Saturday, May 12, 2007

NYT: Rushes in to cover . . . er, cover up

The deserters House represents said they are facing the consequences.
"I'm here for me. I'm here for the guys in Iraq that are getting blown up every day. I'm here to make a difference," Walcott said.
Glass said they're not cowards.
"I don't see it as cowardice at all. Being a coward would have been staying there and putting up with it and going against my moral obligations," Glass said.

The above is more from WSIN. That's attorney Jeffry House and Iraq war resisters Dean Walcott and Corey Glass. For this report, WSIN offers up some veterans who want to attack the decisions of Walcott and Glass. It reads like a piece from The Nation, as Mary noted when she mailed in the above excerpt. (She's referring to the fact that when Ehren Watada finally appears in print -- months after going public -- it's to be called a coward by someone with the courage or 'courage' to sign a petition. That's how The Nation likes to cover war resisters.) I would argue WSIN showed far more courage than The Nation because they actually told Walcott and Glass' stories earlier this week. These days, it's not too hard for the mainstream to beat The Nation on every topic. They've done their Spring Books issue which finds ten books worthy of discussion including the very pressing issues of Edith Wharton, Philip K. Dick and John Cage. Search in vain for either Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale or Camilo Mejia's Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia. On the latter, the magazine doesn't appear eager to support The New Press so don't look for Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam to be covered anytime soon. I'm actually surprised they're not pimping their own (Nations Books) current non-seller. The current reign of the magazine will be remembered for the refusal to address Iraq and for the magazine's reputation being sullied by the constant association with a man the mainstream media maintains is a sexual predator. Yeah, they've got the pig in print. None of his previous books sold so you can't claim the decision was made for money. But at some point you do have to wonder exactly why someone the mainstream media reports was twice busted in a sting to catch adult males planning sexual meet ups with young girls (they're not women, they're underage) is the sort of 'name' the current regime at The Nation is thrilled to be associated with. Maybe on this year's cruise, someone can put that question out there during cocktails?

And I'm stopping there and pulling a one liner because Jim's reading over my shoulder and said, "We have to turn that into a feature!" It's made for illustrations so I'm pulling it. Look for a humorous spoof tomorrow.

In the New York Times today, Kirk Semple pulls damage control. When CBS and the AP covered the Iraqi parliament's call for withdrawal, it forced other news organizations to do so. The Times shows up very late but with the best spin (such as ignoring the fact that parliament and not the al-Maliki will decide whether a re-authorization -- for reconstruction, not occupation, though the US government has ignored that fact -- will be requested from the United Nations). It's pure damage control (including the laughable assertion as to what most Iraqis want -- this from the paper that has repeatedly ignored polling on the Iraqi people). Read it for laughter and to remind yourself that the American public will never be as stupid as the paper thinks it is. That includes when you read this sentence: "The American military command said two soldiers were killed and 11 wounded in two attacks on Thursday, one in Baghdad and the other in Diyala." No, on Friday they announced four deaths, not two. We noted that here Friday morning, there's no excuse for the paper not getting it right on Saturday morning. File it under the continued undercount.

For today's realities, we'll note this from Thomas Wagner (AP):

Seven U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi army interpreter came under attack Saturday morning during a patrol in a Sunni insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad, leaving five dead and three missing, the military said.
Troops were searching for the three missing, using drone planes, jets and checkpoints throughout the area, according to the statement. Soldiers were also asking local leaders for information.
After the pre-dawn attack near Mahmoudiya, which is about 20 miles south of Baghdad in a Sunni insurgent stronghold dubbed the Triangle of Death, nearby units heard explosions and a drone plane later observed two burning vehicles, the statement said.
Troops who arrived later found five of the soldiers dead. The other three members of the patrol were gone, according to the statement, from Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq.
The military refused to specify whether the Iraqi interpreter was among those killed or among the missing, citing security.

Back to the Times, James Glanz offers "Billions in Oil Missing in Iraq, U.S. Study Says." This article has already created a mini-craze online. It shouldn't. It's a book report (doesn't qualify for even "book review") of a government report. It can't tell you what happened to the oil but is quick to offer that it might have been smugglers or 'insurgents' responsible. Heaven forbid that real corruption on the part of anyone in the US be offered as a possibility. Just like we're all looking the other way over Condi's days at Chevron which involved breaking laws. That oil story they aren't interested in. Warren Hoge, you and Judith Miller were all over the oil-for-food scam when you thought it implicated the United Nations. Where have you gone, Hoge, now that it's unearthered that it was Chevron breaking the law, not the UN?

