Thursday, April 09, 2009

Barack's reasons for bowing

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
 
THE WHITE HOUSE CONTINUES WORKING OVERTIME IN THEIR ATTEMPT TO DENY THAT BARACK OBAMA BOWED TO KING ABDULLAH OF SAUDI ARABIA.  TODAY ROBERT GIBBS LIED DURING A WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING AND THEN BECAME BITCHY TO DEFLECT FROM BEING ASKED THE QUESTION TO BEGIN WITH.
 
THE BOW THAT IS OBVIOUSLY A BOW GETS ATTENTION FROM CBS NEWS, THE TELEGRAPH OF LONDON, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, REAL CLEAR POLITICS, AND OTHERS.
 
REALIZING BITCHY MIGHT HAVE A SHORT SHELF LIFE ("YOU SAW WHAT IT DID TO PAUL LYNDE!" GASPED ROBERT GIBBS), THE WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON CALLED THESE REPORTERS TO READ BARACK OBAMA'S 10 TEN REASONS FOR WHAT HE WAS DOING THAT WASN'T BOWING.
 
1) I THOUGHT A PROPER SAUDI GREETING WAS SNIFFING THE CROTCH OF YOUR HOST.
 
2) I'M A HUGE FAN OF ELLEN'S AND WAS ATTEMPTING TO ACT OUT THE PILOT EPISODE OF THESE FRIENDS OF MINE, SPECIFICALLY WHEN ELLEN IS PULLED OVER FOR SPEEDING AND TRIES TO SPEAK 'INTO' THE CROTCH OF THE POLICE OFFICER WRITING HER A TICKET.
 
3) I WAS ACTUALLY ATTEMPTING TO MOCK THE JAPANESE AND THOUGHT ABDULLAH AND I COULD SHARE A HEARTY LAUGH OVER THAT.
 
WHEN GIBBS STOPPED, THESE REPORTERS ASKED HIM TO CONTINUE.
 
"WELL THAT'S ALL PRESIDENT OBAMA WROTE," GIBBS EXPLAINED.
 
BUT THAT'S ONLY 3 REASONS IN A SUPPOSED TOP TEN LIST.
 
"GIVE ME A BREAK," SIGHED GIBBS, "THIS IS THE MAN WHO THINKS THERE ARE 57 STATES IN THE UNITED STATES."
 
 
Phenola Lawrence (The Daily Collegian) reports on James Reilly who served two tours in Iraq:
 
Reilly's transition to civilian life was hard.  He didn't have a job and was strapped for cash, so he began delivering pizza in order to keep the bills paid.  His wife was a 911 dispatcher.  Money was always a problem for them.  His wife urged him to stay home at night, but he wanted to celebrate making it out alive.           
He drank excessively to cope with his memories.  After nights out, he would drive home inebriated.  He still wasn't afraid of death.  But this time, he realized it wouldn't only be his life on the line. 
[. . . .]
His wife complained and he became more frustrated.  He had a low-paying job, no prospects for the future and a crumbling marriage.  He separated from his wife in the summer of 2007.  Two months later, they got a divorce.  
At 26, Reilly is now a Penn State student, war veteran, divorcee and future engineer.
 
When Barack Obama's speech on veterans was scheduled last week (he gave it today), it seemed like Thursday snapshot would especially require a focus on veterans.  There was, however, the hope that some in the press would have done the heavy lifting by then.  Apparently not.  Last Friday, Maria Hinojosa (NOW on PBS) was mindlessly chattering away in her usual excessive praise of Barack, "His fiscal 2010 budget -- set to be approved this month -- would increase the VA's budget by $15 billion.  That's the largest increase ever requested by a president." Wow, Maria.  If we can all be mindless Obots (and hasn't the press proved that it is possible for many to be just that), we can be happy . . . and stupid.  Maria proves that.  She also proves this lesson: Always hide the context to strip news from the factoid you want to pimp. 
 
Barry gave his big speech today and, as a friend at the White House said, "He didn't say 'guys' this time."  Well good for Barry. It's a real shame that when addressing a (mixed) crowd in Iraq, he used the terms "guys."  What he did offer today was his usual bloated sense of bragging to the point that every speech is now an informercial for Barack.  Following the 2010 elections, look for the White House to bring in new blood for the speeches.  Until then, get used things like this: "I'm also pleased that the budget resolutions adopted by both houses of Congress preserve priorities that I outlined in my budget -- priorities that will go a long way towards building that 21st-century VA that we're looking for.  The 2010 budget includes the largest single-year increase in VA funding in three decades.  And all told, we will increase funding by $25 billion over the next five years." Cute, wasn't it?  Three references to himself in the first sentence alone. 
 
When not self-stroking, Barry was pushing "streamlined transition of health records."  This isn't his idea.  It predates him and he did no work on this in Congress, he's not on the committee.  (The House and Senate Armed Services Committees have worked on this and held hearing on this.)  But what Barry's done is advocate for money for it. How much money will go for that?  That is the fourth measure of the seven items the administration was promoting at the end of February ["(4) investing in better technology"].  So how much of the $15 billion will go to that?  Do we want to tell the veterans how much is allocated to the VA under "discretionary budget" and where that money will go? 
 
