurt, that, “Of course I don’t favor bombing brown people.” It's just that not bombing poor brown people must be “balanced against all else that a president must accomplish before an idea becomes reality.” You know what's coming. About six months later, ABL published a post by a guest blogger accusing New York Times reporter Charlie Savage – author of the 2007 book, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency & the Subversion of American Democracy – of carrying out a “partisan hit job on President Obama.” His offense: suggesting Obama's unilateral decision to bomb Libya was at odds with a campaign-trail assertion that he would not bomb a country that did not pose an immediate threat without first consulting Congress.

Not fair! Savage “omits . . . the part that narrowly ties [the question posted to Obama] to the circumstances of a preemptive war to stop alleged WMD production where the U.S. is under no imminent threat.” But Libya wasn't even accused of WMD production is the no-really, not-joking objection. And anyway, “the theory of executive power that Savage is holding Obama up against is a discredited libertarian notion of weak executive power shared by Ron Paul and Glenn Greenwald views which have no support in constitutional law jurisprudence." And that reveals ABL and her cadre's perhaps favorite debate technique: when not mocking anyone who objects to Our President's unilateral wars or assassinations as blinded by privilege -- it takes a former lawyer for J.P. Morgan to spot it -- she invariably accuses those who think we should still talk about things like war and peace when a Democrat's in the White House of being little more than Ron Paul or Glenn Greenwald fanboys, just as some conservatives seek to tie any concerns about income inequality to Vladamir Lenin; it's easier to attack a flawed human being than an idea. It doesn't matter if you always objected to extrajudicial executions or unjust wars of aggression, it matters if you object to them under Obama. Because you know who else objects to things Obama does? Racists.

Not content just publishing pro-unilateral war diatribes, ABL -- when not claiming offense after someone points it out -- regularly makes her disregard for foreign life explicit on Twitter, with cute little posts like this:

I don't know about you, but I'm sure glad ABL's career representing some of the largest banks and insurers in the world has afforded her the privilege to contribute to the public discourse by way of opining all day on Twitter. Finally we have a corporate lawyer willing to stand up for power and call out the truly privileged: those who think the existence of the Republican Party does not detract from the fact that killing poor foreigners with Hellfire missiles and cluster bombs is wrong.

Update: The original version of this piece said the post on Charlie Savage was "by ABL," because that's what it says. On Twitter, she says she merely published it.


  1. Anonymous2:16 PM

    This from a callous Obot that thinks that drones are really funny too! Her old blog still rotates through many witty little catch phrases that sums up Imani and her tribe of sycophants, but the most disgusting is:"Droooones in my errrywhere!"
    What a cute and funny human being. Babies, people with uteri and just plain old innocent men are blown to smithereens everyday, on O's command. But her derangement is so deep and wide that she can't even find a tiny drop of empathy and reflect for just a moment to see that she is in fact a despicable human being so enamored with Obama, that she would indeed turn the other way if Obama were raping a nun. I used to think that it was an exaggeration or extreme but there is no other explanation. Imani and her crew are simply the reverse side of the Bushies coin: unthinking zealots capable of anything that insults or threatens their dear leader. Sickening.

  2. I'd rather not speculate about what sort of extreme act of ultra-violence Obama would have to commit in order to lose support among his more devoted followers. It's enough to me that he's daily ordering air strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere that undeniably murder innocent men, women and children -- and rather than express remorse, he jokes in front of the White House press corp about sending a Predator drone after the Jonas Brothers, with nary a peep from the same folks who would have exploded with righteous anger had Bush done the same thing.

  3. Anonymous4:17 PM

    I'm glad someone else has noticed what a terrible blogger she is. The crowd over at BJ (including Cole) is to scared to cll her out on things like this. (She's got this new thing where she blatantly uses Cole's blog to drive traffic over to RS with a "read the rest here" link. Very embarrassing for Cole!)

    But anyway, yes of course she's a shameless Obama cultist. She spends most of her energy doing one of two things: (1) shouting really loudly about the Conservative Outrage Of The Day in an effort to distract people from focusing on how right wing Obama's policies are, and (2) smearing liberals who dare to focus on how right wing Obama's policies are.

    If she ever had any principles, she has now sacrificed them on the alter of Obama-worship.

