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“Car-Lying; Carly Fiorina Lies Like A Boss”: Her Meaningless Specifics Are A Marketing Ploy, Not A Policy

The Central Intelligence Agency has some tips for spotting liars. Unfortunately, most of them also sound like stage directions for a GOP primary candidate: “Failing to answer.” “Attacking.” “Denial.” Even, “Bringing up religion.” One particular hint is unusually relevant these days: “Being too specific.”

Carly Fiorina’s continuing distortions about what she saw, or didn’t see, on the Planned Parenthood sting videos would set off alarms all over Langley on all those counts, but it’s her level of primary-color, pointillist embroidery on the truth—in that and other instances—that truly sets her apart from the rest of the field.

Call it Car-lying. Describing things into reality is a trademark of Fiorina’s, a style of mendacity that sets her apart from career politicians. Indeed, the reason she doesn’t come off as a politician is she’s still in marketing.

At Hewlett-Packard, employees said she “embellished” the company’s “future products, strategy and even history,” adding a fictitious personal visit from Walt Disney to the true story about Disney Studios being an early client. She was brought into HP to be brash and exciting, to “drive a stake through” the “community-minded” and “collaborative” “pocket-protector paradise” of cautious expansion that existed before she got there. And she did! The Compaq merger that defined her unsteady tenure was a function of her own salesmanship: “The moxie to risk shareholders’ money on a huge acquisition… exceeds the courage of most mortals,” as one more positive assessment put it. Or, put another way: “Fiorina had one significant weakness as chief executive: she just wasn’t very good at running the business.”

Perhaps the best example of Fiorina’s cynical hucksterism is her brief stint as a consultant to the very agency that might have seen through her: the CIA. Then-Director Michael Hayden asked her to serve on a board charged with helping the agency navigate “demands for greater public accountability and openness.” Her advice? Don’t stop doing the stuff that make people want to hold you accountable—mass surveillance or torture—just make people think you’re being accountable. Or, as she recommended: “be very creative about [being] transparent.”

Indeed, exuberant chicanery may be the only crossover skill Fiorina can bring to her campaign from the business world. She managed the business side of her last campaign about as successfully as she did HP, which is to say: Not only did she lose, but by paying off her self-funded loan to the campaign first, she got a golden parachute and her employees got the shaft.

Fiorina does more than tell the “big lie,” she tells a big lie of a thousand parts, throwing placeholder disinformation at her interrogators with such practiced cool that observers just assume she must know what she’s talking about. Hence the soup of numbers in her military requisition demands at the last debate: “50 Army brigades,” “36 Marine battalions,” “350 naval ships.”

Fiorina’s numbers came from a Heritage Foundation study—though not one that has anything to do with the question on the table, which at least began with “Have you met Vladimir Putin?” and drifted more fuzzily into “the military issue.” Heritage’s alarmist report is a faux-empirical “readiness” index, designed to either estimate the U.S.’s ability to conduct two simultaneous, conventional regional wars or goose defense spending (maybe both!); but it’s not an actual plan for a real-world military engagement. Do you think River City would have bought the con if it had been “a lot” and not 76 trombones leading the big parade?

Pressed by Chuck Todd on her Planned Parenthood video lies, Fiorina didn’t just repeat that she had seen something that does not exist, she accused the organization of something that the “sting” video’s makers hadn’t: “Planned Parenthood is aborting fetuses alive to harvest their brains and other body parts. That is a fact.” To be clear, with this statement, Fiorina isn’t just repeating a mischaracterization she already told (that Planned Parenthood “harvests” organs that are intact after an abortion). Rather, she is saying that Planned Parenthood aborts fetuses alive, for the purpose of harvesting their intact organs. She added, “Planned Parenthood will not and cannot deny this because it is happening.”

That last bit is a hoary nugget of rhetorical flim-flammery on par with “When did you stop beating your wife?” It tries to reinvent lack of engagement as admission of guilt. Except Planned Parenthood has denied allegations of illegally “harvesting” organs—and six different state investigations (Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and now Missouri) have backed up those denials.

Instructively, what’s disturbing about Fiorina’s falsehoods isn’t that she lied, or even that she seems to believe her own lies. It’s not even, really, that her lies get bigger every time.

