Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Walt's insane, McEvers is the new Judy Miller

If you're someone inclined to favor stupidity, by all means read and embrace Stephen Walt (Foreign Policy) and all his persecution fantasies. In order to do so, you have to pretend that Walt doesn't play fast and loose with the facts repeatedly or that he isn't, to be blunt about, a pretty disgusting character. A screwball column could probably be produced entitled "Why hawks should vote for Obama" and a parody one could easily be pulled together. But 'realist' (aka to shattered and stillborn to dream) Waltz plays it plodding which is only a surprise if you hadn't already figured out that wit -- sparkling or otherwise -- is yet another quality not found in his DNA. His garbage includes the following:

Not because Obama is especially hawkish himself, or interested in prolonging costly and failed commitments in Iraq or Afghanistan. For that matter, his administration is making a modest and fiscally necessary effort to slow the steady rise in Pentagon spending
[. . .]
So why should hawks vote for Obama? As Glenn Greenwald and Greg Sargent have argued most forcefully, it's because Obama can do hawkish things as a Democrat that a Republican could not (or at least not without facing lots of trouble on the home front). It's the flipside of the old "Nixon Goes to China" meme: Obama can do hawkish things without facing (much) criticism from the left, because he still retains their sympathy and because liberals and non-interventionists don't have a credible alternative (sorry, Ron Paul supporters).

First off, there's no reduction in spending, no peace dividend, quit whoring. Why is it that I have a strong feeling if Israel proposed similar 'cuts,' crazed and demented Waltz would be screeching like the shrill harpy he actually is?

Second, you judge people by their actions. You cannot enter someone's heaqd. You can not enter their heart. Their deeds speak for them.

Barack is a War Hawk. That was obvious in the 2008 campaign though so many worked so hard (tools of empire) to lie to you about it. That was obvious in his offensive speech for his laughable Nobel Peace Prize Award (an award that hopefully finally exposed the organization as the fraud it is). It was obvious with the drone attacks he ordered immediately upon being sworn in.

But there's Walt insisting on what Barack really, really is, in his heart of hearts.

What a bunch of crap. If pressed, Walt's probably one of those disgusting types who insists that you have to tell the truth about Barack slowly. It's those 'slow talkers' who have ensured that so many people around the world have died since the start of 2009. I didn't buy that garbage in 2009, I don't buy it now. It's not the people who need protecting, its the hypocrites' own well feathered nests. And it's because of people like that that Barack can do what he wants without public outrage. They always show up to assure the public that, deep down inside, Barack's f**king lovable and a delightful scamp and blah blah blah that has nothing to do with all the people killed in these endless wars and drone attacks and tortured in secret renditions, etc.

As a 'realist' (star f**ker), Walt tackles the half-issues. Drone killings? Might they take the US into a stage that they will later regret but be unable to leave? Possibly, feels Walt.

As he ponders, people die but don't expect Walt to address or note them. Star f**kers worship celebrities. Were Walt to spot Barack across the room, you can picture him knocking off an elderly man with a walker in his rush to get an autograph.

He's worse than the Cult of St. Barack which worships a personality, he worships a position.

The last years did not return to the US to peace or make the world more peaceful. Instead, the US exported violence at greater levels and to far more countries. Over 2,000 people have been killed by Barack's drones -- a highly conservative estimate.

This month, Patt Morrison (KPCC), spoke with the University of Notre Dame's law professor Mary Ellen O'Connell about drone attacks.

Mary Ellen O'Connell: Patt, I've got very serious concerns. It is true that if a drone is used on the battlefield -- and today the United States is involved in armed conflict hostilities in one place only, that is Afghanistan, that is the only place where we can use the current generation of drones lawfully because those drones fire missiles and drop bombs. If we want to do covert operations today, the United States moved to the point before 9/11 where we were not having the CIA involved in lethal operations. After the 1980s, the dirty wars in Central America, we got the CIA out of killing. That also followed, of course, the tragic years of Vietnam in which the CIA was doing a large amount of killing and we didn't think the way that Vietnam turned out was right for our country or right for the world. And then after the compounded problems of the CIA involved in lethal, covert operations, the Congress stopped it. Now what we're seeing today is not only a replay of that failure -- moral and legal -- to have the CIA involved in those kinds of operations but it is exacerbated by the this type of weaponry kills so many people in addition to the target.

