Archive for Syria

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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Vindicated: Tons of banned chemical weapons destroyed. Chickenhawks won't care.

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KidVindicatedw208h271

There's an editorial in today's Los Angeles Times titled, "Destruction of Syrian chemical weapons shows the U.S. may know what it's doing after all." Wait. So President Obama did something-- dun dun dun-n!-- right? Vindicated, at last!

[I]t was a rare bit of good news to hear from the administration on Monday that the United States had "finished neutralizing" hundreds of tons of the most deadly chemical weapons belonging to the regime of President Bashar Assad of Syria. This was a milestone in the diplomatic process that began a year ago this week when the Assad government was accused of using sarin gas to kill more than 1,000 people in a rebel-held suburb near Damascus. [...]

Conservatives assailed the plan as naive and feckless, as a projection of American weakness; Obama's supporters called ita fulfillment of his campaign promise to negotiate with those who were willing to talk in good faith.[...]

[N]egotiation and diplomacy are a better alternative to what would otherwise have been airstrikes followed by likely civilian deaths and a worrisome creep toward war.

"How dare Obama stop and think before he bombs?" Of course, now that the president has succeeded in accomplishing a goal sans war, he had to ruin it all (yes, that was sarcasm) by being all presidential and making a statement about the ghastly beheading of journalist James Foley by those despicable, brutal ISIL animals (sincere apologies to animals) responsible for his execution.

That will mean only one thing: John McCain and his trusty sidekick Li'l Lindsey Graham will appear on every Sunday talk show and be given a platform to call out President Obama's feck and demand that we go to war.

Again. I don't claim to know what the answer is, but our endless wars in the Middle East sure didn't succeed in eradicating terrorism or spreading Exceptional American Democracy across the region. However, BushCo and their pride-and-joy illegal invasion of Iraq did succeed at one thing: Failure. Sending more young Americans into battle is not always the answer, Johnsey (McGraham?).

Here is a partial transcript of the president's remarks via WaPo. Way to rev up the chickenhawks, Pres. O (yes, that was also sarcasm):

Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL....

He was taken hostage nearly two years ago in Syria, and he was courageously reporting at the time on the conflict there. Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocked the conscience of the entire world....

Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declare their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people.

So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. They may claim, out of expediency, that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is, they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior...

The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what's necessary to see that justice is done....

From governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies.

One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.

drum beat smaller

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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.

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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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Bill Kristol Loses His War-Mongering Conservative Mind on Morning Joe

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IraqTicks

Best Tuesday a.m. thing in the world: Bill Kristol and Nick Kristof at the same table with Scarborough shouting about boots on the ground in Iraq, and Richard Engel swooping in live from Baghdad to shut them the eff up.

Again, I know I need a Morning Joe et al Twelve Step program, but you won't believe what that Roundtable of Fools was up to this morning. Bill Kristol denies that there is war fatigue in the country. At a near shout.

It was BushCo meets Joe Schmoe with all sorts of pundits in the mix, and the recently ballsy John Heilemann once again saved their media bacon in terms of asking the hard questions. Like a reporter. Or a journalist. Perhaps a keen blogger. Or even a curious citizen with a conscience.

Bill Kristol loves to be in the spotlight. Today he was needled right into what serves as a full-on Hissy Fit for the uber-manicured urbane face of conservative war-mongering intellect.

And thank dog John Heilemann had to take the wheel. (I think when Joe Schmoe runs for office MSNBC is going to drop the ubiquitous Game Change boys into his Throne.)

Heilemann: "This is American blood you are talking about!!" Enjoy.

How great was that??! Isn't that what you'd say to that idiot Bill Kristol if you had a turn? "If we are going to put American blood on the line, there ought to be support in the country for it ... there is war weariness in this country whether you believe there is or not!" - Mr. Heilemann

Who knew Heilemann had it in him? I didn't see it coming. He's just got to be a progressive at heart, that cat. Or has had to work with that twit RWNJ Halperin far too long.

schmoe

Mika sat meekly and let it swirl. Schmoe, once again, looked bewildered at the actual interviewing taking place around and above him, then told Kristol to bring more spice the next time he swung by in that annoying Southern country lawyer drawl.