  4. Anonymous4:53 PM

    >I'd rather not speculate about what sort of extreme act of ultra-violence Obama would have to commit in order to lose support among his more devoted followers.

    He could join the Republican party. It's pretty clear that's what they consider to be the most immoral act imaginable.

  5. I seriously cannot read her blog. The content as well as the grammar kills me (e.g. abuse of quotation marks -- so damn annoying)

    But what's funny is how you continuously call them out, as annoying as it is, I think someone should put a mirror in their face and generally educate them. It's sad to see with all the information available they chose to keep their eyes wide shut until a Republican comes in office.

    Thanks Charles for all that you do! I love reading your blog and tweets.

  6. Anonymous8:32 PM

    Ya'll are hilarious. ABL is a really nice person, actually. This hyperbole is absurd. "If she ever had any principles..." Really?

    Come on, guys (and I'm sure you're dudes), you're seriously going to make a whole hate blog and die on this hill because she likes the POTUS? Grip: get one. She's doing way more to forward liberal causes than ya'll will do with all your angry comments (seriously, she runs a superpac for women's rights... what have you done today?). You could just relax a bit and try reaching out to cooperate on the issues you share in common instead of hating on her. Crazy idea, I know, considering no one thinks it's acceptable to cooperate with anyone unless they are in 100% political agreement, but it's an election year, ya'll.

    Hate to put it this way, but: Obama or Romney... who do you think is going to appoint Supreme Court Justices who you'll feel better about living with for the next generation? And what about the Senate? Are you ready to throw that?

    A little perspective, dudes. That's all I'm saying.

  7. MJ Green8:51 PM

    Haha, Charles, are you trolling your own comments section? Spot-on parody.

  8. Man...please no more of the "lesser evil" shit. That really gets annoying. Nothing against you guys - vote your conscience brother. But the fact is the republicans didn't need a candidate - Obama gets more done for them then their own candidate could. I don't have the answers, but voting the "lesser evil" isn't an answer either.

  9. Dear women and children killed by President Drone Strike:

    Just be glad it was a Democratic president who did the deed. Think how much worse you'd feel if you were killed by a Republican.


    - Opologists

  10. David Jenkins8:56 AM

    You use rawstory's coverage of 9/11 conspiracy theories to snark about their credibility. Is that because 9/11 was so thoroughly investigated (you remember, the investigation where Dick Cheney agreed to testify only if he didn't have to take the oath, and where George W agreed to testify only if he never had to do so when Dick wasn't there to hold his hand); or is it just because "everybody knows" that 9/11 just COULDN'T have been in any way perpetrated and/or enabled by the sociopaths from PNAC who knew they'd be one-termers without their "new Pearl Harbor"?

    All one can say about 9/11 is that it was EXACTLY the event that the neocons KNEW they had to have in order to implement their radical agenda; and that all the "coincidences" and impossibilities that HAD to happen and DID happen, perfectly timed for the new administration. And that clearly those in power at the time most certainly had motive, means, and opportunity, and as such an empowered criminal investigation should be started post haste.

    Anything less is fashion-based politics, something you (quite ironically) seem to rail against.

  11. So does defending/rationalizing/legitimating imperial murder and attendant police state measures forward liberal causes or does it not? If it doesn't, how much does that set them back? If it does, why should we be advancing these causes at all? Thank god I'm not a liberal and I don't have to think about this shit.

    Also I hope I never stop being entertained by the purity accusations from dedicated partisans, especially when in the same breath they call to Vote for The Party in November.

  12. Anonymous11:05 AM

    Since The Raw Story is apparently ripe for ridicule, we'll await your withering attacks on your guru, Glenn Greenwald, for his stories which appear on their site. Duh.

  13. She's doing way more to forward liberal causes than ya'll will do with all your angry comments (seriously, she runs a superpac for women's rights... what have you done today?).

    Here's a newsflash for you, Nonnie.

    Women live longer than men, and are paid less for doing the same work over their lifetimes. This means they are more dependent on Social Security.

    G.W. Bush tried to cut Social Security, but the Dems prevented it.

    Our Hope and Change President Obama created the "National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform" and made two foes of Social Security, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, its co-chairs. He also pushed Congress to sacrifice Social Security via "Super Congress" and the "Grand Bargain". He routinely refers to Social Security using Frank Luntz-approved language, "entitlement spending".

