Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mark the calendar, New York Times provides some truths

Thom Shanker has an article in the New York Times that we'll note "Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality" by rounding out. Shanker writes:

On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to "end the war" in Iraq.

Vowing? Pledge? He said the words. He wasn't questioned. But they were lies and Samantha Power made that clear in March. This was noted repeatedly here starting with the March 7th "Iraq Snapshot" -- the day Power's remarks were broadcast by BBC -- and community wide such as at Third in "Letters to An Old Sell Out: Iraq" and "Pockmarks of the Soul." Power's remarks to the BBC?

Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?

Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009. We can't even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.

In real time, who wanted to call it out? No one. David Corn made a nut job of himself excusing it. Tom Hayden showed up July 4th shocked that no one was making an issue out of Power's . . . March remarks. In real time, he made no issue of it, he didn't even mention it. And all the LIARS of The Nation ignored it. John Nichols continued his non-stop efforts to disgrace himself lying for War Hawk Sammy Power to such an extent that he was claiming she and Hillary were good friends.

No, Barack never meant his vague words. It's a damn shame the press -- Big and Small -- couldn't hold him accountable.

He misled the public and did so with those Pretty Words -- Pretty Meaningless Words. Shanker writes:

But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.

That was clear to all of us paying a damn bit of attention in real time when it mattered. And what Shanker's writing about is what Barack told Michael Gordon Jeff Zeleny in November of 2007. (Review the November 2, 2007 snapshot if you're lost). Let's drop back to the June 6th snapshot:

Shhhh. Listen? It's the sound of hundreds of computers in Panhandle Media booting up over their sobs as they force determination to yet again sell their political crush as someone who will end the illegal war. Media anointed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is not 'anti-war' and is not seriously opposed to the illegal war. But if you didn't have Tommy Hayden, Laura Flanders and the gang lying for him non-stop, people wouldn't think otherwise, now would they? (Those two named because they have both -- in February -- talked about how Barack's feet need to be held to the fire and yet they've never done so. Someday I suppose, as the Mighty Bosstones once sang.)
The Press Trust of India reports that Barack told CNN he would "not rule out the possibility that conditions on the ground could alter his policy of immediately beginning a troop withdrawal and that Barack insisted of his 'pledge' to end the illegal war, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind."
Confronted with his statements on withdrawal policy, Obama replied, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind". He spoke of "broader perspective"s and offered praise for Gen David Petraeus. It's shocking only if you've trusted the liars of Panhandle Media. Barack has changed his position on the Iraq War repeatedly. While running for the US Senate, he told Elaine and I at a big money, private fundraiser that he didn't favor withdrawal. His attitude was that the US was in Iraq now and had to win. (Neither Elaine nor I contributed to his run. We both immediately walked out of the fundraiser.) At that point he was a myth of the radical left, an "anti-war" candidate. The press picked up on that and he became the "anti-war" Senator which required ignoring not only his public statements (his many public statements) but his continued voting for the illegal war once he got into the US Senate. Throughout the campaign, he has signaled (and sometimes stated) to the mainstream press that his stance is far from it's portrayed. "Hopelessly Devoted To Barack" Tom Hayden made a real ass out of himself doing a quickie write up of an NYT article co-written by Michael Gordon. The reality of what was what was in the transcript of the interview which the paper posted online. In February, after his advertsiments where he robotically declared that his mother died of cancer, the campaign went into overtime with an advertisement that played like the Pepsi Generation (truly, it was the late 60s and early seventies Pepsi generation commercials). To a bad 'rock' guitar, the commercial opened and featured quick shots of Barack barking out sentences while groupies swooned. "We want . . ." he barked over and over, a laundry list of demands. The Iraq War was on it. But Barack wasn't running to be "we," he was running to become the nominee of the Democratic Party and then the president. There were no "I will end the Iraq War." All he did was offer what "we" wanted. It got the psychos in Panhandle Media excited. Of course, were he serious about ending the illegal war, his campaign would have stolen not the Pepsi commercials of that period, but the Coke commericals: I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony . . .
There was no "pledge" or "promise" made to end the illegal war, despite the groupies like Tom Hayden going bug-eyed crazy in their efforts to pretend otherwise (a fleeting sentence delivered in Houston, TX, as ginned up by Hayden into a new plan for Iraq). Then came the crash and burn of his advisor (a counter-insurgency supporter and War Hawk) Samantha Power. The pathetics in Panhandle Media made themselves laughable -- and include John Nichols, Davey D and BuzzFlash at the top of that list. Poor Samantha "fired" (Power resigned) for calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." Poor sweet Sammy. No, she resigned because of the damage she did with the press in England. The "monster" insult was the trivia the MSM pumped out. On that same trip, she insulted Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK and presumed ally of the next US administration regardless of who becomes president, and she gave an interview (that Panhandle Media refused to cover) to the BBC where she explained that Barack would be not be held accountable, if elected president, to any 'pledges' about Iraq he's making on the campaign trail. She explained, as an advisor to Barack and a campaign insider, that any plans about what to do in Iraq would be decided only after he entered the White House. Had that interview gotten the attention it should have, Barack would have faced tough questions. That didn't happen. It wasn't of interest to the corporate media (which still wants the illegal war) to give it much traction and the rejects of Panhandle Media are in love with Barack because of his 'connections' (his using of) Saul, Bernardine and Bill. They deluded themselves into believing he was a Socialist when he is just a user who will use anyone regardless of political ideology in his efforts to climb to the top.
The Queen of the Beggars, Amy Goodman, wanted credit for a few minutes (two?) she aired of her speaking with Barack. In it, he basically repeated what Samantha Power had said. Goody never pursued that in panel discussions (all panel discussions accepted the lie that he was against the illegal war and would immediately end it). Goody never connected it with the Samantha Power BBC interview (though Barack was making the same points Power had months prior) and she never wrote one of her bad columns, where she recycles some segment of her show, on the topic. It was lie, lie, lie, denial, denial. They worked overtime not to include Eli Lake (New York Sun) report in the narrative. Lake reported that the "day-to-day coordinator" of Barack's campaign had just written a paper which argued for 60,000 to 80,000 US troops to remain in Iraq "as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office."
Among the very few who have tried to maintain perspective and stick to reality about War Hawk Barack are Phyllis Bennis, John Pilger, Doug Henwood and Juan Gonzalez. It's a very small list. By contrast, most have offered 'reasons' of support for Barack like the insane Dave Lindorff who believes Barack should be supported because Barak is "a black candiate who has risked jail by doing drugs."
The violence continues every day in Iraq and Barack, not even having the nomination, already signals it's a-okay with him.