Eddie notes that he is "waiting" for the morning entry and went to Black Agenda Report (we highlight Margaret Kimberley each Saturday) as he waited and found this from Paul Street's "'He's a Mouse': Russell Simmons Speaks Some Truth on Obama" (Black Agenda Report):

Leave it to a leading cultural capitalist to call Barack Obama out on his reactionary disregard for the material circumstances that create inner-city misery and for hypocritical reliance on big capitalist political cash. Look at the following recent exchange between New York Times writer Deborah Solomon and Russell Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and the so-called "CEO of Hip-Hop:
Solomon: "What do you make of Barack Obama, who recently said that rap musicians should reform their lyrics?"
Simmons: "What we need to reform is the conditions that create these lyrics. Obama needs to reform the conditions of poverty. I wish he really did raise his money on the Internet, like he said. I wish he really did raise his money independently."
Solomon: "What are you saying?"
Simmons: "I think about one-fourth of his campaign contributions came from small donations made over the Internet, even though he collected more than any other Democratic candidate from Wall Street people. So at the end of the day, he's controlled, too. That's my point. He's a mouse, too, like everybody else."
Solomon: "Are there any presidential candidates who inspire you?"
Simmons: "I talk to John Edwards more than I talk to anyone. He has said more things about the conditions we need to think about."
It's too bad he doesn't talk to Dennis Kucinich more than anyone, but Simmons here gives a well-deserved shot to the ever-deepening myth of the progressive Barockstar, who recently garnered yet more free national media love by successfully applying for Secret Service protection on the grounds that his racism-accommodating (see below) candidacy is threatened by white racists.
I've been saying similar things about Obama from the officially invisible Left where nothing you say - e.g. "Bush's case for the invasion of Iraq is completely fraudulent" (widely observed on the U.S. Left in 2002 and early 2003) - matters in the political present.

It is a strong article and people should read down to the reference to page 256 of Obama's non-book. That should be addressed. (I'm too angry to address it right now. I've called out White racists face to fact for making similar racist claims. We'll address it at The Third Estate Sunday Review, I'm truly too angry to address it here. Enraged may be a better word.)

Speaking of Margaret Kimberley, here's a section of "Reagan wins in 2008" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report) and Kendrick was the first to note it this week:

The Ronald Reagan library was the perfect location for the recent Republican presidential debates. The gruesome words of the Republican presidential candidates seemed to come from a séance communing with Reagan's departed spirit.
All the candidates believe in the manifest destiny of white men to do whatever the hell they want, namely keep brown people and women under control. Their ideology can be summed up in 50 words or less:
Americans have the right to kill.
Americans love God, married couples and pregnant women.
War is good.
Ronald Reagan was a saint.
Muslims, especially Iranians, must die.
Taxes are bad.
Fetuses are sacred.
Immigrants are bad.
Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are evil.
There you have it, Republican ideology in a nutshell. If the Democrats are frightening because they are compromised and craven, the Republicans are frightening because they are true believers, the real McCoys. They openly indulge in their love of racism, violence and control.
The media allow them to make up nonsense without so much as a decent follow-up question, and that is the most frightening prospect of all. The media will take their cues from the Republicans and do their bidding. It is not inconceivable, despite the nearly universal scorn for George W. Bush, that one of these horrible men will be the next president of the United States.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
and Trina's Trina's Kitchen

* Wally and Cedric are either up right now or about to be. Betty's finishing typing up her rough draft (the utlimate gas bag pops up her latest chapter) and it will either be up as this posts or it will be right after. Rebecca's site contains a post by Rebecca. (She'll still be using guests to fill in from time to time. She plans to fully return the week after next.)

Laura Flanders? Matthew Rothschild interviewed her for Progressive Radio this week. They discuss her book True Grit, grass roots and more. Her own show? I've waited and waited this mornng for it and Cat Radio Cafe. As Eddie noted in his e-mail, he's "waiting" so this is going up.

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