Sunday, January 11, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

As I wrote in my previous blog, the same day Counterpunch published P. Cockburn's article, Reuters reported, "Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said some U.S. forces could be needed for 10 years":
"We do understand that the Iraqi military is not going to get built out in the three years. We do need many more years. It might be 10 years," Dabbagh said at a Pentagon press briefing.
But besides what this or that puppet might say, one needs just to stop the flow of propaganda and think; if the US didn't respect the UN Charter and international law when they invaded Iraq, they will certainly not respect any meaningless agreement signed by its own Quisling government. To focus on the SOFA is just another diversion; the US plan, far from being a "total defeat", as Cockburn writes, has been completely successful. Mission accomplished.
The official lib-left intelligentsia must continue its real job as gatekeeper of dissent; its audiences, the most aware, active and willing to stop their governments from continuing to perpetrate crimes against humanity for the sake of elites' profit and power, must be controlled through "friendly" propaganda. When Obama's war machine is preparing to use all its bestial might against the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and with an economic and financial crisis without precedent hitting millions of people, the public opinion in the West needs to be tamed once again. The eunuchs have gladly renounced to their organs in change of a little place at the table of the gods, or maybe they are just happy for some falling crumbs.
eunuchs have gladly renounced to their organs in change of a little place at the table of the gods, or maybe they are just happy for some falling crumbs.

The above is from The Cat's Dream's "Propaganda in the Time of Obama" and a visitor noted that in a lengthy e-mail where she pointed out that TCB and TCI seem to be "driving down similar roads and avenues" and offering as examples the above and this TCB piece contrasted with our December 11th "Iraq snapshot" and "I Hate The War." She wondered if we could mention The Cat's Blog? We have now done that and I've also added them to our permalinks (below John Pilger, on the left). We have noted them at least once before (with regards to a Phyllis Bennis entry). We'll gladly note the above and again we've put TCB on the permalinks. There are enough sell-outs and liars. Those serious about ending the illegal war need to be aware of others who are as well. If you've missed it, Panhandle Media has hit a new low. Alleged 'independents' like Amy Goodman and I'll-Hold-His-Feet-To-The-Fire-Someday Laura Flanders are among those hosting -- hosting! -- an inauguration ball.

No, that's not allowed. That's not what journalists do. It does explain why Liar Goody and the Self-Loathing Lesbian Laura never could speak out, never could call Barack out, went out of their way to repeatedly LIE about other candidates. They're nothing but whores. Yes, Katrina vanden Heuvel is a host as well but if anyone's stupid enough to mistake her for a journalist . . . Artists are participating and that's their right. They're not journalists. If Tom Hayden was participating, I wouldn't call him out just for participating (I would call out some idiotic statement he'd make -- and we know he'd make at least one) because he's a Democratic politician. He is not the press, he will never be the press, he has no press training, he's nothing but a party organ for the Democratic Party. But those who present as journalists? They've crossed serious ethical boundaires by hosting this little 'peace' ball. And Amy Goodman? Liar Goody wants to call out Real Journalists for their conflicts of interests? What a laugh.

What a sorry excuse for 'jounalism' Amy Goodman is. One other person to mention: Howard Zinn. Howard's a historian who did some important work many, many decades ago. As a historian, he can do whatever he wants. He's not a journalist. But where he gets into a little trouble?

Howard endorsed Barack Obama and in doing so PISSED off his logical following. DLC-ers and your average Democrat are not Howard Zinn supporters. Democrats who are aware and left, independents, Greens, anarachists and similar people are Zinn's base. His base was outraged by that bulls**t. Howard realized, "Uh, oh, I'm too old to start over. I can't trash my reputation so close to the death bed!" So he endorsed Ralph. He took back his Barack endorsement and he endorsed Ralph Nader. He did it in a craven manner -- Coward Zinn is so apt -- where it was limited and most people would be unaware of it. In fact, outside of Ralph's supporters, very few people knew he had endorsed Ralph Nader.

Barack Obama is a Corporate War Hawk. You can't celebrate his inauguration and be part of the independent left. You can't. It doesn't work that way. And by deciding to be one of the hosts lending their names, Howard Zinn has disgraced his own. And it's so laughable and such insanity because he knows the fallout he suffered when he decided to endorse Barack.

But that's his own personal issues and his own legacy to trash and tarnish. Amy Goodman is not a journalist and she should be called out on her decision to host and on her decision to fundraise for her allgedly 'independent' program. She's selling tickets for $1,000. One thousand bucks. And the money goes to her show. And you want to pretend that it's in her interest to offer any honest criticism of Barack Obama? She's already short -- Democracy Now! had a shortfall (as did most Pacifica programs) -- and now she's got the last of the tickets to the ball and selling them off for $1000 donations. And we're supposed to pretend that she would be honest and risk driving down enthusiasm and frenzy? Hell no.

