Monday, August 23, 2010

Truest statement of the week

My son, Casey and at least 4000 more troops have been killed in Iraq since George Bush's famous Captain Codpiece moment when he flew onto the deck of the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier near San Diego and declared an "end to major combat" in Iraq. At that point, my son's division, the First Cavalry's, imminent deployment to Iraq was canceled (but later rescheduled). I remember the day that happened on May 1st, 2003 Casey called me from Ft. Hood and we I discussed the fact that the war was over. Now, in a stultifying display of deja vu, the Obama administration is declaring another end to combat in Iraq seven years, three months, and 18 days after BushCo's declaration. Not only is this an astounding display of re-framework, many people are going to believe it. I just saw a commentator on MSNBC(GE) telling everyone that President Barack Obama ended the war in Iraq ahead of schedule. Dozens of Iraqis were killed this past week and I think that they didn't get the memo about the war being over, either. People are still going to die -- soldiers will still be killed because the Iraqis have always seen them as oppressors and occupiers, not saviors.

-- Cindy Sheehan, "Deja Vu All Over Again" (Peace of the Action).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Truest statement of the week II

We'll leave Iraq when the last drop of oil and the last nickle is squeezed out of that most unfortunate of countries with some of the richest natural resources–not a second sooner.

-- Cindy Sheehan, "Deja Vu All Over Again" (Peace of the Action).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. A little sooner in some ways than others.

Thank you to all who worked on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And Dallas who hunted down links and was a soundboard and much more. And here's what we came up with:

Cindy Sheehan was the natural choice.
Both times, Cindy Sheehan was the natural choice.


No, the war hasn't ended. If you believe it has, you're suffering media damage.
Ava and C.I. tackled Rubicon this week. They toyed with doing something on Iraq but the plan was to have multiple features on Iraq. That plan really didn't come to be, sadly. But we tried. This is probably the strongest feature of the edition.
This is an Iraq roundtable and one of the planned pieces that actually worked out.

And this was the other one. The militarization of diplomacy finds a bunch of idiots (and sexists) spitting on Hillary. They don't know what the hell they're talking about -- as usual.

ETAN.
And Mike and the gang did this and we thank them for it.

We really wanted more and tried more. But attempts largely failed. So, in the words of Kat, it is what it is.



Peace.

-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Ended?

Today the US military announced: "CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq – A United States Forces – Iraq Soldier was killed today in Basra province while conducting operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom."

Barry O

But last week President Barack Obama said "combat missions" were over in Iraq. And Thursday MSNBC's Richard Engel made like the Monkee's uncle wailing on about "The Last Train To Clarksville." So how can it be?

It can be because it is. It can be because the Iraq War has not ended and will not be ending in 2010. With the possibility of extending or replacing the Status Of Forces Agreement or the militarization of diplomacy, it doesn't appear that the Iraq War will be ending in 2011 either.

But if you spin in circles real hard, you might be able to make a monkey's uncle out of yourself too -- the way the press has.

As Bill Van Auken (WSWS) observed, "The White House and the Pentagon, assisted by a servile media, have hyped Thursday’s exit of a single Stryker brigade from Iraq as the end of the 'combat mission' in that country, echoing the ill-fated claim made by George W. Bush seven years ago." As Cindy Sheehan (Peace of the Action) points out, "If the troops aren’t combat troops any more, then let’s take away their guns, tanks, drones, airplanes, helicopters, humvees, bases, body armor, etc and have them live in apartments in Baghdad -- and speaking of that, why don’t we de-fortify the Green Zone (that was also just rebranded to 'International Zone') if everything is so hunky-dory. Also, the 3rd Armored Cav that is leaving for Iraq from Ft. Hood soon should refuse to go since the war is over!"

The war drags on. It hasn't been ended.

Iraq

And the Iraqis know that better than anyone as was noted on the most recent edition of CounterSpin, when Peter Hart spoke with Hannah Gurman:

Hannah Gurman: Well it's really hard to say where to begin. By almost every measure with respect to security, the state of Iraqi politics and maybe most importantly Iraqis to basic resources and the state of Iraq's infrastructure. There are things that the mainstream story just isn't illuminating. In terms of infrastructure, for example, there are still many, many Iraqis who do not have electricity. They have about two to three hours of electricity a day. And the latest Brookings Index shows that there are 30 - 50,000 private generators making up for that gap between the national grid and what people actually need. So that's just one example of the basic situation on the ground that we don't really hear that much about from Obama or from Ambassador Christopher Hill when they are touting the success of the surge narrative.


