Thursday, December 11, 2008

The cowboy way

This morning, we were wondering which of Patrick Cockburn's personalities would show up next?  Turns out it was Patrick Crazy Ass Cockburn.  And if you doubt it, check this from Reuters: "Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said some U.S. forces could be needed for 10 years but told reporters that the terms of any extended presence would be negotiated between the next Iraqi and U.S. governments."  Poor Crazy Ass Patrick Cockburn.  You know what, if I had LIED non-stop about what the treaty said, if I was nothing but a FILTHY LIAR, I'd be hanging my head in shame.  If I were, for example, Leila Fadel, I'd hide away for days (and maybe use some of that time to buy a decent bra).  But if I was Patrick Cockburn and had just FLAT OUT LIED about the treaty this morning at CounterPunch, I think I would have to just state, "I am a worthless liar that no one should ever believe.  Like everyone else in my crazy family, I have no grip on reality."  Sucks to be one of the liars today.  Poor babies.  Poor, pathetic, useless trash babies.  That's our topic for this evening.  Lies the sort that Patrick, Leila and oh-so many others have trafficed in KILL.  That's what's wrong with them.  It's not like they're pretending they're still virgins or something personal.  They're lying in ways that cost lives.  
On violence, mass fatalities today in Iraq from a single bombing.   Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) notes the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan warned earlier this morning (when the death toll was said to be 30) that the "toll in today's attack is expected to rise."  The BBC notes that the bombing took place "at a restaurant near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk" and that it was done by a suicide bomber.  Hurriyet adds, "The bomber detonated explosives inside a Kurdish restaurant about 10 km (6 miles) north of Kirkuk, said Major General Jamal Tahir, police chief of Kirkuk."  CNN reports the death toll is "at least 55" with one-hundred and nine people injured according to local police and that the name of the restaurant is Abdalla Kabab.  PBS' NewsHour calls it "one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq in the past six months" and also notes 'at least 55" dead but with one-hundred and twenty injured before adding, "The bombing apparently targeted a high-profile meeting of Kurdish officials from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party of President Jalal Talabani, and a group of Arab tribal leaders called the Awakening, who had gathered in an attempt to negotiate ethnic tensions in the region.Yaseen Taha and Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspapers) quote Khadijah Mohammed whose sixteen-year-old son died in the bombing, "My son has become a body.  He was invited by his friends to have lunch on the last day of Eid.  He went out with them.  He told me that they will have a nice time in this restaurant and reluctantly, we allowed him to go, and now he is just a body."  Now picture that.  The son is begging his mother to go Adballa Kabab.  She is stating it is still too dangerous.  At some point he brings up or maybe she remembers the reports of how violence is down in Iraq, of how David Petraeus says that's true and of how every news outlet she can think of has run with that garbage.  Bad news 'reporting' costs lives.  Own it, accept that the blood of the young men is on your hands if you've lied or pimped the illegal war.  Not just before it started or at the start, but if you 'report' spin as fact, accept your responsiblity in this death and all the others.  Operation Happy Talk kills, accept it.  Mustafa Mahmoud (Reuters) describes an emergency room following the bombing, "Men and women clutched their wounds as they lay on gurneys, while medics and family members rushed about, shouting and wailing. A small girl around five years old was curled up quietly on a stretcher, her clothes bloodied."  AP quotes Salam Abudllah who was wounded in the attack along with his wife, "I held my wife and led her outside the place.  As we were leaving, I saw dead bodies soaked with blood and huge destruction."  Aswat Al Iraq reports President Jalal Talabani stated, "With heartfelt grief, we have received news of the death and injury of a large number of innocent citizens in a cowardly terrorist operation that targeted a crowded restaurant on the Kirkuk-Arbil highway. As we vehemently condemn this heinous terrorist operation perpetrated by the vanquished terrorist remnants, we stress for our great Iraqi people, particularly the steadfast residents of Kirkuk, that terrorists will never be able to upset the fantastic security achievements made all over the country's province."
Turning to US politics, Dee Dee Myers (Vanity Fair) observes of Barack Obama's speech writer and professional pig Jon Favreau (not the actor-writer-director) groping a cut-out of Hillary Clinton:
I can't stop thinking about this picture, and I confess I find it really upsetting. And, no, it's not because I don't have a sense of humor. I like to think I have a well-earned reputation for often irreverent, sometimes ill-advised humor. But I'm not laughing now.
And it's not that I was never young. My friends from college and in the years just beyond can testify that I did some things then that I wouldn't want to see on the Internet now. But I had a big job in the White House at a young age too; at 31 -- just a few years older than Favreau is now -- I became White House press secretary. And I knew instantly that the rules had changed for me, that I could no longer go to all the parties of the people just a little younger than me, who had just a little less responsibility, and expect to be anonymous. Clearly, Favreau should have understood that too. If he's old enough and wise enough and mature enough to write for the president of the United States -- and not just any president but one who seems poised to take words more seriously than any since Abraham Lincoln -- than he's clearly old enough and wise enough and mature enough to avoid getting his picture taken behaving in a way that is embarrassing to him, his boss, the secretary of state -- designate, his family, and, one hopes, a majority of 27-year-old males (though that may be too optimistic.) It's indefensible. But that's still not what's bugging me.
What's bugging me is his intention. He isn't putting his hand on her "chest," as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand -- cupped just so -- is clearly intended to signal that he's groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It's an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration.
And it disgusts me. 
It is disgusting.  And good for Dee Dee for speaking out.  Murphy (PUMA Pac) observes:

