Interesting. It turns out that “Masha,” who posted a couple of comments today from an L.A. Times computer, is not a new commenter. She posted some comments in December accusing me and the Power Line guys of being “fascists.” Now that we know she’s associated with the Los Angeles Times, let’s take a little trip down memory lane, and revisit some of Masha’s old comments.
All bold emphasis in this post is mine.
Her previous comments are appended to a post about Michael Hiltzik’s interview with Hugh Hewitt. (Isn’t it weird how her comments defend Hiltzik on multiple occasions? The commenters who suspected a personal relationship may be right.) In that interview, Hiltzik said he didn’t know whether Iraqis are better off without Saddam Hussein. Masha agreed, posting this charming comment:
I think Hiltzik is right on. You and Hewitt and those Powerline guys — you’re fascists. You talk a good game about “freedom” for Iraqis, but you denigrate anyone who values it for Americans. Bushies who smear their political opponents and hide behind the embedded DC press corps? You love ‘em. CIA agents who wiretap the phone calls of U.S. citizens? You love ‘em. Feds who kidnap people they don’t like the looks of, claim they’re “suspected terrorists” and then make them disappear, the way South American dictators used to do with their political opponents? Patriots, in your opinion. Well,sorry, but I’m way more afraid of that sort of paranoid evil than I am of the random kooks that we’d been dealing with, successfully, in this country for generations until the Bush Administration let 9/11 happen. I realize it makes you guys feel more like real men to jump up and down and trash-talk civil libertarians, but I have just one question: How are you gonna feel when some authoritarian decides that your brand of trash talk makes you a “suspected terrorist” and and a smear campaign target? What happens when you succeed, and the dictator comes for you?
Later in the thread, Masha says this:
I think the question of whether the Iraqis are better off should be posed to the people who are responsible for Iraq. Last time I checked, this was America and the question was supposed to be whether you and I were better off. So are we? You feelin’ all warm and secure now? You happy now that this administration is raking in oil money while patsies like you shut up anyone who tries to ask questions? And for free? If I were you, I’d at least demand a cut in return for my collaboration. And as for Paula Jones: Didn’t your mama teach you that two wrongs don’t make a right? Or does that precedent make it okay for somebody out there to someday smear you?
and later this:
Dana — hate to be a pest here, but al Qaeda had nothing to do with Iraq. Here’s what I want to know from you guys, though: Are we all so much better off that this massive, massive cost has been worth it? If your employees in Washington — and they’re your employees, by the way, not vice versa, as much as you fascists love your supposedly benign dictators — if your employees had asked you to okay a war and they hadn’t lied about weapons of mass destruction and ginned up phony links between Hussein and 9/11, and if they’d told you up front it was going to decimate your volunteer army, make the world despise you and throw your bank account so far into the red that even your grandkids would be in hock forever, and if they’d added that, oh, by the way, neither you nor the Iraqis would end up all that much safer, can you honestly say you’d have gone to war? Because that’s what they did and that’s what you fell for, and for what? Unless you own shares in Halliburton, you can’t show me one thing about your personal life that’s improved since this war started. In fact, you’re worse off — the feds can now spy on you, tap your phones, feed lies about you to bloggers if you cross them, ruin you if they want to, and because you gave away your civil liberties like a bunch of sheep, none of it’s against the law. Nope, your employee — the guy you insisted we hire to manage the store — gave that store away to unilaterally settle an old score that had nothing to do with the real threat against us. Is it nice that Iraqis are voting? I don’t know. Supposedly. And it would be nice if the Mexican economy weren’t corrupt and it would be nice if North Korea wasn’t run by whack jobs and it’d be nice if the Saudi royal family wasn’t crooked and it’d be nice if the religious right wasn’t trying to force their superstition down the throats of the rest of us. A lot of things are nice, but democracies are funny — elected leaders who want these nice things are supposed to get permission in from the people they work for because, fyi, we’re all equal. Have you actually met any of the people who have been wounded over there? Have you seen what we’ve done to them in the name of this optional war? What do I care whether a bunch of warlords in Iraq are happier under this mess than they were under the last one? This president is supposed to work for Americans, not Iraqis, and he abused my trust so he could feel like a bigshot. And now, because you’re morons who go slack-lipped at the slightest whiff of approbation from an authority figure, you can’t stop sucking up. The guy you hired to manage the store embezzles your life savings, and you make him employee of the year.
Masha later had this comment:
Good God, don’t people you have lives? No, the cat doesn’t have my tongue — I just have a life. But since I’ve stopped by again, here’s my answer to whether the Iraqis are better off now than three years ago: No. Three years ago they were oppressed but alive. Now they’re allegedly unoppressed and being killed the hundreds, and facing a future — if, by some fluke, they live through the civil war that’s coming at them like a freight train — of … wait for it…more oppression. Because nothing says democracy like majority rule by religious fanatics. But, hey, you know who IS better off? Halliburton and Dick Cheney. Your country is broke and divided, Iraq is in blood-soaked smithereens and divided and those guys are laughing all the way to the bank. And you love them. You worship them. You want to protect them and give them power over the rest of us and shut down that horrible, terrible mainstream media that keeps harshing your mellow with the fact that they — your employees — have lied to you, cheated you, wasted your money, killed your children, spied on you and smeared anyone who has dared ask questions. Once conservatives had ideas. Now they’re just toadies blindly defending a bunch of stupid, crooked, incompetent politicians who have turned the world into a dangerous mess.
and then this one:
You used a partial quote to distort my position. Sad, Black Jack, sad, and quite dishonest. You wrote: “You can’t see anything good about a people participating in a democratic election after years of brutal oppression.” That’s not what I said. I said the Iraqis weren’t better off, not that I didn’t “see anything good” about people holding democratic elections. But again, this is your problem: You guys can’t hold an honest debate because you aren’t about debating or about honesty. True conservatives would be, but not you guys. I’m not sure you even count as conservatives, because if you did, you’d be questioning this administration on civil liberties, and you don’t. You’e just about blindly protecting the entrenched power of crooks and incompetents, as if they planned to do one thing for you in return except take away your privacy and tax your children forever. They’re not the “devil you know.” They’re con men. But hey, there’s a sucker born every day.
and, finally, this one:
Black Jack: It isn’t hard to make sense of my response. You asked if I thought the Iraqis were better off and I said no — having your life and children endangered by occupying armies, probable civil wars and the threat of a takeover by oppressive religious fanatics is not “better off” than being oppressed by a murderous dictator. It’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. I also said that whether Iraqis are better off isn’t the question Americans should be asking. We don’t elect our presidents based on whether they’ll improve the lives of people in other countries. We elect them on whether they’ll improve lives in this country. The question should be, are we better off than we were three years ago? And the answer is, again, no. As for your claim that what you really wanted to know is whether I think there’s anything good about Iraqi elections, yes. Of course there are good things — for Iraqis — about elections (if they’re not crooked, which may be a stretch). But all sorts of things have upsides — even Mussolini’s reign had the advantage, as the saying goes, of making the trains run on time. The question isn’t whether there’s “anything good” about these elections. It’s whether the good stuff is good enough to be worth the price we’re paying in lives, in money, in our own civil liberties, in the damage that has been done by this administration to our own governance. The ends don’t justify the means, and the benefits don’t outweigh the cost.
Masha, ladies and gentlemen. Hiltzik defender, and user of Los Angeles Times computers.