No, what should give you pause is that by sheer force of articulated will she has fabricated her own reality, to the point that her Super PAC spliced together a different video to illustrate just what it is she said she saw. Think about it: If Fiorina had stuck to some kind of emotionally-charged but non-specific description of the video, there would be no second round of debate. As it is, Fiorina didn’t just lie—she created a storyboard.

The Super PAC YouTube contribution is as dishonest a use of found footage as any “Paranormal Activity” rip-off, yet somehow her supporters suspend their disbelief. That may be because, unlike fans of direct-to-on-demand ghost stories, Republican primary voters haven’t really seen anything like this before.

Confident generalization is the native language of a Washington professional; studied ambiguity is their background noise. The reason red meat works so well is most political speech is thin gruel. Pat truisms are what make politicians sound like politicians (and parties often indistinguishable from each other): it’s what makes America great, education important, families treasured, and apple pie delicious.

We talk about “dog whistles” because what politicians really mean or really want to communicate is usually cloaked by superficial inoffensiveness and preservation of plausible deniability is the lodestar of any halfway decent flack. Disregard for those conventions on a personal, philosophical level is why the howling, unambiguous racism of Donald Trump and the obvious yet soft-spoken bigotry of Ben Carson have broken through. On policy, however, the only thing that distinguishes their vagueness from career pols is its hilarious blatancy.

By contrast, Fiorina’s brazenly explicit prescriptions are almost pornographic: especially in the sense that what she’s describing is unattainable in real life. People see her steely, echoing assertions as discipline. But she’s not displaying the focus of a real leader—just the conscientiousness of someone who has to keep her lies straight.

 

By: Ana Marie Cox, The Daily Beast, September  29, 2015

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Carly Fiorina, GOP Presidential Candidates, Planned Parenthood | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Bomb-Bomb-Bomb Iran”: The GOP Is The Party Of Warmongers; What Its Insane Overreaction To Obama’s Iran Deal Really Shows

Whenever an election season rolls around, we too often hear from trolls, contrarians and cynics who wrongfully announce that both political parties are exactly the same.

Wrong.

One party thinks women should make their own reproductive choices; the other does not. One party thinks LGBT Americans should enjoy equal protection under the law; the other does not. One party thinks higher taxes on the rich and lower taxes for everyone else is good for the economy; the other does not. One party thinks the climate crisis is real, is happening now, and is caused by human activity; the other thinks it’s a hoax while insisting that severe weather events are caused by abortion and gay marriage.

We could do this all day. But the most salient contrast came on Tuesday with the announcement that the P5+1 nations finalized an agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program. Going back to our party contrasts, one party is seeking at least 15 years of continued peace, while the other party wants to kill the deal, then perhaps, depending on their mood, proceed to “bomb-bomb-bomb” Iran, sparking a war not just between the U.S. and Iran, but involving the entire region, including Russia. Simply put: World War III. And that’s not just my forecast, it’s also the forecast of experts like former Bush-era CIA director Michael Hayden and Meir Dagan, the former head of the Israeli Mossad.

Possibly the most ludicrous reaction from the Republican field came from Lindsey Graham:

“If the initial reports regarding the details of this deal hold true, there’s no way as president of the United States I would honor this deal,” Graham told Bloomberg. “It’s incredibly dangerous for our national security, and it’s akin to declaring war on Sunni Arabs and Israel by the P5+1 because it ensures their primary antagonist Iran will become a nuclear power and allows them to rearm conventionally.”

Discontinuing Iran’s nuclear weapons program is like declaring war on Israel? The projection here is insane. Furthermore, I wonder how Israel would fare if we were to bomb Iran and deliberately collapse the region.

The second most ludicrous reaction came from Jeb Bush:

The nuclear agreement announced by the Obama Administration today is a dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted deal.
A comprehensive agreement should require Iran to verifiably abandon – not simply delay – its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. […] This isn’t diplomacy—it is appeasement.

That word—”appeasement”—keeps coming up, so let’s take a second to establish some basics. While it’s true that the deal doesn’t eliminate Iran’s nuclear program, as David E. Sanger writes in the New York Times, the deal “is a start,” and a necessary one.

