Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Bullshit Gets Started

Apparently bullshit doesn’t bother other people because I posted a rant about this on Facebook and only one person commented, which may or not be indicative of what happens, or doesn’t, on this social network. Maybe the smoke coming out of my ears clouded their view. Maybe everyone’s there to be seen but not to hear – unless, of course, you leave a comment on their post.

My little journey began with a link provided by a friend and fellow blogger I deeply respect, and for whom I have genuine affection, to a video by The Young Turks called Obama: Problem with You Progressives. Cenk Uygur  made a big theatrical producation out of a statement that Obama allegedly made to Bernie Sanders last spring while holding up a glass of water: "That's the problem with you progressives. You see this as half-empty." As he kept emphasizing the word “you” in “you progressives,” as if the president had thumped Bernie Sander’s chest and stuck his nose in the senator’s face, the ever-faithful red flags began to wave.

I journeyed over to the Huffington Post to see the source of Uygur’s angst. The title Republican Opposition To Elizabeth Warren Allows White House To Duck Uncomfortable Questions seemed innocuous enough. Maybe the Young Turk had just emphasized the wrong syllable or maybe he was being dramatic to compensate for his otherwise dull presentation. Major miscall on my part.

The entire article is devoted to how Obama publicly supported Warren but “was never committed to nominating her as head of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, people familiar with the internal decision-making process said.” Fairly early in his piece, Shahien Nasiripour writes this titillating little tid-bit:
. . . . Sources said an anecdote about a 2010 meeting provides clues to Obama’s thinking. 
Last summer, during a White House meeting with first-term Senate Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, asked Obama whether he'd nominate Warren for the role. 
Obama held up a half-full glass of water and told him: "That's the problem with you progressives. You see this as half-empty."

The alleged quote went viral with Leftbaggers, including FDL and Daily Kos among many, many others. None of them bothered to mention anything else in the article, such as the fact that Harry Reid was a strong supporter of Warren’s appointment or that the White House said that Chief of Staff William Daley didn’t oppose the nomination, although Nasiripour waffles on the latter’s position. So, what's the problem?

First of all the writer does not name a single source or a reference which reported it at the time. Second, he is remiss in not putting the statement in its full context. What led up to this? What were the words before and after this statement? What had Sanders said? What kind of occasion was it? It’s just sort of hanging out there unconnected to anything else in the article. Was it just tossed out there to give the Leftbaggers something to rile about - as if they need any encouragement.  

This former professional researcher spent nearly an hour back tracking this story, trying to find out where it originated. All sources pointed to this one HuffPost piece which failed to name a source.

We on the left are always criticizing the right-wing media for not documenting their sources, taking statements out of context and leaving out pertinent information. What a bunch of hypocrites.

If anyone can come up with a factual, authoritative source from the time when it happened and provide the full context, I will gladly eat crow on Facebook in front of God and everyone else. You know what else, though? If he in fact did say it, I’m going to raise my glass to him and shout, "Hear. Hear."


  1. Good Morning Leslie ....

    I'm not much on trying to understand what people's word's are supposed to mean or who sez what on serious issue's, the Turk's, I dont care much for their show either. Being a man who believe's in just getting the "job done" only ... I would have appointed Warren for the position, I done a post on this myself the day it was announced. The arguement was that the corporate finance sector would not allow our political rep's (GOP/ Tea Bag's) to confirm her ... big deal, then dont, but I wont budge, backdown, and compromise when in a spot like that, too critical to our nation. Warren was the architect, she designed/ built it, and was the correct workable choice for the job ... she get's the job done, is no nonsense, or buzz phrases ... plain and simple. As far as what the corporate/ finance sector think's ... I frankly dont give a rat's ass ... they do nothinng but screw us, ... take it or leave it ...

  2. @RC: They don't just screw us, they own us. Warren would never have been approved. In fact I doubt if Cordray will be approved. The GOP has already said they want to kill the agency. My point in this long, rambling rant is that there is no real proof that Obama said that or in what context. But the Leftbaggers jump on this one statement out of the entire article to spread their poisonous cankers.