And what she and the others don't understand -- but, pay attention, whispers are afoot that grown ups will be put back in charge of Pacifica and that would certainly put a cramp on some of the 'shennagians' that have been going on -- where Amy would go for radio broadcasts is a puzzler because NPR hates her ass. You can't throw the screaming fit she did -- re: commentary that she insisted was news -- in an NPR office and ever have anyone take you seriously -- and when she decided to slant her show for all of 2008, it only reminded everyone that, all these years later, of that screaming, raging fit she threw and that she still doesn't know the first thing about journalism. Goody would no doubt insist that she can make sure she doesn't cross a line. That's the same excuse that a hundred others offered. And, here's the thing, you're not just supposed to aovid a conflict of interest as a journalist, you are supposed to avoid anything that would promote the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Goody Liar likes to play Last Journalist Standing and liken herself to I.F. Stone. Stone wouldn't be at an inaugural ball as a host and he sure wouldn't have attempted to make money off it. But when you fail to see truth on the treaty masquerading as Status Of Forces Agreement, when you fail to hear reality on Barack Obama's 'withdrawal' from Iraq, remember that whores have to line their own pockets and grasp that whores do not make for good journalists. Meanwhile, the war drags on . . .

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.

-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4221 and tonight? 4224. Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle in eastern Baghdad at approximately 8 p.m. Jan. 10. The Soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin." Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war to be 1,307,319 . . . same as last week. Again, some of our 'peace' friends have other things to do.

Before we go into further violence today, we'll note a death. Nicole Winfield (AP) reports that Cardinal Pio Laghi died yesterday at the age of 86. Pope John Paul II sent the cardinal to DC in 2003 ahead of the start of the illegal war: "Laghi, who had been friendly with the Bush family, delivered a letter from John Paul and pressed Bush on whether he was doing everything to avert war."


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul car bombing that left four police officers wounded. Saturday, McClatchy's Laith Hammoudi reported a Baghdad roadside bombing left three people injured. Reuters notes a Saturday roadside bombing in Baghdad that injured four police officers and a Saturday Mosul car bombing that injured four police officers.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 police officers shot dead in Mosul. Reuters notes an attack today on "a money exchange shop" in which 2 people were killed and three more wounded.


Saturday McClatchy's Laith Hammoudi reported 1 police officer was kidnapped in Mosul.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses were discovered in Mosul.

Kim Gamel (AP) reported Friday on the latest assault on the press Friday. Today, Gamel provides an update: Iraq will no longer require reporters to sign a contract in order to cover the January 31st provincial elections and the 14-page contract is being tossed. In an interesting development not really noted, Kimi Yoshino (Los Angeles Times) quotes Judge Qassim Hasan Abodi stating, "These are not our regulations. All we ask is that the media be neutral, transparent and objective. This is the only thing." Yoshino doesn't identify the body that Hasan's with, just notes it's over elections ("head of Iraq's election commission") -- he is the head of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission. That is the UN backed body (UNAMI works with them) and the claim being made on Friday -- when the story of the contract and the penalities broke -- was that the IHEC had pushed that. No, they didn't. Which is why we put the blame where it belonged: Nouri al-Maliki. The IHEC never backed that contract, never suggested it. The elections should be very interesting but what's taking place in the lead-up already is highly interesting.

Meanwhile Sam Dagher (New York Times) reports that the Parliament has still not selected a leader to replace Mahmoud al-Mashhadani as Speaker:

According to political agreements, his successor must be a Sunni Arab, as part of a codified effort to help Iraq's Sunni minority feel it has a voice in government. But disagreements over the choice led to more walkouts from the main Sunni political coalition, Tawafiq, on Saturday, weakening the bloc before crucial provincial elections scheduled for the end of January and raising the possibility of street protests by outraged Sunnis. The dispute may also keep Parliament from passing any legislation until a speaker is chosen and confirmed.
Tawafiq had been given until Friday to come up with a new candidate for the post. On Thursday, Iyad al-Samarraie, Tawafiq's head and a senior leader in one of the bloc's main parties, the Iraqi Islamic Party, said in an interview that he had been nominated for the position. Accusing the party of trying to force its coalition partners into accepting Mr. Samarraie, four Sunni deputies, including Taha al-Luhaibi, said Saturday that they would leave Tawafiq.

