Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Barack and The Bobby-Soxer

We're going to start with Danny Schechter and Barack Obama -- two people who should be smarter but play so foolish or maybe they're just playing you. As usual, Danny -- the "News Dissector" who never saw an example of sexism in all of 2008 worth calling out -- manages to be offensive as he rushes to tongue bathe Barack yet again -- Barack, or as Danny calls him "the man at the top". Well, if nothing else, maybe we know the position Danny's been dreaming and drooling over.

Barack gave another lousy performance and Danny goes into overdrive trying to pimp for him as Danny does all the time now. Last week, Danny was acting like the dumbest of pajama bloggers as he tossed stones at the networks (his former employers -- forever former) for objecting to yet again giving Barack more prime prime time. Barack's previous little Oh-Come-Let-Us-Adore-Me performance didn't pull in the viewers which is among the reasons the networks balked. But the main reason is because, a fact Danny so frequently forgets, the economy has tanked.

The networks employ a large number of people. They raise money not by begging on air for contributions but by selling air time for commercials. In a bad economy, to repeatedly ask for free air time -- as Barack has done -- and to do so right now especially -- is to invite the coming layoffs to be even greater than expected.

When those layoffs come, look for Danny to again lecture the networks while failing to ever consider factors causing the bind.

Danny knows the network news only in terms of what his own hands touched. Translation, he's got huge holes in education and is never aware of them. Which is why the alleged 'newsman' (he wouldn't want to be called 'newsperson') makes his 'media critique' Why's Everybody Always Picking on Barry!

It's old, it's boring. And he's one more knuckle head who missed last week's big story. That's about all I'm saying on the Christ-child's latest attempt to walk on airwaves. Ava and I are covering it Sunday and we'll also pick up a topic that had The Cult of St. Barack whining in e-mails -- a topic that we'll walk through slowly and then you'll wonder why no one else covered it because, in TV, things don't 'just happen.' Be better for Barack if they did, but that's not what took place on your TV screens.

Let me add one more thing before we drop off Danny right here, I am not Ruth. Ruth is very sweet and nice. I have never claimed to be either. Translation, do not e-mail me about how you're not sure if you saw sexism in 2008 or maybe you did but it was Hillary's problem because she didn't talk about sexism and it was Hillary's problem because she did talk about sexism blah, blah, blah, Barack never raised the issue of racism, blah, blah, blah. I'm not Ruth. I will not take that nonsense and I will not talk around it. I will call it out. LOUDLY. And the over 50 e-mails this morning complaining about Danny's latest "I think Barry's the coolest because . . . ." have now been addressed. (See "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review)" for examples of others suffering from that drooling disease. And, re: title of this entry, yes, that would make Danny Shirley Temple in that 1947 film.)

What Danny can't do, Steve Padilla (Los Angeles Times) manages to do right from the top:

President Obama has ended his second White House news conference, so let the second-guessing analysis begin. In all, he fielded questions from 13 reporters. It's worth noting some of the things that did not come up during the Q & A with the press.
Iraq, for one. Never came up. Isn't there a war going on?

Yes, isn't there a war going on?

And that's what a media critic does. A cheerleader spends his or her time trying to figure out how to cheer. A media critic offers a critique. That may seem a remedial point but if you've watched the retreat into childhood by our one time media watchdogs, you grasp that remedial is required today.