  3. I understood your point actually, I just wanted to throw in my slant here on the whole gig, and of course, I agree with your statement as well, it's all part of the politipop game Leslie. The whole objective here by the power's is to eliminate this President and Administration any way they can, and this is why I dont want the President to cut any of these any more slack at all, he already gave enough ... I made clear in probably at least 50 posting's in over 3 year's of the reality, and what's being pulled and why, and it's been accurate. You dont want any GOP or affiliate's to gain any more power and hopefully even cut what power they have now (that is why I done the "2010 Show" series ... in 09/ 10 to explain what would happen if the GOP got any majority in either house, which happened and what we are seeing currently. If the GOP get's ANY more power than they have now in 2012, you may as well kiss what freedom's we do have left goodbye, and this mean's that the only alternative we will be left with after is total rebellion in whatever form we need to do it.

  4. Leftbaggers. Great term. I haven't heard it least that I remember. (I am getting old, you know.)

  5. Obama has royally pissed me off and yes, I'm tired to defending his ass but right now the greater enemies are the republicans. I have to agree with Obama's implied assessment that sometimes liberals will cut off their noses to spite their faces.

    POTUS found a piece of a backbone yesterday and I'm going to back him up all the way until the fight ends one way of the other.

  6. Everyone who knows me knows I'm not a big Greenwald fan but he's right on the mark here. The only thing I'd point out to him, and as I illustrate here, is the the Lefties "do it too."

    And take a look at this incident. The author calls it McCarthyism. I call it fascism.

  7. I agree that we liberals (or Progressives) need to be careful to not do the very things we accuse the right wingers of doing. It is as important to document our statements as it is to know the provenance of a work of art.

    When we just repeat a story that we like before checking if it's true or not, we open ourselves up to criticism. Facts are stubborn things and we must stick to them.

    I confess I am guilty of not always checking the facts of a story. It is due to laziness.

  8. "I will gladly eat crow on Facebook in front of God and everyone else."

    God's on FB? I never even thought to SEARCH!

    I love you for looking for context here. It's so Parsley of you and so perfect. Obama isn't a progressive. He's a liberal. We needed to go LEFT, we went LEFT, he's given us considerable LEFT and he makes a valid point.

    I'd love to see more, but I remember where we started out in '07. We're well LEFT of that, now. If we can keep some momentum going, we might just move this whole thing even further...well, you get my drift. If the base abandons Obama in a huff right now, we'll be looking up to find bottom, directionally-speaking.

  9. I recently commented on another blog in response to that blogger's thoughts on politics. She wrote:

    “I find political and economical systems so complex I have no hope of deconstructing them into meaning. I cannot extract enough detail to argue.”

    and I replied:

    "That is exactly how I feel. I tend to just listen when friends and family discuss politics."

    I don't think you can assume anything when people don't comment on political posts on blogs or facebook or any other social media outlet.

    I participate in social media to make personal connections -- that's why I don't comment on political posts.

    It's not that I don't have political opinions, but before I express them, I like to deeply inform myself on whatever the issue is, and that takes a lot of time. Even then I don't feel 100% confident that I've ferreted out all of the nuances of any given issue.

    On a personal note, thank you so much for your kind words on my blog and on facebook. I really appreciate it!

  10. I haven't been doing a very good job of keeping up with your posts here and on fb. Family's visiting for the next two weeks.

    This story had smoke coming out of my eyes.

    I heard David McCullough, Pulizer Prize winning historian, interviewed on Fareed Zacaria's show this morning. McCullough said he very much admired President Obama. This from a man who has done a close study of American presidents.

    McCullough's statement holds more weight than some malcontented Republicans OR Democrats. Neither of which have done the hours and years of research to understand what makes a great president.

  11. @Nance: Didn't you know that "God is everywhere," so that must mean he is on FB. ; )

    @Susan: As you can see, we are all opinionated here but not all of us has to be a political animal. As long as I can visit your blog and enjoy your creations, I'm a happy camper.

    @Shaw: I agree but did you see a couple of those comments? Aargh.