Friday, October 14, 2005

Operation Happy Talk is greeted with boos and hisses

Good evening. I'm putting up another cartoon by Isaiah. This "The World Today Just Nuts" focuses on Senator Bill Frist who was a lonely wall flower when Isaiah drew this and he is one now due to his stock sales. Rebecca wrote about Senator Meow Meow yesterday. She calls him Meow Meow cause he used to experiment on cats in med school. He'd apparently go to animanl pounds and take out some cats, but not to give them a home, just to use them for expeirements. We'll start off with Democracy Now!

Bush Videoconference With Troops Staged
It has emerged that President Bush's nationally televised videoconference with US troops in Tikrit, Iraq on Thursday was scripted beforehand. The White House had painted the event as an impromptu conversation with the troops, but video from the satellite feed before the event gave lie to those claims. The ten US soldiers and one Iraqi were coached in their answers before the event by Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Allison Barber. She stood at the White House podium where Bush would later stand, she read part of his opening remarks and then proceeded to outline the questions Bush would ask. At times, she suggested phrasing for the soldiers' responses. With the referendum on Iraq's constitution just days away and President Bush's popularity plummeting, the White House clearly wanted this event to give the impression that the US plan in Iraq was moving forward.
President Bush, "You defeat a backwards dark philosophy with one that is hopeful. And that hopeful philosophy is one that is based on universal freedom. I'm very impressed at the Iraqi government to have a constitution that attracts Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. They worked hard to get a constitution and now the people of Iraq are going to get to vote again, on a constitution."
During the brief videoconference, the handpicked soldiers appeared to fawn over the president. At one point, one told him,"We began our fight against terrorism in the wake of 9/11, and we're proud to continue it here." But a telling moment came when Bush asked the soldiers to comment about their interactions with Iraqi civilians and Captain David Williams could only cite a second hand account:
Capt. David Williams, "Sir, I was with my Iraqi counterpart in the city of Tikrit last week, and he was going around talking to the locals. And from what he told me that the locals told him, the Iraqi people are ready and eager to vote in this referendum."
The videoconference was set in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, which Bush lightly acknowledged he could not safely visit. Interestingly, Tikrit was the backdrop for many of Saddam Hussein's propaganda videos. There was one Iraqi present for the videoconference, Sergeant major Akeel, whose only role was to tell President Bush "I like you."
When it emerged that the event was staged, reporters grilled White House spokesperson Scott McClellan, asking him directly about the coaching:
MR. MCCLELLAN: I'm sorry, are you suggesting that what our troops were saying was not sincere, or what they said was not their own thoughts?
Q: Nothing at all. I'm just asking why it was necessary to coach them.
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, in terms of the event earlier today, the event was set up to highlight an important milestone in Iraq's history, and to give the President an opportunity to, once again, express our appreciation for all that our troops are doing when it comes to defending freedom, and their courage and their sacrifice.

That's a long one, I know. But it's important.

I heard about this all day. People were making fun of Bully Boy and it's like even this planned Operation Happy Talk is something Bully Boy can't pull off these days. You know he was all like, "Karl, it's your ass for this!" Karl's all, "I can't keep going in front of the grand jury!" And Bully Boy's all into treating his buddy like the hired help. Probably snappy at Karl over his weight because Bully Boy hates fat people. He works hard to keep his girlish figure and then Karl walks in looking like the Fat Man from Jake & The Fat Man. Now that Karl's best laid plans are going up in smoke, you know Bully Boy is pissed and thinking Karl's lost it.

At work people were talking about how Bully Boy can't talk and looks like an idiot even when he's fed the questions ahead of time. They were going on about how embarrassing he is for the country and how we're a laughing stock every time he opens his mouth.

So even preplanning everything, Operation Happy Talk still peters out.

McClellan Says Helen Thomas Against War on Terror
Meanwhile, during the same White House press briefing, McClellan declared that veteran correspondent Helen Thomas opposes what he called the broader war on terrorism. His comment came in response to her critical questioning of Bush's Iraq policy. Eventually ABC's Terry Moran jumped in defending Thomas. Here is some of the exchange:
McCLELLAN: Well, you have a very different view of the war on terrorism, and I'm sure you're opposed to the broader war on terrorism. The President recognizes this requires a comprehensive strategy, and that this is a broad war, that it is not a law enforcement matter. Terry.
TERRY MORAN: On what basis do you say Helen is opposed to the broader war on terrorism?
McCLELLAN: Well, she certainly expressed her concerns about Afghanistan and Iraq and going into those two countries. I think I can go back and pull up her comments over the course of the past couple of years.
MORAN: And speak for her, which is odd.
McCLELLAN: No, I said she may be, because certainly if you look at her comments over the course of the past couple of years, she's expressed her concerns --
THOMAS: I'm opposed to preemptive war, unprovoked preemptive war.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- she's expressed her concerns.

So they're beating up on Helen Thomas now? What's next, throwing her in Guantanamo Bay?
Apparently she's not "with us" so she must be "against us" which must mean we should lock her up. Little Scotty sure was sure of himself, wasn't he? Like he's got a file on her he's reviewing. "I can pull up those remarks." Little Scotty's probably just having his tantrum cause his buddy Jeff Gannon Guckert isn't around. Good times. He and Jeff had good times. Jeff would pitch a soft ball question and Scotty would catch it. They were close. Now Scotty has to face real reporters and he misses his relief pitcher.

Remember that Elaine will be commeting on the same two items at her site Like Maria Said Paz.

I hope everyone's seen Dave Zirin's "A Tribute to August Wilson" over at CounterPunch but if you haven't, here is a slice:

Sometimes an artist dies who has burrowed so deeply into our consciousness, we feel more than a tangible sense of loss; we feel pain. I felt this way when Miles Davis died. I felt this way when Sarah Vaughn died. I felt this way when comedian Bill Hicks died. And I feel this way right now, thinking about the death of playwright August Wilson at the all too young age of 60. Please read elsewhere for a full accounting of Wilson,s artistic canon and contributions. My knowledge of the dramatic arts would fit comfortably on an index card. I suppose I know Wilson won every award from the Tony to the Pulitzer. I know Wilson wrote each of his plays to represent a decade of the 20th century Black experience in the United States. I know all of this now.
But in 1988 when I saw Fences on Broadway, all I knew was that I was 14 years old and thought going to a play would be as much fun as a shot glass of morphine. At the time, I was far more interested in [NY Mets Centerfielder] Mookie Wilson than August Wilson. I settled into my seat and assumed what anthropologists call "the slouch of the sulking brat, I had no idea that my every conception of theater, sports, and racism was about to be turned on its head.
Fences takes place in the 1950s and revolves around the larger than life personality of Troy Maxson. Troy is a 53 year old garbage collector in Pittsburgh, fiercely proud of his ability to put food on his family,s table and a humble roof over their head. He is also someone whose life has been deeply scarred by the world of professional sports. Troy was a great Negro League baseball star who looks back on his experience with pride but also with a pulsing, breathing, resentment that he was locked out of Major League Baseball,s money and fame

I've got stuff to do but I will post the thing from The Common Ills tomorrow (the Democracy Now! Headlines for the week, a selection, in Spanish and in Englihs).