Joe's foreign policy is as well thought out as Mittens. A few egoist-filled congressional committees and being skewered Live by Zbig aka Mika's Dad do not a an expert make.

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#Failed Romney Has the Gall to Micro-Criticize PBO and HRC on Meet the 'Press'

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David Gregory's flagrant (and annoying) conservative tendencies aside, Meet the 'Press' still procures the good ancient media 'gets'. Today they brought old Mittens Romney in to share with us just how Iraq and Syria ought to be handled. And Why President Obama has lacked feck. (Why are they so feck-obsessed anyhoo??)

And to get an early Regressive Rag in on Hillary.

Paul Wolfolowitz and David Ignatius were there to fawn vapidly and collude. For an actual conversation about that important topic I'd head over to Fareed Zakaria, his Public Square is more reality based. [Great first block. Link here.]

You will need Dramamine, Zofran or if you are really well-stocked, Xanax for this one. Buckle up.

Mitt Richety-Rich-Rich Romney, whose greatest foreign policy-related success was getting a few international skiers housed adequately and down a few big hills during the Utah Olympics … went off on President Barack Obama's foreign policy like he actually had teeth.

Or an audience.

heymittens

As If we would give that man the time of day on anything global, during his failed presidential candidacy alone, he outed the entire British intelligence agency in the kind of gaffe that W was famed for - even James Bond fans knew better. Jackarse.

Video below. To give you a wee Sunday amuse bouche:

"The United States of America has long had the capacity to shape events, but what you've seen from this administration is repeated underestimation of our adversaries. Whether that's Al Queda, Assad or ISIS itself …" {paraphrasey but I continue to refuse to turn my digital recorder on for Mitt The Twit Romney. Live right above Massachusetts, seen enough of that smug 1% mug}.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

You can retch now. [Apologies.]

Hillary was in Mittens' sights next. Naturally. She is 'clueless', has a poor record as Secretary of State and is going to be unable to gain the White House over the Star Lineup of Conservatives, also too. I'm sure she's crying in her high-end organic granola and Almond Milk this morning over that cur Romney's slurs.

Hillary Clinton's balls are pure titanium compared to whatever equipage that empty suit Romney has tucked behind his Magic Underwear. And she appears to have spare cases of feck. Praise Jeebus. 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

'Cuz we aren't sadists here at the Political Carnival, please accept this vintage Jon Stewart clip of Romney Gaffing Away in the UK as a compensatory 'My Bad'.

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Afternoon-Evening Links

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links Stephen Colbert

Colbert's Brilliant Move To Strike Back At Amazon

Immigrants in Federal Prisons ‘Subjected to Shocking Abuse and Mistreatment’

Vermeer's paintings might be 350 year-old color photographs

The Freezing, Hungry Lives of NHL "Ice Girls"

Islamist Militants Aim to Redraw Map of the Middle East

The O.J. Simpson Saga Began 20 Years Ago Today — Here's Why His Son Should Be A Suspect

John McCain Tweets Congratulations to George W Bush on his 'victory' in Iraq.

Sarah Palin Threatens To Leave The GOP Unless Obama Flies Abandoned Kids to Mexico

Americans Will Tolerate a Variety of In-Laws. One Exception: Atheists.

Free speech or illegal threats? Justices could say

Is Fox News Trying To Kill The Republican Party? Or Is It Just A Happy Accident?

Stephen Colbert on Ted Cruz's citizenship

Tesla Release Electric Car Patents To Public

The Trader Joe's Incident: What Do We Do About Everyday Sexism In Our Lives?

Why Is a Most Prestigious Medical Journal Promoting the Feds' Anti-Marijuana Propaganda Line?

Why you should root for the World Cup protesters

Soccer and Internal Discord, on Display for World to See

Nadezhda Popova, WWII ‘Night Witch,’ Dies at 91

Separatists Down Military Transport Jet, Killing 49 in Eastern Ukraine

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

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don'tMakeMe

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.

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