It's a real shame this is news to some people but it goes to all the LIARS in the media -- Big and Small -- who refused to do their damn jobs -- day after damn day.

Back to Shanker today:

"I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary -- likely to be necessary -- to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said this week as he introduced his national security team.

Actually, in late winter, he announced he would remove "trooops" within 10 months of being elected president. He made that 'announcement' in Houston, Texas while campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination. It wasn't an 'announcement,' it was a throw-away line. A single sentence. But Tom Hayden rushed to write a column drooling over the 'announcement.' In February. The same Tom Hayden who wouldn't call out the Samantha Power March interview until July 4th. A single-sentence? He can cock-tease that into a full column.

I'm tossing the lumps out to Tom-Tom (lumps he's earned) but, in many ways, he was far from the most embarrassing. (And I'll always have a soft spot for Hayden.) John Nichols, Amy Goodman and David Corn knew no lie they wouldn't pimp, no truth they wouldn't bend. I'd love to take a cartoon anvil to Tom-Tom's head with accompanying sound-effects; however, by comparison, his behavior was far from the most shameful. And though July 4th is awfully damn late to finally write about Power's remarks, he was still the first person to write about them at The Nation website. For that useless rag, he's a trailblazer and muckraker. (Heads up, Katrina's educational system has failed her and we will likely explain that at Third this weekend. A call from a friend in Nation management about Katrina's latest kooky 'historical' premise -- ahistorical -- demonstrates that she does more damage than anyone else.)

If this is news to anyone, that Barack lied throughout the primaries and general election, it's only because you weren't paying attention to reality. You were mistaking Amy Goodman's Pravda on the Hudson for 'news'. You were thinking Panhandle Media had some standards. They have no standards. That's why they can't work in a paying media and have to be part of a beggar media (SEND US YOUR MONEY!! MONEY!! WE NEED MONEY!!!) Real jobs are just too damn much for them. And don't forget the appallling FAIR, its CounterSpin and it's Extra! which were not media watchdogs but did explain why co-founder Jeffy Cohen can never keep a Real Media job for long and always has to return to standing on the street corner hassling you as you try to walk down the sidewalk.

Last night, two posts went up in the community:

They are correct. Sheehan did haunt Common Dreams launching attacks (in the comments) on Hillary and acting as if Barack walked on water. For that reason alone, it's damn pathetic to show up (as Sheehan does this week) in a state of outrage that the so-called peace movement turned into Bambi's fan club. It's all the more appalling when she reserves all her venum for Hillary. Hillary is not president. The Cult got what it wanted, Barack elected. All the USELESS AND PATHETIC writing their idiotic I-Hate-Hillary ditherings are not stopping the illegal war. They are allowing it to continue because targeting Hillary allows Barack the SAME DAMN PASS they gave him all year and last.

