Archive for Iran

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato...

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Tomato-Tomato

No more tomato-tomato.  "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."

Over the past two days, more information regarding James Foley's incarceration by ISIS and ultimate beheading has come to light. The State Department has released information that the captors had used waterboarding on Foley and others who they still hold as prisoners.

Immediately the press jumped on this with sensationalist fervor -- ISIS accused of torturing American hostages.

Really?

Where was this shock and horror when George Bush, Dick Cheney and the CIA authorized the very same horrific and shameful actions? Of course then, it wasn't called torture because we were doing it and the recipients weren't Americans. Under those circumstances it was was blissfully called "enhanced interrogations."

The games the Republicans play with words. Semantics.. And we as Americans just turned our heads to that one. Even John McCain, reportedly tortured while a prisoner of war in Viet Nam, came out against torture BUT he gave his sanctimonious approval to "enhanced interrogations." What two faced criminals these guys are.

Why the double standard? Waterboarding is torture. It was before the US started doing it and it is when/if we continue to do it.

By now most reporting of our shameful abundant usage of waterboarding has been curtailed. But accepting that practice for what it is still hasn't. Only the hypocritical outrage in the press seems to have changed.  HUFFPO:

Interestingly, while the Post has, like most mainstream outlets, typically been reluctant to call methods such as waterboarding "torture" when it was practiced by Americans, the paper had no apparent problem calling what ISIS did to Foley "torture."

That brings us back to the headline, the George and Ira Gershwin's song. The correct title of that tune is  Let's Call The Whole Thing Off. Isn't it really time we take that to heart? Waterboarding is torture. We did it. We may still do it. We shouldn't be hypocrites. It's not to say Bush/Cheney were the first to use it, but they brought it back into vogue. We shouldn't be shocked to find out it's now being done to us. Lay blame where it belongs -- on all war criminals. We reap what we sow. Poor James Foley and his fellow prisoners were made to endure such horrors. Would it have been done to them if we hadn't done it? That's a question I hope Bush and Cheney lie awake at night pondering. That, of course is assuming either of them has the capacity to think or a conscience to satisfy.

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Between the Shiite & Where the Sunni Don't Shine

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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 JuanCole.com. 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!

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

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WarMeme
"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.

stfu-wheel-of-fortune-wall

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.

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President Obama to speak on Iraq at 12:30 EDT

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President Obama

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

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