O'Connell stated that a conservative estimate for the number of people killed in US drone attacks so far would be 2200 people.

While Walt ponders what the program might mean one day (shame or glory), his masturbation comes at the very real cost of lives.

America's gone further into a very scary neighborhood but let Walt be your tour broker and it's quaint and charming, a fixer upper that just needs for you to decide whether you want to use some blood soaked wall paper in the bathroom or maybe some blood soaked paint?

Marahaj wants you to lead a pilgrimage to Tibet
New York women want me sounding off like a suffragette
I know that each of us is all alone in the end
But the trip still feels less dangerous
when you've got a friend
If through all the madness
We can stick together
We're safe and sound
The world's just inside out and upside down
-- "Safe and Sound," written by Jacob Brackman and Carly Simon, first appears on her Hotcakes

Walt doesn't exist in a vacuum. In a functioning democracy, Kelly McEvers and NPR would be called out for their non-stop crap that continued this morning. I had a heads up about the report because NPR friends are very sensitive about the (accurate) criticism Ava and I made of McEvers and their Syria 'reporting' in "TV: No one gets out alive." This, I was told, would be the report that addressed our criticisms.

No, today's piece on Morning Edition was more War Propaganda.

For those late to the party, briefly, Kelly McEvers has been offering breathless 'reports' on the violence in Syria. She's covered Syria . . . from Beirut. And NPR is getting a lot of criticism for that (and Kelly McEvers is a joke at the Pentagon because of this 'reporting'). She covers it by watching a few live feeds. (She hopes they're live. She can't even verify that they are live which no one wants to address publicly.) She depends upon "activists" in Syria to tell her what's happening. On their say-so, she 'reports' what's happening in Syria. She's got a tiny circle of people from one segment of Syrian society and is broadcasting their assertions and beliefs as fact.

I remember friends getting slammed by the Reagan administration for their coverage of the Sandinistas. If they had tried to do what Kelly is now doing, they wouldn't have just lost their jobs, they would have been unemployable.

That she can do what she's doing right now and no one wants to publicly scream (privately, several press critics have e-mailed Third to agree with what Ava and I wrote) about it is appalling.

Let's assume for a moment that the Syrian government is every awful thing that the US government says it is. That's not freedom to cover it with fantasies. That's all the more reason to cover it with facts. Journalismis not supposed to be about "We're fair! To our friends!" You can judge the level of journalism by the way they report on people and groups and places that aren't necessarily in favor. Which is why Tim Arango's report on Camp Ashraf was so offensive even before the public editor of the New York Times called it out.

In a functioning press, that crap wouldn't play.

But we don't have a functioning press and Kelly McEvers is bound and determined to be the new Judith Miller. Like Miller, she used a small group of people to tell her what was 'true' and she ran with it and she offered no real contradictory claims or reports (they were buried in paragraph 13 or so when they did show up, we covered this years ago in "Rudith Miller," if you're late to the party). At this rate, Miller's 'reporting'? It stands up more than Kelly's does. A journalist is supposed to be skeptical.

Kelly's got an echo chamber in Syria that she listens to and then takes to the airwaves to give their side of the story. That's not journalism.

And the 'corrective' this morning? That's not a correction.

It's all the more appalling. NPR friends appear to believe that Ava and I were offended just because we didn't think it was clear that Kelly was relying on a 'small circle of friends.' No, that wasn't it. We noted that, from time to time, in her 'reports,' it does get noted that she's relying on 'activists.'