And at any damn point does the press plan to address reality?  The 2010 fiscal year increase is approximately 10%.  47.6 billion dollars was the 2009 fiscal year budget.  For eight years, Bully Boy Bush underfunded the Veterans Affairs -- despite the fact that two wars would be fought thereby increasing the number of veterans.  A ten percent increase is a joke.  This 'hallelujah' nonsense doesn't even grasp that Barack's insulting budget is less of an increase for the VA than what John Kerry was promising in his 2004 presidential run.
 
Barack promised open government and bills would be posted online and this would be and that would be and blah, blah, blah.  Didn't happen and most look the other way.  But it can't happen.  If it does, it'll make life hard for Barack cheerleaders like Maria Hinojosa who allegedly wanted to illuminate the plight of veterans last Friday on PBS but instead pretended cheerleading and distorting actually passed for reporting    NOW on PBS should either drop their we-care-about-veterans segments are learn to be a damn advocate.  The VA has been underfunded for eight years.  During that time, two wars have been fought.  Barack has decided to continue those words and is offering a pittance of a ten percent increase in the budget for the VA (with a huge amount of money going to "discretionary" spending -- which won't be explained or justified any more than the CERP funds in Iraq are).  It's shameful and it's disgusting.
 
And for eight years the press let Bully Boy Bush get away with underfunding so maybe it's not really a damn surprise that they'll now encourage Barack to do the same thing.  There's a legislative proposal by US House Rep Walter Jones that someone should build on.  HR 743 is the Executive Accountability Act of 2009 which Jones introduced January 28th, US House Rep Neil Abercrombie signed on as co-sponsor and reads: "To prohibit the President or any other executive branch official from knowingly and willfully misleading the Congress or the people of the United States, for the purpose of gaining support for the use of the Armed Forces of the United States." That is needed.  But notice how no one's rushing to push for its passage.  What's also needed is that before X number of service members are deployed to a combat zone, it needs to be established the potential VA costs.  And since Barack's committed to continuing Bully Boy's wars, a ten percent increase is an even bigger joke.  He will ensure the creation of a more than ten percent increase in the need for VA care in fiscal year 2010.  While the VA is supposed to be thrilled with the $15 billion increase to its tiny budget, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made his Pentagon budget proposal this week: $534 billion.  That's $21 billion more than for fiscal year 2009.  The always bloated Pentagon budget increased by $21 billion only further establishes what a pittance the $15 billion Barack tossed out was.  Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes that "Gates unveiled the biggest military budget in world history, in anticipation of an endless series of Iraq and Afghanistan-style wars by American imperialism.  Both the military budget itself and the official who drafted it -- Gates held the same position in the last two years of the Bush administration and is the first Pentagon chief to be retained by a new president -- underscore the fundamental continuity between Obama and Bush.  For all its pretensions of 'change' and all the popular illusions attached to Obama's supposed 'anti-war' stance, the new administration is as committed to the ruthless pursuit of the interests of American imperialism as its discredited predecessor." Jeremy Scahill (at CounterPunch) covers the bloated budget and the myths of 'cuts' while noting that US House Reps Lynn Woolsey and Jim McGovern are among those expressing distress over the proposed budget of the Pentagon.  The two budgets need to be placed side-by-side, they need to be talked about in connection with one another.  You can not grossly overfund the war machine and refuse to fund the care of veterans.  This might be a good time to note Cindy Sheehan has a new book out, Myth America: The 10 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution.  She will be hitting the road with her internet radio show to discuss the book and the stops include:
 
April 18 to 22nd, New Mexico (Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos)  
April 23rd Eureak Springs, Arkansas
May 3rd Chicago  
 
There are other dates, some confirmed, some tentative currently.  Refer to her website for more information.  And the VA budget and the Pentagon budget are not separate issues.  The budget of the Pentagon does effect the numbers the VA has to serve.  Staying with the costs of war, Deidra Walsh (CNN) reports, "The Obama administration will ask Congress for another $83.4 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of September, Democratic congressional sources said Thursday."
 
Barack wants more money to continue his illegal wars.  They're his now.  As Elaine noted  Kathy Kelly was a guest on KPFA's Flashpoints Wednesday.
 
Dennis Bernstein: We continue our series talking with high profile resisters of the US war in Iraq, the occupation there and the expanding war in Afghanistan.  And yesterday Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Iraq.  He congratulated the troops and all Americans on a  job well done there, quite a different visit and flavor from his last anti-war visit and people are concerned about the expanding war  in Afghanistan, Pakistan.  Now joining us is Kathy Kelly.  Kathy Kelly is co-founder for  Voices for Creative Nonviolence.  She is making her way, I guess you're in Nevada now, right? 
 
