BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
PRESIDENT SWEETIE BARACK OBAMA'S SPEECH TUESDAY IS ALREADY GETTING THE CRITICAL REAPPRAISAL FADS DESERVE. UNMEMORABLE IS ONE OPINION, POORLY CRIBBED IS ANOTHER.
THESE REPORTERS DECIDED TO SPEAK WITH PARTY BOI AND WORDSMITH FOR BARACK JON FAVREAU. FAVREAU INVITED US TO HIS "SWINGING BACHELOR PAD" AND ASKED THAT WE STOP AND GRAB A BAG OF FRITOS AND MAYBE SOME PLAYBOYS.
WHEN THESE REPORTERS ARRIVED, AN ANXIOUS JON FAVREAU ASKED, "WHERE ARE THE SKIN MAGS?"
THESE REPORTERS INFORMED JON FAVREAU THAT WE ASSUMED HE WAS JOKING ABOUT THAT. "OH, YEAH, IT WAS A JOKE," FAVREAU SAID SOUNDING COMPLETELY UNCONVINCING.
THE "SWINGING BACHELOR PAD" WAS A DOG-RUN ROOM AND A TINY BATHROOM. THE COFFEE TABLE WAS LITTERED WITH DVD DISCS OF "KING OF QUEENS." FAVREAU EXPLAINED, "I'M A BIG KEVIN JAMES FAN."
WE NOTED THE 6-FOOT, CARDBOARD CUT OUT OF KEVIN JAMES NEXT TO FAVREAU'S STAINED FUTON.
FAVREAU, EAGER TO BE A GOOD HOST, DEMONSTRATED HOW HE LOVED TO AMUSE HIMSELF WITH THE CARDBOARD CUT OUT. "I GRAB HIM BETWEEN THE LEGS LIKE THIS," JON FAVREAU EXPLAINED, "AND CUP HIM, PRETENDING HIS HANG DOWN IS GETTING ALL TINGLY. THEN I DROP TO MY KNEES IN FRONT AND PRETEND I'M BOBBING FOR APPLES. THEN I PRETEND HE THROWS ME DOWN ON THE FUTON AND --"
WHY DID HE MAKE JOKES ABOUT PLAYBOY MAGAZINES IF HE WAS GAY, THESE REPORTERS WONDERED?
"UH-UH, I'M MAKING A JOKE NOW. YEAH, THIS IS THE JOKE. I MEAN KEVIN JAMES. WHO'D WANT TO GET IT ON WITH KEVIN JAMES? JUST COZ HE'S SO BOYISHLY HANDSOME AND SO MANLY. AND THE NUMBER ONE BOX OFFICE STAR IN THE COUNTRY. KEVIN JAMES DOESN'T INTEREST ME. NOT REALLY. NOT MOST OF THE TIME."
THESE REPORTERS BACKED AWAY SLOWLY.
