August 20, 2013

Juxtaposition highlights the politics of distraction.

Captured just now at Memeorandum (which auto-aggregates news and opinion pieces based on what's being written about right now by "experts and pundits, insiders and outsiders, media professionals and amateur bloggers"):



Here's "White House Had Advance Notice on Heathrow Detention," implicating the Obama administration in the British government's 9-hour detention of David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the most conspicuous journalist dealing with Edward Snowden.

But, look, a puppy!!! The Obamas got another dog, a girl puppy this time. Isn't she cute? She's named Sunny. Aw, doesn't that make you feel sunny? Sunny, thank you for the truth you've let me see. Sunny, thank you for the facts from A to Z. My life was torn like a windblown sand, then a rock was formed when we held hands. Sunny one so true, I love you.


David Miranda, a citizen of Brazil, was detained when he got off an airplane in the UK:
His carry-on bags were searched and, he says, police confiscated a computer, two pen drives, an external hard drive and several other electronic items, including a games console, as well [as] two newly bought watches and phones that were packaged and boxed in his stowed luggage.
The White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, asked whether "United States government [was] at all involved in this," said:
... what you’re referring to is a law enforcement action that was taken by the British government. The United States was not involved in that decision or in that action. So if you have questions about — if you have questions about that, then I would refer you to the British government.
Asked whether the U.S. government was involved, Josh Earnest — must resist remarking on his name again — substituted the issue of whether the U.S. made the decision. Then he reinserted the word "involved" and said "United States was not involved in that decision." There are the extra words "or in that action," but that doesn't answer whether the U.S. was at all involved, since the action occurred in the U.K. and was done by the police there. Earnest archly refers reporters to the British government. Go ask them.

The follow-up question — which lets him off the hook for that evasion — is "Does the U.S. feel that Miranda could have revealed information that’s useful in terms of finding Edward Snowden or pursuing its case against Snowden in any way?" And Earnest once again stresses that the Brits made the "decision" and took the action and go ask them...
Like I said, I’m not aware of any of the conversations that Mr. Miranda may have had with British law enforcement officials while he was detained, but that detention was a decision that was made by the British government and is something that if you have questions about, you should ask them.
Like I said... As in: How many times must I repeat my talking points? Now, look here....



My life was torn like windblown sand on Martha's Vineyard la la la we held hands... Sunny one so true, I love you.

Thanks, Obama, for the truth you've let us see. The facts from A to Z.

30 comments:

Matthew Sablan said...

Emergency Puppy!

Glen Filthie said...

Did the puppy come with a V22 Osprey like the other one? Who can pass up a deal like that?

Oso Negro said...

My brother is an hysterical Democrat. He has not one, but two pictures of Obama and his family on display in his home. I was at his house for a party last week and noticed that he he also has a picture on display of Obama's dog in front of the White House. I felt sick about it, but didn't say anything.

Hagar said...

I think Greenwald & Co. would expect this kind of behavior from the U.S. and British governments, so I do not think Miranda is likely to have carried anything "of value," and he may indeed have deliberately traveled in the hope of provoking some incident like this.

Roy Jacobsen said...

And the truth about Obama was knowable--really, it was--when he first made his appearance on the scene.

But many did not want the truth, they wanted their ears tickled with a beautiful lie.

Kelly said...

Oso, my friends have a framed picture of the Obama family hanging on their wall. When I first saw it I jokingly said, awwww, you took down my picture and replaced it with the Obama's??? They laughed.

JRoberts said...

While watching the video of the dogs I remembered walking across that lawn about nine years ago. At that time I never even thought of checking the bottom of my shoes afterward.

After seeing the giant dump that is the Obama administration, I now wouldn't step onto that lawn without hip waders.

Peter said...

Distraction carries the show for magicians. But is the President clever enough to do magic (no, not real magic)?

Jane said...

JRoberts, I wouldn't worry too much about the lawn. Don't they have multiple staffers paid exclusively to take care do the dog?

Clyde said...

If she's over a year old, is she really a puppy any more, or just a dog?

Robert Cook said...

"My brother is an hysterical Democrat. He has not one, but two pictures of Obama and his family on display in his home. I was at his house for a party last week and noticed that he he also has a picture on display of Obama's dog in front of the White House. I felt sick about it, but didn't say anything."

Any American who would display any pictures at home of any president or any politician--even the good ones, (however few they may be...and Obama is definitely not on the list)--is an idiot.

MayBee said...

I hope his hard drives were filled with gay porn and videos of rodeo clowns.

Hagar said...

There is also a rather silly article about this over at "Hot Air" claiming that Greenwald and Miranda do not deserve 1st Amendment protection (I know - the arrest was in Britain, and Britain's "Bill of Rights" is quite another thing than ours - but this argument keeps being brought up) because Greenwald is a "blogger" with an agenda and not a real "journalist."

The last thing in the world any "real journalist" should want
is any official definition and recognition as "real journalists," since that will also immediately make them suspected agents of the government or whatever entity that issues such credentials.

lemondog said...

Scraping the bottom of the barrel when one resorts to puppies to create distraction.

