Archive for the ‘The View’ Category

…Elisabeth Hasselbeck introducing the Governor at her rallies this weekend. We’re sorry to inform our readers in Florida – we will not be anywhere NEAR all y’all Saturday or Sunday. We’re not interested in a “Survivor” cast-off holding forth with a candidate who has no relationship with the Constitution of the United States.

That’s just too much smirking and winking and condescension than we can take at one time.

(CNN) – Elizabeth Hasselbeck, the lone conservative on the daytime talk-show “The View,” is set to campaign with Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin this weekend.

Hasselbeck, who often clashes with her co-hosts over the presidential election, said Thursday the Alaska governor had asked her to participate in a weekend rally in Florida.

“Governor Palin asked me to be with her this Sunday to introduce her at the rallies in Florida and I am more than honored to be there,” Hasselbeck said. “So I will be flying there to travel with her and meet some pretty interesting people, I have a feeling. So that’s an honor, I am excited to do it, and I’ll have some stories on Monday.”

Palin is set to campaign in Iowa, Indiana, and Florida this weekend.

Hasselbeck has engaged in repeated arguments with co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and Sherri Shepherd on-air over the presidential candidates, especially after the show’s unexpectedly hard-hitting interview with John McCain last month

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This makes us unbearably sad:

Two U.S. soldiers whose signatures appeared on an op-ed piece in The New York Times critical of the war in Iraq were among seven Americans killed in a truck accident outside of Baghdad, family members said Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Yance Gray and Sgt. Omar Mora were members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Gray, Mora and five other soldiers died Monday when their truck overturned near the Iraqi capital, U.S. officials said.

Gray and Mora were among seven soldiers, mostly sergeants, who wrote the op-ed piece that appeared in the Times on August 19. It called the prospects of U.S. success “far-fetched” and said the progress being reported was being “offset by failures elsewhere.”

“Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence,” they wrote. “When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages.”

Gray, 26, joined the Army out of high school in Ismay, Montana, in 2000, said his father, Richard Gray. Tance Gray is survived by a wife and daughter.

A relative at Mora’s family home in Texas City, Texas, confirmed his death but had no other comment.

In their article, Mora, Gray and their comrades wrote that American troops in Iraq are operating “in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear.”

However, they concluded, “As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.”

Another of the signers of the Times article, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Murphy, was shot in the head a week before the article appeared but survived.

We posted the article from the New York Times here or re-read it below:

The War As We Saw It 

By BUDDHIKA JAYAMAHA, WESLEY D. SMITH, JEREMY ROEBUCK, OMAR MORA, EDWARD SANDMEIER, YANCE T. GRAY and JEREMY A. MURPHY

Baghdad

VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in the new Iraqi armed forces, now find themselves forming militias, sometimes with our tacit support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against Al Qaeda.

However, while creating proxies is essential in winning a counterinsurgency, it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center that we claim to support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become effective surrogates, but the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence. The Iraqi government finds itself working at cross purposes with us on this issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni militias will turn on it should the Americans leave.

In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.

The Iraqi government is run by the main coalition partners of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, with Kurds as minority members. The Shiite clerical establishment formed the alliance to make sure its people did not succumb to the same mistake as in 1920: rebelling against the occupying Western force (then the British) and losing what they believed was their inherent right to rule Iraq as the majority. The qualified and reluctant welcome we received from the Shiites since the invasion has to be seen in that historical context. They saw in us something useful for the moment.

Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made — de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government — places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.

Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict — as we do now — will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.

At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.

In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.

Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.

(In case there is any doubt – really? – this is sarcasm and a shot at “The Boys!”)

 

I was shaking, sad and crying.
I didn’t know what to do.
Rosie O’Donnell was off TV.
She’d gone and left The View.

I started watching Billy O.
‘Twas an easy one to choose.
He’d rant and shout and tell me all
The things that made the News.

I knew that he was telling me
The Truth, now don’t you know.
And I believed his every word
Because he told me so.

