Archive for Iran

Between the Shiite & Where the Sunni Don't Shine



It's just one giant mess in Iraq, most likely exacerbated by our invasion over a decade ago. And the question is whether or not we should get involved again.

I say no. But it's not up to me..

This morning, I was excited to welcome Juan Cole to the program. Unfortunately for me, a power surge knocked me off the air just moments before I was to call him. Needless to say, when I did get Juan on the line, I was a bit frazzled, and all the pages I had up on my computer had closed, leaving me a bit more tongue tied than usual.

But I always appreciate his input... probably best today found on his website at While you're there, check out "Obama Prepares for Drone War in Iraq" and prepare to be pissed!

Juan Cole has a new book coming out on July 1, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East I'll try to get him back on for another chat then, and hope to not be interrupted so rudely next time!

In the first hour, as we do every Monday morning, I spoke with Howie Klein during our regular segment "The Steve Israel Hour, sponsored by Little Debbie".  Today, in addition to talking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz' apparent loyalites to Big Pharma and the for-profit prison industry (as evidenced by her opposition to medical marijuana), we talked about the big newspaper story on her cooking practices (can you say fluff piece?)

Howie brought a few stories too, including one about Barbara Lee's failed amendments to the Defense Appropriations bill, and another about the Democrats who are just fine with the NSA's domestic surveillance programs, thankyouverymuch.

I'm off to get a new uninterruptible power source before tomorrow's show, when we'll talk with the always awesome Thomas Frank, and the always funny GottaLaff!


Morning Mika Scores a One-on-One with President Obama


"Just because something is stable two or four years ago, doesn't mean that it's stable right now," responded President Barack Obama to a visibly awed Morning Mika in her first interview with the Commander in Chief, broadcast on MSNBC Monday morning.

It had to fight the World Cup advancement, that didn't go over well, but nonetheless it was that moment every pundit or journalist hopes for - the one-on-one with the sitting president. Particularly on the possible eve of military involvement again in Persia. Have a gander.

Mika and Joe Schmoe Scarborough have visited the White House, grilled most of Obama's various teams and certainly 'discuss' the president's every thought, in pernicious detail, daily. With nearly extreme prejudice at times … morning MSNBC has a Right Wing tinge until well after elevenses, progressives know that. So it truly was fascinating to see which questions they would choose to take into a one-on-one.

Even a slight fatigue of Mika and her family involvement in our morning media, shouldn't fully detract from the intimate revelations she did tease from Obama, Brzezinski has actual reporter cred, and it comes through when she remembers to stand firmly on that foundation.


The president spoke of the responsibility of Iraq itself, and Al-Maliki's government (an elected democracy) in their own future. He beat back the Fvx Nation drumbeat that not acting in Syria was the mistake of the century:

"These societies are going through these enormous transformations, there was a long period after WW2 ... there's a long and difficult transition to a different society in the Middle East. ... We're going to have to deal with some of the worst impulses there." {paraphrasey}

Scarborough couldn't keep his mouth shut past 6:15 a.m., particularly re PBO's sensible declaration that the U.S. is done playing Whack-A-Mole in the Iraq-Syria morass. He tossed it to Bloomberg's Al Hunt to see if he could verify his own opinion that President Obama has no feck. Hunt didn't completely comply, voicing the common sense idea that no matter how many troops we might have left behind, Malaki's regime would not have held together.

Bobby Ghosh, managing editor at Quartz, gave those criticisms the 'unfair' label they deserve. Pundit-Twit Mark Halperin had to jump in and override, hubris swallowed him whole years ago, and they bumped the rest of Mika's Obama footage to the 7:00 block. [When they amped up the 'Iraq Under Siege' campaign.]

Draw your own conclusions, but there are conclusions to draw - media has taken on a huge role in how we start our days, and what tone the overall cable buzz sets.

As Laffy so often says, 'our voices matter'. So hold the famed 'librul media up to the same standards the GOP.Teabangelicals do … they think David Gregory plays for our team, so are clearly delusional.