Having failed to snag an invite to this week's earlier power-breakfast with the military, Nancy A. Youssef cracked open her little black book and pulled a few strings. Why McClatchy's one-time ace reported bothered is the only puzzler? What she scribbles is an insult to not only journalism but the collective intelligence as well. Gen James Conway announced (over breakfast tacos?), "The times is right for Marines to leave Iraq." Nance tosses around the name "Barack" and we're all supposed to see this as some sort "New World Coming" (sing it, Cass). Hamlet declared, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Someone needs to explain, "There was a world before this week, Nancy, and it's a well documented one." Translation? Thom Shanker (New York Times) was reporting what Nance stumbled upon and was reporting in October of 2007: "The Marine Corps is pressing to remove its forces from Iraq and to send marines instead to Afghanistan, to take over the leading role in combat there, according to senior military and Pentagon officials." The same day Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) was covering the story and explaining, "The proposal, discussed at senior levels of the Pentagon last week, would have the Marine Corps replace the Army as the lead U.S. force in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops number more than 25,000 and make up the largest contingent of the NATO-led force there. . . . Marine Corps officers who have served in Iraq expressed enthusiasm for the idea, which would in essence allow the service to extricate itself from the increasingly unpopular and costly Iraq war. . . . Senior Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, have not publicly spoken of the issue. Officers knowledgeable of the Marine Corps' push for the new mission did not characterize it as a formal plan." August 2008, CNN quoted Conway stating, "To do more in Afghanistan, our Marines have got to see relief elsewhere." Liam Stack (Christian Science Monitor) in August noted, "American and Iraqi officials announced on Wednesday that United States forces would hand over control of the Anbar Province, the scene of some of the war's most gruesome violence, to the Iraqi military as soon as next Monday. Most of the departing US soldiers are marines, many of whom will be sent to Afghanistan, where conflict has renewed between NATO forces and a resurgent Taliban." Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times) explained in November, "The Marines have long made no secret of their desire to depart from Iraq and redeploy to Afghanistan, where they were the first conventional U.S. troops in 2001 to invade the country to assist local forces in toppling the Taliban regime." And in December, Cami McCormick (CBS Radio News) reported, "The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps says it's 'high time' his troops leave Iraq and take their battle skills to Afghanistan. 'We are a fighting maching,' Gen. James Conway tells CBS News, and the fight is now in Afghanistan." None of that 15-month public history makes it into Youssef's 'report.' Nancy's too busy mouthing, "Now I have a song inside, The birds sing to me, I finally can be, Free to spread my wings in harmony" (Diana Ross' "Every Day Is A New Day").
Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) calls out the nonsense of 'noble war' Afghanistan and addresses Iraq concluding, "There are at least two antiwar protests coming up in spring 2009. If Barack Obama is not taking the path towards peace that he was elected to take by then, it is essential that those who voted for him with the understanding that US troops would be leaving Iraq (and not going to Afghanistan) attend at least one of these protests. That is what democracy really means." I've chosen that quote but, for any who don't use the link, Jacobs is absolutely not saying, "Wait until the protests." He is calling for action and calling for it right now. Military Families Speak Out is staging "The Change WE Need" from Feburary 6th to 9th in DC which will include marching from Arlington National Cementery to the White House. A.N.S.W.E.R. is among the organizations sponsoring March 21st "Bring the Troops Home Now" rally and march in DC. Dropping back to CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn writes, "But credit where credit is due. On his second day in the White House Jimmy Carter amnestied Vietnam draft dodgers and war resisters." Then blah blah on Barack. Jimmy Carter did that, Alex? No, he sure as hell as did not do what you say he did. I guess it's easy to treat Jimmy Carter as heroic if you invent actions he never took. War resisters during Vietnam were draft dodgers and deserters. The first category -- and only the first category -- got amnesty from Carter. You can click here for CBC reporting on that (January 21, 1977) and the reaction in Canada. Also on January 21st -- and note, January 21st. Barack's praise from Alex is over Jan. 22nd. His second full day in office. Jimmy Carter pardoned draft dodgers on his first day in office -- and, yes, that is important. January 21, 1977, The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (now The NewsHour) featured a discussion on Carter's actions that day. Americans for Amnesty's Louise Ransom was vocal about all war resisters (and protestors) needing amnesty. On the broadcast was Elizabeth Holtzman who was then a US House Rep. I like Liz, I've known her for many years. But what she did is something everyone should learn from because it should not repeat today. She was "pleased" (you know it because she used the phrase "I'm pleased" three times in her first sentence) but, "I would have liked to have seen it broader, I would like to have seen it extend to some of the people who are clearly not covered and whose families will continue to be separated from them . . . but I don't think President Carter has closed the door on this category of people." She didn't think?
It's a good thing she didn't wager a bet. That was it. Carter didn't do another damn thing. And those of us calling for more were told, "We can't pressure him. He'll get to it." No, he wouldn't and, no, he didn't. It sure is cute of Alex to come along all this time later and give Carter credit for something he never did. It sure is cute of Alex to rewrite history. (In fairness, he doesn't know the history. Vietnam wasn't personally pressing to him in real time for obvious reasons -- he was Irish, not American, and when he came to the US he was well beyond drafting age for male citizens.) Credit where it's due? Jimmy Carter earns no credit for that. He did as little as possible and he only did that much because he was pressured. Ford had already offered a program (that you had to jump through hoops for) that covered draft dodgers and deserters. Carter was running against Ford and there was a real peace movement in America at that time -- not the fake crap offered by the pathetic creatures trying to pass for 'leaders' today. Demands were made on him.
