Sunday, May 21, 2006

NYT: Burns spins alone this morning

A few hours before Iraqi political leaders unveiled a new government on Saturday, a bomb in a backpack tore into the crowd of Shi'ite* day laborers in Sadr City, killing 19.
The attack was gruesome -- Dia Hussein, a carpenter in the crowd said he found a piece of human flesh in his tool bag -- but not unfamiliar. It showed, in an ugly tangle of twisted metal, pieces of cucumber from a ruined breakfast stand, and a pile of unclaimed shoes, that the violence here continues to divide Iraqi society, even as its leaders try to unite it, passing a milestone in the American enterprise here.

The above is from Sabrina Tavernise's "As New Leaders Seek Unity, Fresh Attacks Deepen Rifts" (A12). "American enterpise" -- well it was all about big business, controlling goods, markets. Truer words may never make it into the paper again so note them (though I'm sure Tavernise's intent isn't the way I read it). [*I'm tired and "Shiite" just looks wrong this morning so we're spelling it the way we do outside of quotes -- "Shi'ite."] By the way, on the page across from Tavernise's article is a full page ad featuring Donald Rumsfeld's photo and the headline "Ten CEOs call for this CEO to be canned."

Opening paragraph of the ad:

When Donald Rumsfeld took charge of the Pentagon he already knew its books were such a mess they had lost track of 2.3 trillion dollars. At his confirmation hearing he promised to put the financial house in order in 'a period of years.' Five-plus years have passed. Rumsfeld has failed to keep that promise. For this and other failures, Donald Rumsfeld must be held accountable.

The ad's taken out by the Business Leaders for Sensible Priorites.

The New York Times features three articles in addition to Tavernise's on Iraq in this morning's paper. Let's start with the worst. Can I get a time of death on John F. Burns because, whether he knows it or not, his days of being known as a journalist have expired?

Which is why he offers the "news analysis." It's entitled "For Some, a Last, Best Hope for U.S. Efforts in Iraq" and you get the feeling the headline writer was noting Burns in the headline (well, when you cheerlead a war . . .) So let's note the obvious -- for someone who uses, in the news analysis, "midwife" and "birthing" women, are as usually the case with Burn's bluster, absent from the process. (It was a miracle birth -- no uterus required.) Burns isn't writing about Iraq, no surprise, he's focused on those 'American tax payers' that pay his bread and butter. Apparently, he doesn't think they'd care to be informed what the three posts were that the "birth" didn't fulfill (were they still born?). He does conceed that American (occupation) officials played a "muscular" role -- or maybe that's just more he-man antics from the pig in the Green Zone. Snort twice if you agree, Burnsie.

If you read closely, you realize what you already know -- the occupation isn't interested in democracy. American officials were "vetting" nominees. Burnsie has the perfect chance to finally note the UNICEF report but fails to. He notes the electricity and he notes security forces but a manly man like Burns can't be thinking about children. He does have time to chat with "American military commanders" -- of course he does, he's not going to cut off the sources for all of his stories. He gets their opinions on the cabinet. Strangely, he's not interested, in this 'news analysis' on the formation of a cabinet in a nation that's not the United States, in getting the reactions of Iraqis.

Front page. Michael Moss and David Rhode offer "Misjudgement Marred U.S. Plans for Iraqi Police." They write:

Like so much that has defined the course of the war, the realities on the ground in Iraq did not match the planning in Washington.

Left unstated is the fact that like so much that has defined the course of the war, everything has been built on lies. Thanks for writing, hope to hear from you soon when you're able to really get at the truth and not offer up what we all already knew. (If that seems harsh, children suffering from malnutrition strikes me as harsh -- even if it doesn't strike the paper of record as news worthy.)

Which brings us to Dexter Filkins. Good Morning Dexy! Ready for the ultimate embed. Before you grab for the second cup of coffee, relax. He's writing with Richard Oppel Jr. and, since this is the most realistic piece Dexy's contributed to since the invasion began, we'll give credit to Oppel who didn't win a big award, but didn't disgrace himself either.

In the article, "Factions Argue Over Security Ministries," you'll learn the three cabinet positions that Malaki didn't fill: defense, interior and national security. Look, we really aren't using Condi Rice. She's running the State Department like it was the Office of War Planning. She has experience in national security -- none that would make anyone want to see her back in that post here -- so, since the United States is already calling the shots, let's outsource her to Iraq. And she can take Gail Norton with her. With that $225,000 donation by her friend Jack Abramoff to her group (Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy -- co-founded with Grover Norquist), she's probably eager to get away from the spotlight in this country. If we tossed Donald Rumsfeld into the package, we could probably get the Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities to spring for the cost of the flight.

It's a thought but then the second thought pops up: Aren't the Iraqis suffering enough already?

From Richard Oppel Jr.'s article with Dexy:

Iraqi leaders on Saturday approved a full-term government here for the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein more than three years ago, but one that appeared to lack the coehesion needed to quell the sectarian and guerilla violence engulfing the country.

