Thursday, January 28, 2010

The new told lies

On the gay ban, Obama said nothing new.
"This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are," he said, to the applause of most -- but not all -- Democrats sitting in the House chamber to hear the speech. Most Republicans sat silent.
His remarks were a bit anti-climatic after a key lawmaker said earlier this week that he had been asked to delay the announcement of hearings into changing the policy by administration officials until after Obama's speech. That request for a delay raised expectations that the commander in chief was going to announce something specific, like a plan to appoint a commission to study the issue or that he now had senior military leaders on board to support a policy change.

The above is from Rick Maze's "Obama restates plans: Leave Iraq, end gay ban" (Army Times) on the nonsense last night. Isaiah will have a comic up this morning (after both text entries are up, it goes up) but I am trying to save my own thoughts on last night's nonsense for a piece Ava and I will be doing at Third. It was non-stop lying. For a solid fact check -- ignore Steve Inskeep's 'grading' -- he obviously ignores what is being said -- refer to this segment of Morning Edition (NPR -- audio not yet up) and pay attention to Iraq, to nuclear energy (and Steve's 'misgrade' after the facts are provided) and to the economy. For the record, the CBO never says something will happen. If someone ever says that, they're a damn liar. (That would be Barack.) The CBO provides estimates. Only estimates. Also note the fact check regarding 'al Qaeda' (specifically the drone attacks). And on that, be sure to check out James Gordon Meek's New York Daily News piece.

On Iraq, Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports:

The umbrella organization that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq has taken responsibility for three powerful bombings that targeted prominent hotels in Baghdad on Monday, calling them "legitimate targets."
The Islamic State of Iraq said the blasts, which killed at least 36 people, were the latest coordinated attack in a campaign that began in August. The effort seeks to cripple the U.S.-backed, Shiite-led government ahead of the March 7 parliamentary election.

Please note, people claim responsibility, doesn't mean they are. al Qaeda in Mesopotamia may or may not be responsible (the US military believes they are) but notice that they claim the spectacular bombing. No word yet on the smaller bombing which took place Tuesday. It may be a confession. It may be the efforts of an ineffective, tiny group to play glory hog.

Also please note, we're responsible for quoting the above. We are not responsible for the fact that Londono cites SITE -- crazy, anti-Muslim Ritz Katz' organization. Rita Katz who gave an interview to 60 Minutes in which she LIED about who she was. She gave them a fake identity. When you do that, pay attention, when you are caught lying to press, you are no longer quoted as a respected or trusted source. It's that basic. Apparently journalists are unable to do their own translations (or are too damn lazy) and are trying to sneak Rita back in to polite society. It should not happen. When you're caught lying to the press (and she was, on camera), it's over. That is how it's always been, so it should remain.

Nada Bakri (New York Times) also reports on the claims but manages to do so without needing to cite Rita Katz' 'organization.' Bakri notes that an investigation is ongoing into the 'bomb detectors'(see Friday's snapshot) and that Iraqi forces will continue "using the devices until the results are announced."

Iran's Press TV has an interview with Ahmed Chalabi who is not the lover of Ali al-Lami and denies all assertions otherwise or that the two have even engaged in a round of heavy petting, over the sweater action. The CIA asset Chalabi fell out of US favor when he was caught passing secrets to Iran. He is now a tool of Iran but denies rumors that he is the love slave of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or that his remaining in Iraq allowed Ahmadinejad the plausible denial for his laughable claim regarding gays in Iran. From the fanciful and creative interview:

Press TV: You said something, that there were more Shia than Sunnis on the list. If this is so, why is this fear being expressed about Sunnis being sidelined and not having a share in Iraq?

Chalabi: It is a propaganda line that is being spread by many Arab media outlets and also the American and British press, the Western press.
I believe that the reason for this is that they thought that it is in their interest to have people associated with the Ba'ath party come into the Parliament as a counterweight as to what they believe to be a Shia bloc which they believe is under influence from Iran. This is erroneous. They should support the Constitution process in Iraq and they should not level charges on people and whole blocs of the population because of this concept - that they will follow Iran, and those countries and those powers by introducing Ba'athists there will be a counterweight to Iran.
This is wrong. The level of popular support for the work of the Commission has been shown and Iraqis are patriotic rather than following any other country and they will continue to be patriotic and Iraqi Authorities all defend Iraq and Iraqi interests.