That's the only reason he followed through on draft dodgers (which he had spoken of to the Veterans of Foreign Wars' convention during his 1976 presidential campaign) was because there was pressure. Gerald Ford was considering pardons for war resisters as he left office but it was thought Carter would take care of it. Carter didn't. He only took care of draft dodgers. And as wonderful as Liz Holtzman can be, she was dead wrong about America 'hoping' Jimmy would find time to revist the issue. He didn't get serious pressure and he never revisted it. There's a lesson in there for today's activism -- although that's a joke. Outside of a few groups, there's no activism going on. Just a lot of embarrassments (see Mike calling out the Center for Constitutional Rights over their fondling of Barack). History isn't just a bunch of memorized items. It either has real-life, current applications or it's trivia and not history.
Wednesday's Free Speech Radio News included this item by Mark Taylor-Canfield in the headlines:
Hundreds of US soldiers have relocated to Canada, Europe or LatinAmerica after choosing not to serve in the US war and occupation in Iraq. Many of the soldiers have gone into Canada by crossing the border between Washington State and British Columbia, which also served as a point of entry for conscientious objectors escaping toCanada during the US war in Vietnam. Now Project Safe Haven is calling on President Barack Obama to grant immediate amnesty to all US war resisters who have refused to serve in Iraq.
The group is also calling for the immediate withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq and an end to the war in Afghanistan. Other demands include reparations for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and full benefits and healthcare for US military veterans. According to Project Safe Haven organizer Gerry Condon, the petition was circulated among national anti-war and veterans groups and was delivered to the President-elect's transition team.
Gerry Condon has posted a transcript at his site and you can find out more information there. We noted here throughout 2007 and 2008 that the Democratic candidates were not being asked about amnesty. Had they been asked when US House Rep Dennis Kucinich and former US Senator Mike Gravel were in the race, others might have been forced to say they'd at least consider that or look into it. We noted after the nomination was given to Barack that he needed to be pressed on the issue of war resisters. In 1972, the peace movement pressured. McGovern had to promise amnesty and Nixon upped his lies that he was ending that illegal war because of pressure from the peace movement. McGovern didn't lose because he was forced to publicly support amnesty. And by McGovern doing that, it made it easier for Gerald Ford to do his program when he became president. The pressure on McGovern, Ford and Carter was serious pressure and it vanished on Carter shortly after he was sworn in. Barack should have been pressured on the issue sometime ago. He wasn't. That doesn't mean serious pressure can't be applied now. Especially on a president who claimed (lied) that he was always against the Iraq War and that was proof of his superior judgment. For those who lacked that superior judgment, you know, mere mortals, Barack should be more than willing to pardon them. And a real movement, a real peace movement, would be pressuring him to do so.
But we don't have a peace movement in the United States and we don't have a Dove for a president. We have a Corporatist War Hawk that people are so scared and reluctant to call out. Which, as Paul Street (ZNet) points outs, was the entire of point:
At the same time, many of his elite sponsors have certainly long understood that Obama's technical blackness helps make him uniquely qualified to simultaneously surf, de-fang, and "manage" the U.S. citizenry's rising hopes for democratic transformation in the wake of the long national Bush-Cheney nightmare. As John Pilger argued last May: "What is Obama's attraction to big business? Precisely the same as Robert Kennedy's [in 1968]. By offering a 'new,' young and apparently progressive face of Democratic Party - with the bonus of being a member of the black elite - he can blunt and divert real opposition. That was Colin Powell's role as Bush's secretary of state. An Obama victory will bring intense pressure on the US antiwar and social justice movements to accept a Democratic administration for all its faults. If that happens, domestic resistance to rapacious America will fall silent."
