Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chris Matthews: Not An Iraq War Critic

While watching Bill Maher last week, I caught a blatant attempt by Chris Matthews to cast himself as a principled opponent of the War. Matthews' anger at Fusion TV's Jorge Ramos is palpable and shocking if you didn't know how mixed up inside Matthews must be in order to depict himself as having opposed the Iraq War.

Perhaps most famously, when Bush claimed “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq, Matthews went into full on fan-boy mode, claiming Americans loved having a President who had “a little swagger”, that regardless of whether he had actually flown, he looked like a fighter pilot, and that women loved him. This sort of cheerleading had a great effect on selling the White House's narrative of a War for Good and a Mission Ordained by God. It kept people in the dark about the horrors of the war and about Iraqi resistance to US forces. The fact that this was all done on the supposedly liberal-leaning MSNBC makes Matthews' misleading warmongering all the more heinous. Matthews gave cover to Bush on his left flank and planted seeds of doubt among moderates and liberals. Matthews' attempt to be “balanced” overlooked the fact that airbrushing over a politician's weak points is like leaving a movie halfway through and claiming that you know what happened.

Throughout Bush's regime Matthews continued to speak warmly of Bush. In 2006, he said that there might not be an alternative to George Bush's warmongering. He In 2005, Matthews praised a speech by Bush, calling it “brilliant” on two occasions and terming critics of the speech “carpers”. Also in 2005 Matthews tried to cow critics of the President by claiming that if elections in Iraq went successfully, Bush deserved a place on Mt. Rushmore. In 2007, he gushed over Bush's foreign policy even while the country continued to turn more against a war that was widely hated by Americans at that time.

Matthews cynical support for the ouster of Phil Donahue comports with the actions of someone who didn't want to seem opposed to the War in Iraq. His actions show him to be an opportunist and someone more concerned with his own job security than in taking a principled stand on the most important US foreign policy issue since Vietnam.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

woman tased after calling for police about prowler

A woman is considering legal action after cops tased her multiple times. The woman, Janice Wells, called police in the western Georgia town of Richland because she thought there was a prowler outside her house. Mrs. Wells had called family friend John Robinson to stay with her until the cops arrived. When policeman Tim Murphy arrived, he spoke to Robinson and found out where he lived, how long he had known Mrs. Wells, and the nature of their relationship. In his incident report, Officer Murphy wrote that he let Mr. Robinson go because it's best to ensure participants in domestic violence remain apart. Mrs. Wells said that there was no domestic violence and had been no indication of any. So when Officer Murphy asked Mrs. Wells Mr. Robinson's name, she wouldn't tell him. This escalated the situation and Mrs. Wells, a 57 year-old-lady, was ultimately tased multiple times by Officer Murphy and an officer who arrived shortly after.

The officers are no longer employed by the police department, but this sort of thing should not be happening. The county sheriff, Larry Jones, suggests that race may be a factor in the case. Mrs. Wells is black and the two arresting officers are white. I would endorse Jones' suggestion. This would not have happened had the lady calling the police been white. Cops using tasers so recklessly only uphold the suspicions of people of color and poor people about the interests of police departments. It would be hard to counteract those arguments, given the horrific nature of videos such as that showing Mrs. Wells being tased.


Bibi Netanyahu, unmasked

Bibi Netanyahu has been caught on tape claiming that the US can easily be manipulated. He says that the US would not hinder the foreign policy goals of a Netanyahu administration. He also says that the Oslo Accords are not a hindrance to Israeli retention of land because the Oslo Accordsallowed Israel to retain land which was defined as military land. In the video, Netanyahu boasts that given that, he argued that large areas of Israel were military zones, allowing Israel to retain control over land which could quite easily be argued is nothing of the sort.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

bees in my bonnet

There are several stories which have been bugging me today but don't really have time to comment more extensively on them so I'll just post the links here so you can read more.

  • There's this story about the degree to which the mainstream media has adopted the US government's framing of what most sensible people call torture. The study covered in the story reveals that waterboarding before 2004 had almost always been called torture but that from 2004 until the present, the newspapers with the widest circulations in the US have largely shrunk from calling it torture and have used many euphemisms.

  • The GOP doesn't care about poor people.

  • John Boehner is an asshole, part 28496.

  • Sharon Angle is also an asshole though not quite of the same vintage as John Boehner. Boehner's assholiness is assholiness at its most accomplished. One can't just get up in the morning one day and decide to be an asshole of the quality of John Boehner. It takes years and years of practice, decades of misrepresenting, and a great deal of projecting in defense of one's shifty political decisions to be such a complete asshole as John Boehner. Still, Angle is certainly well on her way, particularly with the volume of insensitivity she has coughed up in her short time on the national stage. If she keeps up this pace, she will be one of the All-Star Asshole Greats of All Time one day.