Today Thom Shanker's telling the truth in print. How long is Panhandle Media going to continue to act as if Hillary's World Ruler? When are the little chicken s**ts going to find the guts to call out Barack who misled the voters repeatedly in his speeches? When will they call out their own who allowed that to happen by refusing to tell the truth?

Barack's president. Show some damn guts and attack him the same way you all rip into Hillary. Or does that require too damn much work for a lazy crowd of beggars?

Semi-related note, one of the many lies told to create the Barack Craze was that he was Black. He is bi-racial. Marie Arana's "He's Not Black" in Sunday's Washington Post addressed that. Ava and I have noted it over and over. It is offensive to society, it is offensive to bi- and multi-racial persons and their family and it is not honest. Stop the lies. You got your Dream Boat elected, so stop the damn lies. If they don't stop, we may do the hard truth look at how Civil Rights 'leaders' today attempted to destroy the bi- and multi-racial movement in the nineties. It will not pretty and, no surprise, many of the same LIARS stepping forward to attack Bill Clinton for whatever lie they could come up with during the primary were the ones showing their own racism and in some of the most shocking language throughout the nineties. It will not pretty and they should all be ashamed. As Ava and I noted in January:

The segment was a lie. The entire segment. When Steele reveled how he, like Obama, had a White mother and an African-American father, but how two decades prior it was different ("Well, and this is I think a difference in my case than Obama's, in segregation, you didn't get the choice. It was the one drop rule that applied. One drop of black blood and you're black. That was the rule. That's what kept the wall between whites and blacks was this one drop rule. So I was raised with absolutely no ambiguity about that."), a real segment would have gone on to discuss the realities of bi-racial and multi-racial but the closest Moyers got to that was a single-sentence about "children of inter-racial unions". There is a very real racism going on in the continued repetition of "Black" to describe Obama.

If he were the son of an Asian-American mother and a Kenyan father, would he be allowed to self-describe "Black" and would the media run with it? We're champions of self-description. We avoid, repeatedly, ever noting someone's original name. We've never felt the need to go to town on, for instance, Bob Dylan or Muhammad Ali by bringing up their birth names. Many can't get past details like that. They claim that it goes to 'authenticity.' Which it may or may not. But our own observations include many men and women who were the victims of physical and mental abuse (both) and restart their lives with a name change so we tend to honor the self-narrative chiefly for that reason. (We're not stating that's the case with either Dylan or Ali.) The only time either of us haven't respected a name change was when Prince was attempting to use a symbol -- one not found on the average keyboard and one that did not have a known pronunciation -- as his name. Otherwise, even with someone like Bo Derek, whom we loathe, we didn't feel the need to refer to her repeatedly (or even once) by her birth name.

We also fully realize the importance of allowing someone to tell their own story and are perfectly comfortable with accepting that psychological truths may conflict with other truths.

But we don't give that wide berth to the world of politics. And though Barack Obama wants to self-describe Black, we don't see him as such. We think it's pathetic that the bulk of media rushes in to back up his wish. We especially think it's pathetic and dishonest that independent media does because bi-racial and multi-racial people began telling their stories and claiming their own histories in that media. But all that gets brushed aside to honor the desires of a politician.

We don't think that's right or truthful. Just his repeated claim to be "Black" should result in the sort of "Truth Squading" we get on politician's statements. And Moyers decided to 'explore' race (again) and did so dishonestly.

As a private person, if Barack Obama identified as "Black," we wouldn't raise an eyebrow. As an entertainer, we might roll our eyes and offer a comment or two (and have certainly noted those who have tried to pass by publicly claiming White -- hello, Paula Abdul) but an entertainer is selling themselves. A politician is supposed to be representing a great deal more and the words "authentic" are supposed to matter.

In a laughable meltdown online last week, Robert Parry slimed and trashed Gloria Steinem, accused women of playing the "gender card" and yet repeatedly referred to Barack Obama as "Black." Barack Obama had two parents. One was White. Do we need a children's book called Heather Has A White Mommy to illustrate the point? By calling Obama "Black," Parry was playing the same race card the press has repeatedly played.

Could a politician running for office, let alone the highest office in the land, lie like that of any other area of their life and get away with it? Probably not. But people like Parry and Moyers are certainly old enough to have lived during a time when being even one-eighth Black got you labeled (officially labeled) octoroon and your birth certificate stamped Black. And, intentionally or not, they back up that racist system -- that had died -- when they refer to Barack Obama as "Black."

Barack Obama, the politician, is certainly allowed to say, "I'm bi-racial but I identify with the Black culture." He would never say that. We doubt it's true (most who identify with the Black culture -- of any race -- wouldn't invent a tale of a man who tried to peel off his own African-American skin and pass it off as factual), but we wouldn't make a big deal out of it. But it is a big deal when half of who he is, as he runs for the national office in the land, is swept under the rug by both the politician and the press.