Obama's race is part of what makes him so well matched to the tasks of mass pacification and popular "expectation management" (former Obama advisor Samantha Power's revealing phrase). As Aurora Levins Morales noted in Z Magazine last April, "This election is about finding a CEO capable of holding domestic constituencies in check as they are further disenfranchised and....[about] mak[ing] them feel that they have a stake in the military aggressiveness that the ruling class believes is necessary. Having a black man and a white woman run helps...make oppressed people feel compelled to protect them."
Paul Street is the author of Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics -- one of three books in 2008 this community found worthy of praise. On the subject of books, Gerald Nicosia (San Francisco Chronicle) praises two new books today Aaron Glantz' The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans is the first, "What makes 'The War Comes Home' such a powerful plea is that Glantz admits his initial bias against the vets - they were the ones who caused all the misery among the poor Afghans and Iraqis. But his eventual realization that both reporter and soldier are common victims of a government that wages such wars allowed him to identify with the vets and to empathize with their struggles." Iraq Veterans Against the War and Glantz' Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations is the second, "Like 'The War Comes Home,' 'Winter Soldier' makes us feel the pain and despair endured by those who serve in a military stretched to the breaking point by stop-loss policies, multiple combat tours, and a war where the goals and the enemies keep shifting. But these books also make us admire the unbreakable idealism and hope of those men and women who still believe that by speaking out they can make things better both for themselves and for those who come after them."
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Saturday, January 24, 2009
When a party boi loves a bear
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Colorado turns a Whiter shade of pale
DAVID PATERSON JUST WANTED TO BE A STAR, CAROLINE KENNEDY JUST WANTED TO BUY AN APPOINTMENT TO THE SENATE. HOW COULD IT HAVE ALL GONE SO WRONG? (BECAUSE PRINCESS CAROLINE COULDN'T TAKE THE PRESS HEAT.) BUT ONE THING THAT NEW YORKERS CAN TAKE COMFORT IN IS THEY AREN'T LIVING IN COLORADO.
COLORADO WHERE A SENATE SEAT MEANS SO LITTLE, NOT EVEN A THIRD OR FOURTH KENNEDY COUSIN WANTED THE SEAT ALTHOUGH MICHAEL SKAKEL SAID HE'D TAKE THE SEAT IF THEY'D RELEASE HIM FROM PRISON.
KEN SALAZAR WAS ONE OF THREE LATINO MEMBERS OF THE U.S. SENATE. HE IS NOW INTERIOR SECRETARY AND DESPITE THE TALK OF "HISTORY" EVERY TIME YOU TURN ON THE TV OR PICK UP A PAPER, COLORADO GOVERNOR BILL RITTER ASSUMED THAT, LIKE HIM, MOST PEOPLE DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT COLORADO. SO THE WHITE GOVERNOR FILLED THE SEAT WITH A WHITE MAN BECAUSE WHAT THE PREDOMINATELY WHITE, ANGLO AND MALE SENATE NEEDS IS . . . MORE WHITE ANGLO MALES.
IT'S HISTORY! IN THE SENSE THAT IT'S A THROWBACK TO 1878.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The jealous guy
BECAUSE THE CONSTITUTIONAL 'PROFESSOR' DIDN'T KNOW ENOUGH TO KNOW THE OATH OF THE PRESIDENCY, BARACK OBAMA WAS SWORN IN A SECOND TIME TODAY.
WHEN ASKED WHAT THE DEAL WAS, MICHELLE OBAMA EXPLAINED TO THESE REPORTERS, "SOMEONE MADE THE MISTAKE OF COMPLIMENTING OUR GIRLS AND YOU KNOW THAT MAN CAN'T STAND IT IF HE'S NOT THE CENTER OF ATTENTION. ALL IT TOOK WAS ONE 'THEY ARE SO CUTE' AND HE STARTED SAYING, 'I AM HISTORIC. I WAS SWORN IN. I'LL BE HISTORIC AGAIN. WATCH ME. I'M GOING TO BE SWORN IN AGAIN.' I SAID, 'BARACK, HON, REALLY, GIVE IT UP.' BUT THAT MAN'S VANITY."