  • Naomi Klein points out that while there was vandalism during the G20 summit, the REAL crime scene was within the buildings where the leaders met. While the banks made the financial crisis, the G20 finance ministers, in their wisdom, have vowed to cut public debt by half by 2013. So poor folks, kids, old people, the disabled, will be punished for the drunken binges of bankers.

  • The financial reform bill looks toothless. The consumer protection agency is gutted and there's no regulation of derivatives.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Lakers on the edge

Well, my Lakers lost 2 out of 3 in Beantown. Now they're comin' back to LA and have to win Game 6 to force a Game 7. They are going to have to establish their inside game because right now the Celtics' excellent defensive strategy is to smother The Best Player in the Game and force the other players to beat them. It's worked to a T. Andrew got off early, Fish did also, but Pau only had 12 shots, but Ron only went 2 for 9 and the Lakers never looked able to out-wait and out-strategize the Celts in the second half. They have have to get more touches to their bigs. They need to get it in deep to Pau and Andrew early and allow them to establish their positions down low. If they do that, it will open up shooters and of course those shooters can be cutters also because obv. Pau and 'drew are both very good passers.

Of course Kobe can score, as he did, in an amazing 3rd quarter, but the Celtics are savvy and could care less if Black Mamba goes off. They're giving him the ridiculous shots that Kobe made in that third quarter, but no one else is scoring. No one else had more than 12 points. That is unacceptable. The shots Kobe was making in the third quarter of Game 5 very few others could make. DWade might get in a zone and make a series of shots like that. LeBron might, but even his consistency from that range I doubt. I don't think I've seen Paul Pierce make a series of shots that ridiculous. However, again, that is playing into the Celtics strategy. If Kobe is making spinning 27 footers and off balance 28 footers, well, the Celtics will tip their green felt hats to him and jig off to another championship. I'm not mad at Kobe for taking those shots. He's a competitor. That's what he does.

However, as Laker coach, Phil Jackson has to ensure that Pau and 'drew are established. He has to take his initiative as the coach in order to ensure that the Lakers stick to their offensive sets. When the Lakers get in "Watch Kobe" mode, their energy and focus dips and they can't afford any dips against this disciplined, veteran team. If they do that in Game 6, another banner will be hanging in the hated Gahden very soon. If the Lakers get Pau and Andrew going, it opens up lanes for cutters, it opens up shooters in the corners, and the Lakers can unleash their multi-faceted offensive options on the C's. A low-post focused offense also limits long defensive rebounds to Rondo and Pierce which lead to fast-break hoops which makes the C's almost unbeatable. Kevin Garnett has really stepped up the last couple of games. Paul Pierce was hitting his shots and Ron Ron was strangely ineffectual in Game 5. Rondo is a pest but he is only able to be a pest when the Celtics are breaking.

The Celtics D on Kobe should be a model for any scout or coach prepping to face Black Mamba. Kobe can get his, but deny everyone else. Obviously as a Laker fan, this is not a strategy I endorse, but I respect the hell out of the Celts. Lakers need to get their bigs involved very quickly or we will have to suffer through another grating Green celebration and Black Mamba may just internally combust at a season-end presser.

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Sunday, June 06, 2010

IDF admits doctoring audio of raid

The IDF has admitted doctoring audio of some of the raid on the Mavi Marmara boat. Their duplicity was confirmed when two members of the flotilla who were not on the boat were put there. And Israel expects people to believe that they were simply trying to make audio easier to hear.

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Israel's collapsing case regarding the aid flotilla

So it turns out that 30 shots were found in the nine victims of the Israeli assault on the flotilla trying to deliver goods to Gaza. Israel has claimed that they were acting in self-defense. This is absurd. They attacked a ship that was in international waters. The accounts of folks who were on the boat are coming in and they indicate that the initial violence came from Israel. From multiple accounts it seems that the Israelis timed the assault to coincide with morning prayers and that they first unleashed sound bombs and tear gas. They tried to board the boat from the side and found the humanitarian aid workers not particularly accommodating. That was why they then tried land via helicopter from above.

Another interesting tidbit not reflecting well on Israel is the claim that the footage that has been replaying repeatedly on American TV is pirated. It is allegedly footage confiscated from journalists who were held incommunicado by Israel after being brought to the Israeli port of Ashdod. This is not of such great concern as the blatant disregard for laws and international norms which Israel has flouted via this attack, but it's another instance reflective of the Israeli disregard for any law or norm they don't want to respect.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Israeli commandos kill up to 19 aid workers

Israel has killed as many as 19 humanitarian aid workers attempting to deliver food to Gaza by boat. The flotilla of boats was boarded by Israeli commandos although the reason for the murders of the aid workers is unknown at this point. Some of the members of the group Free Gaza have asserted that the flotilla was attacked in international waters. Israel has claimed that the waters off the Gaza coast are "Israeli territorial waters" but they actually have no legal claim to the Gaza coast, having been in contravention of international law on Israeli/Palestinian borders since 1967.

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