President Obama to speak on Iraq at 12:30 EDT


President Obama

President Obama will speak of the changes in Iraq in recent days at 12:30 pm EDT today.


Stop Making Sense



Once again, I feel as if I've entered Opposite World, where up is down, in is out and everything is completely backwards. I didn't meant to quote the Talking Heads, but it's the lower case talking heads who are making my brain hurt right now.

First of all, the talking head making the most sense about Iraq right now is... Shephard Smith!?!?! Yes, the man who is relegated to keeping his sexuality safely hidden in the closet because his employer is Faux News is, once again, speaking the truth. This time, he's saying what I'm thinking about Iraq.

If that wasn't mind blowing enough, how about Mark Halperin talking sense to Paul Bremer about Iraq and the role of the US in that troubled part of the world!

If you were pleasantly surprised  by those two segments, welcome to the club. Unfortunately then, you'll likely be sadly disappointed by the answers I got from General Wesley Clark. The former NATO commander and presidential candidate apparently thinks the way I'd have expected the two men mentioned above to think... When I asked Gen. Clark what we should do in Iraq, he unequivocally called for "air strikes."

I know, he is a retired US Army General and, as such, is conditioned to think that way. But I expected more out of a career military man who opposed entering Iraq in the first place and actually seemed refreshing during his presidential run in 2004. Then again, he did participate in a sickening celebration of war on NBC in a strange "reality show" called "Stars Earn Stripes." I thought then that he had lost his mind. Now I know that his mind has been darkened by the fog of war.

In an interesting juxtaposition of ideas, Chelsea Manning published an Op-Ed in yesterday's NY Times explaining that "the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan," and urges people to be skeptical of their coverage now.

In the first hour, Howie Klein joined in as he does each Monday morning for the Steve Israel Hour, sponsored by Little Debbie. Today, we discussed the incompetence of Steve Israel who never saw the Cantor crushing coming, and did everything he could to protect Cantor from a Democratic challenger. Plus next week's primaries could bring us a real progressive as the Democratic nominee in the MD governor's race in Heather Mizeur, but probably won't.

Tomorrow, it's @GottaLaff time... Seriously, we all need some laughs right about now... Tuesday, 10-noon ET radio or not!

Listen to the full show here:


MSNBC's Thomas Roberts on Iraq: "How do you invade the willing?"



Image courtesy

Image courtesy


Yes, you read that right, MSNBC's Way Too Early (and of late some disturbing pageant hosting fame) host and Morning Schmoe Scarborough and Mugging Mika regular, Thomas Roberts, was sarcastically thrown a "What is your next move in Iraq" question by King of the Asshats, Joe himself - and killed it.

Which proves a lot about liberal journalists. If you aren't familiar with him, Thomas Roberts is as openly gay as he is tall, dark, handsome and provenly erudite. He answered the sarcastic shot handily, then tossed it to David Ignatius of The Washington Post (he of yesterday's Meet the 'Press' Mitt Romney-thon Father's Day Roundtable, link here).

Mark Halperin, the smug 'Game Change' and 'Double Down' jerk, tried to Bogart the convo with his conservative drivel, but Thomas masterfully took it right back … "we cannot enter every conflict in the world any longer. We can't afford it, in blood, treasure or national will." {Paraphrasey.}

Roberts made the ultimate moral point. Who are we to invade the willing and lay our democratic will firmly on the "Iraqi" people like Neo-Con Papa G.W. Bush41 would have done in his sleep?

Thomas Roberts gets it - the appetite for war, Iraq or Iran invasions and flexing our Juiced Up musculature is no longer the will of most Americans … and the locals battling out their centuries-old issues in the Persian deserts simply don't need more of our boots on the ground.


Or to, as (Laffy's term) Grampy McBombBombs would prefer, finally get a shot at neighboring Iran through our little Persian proxy, Iraq. The Military Industrial Complex must be getting pretty hungry by now, and it needs some new prey to soothe that voracious rumbling tummy.