We're still on inauguration coverage and here's how it works. If you result in 40 or more e-mails complaining (from community members), you get called out. I'm not in the mood. And I'm not in the mood to try and answer that many e-mails one on one. When that many people are pointing to a problem, it will be called out here. Danny Schechter. We just rolled our eyes all through 2008 when he pretended repeatedly that he was just calling it like it was and oh, goodness, no favoritism to Barack. Why does the media suck? It sucks because alleged independents refuse to do their jobs. The garbage -- and that's the only word for it -- at Danny's News Dissector today is not journalism and it is not independent. If he can't grasp it, he should substitute "Bush" for "Barack" and he should be appalled by offering up a version of Fox "News."
For starters, Rev Joseph Lowery is not "one of Dr. King's soldiers." There is NEVER any need to MILITARIZE the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Repeating, NEVER. That is appalling and there's no excuse for it. Not even that Danny's giddy over Barack. The US is in two wars with Barack's advisors already itching for two more. Stop trying to turn our civil society into the military. And on Lowery, again refer to Kimberly Wilder's post at On The Wilder Side.
Meanwhile, it's always great -- and oh, so rare -- when Danny manages to quote a woman at his blog, but possibly stand-up comics who don't know what the hell they're talking about should be avoided?
Jessi Klein? Doesn't know what she's talking about. And Danny should know that. Long before John Roberts, Chief Justice, screwed up the oath, Barack had already done that. And, big point, I'd be awfully careful making fun of John Roberts. Not out of fear that he or his minions would come after but due to questions about Roberts' health which swirl around DC. Also true is the oath isn't that difficult and the presumably healthy Barack has no excuse for messing it up. Jessi wants to ignore that. She wants to say it's "perfectly symbolic" because of who appointed him. And Danny apparently agrees.
Roberts -- whom this site LOUDLY opposed -- was confirmed by the Senate. Barack's buddy Cass Sunstein (currently married to War Monger and Our Modern Day Carrie Nation Samantha Power) pimped Roberts hard. Barack obviously loves Cass' 'judgment' since he's named Cass to head Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Barack voted against Roberts while also leading the public argument of "WE CAN'T FILIBUSTER!" The Democrats could have kept Roberts off the bench. They did not do so. The Senate confirmed Roberts: 78 voted for Roberts, 22 voted against. Who voted for Roberts among Democrats? Well Robert Byrd among others, Russ Feingold, Kent Conrad, Chris Dodd, Patrick Leahy, Carl Levin, Patty Murray, Bill Nelson, Ben Nelson, Ken Salazar (whom Barack nominated to be Sec of Interior and whom the Senate confirmed in the post yesterday), Herb Kohl, Blanche Lincoln -- we can go on and on. Only 22 senators voted against Roberts (all Democrats). The Democrats had a bloc of 45 votes at that time (44 Dems plus independent Jim Jeffords). When half of them voted to confirm him and when the Dems would not filibuster the nomination, Roberts sitting on the Court -- presiding over it -- is as much their fault as the Republicans. That's reality in The Land of Grown Ups.
Barack said what on the Senate floor about his vote? "Given that background, I am sorely tempted to vote for Judge Roberts based on my study of his resume, his conduct during the hearigns, and a conversation I had with him yesterday afternoon. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind Judge Roberts is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. Moreover, he seems to have the comportment and the termperament that makes for a good judge. He is humble, he is personally decent, and he appears to be respectful of different points of view." Barack continued on and on.
That's a little more complicated than Jessi Klein and Danny Schechter want to make it. But Barack's 2008 campaign ran on that sort of simplification. Danny, it's "Jessi" and writing two episodes (two bad episodes, in fact) of Samantha Who? did not make Jessi a political scholar or, for that matter, informed. But then you knew she wasn't informed when you read her. It failed as political criticism and, like so much of her writing, it failed as comedy. Stick to drooling over David Gergen, Jessi.
