Out of this comes the U.S. drone war, now fully directed and justified by the Obama administration. Since 2009, Obama has increased the use of unmanned aerial vehicles – drones – by 8 times more than the Bush administration in Pakistan. Drones are now fully a part of the US war-fighting plan, so much so that theUS Air Force is now training more pilots of un-manned vehicles than of fighter-bomber planes. These pilots are based around the world, and within the US, controlling the surveillance and armed drones at 18” from the action on their screens. Of the two US drone programs, the one run by the CIA is probably the larger – the budget is secret – and employs civilian pilots.
The argument from The Pentagon is that drones can “surgically target” insurgents. You have people in the Obama Justice Department who criticized George Bush for doing what they now defend Obama for doing. In fact, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks US drone strikes in Pakistan, has found that at least 175 children have been killed, and hundreds of people not involved with Al Qaeda or any local insurgent group. In fact, the U.S. military defines people as insurgents merely by the fact that they’ve been killed in a drone strike. Most alarmingly, there are repeated and growing examples of strikes coming in series, killing groups of rescuers and mourners. There is no hiding from the drones; they have sophisticated surveillance technology, including heat sensors that can see through walls. Buildings and bodies are obliterated.
The Drone War. I wonder how people will explain, in ten or twenty years, their failure to call out the Drone War when Barack Obama was overseeing it? I wonder how they'll justify that. He's killed hundreds of people -- including children. There's not justification for it. He's turned the world into a combat battlefield.
At some point, we will probably experience blowback as a result. That is scary. But regardless of blowback or not, what is taking place is supremely wrong and highly unethical. He knows that. He's not an idiot. But he doesn't care.
He is corrupt to the core as are those figure heads who excuse his actions.
There is no defense for someone who orders and oversees the slaughter of innocents. There has never been a historical defense for that. There never will be. There are excuses. There are lies. But there is no valid defense.
"TV: A week of hating women" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
What followed was the most awkward hug in television history. If Phyllis George had had her way May 15, 1985, TV's most awkward hug would have taken place on The CBS Morning News. (That's the broadcast where Gary Dotson faced Cathleen Webb who had falsely accused him of rape resulting in Dotson serving six years in prison. George asked the two to hug at the end of the segment -- a request that was refused.) Instead TV's most awkward huge took place Thursday between Ann and Matt Lauer.
If ratings are down for The Today Show, why would that be Ann Curry's fault?
Matt Lauer is 54 and looks 64. The only reason the non-news personality Lauer worked on the show to begin with was that he was generic eye candy. Women liked seeing him in the morning. They're not so keen on that now that he's gone from balding to just bald.
The now four hour program also had problems in that fourth hour which repeatedly hurt the show by turning it into a point of ridicule -- most recently, Kathie Lee Gifford spoke to Martin Short about his marriage and his wife and apparently had no idea that his wife passed away in 2010. That sort of thing hurts the brand. So does editing a tape in a way that makes someone look racist which is what Today got caught doing this year as well.
Yet when NBC wanted to find someone to blame, it was Ann Curry?
Oh, damn you girl, you went and messed up the world we had
And what I'm trying to say in my own sweet way is I'm mad
The song we've been quoting throughout this piece is Sonny & Cher's "Mama Was A Rock and Roll Singer, Papa Used To Write All Her Songs." When Sonny Bono wrote the song, his future was in doubt. He'd failed as a solo TV star and The Sonny & Cher Show was ending. Music hits only seemed to come when paired with Cher. -- a fact that he seemed to acknowledge in the chorus of the song, "I can only sing in two part harmony." Which is a great deal more self-awareness and honesty than NBC, Rolling Stone and various other outlets served up last week.
I really loved what Ava and C.I. did this week. That was something. I love how they worked the Sonny & Cher song into it and the way the whole thing flowed.
I also love C.I.'s "Lynne Stewart still imprisoned" which she wrote last night when she filled in for me. I had something come up and I really appreciated her filling in period. Last night, she also wrote "The worst Court verdict in modern history?" filling in for Kat. I didn't know that until today. If I'd known she was already filling in for Kat, I wouldn't have asked.
So she wrote three lengthy pieces on Iraq yesterday, one on Lynne Stewart and one on the Supreme Court.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):