They willfully buy into the racist system that if you have any African-American immediate descendents, you are only "Black." They completely disrespect the very real experiences and the very real pain and joy that bi-racial and multi-racial persons have educated our society about.

Barack Obama's Chicken Sop for the Soul campaign results in many lies and distortions and that's probably true of a number of campaigns in lesser degrees. However, the issue of race is the most offensive. In the 90s and earlier this decade, society had finally made enough strides that the terms "bi-racial" and "multi-racial" weren't just in popular usage, weren't just the terrain of left, independent media but could (and were) used on the front page of The New York Times (with a variety of people pictured such as Mariah Carey) and not only were they being acknowledged as a part of the population, they were portrayed as a sign of change and something our society would see far more of in the future due to the fact that so many stigmas against race had been exploded.

In one political campaign, all of those achievements are destroyed. In one political campaign, we find that the views of race have narrowed -- and that the press has willingly gone along with it.

The E-Z Bake Critic goes to town on Hillary repeating facts, lies and anything they can get away with. They rewrite the same crap that's been written since the 90s though then it was written by the right-wing plus professional lush Chrissy Hitchens. Barack's president. Hillary's only one cabinet nominee. Apparently some are obsessed with her. Their lives must be even more pathetic than we could imagine. Bruce Dixon rolls up his sleeves and does the work needed in "Liar, Liar!! Barack Obama's Secretary of War" (Black Agenda Report):

Until 1947, the United States habitually told the truth about at least one thing. The job title of the Pentagon's highest ranking civilian was the Secretary of War. But the recent slaughter of tens of millions in the Second World War had given the Pentagon's real function a bad name. So Democrat Harry Truman rebranded the Department of War, naming it the Department of Defense. From that day, the Secretary of War became the Secretary of Defense. War plants, war expenditures and bloodthirsty war industries became more benign-sounding defense plants, the defense expenditures and the patriotic defense industry.
Today, with less than 5% of the world's population, the US outspends the other 95% of the planet combined on things military, including a network of more than 725 bases in a hundred foreign countries. The bucks that pay for US Marines in Somalia, for B-52s in the Indian Ocean, nuclear-armed fleets in the Persian Gulf and much more don't come out of any imperial war budget. They're part of the national defense budget.
In that spirit, the president-elect has named what the media are calling his "national defense team". The new Secretary of War is the same as the old one. He'll be Robert Gates, a Reaganite and Bush family operative who has headed the Department of War since 2006.
If this were a just society, rather than looking at another year or two in the president's cabinet, Robert Gates would be well into serving a long stretch for war crimes and lying to Congress. It's really that serious. When officials in the CIA and other intelligence agencies, or high ranking military and civilian suits at the Pentagon lie to us, it's not in the same league as a big city mayorfibbing about text messages on his cell phone or how some contract was awarded. When War Department and intelligence officials in and out of uniform lie, it's about who and how many are, have been, or will be killed. They lie about why they died or will die, and at whose hands. They aren't above lying about contracts either.
Robert Gates has been lying about matters of life, death and empire for a long time. A National Security Administration staffer in the Carter administration, Gates appears to have been involved in the October Surprise, helping delay the release of US hostages by Iran in order to damage the re-election chances of Jimmy Carter in 1980. When Reagan's campaign manager William Casey was tapped to head the CIA, Robert Gates was part of the new team. Casey promoted Gates to head of CIA's analytical division and later to deputy CIA director because of his willingness to embellish and fabricate intelligence saying what policymakers wanted to hear.

Yesterday, KBR was in the news for imprisoning workers in Iraq and now Scott Bronstein and Abbie Boudreau (CNN) report KBR is being sued by 16 members of Indiana's National Gaurd who served in Iraq and maintain that KBR knew a water treatment plant (which the soliders were assigned to) exposed them to dangerous chemicals such as the carcinogenic sodium dichromate. The reporters explain:

Some of the Guardsmen already suffer from nasal tumors or respiratory system problems and other health problems, according to the lawsuit. One of the guardsmen may have died from the exposure, though the exact cause of his death earlier this year is still not clear.
The odorless sodium dichromate was used at the plant as an anti-corrosive, the lawsuit says. The chemical contained nearly pure hexavalent chromium, the toxic substance that poisoned homeowners in Hinkley, California, and was made famous by activist Erin Brockovich, according to the suit.
For the Guardsmen, KBR's "knowing acts and omissions" resulted in "months and months of unprotected, unknowing, direct exposure to one of the most potent carcinogens and mutagenic substances known to man," the lawsuit alleges.

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