Susan Rice To The Rescue

“Susan Rice is the Typhoid Mary of the Obama administration foreign policy.”

Senator Tom Cotton, Republican from Arkansas

 

Now that Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor for perhaps the last sane occupant of the White’s House we will ever have, has spoken (“I leaked nothing to nobody”), it is time to get a few things straight.

Image result for susan rice on andrea mitchell todayOne thing is the obvious, the expression of which is sad for the country but nevertheless true: Donald Tr-mp is dangerously unhinged. I have said that so many times and in so many ways that I know some people get tired of hearing it, but it is the first thing to understand about the dire situation our country is in at this existential moment. The man pretending to be our legitimate president is nuts.

The second thing to understand is that the dangerously unhinged man in the White’s House has slandered good people both before he got elected and since. He has accused President Obama of a very serious crime, with absolutely no evidence. He has used his Twitter account to essentially accuse Susan Rice of a very serious crime, of which there is also exactly no evidence. He simply has no problem believing the serial IQ killers at Fox and Friends over his own intelligence agencies. Nor does he have any problem believing any other right-wing conspiracy kook who happens to write something favorable about him, or unfavorable about someone he doesn’t like, or write something that might, in his twisted mind, validate his paranoia and temporarily soothe his pathological insecurities.

The third thing to understand, and perhaps most disturbing of all, is that now Tr-mp has some Republicans in Congress aggressively coming to his rescue, offering up the possibility that his slanderous accusations against both Obama and Rice have some credibility.  Senator Rand Paul, perhaps one of the most despicable senators in the Senate, if you don’t count Mitch McConnell, tweeted:

Smoking gun found! Obama pal and noted dissembler Susan Rice said to have been spying on Trump campaign.
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-04-03/top-obama-adviser-sought-names-of-trump-associates-in-intel 

Of course there is no evidence for that. All there is evidence for is that Rice was doing her job as the National Security Advisor, by going through proper channels of “unmasking” the names of Tr-mp transition people in the intelligence reports who were having conversations with Russians, so she could better understand what was going on. There was nothing unusual about this, as many people in the intelligence community have publicly acknowledged. In any case, the very columnist Paul linked to contradicted what Paul (and Tr-mp) have slanderously tweeted. Eli Lake wrote in his article:

Rice’s requests to unmask the names of Trump transition officials do not vindicate Trump’s own tweets from March 4 in which he accused Obama of illegally tapping Trump Tower. There remains no evidence to support that claim.

Remember, a delusional Rand Paul tweeted: “Smoking gun found! Obama pal and noted dissembler Susan Rice said to have been spying on Trump campaign.” That accusation is utter bullshit. And, as I said, it is slander. But apparently, after you spend the weekend massaging the putter of Agent Orange on the golf course or in the clubhouse after the match, slander in the name of Tr-mp becomes much easier to commit.

The last thing to understand about all this mess, at least for now, is what former Ambassador Michael McFaul said on MSNBC today. He worked three years for the National Security Council before he became ambassador to Moscow. He said he has dealt “with a lot of classified information.” And he said, echoing what Susan Rice said herself:

The reason we’re talking about this is that White House officials in the Tr-mp administration leaked classified information about Susan Rice asking to mask or unmask. Now, I just listened to a House Intelligence Committee—I heard many, many people speak for hours about how leaking is bad. I agree with that and I want to make sure your viewers understand we would not be talking about this were it not for the fact that Tr-mp administration officials leaked classified information.

What McFaul said is essential to understanding the deflection going on here. There must be something serious going on, something criminally serious going on, with the Tr-mp-Russia investigation that would require such extraordinary means to try to protect Agent Orange, or someone or several someones in the weird gaggle of garish gangsters that comprised his transition team. It will take some time to find out the details, but the outline is becoming clearer every day:

1) Tr-mp is crazy and he and many of those around him are corrupt.

2) Too many Republicans are willing to overlook both the craziness and the corruption, and,

3) the game is to divert attention away from the craziness and corruption by invoking the name of the most evil villain known to Republicans, aside from Hillary Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama: the demonic Susan Rice.

The truth, eventually, will come out, despite attempts by the liars in the White’s House, their enablers in Congress, and the conservative media complex spreading propaganda all in support of a man and his Putinesque posse who are hell-bent on using the presidency and its trappings to make as much money as they can before they are thrown out of power, either by the force of law, or by the judgment of We the People.

