Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Phony George

He sits alone on a giant throne
Pretendin' he's the king
A little tyke who's rather like
A puppet on a string
And he throws an angry tantrum
if he cannot have his way
And then he calls for Mum while he's suckin' his thumb
You see, he doesn't want to play
Too late to be known as George the First
He's sure to be known as George the worst

The above is from Johnny Mercer and George E. Bruns' "The Phony King of England" from the soundtrack to Disney's animated Robin Hood. Catching a bit of yesterday's White House press conference and think of "moats" (we'll get to that in a moment) made the song pop into my head. (I've changed "John" to "George.") I tired to work it into the snapshot but couldn't so we'll open with it today. Johnny Mercer (link goes to a site run by his son) wrote and co-wrote many songs (including "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home," "Moon River," "Summer Wind" and "Come Rain Or Come Shine"). (A listing of songs written or co-written by Mercer can be here.)

As Bully Boy babbled on and appeared to do (the dance) the robot, that's what popped into my head. Those consultants who devote their time devising 'manly' gestures might need to work a little harder. As Elaine noted, "I know he's trying to look 'manly,' but he just looked, as he pivoted with palms facing, as though he were about to break out in a cheer of 'Ready? Okay!' I thought Kat's 'Ann Richards' called it correctly: 'So Ann Richards, the woman Bully Boy wishes he were -- but he's not fit to carry her pumps.'"

Trina asked that we note the following from Media Matters' "Softball in the Rose Garden: White House press corps failed to challenge Bush's non-answers at press conference:"

Fox News White House correspondent Wendell Goler noted Bush's efforts "to get more international support for taking a tough stance against Iran" and asked, "I wonder how much that is frustrated by two things: one, the war in Iraq and world criticism of that; and the other, the Iraqi prime minister going to Iran and basically challenging your administration's claim that Iran is meddling in Iraqi affairs." In response, Bush declared a "strong consensus" in the United Nations on the issue and further stated, "[T]here's common consensus that we need to work together to prevent the Iranian regime from developing that nuclear weapons program."
But the press corps' following questions failed to address the fact that, contrary to Bush's claim of a "strong consensus" in the United Nations, both Russian and China currently represent "obstacles to a U.S.-led push for consideration of sanctions against Iran in the U.N. Security Council," as a September 5 Reuters article
reported. The article noted that "China, whose trade with Iran reached nearly $8 billion in the first seven months of the year, has together with Russia long urged a negotiated solution and has traditionally opposed the use of sanctions in international diplomacy."
Further, no reporter noted that Bush had entirely ignored the second part of Goler's question regarding Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's recent meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. According to a September 12 New York Times
article, al-Maliki requested Iran's "support in quelling the violence that threatens to fracture" Iraq. In turn, Ahmadinejad committed to providing "assistance to establish complete security in Iraq because Iraq's security is Iran's security."
Later in the press conference, Bush similarly ignored the second part of a question posed by New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg regarding whether he would veto the detainee-treatment bill the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a day earlier. But in this case, Washington Post staff writer Peter Baker -- when called on by Bush -- pointed out that "Sheryl's second question was whether you would veto the bill as it passed yesterday." Bush then addressed her question, saying, "Hopefully we can reconcile differences."

A number of members have noted various reports on the fake and "good" news efforts by the Pentagon this week. (As though Operation Happy Talk doesn't already do enough and, presumably, without tax payer monies.) While everyone's focusing on what happened X years ago, they seem to have missed the fact that someone who engaged in those practices X years ago had an op-ed in Friday's New York Times. Rebecca walks you through it "about that new york times op-ed ... ."

(And Rebecca's joking about making me mad. But let me note here, on another feature, thanks to Edward Wong's article in this morning's New York Times, we'll kill a piece we had planned. I'm still sick and not in the mood to do it -- in fact I'm going back to sleep after I'm done here this morning -- so I don't feel I can ask others to do the work required -- pouring over a month's worth of snapshots when I'm not going to do it this evening/tonight/tomorrow morning. Wong touches on it -- and we'll note Wong in the next entry -- so that's going to have to be good enough when I feel like ___ and have all week. There are many other things that we have planned and the edition will go quicker without that feature so, since Wong's touched on it this morning, I'm axing our's.)

Also on Iraq, Joey notes Joe Conason's "UNTANGLING THE FACTS IN CIA LEAK PROBE" (Yahoo link, if it's like their news stories, this column may disappear in a few weeks):

In an article published in The Nation on Sept. 5, Corn says the available evidence also proves that Valerie Wilson was not only a genuine CIA undercover officer, but that she was in charge of operations seeking proof of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Specifically, she ran the Joint Task Force on Iraq, part of the CIA's Counterproliferation Division. She worked overseas using a "nonofficial cover." By disclosing her identity, the Bush officials ruined her career and endangered the sources she had used in the president's service. "Hubris" also suggests strongly that her alleged role in dispatching her husband to Niger has been exaggerated.
All this is contrary to the dominant right-wing perspective in Washington. So now we will see whether those who were so thrilled by the Armitage scoop are honest enough to confront more significant and embarrassing facts. But the fundamental issues have not changed.
Rather than confront Joe Wilson's accusations directly, the White House went after him and his wife -- and then lied about the involvement of its senior officials in disclosing her identity. The perpetrators of these unpatriotic acts have yet to be punished, and the president has failed to uphold his own professed ethical standards. It is a simple matter, and yet still too challenging for the national press to understand.

Two things that need to be noted. First David Corn will be a guest Sunday on RadioNation with Laura Flanders. Second, as Corn has revealed, Valerie Plame was undercover. That's an important point. Not back in the nineties as the Vicky Toejams tried to spin (and the New York Times was happy to run with).

Why is it important? The excuse now (which is laughable, see The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Somebody's Lying" from September 3rd) is that it doesn't matter because it was 'gossipy' Armitage (whose apparently the Peace Man to read the rewriting of history). "Gossipy" or not, Amitage broke the law. The earlier spin was that anyone outing Valerie Plame wasn't outing a CIA agent who was undercover and Vicky Toejam and others lined up to try to confuse the issue. Now that Corn has demonstrated that, yes, she was, the Toejam's are strangely silent on that point and big media, which was happy to run her spin (and others) doesn't have anything to say about that.

If you've forgotten, they wrote op-eds, they took to the airwaves, they did everything they could to dismiss the claim that Plame had been undercover. We await the Vicky Toejams corrections to the public record and, since this was their talking point, this issue needs to be noted. Not just in a "they were wrong," but in terms of the law itself that they were so quick to bend and say didn't apply to Plame.

On an unrelated to Iraq issue, some idiot visitor has written about Bill Clinton either tearing up or coming close to it on the issue of Ann Richards. The visitor (who doesn't identify politically) says it's another instance of Bill Clinton trying to inject himself into a "popular news story." No, it's probably not. Bill Clinton and Ann Richards were friends. She worked very hard, and was happy to, on his 1992 campaign. I'm sick and may not be remembering correctly but I believe that included whirlwind stops in the last 24 hours of his 1992 campaign (and I believe several stops were with him). There may be times to groan, but this isn't one of them. The two genuinely got along and the tearing up would not be false.

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