His set is patriotic,
All red and white and blue.
Now that’s the mark of Honesty!
And CRAP that’s been cut through.

He told me not to worry much
That kids were sent to war
Because there was a reason –
To keep “them” from my door.

I watched one day when Rosie said
Iraqis were moms, too.
But then I switched back to Fox News –
Now I know that it’s untrue.

See, only people in the world
Who look and think like me
Are worth my time and thoughtfulness –
And Billy quite agrees.

As long as I can hate them –
No face or name or story –
I can sit in my own living room
And bask in our great glory.

I don’t have to worry about the things
That Rosie pointed out.
Just watch “Survivor” and “The Bachelor.”
Why does she have to shout?!

Thank goodness for the men I watch
Who tell me what to think.
‘Cause if I took the time to read
I’d prob’ly raise a stink.

The list that Rosie said to check
Included Halliburton,
The melting point of steel and….
Of the rest I can’t be certain.

I think there’s something about e-mails
And fired US attorneys,
WMD’s and lying under oath,
And lawyers shot, on gurneys.

What I hate about this Rosie mess
Is that I have to look
At what Billy O is telling me
And if G. Dub’s a crook.

I don’t want to think about the lies
Or that my government’s corrupt.
But each day more kids are dying –
And the ante’s just been upped.

It all just makes my head hurt
To think about this stuff.
I’d turn the channel but I’d miss
Mrs. Hasselbeck get rough.

But Rosie left The View last week.
Now life can settle down.
I’ve switched to Martha and Montel –
I just LOVE that Sylvia Browne!

Lindsay’s in rehab again
And Paris is in jail.
I want my shows to be carefree –
Like when Oprah chats with Gayle!

Enough of watching politics.
And what’s up with those debates?!
I’d rather shout at my TV
And diss on Rosie’s weight!

Now that she’s gone I can relax
And live my life with ease.
I don’t have to pay attention to
Global Warming or dead bees.

I’d like to carry on my life
Without much care or worry.
I’m sure this all will just work out –
I feel no need to hurry.

‘Cause what I’ve learned in all of this
Is that I’ve come to trust
That Billy O and Donald T
Are kind. And fair. And just.

I’m taken care of, day and night,
By men more bright than I.
They wouldn’t do those awful things
That made Rosie almost cry.

Bill and Joe and Sean and Don
Forced Rosie off, they said.
They managed to “disgrace” Ms. O
And fill others who ask with dread.

So years from now, when all has changed,
We’ll have “journalists” to thank
For keeping us from people who
Won’t let their minds be blank.

We’re tired of their tirades!
We want to stay asleep!
We’d rather hang out with the crowd –
We’re comfy being sheep!

You’ve shown us it is safer
To keep our big mouths shut.
Or we can plan to live our lives
With more than a pay cut!

But what if Rosie and her kind
Are right………………………………..

 

Say “When.”

 

 

 

Well – you can finally rest easy! Rosie O’Donnell is off The View. Is it just me, or do I hear a refrain of “Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead” each time a pseudo-news show comes on?

I imagine that the likes of:

Bill O’Reilly – more affectionately known lately as BO – current Fox News commentator, former anchor of the tabloid/gossip television program “Inside Edition”, and darling of the likes of Al Franken, Michael Savage, George Clooney, Jon Stewart, Media Matters for America, David Letterman, Michael Kinsley, and especially Keith Olbermann;

Donald Trump – American business executive, former Reality TV star, arbiter of wholesome American values and the namesake of no less than 13 branded products;

Joe Scarborough – TV personality, a former US Congressman from Florida; and a 4-year member of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight;

Danny Bonaduce – former child star of The Partridge Family, on-air radio personality, celebrity boxer – both in the ring and out – commentator on other people’s behavior and lack of “manners”, and all-around up-standing citizen;

Sean Hannity – high school graduate, radio and television commentator, and creator of “Hannidate” – a free dating service matching “people of like conservative minds” ;

and various and sundry others who had their day in the sun by bashing Rosie and erecting (good word) petition sites to have her thrown off the air, are finally happy and resting comfortably. Sanity has been restored to the land and all is well.