Peter Hart: It's interesting, those Brookings numbers used to be widely cited in the media when they wanted to cite progress in the Iraq War. You don't hear them cited as often now. Perhaps because the findings are rather dismal.

Hannah Gurman: Yeah and that gets to heart of really what Iraqi citizens see on the ground and they point to the every day situation. So it is interesting that that's one of the things that we're really not hearing very much about in terms of the surge narrative. We're hearing a lot more about the decreases in violence, we're hearing a lot more about the optimism of Iraqi politics and even with respect to their things, there are things to be questioned.


It's still a disaster for the Iraqi people, they still live in a war zone. But Barack thinks he can make a pronouncement and things automatically change? He thinks he can simply rename and we'll all go along?

He has good reason to believe that. He promised withdrawal of "combat troops" from Iraq in 16 months and then lowered it to 10 months. He met neither deadline but that didn't stop people from lying and serve him with praise for meeting his campaign 'promise.' He's a petulant baby, as Maureen Dowd has noted, and this is before he's ever really gotten tough press.

Having yet again lied to the American people, Barack's going to find out real quick that it was this lie that firmly changed the way he was seen. And deaths on all sides will serve as the constant reminder that, in 2008, America elected one liar-in-chief to replace another.

TV: If no one wants to solve it, is it a mystery?

Maybe just being on AMC means you're graded on a curve? Maybe AMC viewers, having been so jerked around for so long, are primed to accept anything?

111


We wondered that while watching six episodes of Rubicon last month. Back then, the plan was that Rubicon would stream online for free. Not at Hulu, you understand. That was the original plan, it would stream on Hulu after airing on AMC and that would give the new show a boost and word of mouth. But that quickly changed and all Hulu got was the ability to 'promote' the first episode. At which point AMC was stating it would stream it online at its site and at Crackle. They got high ratings for the second episode (originally aired August 1st and paired with the first episode) and, at that point, the greed set in and the mistaken assumption that they don't need anyone.

Rubicon needs any number of people. In fact, most viewers would probably quickly grasp that, most of all, it needs talented writers. Thus far, they've yet to discover any and series creator Jason Horwitch has to be the worst of all the writers for the first six episodes. It takes a lot to write a scene so bad it stands out even weeks after you watched it, but Horwitch managed to do just that when, attempting to establish character backstory, he had Tanya (Lauren Hodges) ask her co-workers about Will (James Badge Dale) and his many quirks. An innocent enough question but instead of playing light or involving the audience in the character, Tanya gets a dressing down in a don't-you-know-that-on-September-11th-he-lost-his-wife-and-daughter! If that wasn't enough to weigh down the scene, where the mother and daughter were located (not on a plane) was even more heavy handed. The scene brought everything to a standstill and left a nasty, sanctimonious scent wafting from the show.

Which is rather surprising when you grasp what Rubicon so desperately wants to be: A TV version of an Alan J. Pakula film. It wants to be Klute, The Parallax View, All The President's Men, Comes A Horseman and The Pelican Brief all rolled into one. Instead it's 1974's The Conversation . . . if Frank Capra -- and not Francis Ford Coppola -- had directed that film. Where there needs to be tension, there is slack. Where there needs to be an edge, there's a smiley face.

Rubicon tracks Will who works as an analyst for a US think tank. A crossword prompts questions -- a series of crosswords. It leads to the death of David, Will's boss, and to Will being promoted to David's spot. Will's confused by the death because David, who was also his father-in-law, parked his car at the train station in the parking spot numbered . . . 13. David would never have done that! And the parking spot was labeled "13" so David would have seen it!

While Will's puzzling that, Katherine (Miranda Richardson) is puzzling over her billionaire husband's death which doesn't make sense. She and their child are playing outside, Tom's meeting inside with a number of men and then he's killing himself?

At around this point, you're expecting the show to involve you. It never does. It also seems unaware that just talking about danger -- and filming badly lit scenes -- does not provide enough for to satisfy viewers. Rubicon plays the cards too close to the vest, never giving viewers enough to involve them. The only way you get around that is providing action thrills and spills but that never happens on this show that seems determined to make Masterpiece Theater look like snuff films by comparison.