Dagher's written an indepth article and we'll try to discuss it more in a snapshot this week but there's just not time tonight. (Of all the days for the paper to run an actual story.) On the same topic, Kimi Yoshino and Ali Hameed (Los Angeles Times) add:

The latest disagreement over who should replace Mashadani prompted four more lawmakers to pull out of the main Sunni bloc, Tawafiq, deepening the divide among the already splintered Sunni groups. The defection came just a couple of weeks after five Sunni members from Mashadani's party, the National Dialogue Council, withdrew

Time is why I will link to this column by Dan Rodrick (Baltimore Sun) but not quote from it (it'll work better paired up with something for tomorrow morning anyway -- a response on PTSD). On the issue of PTSD, Dana highlights Kelly Kennedy's "PTSD victim booted for 'misconduct'" (Army Times):

After serving two tours in Iraq -- tours filled with killing enemy combatants and watching close friends die -- Sgt. Adam Boyle, 27, returned home expecting the Army to take care of him.
Instead, service member advocates and Boyle’s mother say his chain of command in the 3rd Psychological Operations Battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C., worked to end his military career at the first sign of weakness.
In October, a medical evaluation board physician at Bragg recommended that Boyle go through the military disability retirement process for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder -- which is supposed to automatically earn him at least a 50 percent disability retirement rating -- as well as for chronic headaches. The doctor also diagnosed Boyle with alcohol abuse and said he was probably missing formations due to the medications doctors put him on to treat his PTSD.
But in December, Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, signed an order forcing Boyle out on an administrative discharge for a "pattern of misconduct," and ordering that the soldier pay back his re-enlistment bonus.
Last year, after a number of troops diagnosed with PTSD were administratively forced out for "personality disorders" following combat deployments, the Defense Department changed its rules: The pertinent service surgeon general now must sign off on any personality-disorder discharge if a service member has been diagnosed with PTSD.

Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) interviewed Massoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (not to be confused with President Jalal Talabani -- who is Kurdish and from the KRG but is president of Iraq). We'll note the following:

Barzani is asked if there has been any progress on the oil law.
Barzani:"As far as we are concerned, there is a foregone conclusion on how the oil law should be drafted, but unfortunately it seems that Baghdad is dragging its feet and not wanting an amicable solution to it. In real essence, the problems or blame are being laid at the doorsteps of the Kurds at a time when the state has no oil policy and the ministry is a failed ministry with a failed policy. And at the same time, they do not want to see any development in this field in Kurdistan as well and [are] blaming the Kurds for the failures in Baghdad. And quite contrary to that the problem is not with the Kurdistan region.
"Over the past three years, there has been a budget of eight billion dollars allocated for the [rehabilitation] of the oil industry sector in order to increase the production level, and when you look at it the production it has perhaps even decreased, rather than increased. That's what the Iraqi public has to be told. What was the reason and why [was] this budget that was allocated was not properly spent and what actually has happened to that budget and why has the oil production not met the required production level.
Barzani is asked why the money hasn't been spent properly.
Barzani:"This is what we ought to know as well, to know the reason for it, the Iraqi public need to know about it."

The latest new content from Third went up this morning:

Truest statement of the week
Truest statement of the week II
A note to our readers
Editorial: Racists make Burris jump through hoops
TV: About that digital switch
1 Book, 5 Minutes
Chummyness You Can Believe In
Ms. Pathetic, fold tent please
The New Ms. magazine! (Parody)
How safe is the US Embassy in Baghdad?
Barack's fan club poses as journalists
ETAN: Blair Poor Choice for NI Director

We address the racist efforts to keep Senator Roland Burris out of the Senate in the editorial above and we noted that he would appear later on CBS' Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer. He did appear and link has text and video:

Roland Burris, the former Illinois Attorney General chosen by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill out Obama's term, said this morning that according to the Illinois State Supreme Court and by other constitutional authorities, the appointment was legal.
Appearing on CBS' Face The Nation this morning, Burris also said that the documents he has submitted are in compliance with Senate Rules, and furthermore he complied with the requests of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois' senior Senator Dick Durbin to appear before the Illinois House of Representatives' impeachment committee to answer questions about Blagojevich.
Following a meeting between his attorneys and the Senate's lawyers, Burris said, "It is our position that we have done everything that's required, and that, yes, I should be seated forthwith, and I should be seated prior to the inauguration of our 44th president, a seat for which I now hold."
"I am the junior senator from the state of Illinois. There is no question of my legality of appointment," Burris told host Bob Schieffer. "Illinois has two senators. That is the law. We have two senators."

Dick Durbin appeared on the same program and made a fool out of himself and possibly opened himself up to liability with regards to other things. (No, Dick, the Senate doesn't make sure that everyone elected or appointed is qualified and fit to stand. But if you want to claim that, great. It'll be wonderful when the next Packwood emerges and the US Senate is sued for not doing the job that you claim they do: vetting every member before seating them. Making that false claim, on national television, means that the next Packwood could find the US Senate facing the same financial liabilities that the Catholic Church currently does over the crimes of some priests.) Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Kat's "Kat's Korner: The really best of Janis Ian" went up this morning. Pru notes "Medal for Tony Blair is another low for George Bush" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

George Bush is to award Tony Blair -- along with former Australian prime minister John Howard and Colombian president Alvaro Uribe -- with the laughingly titled Presidential Medal of Freedom.
These people have done all they can to aid Bush's attempt to increase US power around the world and have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the process.
It would be nice to think this will be Bush’s final outrageous act while in office.
But his unconditional support for Israel’s onslaught on Gaza shows that his last days as president will mean more of the policies that have had such a destructive impact on the world.
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