Since the Times still can't talk malnutrition (not manly enough for Burns?), we'll note this from Democracy Now!:

UNICEF: 25% of Iraqi Children Suffer Malnutrition
Meanwhile, a survey carried out by the Iraqi government and UNICEF has concluded a quarter of all Iraqi children suffer from malnutrition.

[Added note: Additional thoughts on the Times Iraq coverage hit me when we were finishing
"Editorial: Here it comes, here it comes again" at The Third Estate Sunday Review and we worked them in to the editorial. Here's the chief point: "What they dole out today is small portions of reality, just enough to make readers think the press has woken up. They haven't. Consider it Operation Semi-Happy Talk -- we now know (in the fourth year of the invasion) what we did wrong! We can fix it!"]

Now, for West who cares about music as much as Susan and Julie, The Progressive's latest issue (not noted online yet) contains an interview by Matthew Rothschild with Dar Williams. From page 34:

Q: "My Better Self" seems more political than some of your previous albums. Do you have a heightened sense of urgency right now?
Dar Williams: That's right on. It's a temperature reading for what's going on, for better or worse. I've been sussing out the politics that sort of came to my doorstep, along with some of the more overt things, such as the song called "Empire."
Q: What is the temperature reading? Are we at 105?
Williams: In terms of our democracy, we are sort of shrugging our shoulders and saying, oh dear, Guantanamo, that's so awful, that's so awful, but it's here. The pendulum usually swings from left to right and then right to left, but there are so many people in power who have taken the penulum and just pinned it to the right that there is a fear that it's never going to swing back.

Note that I've put My Better Self in parenthesis due to the fact that I've italicized Rothschild's questions. And West, if you're thinking, "Who is Dar Williams?" -- don't say that to your parents. They have her CDs including this one. Just ask them to listen to it. (For those members wondering why this is directed to West, he's a big fan of music and wrote The Progressive about it. Matthew Rothschild was kind enough to write him back.) (That information is shared with West's permission, by the way.)

Also on music, Kat posted her latest review ("Kat's Korner: Springsteen's Seeger Sessions") last night so make sure you didn't miss that. The Third Estate Sunday Review is posting this morning. Most of it is finished but they wanted to use Isaiah's latest (going up after this) for an illustration and also Jim started feeling sick to his stomach the last hour or so -- at which point we slowed down the rush process. The editorial's roughed out, there's a piece we'd all like to write (but may forgoe if Jim doesn't feel any better), the TV review was completed yesterday, we've got a thing on Flanders (Laura, not Ned) and I forget what else. Speaking of Flanders, today's RadioNation with Laura Flanders (seven to ten p.m. Eastern Time) features:

What does it mean to be a friend of America and citizen these days? Do good fences make good neighbors? Our Media Roundtable includes Nation contributor BRUCE SHAPIRO and blogger CHRISTY HARDIN SMITH of Firedoglake. And GREG PALAST on why Bush loves $3 a gallon gas, war-mongering with oil-producing nations and other sordid tales from his new book, "Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf? China Floats, Bush Sinks, The Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left, and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War."

Also Flanders stated on last night's show that Sara Jean Rohne would be on. Rohne is the woman who refuted John McCain at Friday's commencement. (And did so quite well.)

Trina posted "Cole slaw in the Kitchen" yesterday and Betty posted her latest chapter "The blonde brain of Thomas Friedman." I think I covered the others yesterday morning.

I thought I was done but a friend just phoned about the nonsense that is Pat H. Broeske's "400 Dead Women: Now Hollywood Is Intrigued" -- the headline perfectly captures the article's tone and opening. It prompted a question from the friend who called: Does it hurt to be so stupid?

While we await Broeske's reply, we'll note that NBC's Crossing Jordan explored that story some time ago. We'll note that in 2004, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Eve Ensler and many more were marching in Juarez to draw attention to what was going on and not being covered by this morning's sanctimonouis New York Times. Is Broeske under the impression that when she includes that detail in her article, it's already been covered in length by the paper?

Really, the better headline and the better angle for Broeske's idiotic piece requires that the paper of no record look its own damn self and ask "400 Dead Women: Only after the Entertainment Industry Begins Making Films Is This Paper Concerned." Save the ___ for someone else, Broeske and the paper are fooling only the uninformed. It's a cheap shot, it's a slander and it's not reality. Reality is that when people have tried to draw attention to the issue, the paper of record always had something more 'important' to cover -- like fretting if Fox's wife would run for president of Mexico or some other ____ nonsense. Don't slime others for coverage of an issue you regularly failed to provide.

Maybe had Fonda, Field, Ensler and others puffed on a cigar or pipe, it would have met with the orally-fixated McKinley's approval and he might have bothered to seriously explore a topic the paper's done very little to cover. Or maybe they can dispatch Nicky K to Mexico to try to purchase women (or does he confine that "salvation" to overseas only)? The paper of no record has no right to slam on the issue and possibly those involved with Cannibal Hookers shouldn't throw stones?

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