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Fucking American Media

Seriously, just when you thought it couldn’t become a bigger joke, they surprise you by showing disdain for actual reporting.

For some inexplicable reason, I always assumed that “journalists” in our media knew that they were ineffective hacks, but felt that they couldn’t do anything about it because they’re being muzzled by the corporate interests that pay them. I guess it was naiveté, or maybe my pesky sunny optimism rearing it’s ugly head again. But in watching the reaction by the media to Michael Hastings and his article in Rolling Stone about (former) General McChrystal, I realized that American journalists are actually proud of the drivel they create.

Fox news dismissed the article because Rolling Stone isn’t  journalism. HELLO, irony! Geraldo Rivera compared Hastings to Al Qaeda. Ummm, weren’t you kicked out of Iraq for disclosing troop movements, Geraldo? Newsweek’s Andrew Bast asked Hastings two very telling questions; “the entire article was thoroughly fact-checked, yes?” and, “Do you think your access will be cut in the future?”. The list of journalists that expressed “concern” that Hasting’s unprofessionalism will cost him future access is as endless as it is depressing. Lara Logan, who I used to very much respect, went off on a tirade. She expressed doubt that Hastings is telling the truth about ground rules that were (n’t) laid out by McChrystal and his team, slams Hastings for being “fake” with his sources in order to gain their trust, implies that Hastings is a “newbie” in the middle east, and attacks him for “not serving his country the way McChrystal has”. Because she apparently didn’t sound retarded enough with those comments, she agreed when Howard Kurtz asked her is there was an unspoken agreement that reporters wouldn’t embarrass the troops by reporting on insults and banter.

Are you fucking kidding me? You know what’s embarrassing to the troops? When they act like embarrassments! You want to know what else is embarrassing to the troops? When they’re too stupid or too arrogant to know that they should self censor their remarks in the presence of a reporter.

Let me, a blogger, deliver a newsflash to our “reporters” – your job is to report the news. Your job is not to edit or censor the news. And the only point of any access you may have, is to be able to report fucking news! If you don’t do that, then any access you may have is pointless.

When Hastings was asked if he was worried that he would lose access, he replied, “I went into journalism to do journalism, not advertising…. I’m not just a stenographer There is a body of work that shows how I view these issues but that was hard-earned through experience, not something I learned going to a cocktail party on fucking K Street. That’s what reporters are supposed to do, report the story.

I say AMEN, Michael Hastings. You’re absolutely correct. And the rest of the media should be ashamed of what they do, and even more mortified in the pride they take for doing.

You’re all an embarrassment to your profession. And I’m alarmed by the fact that you’re all too stupid or too self-interested to know that you’re an embarrassment.

If you’re interested in an artful takedown of Lara Logan for her dumbass remarks, and you don’t mind getting your news from a noncredible source like Rolling Stone, I highly recommend reading Matt Taibbi’s latest blog.


A Rising Star In The GOP?

I’m referring to the emergence of the latest self entitled, petulant, underhanded and  egomaniacal, fucking child. I’m speaking, of course, about Stanley McChrystal.

Mark my words, he’s going to be yet another example of how America has embraced the concept of failing upwards, more than he already has. I say more than he already has because he should have been finished years ago. His active participation in the Pat Tillman cover up should have, at the very least, prevented McChrystal from rising any further in his career. If that didn’t do it, the prisoner abuse at Camp Nama in Iraq should have done it. But no, neither of those incidents were career killers. McChrystal was inexplicably appointed by Obama to lead the war in Afghanistan.

I was concerned that Obama had chosen a man that was obviously devoid of honor to lead a marching band, let alone a war. So when McChrystal “leaked” his counterinsurgency plan to the press in order to pressure Obama to give him everything he wanted, I wasn’t surprised at all. It was a maneuver that was consistent with his history of underhanded and honorless behavior. This man is the antithesis of the courage and honor we think of when we conjure images of our military . Think about it, if McChrystal had any courage, he would have had faith in his ability to make an effective case to the white house. Since he didn’t have any confidence that he had done that, he had to do something as sleazy as leaking his wish list to the press to increase his chances of getting the resources he was asking for. It was such a slimy move, that I can hardly believe it was made by a four star General.