It was "stirring" -- gushes Danny of the inauguration -- of the pomp and assholeness of it all. (And that's true of every inauguration.) He confesses Iran's PRESS TV didn't "share my enthusiasm" and that an interviewer for South Africa media "was more focused on what policies, if any, would shift." That should have been the first sign that there's a problem with your reaction.
We could go line by line but we're wrapping up. I will note that I attended the inauguration to see Joe Biden sworn in. I didn't feel the need to go goo-goo-gaa-gaa. I haven't written about it and don't intend to. I'll leave the mash notes to our so-called 'independent' media.
Danny quotes AP (though it's not clear at his website that he's doing that) "Not since the September 2001 terrorist attacks have so many television networks shown such a unity of purpose, this time for a moment of hope." Manufacturing of consent and Danny toiled in the TV industry long enough to grasp that without my pointing it out. Then it's time for him to provide the transcript to the bad poem. It's a really bad poem because it's neither the 19th nor 20th century currently.
For a supposed new day dawning (those words top Danny's site currently), trying writing about today and not nostalgia. What's really sad is Alexander doesn't even grasp that her Norman Rockwell garbage is neither realistic nor poetic. She's got a teacher telling students to "take out your pencils" -- take out your pencils? She apparently thinks it is 1899 and not 2009. She's then off to "dirt roads" and "highways." She apparently even pre-dates the creation of the nation's interstates.
With no sense of irony, Danny then quotes Michael Parenti on, among other things, "conservative forces" who "continue to reject . . . publicly funded campaigns." Who rejected public money? Oh, yeah, War Hawk Corporatist Barack Obama.
To Danny's e-mailer from Denmark, Barack Obama is not your president. I am so sorry that you are so ashamed of your own country which you must think is pathetic and backwards. But that's your problem. This goes for people in Kenya (non-Obama family members), France and elswhere. Barack is a citizen of the United States, elected to be the president of the United States. Denmark and all the rest, don't whine about the US always trying to throw its weight around when your PATHETIC LIVES are so empty that all you can do is obsess over another country's leader.
It really wasn't cute in Breaking Away when Dave was obsessed with a country other than his own, when he need to pretend he's from that country. It was seen as adolescent and embarrassing and it's the main reason the box office for the film was so poor and why it ended up on NBC (broadcast TV) so quickly that it couldn't even go back into theaters after its Oscar win for best screenplay. No one wants that crap. No one wants some whiney ass obsessing about another country. If you loathe Denmark so much, work on improving it. If you're tired of the US throwing its weight around, stop hero worshipping the country.
Is this the same crowd that worships Prince Harry and gets out the scones (even though they're not British or part of the United Kingdom) and tea for their 'wedding parties' anytime HRH has a family member getting married? It's pathetic. Do you not have lives to live? They're the equivalent of rubber neckers passing a traffic accident but with their pinkies lifted.
John Pilger actually is independent and you can find him explain Barack here and here and here and here and here. And you can find Danny telling the same or similar truths . . . Where?
And now we move on to Liz Smith. Liz apparently missed the news of the actor who will never play gay (because he is and he's in the closet) who got drunk last night at a ball, mistook a high school junior for a trick and caused an ugly, ugly scene (that only got worse when the parents -- part of official Washington -- ended up involved). Or maybe she's ignoring that scoop to cover for the actor? I have no idea. But I know what she's dishing out today is GARBAGE and needs to be called out. Liz wants everyone to leave Barry alone. He's "historic" and people need to get out of his way, says the tall Texan before explaining:
I'm more worried about the Democrats and their mumbling about taking members of the Bush administration -- perhaps even the ex-president himself -- to legal task for eight years of ineptitude and possibly worse. Please! Nancy Pelosi, buy a clue. When your president talks about turning the page, he doesn't mean to have the country and media embroiled and obsessed with Bush and company for ages ahead. I don't want to see or hear or concern myself with anything Bush from now on. Leave them all to heaven.