Working with Pakula, Jane Fonda won a Best Actress Academy Award (Klute) but the character study she was allowed to essay isn't happening here. Even a talented actress like Miranda Richardson struggles to add layers to a character that is all surface and the nature of the show (a parlor game beamed across the nation) doesn't allow for improvisation or much exploration -- not to mention her scenes often seem to be chopped in editing before they actually end. Instead you get lengthy scene after lengthy scene of the allegedly 'haunted' Will coming off instead like 90210's Dylan whining about Kelly wanting to join a sorority. The writers can't write characters or dialogue, they can't write action, why are they even employed?

At one point, while debating whether or not to kill a suspect, Grant (Christopher Evan Welch) declares, "Values are for politicians, not analysts." It's one of those lines that stick out because it makes no sense. Politicians have values? Really? Since when. A number of viewers probably flashed, as we did, on Woody Allen's scene in Annie Hall where he declares that politicians are "a notch below child molesters." So much doesn't make sense like Will's apartment. If he's concerned he's being followed, might we suggest the first thing he would do is get an apartment with a door that couldn't be kicked in by a ten-year-old child? The door is thin, like you'd expect the door to a hotel room closet to be. It's not a door leading into an apartment. And that could actually create suspense if anyone noticed it but no one does.

Instead "danger" is one episode is Will walking across the street at night and almost getting run over -- almost -- by a not-so-fast moving car. He didn't look before crossing. Was it one of those random acts in the universe or a plot to kill Will?

The show plays like a text book badly written by the professor of a graduate course who can assign it to his/her students. While they might be forced to read it, no one is forced to watch Rubicon and based on the first six episodes, and steadily declining ratings each week, no one really wants to.

Roundtable

Jim: Roundtable time and this'll be an Iraq roundtable. Our e-mail address is thirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration.



Roundtable


Jim (Con't): Okay, this month, Ava, C.I. and Jess were in England for about five days. So let's start there. The mood in England on Iraq?

Ava: Contrary to what Baby Cum Pants wrote in May, the British have not forgotten the Iraq War. It's very much something on the mind of the British people. Tony Blair's book wasn't getting the attention that it got at the end of last week, but this forthcoming book was getting attention and whenever Tony gets attention, it's a given people are thinking of Iraq.

Jess: I would argue there was also more public opposition to Afghanistan -- at least in the London area -- and that there is a linkage between the two in the minds of many, that they're both seen as illegal wars.

Jim: And what about the political scene?

C.I.: Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrats, created a bit of an uproar last month when he declared the Iraq War an "illegal war." He's done so again and shows no desire to back down on that. He is the Deputy Prime Minister of England.

Jim: And that's in some sharing arrangement, right?

C.I.: Correct. The Liberal Democrats formed a power-sharing agreement with the Conservative Party. Labour lost big in the elections -- as was expected when Gordon Brown refused to step down this time last year.

Jim: The elections were in May, right?

Rebecca: Correct. But Gordon Brown, Labour Party member and the then prime minister needed to get out of the way. As Tony Blair's sidekick, he was hurting Labour with the voters.

C.I.: So now there are five candidates vying for the leadership role in Labour and four of them have stated they would not have invaded Iraq. Ed Balls, one of the five, seems to have huge doubts about people making that claim other than himself and Dianne Abbott. Diane Abbott recently made news for having to explain that if she was the leader of Labour and, as a result, prime minister, she would not say no to all wars.

Jim: And you -- actually you and Elaine -- C.I. and Elaine -- know the two brothers who are running: David and Ed Miliband. Is that strange or something that could have been predicted? The two competing against one another for the leadership post?

Elaine: If you're wanting some sort of an answer like, "David used to swipe Ed's blood pudding and that resulted in a huge rivalry between the two . . ." then you are waiting in vain. I know no story like that. The two were close and remain close though I'm sure there are new tensions as the campaigning continues.

C.I.: I'd agree with Elaine and have nothing to add.

Jim: The reason we're doing an Iraq roundtable is that Barack Obama, US president and topless model, has declared "combat operations" over in Iraq. The media's run with that. Any thoughts?

Mike: Yeah, I think the best reality came in Friday's "Iraq snapshot." Barack's claiming the "combat operations" ended and yet Friday comes the news that Christopher Wright of Kentucky died serving in Iraq. A number of people have pointed out that Barack's nonsense wasn't all that different from Bully Boy Bush getting on board the ship and declaring "major combat operations have ended" underneath that "Mission Accomplished" banner. And even with a lot of people making that comparison in print, where is it on TV? I'm not seeing it.