    You can rely on him to go after Social Security cuts again in a 2nd term, because that is what the plutocracy wants. And he is their servant, as are the Republicans.

  14. Anonymous1:44 PM

    "I'm glad someone else has noticed what a terrible blogger she is. The crowd over at BJ (including Cole) is to scared to cll her out on things like this."

    Cole has literally the exact same attitude and debate strategies as her his writing just doesn't read as obnoxious or borderline crazy. There's the exact same desire to see their opponents harmed, deference to authority, willful blindness to opposing viewpoints, etc. Jane Hamsher occupied the same spot for Cole that Greenwald occupies for ABL.

    There's a reason ABL ended up on Ballon Juice.

  15. SeanLM2:55 PM

    I respect you for doing stuff like this, Charles, but I have to wonder if it's possible to get through to people like ABL at all. The tribalism seems to run too deep. I'm on record as a person who sometimes votes for politicians (oh shit!) and I wouldn't ever defend the endless multitude of shitty things they do.

    In fact, it seems counterproductive to "left" causes to do so, doesn't it? To the extent that lesser evilism is legit at all, you're still basically putting up with an evil - why would someone spend time defending it ?

  16. Anonymous3:26 PM

    This message has been generated automatically by the ABL EARLY RACIST WARNING SYSTEM. Stay tuned for complete instructions on how to interpret this incident in a manner exculpatory to President Obama. Until then, keep your head down and your mouth shut. Unless you're Yutsano and have a craving for braised eggplant. That is all.

    - Uncle Clarence Thomas

  17. Anonymous3:38 PM

    "You can rely on him to go after Social Security cuts again in a 2nd term, because that is what the plutocracy wants. And he is their servant, as are the Republicans."

    And therefore, as is ABL and every other balloonemobagger.

    - Uncle Clarence Thomas

  18. re: Update

    Bullshit. As you note, it's published under her name with no note to suggest the words were authored by anyone else. She had the perfect opportunity to note the shift in author when she included,

    This entry was posted in Libertarian Lunacy, Obama 2012: Yes We Will!, Our Pundits of Perpetual Disappointment, roadkillrefugee and tagged Charlie Savage, Glenn Greenwald, Iraq War, Libya, President Obama, Ron Paul, War Powers Act.

    If roadkillrefugee (rkref) wrote the damned thing, then the place to note that was after the by in the actual post; not in the "tags", or on twitter months later when it's convenient, or adventitious, for her to say, not mine, and blame the person citing for getting it wrong. But, ABL isn't noted for her integrity with people who have any integrity of their own. And, to be fair to a number of commenters at Balloon Juice, she doesn't get off scott-free.

  19. @ Anonymous #4,

    "Come on, guys (and I'm sure you're dudes)"

    Actually I'm a dudette ;)

  20. She prizes her vagina over drones? How nice. I guess all the vaginas attached to all those women overseas who have the bad fortune to meet up with those drones... just aren't that important.

    Jesus fucking christ. I have no love for stupid fratboy men, and they're abundant all across the political spectrum and all over Blogland. But I also don't care for women who think you can further feminism by dropping bombs, so I tend to steer clear of most liberal feminists, too.

    If you can seriously bomb away sexism, I wonder why this hack of a blogger isn't calling for anyone to send drones to Arizona, or whichever state is currently leading the Every Sperm Is Sacred brigade. I mean, sure some innocent women would die, but who cares? It's never mattered before, has it?

    What a crock of shit.

  21. Anonymous @ 10:33,

    I don't think race has anything to do with it and I see no benefit on speculating over whether it does. As another commenter pointed out, her shtick is basically the same as John Cole's, except she doesn't have about six years of pro-Bush blogging for which to attest.

  22. Anonymous12:10 AM

    I see lots of benefit in seeing whether it does, because I believe race is now a bigger problem for liberals than it is for conservatives, but it's a topic for some other time (I am black myself, BTW, so you can rest assured that A) you've checked off the "I'm intolerant of bigots" box with your post; and B) you aren't actually dealing with a bigot).

    Anyway, I do not think "ABL" (why do you think she chose that moniker?) would exist were it not for her race and gender, and she certainly wouldn't be able to be so obnoxious. It's been some time since I read John Cole, but I don't remember him being that nasty and irrational -- and it's the sort of thing I'd remember.