Kathy Kelly: That's right, Dennis, I joined a group of people who are intent on bringing attention to the Predator and Reaper drones -- the unmanned aireal vehicles that are headquarted inside of Creech Airforce Base and I think that there is now some increasing awareness of how it is that the United States is conducting escalated warfare in Pakistan and in Afghanistan.  There's increasing reliance on what might be called a sort of  remote control assassination squad or extrajudicial execution.  The drones don't have pilots inside the airplane the pilot is inside Creech Airforce Base or Langley Airforce Base if the pilots are working for the CIA. So we've been vigiling since April 1st outside the base.  We hold signs that say "Ground the drones lest you reap the whirlwind" and "Ending war: our collective responsibility" along with "Keep the troops home" and it's amazing the cordial response that we've had from people in the air force or others going inside the base. We've been given waves, peace signs, smiles, indications to keep going.  And yet they are themselves becoming very instrumental in the changing face of the United States military.
 
Dennis Bernstein: Well Bush War Secretary, now Obama War Secretary, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates loves these drones.  This is his vision for 21st century war along with a forward fighting force that is reinforced by depleted urainmium the drones,  this is the way he wants to move.  Talk a little bit about Gates and now the Obama pro-war policy.  I mean, after all when Obama says "Job well done" in Iraq, I think he's talking about an illegal war and occupation that destroyed a country and led to the deaths of about a million people.
 
Kathy Kelly: Well I think there is a certain blindside that both Mr. Gates and President Obama are not seeing. They seem not to be aware of the tremendous antagonism toward the United States that's been occassioned by a long history of United States regarding life in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan as being expendable, cheap if you will.  Right now there are one million people in Pakistan who have fled their homes because they're afraid that they might be struck by a drone Predator or drone Reaper and, you know, I think if we could just imagine what would it be like if we looked up into the skies and heard a sound that was like a snow mobile or a leaf blower and realized that that vehicle up in the sky could carry two Hellfire Missiles and two 500-pound bombs.  We'd be terrified.  We wouldn't want to conduct our lives always afraid that maybe they're going to decide to launch one of those bombs at us. And so similarly people who have fled their homes because they're so afraid are going to feel increasing antagonism in a country that is already very angry with US policies. And I suppose the US miltiary might say "Well it's better than carpet bombing this is more precision bombing than what we're accustomed to and we don't have to worry about losing a single soldier." But I think, again, we have to be aware of the context of a region of the world where the United States has regarded people's lives as expendable.  There's a horrendous loss of life in Iraq amongst many people who meant us no harm.  And also in the United States occupation of Afghnaistan where people have been forced to become refugees as well.
 
Dennis Bernstein: Now Kathy I spoke with Adam Kokesh who I'm sure you know very well.  An Iraq War veteran and on the board of Iraq Veterans Against the War.  And we were speaking and I asked him how he felt or when he felt these War Crimes committed by the Bush administration become the War Crimes of the Barack Obama administration?
 
Kathy Kelly: Hmm.  Well I think that Barack Obama is the world's chief exporter of weapons. I mean that goes with the job.  And I think that you can't look at attacks on civilian populations using conventional military force and not discuss War Crimes.  And so the United States is certainly in the position of being easily accused of having committed war crimes and also in having given so much weaponry to Israel.  And Israel has, I think, in the Operation Cast Blood assault and in those twenty-two days certainly committed War Crimes.  And then when you think about the fact that we create and export more weapons than the next -- well we're six times greater in our weapon production and use than any following country.  We've placed our economy on a war footing throughout a time when we could very well have been repaing a peace dividend. And this is the world that President Obama inherets  but in the appointments that he made in the -- which are center-rightest appointments by and large --  and his indications -- since the time he was campainging, that there would be an uptick in military spending in an Obama administration the clue for all of us who want to abandon the military -- and I mean that, abandon the military -- our work is the same as it was under [Occupant] Bush.
 
"[Occupant]" is my insertion.  See Elaine's post if you're late to the party.  For more on the drones, see Tom Engelhardt's article at Information Clearing House. Dennis mentioned Barack's speech during the exchange (the above is not a full transcript of the segment) and we'll note these observations by Kenneth Theisen (World Can't Wait) about the for-show visit:
 
Obama made a short propaganda speech to the assembled U.S. troops and stated, "It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis. They need to take responsibility for their country." Obama told the troops, "You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement." I wonder if Obama sensed the irony of declaring a country "democractic" in making this announcement at just one of the many U.S. bases used to occupy it. But in a deeper sense, the invasion and continuing military occupation of Iraq concentrate exactly what the U.S. delivers when it claims to bring democracy to any country.  
The so-called democratic government there was installed after a massive U.S. invasion that has resulted in the deaths of a million Iraqis. Millions more are external or internal refugees. Hundreds of thousands of medical personnel and other educated Iraqis have fled the country. The U.S. still occupies the country with more than 100,000 U.S. troops and tens of thousands of U.S. contractors. The U.S. is currently training tens of thousands of Iraqi puppet troops to help the U.S. to control the country, even after the so-called withdrawal of "combat troops."
 


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