Ty: Yeah, I'd agree with Mike. TV was the worst of the outlets in the leadup to the start of the illegal war. And now it's eager to sell the end of the war and when facts don't demonstrate that the war is ending, they just toss them out. I also think that after Richard Engel's Pentagon organized embedded "I'm with the last combat troops as they leave Baghdad" Thursday nonsense led everyone to jump on that bandwagon. There's a herd mentality.

Jim: Trina, you asked C.I. to include, from a Friday morning entry, a lengthy section in that day's snapshot. It was on the history issue. And I was wondering if you wanted to talk about that or that topic?

Trina: I actually would love to talk about that and I was so thrilled that C.I. was again talking about it. I don't think we can talk too much about the way revisionary tactics will be used in an attempt to rewrite history. I was in high school during the final years of Vietnam and I remember the feelings of my friends and, in fact, the whole country. But a lot of people today who might be, for example, my son Mike's age didn't live through it but have lived through several waves of revisionary history. They start to think that only Jane Fonda was against the war or something silly like that. Some say the war split the country apart. I don't like that because it can imply it was an equal split and it wasn't. Those of us opposed far outnumbered those wanting to see that war continue. And the points C.I. made were so valid. The revisionary tactics on Vietnam didn't work on me or on those of us who lived through it. But what they were hoping was to work on the generations since and to muddy the waters and to get enough support for another war. And these same tactics will be used on Iraq. So I really think it's important to remember, let me quote C.I.'s snapshot:

The Associated Press and GfK Roper Public Affairs published a [PDF format warning] poll today. 1,007 respondents, surveyed from August 11th through 16th, with a +/- 4.5% percent margine of error. 31% "favor" the Iraq War, 65% "oppose" the Iraq War. 3% need to be called in a few years because they're not sure how they feel. The respondents identified themselves most often as "conservative" (41%), second highest self-designation was "moderate" (33%) and "liberal" followed that (25%). (2% aren't sure what they are.)

Trina (Con't): It's really important to remember just how many people oppose the war because that number will be erased from history during the revisions. They will make it seem as if the 65% was something like 6% instead.

Ruth: If I could jump in here, I agree. I am the oldest participating and the revisions never stopped. Vietnam ended with the majority of Americans opposed to the war but within a few years that was thrown into question by waves of revisionary nonsense. By the mid-80s, you had people thinking that it was just a few hippies opposed to the war. My youngest sons, for example, were hearing that sort of information in their classes. And we had to work, my husband and I, to correct that. It is really important that we not allow this to happen again. War Criminals were treated like geniuses for starting and continuing the war when they should have been behind bars. It is really important that we do our part to arm today's generations with the knowledge of how the War Hawks try to revise history so they are prepared. Whether they will be able to combat it or not, I do not know. But they need to be prepared.

Jim: Okay. Rebecca, since your field was p.r., help me out and give a brief outline of what sort of revisionary waves to expect.

Rebecca: Expect films that work overtime to make the ones supporting the war -- the Iraq War -- noble. Not the leaders who pushed it. Except for cultists, most people don't buy into the noble leaders. But to give us a younger version of Ma and Pa Kettle as noble war supporters. We'll see, in the same movies, the useless and deadbeat opponents to the war. That's how it'll be played if Vietnam's any indication. And all of that will come about many, many times before a Rambo type film comes along to argue that "the boys" weren't allowed to win, that they were fighting with "one arm tied behind their backs." You'll get a lot of macho to associate the war and warriors with manly. It will be a caricature, so much so that many men and women on the left will laugh at it and think it's a great lampoon. But it will play in the minds that the revisionists are trying to reach. I agree with C.I., Trina and Ruth that we need to be on the lookout for it but I'm also aware that few pay enough attention to catch it.

Jim: Why do you say that?

Rebecca: Like I said, a cartoonish version of manliness will float right over us or we'll laugh at something good naturedly that will be seen by others as something else. You have to be watching and I really don't think most will pay enough attention to do that. Look, example, there was a documentary that the War Whore Samantha Power was involved with that people were pushing for a nomination at the end of last year. You don't know how hard C.I. and others had to work to ensure that bit of propaganda didn't end up with an Oscar or, for that matter, nominated.

