Get Ready For Another F.U.

by matttbastard

Last week it was revealed that the much-ballyhooed Petraeus Report on the ‘surge’ in Iraq was actually going to be written by White House officials (with ‘input’ from Gen. Petraeus). ThinkProgress points out that “Petraeus is mandated by Congress to testify about the Iraq status report before the document is delivered on September 15.” On Thursday the Washington Post reported that the White House was considering limiting the good General’s requisite appearance on Capitol Hill to a private congressional briefing, with the actual report to be delivered by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert “Iran Contra” Gates.

However, the National Review’s Campaign Spot blog reports that John McCain let it slip during a conference call with reporters today that Petraeus will be kicking off the Latest Friedman Dog and Pony Tour by testifying before the US Senate in open hearings…possibly on September 11th.

At a press briefing earlier today White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe confirmed that Petraeus (and Iraq Ambassador Ryan Crocker) would be openly testifying, along with the potential date(s) this could occur:

Q And the second one is, there’s been some confusion about the whens, hows, wherefores of the Crocker-Petraeus testimony to Congress. Can you say when they’re going to testify before Congress and under what conditions?

MR. JOHNDROE: Yes. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will testify in open hearings on the Hill. Administration officials are reaching out to Hill leadership today to discuss with them the potential dates for that testimony. Given the tight schedule leading up to September 15th and the congressional recess with Rosh Hashanah coming up, the likely dates for testimony are September 11th and 12th.

Q That’s really just because of the tight schedule and not because it’s September 11th?

MR. JOHNDROE: That’s right. Congress is not — as of right now, based on the last we checked, Congress is not in session because of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, very much the week leading up to that Saturday, September 15th.

To be fair, as David Weigel points out, it’s unclear whether the executive branch or Congressional Democrats will be ultimately deciding the date of Petraeus’ testimony. Regardless, one can’t help but be suspicious (and cringe) at the very convenient timing. Carolyn O’Hara of FP Passport puts it bluntly: “Nothing says “we need to continue the surge” like reminding Americans that Saddam planned 9/11. Somewhere, Karl Rove must be laughing.”

Yeah, laughing till it fucking hurts. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: September (11th?) is going to be ‘Powell goes to the UN’ all over again. Words fail.

Update: Kyle also thinks the timing is too opportune to be mere coincidence, and ponders something I’ve also been pondering as of late:

I could be wrong, I kinda hope I am, but right now my conflation senses are tingling, and I have a more than strong feeling that this “report” if that’s what you choose to call it will be heavily tied in with 9-11 sentiments and the like. Not like we haven’t seen that before.

At this point the true question is, are we over it yet? Has this kind of political tactic finally jumped the shark? Not honest remembrance of 9-11, but the completely cynical and disrespectful political manipulation thereof?

If we aren’t, if it hasn’t, we need to find a way to make it so.

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Defensive Posturing

by matttbastard

[update: apparently the corporate wizkids @ Time Warner think ‘Fair Use‘ is an antiquated concept. View Sinbad commentary hereafter a brief message from their fucking sponsor.]

(note: this is my belated contribution to International Blog Against Racism Week)

A good friend of mine recently admitted to harbouring typical white liberal guilt issues with race. S’ok, no biggie, happens to the best (and worst) of us (or them, in this case). But ‘white guilt’ is counterproductive when it comes to recognizing privilege. Makes some of y’all build up racism into this huge ugly boogyman – “racist=badbadsuperbadcrossburningnaziskinheadwhohatesallniggers!!11 What does that say about MEEE?!” Jesus Christ, all white folks enjoy privilege. But that’s not the end of the world, unless used as an excuse to avoid the subject of race and racism.

I cringe at the collective flagellation after a (white) celeb lets his or her privilege show – “oh noes! Michael Richards/Mel Gibson/Don Imus is SO SO SO EVIL! how can people IN THIS DAY AND AGE hold such REPELLENT views?!?!?!?!!” But there’s a big difference between being a (self-identified) racist and harbouring racist views (and no, being an addict is no excuse – drugs and booze aren’t the catalyst, much as some would like to delegate responsibility to substance abuse, alas :P). Racism is something you do, not necessarily a definition of ones entire identity. And by holding it up as this ultimate expression of reprehensibility, people disregard their own issues (racism is someone else’s problem – I has so many black friends! And they LOVE me)

Shit, we (lolz, speaking for all teh bruvas and sistas – don’t worry, I was elected spokesbruva at the last meeting) already KNOW white people are racist.

That post I recently wrote about Kevin Smith and South Park could have included so many more anecdotes about unexamined privilege on the part of those I have or still do interact with. Yet when I call my friends/acquaintances on it, they start denying that their casual remarks are indicative of racism/privilege. Because when I say the ‘r’ word, images of burning crosses dance through their heads.

Frankly, I’m far more concerned with systemic racism than the everyday prejudices we all traffic in. Doesn’t mean I won’t call someone on a comment that I find offensive (nor will I refrain from calling it racist–EEK!), but just because I’m offended doesn’t mean I think they’re Hitler reincarnated. So relax – you aren’t the white-sheeted personification of post-civil rights evil.

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Amnesty International: Now 50% More Pro-Choice!

by Isabel LaCoeur

Yes, it’s true!

Amnesty International has confirmed its controversial decision to back abortion in some circumstances, replacing its previous policy of neutrality.

The human rights group will campaign for woman to have access to abortion in cases including rape and incest.

They are also advocating that women who suffer complications after an abortion should be guaranteed access to medical care.

This is great news. Of course, various Christian organizations are threatening to withdraw their support, but Amnesty International doesn’t seem to be backing down. I’d like to see them back abortions in all circumstances, rather than just rape, medical complications and incest, but it is a good first step.

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