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Language Matters, But Not Much To Journalists

George Lakoff is an amazing linguistics guru who I have quoted often. He has something to say about what Republicans in Michigan did to unions:

Michigan has just passed a corporate servitude law. It is designed to take away many of the worker rights that unions have conferred throughout their history: the right to a living wage. The right to equal pay for women. The right to deferred payments in the form of pensions. The right to negotiate workplace standards and working conditions. The right to overtime pay.

The law is intended to destroy unions, or at least make then ineffective.

Something else Lakoff said should have your attention:

The deeper truth about unions is that they don’t just create and maintain rights for workers; they work for and create crucial rights in society as a whole. Unions created weekends, the eight-hour workday and health benefits. And through their politics, they have been at the center of support for civil rights and other social justice issues. In short, unions don’t just work for their members. They work for all of us. Including businesses: Workers are profit creators.

But perhaps the most important truth Lakoff, the linguist, passes on to all of us who call ourselves Democrats is this:

Language matters. Republicans understand this better than Democrats. Republicans have called their corporate servitude law a “right to work” law, as if the law conferred a right instead of taking many away. The first principle of political and social communication in cases of conflict is: avoid the other side’s language. The Democrats keep violating this principle, using the Republicans’ name for this law. In this way they are helping Republicans, because using the Republican language activates Republican framing, not just for this law, but for conservative ideology at the deepest level…

Language works so that the conservative name “right to work” evokes the conservative political ideology in the brains of those who hear it without wincing. The more an idea is activated in the brain the stronger it gets. Thus, the use of the conservative name strengthens the conservative ideology in the brains of the public.

The press is not being neutral in using the Republican name for the law. Journalists too, in just using the name, are supporting both the Republican framing of the law and conservative ideology. The press is not being balanced — which is what journalists typically claim to be. Balance would be to use both the names “corporate servitude law” and “right to work law” and to explain the differences in the progressive and conservative understanding of what the law is and does.

Of course, to do so would change a false view of language that journalists too often internalize, namely, that language is neutral. To see that it isn’t, just try speaking or writing of “Michigan’s corporate servitude law” and listen to conservatives scream bloody murder over a truth that does fit their view of democracy. And listen to them keep screaming because it is important to keep repeating the true name of the law if the public is to understand what the law really does.

No, language is not neutral. Language matters. Journalism matters. Politics matters.  Ask labor unions in Michigan. Heck, ask Susan Rice, who has now withdrawn her name from consideration to be our Secretary of State, all because a handful of Republican senators, among them John McCain and Lindsey Graham, working openly with Fox “News” and other more reputable news outlets, sought to destroy her public service career, and now have.

I recommend you read the entire Lakoff piece.

President Obama Dope Slaps McCain And Graham At Press Conference

If you heard a loud pop this afternoon, it came from Washington, D.C., as President Obama, during an excellent press conference that every American should have seen, dope-slapped John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

And it’s about damn time.

Here was the question and the President’s remarks:

JONATHAN KARL: Thank you Mr. President. Senator John McCain, and Senator Lindsey Graham both said today that they want to have Watergate-style hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, and said that if you nominate Susan Rice to be Secretary of State, they will do everything in their power to block her nomination. Senator Graham said, he simply doesn’t trust Ambassador Rice after what she said about Benghazi. I’d like your reaction to that? And — and would those threats deter you from making a nomination like that?

OBAMA: Well first of all I’m not going to comment on various nominations that I’ll put forward to fill out my cabinet for the second term. Those are things that are still being discussed. But let me say specifically about Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill, and professionalism, and toughness, and grace. As I’ve said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her.

If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi? and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received? and to besmirch her reputation? is outrageous.

And, you know, we’re after an election now. I think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi, and I’m happy to cooperate in any ways that Congress wants. We have provided every bit of information that we have and we will continue to provide information. And we’ve got a full-blown investigation, and all that information will be disgorged to Congress.

And I don’t think there’s any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that’s a problem. And we’ve got to get to the bottom of it and there needs to be accountability. We’ve got to bring those who carried it out to justice. They won’t get any debate from me on that.

But when they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me. And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity at the State Department, then I will nominate her. That’s not a determination that I’ve made yet.

That was a presidential beat down. And McCain and Graham deserved every bit of it.

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