Jim: Oh, yeah the 'humanitarian' hawks and their latest crap from the same 'director' pimping war with Iraq in 2000 and war on Iran more recently.

Ty: Right. C.I. and my boss worked on a mailing on that, a very glossy package outlining the director's past crap and explaining how the film preached war. And they really had to stay on top of that -- along with some others -- to keep that film out of the running. And it's amazing because you get all these morons who completely misunderstand Kathryn Bigelow's wonderful film [The Hurt Locker] but won't come out and criticize Samantha Power and her army of War Hawks.

Jim: Since we're on films, everything's been savaged. Bigelow's film and everything. What's going on there?

Elaine: Let me grab that. Some of the people criticizing The Hurt Locker offered examples of 'good' films and that would often include Coming Home -- which won Jane Fonda and Jon Voight Best Acting honors. But what these people didn't realize was that the slams they were lobbying at Hurt Locker had been lobbed at Coming Home as well.

Jim: Really?

C.I.: Read Pauline Kael's review of Coming Home for The New Yorker and then compare it to the alleged 'crimes' Kathyrn supposedly committed with The Hurt Locker, you'll find remarkable similarities.

Elaine: And the reason is because you have a group of people who just don't get it. They want to see their every belief up on the big screen and they need it in all caps, in dialogue or banners because they can't interpret visuals, they're not able to for whatever reasons. Nor can they grasp that they're not a large enough film audience to make a film a hit. They've got a million and one gripes and they come in with a chip on their shoulder, mix in a little sexism and it's go to town on Kathryn or -- C.I., what's her name?

C.I.: Kimberly Peirce.

Elaine: Thank you. She directed Stop-Loss. It's amazing how the films with women get trashed, behind the camera or in front.

Jim: Alright. I would add that fictional portraits of the war onscreen get called out but fictional portraits in the press rarely meet with any nastiness.

Mike: Or fictional portraits from Barack Obama.

Betty: I was just thinking that too, Mike. How Matthew Rothschild does a commentary prasing Barack for keeping his campaign promise -- which he didn't keep -- and then talks about how the illegal war continues but can't find the guts to call Barack out for that. As if the war's some sort of Energizer Bunny and Barack's not the one keeping it going.

Ann: And, sorry to jump in, it's that inability to call out Barack that's allowed the wars to drag on. Inability or refusal. I'm so sick of it, I don't care what it is.

Jim: You've voted for Ralph Nader in three presidential elections, Ann. Even Jess hasn't done that. I'm laughing, that was a joke. Jess wasn't old enough to vote in 2000. And -- except possibly Ava and C.I. -- we all voted for Nader in 2008. But, Ann, you really aren't vested in the Democratic Party.

Ann: I'm not. I think it's a pathetic corporation passing itself off as the will of the people. Just yesterday, I was at a website and the woman was whining about the 'bad Republicans' and how they were blocking Dems from doing what they really wanted to in Congress. It's not so amazing that the Democrats always have an excuse for their failures, it is amazing that so many fools are willing to buy into them. If the Democratic Party wanted to end the Iraq War, every Democrat in Congress would be in the Out Of Iraq caucus and the war would have ended. They weren't and it didn't and that's for a reason.

Betty: And look at Barbara Lee. She's just an embarrassment, she's just a joke. She doesn't take brave stands unless a Republican is in the White House. I can't think of anyone more embarrassing than Barbara Lee. Or more self-serving.

Cedric: There was a lot of grumbling within the Black community when it appeared that others were standing up for Cynthia McKinney and Barbara Lee wasn't doing a damn thing. But she really became a White phenomenon. Lee lost more and more respect in the Black community as the decade wore on. In part, that may be why she sucks up to Barack so badly; however, she'd actually be seen as stronger if she could stand up.

Wally: It really is something to reflect on, all those strong talking Democrats speaking out on ending the war in Iraq until a Democrat got in the White House. It's like Cindy Sheehan said on Antiwar Radio, "So the major thing that I've learned, I think, is that we have one party system in this country and it's the War Party. And it just depends on if you have an 'R' or 'D' after your name if you support what's happening or if you're against what's happening." That really does sum it up and it goes beyond the elected officials to the partisan gas bags who call out the other party but never their own.

Jim: I feel that's changing, do you?