Every day that Jon Favreau continues to have a job as obama's chief speech writer is ANOTHER day that the office of the Secretary of State is undermined. Every day that the above image is in the news is another day that creeps like Carville and Blitzer can convene all-male panels of sexperts and joke about how fun it is to gang up and sexually assault Hillary Clinton in effigy. (Wolf Blitzer, Alpha Epsilon Pi brother, along with Robert Novak and Jerry Nadler.Carville was a raging frat boy at LSU, where the motto is, "frat hard, frat often.")

We need to amp up our message. Columnists ARE talking about this issue, but they are saying that women's groups have been strangely silent. We know that National NOW and Emily's List are keeping a deafening silence, but the good women at New York and Los Angeles NOW have spoken up. But still, the message is not being received. 

Emily's List won't say a damn word.  You don't get cabinet positions (or more of them) by speaking out.  What about the pathetic Women's Media Center?  They haven't said one word as usual.   Yesterday, they had the nerve to write about human dignity while being silent on Jon Favreau.  Ms. is just as bad with their Feminist Wire that managed to note violence against women has "increased attention in Angola" but fails to raise objections to Favreau and his friend/male lover's attempt to prove they can get it up by (at best) disrepecting women.
Independent journalist John Pilger and Chris Martin won Best Documentary for The War On Democracy at the One World Media Awards and The War on Democracy is now available on DVD.  Groundhog Day is a Harold Ramis film starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell and Pilger references it in his new column (New Statesman):
Obama's slogan is now "continuity".  His secretary of defence will be Robert Gates, who serves the lawless, blood-soaked Bush regime as secretary of defence, which means secretary of war.  (America last had to defend itself when the British invaded in 1812.)  Gates wants no date set for an Iraq withdrawal and "well north of 20,000" troops to be sent to Afghanistan.  He also wants America to build a completely new nuclear arsenal, including "tactical" nuclear weapons that blur the distinction with conventional weapons.
[. . .]
There is more continuity in Obama's appointment of officials who will deal with the economic piracy that brought down Wall Street and impoverished millions.  As in Bill Murray's nightmare, they are the same officials who caused it.  For example, Lawrence Summers will run the National Economic Council.  As treasury secretary, according to the New York Times, he "championed the law that deregulated derivatives, the . . . instruments -- aka toxic assets -- that have spread financial losses [and] refused to heed critics who warned of dangers to come." 
There is logic here.  Contrary to myth, Obama's campaign was funded largely by rapacious capital, such as Citigroup and others responsible for the sub-prime mortgage scandal, whose victims were mostly African Americans and other poor people.
Yes, the greed.  As Elaine noted of the scandal involving who will replace him in the Senate, "I think the whole thing is poetic. Barack's home state governor accused of attempting some form of payment to appoint someone to replace Barack. It's all about greed and what was Barack's campaign run on but greed?  He refused public financing. Broke the pledge on that. He took in overseas donation and has no way to prove that the donations came from US citizens. He allowed individuals to repeatedly break the legal donation limit. The greed that built him could break him and, in fact, it should."  That's Illinois.  In New York, the assumption is that, in January, Hillary Clinton will be confirmed as the Secretary of State and will leave the US Senate.  That will allow the current governor (never elected to that post, as Ruth has pointed out) to appoint someone to serve the remainder of Clinton's Senate term.  Caroline Kennedy wants the Senate seat.  Marie Cocco (Washington Post Writers Group) wonders:
How can Democrats, who ridiculed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as an inexperienced political wannabe, now embrace the idea of elevating Caroline Kennedy -- who hasn't served a day in public office -- to Hillary Clinton's New York Senate seat? How, indeed, can the same "progressives" who opposed Clinton's election as president because they were repelled by the notion of extending the "Clinton dynasty" now be keen on perpetuating the Kennedy dynasty through an appointment?
As a longtime admirer of Sen. Ted Kennedy, I am embarrassed.
The iconic Massachusetts senator and others in the family are actively promoting John F. Kennedy's daughter -- who famously shunned the gritty political world for the sanctuary of public service through her private endeavors -- to take the Senate seat once occupied by her late uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, and now held by Clinton. A decision on filling the vacancy should Clinton be confirmed as secretary of state is up to New York Gov. David Paterson, who could be forgiven, in moments like this, if he fleetingly wishes that he'd not ascended to the office after predecessor Eliot Spitzer's indiscretions.
What, exactly, is the case to be made for Caroline Kennedy?


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