  23. I gotta agree with Charles - I don't think race is really that big an issue, unless the person in question uses it as a weapon. But what I do see as an issue is the polarizing effect this entire liberal/conservative debate has done to both sides. It was bad enough to have a Limbaugh that would push the extreme right no matter how insane it was...but now in reply we have these "Super Liberal Intellectuals" that are just as insane. They've sacrificed their brains to push the party line of crap to the point of utter rediculousness. They are just as fanatic, exclusionary and elitist, and reactive to any dissent in their party as the right is. I supported Obama...but I'm not foolish enough to think he's doing anything for me. Just like the title of this article, "Fool Me Once...". Obama won't get me a second time.

  24. @ Anonymous 3:10 AM,

    I wish I could recall the specific details of why ABL choose that moniker, but what I do recall isn't consistent with what you're indirectly suggesting. Well, thank the goddess Google:

    The rage comes from my pituitary tumor, which I have cleverly nicknamed Tumer Willis. She gets angry sometimes. And when she does, well… just… don’t make her angry. Because then she makes me angry. And then it’s a whole Hulk/Green and Black Lady thing that I really don’t want to get into right now. Source

    @ Charles Davis,

    ABL's shtick is similar to John Cole's but they do have some differences. Note that the final paragraphs are Cole's on why he took her post down, and then put it back up.

    I don't want to come off as some Balloon Juice Apologist. In their world, I'm an emo-firebagging-greenwaldite-Cato loving-libertarian (or some such). I just think it's important to characterize this genre as fairly as possible. Particularly, since the adherents do such an awesome job of going all emo themselves. No doubt ABL has "issues." We don't need to embellish them; she does a good enough job of that all on her own.

    ~ bystander

  25. I posted this on another blog of yours, Charles, but to contradict what some have said:

    I think race DOES have something to do with it.

    The website BlackAgendRadio, a leftist blog run by and for black people, regularly and effectively criticizes the sad, brainwashed black majority that STILL supports Barack Obama, despite all of his odious politics. I'll also note that BAR has essays dating back as far as 2005 predicting the type of president Mr. Obama would be, and they are SPOT ON. They know what kind of man and politician Obama really is, and I wish I'd been aware of them sooner before being swept up in the Hopey-Changey Kool-Aid.

    It's frustrating to talk about Obama with most black people, because understandably it is a huge source of pride to see he & his family in the White House. But it's a ridiculous pride to have right now.

  26. I'd love to share BAR with the liberals I know. The problem is: they'd take one look at some of the regular commenters' views about reproductive rights and GLBT rights and decide that some commenters = all BAR staff. So some shitty opinions from some posters means that every criticism the writers make against this administration is magically invalid. "Progressive" apologists don't demand perfection of Obama & Friends, but they will demand it of any O&F critic and once they don't get it, game over.

  27. bystander,

    You're right that there are differences between Cole and ABL; Cole, to his credit, has managed to express concern about the treatment of B. Manning -- which is weird because I thought doing so automatically made one a privileged, misogynistic white supremacist.

    As for that post you share: wow. I mean... wow. She actually claims that the following, primarily gentrified or gentrifying Washington, DC, neighborhoods are "only black": "Capitol Hill, Chinatown, Metro Center, Union Station, L’Enfant Plaza, Mt Vernon-convention center neighborhood, McPherson Sq, NoMa, Thomas Circle, Logan Circle, Columbia Heights, Mt Pleasant, Adams Morgan, Shaw, U Street Corridor, Cardozo".

    This suggests she either hasn't been in DC the last 10 years or, as I suspect, that she just wouldn't let a thing like reality get in the way of some self-righteous rhetoric.

  28. Anonymous10:39 PM

    I've said it before. The most vicious, nasty, unprincipled, and downright unpleasant people in the world are amongst the Obots.

    There's just no comparison with Bush's legion of superfans. They still had a shred of their humanity.

  29. SeanLM8:13 PM

    @Karl, Juan Cole certainly sucks in his own right, but for the record John Cole is a wholly separate douchebag who was a Muslim-hating, right-wing "war-blogger" until like 2007 or something.

  30. Anonymous8:21 AM

    Incredible! The name "John Cole" must be some kind of Universal Code Name for dipshit, since "Professor" Cole's first name actually is John and not the "exotic" name he's given himself, "Juan."