Friday, January 15, 2010

Merrily, merrily, merrily Iraq is but a bad joke

Campbell revealed that Blair sent secret letters to Bush, in which he declared his admiration, loyalty and undying love for the so-called leader of the free world.
Asked if any of Blair's cabinet Ministers had seen the letters, Campbell said they had not. "It would have been far too embarrassing for Tony," said Campbell, "He really spilled his guts."
In one letter Blair reportedly begged his US counterpart, "Invade Iraq like you invaded my heart."
Campbell said that as Blair's infatuation with the US President grew, his love letters became more lewd and suggestive, culminating with, "I want you in Iraq like I want you in me," - the final message sent before the invasion.

The above is from's "Blair's lewd love letters inspired Bush to invade Iraq" and is satire. And this entry will address Iraq but also jokes -- due to some people making fools of themselves -- Tony Blair above, others as we work towards the end of this entry. Paul Waugh's "Peter Hain attacks Tony Blair over his secret pledge on Iraq War" (London Evening Standard) is not satire:

Cabinet minister Peter Hain has lashed out at Tony Blair and admitted that he was kept in the dark over secret letters pledging support for George Bush over Iraq.
The Welsh Secretary revealed that he was one of the several members of the Cabinet who did not know of the series of "notes" sent by the former prime minister to the US President in 2002.
The Iraq inquiry was told by Alastair Campbell this week that the tone of the private letters from Mr Blair was that "Britain will be there" in any war against Saddam Hussein if he failed to disarm.

Still on the serious, Iraq's noted in Simon Tisdall's "The wave of anti-Christian violence" (Guardian of England):

In Iraq, the problems facing Christians and other minorities are more deadly. An estimated 1,960 Christians have died there in targeted attacks since the 2003 invasion. The Christmas period saw a spate of church attacks in Mosul in defiance of a long, pre-war tradition of co-existence. Other minorities, such as Jews, have also suffered – although by far the biggest toll has been exacted by clashes between Iraq's Sunnis and the larger Shia Muslim community.
Local factors such as disputes over land, objections to the presence of alcohol, large numbers of unemployed young men with not enough to do, or sheer mutual ignorance and suspicion of "rival" religions help explain some of these tensions. And few would argue that somehow all such incidents are linked.
But analysts and academics suggest common threads do exist, notably the impact of globalisation on conservative communities across the Muslim world and a resulting threatened loss of cultural identity. Violence against Christians as representatives of the "crusader west" is also an aspect of what French author Gilles Kepel has described as the far bigger civil war, or fitna, raging within the Islamic world itself.
Yet hostility also arises, in a fundamental sense, from Muslim perceptions of western aggression against Islam, be it the war in Afghanistan, domineering western economic and cultural behaviour, attempts to ban veils, offensive cartoon caricatures of the prophet Muhammad, airline and immigration profiling, or systemic, unchecked and arguably worsening discrimination and harassment of Muslim minorities living in western nations.

We note the above topic frequently and do so because it is news (the targeting of Iraqi Christians). We are not a site that explores religion. I say that in response (the only response you'll be getting) to the idiot objecting to my calling out Nouri's show trials and forced confessions culminating with executions. I don't need your quoting any religious text (the Koran, in this case) to justify executions. I'm not interested. Nouri's a thug. They use forced confessions and there's no justice system. If hiding behind an ancient text helps you pretend Iraq has justice today and that makes you happy, fine. But we don't quote religious texts here or do religious explorations. (Nor do we talk about 'morals.' We will talk about ethics.)

Let's note another joke, Jalal Talabani. The corpulent and highly unhealthy (physically unhealthy) president of Iraq has announced, oh, wait, I do want to be president again. It's the latest ping-pong on the issue. Jalal has no central power left in the KRG and he's been getting very cozy with Tehran so he may see another run as president as the only way to continue flying to the US for health care.

Meanwhile, the song and dance on Don't Ask, Don't Tell continues (see Marcia's "The bad and the really ugly") and Anne Gearan's "AP Exclusive: Lawyers advise wait to lift gay ban" (AP) covers it but the paragraph that should stand out is this:

Joint Staff legal advisers recommended delaying the start of the repeal process into 2011, with the Pentagon sending a proposed replacement law to Congress by late summer of that year. That would be after the White House pledges to begin bringing troops home from Afghanistan, and a few months before all U.S. forces are due to leave Iraq.

The Iraq War does not have to end in 2011 (and it likely won't). Reporters would do well to stick to facts. But that's not why we're emphasizing that paragraph. By Gearan's hopeful predictions, US troops will be out of Afghanistan and Iraq -- and out of Afghanistan first?