All, that is, except that we still have the same questions we had when Rosie started to talk. Our problem now? NO ONE is asking them.

I honestly don’t care whether Bill, Donald, Joe, Danny, Sean, the folks at E!, ET, TMZ.com, Access Hollywood, eXtra, The Today Show, Good Morning America, whatever is on CBS in the morning, Chris Matthews, or any of the pundits and people searching for their 15 minutes of fame who will go on any show to pose as an expert on anything from The Secret to WMD’s likes Rosie or not. She’s a big girl who can take care of herself. (And don’t get me started about the conversation that somehow equates her weight with her intelligence! A word of advice – each and every time you use a woman’s weight in a conversation, you’re on a slippery slide to pissing off a lot of women – women who buy the products you’ve suggested we boycott because of Rosie. NONE of you are what most people would have fantasies about, so just shut up while you still can!) You all have been very vocal about Rosie’s asking tough questions. My question to you is:

“WHY AREN’T YOU ASKING THEM?!”

The answer, frankly, disturbs me. It seems to me there are four possibilities, not one of which appeals to me:

1. You really, honestly can’t see what’s going on;

2. The things you see don’t bother you;

3. You’ve sold your soul and are actually paid to ridicule anyone who dares to speak outside the party line;

or

4. You are afraid you’ll suffer the same fate as Rosie and others you’ve tried to humiliate and marginalize.

Take possibility number 1:

You are an idiot! It was difficult to watch Elizabeth Hasselbeck try to hold up her defense of the policies of the US government to Rory Kennedy after supposedly watching “The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” more than once. She’s a 30-year old idealist who still hasn’t come down from the high of her visit to the White House for a State Dinner – what’s your excuse?!

Do you even know the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq just since “Mission Accomplished” was declared? What’s going on in Louisiana? Remember the debacle that was Hurricane Katrina Relief? Have you read about Scooter Libby taking the fall in the Plame case? Alberto Gonzales and the 5 million missing e-mails? Paul Wolfowitz giving a sweet job and a great paycheck to his mistress (that’s what they call a “girlfriend” when you’re still married, right?)? Vice President Cheney’s ties to Halliburton? The “professional military” company known as Blackwater? What about the executive order signed on May 9 that gives George W. Bush total power over all branches of government in the event of a loosely defined “catastrophic event?”

Possibility number 2:

That’s psychotic! Do you honestly believe that people other than Americans can be lumped into a category that makes them less than human?! That the mothers and fathers of dead Iraqi soldiers don’t mourn them as much as the mothers and fathers here mourn the children they will never see again? That the families of dead Iraqi civilians – whether it’s 655,000 or 1 – are scarred any less by the loss of their loved ones than the families of those killed in the towers on 9/11 or the families of the first responders who are dying because the government of the wealthiest nation in the world can’t seem to get off its ass and get them help?! We’re all people, for f*ck-sake – why can’t you see that and muster up compassion for everyone involved?

You rant and rave about “patriotism” – and you could give a sh*t about what’s going on here?!

Possibility number 3:

“Integrity” apparently is not part of your vocabulary. All I can say is “I hope it’s worth it.”

Possibility number 4:

You are a coward.

I remember one of the main points my 12th Grade Civics teacher tried to get through our thick heads way back then – “You are not a participating citizen if you simply act like a sheep and follow along. It’s your right and your duty to ask questions – and if the people you elect to represent you don’t answer those questions to your satisfaction, it’s your job to remove them from their positions of ‘leadership.’”

Folks, we have no leadership – we have people who are in office but unwilling to stand up for those who put them there. An election was held months ago – and we supposedly spoke loudly and clearly. What has happened? NOTHING!