William said...

Did Snowden, in his idealistic pursuit of government transparency, tell Greenwald that he had info damaging to the British government but that it should only be disclosed in the event that they did something to piss Greenwald off.

Rocketeer said...

"Sunny," huh?

I would have guessed "Skwurl, the amazing scandal-distracting dog."

MayBee said...

I wonder if the fact that it is a gay couple is lessening the reaction to what happened.
Do you all think people would be more upset if, say, they detained Jake Tapper's wife?

Mountain Maven said...

The administration is grossly abusing its power in order to disable and intimidate its political opponents, That said, it appears that Greenwald and Miranda are wrapped up with Snowden and may have confidential documents. That would make them a target.

Bob Ellison said...

I've read a few essays on writing lately. None of them said what should be obvious: don't ever say "like I said" (or "as I said"), or "as I have written before", or "I have commented on this numerous times, but...". If you made an impression the first time, you'll only diminish the impression when you keep hammering on it. And most of us haven't read everything you've written.

Lots of online writers make these mistakes.

RebeccaH said...

If Obama really wants to distract from all his many failures and scandals, he'd better get Bo and Sunny together and start breeding litters!

Bob Ellison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OmegaPaladin said...

Robert Cook,

I used to have a small picture of GWB on my refrigerator. It was a newspaper clipping of him standing, hand over heart, at a veteran's ceremony. I kept it up as a sarcastic take on the idea of GWB being a dictator.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

It's kind of lame to give your dog a name that consists of your initials, as Obama did with Bo.

Obama usually signs his electronic messages with "bo".

Ann Althouse said...

@Bob Ellison The phrase "Like I said" wasn't written, so you need to adapt your advice for speakers.

To me — and this is the reason I repeated it — Earnest had a tell. He was answering a NEW question, so beginning the answer with "Like I said" was a way to say: You're just asking the same question, so I'm going to give you the same answer. It wasn't the same question, and even his first answer was evasive. "Like I said" was, to my ear, a red flag that he had talking points, he intended to deliver them, and the questions would not be taken seriously.

Ann Althouse said...

And... as long as we're talking about writing advice...

"to my ear, a red flag" is bad.

Bob Ellison said...

"You need to adapt your advice for speakers."

Good point, and it picks at another sore spot: why do people speak differently than they write? I do...I curse more orally than on the keyboard, and I say "um" and "well" a lot more, but these are just faults. I don't deliberately talk differently, I think, unless I'm talking to someone I really dislike.

I say "it is I" and "had it been she". Those get weird looks.

Shouldn't writing be as smooth as speaking, mostly? Not everyone can do it. I can't. I think I write more smoothly than I talk, and Stephen Hawking probably does. Rush Limbaugh talks better than he writes. But we should strive to write as orators.

Hagar said...

Of course Miranda knew he would be a target, and he probably carried spare underwear in his coat pocket for just that eventuality.

Buford Gooch said...

Well, the Obama's have to have something to do after he retires from his current position. Becoming dog ranchers isn't a bad profession. I hear this breed is especially tender.

rowrrbazzle said...

"Sunny". Did they reject "Checkers"?

Ann Althouse said...

"Good point, and it picks at another sore spot: why do people speak differently than they write?... Shouldn't writing be as smooth as speaking, mostly? Not everyone can do it. I can't."

You need to read this passage from Janet Malcolm's great book "The Journalist and the Murderer":

"When we talk with somebody, we are not aware of the strangeness of the language we are speaking. Our ear takes it in as English, and only if we see it transcribed verbatim do we realize that it is a kind of foreign tongue. What the tape recorder has revealed about human speech—that Molière’s M. Jourdain was mistaken: we do not, after all, speak in prose—is something like what the nineteenth-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies revealed about animal locomotion. Muybridge’s fast camera caught and froze positions never before seen, and demonstrated that artists throughout art history had been “wrong” in their renderings of horses (among other animals) in motion. Contemporary artists, at first upset by Muybridge’s discoveries, soon regained their equanimity, and continued to render what the eye, rather than the camera, sees. Similarly, novelists of our tape-recorder era have continued to write dialogue in English rather than in tape-recorderese, and most journalists who work with a tape recorder use the transcript of an extended interview merely as an aid to memory—as a sort of second chance at note-taking—rather than as a text for quotation. The transcript is not a finished version, but a kind of rough draft of expression. As everyone who has studied transcripts of tape-recorded speech knows, we all seem to be extremely reluctant to come right out and say what we mean—thus the bizarre syntax, the hesitations, the circumlocutions, the repetitions, the contradictions, the lacunae in almost every non-sentence we speak. The tape recorder has opened up a sort of underwater world of linguistic phenomena whose Cousteaus are as yet unknown to the general public. (A fascinating early contribution to this field of research is a paper forbiddingly entitled “Countertransference Examples of the Syntactic Expression of Warded-Off Contents” by Hartwig Dahl, Virginia Teller, Donald Moss, and Manuel Truhillo [Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1978], which analyzes the verbatim speech of a psychoanalyst during a session and shows its strange syntax to be a form of covert bullying of the patient.) "