Liz, Nancy's not the one who needs to buy a clue. You're the damn fool who's clueless. Now everyone was laughing at you two weeks ago when you were running with Tina Fey's p.r. that she and Sarah Palin were friends. You got punked, Liz. You're not going to get your credibility back by refusing to grasp the seriousness of what the Bully Boy did to this country. You embarrass yourself. You don't come off funny or hilarious. You come off completely unconcerned with the law and more interested in covering up for torture than holding anyone accountable. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, really doesn't need your 'strong' 'editorials.' Why don't you stick to who's sleeping with who and stay away from topics so clearly beyond your limited grasp? For reality on the need to hold the previous administration accountable, see this by the Center for Constitutional Rights president Michael Ratner who also is a co-host of Law & Disorder along with Dalia Hashad, Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith. And on Guantanamo, Barack's last public statements were they he would close it but would move the prisoners elsewhere. As Ava and I pointed out, "Believe it or not, the cry to close Guantanamo was not a cry for relocation. It was a cry for freedom. But Barack made clear to The Post that some people held at Guantanamo could not be convicted in a court of law because their 'confessions' resulted from torture." As Barack now indicates that even closing Guantanamo will take a year, the Center for Constitutional Right's Executive Director Vince Warren points out: "It only took days to put these men in Guantanamo, it shouldn't take a year to get them out."
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
We're all drinking like Christopher Hitchens now!
THE NEW YORK TIMES ANNOUNCES "NATION IN CRISIS EMBRACES THE MOMENT" WHEN WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN IS: "NATION IN CRISIS GOES ON A BENDER."
WHILE THE NATION WENT ON THEIR BENDER DURING THE INAUGURATION, MICHELLE OBAMA'S DECISION TO WEAR A HOUSE COAT TO THE PUBLIC CEREMONY INDICATES SHE STARTED NIPPING IN THE WEE HOURS OF TUESDAY MORNING.
IN FAIRNESS, YOU WOULD AS WELL IF THE DAY PRIOR YOUR HUSBAND HAD MADE YOU AND THE KIDS WORK A SANTIATION RUN IN THE EXTREME COLD.
In the US, Barack Obama took the presidential oath of office today and Iraq Veterans Against the War issued the following:
IVAW members and chapters got together recently to produce an ad calling for an end to the war in Iraq. This ad will be broadcast a few minutes before Barack Obama takes the oath of office (at noon EST) on NBC in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, New York City, and Washington DC as a reminder that the war goes on, and that electing a new President is not enough to bring it to an end.
For supporting arguments and further information about the content of this ad, click here. IVAW would like to thank Baked Goods Productions, The Flobots and Beau Weaver for generously contributing their talent to create this ad.
Iraq Veterans Against the War depends upon the support of individuals in order to continue organizing for an end to the Iraq war, care for our veterans, and justice for the people of Iraq. 2009 will be a pivotal year for U.S. involvement in Iraq, and it is more important than ever that we keep the pressure on to bring this occupation to an end. Support IVAW, click here to make a donation now.
Sunday the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died of wounds suffered following an improvised explosive device in eastern Baghdad Jan. 18 at approximately 11 a.m." M-NF announces the deaths (like the previous ones) and the Defense Department then follows by issuing the name after the fallen's survivors have been notified. For example, Monday the Defense Dept announced, "The Department of Defense announced today the death of an Airman who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Senior Airman Omar J. McKnight, 22, of Marrero, La., died Jan 17 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Balad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla." The military's problem with that announcement is the death they identified was never announced by M-NF. January has seen eight US service members deaths and the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 4229.
Friday Haitham Kadhim al-Husani was assassinated, shot dead in Baghdad. Sunday deaths included Hassan Zaidan al-Luhaibi. Jonny Dymond (BBC) reported that a Mosul suicide bombing claimed the life of the "vice- president of the Sunni National Dialogue bloc" who "was leading his party's campaign for provincial elections to be held at the end of this month." In addition, Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) notee that al-Luhaibi's "son Falah is a parliament member". Sam Dagher (New York Times) explained al-Luhaibi "was barred from holding elected office because he had been a senior member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party" and he had been "an army general who commanded Iraq's military academy. He was among the senior officers involved in Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and its long war with Iran in the 1980s." Ernesto Londono and Zaid Sabah (Washington Post) explained, "The attack occurred amid bitter competition between Sunni Arabs and Kurds for control of Nineveh province, one of four that includes areas claimed by both Arabs and Kurds."