The people who made flowery speeches and told you what you wanted to hear – what they knew they needed to say to be elected – have done none of the things you hired them to do! Is that how you handle other people who work for you? You hire them to do a job, they don’t, and you pay them anyway – claiming there is nothing you can do?

Where is your outrage? Where is the outrage of the “experts” who have no problem telling you how to think? Start asking questions – and if you don’t understand something, look it up.

Start with looking up the definition of “terrorist.” That word was at the base of the initial argument on The View – the word that raised the loudest and vilest rhetoric from the people mentioned at the top of this post. According to “terrorism expert” Walter Laqueur, there are over 100 definitions and the “only general characteristic generally agreed upon is that terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence.” Watch the news. Read the ticker that goes below the talking heads on the screen. Count how many times in a day you are fed “the threat of violence.” Since we’re talking about Rosie, re-watch any of the YouTube segments of The View where Elizabeth becomes wild-eyed in her fear as she looks out at the audience and repeats “there are terrorists…there are terrorists…there ARE terrorists!” and ask yourself “Who put that fear into her and others like her?” And be honest – more brutally honest than you ever have been before and see what your answer is.

Yeah – Rosie’s loud. And each and every one of the people who belittled her was louder.

Rosie’s loud because she realized months ago that she’d been conned – and she didn’t like it one bit. But I’ll let you in on something – she’s no louder than the grandmother who “has seen the light” because her kids and grandkids constantly showed her the facts. She’s no louder than the guy who defended Bush to his buddies at work – and then heard Dr. Steven Jones of BYU speak. She’s no louder than any of the people who have begun thinking for themselves and found out they’ve been played for fools all these years.

You think Rosie’s too loud? Then you haven’t heard me.

 

Say “When.”

 

Dear Elizabeth –

First of all, I am not entertaining the idea that you are, or will be, reading this letter in actuality. The writing of it is more for myself, I think – though the feelings are heartfelt and I would love it if you could hear what I have to say to you.

I’m sure over the past week you’ve gotten your share of mail about your latest “interaction” with Rosie – some in support and some, no doubt, not. This letter falls into neither category but I’d like to think it has a unique quality that will touch you on some level.

You and I have some things in common – but politics isn’t one of them. I don’t imagine that you and I will be seeing things from the same perspective any time soon – at least I sincerely hope not. Because you see, Elizabeth, in order for you to even begin to agree with my opinion of this administration, something terrible will have to happen – something even more heinous and obvious than the things that have already happened. I shudder to think what that may be – because so many atrocities so far have failed to make an impression.

But I’m afraid there will be something; some indisputable, gigantic thing; a thing that you can’t ignore in spite of the spin put on it by the Bill O’Reilly’s of the world; a thing that takes away a freedom that you hold dear and aren’t willing to lose to the nebulous world of yellow, orange, and red alerts; a thing that will impact your children’s lives more than even your own. My hope for you is that whatever it is, it will come while there is still room to make a difference. My hope for you – and all of us – is that it doesn’t come with the awareness that it’s too late and you’ve missed it all along.

I also want to caution you – everyone likes to be the “golden girl”; to be flattered and tended to; to be invited to the ball and made to feel like a princess. But when that adoration appears from out of nowhere and comes at the cost of another’s well-being, it most likely is not harmless and benign. It is usually a piece of a contrived and manipulated puzzle – and the one who will fall the hardest is the innocent who bought the “p.r.” Please be aware that the people who clambered to trash Rosie and make you the hero can just as quickly, easily, and without conscience, turn on you.

It appears to those of us outside the situation that you chose politics and career over friendship. As the spotlight moves away and you become “the young blonde one on The View” again, I think you will find you have lost something valuable – someone who is willing to be honest and forthright and true to herself, regardless of the hit she takes.

So, Elizabeth, I wish you well in the world of dog weddings, e-mail etiquette, and women’s sexuality. Take good care of yourself – and maybe we’ll talk for real some day.

 

Say “When.”