Wally: What I see changing is more people on the ground criticizing Barack for his broken promises. I see excuses still coming from the gasbags. But I mean, Kat, Ava, C.I. and me are speaking to groups about ending the war and it's so much easier now. In 2009, it was crazy. People would make comments and apologize before them, during them and after them. That's really gone. The teflon around Barack washed off and the people aren't afraid to call him out now, it's just the gas bags that are scared.

Isaiah: I see that in the polls. Think about what Trina quoted earlier in the roundtable, for example, or Barack hitting 41% approval this week in Gallup's poll and grasp that you do not see only 41% of the TV gas bags praising Barack. It's more like 80% -- especially if you leave out Fox. The gas bags are not representative of the people. They're out of touch but that's usually the case.

Stan: I have a question for Wally or Kat or Ava or C.I. or all of them. How important is Iraq because I think it's pretty important if you're a young adult.

Kat: I'm being pointed at so I'll speak. Okay, so it's hugely important. You're dealing with a lot of young people who cast a vote for the first time in 2008 and did so for Barack because he was going to end the war. And he didn't. And he hasn't. And they're probably the most vocal. Like Wally was saying, early 2009 was a rough time because people would hedge their comments and, for me, it was like October 2001 all over again, we couldn't criticize the great and mighty Oz. Now we went ahead and did so and doing so set up a critique of Barack from the left. And carved out the space for criticism of Barack from the left. But the young are really disappointed with him and I don't think Dems can count on that segment to show up at the polls this November. You want to wait around to vote after you feel screwed over? I just don't see it happening.

Marcia: That's interesting and what I'm thinking of is how, summer of 2005, when I was just reading this site, not participating, the edition where C.I. says that the Iraq War will still be going on after 2008. And I can't believe how true that was. There were so many times I didn't want to believe it but it always felt true and, of course, it is true. We now see that.

Mike: And instead of ending the war, Barack's pretending to and a huge number of people are willing to play along with him. Advise-and-assist missions, that's what the US is doing now. What were they doing before? I kind of thought that they were already doing those missions. In fact, I know they were training and advising and assisting before. So nothing's really changed. When they're asked to go on patrols, they still will. Those will be combat patrols. Barack's nothing but a liar.

Jim: Good point and Dona's giving me the wrap up sign. So on that note, we'll stop and note that this is a rush transcript.

Blame Hillary

It's 2008 all over again, if you haven't noticed. As the Cult of St. Barack realizes that the illegal war isn't ending and as diplomacy there is being militarized, it's time for them to vent their fear of the vagina and yet again blame Hillary Clinton.

Let's set aside reality for just a moment and pretend Hillary will be over 'an army' in Iraq. If that's true (it's not true), why would there be anger at Hillary? If Barack was putting Hillary in charge of such an apparatus, the anger should be aimed at him.

Or have we all forgotten the Christ-child's fabled 'superior sense of judgment.' You know, the super power which allows him to, after the fact, know what should have been done? Some call it Monday morning quarterbacking, others call it Barack Obama's glorious know-how.

And remember how in campaign appearance after campaign appearance and debate after debate, he declared himself right on Iraq and Hillary wrong? Have you forgotten that?

If Hillary were being put in charge of Iraq, it would be the biggest slap in the face to Barack Obama's primary supporters you could imagine. They'd elected to vote for him and not Hillary due to the Iraq War and, yet, she's being placed (by him) in charge of the Iraq War?

It's not happening but, if it were, the Cult of St. Barack should be storming the barricades and issuing cries of, "Barry, how could you!!!!"

Here's reality. The plan Samantha Power tried to sell the United Nations on after she achieved bits of semi-fame for something other than sporting the worst bleach job in the history of gas bags? It never flew. The United Nations -- which does have peace keeping forces -- knew the difference between diplomacy and what Power was preaching.

Samantha Power

Some people, when shot down, realize the errors of their ways. Others squirrel away their plans for nuclear winter when they can trot them out again. Sammy Power was already in a seduction dance with Barry O before he was elected to the US Senate. She's sort of the Angela Landsbury character in this modern day Manchurian Candidate tale.

And Barack was never opposed to the Iraq War. He was opposed to "dumb wars." He gave a speech, before the war began, to a tiny group of people saying he was pro-war and that he only opposed dumb wars. He was then labeling the Iraq War a "dumb war." But in 2004, he was telling The New York Times that, if he had been in the US Senate in 2002, he would have voted for the authorization. The allegedly anti-war senator came into Congress and went on to repeatedly vote to fund the Iraq War over and over.