Sanger reports:

Senior officials of two countries who barely spoke with each other for more than three decades have spent the past 20 months locked in hotel rooms, arguing about centrifuges but also learning how each perceives the other. Many who have jousted with Iran over the past decade see few better alternatives.

“The reality is that it is a painful agreement to make, but also necessary and wise,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who drafted the first sanctions against Iran, passed in the United Nations Security Council in 2006 and 2007, when he was undersecretary of state for policy. “And we might think of it as just the end of the beginning of a long struggle to contain Iran. There will be other dramas ahead.”

Negotiations necessarily require compromise, a fact that the Republican field would well consider before they spout off hardline bromides. (Also, perhaps Jeb should’ve double-checked the history of our effort to negotiate a settlement. If he did so, he’d discover that the U.S. first reached out to Iran in 2002 when his brother was president. Oops.)

 

By: Bob Cesca, Salon, July 15, 2015

July 16, 2015 Posted by | GOP, Iran Nuclear Agreement, Nuclear Weapons | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Crossed The Line”: Even John Yoo Has His Limits

John Yoo’s reputation is well deserved. The conservative law professor at UC Berkeley is perhaps best known as the principal author of the Bush/Cheney “torture memos” – defending the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” – during Yoo’s tenure at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

And when it came to torture and national security, the conservative lawyer was largely in the “anything goes” category. But apparently, even Yoo has his limits.

As former Vice President Dick Cheney argued on Sunday that the CIA’s aggressive interrogation of terrorism suspects did not amount to torture, the man who provided the legal rationale for the program said that in some cases it had perhaps gone too far.

Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo said the sleep deprivation, rectal feeding and other harsh treatment outlined in a U.S. Senate report last week could violate anti-torture laws.

“If these things happened as they’re described in the report … they were not supposed to be done. And the people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders,” Yoo said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

In an interview on C-SPAN, Yoo added, “Looking at it now, I think of course you can do these things cumulatively or too much that it would cross the line of the anti-torture statute.”

Just to be clear, this is not to suggest Yoo endorses or agrees with the torture report released last week by the Senate Intelligence Committee. On the contrary, it’s quite clear that he does not.

But as a political matter, his willingness to draw legal lines now, in light of the new revelations, creates an interesting dynamic.

We know, for example, that according to the CIA’s records, rectal feeding and hydration were forced on detainees without medical need.

According to former CIA director Michael Hayden, that wasn’t illegal and it wasn’t torture.

According to former Vice President Dick Cheney, that wasn’t illegal and it wasn’t torture.

According to Karl Rove, that wasn’t illegal and it wasn’t torture.

But according to John Yoo, this crossed the line. In other words, a variety of leading Republican voices haven’t just embraced torture as a legitimate tool, they’ve positioned themselves to the right of the torture-memo author who helped give the Bush/Cheney White House the green light in the first place.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, December 15, 2014

December 16, 2014 Posted by | Dick Cheney, George W Bush, Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Realism Or Politics: The Council On Foreign Relations Richard Haass Has A Credibility Problem

Meet The Press had a very interesting cast of characters today for their round table discussion on the events occuring in Libya. Panelists included Helen Cooper, White House Correspondent for the New York Times; Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent; Michael Hayden, Former Director of the NSA and CIA; John Miklaszewski, NBC News Chief Pentagon Correspondent; and Richard Haass, President of The Council on Foreign Relations.

None of the input by these elitist panelist’s came as a surprise. In fact many of their responses were predictable. Cooper, Mitchell and Miklaszewski obviously wanted to use their airtime to promote their next story..to keep the news cycle going. That’s their job so more power to them. Hayden, as a George W. Bush appointee, surely would not suddenly have a change of heart and say anything contrary to the proven failed policies of that administration. Richard Haass, in symphony with Hayden, played his “bad cop” role to the hilt. Haass never seemed to miss a step in his criticism of the Obama administrations handling of Libya (excerpted comments):

David Gregory, the host (and I use that term lightly) of Meet The Press, Began the discussion:  I want to talk, however, about how much is on the president’s plate right now. You talk about crisis management and a confluence of crisis.  We’ve pulled together some cover stories from Time magazine–I want to put it up there on the screen–“Target Gaddafi.” The next one, “Hitting Home:  Tripoli Under Attack.” And the next one, “Meltdown.”

