Giovanni Lido
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    • Giovanni Lido

      I’m not surprised if you find it puzzling that I’m more concerned with what the commander-in-chief and Secretary of State have done than with the reaction of the opposition, because that’s clearly where your own focus is, as though that were somehow exculpatory. In your only paragraph not about Republicans, you say “Hicks, who was stationed in Tripoli, not Benghazi, and his colleagues must have had more information than the CIA[,] whose annex was breached in the attack. The CIA still thought that the attacks were spontaneous when they issued the talking points on the 14th.” Hicks, as our Number-Two man in the country, had contact with Stevens, who told him “We’re under attack.” You could almost plausibly read that as meaning “by a spontaneous demonstration”, but that isn’t the phrasing I’d use. Hicks was also in contact that same night with the Libyan prime minister Abdurrahim el-Keib and, presumably then or soon afterwards, with president Magariaf, who like Hicks was shocked to see Susan Rice on TV with the “film review turns deadly” line, which he himself knew was wrong. Where then do the “spontaneous demonstration” talking points come from? Per a Senate report (see previous link), “While the [intelligence community] worked feverishly in the days after the attack to identify the perpetrators of the attack, they did not place a high priority on determining with certainty whether a protest had in fact occurred. The IC’s preliminary conclusion was that there had been a protest outside of the mission prior to the attack, making this assessment based on open source news reports and on other information available to intelligence agencies. The IC later revised its assessment” (my emphasis). So a causal connection between Cairo and Benghazi was immediately drawn by some news-outlets, fed to the CIA, and then fed back to newsmen again! (If our eggheads and spooks are really no further ahead of things than the Associated Press, then some heads ought to roll not just in Foggy Bottom but in Langley as well.) And then, what mention the CIA did make about terrorism was scratched under pressure from “building leadership” (the Sublime Porte?) at State, so that criticis wouldn’t be able “to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings,” because really, “why would we want to feed that either?” So you have the CIA dropping the ball on intelligence, then pressured by the “leadership” at the State Department, which failed to secure our diplomatic staff in volatile places on volatiles dates, while the campaigner-in-chief is on his way to Las Vegas and a filmmaker is about to be given a year in jail (for breaking parole but really for “slander[ing] the prophet of Islam”). …But you’d apparently rather talk about Jack Burkman and Sean Hannity. Ex-reporter Jay Carney may be a brazen liar, but your response to this Buzzfeed article shows that at least he knows what works.

    • Giovanni Lido

      The matter at issue is the administration’s response after the attack, though this obviously has much to do with what happened before and during it.  During the attack, there was no real resistence on our part (for which the CIA is partly to blame) and we sent nobody in during the extended attack (for which is the administration and Panetta’s Defense Department are to blame). But the CIA did warn Clinton & State, and hence the administration, of the threat by groups including or like Al-Qaeda.  Ignoring those warnings makes State look very bad, as their spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said explicitly. So between the time that CIA initially released the talking-points and when the administration distributed them, they went through twelve revisions, which took out indications of State’s negligence (most important link/video is here). The scrubbing of Al-Qaeda & Co. from the record reportedly shocked Gen. Petraeus. This twelve-times-revised version is what Carney was pitching from the podium, and was the script Rice was using when she was going around claiming the whole thing was a “direct result” of The Innocence of Muslims (whose director then became a convenient Emmanuel Goldstein figure and who was arrested on different charges but really for his film). (And now, the “most transparent administration ever” (tscha!) seems to be wanting to throw their old frienemy Hillary under the bus. Note this by the smarmy Jay Carney: “The only edits made by anyone here at the White House were stylistic and nonsubstantive.”) If this scandal happens to take down anyone at fault from the CIA, the State Department, the Republican party, or any other quarter, that’s fine with me. Is it also fine with you for the buck to stop at the Oval Office?

    • Giovanni Lido

      Carney says (I paraphrase), “Did we fail to provide security? Did we fail to respond to threat reports? Are we at fault for the deaths of American diplomats and the compromising of intelligence held at the consulate? Did we scrub the talking points multiple times? Did we strike a blow against the First Amendment by blaming this attack on an internet video? Did we have the American ambassador to the U.N. (along with me, Carney) repeatedly lie about the cause of the attack, then arrest the director on another pretext, and go to the U.N. and say that no one should tolerate criticism of “the prophet” Mohammed? Did we put pressure on whistle-blowers and demote anyone who threatened to cast doubt on our story? …Well, yes. I mean, all the above is true. BUT, a guy who’s not even on the national stage anymore once politicized the attack. So there!” Look, get off the partisan horse (I didn’t vote for Romney either). Carney’s a paid and shameless shyster, who says that the Benghazi affair itself is old news from “a long time ago” and then claims that the words of an irrelevant man from even longer ago somehow not only counts as a tu quoque of equal weight to the actions of the people actually in power, but is even somehow exculpatory! What utter bullshit.

