Bush Derangement Syndrome is rampant this week, triggered by the release of former President George W. Bush’s book Decision Points. I’m almost waiting for George Soros to jump back onto CNN and compare the former President with the Nazi regime again.
Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch points out the comical hypocrisy going on over at the Huffington Post. While several of the tabloid-like site’s contributors have been criticizing one thing or another about the book, one in particular is prattling on about what he dubs as plagiarism in Decision Points. Let’s just say, if you’re going to snitch, at least make sure your own crib’s in order. Dana reminds readers that Arianna Huffington is herself no stranger to plagiarism.
Besides, a closer look at the post reveals more about the post’s author, Ryan Grim, than it does anything else. Grim seems barely able to temper his disdain for the former President as he inventories a barrage of so-called “for instances”, like this one. [emphasis Grim’s]
The similarities between the way Bush recollects his and other quotes may be a case of remarkable random chance or evidence that he and his deputies were in an almost supernatural sync. If so, he essentially shares a brain with General Tommy Franks.
Bush writes: “Tommy told the national security team that he was working to apply the same concept of a light footprint to Iraq… ‘If we have multiple, highly skilled Special Operations forces identifying targets for precision-guided munitions, we will need fewer conventional grounds forces,’ he said. ‘That’s an important lesson learned from Afghanistan.’ I had a lot of concerns. … I asked the team to keep working on the plan. ‘We should remain optimistic that diplomacy and international pressure will succeed in disarming the regime,’ I said at the end of the meeting. ‘But we cannot allow weapons of mass destruction to fall into the hands of terrorists. I will not allow that to happen.’”
Franks, in his memoir American Soldier, writes: “‘For example, if we have multiple, highly skilled Special Operations forces identifying targets for precision-guided munitions, we will need fewer conventional ground forces. That’s an important lesson learned from Afghanistan.’ President Bush’s questions continued throughout the briefing…. Before the VTC ended, President Bush addressed us all. ‘We should remain optimistic that diplomacy and international pressure will succeed in disarming the regime.’ … The President paused. ‘Protecting the security of the United States is my responsibility,’ he continued. ‘But we cannot allow weapons of mass destruction to fall into the hands of terrorists.’ He shook his head. ‘I will not allow that to happen.'”
The majority of Grim’s examples are like that above – they pertain to actual quotes of various individuals, not necessarily to original text that’s been lifted from other publications. Meaning that it’s very possible that many of the same transcripts and sources were shared with the various other book authors Grim references. The reader has no way of knowing, because Grim only references the quotes, and not the sources for the quotes from those books.
If nothing else though, Grim’s Soros-minion styled hit piece certainly lacks nothing in its snark.
After grad school, I got a job with the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group that wants to see marijuana legalized- or, in their focus-group-tested language, “taxed and regulated.” I was one of the people writing those MoveOn-style e-mails urging folks to contact this legislator or write a letter to that paper or whatever.
Soros has been personally and financially supportive of marijuana legalization since the 1990’s. He also funds and sits on the Board of Directors for the Drug Policy Alliance. Mr. Soros is, of course, NO fan of George W. Bush himself. He spent $26 million of his money in 2004 alone to try and remove George W. Bush from office.
Sounds like maybe a little Soros may have rubbed off on Grim over the years.
Also, Grim’s book, This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America, about the evolution of drug use in our country, would seem to make him an unlikely candidate for critiquing the former President’s book. Not only is This Is Your Country on Drugs a book that seems to be chock full of the author’s own trippy drug exploits, but it’s said to be woefully slack in its sources. In a review of Grim’s book, New York Post critic Kyle Smith challenged Grim’s credibility on sourcing. [emphasis mine]
“Amusing though such anecdotes are, there is a frustrating Jeff Spicoli casualness to Grim’s work. Perhaps, when dealing with an underground economy, the necessity of protecting sources requires the occasional deployment of a smokescreen, but the whole book is enveloped in it. Consider the colorful saga of an FBI agent who, in the process of raiding an LSD lab while ignoring its proprietor’s warnings to don protective gear, accidentally drenched himself with the drug. The agent had to be induced into a coma with Thorazine to suppress the trippy effects. Grim provides no source for this tale, and there is no particular reason to believe it.
There are four meager pages of endnotes in which the author thanks various people for their input and lists some secondary materials while being vague about the provenance of facts. Even the anecdote about California’s dunning notice to pot dealers is untraceable. The relevant paragraph of endnotes consists of such lines as ‘I couldn’t have written chapter 12 without the help of …’ But acknowledgments, though they may be good manners, are not the same as sources.”
“So is this book a rigorous brief for policymakers or a breezy read for the grateful head, pleased to have his suspicions about the narcocracy confirmed? Basically the latter disguised as the former. A section on the hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca is undisguised advocacy for fellow “psychonauts.” Yet it’s couched in earnest tones. At a Brooklyn industrial warehouse in 2007, Grim took ayahuasca in a group whose members were briskly issued vomit buckets. Later, minus his lunch, ‘I saw colors and objects and serpentlike demons and prayed to God that there is actually no God.’ Thanks, I’m good with my Bordeaux.”
Judging by his view of what passes for sourcing, perhaps Grim’s not exactly the go-to expert in this area. Pot and LSD? Yes. Humor? Yes. Journalistic integrity? Not so sure. By his own account, he’s more partial to the writing style of The Onion. (In the interest of full disclosure, I myself was a member of NORML nearly thirty years ago. But I haven’t written any books about all my escapades).
Nonetheless, if I were Arianna Huffington, I don’t know how much of my own credibility I’d be investing anyway in someone who says he “saw colors and objects and serpentlike demons and prayed to God that there is actually no God.“