MR. RICHARD HAASS:  It’s a lot to manage, but also it raises the importance of an administration having its priorities.  You’ve got a lot to manage with Japan, you’ve got a lot to manage with what’s going on in the broader Middle East, you’ve got a lot to manage what’s going on in the United States in terms of our economy and our deficit.  So one of the real questions is why are we doing as much are we are doing in Libya?  So many of your guests are talking about too little too late.  Let me give you another idea, David, too much too late.  In times of crisis and multiple crisis, administrations have to figure out their priorities.  They got to do some triage.  The–to me, the big problem is not what we haven’t done, it is what we are doing.

MR. GREGORY:  Richard, you, you just have broad concerns as you, as you penned a piece in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, “The US should keep out of Libya.”

MR. HAASS:  Again, our interests aren’t vital.  We’re talking about 2 percent of the world’s oil.  Yes, there’s a humanitarian situation on, but at the risk of seeming a bit cold, it is not a humanitarian crisis on the scale say of Rwanda.  We don’t have nearly 100–a million people, innocent men, women and children whose lives are threatened.  This is something much more modest. This is a civil war.  In civil wars, people get killed, unfortunately.  But we shouldn’t kid ourselves.  This is not a humanitarian intervention, this is U.S. political, military intervention in a civil conflict which, by the way, history suggests, often prolongs the civil conflict.  And, as several people have already pointed out, what is step B?  Whether Gadhafi complies with what we want or whether he resists successfully, either way, we are going to be stuck with the aftermath of essentially having to take ownership of Libya with others.  And just because others are willing to share in something, as so many people point out, doesn’t make it a better policy.  It just means the costs are going to be distributed.  But the policy itself is seriously flawed.

MR. GREGORY:  The big ideas and are we getting them right?

MR. HAASS:  Mike Mullen says the big idea, the biggest single national security threat facing the United States is our economy, it’s our fiscal situation.  This will not make it better.  Instead, we are ignoring a previous secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, someone you haven’t had on the show in awhile.  We are going abroad in search of monsters to destroy.  There’s any number of monsters.  But is this, right now, something that’s strategically necessary and vital for the United States, given all that’s happening in places like Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, around the world, with all that we need to repair at home?  The answer, I would think, is not.  And that’s the big idea the administration’s missing.  It’s not enough to simply want to do good around the world wherever we see bad.  We’ve got to ask ourselves, where can we do good, at what cost, against what else we might have to do?

All of Haass’ comments gave me a flashback. Iran immediately came to mind. Haass, Iran..Haass, Iran. When is enough actually enough..when is enough not enough?

The answer is Mr. Haass, you’ve got a credibility problem. The following article appeared in Newsweek on January 22, 2010. It was written by none other than Richard Haass:

Enough Is Enough

Why we can no longer remain on the sidelines in the struggle for regime change in Iran.

Two schools of thought have traditionally competed to determine how America should approach the world. Realists believe we should care most about what states do beyond their borders—that influencing their foreign policy ought to be Washington’s priority. Neoconservatives often contend the opposite: they argue that what matters most is the nature of other countries, what happens inside their borders. The neocons believe this both for moral reasons and because democracies (at least mature ones) treat their neighbors better than do authoritarian regimes.

I am a card-carrying realist on the grounds that ousting regimes and replacing them with something better is easier said than done. I also believe that Washington, in most cases, doesn’t have the luxury of trying. The United States must, for example, work with undemocratic China to rein in North Korea and with autocratic Russia to reduce each side’s nuclear arsenal. This debate is anything but academic. It’s at the core of what is likely to be the most compelling international story of 2010: Iran.