Today Kelly wants you to meet the activists. Or one of them. And her voice trembles and breaks and he hopes for a peaceful life . . . if he lives. And it's all so touching and wonderful . . . if Kelly McEvers was on NPR to do a radio play. If she's not there to provide drama, if she's there to report, then she needs to be reporting and don't pretend for one damn minute that what she's done on Syria in the last weeks has ever risen to anything remotely resembling journalism.

She should actually be fired for what she's done but firing her would require firing the collaborators who've gone along with her one-sided drama productions.

And welcome to cost-cutting future of 'foreign correspondents' if what McEvers has done is allowed to pass for journalism: Sabrina Tavernise reporting on Uzbekistan for the New York Times . . . via Google Earth!

Some at NPR have argued (Ava and I have both aired our complaints about McEver's 'reporting' for weeks now with NPR friends) that however 'flawed' it might be, the alternative is silence. If you risk -- strongly risk -- reporting inaccurately, silence is preferred. The same network that wrongly reported Gabby Giffords was dead and then wanted to pretend to be shocked by what they'd done is doing far worse with McEvers and Syria. The report on Gabby was offensive. But that was about it. McEvers is actually advocating for war. (Listen to her lament and lament and the report especially at the end when she's calling for intervention in the region -- I wasn't aware that the NPR policy had changed and reporters were now allowed to advocate over the airwaves.) If there is any uncertainty about her reports, they shouldn't air.

War, once started, requires more than an on air correction the next day.

The following community sites -- plus Susan's On The Edge and -- updated last night and this morning:

I'm going to try to say something as nice as I can but I don't feel like being nice. I am not interested in sex scandals, I'm not interested in two people in bed together. Don't send me that crap. I find it very interesting that I had to state that publicly in 2008 and now it's time to put two more people in bed together as you again enlist for Barack. I would also argue that at any age -- but especially your age -- your need to put political opponents in bed with their spouses to 'illuminate' them says something very tawdry about you. Please don't send me that s**t ever again. This is as nice as I will be about it publicly. We're not highlighting it, I'm not interested. I thought I made that clear in 2008.

We'll close with this from the National Lawyers Guild:

Guild calls on U.S. to end arm sales to Bahrain, members abused in anti-democracy crackdown

Nathan Tempey,
Communications Coordinator
(212) 679-5100, ext. 15
New York

Just one day after announcing their presence in Bahrain as human rights observers, National Lawyers Guild (NLG) members Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath were arrested at a protest in the capital city Manama and deported back to the United States. Their mission came amid renewed street protests on the one year anniversary of the country’s Arab Spring uprising. Their ordeal illustrates the U.S.-backed monarchy’s harsh response to its people’s continued calls for democracy.

Ms. Sainath, who works as a civil rights attorney in New York, said, “Given the Bahraini regime’s treatment of American lawyers one can only imagine the torture and human rights abuses Bahraini democracy activists routinely face—and why the regime is trying to hide it.”

Bahraini police arrested Ms. Sainath and Ms. Arraf February 11 near the Pearl Roundabout, the site of last year’s Manama protests which were modeled after the revolutionary gatherings in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Authorities confiscated the pair’s phones and camera equipment, and deported them the following morning, forcing them to endure the seven-hour flight to London with their hands cuffed behind their backs. During the flight, security officers hit Ms. Sainath on the head three times and told her that if she wanted to go the bathroom she “could go to the bathroom on herself.”

“The treatment our members suffered solely for documenting human rights abuse is contemptible and it demands further investigation,” said NLG Executive Director Heidi Boghosian. “Further, we call on the U.S. government to take immediate steps to protect the rights of all Bahrainis by suspending all arms sales to the Bahraini government.”

The two women traveled to the country as part of the Witness Bahrain initiative, heeding a call by Bahraini democracy activists for international observers. Six more Witness Bahrain activists now face deportation after being arrested earlier today.

Now in its 75th year, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.


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