The power players on the list are Sunnis and secular Shi'ites or secular Kurds. Sunnis were clearly targeted and Chalabi is -- as he has been his entire life -- a damn liar.

Howard Zinn died (in 2008, but whatever remained gave out yesterday). A frantic Panhandle Media type e-mails the public account to whine that we must not do "whatever it is you have planned" at Third this Sunday. The hell you say. We've had to postpone that feature repeatedly. Mike's already announced that he's examining a book (that I'll give him Friday when I see him) and we'll be including that. Howard Zinn leaves behind his writing -- some of which stands up, some of which doesn't. He also leaves behind a shameful final act that was no one's fault but his own and I'm not saying anything here I didn't say to him in 2008. He was a wonderful actor. And sometimes he believed in his performance. Often he did not. Which is how you end up with 2008 which wasn't just an embarrassment, it was a rebuke of everything he (publicly) stood for. I'm not interested in being part of the chorus of hosannas -- we'll stick to the truth and to reality. And the feature will run Sunday and attempts to derail it will only make us hit all the harder. That's reality. (P.S. To Baby Whiney, I don't owe you a damn thing. You've never done a thing for this site, you've never done a thing for me personally. In the future when you make a plea and tell someone that they "owe" you -- you should first figure out what it is you supposedly did for the person. In the words of Stevie Wonder, "You Ain't Done Nothing.") Reality: If someone values history, if they make it their life's work, then their death requires honesty, not revisionary b.s.

The Kurdistan Regional Government notes the following:

Statement on President Barzani’s meeting with President Obama

Kurdistan Region Presidency
For Immediate Release

25 January 2010

Today Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was received at the Oval office by US President Barack Obama.

During the meeting, President Barzani highlighted the significance of Iraq’s forthcoming elections and reaffirmed the Kurdistan Region’s commitment to a federal, democratic and pluralistic Iraq. Moreover, he stressed the importance for strategic long term US engagement with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

As outstanding issues remain unresolved in Iraq, President Barzani affirmed the necessity for Iraq’s constitution to be the arbiter of internal disputes, and informed President Obama that lasting stability in Iraq can be attained if and when Iraqis abide by, and implement, all the articles of the country’s constitution. He welcomed the important engagement of Vice President Biden and stated that through the deepening and broadening of the United States’ relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, there exists an opportunity to make significant progress on the many challenges facing the country.

In closing, President Barzani extended his appreciation for the United State’s sacrifices in Iraq and for its commitment to help the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to resolve the outstanding issues. He reiterated that the leadership of the Kurdistan Region stands ready to continue playing a constructive role in building a secure, constitutional and prosperous Iraq.

Click here to see more photos of this event

The following community sites updated last night:

We'll close with this from Dahr Jamail's "When Scholars Join the Slaughter" (MidEast Dispatches):

The two highest ethical principles of anthropology are protection of the interests of studied populations and their safety. All anthropological studies consequently are premised on the consent of the subject society. Clearly, the HTS anthropologists have thrown these ethical guidelines out the window. They are to anthropology what state stenographers like Judith Miller and John Burns are to journalism.
Truthout consulted David Price, author of "Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War" and a contributor to the "Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual," a work of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, of which he is a member.
According to Price, "HTS presents real ethical problems for anthropologists, because the demands of the military in situations of occupation put anthropologists in positions undermining their fundamental ethical loyalties to those they study. Moreover, it presents political problems that link anthropology to a disciplinary past where anthropologists were complicit in assisting in colonial conquests. Those selling HTS to the military have misrepresented what culture is and have downplayed the difficulties of using culture to bring about change, much less conquest. There is a certain dishonesty in pretending that anthropologists possess some sort of magic beans of culture, and that if only occupiers had better cultural knowledge, or made the right pay-offs, then occupied people would fall in line and stop resisting foreign invaders. Culture is being presented as if it were a variable in a linear equation, and if only HTS teams could collect the right data variables and present troops with the right information conquest could be entered in the equation. Life and culture doesn’t work that way; occupied people know they are occupied, and while cultural knowledge can ease an occupation, historically it has almost never led to conquest - but even if it could, anthropology would irreparably damage itself if it became nothing more than a tool of occupations and conquest."

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends