Sunday, June 25, 2006

NYT: Gordo's all excited (so you should be scared)

Before we jump into this morning's New York Times (dumpster dive, you have been warned), let's note a highlight Lloyd sent in Friday. This is Matthew Rothschild's "The Hit on Kerry" (This Just In, The Progressive) and Rothschild's taking on cab driver Kate Zernike:

What Kerry has called for is withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq within the next year.
For this, Kate Zernike of The New York Times makes Kerry out to be a spoiler.
Here are some of the disparaging words from the paragraphs that appeared on the front page, not attributed to any Senator;
"the latest evolution of Kerry's views"--as if they're always evolving (you know, flip flopper);
"a frustration with Kerry";
"Kerry, never popular among the caucus, and still unpopular among many Democrats" for failing to beat Bush;
"too focused on the next Presidential campaign";
"more politics than principle";
"insistence on pushing ahead with his own plan";
"left the Democrats divided, and open to renewed Republican accusations that they are indecisive and weak--the same ridicule that Republicans heaped on Kerry in 2004."
Well, let's look at what Kerry did to deserve this barrage.
He acknowledged the errors of his ways on Iraq. "Most members of Congress, myself included, share some responsibility for getting us into Iraq," he said on June 2. "We've got to take responsibility for getting us out."
To me, that's refreshing.
So he introduced legislation calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by December 31, 2006.
That's about time. And it's the exact date that Senator Russ Feingold had proposed last year. Feingold and Kerry are co-sponsors of these withdrawal resolutions.
When their colleagues balked at December 31, Kerry agreed to amend the withdrawal date to July 1, 2007.
That's not exactly "pushing ahead with his own plan."
And if you want to talk about being more concerned with "politics than principle," check out the Democratic leadership on this issue. They're too scared to stick their necks out on the biggest moral issue of our day!
Not Kerry.
[. . .]
And no amount of sneering and sniveling by other Senate Democrats--or by the Kate Zernikes of this world--can take that away from him.

Kate Zernike who began her taxi drive-bys on Kerry Wednesday, continued it Thursday and needed one more shot on Friday.

Though the Stephen Smith-Said "Why Neil Young Is Wrong" (noted Tuesday) is available online, the rest of the July issue (or the sections they will highlight from it) doesn't appear to be (I may be missing something, I'm tired and have a headache -- which the Times hasn't helped this morning). Greg Palast has an interview with Hugo Chavez that we may pull something from tonight. (The issue arrived in Friday's mail, the weekend's provide no time for reading, so I haven't read it yet.) There's a poem by Maxine Kumin. (If you said who, Kumin won the Pulitzer in 1973 for Up Country: Poems of New England. Anne Sexton's "My friend, my friend" was written to Kumin -- if you just said who, go back to bed.) Howard Zinn has an essay entitled "No Human Being Is Illegal" and that's about the juggling I can do (I've got the issue and this morning's paper on my lap). But you can read Matthew Rothschild's interview with Dar Williams that we noted either at the end of May or the first of June. (May 21st, Jess advises, is when it was noted here.)

Now let's deal with the Times. War pornographer Michael R. Gordon puts his self-satisfied smirk into print this morning with "U.S. General in Iraq Outlines Troop Cuts." While Kerry was ridiculed all week for talking of withdrawal, it's a general this time, so Gordo's ready to salute (with which part of the body, please, don't ask -- and don't tell -- in the words of Mama Cass, "Shhh, no rumors.") It probably helps that the general's plan is useless and meaningless. Forget that it's based upon regions being turned over to an Iraqi security force (raising issues and questions all by itself), forget that Gordo slips it in that we might see further withdrawal BEFORE the 2008 election and just note this sentence:

The period from the summer of 2008 though the summer of 2009 was cast as one in which the Iraqi government would be increasingly self-reliant.

"Increasingly," not "self-reliant," "increasingly self-reliant."

The withdrawal is nothing to rejoice over. (Though it would be just fine with me if some of the War Hawks started screaming, "Cut and Run!" at Casey.) Follow Gordo if you can:

According to a classified briefing at the Pentagon this week by the commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the number of American combat brigades in Iraq is projected to decrease to 5 or 6 from the current level of 14 by December 2007.
Under the plan, the first reductions would involve two combat brigades that would rotate out of Iraq in September without being replaced. Military officials do not typically characterize reductions by total troop numbers, but rather by brigades. Combat brigades, which generally have about 3,500 troops, do not make up the bulk of the 127,000-member American force in Iraq, and other kinds of units would not be pulled out as quickly.

Gordo low balls the number (sh, no laughter) at an estimated 28,000. As of last week, there were 130,000 something troops in Iraq with new troops shipping in on Sunday. Come December 2007, we'd still have over 100,000 troops stationed in Iraq. But Thursday, Casey and Rummy were quick to hold their press conference in an apparent move to quell the public and the desire to bring the troops home. (Can't have people calling their senators and pressuring them to support the Kerry-Russ Feingold plan.)

The headline (which Gordon didn't write) and the opening of the article promise so much but, in the end, you're left with nothing. The story of his . . .

Walk on,

Dominick notes that Dexy does little damage today (but then he's pulling from wire reports and not being "creative"). He tells you that three US soldiers died Friday and one died Saturday. (I'm not seeing that in the print edition, just FYI).

Having proven that they can slam and attack Noam Chomsky, the Guardian's Jonathan Freeland's given a chance to take a go at it this side of the Atlantic. (Polly has a lengthy column on the Guardian in today's Polly's Brew, so check your inboxes.) Freeland's 'review' reads like someone just got his feelings hurt that a personal hero was insulted. He plays Alan Dershowitz at one point (yes, Freeland saw the debate as well) and mainly offers nothing of insight. (In fairness, Chomsky's Failed State requires more space than he's given.

Who buys Ann Coulter? Apparently Thomas Friedman readers since he sinks as she rises. (The best seller list, hardcover.) Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse debuts at number ten.

I was told there would be something worth reading in the week in review, but I've looked for that section, Rebecca has, Jess has, Ava has and Ty has (yes, I have house guests) and we can't find it. (More of that wonderful "customer care" that the paper dishes out to its subscribers.) All the sections are displayed on the floor and it wasn't delivered with the paper.

The Third Estate Sunday Review? We're on a break. Four pieces are completed. The editorial is in notes and needs to be organized, ditto the piece on Laura Flanders' show Saturday. Ava and I need to grab time to write a TV piece. Within two hours tops (hopefully sooner), it should all be up.

Betty's "Thomas Friedman Wants It Hot" went up last night. Also check out Trina's "Burritos in the Kitchen." Ruth's latest report went up late last night and Isaiah's latest comic goes up as soon as this is done indexing.

Stealing from Kat, today on RadioNation with Laura Flanders (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST):

The one and only Dahr Jamail. You've got to listen. (Awarded "Embedded in our hearts" in the 2004 year-in-review and only more so today. Listen!)
Need more reasons? Holly Sklar who always has something worth hearing on the economy and, guess what, talk of the economy includes much more than stock tips. Holly keeps it real.
And a name we've grown familiar with at this site, Sharon Smith -- a woman who's not afraid to ask the questions about the illegal war that need to be asked. Subterranean Fire: A History of Working Class Radicalism in the United States is her latest book. I'm adding it to my reading list and you will add it to yours if you remember some of her strong writing that's appeared in/at CounterPunch.

(Full title was "Embedded in Our Hearts & Minds -- I believe.) The e-mail address for this site is