Obama should have fired him then since the ending to this story should have been clear at that point. But instead of firing him, Obama gave McChrystal every single resource that he wanted to “win” Afghanistan. He got all of the troops and all of the money that he wanted but that wasn’t enough for him. According to the now infamous Rolling Stone piece, McChrystal also wanted Obama to hold his hand and shower him with admiration. He wanted Obama to be more “engaged”. I have a newsflash for McChrystal; Obama inherited more problems than just your war. He inherited literally, a country in ruins. A financial collapse, ten percent of the country unemployed and losing their homes, a failed occupation in Iraq, a thoroughly broken justice department, corruption in every regulatory agency imaginable, and an unprecedented national debt. He doesn’t have time to shower you with attention and praise, you fucking child. Plus, he never claimed to be a military strategist so he did exactly the right thing; he delegated. He deferred to the judgment of people with vast experience in this area. That would be you, McWhiney.

Most military officials would be thrilled with a situation wherein they got everything they asked for without being micromanaged. But not our egomaniacal Stanley McChrystal. I suppose he would have been happier with a no-nothing Rumsfeld barking inane orders based upon unproven and ill conceived theories?

And then there was all the shit he talked about people that disagreed with his admittedly iffy plan. He’s one of those assholes that believes he’s surrounded by idiots, regardless of the qualifications of the people he’s talking shit about. I’m not going to go into every salacious quote since you’ve probably already read the Rolling Stone piece but man, did he come off as a total dick.

I love the part of the article that talks about the fact that McChrystal walks around carrying nunchucks with his name and four stars on them. For most insecure and yet egomaniacal men, driving a hummer seems to do the trick, but our Stanley needs more compensatory symbols than the average asshole to help him get through the day. In the end, he was in over his head, and had to lash out at everyone else because he isn’t capable of self awareness. I think he may need bigger nunchucks.

Stanley McChrystal has managed to live down to every expectation I had of him.

Can you tell that I won’t miss him?

My prediction is that this asshole is going to become the new Sarah Palin for the GOP. They need a more effective “hit man” than she’s proven to be. But don’t worry because like Sarah Barracuda, McChrystal has entirely too many character deficiencies to actually pull off running for high office. No, his future is as a professional mouth piece for the GOP.

I’m going to need to start buying earplugs at Costco! Lord help us all.


The Futile Boycott of BP

It’s true. Boycotting BP may feel good, but it’s pointless.

Recent events have curious. First, this talk of the company going under seems entirely premature to me. BP’s annual profit for 2009 was 12.5 billion. That was down from 25.5 billion in 2008. This is a trillion dollar company. Why would anyone be talking about bankruptcy this early in the game? This is especially perplexing to me when you consider the fact that Exxon ended up paying a total of 4.3 to 7 billion (I’ve seen figures in this range – can’t get an exact number) dollars in cleanup, fines, remediation, compensation, and other fees. How can anyone be talking about bankruptcy when recent precedent suggests that the total cost to BP won’t equal one years’ profit?

Another fact that most people aren’t aware of, is how big of a piece if the British economy BP represents. It’s the third largest British company. BP is such an integral part of the UK’s economy that it is responsible for one out of every seven pounds paid out in retirement funds. I am positive that President Obama has had daily phone calls with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. BP is simply too big to fail for the UK, which is why we’ll never see our president put them in receivership.

I’m not usually a conspiracy theorist, but I smell an acquisition in the air and I think that the white house it brokering a deal to make it happen. Exxon or Conocophillips would be the two companies most likely to acquire BP.

Another curious fact to that end is that President Obama appointed William Reilly to sit on a commission to investigate how this disaster happened. William Reilly currently sits on the board of directors for Conocophillips. Coincidence?

Maybe, but it smells funny when you put the whole picture together.

We know that Obama can’t actively do anything to help precipitate the demise of BP. He would be seriously jeopardizing our relationship with the UK, whose economy is already in a precarious position.