In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration judged incorrectly that Iran was on the verge of revolution and decided that dealing directly with Tehran would provide a lifeline to an evil government soon to be swept away by history’s tide. A valuable opportunity to limit Iran’s nuclear program may have been lost as a result. The incoming Obama administration reversed this approach and expressed a willingness to talk to Iran without preconditions. This president (like George H.W. Bush, whose emissaries met with Chinese leaders soon after Tiananmen Square) is cut more from the realist cloth. Diplomacy and negotiations are seen not as favors to bestow but as tools to employ. The other options—using military force against Iranian nuclear facilities or living with an Iranian nuclear bomb—were judged to be tremendously unattractive. And if diplomacy failed, Obama reasoned, it would be easier to build domestic and international support for more robust sanctions. At the time, I agreed with him.

I’ve changed my mind. The nuclear talks are going nowhere. The Iranians appear intent on developing the means to produce a nuclear weapon; there is no other explanation for the secret uranium-enrichment facility discovered near the holy city of Qum. Fortunately, their nuclear program appears to have hit some technical snags, which puts off the need to decide whether to launch a preventive strike. Instead we should be focusing on another fact: Iran may be closer to profound political change than at any time since the revolution that ousted the shah 30 years ago.

The authorities overreached in their blatant manipulation of last June’s presidential election, and then made matters worse by brutally repressing those who protested. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has lost much of his legitimacy, as has the “elected” president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The opposition Green Movement has grown larger and stronger than many predicted.

The United States, European governments, and others should shift their Iran policy toward increasing the prospects for political change. Leaders should speak out for the Iranian people and their rights. President Obama did this on Dec. 28 after several protesters were killed on the Shia holy day of Ashura, and he should do so again. So should congressional and world leaders. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards should be singled out for sanctions. Lists of their extensive financial holdings can be published on the Internet. The United States should press the European Union and others not to trade or provide financing to selected entities controlled by the Guards. Just to cite one example: the Revolutionary Guards now own a majority share of Iran’s principal telecommunications firm; no company should furnish it the technology to deny or monitor Internet use.

New funding for the project housed at Yale University that documents human-rights abuses in Iran is warranted. If the U.S. government won’t reverse its decision not to provide the money, then a foundation or wealthy individuals should step in. Such a registry might deter some members of the Guards or the million-strong Basij militia it controls from attacking or torturing members of the opposition. And even if not, the gesture will signal to Iranians that the world is taking note of their struggle.

It is essential to bolster what people in Iran know. Outsiders can help to provide access to the Internet, the medium that may be the most important means for getting information into Iran and facilitating communication among the opposition. The opposition also needs financial support from the Iranian diaspora so that dissidents can stay politically active once they have lost their jobs.

Just as important as what to do is what to avoid. Congressmen and senior administration figures should avoid meeting with the regime. Any and all help for Iran’s opposition should be nonviolent. Iran’s opposition should be supported by Western governments, not led. In this vein, outsiders should refrain from articulating specific political objectives other than support for democracy and an end to violence and unlawful detention. Sanctions on Iran’s gasoline imports and refining, currently being debated in Congress, should be pursued at the United Nations so international focus does not switch from the illegality of Iran’s behavior to the legality of unilateral American sanctions. Working-level negotiations on the nuclear question should continue. But if there is an unexpected breakthrough, Iran’s reward should be limited. Full normalization of relations should be linked to meaningful reform of Iran’s politics and an end to Tehran’s support of terrorism.

Critics will say promoting regime change will encourage Iranian authorities to tar the opposition as pawns of the West. But the regime is already doing so. Outsiders should act to strengthen the opposition and to deepen rifts among the rulers. This process is underway, and while it will take time, it promises the first good chance in decades to bring about an Iran that, even if less than a model country, would nonetheless act considerably better at home and abroad. Even a realist should recognize that it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

Which is it Mr. Haass…Is the humanitarian crisis in Libya too small or is there just too little oil? Are you a realist or just another political hack?

By: raemd95: Excerpts are quotes from Meet The Press, March 20, 2011; Enough is Enough: By Richard N. Haass, originally published in Newsweek, January 22, 2010

 

March 20, 2011 Posted by | Democracy, Dictators, Egypt, Foreign Governments, Foreign Policy, Ideologues, Iran, Libya, Military Intervention, Muslims, National Security, Neo-Cons, No Fly Zones, Obama, Politics, Qaddafi | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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