TV notes and humor! NOW on PBS begins airing on most PBS stations tonight (check local listings) and this week's program explores . . . Let's let them tell it:

Is good journalism going extinct? Fractured audiences and tight budgets have downsized or sunk many of the fourth estate's major battleships, including this very program.
This week, NOW's David Brancaccio talks to professor Bob McChesney and journalist John Nichols about the perils of a shrinking news media landscape, and their bold proposal to save journalism with government subsidies. Their new book is "The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again."

John Nichols? He's an ethical voice? The idiot who said Wesley Clark was only running for the 2004 Democratic Party presidential election because he wanted Bush to win? (That's noted in the 2008 year-in-review with the title of the segment but we're not linking to trash so Google if you want it.) Remember when Barack got exposed for reassuring Stephen Harper's conservative government in Canada that although he was saying he'd do away with NAFTA he wouldn't. Johnny 5 Cents insisted that was a lie! And Barack would do away with NAFTA! And Hillary Clinton was the one behind this nasty rumor! And the one who was really talking to Canada! And he had the proof! And would be writing the expose! Of course, he never wrote s**t because he was lying through his teeth (egged on by Amy Goodman before the show aired -- though the crazy 2004 talk took place on air with Amy in December 2003 and he didn't need egging for that). John Nichols is a liar and an idiot. This is the man who -- when Samantha Power stepped down (she was not fired) from Barack's campaign for telling the BBC that his promise on ending the war in Iraq wasn't a promise -- published fan fiction as fact. One lie after another. (And he avoided the issue of Iraq.) He insisted that Samantha and Hillary were best friends! For years! They'd met once and only once. A fact Samantha herself had already revealed weeks prior on The Charlie Rose Show. But facts be damned, John Nichols had purple prose to produce.

We've covered all the above in real time. We've even covered who he aimed all his anger and rage out for Congress' vote to approve the 2002 Iraq resolution. (Which member of Congress got trashed? Oh, not a member of Congress. It was Barbra Streisand's fault to hear crazy ass John Nichols tell it at The Nation.) [Her 'crime' was in donating her money how she wanted to and not getting permission first from John Nichols.]

NOW ponders, "Should journalism get the next government bailout?" If John Nichols is your example of the heart and soul of journalism, not only should they not receive a bailout but they should also be shut down.

Staying with TV notes, Washington Week begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (and throughout the weekend, check local listings) and joining Gwen are Dan Balz (Washington Post), Helene Cooper (New York Times), Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times) and Deborah Solomon (Wall St. Journal). Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Linda Chavez, Melinda Henneberger, Irene Natividad and Genevieve Wood to discuss the week's events on PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

News from the earthquake decimated country.

Football Island
60 Minutes goes to American Samoa to find out how a territory with a population less than the capacity of a pro-football stadium sends more players to the NFL than any similarly populated place in America. Scott Pelley reports. | Watch Video

60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Radio notes. The Diane Rehm Show begins airing on most NPR stations (and begins streaming online live) at 10:00 am EST. The first hour, domestic hour, Diane's panelists are Melinda Henneberger (PoliticsDaily), Laura Meckler (Wall St. Journal) and David Welna (NPR). The second hour, international hour, her panelists are Karen DeYoung (Washington Post), James Kitfield (National Journal) and David Wood (PoliticsDaily).

The plan was to go out with humor. Someone got lucky, very lucky. Who? Here's your clue: Baby got big and baby got bigger, Baby, baby, baby was a reactionary singer. Yeah, I heard that crap on NPR this morning. So you've wrung out all the attention from your bad marriage (abusive marriage) you can and now you're trying to present yourself as a "couple" with a gay man? As a "romance"? You're very lucky he's dead. And you're very lucky that I'm not tearing you apart for your homophobia (no one makes a choice to be gay), Reactionary Singer. At least not today. Instead, we'll close with the serious by noting this from Rachel Cohen's "Why women need abortion rights" (US Socialist Worker):

THIRTY-SEVEN years after the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, the myriad attacks on its availability has limited access to such an extent that women across the U.S. are turning to so-called do-it-yourself abortions.
No governmental agency or private institution tracks the incidence of self-induced abortions. So it's left to anecdotal reports from health care providers, along with a few recent studies, to hint at what has become a dangerous pattern.
"Our local hospital tells me they see 12 to 20 patients per year, who have already self-induced or had illegal abortions," said an administrator of a women's health clinic in the South. "Some make it, some don't. They are underage or poor women mostly, and a few daughters of pro-life families."
In a 2006 interview with University of California-Davis professor Carole Joffe, the administrator described women risking cardiac arrest by swallowing whole bottles of quinine pills along with castor oil, and women who douche with a variety of dangerous chemical products in an attempt to terminate pregnancies.
The administrator said that other abortion providers around the country also noticed a perceptible rise in the number of patients they were treating for complications from illegal abortions.

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