Isn't there a war going on? From Ava and my "TV: The War Goes Ignored" (Third):

March 19th was the sixth anniversary of the start of the illegal war. On that day, a day that saw the death of the 4260th US service member in Iraq, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, went on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to yuck it up.
He had time to babble on like the bitterest of starlets. Everyone is Simon Cowell! (Does that make him William Hung?) He had time to waste on college basketball. He had time to tell a very unflattering story about his daughters which made them sound like ungrateful little brats. (He told the story or we wouldn't comment -- we haven't, for example, riffed on how much the youngest daughter looks like Wanda Sykes.) He laughed a lot, tried to yuck it up (insulting over 40 million Americans -- that's an editorial for this edition). But he never mentioned the Iraq War.
The sixth anniversary of the illegal war and he couldn't mention Iraq? He could go on TV, on a trashy entertainment program, and try to yuck it up. And he's the president of the United States. This is presidential behavior? We felt we were the only ones offended by that but a caller to The Diane Rehm Show (who disclosed she voted for Cynthia McKinney and not Barack) Friday raised the issue as well. And as we spoke about Iraq to various groups Friday, we would point this out and they would agree it was in poor taste and offensive.
Approximately 146,000 US troops are stationed in Iraq, on the battlefield (the Pentagon's the one who determined that all of Iraq is a battlefield and that's why they issued the firing orders they did) and the sixth anniversary rolls around and the president of the United States can be found acting like a celebrity, sitting down on the couch across from Jay Leno, trying to yuck it up but he can't address the Iraq War?

He can't address the Iraq War? No and he still can't. And a real media critic would be offering that up -- as Steve Padilla does -- and not worrying how to get everyone on board with Barry's Big Business Bailouts. (But then a real critic wouldn't be cheerleading near non-stop until Paul Krugman's spot-on critiques get traction and then, for a single day, acknowledge Krugman before returning to cheerleading blindly.) Applause for Padilla and for Real Media where they still do an honest day's work as opposed to the beggars of Panhandle Media and their incessant cries of "Send money! Send money!"

Doubting that Real Media is doing their job? Here's Michael D. Shear and Scott Wilson (Washington Post):

During the 55-minute news conference, Obama faced no questions about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, or terrorism. Instead, the president focused consistently on his administration's efforts to boost the economy, presenting his first budget proposal as the critical and most far-reaching step in that process.

See, what Barry's Bobby Soxers refuse to do, Real Media can. For those who would like to read the address, click here for transcript.

The issue also came up during the live blogging. First, the New York Times' live blogging which was done by Helene Cooper who covers international and diplomatic issues and by Jeff Zeleny who covers Barack and started out doing so at the Chicago Tribune (getting very close to the insiders who fed him the stories and, yes, rumors he so eagerly put into print and hopes and prays no one ever finds out about all those press feedings):

Helene Cooper | 9:01 p.m. I'm still slackjawed over the shocking lack of national security issues raised. This is a new world we’re living in, after seven years of Al Qaeda, Iraq and Afghanistan. Hard to imagine a Bush press conference focusing so singularly on the economy, but then, these are clearly different times.

Jeff Zeleny | 9:00 p.m. The second prime-time press conference for Mr. Obama is in the books. Thirteen questions, but not one about Iraq or Afghanistan. That would have been impossible to imagine during his presidential campaign. So what's the headline? "Hang on Americans, We’ll Get Through This."

The Washington Post live blogged
as well (Ben Pershing, Alec MacGillis, Glenn Kessler, Frank Ahrens and Michael Fletcher live blogged for the Post).

Moving to the drawdown (Barack's not promising withdrawal), from Monday's snapshot:

Turkey was also in the news over the weekend. CNN's Ivan Watson reported on CNN's interview (link has text and a video option) with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's Prime Minister, who states, "With regard to the exit of the American soldiers, we are positive on that issue." This announcement was whispered about for some time and the Turkish press began reporting it was coming at the beginning of this month. Prime Minister Erdogan added, "If weapons and ammunition are going to come out, it has to be clear where they are going to be heading. If we are informed about where this military equipment would be going precisely, then we can make a proper evaluation."

David Rising (AP) quotes US Army General Carter Ham stating, "I'm not aware that there are any plans from Central Command to move troops through Turkey but the fact that the (Turkish) prime minister said he would consider that is a positive sign."