Provincial elections -- which were supposed to take place no later than 2008 to meet the 'benchmark' -- are scheduled for January 31st. Even if they take place, they still do not meet the 'benchmark' for progress because they are not taking place in all provinces. Fourteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces will hold elections. The United Nations has regularly and repeatedly warned that violence would most likely increase in Iraq as provincial elections approached. AP's Kim Gamel and Hamza Hendawi explain that the elections are for 444 seats (444 from all 14 pvoinces) and that 14,431 people are competing for those seats. Timothy Williams (NYT's International Herald Tribune) notes a new poll of Iraqis has found 41% of those surveyed cite a preference for secular candidates and 31% prefer candidates from religious parties. Though religious markings and artificats are not supposed to be used in the campaigns, Anthony Shadid reported today that "everyone from the Communist Party to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a powerful Shiite party, has resorted to Shiite imagery." Saturday Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported that the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, was attempting to make the elections all about himself: "He is not on any ballot in the provincial elections scheduled for Jan. 31. But in agreeing to be the public image of the Coalition of the State of Law, a group of candidates running primarily on his record, Maliki has effectively turned the contest into a referendum on his rule. The elections will be the most crucial test so far of Maliki's attempt to bolster the central government's authority -- and his own. If he succeeds in establishing a nationwide base of local politicians ready to support him and the idea of centralized government, Maliki will have cemented his three-year transformation from little-known lawmaker to the most powerful Iraqi statesman since Saddam Hussein." The following day, Timothy Williams and Mudhafer al-Husaini (New York Times) explained that al-Maliki had demanded that Abudel Haneen al-Amara be kicked out as the police chief in Wasit Province and be replaced with a successor hand picked by al-Maliki leading to huge objections including objections over the timing. The reporters quoted a local council member, Sayyd Sattar al-Masqsusi, stating, "It's really not good to replace him at this time. We called the minister of the interior himself and he didn't know about the replacement and was as surprised as we are. Only God and Maliki know the reasons behind the change at this time." Monday Anthony Shadid (Washington Post) explored Basra where elections are expected to continue and solidify "Shiite Islamic parties" control of the area. Meanwhile Sam Dagher (New York Times) explores Anbar Province and finds that the US backed and elevated tribes may take control in the elections. Anbar is where the "Awakening" Councils were 'birthed' (created by tossing US money around). Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal's Baghdad Life) reports that the estimated 100,000 "Awakening" Council members are still not under Iraqi control and that the US is expected to continue paying the bulk of members until April when al-Maliki may finally pay the cost. So come April, the Iraqi government might finally take over payment. Strange.
April 8, 2008 during The Petraeus & Crocker Variety Hour, Senator Barabara Boxer brought up the thugs on the US payroll and noted $182 million a year was being paid by the US tax payers. "Why don't you ask the Iraqis to pay the entire cost of that program?" Boxer asked. When US Ambassador Ryan Crocker tried to dance around the issue, Boxer stated, "I asked you why they couldn't pay for it. . . . I don't want to argue a point. . . . I'm just asking you why we object to asking them to pay for that entire program giving all that we are giving them in blood and everything else?" Crocker's response was he would carry the suggestion back to Iraq. The "Awakening" Councils were supposed to have been turned over to Iraqi control in November. That has not taken place. Nor is al-Maliki assuming the payment. All this time later. In more non-progress, Timothy Williams (NYT's International Herald Tribune) notes that yesterday Iraq's Parliament again delayed their vote on selecting a new Speaker and now intend to vote on the 4th of February. December 23rd was when Mahmoud al-Mashhadani was relieved of his duties as Speaker. All this time later and they still have no Speaker.
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