Barack was never anti-war. He didn't require a hard sell to get on board with Power's plan. The plan she floated to the UN was that diplomats would also oversee small military forces. No one took her seriously (except for the MSM press, few ever take Samantha Power seriously). But War Hawk Barack (forever carrying some shame over media portrayals of Vietnam) like Power's plan. It would allow, she explained, the US to maintain a military in Iraq without having to keep the military there.

It's the sort of 'compromise' that strikes Barack as 'bi-partisan' and something the Gipper would do. So he was all over it and that's why he refused to (a) to pledge all US troops would be out of Iraq by the end of his first term while insisting that he would have combat troops out within 16 months (or 10 months as he later changed it to) of his being sworn in.

Samantha Power was a devoted supporter and her devotion was due to be paid off. Amy Goodman was raving about her live on WBAI during pledge week, and the possibility of Samantha Power being the next Secretary of State. (Amy got a little too close to the powerful, didn't she? She who used to ridicule Lesley Stahl for being friends with Richard Holbrooke.) And, from the State Department, Power and Barack were sure, Samantha would be overseeing the militarization of diplomacy.

But Samantha Power's biggest liability has always been her own big mouth and her inability to self-censor. She would have been the first Secretary of State to suffer from Tourette Syndrome. Drinking a bit too much, Power blabbed a little more than usual. She called Hillary a "monster" and worse and as that scandal was brewing, she resigned from the campaign explaining to Barack that she'd also given an interview to the BBC where she was a little too honest about his 'campaign pledge.'

The resignation was quickly accepted to remove Barack from any questions about the BBC interview. But while that was the most damaging to Barack, the "monster" comment was what killed her chances at Secretary of State -- an office that requires a level of diplomacy and tact.

That wasn't a problem for the Power plan. It could still be implemented. They'd just remove Iraq from the Secretary of State's task list. And this was done long before Hillary was ever nominated for the post.

Power couldn't be made Secretary of State but she could get on President Barack's National Security Council -- could and did. Which jibed with their plans to task Iraq as a national security issue. (How in the world is Iraq a US national security issue? In the cracked mind of Samantha Power, it's one.)

Power's been beating the War Drums forever. This is the woman who popularized the "Out of Iraq and Into Darfur!" slogan. And yet some fools (Davey D, Amy Goodman, et al) rushed to prop the War Whore up. Just as, today, the Cult of St. Barack lashes out at Hillary to avoid calling out their Christ-child.

They deny the realities about Barack repeatedly. They kid themselves that they can reach him (via fan letters?) and intentionally overlook that he doesn't give a whit about civilian deaths. If he had, he never would have stuck with Sammy Power as an advisor. War Hawks of a feather, flock together.