Scarborough lives to denigrate President Barack Obama for 'leading from behind', stated not just pithily, but with scorn and enough derision that I know I'm not the only one reaching for the nearest shoe to wing at the tee vee machine. [Happily our bedroom set is a behemoth Panasonic antique and can take a lot of size 7 1/2 hits.]


Discover your own inner liberal rage, here's the footage. Is it a wonder those of us on the East Coast don't require much actual caffeine when Joe and Mika and NeoCon Cohorts babbling about Iraq are in bed with you??!

And damned if Thomas Roberts didn't then get a fantastic Round Two punch in when former Ambassador and conservative defender Paul Bremer showed up at the set to declare we never tried to impose Democracy in Iraq. Roberts quickly queried, repeatedly because of a supposed audio glitch, the question "We took Saddam Hussein OUT, didn't we?"

Bremer visibly recoiled, got enraged, and spit out a typically insulting GOPper reply. Defended by Scarborough all the way, he scampered off the set with some lost indignity, trailing the mic pack behind him.

We have got to vote these BushCo Legacy asshats out of Congress, out of American politics, and apparently keep a firm eye cast on the really egotistical ones that took their slime to television.


NO, Crazy John McCain, we did NOT have 'the conflict won' in Iraq



War, Bab-ey, War!

Bomb Bomb McCain made headlines on Morning Joe, and ole' Joe wasn't even phoning it in to comment. Morning Mika, David Gregory, John Heilemann and Sam Stein were all at bat.

Huffington's Stein even tried to nail down what Crazy John McCain de-lusion-ally [Lewis Black voice if you have one] thinks it means 'to have it won'.

Morning Mika had Round One. She wanted to know how much more the American people could be expected to spend on Iraq. John Heilemann (clearly sitting in for the meltdown-prone Schmoe Joe Scarborough as he virtually led the parade) and couldn't get McCain to commit to a firm 'air strike' fantasy call … but he did get The Quote. (H/t to David Garber for the you tubes linkage.)

What is the definition of victory? Stein asked. Unfortunately he preceded it by saying he was confused about McCain's position. I rather enjoyed @FineTweeter Glenn Moye's take.

He condescendingly patronized Sam Stein, completely pouncing on and abusing 'confused'. And refused to answer the question. "I'm sorry about your confusion .. but the facts were …" Props to Sam Stein, who came back with "I should have known that saying I'm confused could be used against me." And for letting McCain draw out more and more naval rope to knot and hang himself with. Twitter was all East Coastey atwitter. (Props to pal B Double.)

Hence, McCain fired the Bazooka. On record he has called for summarily "The totality of President Obama's National Security Team" … and by the top o' the next hour Mika had Big Daddy Zbig on the phone with a Brzezinski rebuttal. He urged a more measured neo-con response. Quelle surpreeze.

Always important to remember, however, that McCain could be on the Cantor path actually certified and led away attached to a Thorazine drip any day now. Oh, let that day be today!

Image courtesy @acehanna54, Mel Neuhaus

Image courtesy @acehanna54, Mel Neuhaus

For some facty-reality stuff, here's the incredible Richard Engel reporting on what is actually happening in Iraq. No matter what McCain is losing his feeble mind about.

Which is a get out the vote reminder if we've ever heard, November is but a heartbeat away.


Overnight: Happy We Are From Teheran #FreeHappyIranians


Happy Iran Teheran

I found out about this video because of an article on The Huffington Post with this headline:

Young Iranians Arrested For Dancing In 'Happy' Pharrell Video

From the article:

Sources report that seven to eight young Iranians have been arrested in Tehran, for the simple crime of being "Happy."

Three men and three women danced unveiled to Pharrell Williams' smash hit in a video that was widely shared on social media, garnering over 30,000 views before it was taken down. Copies have been quickly re-uploaded as news of the arrest has broken, sparking the hashtag #FreeHappyIranians.