We know that BP can’t possibly be hanging by a financial thread at this stage of the disaster. To date, they’ve spent pennies of their first quarter earnings on this disaster. They have no real reason to believe that they won’t get the same disaster blue light special that Exxon got for the Valdez and yet, the press is inexplicably painting a picture of a financially crippled company. Are they priming the pump in order to sell the public on the idea that there’s a need for an acquisition?

Is it a coincidence that one of Obama’s appointees to investigate the spill sits on the board of one of the two companies that could acquire BP?

Brokering an deal a la the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank Of America would seem to be the most logical move for Obama. It would help to salvage the British economy while limiting the amount of money that the new entity would have to pay out to cover BP’s liability in this catastrophe. This would satiate the public’s thirst for BP’s blood by “putting them out of business”. But don’t worry about the executives at BP. They will all no doubt, receive high paying board positions with their new “owners”.

Am I crazy or does this seem like the only possible end to this horrific tale?


You’ve Already Lost

Meg, Meg, Meg. 81 million dollars out of your own pocket, just so that you can click the “buy now” button on the governorship of California. That’s only the beginning. That 81 million is just what she had to sink into the primary. I’m fairly certain that she’s going to be pulling out her credit card at least 80 million more times before the general election.

Guess what Meg? Even if you pull off buying the governorship, you’ve already lost. You conceded to being an inferior candidate the minute you dipped into your personal fortune to buy the primary. You couldn’t even get your stinking rich robber baron friends from Goldman Sachs to pony up enough cash to make you attractive to California republicans. They apparently don’t feel that you’re a good enough investment. I’m sure they know that you’ll give them a lot of bang, but you simply cost too many bucks. You’re a loser Meg. The really pathetic part of this whole thing is that you were born really fucking rich, which means that you were given every advantage in life. You were a guaranteed winner. And now you’re a loser of monumental proportions. You may well win the governorship of California, but you and I know that you’re a loser and we always will.

Speaking of losers, how bout that Jim DeMint?

Before I get to Mr. DeMint, let me give you a little background on the South Carolina senatorial race. The winner of the democratic primary in that race was a totally unknown man named Alvin Greene. Alvin didn’t campaign at all. He didn’t run a commercial, he didn’t put up a single lawn sign. He’s piss poor and yet, he somehow managed to cough up the $10,440 filing fee to register his candidacy. Alvin was arrested on an obscenity charge back in November. Since he can’t afford an attorney, he filed the necessary paperwork in order to obtain a public defender. And we have some allegations (not yet confirmed) that republican operatives helped Mr. Greene. There are also some allegations of voter tampering, but we don’t yet know if that’s the case or if Mr. Greene simply won because his name was first on the ballot.

The whole situation smells bad. Something fishy is going on here. I’m sure that democratic party in South Carolina will get to the bottom of where the $10,440 came from. I’m fairly certain that the trail will lead back to South Carolina republicans, which brings me back to Jim DeMint.

LOSER. You’re a loser senator DeMint. We don’t know yet if he was involved in this whole Alvin Greene sleaziness or if republicans in South Carolina acted without his knowledge but either way, someone doesn’t think that Jim DeMint can win this election without cheating. That’s pretty pathetic when you consider that incumbent senators have won 78% of their elections since 1914. When add that kind of advantage to the fact that you’re a republican in a state that generally doesn’t vote for democrats, your victory should be a slam dunk.

And yet someone had to create an Alvin Greene situation in order to secure your victory. You’re a loser. And the worst part is that you’re a loser that has no respect for the people you “represent”. Whether the election was tampered with, or an assumption was correctly made that South Carolina voters would ignorantly vote for the first name on the ballot, the contempt for South Carolinians is clear.

These people are fucking losers.  We all know it, and they know it. And yet, we’re going to have to tolerate their insufferable superiority and joy when they “win” their elections.

Americans need to wise up to these losers if for no other reason, than to spare me the indignity of having to witness their smugness. If you’re not going to vote in the best interest of your own community, please vote in your own self interest. Trust me, you don’t want to experience the dizzying heights of bitchiness that I will reach of I have to watch a Whitman or DeMint “victory” speech!