    • Giovanni Lido

      Also: Jimi Hendrix.

    • Giovanni Lido

      A few notes: 3. Awful. Compare awesome. 4. Brave. The German word for “brave” in the current sense is tapfer. This is a cognate with our dapper, showing that the two ideas are (or can be) related. 6. Doom. Doomsday is the original term for Judgment Day. Even cooler, where the Authorized Version of the Bible has “judge righteous judgment”, Wycliffe has “deem ye a rightful doom” (in Icelandic, “dæmið réttlátan dóm”). 7. Egregious: outstanding either as good or bad, standing apart from the flock (Latin grex, greg-is). Cf. gregarious, meaning something like “well-suited to the flock”. 8. Evil. Sort of. Origin somewhat obscure, but the OED has this: “Middle English uvel (ü), Old English yfel = Old Saxon uƀil, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch evel (Dutch euvel), Old High German ubil, upil (German übel), Gothic ubils < Old Germanic *uƀilo-z; usually referred to the root of up, over; on this view the primary sense would be either ‘exceeding due measure’ or ‘overstepping proper limits’.” (Hybristic?) 9. Facetious. Perhaps better, “characterized by pleasantries or jokes [Latin facetiae]”. 11. Guy. Yes, but specifically an effigy of Guy Fawkes. 13. Last. Literally “latest” (with the the middle -t- dropped out). Cf. next (lit. “nighest”, from when the -gh in nigh was still a consonant). 16. Nice. Yes, from nescius (through French). In Shakespeare’s language it means (overly) precise or fastidious. (A pedant would be “nice”, as would a girl who takes too long to agree to sex.) [Bonus: girl used to mean a child of either sex.] 21. Protest. Yes! When Gertrude nervously says of the play within the play, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much” she’s saying “My goodness, it’s far too much for a wife to promise her husband that she’ll never remarry.” (One of the most consistently misquoted, or inappropriately quoted, lines from Shakespeare. Along with “Now is the winter of our discontent…”) 22. Radical. Literally, “having to do with the root [Latin radix, radic-is]”. Think of square roots, and of… radishes! 23. Sad. Yes, cognate with Latin satis (“enough”) and German satt (“satisfied, having eaten enough”). In Shakespeare it has the meaning “serious” (or as he might also put it, “care-full”). 26. Success. In Latin “a going under” or after: a succession. Compare Latin eventus and its English calque outcome. Best use of success in a sentence: “If th’assassination could trammel up the consequence and catch, with his surcease, success…” (Macbeth 1.7). 27. Villain. Perhaps better, “a country-dweller” or “rustic”, someone who lives in a villa. The opposite, in fact, (at least etymologically) of urbane!

    • Giovanni Lido

      I’m not so sure that the original meaning of avocado was “testicle”. It’s true that the Aztec (Nahuatl) word ahuacatl meant (and still means?) both the fruit and the body-part, but (even though plants can in fact be named after testicles, for which see orchids) it seems more likely that in the case of avocado it was the name of the popular food first, which was then applied to the testicles (for which compare Spanish huevos and German Eier, both meaning “eggs” and with the same slang extension). As for the form avocado, that’s the Spanish word for “lawyer”, and in the case of the green, fatty fruit, Spanish avocado is a Hobson-Jobson of the Aztec word — and in fact went on to have its own (now-defunct) English Hobson-Jobson, the “alligator (pear)” (cf. the word delightful sparrowgrass). (There’s also more to a berserker than the shirt!)

    • Giovanni Lido

      Scientologist ad: “The one thing that’s true is what’s true… for you.”
      Is that the new scientific method?

    • Giovanni Lido

      #41 The woman’s name is Donna Vanzant. She lost her business in the storm. In the video above (at 37 seconds in), she says this after being used as a photo-op prop: “I was very excited and felt warmed by the embrace, thinking, ‘This is really gonna happen; I’m going to get the help I need, because you promised that.’ And it’s been almost a month now and I’ve gotten no help.”

    • Giovanni Lido

      #33 We love an underdog. But need to look behind the photo.

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