Open Letter to President of Indonesia on Papuan Political Prisioners

From ETAN:
c/o PO Box 21873
Brooklyn, NY 11202 USA
etan@etan.org

August 16, 2010 Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono President Republic of Indonesia Istana Merdeka Jakarta Pusat 10110 Indonesia Via Fax, E-mail Dear President Yudhoyono: As Indonesia's National Day on 17 August approaches, we the undersigned non-governmental organizations engaged in the defense of human rights in Indonesia are deeply concerned that dozens of Papuans are incarcerated in prisons in Papua and West Papua simply for having been involved in non-violent demonstrations or expressions of opinion. In most cases, these prisoners have been sentenced under Criminal Code Articles 106 and 110 regarding "rebellion." These articles are a legacy from the Dutch colonial era and are in violation of the Indonesian Constitution, Articles 28(e) and 28(f) which respectively afford "the right to the freedom of association and expression of opinion," and "the right to communicate and obtain information for the development of his/her personal life and his/her social environment, and shall have the right to seek, acquire, possess, keep, process and convey information by using all available channels." Moreover, Articles 106 and 110 are inconsistent with your country's international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which Indonesia ratified in 2006. While the ICCPR (article 19) notes that these rights are subject to certain restrictions "for the protection of national security and of public order or public health or morals," the 1995 Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression, and Access to Information identify clear standards for application of national security restrictions. These Principles provide that persons should not be restrained for expressing their opinions. Governments should only take action against such expression of views on the grounds of national security if they can demonstrate that they would incite acts of imminent violence. The prosecution of the aforementioned Papuan political prisoners has offered no evidence of any such threat of imminent violence in association with their physical or verbal actions. While we strongly believe that none of these prisoners should have been prosecuted in the first place, we are also deeply concerned about the disproportionately harsh sentences imposed on these political prisoners given their non-violent acts. One prisoner arrested in 2004 and charged under these articles is serving a 15-year sentence while others have been given sentences of three or four years. Moreover, there have been alarming reports of maltreatment of the prisoners by prison warders and the lack of essential medical facilities. In one case, a prisoner with a serious prostate disorder had to wait eight months before being allowed to travel to Jakarta for essential treatment recommended by the local doctor. Severe Beatings of prisoners and detainees are frequently and credibly reported. We the undersigned have on a number of occasions welcomed the democratic progress in Indonesian since the fall of the Suharto dictatorship, inspired by the Indonesian people. We recognize that this progress had been achieved despite frequent threats by the as yet unreformed Indonesian security forces. In view of the tradition to mark Indonesia's National Day on 17 August by announcing the release of prisoners and bearing in mind the restriction on essential freedoms such as those contained in Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code we respectfully call on you to mark this year's celebrations by: * releasing all Papuan political prisoners, including those already convicted and those waiting trial; * securing the deletion of Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code; * ordering an immediate investigation into conditions in the prisons where the prisoners are being held and ensure the punishment of all prison personnel held responsible for maltreatment. We look forward to your response. Sincerely, Aliansi Nasional Timor Leste Ba Tribunal Internasional (ANTI)/ Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal Australia West Papua Association Adelaide Australia West Papua Association Brisbane Australia West Papua Association Melbourne Australia West Papua Association Newcastle Australia West Papua Association Sydney East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) (U.S.) Foundation Akar (The Netherlands) Foundation Manusia Papua (The Netherlands) Foundation of Papuan Women (The Netherlands) Foundation Pro Papua (The Netherlands) Free West Papua Campaign UK Freunde der Naturv√∂lker e.V./FdN (fPcN) (Germany) Human Rights Watch KontraS (Indonesia) Land is Life (U.S.) La’o Hamutuk (Timor-Leste) Perkumpulan HAK (HAK Association) (Timor Leste) Tapol (Britain) West Papua Advocacy Team (U.S.) West Papua Network Germany etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan Support ETAN! Read what Noam Chomsky says about ETAN: http://www.etan.org/etan/2010app.htm

John M. Miller, National Coordinator East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA Phone: +1-718-596-7668 Mobile phone: +1-917-690-4391 Email john@etan.org Skype: john.m.miller Web site: http://www.etan.org

Highlights

This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"The war continues (and watch for the revisionary tactics)" -- One of the three most requested highlights by readers of this site that got pushed to number one when Trina added her own vote to the readers.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Lying Photo Ops" -- Isaiah on Barack's photo ops.

"Steel Magnolias" and "Bette and Joan" and "Julia's not so pretty move" -- Betty and Stan take you to the movies.

"Tuna and Noodles in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a reader's recipe.


"Tom Hayden struggles to find his voice," "Friday," "No end," "THIS JUST IN! NO END!,"
"Never ending spin," "The war didn't end but MSNBC's reputation did," "what ended?," "Iraq,"
"The continuing stalemate," "SOFA means what?," "Withdrawal?," "Broadcast News: Who fluffed, who informed last night?" and "One term and Iraq" -- some of the Iraq coverage in the community this week.


"Barbra Streisand and Jeffrey Katzenberg" -- Betty's hopes on AWOLs at fundraisers.

"chris hedges, rookie blue" -- Rebecca covers TV and Ann covers radio:



"Pack it in (Emily's list), get a life (Katha Pollitt)" and "Palin (classy), Emily's List (hypocrite)" and "No fan of the list Emily's been keeping (or the company)" -- Elaine and Trina weigh in on Emily's List decision to serve the boys.





"THIS JUST IN! CAN'T LEAD, GOTTA FUNDRAISE!" and "Don't worry, you'll pick up the tab" -- Wally and Cedric break down the priorities.

"Miss Congenital Liar" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this classic.


"Stop the Cat Food Commission" -- Ruth calls out the attempts to chip away at Social Security.

"Social media for rock stars" -- Kat on the ever changing times.


"John Ridley's an idiot" -- Marcia weighs in on one of the week's many controversies.
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