Wednesday, February 20, 2013

BREAKING: Before Ted Cruz Became A Teabagger He Was An Official Of The Junior League of Hezbollah's Houston Office


The Senate will vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination on Monday, February 25. It looks likely that Reid will be able to shut down the Republican Party filibuster with a successful cloture vote this time. I have no position on this nomination other than he has some good points and some bad points and that the president probably deserves to name whomever he wants to his Cabinet without being obstructed by a Senate minority hell-bent on doing damage to the country for partisan gain.

Earlier today we talked a little about how the Bush-Cheney Regime worked diligently with some of the in-house religionist charlatans to trick gullible and simpleminded evangelicals into fervently supporting their unprovoked attack on Iraq. The unprovoked attack on Hagel last week-- Operation "Friends of Hamas"-- wasn't even something anyone worked on diligently. It wasn't-- at least not when it was created-- part of any right-wing plot. It was just a joke, a joke the Republican base and, tragically, Republican elected officials, took as a matter of faith-- which is what they do rather than ever engaging in critical thinking.

Yesterday a reporter for the right-wing NY Daily News admitted he just made the whole thing up. No one with a lick of sense-- so leave out the GOP-- ever thought for one minute that Chuck Hagel ever took money from a shadowy group called The Friends Of Hamas and no one with a lick of sense ever believed there even ever was a group called The Friends of Hamas. And, of course, he didn't and there wasn't. Ha, ha, ha... joke's on Ted Cruz, the biggest bozo to come riding out of Texas in my lifetime. And Rand Paul. Friedman:
The revelation could have doomed President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense: He gave a paid speech to a group called “Friends of Hamas.”

Fortunately for Hagel, this claim, which galloped across the Internet, was bogus. I know, because I was the unwitting source.

In the process, I became part of an inadvertent demonstration of how quickly partisan agendas and the Internet can transform an obvious joke into a Washington talking point used by senators and presidential wannabes.

Here’s what happened: When rumors swirled that Hagel received speaking fees from controversial organizations, I attempted to check them out.

On Feb. 6, I called a Republican aide on Capitol Hill with a question: Did Hagel’s Senate critics know of controversial groups that he had addressed?

Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France”? And: What about “Friends of Hamas”?

The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed-- let alone that a former senator would speak to them.

Or so I thought.

The aide promised to get back to me. I followed up with an e-mail, as a reminder: “Did he get $25K speaking fee from Friends of Hamas?” I asked.

The source never responded, and I moved on.

I couldn’t have imagined what would happen next. On Feb. 7, the conservative web site screamed this headline:


The story read: “On Thursday, Senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively that they have been informed one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas.’”

The author, Ben Shapiro, wrote that a White House spokesman hung up on him when he called for comment. That went in the story-- to buttress the assertion that the White House didn’t deny the claim. used the headline 'Secret Hagel Donor?: White House Spox Ducks Question on 'Friends of Hamas' for piece on potential Chuck Hagel scandal.

Shapiro tweeted the link to his nearly 40,000 Twitter followers. Blogs like and the National Review’s The Corner linked to it. In Israel, Mike Huckabee said “rumors of Chuck Hagel’s having received funds from Friends of Hamas,” would, if true, “disqualify him.”

Somehow, I was not aware of the firestorm until Sunday, when I glanced at my phone and saw a story raising big doubts whether “Friends of Hamas” even exists.

On Monday, I reached my source. The person denied sharing my query with Breitbart but admitted the chance of having mentioned it to others. Since the source knew we spoke under a standard that my questions weren’t for sharing, that’s a problem.

But there was another fail-safe. Since the “Friends of Hamas” speech was imaginary, it was not like another reporter could confirm it, right?

Not quite. Reached Tuesday, Shapiro acknowledged “Friends of Hamas” might not exist. But he said his story used “very, very specific language” to avoid flatly claiming it did.

“The story as reported is correct. Whether the information I was given by the source is correct I am not sure,” he said.

I am, it seems, the creator of the Friends of Hamas myth. Doing my job, I erred in counting on confidentiality and the understanding that my example was farcical-- and by assuming no one would print an unchecked rumor.

If anyone didn’t know already: Partisan agendas, Internet reporting and old-fashioned carelessness can move complete crocks fast. If you see a story on Hagel addressing the Junior League of Hezbollah, that’s fake too.
That's all they have-- and that's what they are... even if we pay them to be senators.

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At 7:26 PM, Blogger Dennis Jernberg said...

This from a Republican Party that repeatedly cites Onion articles as if they're serious news. But turning a reporter's joke into a Serious Accusation? That takes the cake.

Note that everything Ted Cruz is and does is intended to say to the world that he is the Second Coming of Joe McCarthy. That's his entire gimmick: "I am the Second Coming of Tailgunner Joe!" Cue helpless laughter and repeated headdesking from me. (Note: Tailgunner Joe was killed by TV. Cruz is lucky he got Texas rednecks to elect him. And remember what they say about fighting the last war, this one of course being Cold...)

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous bughunter said...

From your Friedman quote:

I followed up with an e-mail, as a reminder: “Did he get $25K speaking fee from Friends of Hamas?” I asked.


On Monday, I reached my source. The person denied sharing my query with Breitbart... .

So, does Shapiro deny that his organization has hacked the email of a Republican aide on Capitol Hill?


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