The Little Apologist That Could

I am SO over apologists, I can’t even tell you. Corporate apologists, political apologists, national apologists, I’m fed up with all of them.

People need to understand that apologizing for their “team” necessitates more apologizing. You’re not doing your ideology any favors by making apologies and excuses. You’re just compounding the problem. And you’re insuring a lifetime of apologizing.

People often accuse me of being too hard on Obama. I firmly believe that there’s no such thing as being too hard on something that you support or supported. If supporters don’t speak out against the thing they support when they fuck up, they just guarantee that more fucking up is coming. We should demand more from the people that we support. Why would anyone actively set the bar low?

Our country is in financial ruin. Our middle east policy is an unmitigated disaster. Our money would be virtually worthless if it weren’t for the fact that our financial “big wigs” were greedy enough to ship our fiscal malfeasance all around the world. Our kids are getting dumber and dumber every year, as we drop further down the world rankings for education. Our military is on the brink of collapsing. And it’s all happening because of apologists.

We all watched Bush (2.0) get away with murder for eight long years. That didn’t happen because there wasn’t a strong opposition. It happened because his supporters were willing to go along with every single bit of bullshit he served up to them. He didn’t care about the opposition because they were irrelevant. They were never going to support him. He was going to be just fine as long as he didn’t lose his supporters.

And to make matters worse, liberals and democrats (they’re not the same thing) were so busy hating him that they weren’t paying attention to what democrats in the senate were doing when they finally regained power. Nothing changed in the senate when democrats took over. The house improved nominally, but not nearly the way it should have. The “emergency” supplementals  that were putting our country in financial ruin continued. Troops levels in both the war and the occupation didn’t go down. Deregulation of fucking everything kept humming along. Nothing changed because democrats weren’t paying attention to how Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and about a half dozen other democrats in the senate were helping Bush ruin this country. They were all too busy screaming at Bush.

Supporters need to be more vigilant and critical when it comes to their own side.

We’re seeing this at play with Obama right now with the gulf oil spill. Although the damned thing is still gushing uncontrollably down there, we now know that there are engineers from all around the world working on it. We have engineers from Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Russia working on this finally. Three weeks ago, we seemed to have only BP working on this. We didn’t see much action until the public outrage over Obama’s handling of the situation began. It didn’t look like he was going to spring into action until we made him. Now I don’t know of we’re just getting better communication from the white house or if we’re getting more resources working on the problem. But either way, we’re getting more than we were before the outrage.

Refusing to accept either the half assed communication, or the half assed efforts at fixing the problem got us some results. We need to keep it up. We, the supporters of Obama are ultimately responsible for what we do or don’t get our of him.

This isn’t just relevant to Obama. This is extremely relevant to the situation in Israel at the moment.

People who are apologizing for Israel today will never be done apologizing for Israel. Jewish apologists in particular will find their children and their children’s children apologizing for Israel. The Israeli government is spiraling out of control in much the same way that the German government spiraled out of control under Hitler’s rule. I don’t believe that Hitler apologists from 1925 ever imagined, in their wildest dreams, that their great grand children would be apologizing for what happened there.

Israeli apologists, particularly in the US have the power to stop this before it goes any further. I’ve been reading far more criticism for what Netanyahu is doing in Israeli newspapers than I am in the American press. Haaretz is doing a fairly good job of presenting both sides of the story. There are even a few even handed articles in the op ed section of the Jerusalem Post, which is surprising. But the main stream American press has almost unanimously taken a pro-Israel stance on this issue.

I don’t believe that apologizing for what Israel is doing in Gaza is ultimately good for Israel. And I believe that apologists apologize for Israel at Israel’s peril. You don’t support a people by allowing them to do anything they want, regardless of international law or sentiment. You support them by forcing them to correct course when they’re driving off a cliff. Aiding and abetting criminal action is not love, it’s enabling.

I criticize because I love.

We need to stop this epidemic of apology.


One Iranian Jew’s Perspective On Israel

I don’t get into Israeli politics very often. Not because I’m uninformed, but because I’m conflicted.