On the drawdown, Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reports on a new Government Accountability Office study:

The removal of about 140,000 U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011 will be a "massive and expensive effort" that is likely to increase rather than lower Iraq-related expenditures during the withdrawal and for several years after its completion, government investigators said in a report released yesterday.
"Although reducing troops would appear to lower costs," the Government Accountability Office said, withdrawals from previous conflicts have shown that costs more often rise in the near term. The price of equipment repairs and replacements, along with closing or turning over 283 U.S. military installations in Iraq, "will likely be significant," the GAO reported.
Even the smallest facilities, with 16 to 200 combat troops, will take up to two months to close, the report said. Several dozen large installations -- such as Balad Air Base, with 24,000 inhabitants -- are likely to take 18 months or more.

Meanwhile Abudllah Gul became the first Turkish president to visit Iraq since 1976 (Fahri Koruturk was the president who visited in 1976) and he has wrapped up his visit. Today's Zaman notes:

A landmark visit by President Abdullah Gül to neighboring Iraq has raised expectations for the eventual disarming of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), whose actions have cost tens of thousands of lives and poisoned bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries because of the organization's presence in Iraqi territory.

UPI observes that Walid al-Muallem, Syria's Foreign Minister, is in Baghdad today for a two day round of talks. But though the Turkish visit is over, controversy remains. Hurriyet reports:

The Turkish president's denial of using the term "Kurdistan" while describing the administration in northern Iraq created confusion with all but one of the journalist traveling with Abdullah Gul insisting he used the term "Kurdistan."
Gul paid a two-day landmark visit to Iraq on Monday, the first Turkish head of state to visit Iraq in 33 years, at a time of changing relations between Turkey and northern Iraq amid calls for increased efforts to eradicate the presence of the terror organization PKK.
Turkish newspapers reported on Tuesday that Gul had become the first Turkish official to define the northern Iraqi administration as "Kurdistan" when he told reporters during the flight to the neighboring country that the "Kurdistan regional administration" in Iraq was the main actor in efforts to end terror activities against Turkish territory.
Turkey does not recognize the semi-autonomous administration in northern Iraq by its official name due to concerns that doing so would eventually lead to the establishment of an independent Kurdish state involving Turkish territory.
Seven Turkish journalists of the eight traveling with Gul say he used the term "Kurdistan," while Milliyet daily columnist Hasan Cemal defended a different version.

And Iraq's Foreign Ministry announces:

24 March, 2009

Foreign Minister Receives Ambassador of Canada

The Canadian Ambassador stressed on the importance in activating the common committee and economic and agricultural cooperation and added that Canadian companies are participating in reconstructing and investing process, during the visit of Ambassador Huber to the Iraqi National Museum, Ambassador showed her pleasure for the preparation of the Museum and pointed to the interest of the Canadian Museum in Toronto to cooperate with the Iraqi Museum in this regard.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari received on Tuesday 24th. Mar. 2009 at the Ministry Headquarter Ms. Margaret Huber non- resident Ambassador of Canada in Iraq , Foreign Minister discussed number of issues which interests bilateral relations between Iraq and Canada including Canada's positive stance towards the situation in Iraq and activating the common interests .

And also mentioned to the obvious progress in the security satiation which Iraq witnesses recently, and what is represented positively by the continuous visits to Iraq of the heads of the states, Heads of Governments and Foreign Ministers. Foreign Minister stressed on urging Canadian companies to participate in reconstruction and investing in Iraq and strengthen the cultural ties between the two countries.

This meeting was attended from the Iraqi side by Dr. Surood Najeeb Director of Minister's Office and Chief of Protocol Department.

Thank you to Canada and Ms. Huber who, by her very presence, pushes the issue of women's rights as Ambassador to Iraq. Today Chris Hill faces the Senate Foreign Relations committee for his nomination as US Ambassador to Iraq. [C.I. note: Previous sentence corrects: "Today . . . the Senate for his confirmation hearing as US Ambassador to Iraq."]

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