Here’s a little background on me. I’m an Iranian Jew. Don’t be surprised, there are actually many of us. There are no members of my family remaining in Iran, where I was born. I have dozens (possibly hundreds!) of cousins currently in Israel.

My point in sharing this information is that I have a dog in the race. I actually have several dogs in this race. That being said, I wasn’t raised to be conflicted. I grew up watching hundreds of hours of holocaust footage and films. There was never an anti-Israel perspective introduced into my childhood, probably because there isn’t a single branch of my family tree that isn’t 100% Jewish.

I never felt as if Israel was ever anything less than 100% right in anything that they ever did. As an adult, I realize now that there’s no such thing as 100% “right”. Both sides in a conflict are always partially wrong. That “good versus evil” ideology is immature and isn’t rooted at all in reality. It’s always a product of blinding bias. And I have to say that in the case if Israel, it’s the most understandable bias in human history. No people have been persecuted more relentlessly than the Jewish people. So when Israel is wronged, or perceived to have been wronged, it’s extremely personal to most Jews. None of us have to go back more than 3 generations to find personal stories of tragedy and brutality.

Yasser Arafat was the Palestinian leader for all of my formative years. He was, in my estimation, a truly loathsome bastard who was never interested in achieving peace with Israel. I honestly believe that his primary objective in life was to obliterate Israel and turn that land into a Palestinian state. His zealotry didn’t however, preclude him from exploiting his people and squirreling  millions of dollars away in European banks. He was just an all round hateful piece of shit. I always felt that as long as he was in power, Israel was justified in doing whatever it had to do to keep their country because giving an inch to Arafat would mean losing everything.

There have been two times in history that I believe peace was close enough to touch. The first was when Bill Clinton was working to broker a deal between Yitzhak Rabin and Arafat. The offer from Israel was never going to get better than it did under Rabin, and Arafat knew it. He still turned it down and Rabin was rewarded for his efforts by being assassinated by one of his own.

Days before Bill Clinton left office, Arafat called him up to tell him (Clinton) that he was a great man. Clinton responded by saying, “I am not a great man. I am a failure, and you have made me one.” Clinton then went on to let Arafat know that his actions had guaranteed that Ariel Sharon would be elected the next prime minister of Israel.

Israel did elect Ariel Sharon, who was not quite the neocon that Netanyahu (who is currently in power) is, but he was definitely not likely to work for peace. He didn’t. The second near miss for peace came when Arafat came back to Sharon a year after he was elected to accept the terms that Clinton and Rabin had proposed. Sharon declined to accept.

Since Arafat’s death, there has been a dramatic role reversal between Israel and Palestinians. Israel has become the brutal aggressor, while Palestinians seem to have largely taken the approach of peaceful protest. I’m not saying that there aren’t still Palestinian terrorists whose goal it is to ensure that peace never happens. But those factions are not leading the country, and they are a minority.

Israel has become a vicious bully with tunnel vision, going so far as to slap their only ally in the face. A couple of months ago, while our Vice President was visiting Israel, the Israeli interior minister blindsided the world with an announcement that 1,600  new housing developments would be built in East Jerusalem. Israel is so tunnel visioned by their agenda, that they embarrassed the only ally they have in the world.

Between that, the thirty days of bombing the shit out of Lebanon with no regard to the loss of innocent life, and the latest murder of nine innocent people, I remain conflicted on this topic in completely different ways than I was in previous lives. I’m conflicted because I want Israel to exist peacefully. But I cannot blindly support Israel through what it’s become. I am entirely more comfortable with having a brutal enemy than I am with my own kind evolving into something that is morally indefensible.

As an American, I want to protect the interests of my country. I no longer believe that supporting Israel is in our best interest. I understand that we need a strong ally in the middle ease, but I also understand that our alliance with Israel is the primary reason for that need. I strongly believe that Netanyahu’s path is ultimately destructive to Israel, and that if they want to continue down this path, they should do it without the support of the US.

I want Israel to veer off this course of self destruction. I want my family to be able to live happy, peaceful lives. Loving someone means telling them when they’re wrong.

My objectivity leads me to conclude that I really don’t care which brutal government has control of the land currently known as Israel.