Saturday, June 23, 2007

Kansas City Shuffle

Something has always struck me about "the surge". It's so up front, so brazen, so blatant. Quite simply, any time the Bush administration wants us to be watching something, I immediately question what it is that we're not supposed to be watching. Their forte is the Kansas City Shuffle. While everybody looks left, they move right. Sure enough....

Karzai Decries Civilian Death Toll

The Afghan president has condemned civilian casualties caused by "indiscriminate and unprecise" Nato and US-led operations, which also have resulted in dozens of Taliban deaths in the last 24 hours.

Hamid Karzai said on Saturday that at least 90 civilians had been killed in just over a week, including 52 people in the southern Uruzgan province.

"Attacks causing civilian casualties, as I have said before, is not acceptable for us. It is no longer tolerated," he said in Kabul.

Then there's the Iraq Oil Law pressing ahead that I've only read about on Al Jazeera. Nobody in the west wants us to read about that.

Lesson the first in dealing with international affairs: don't rely on the American press. They're usually the first to fall for the Kansas City Shuffle.

Case in point:

Searchers scour fields, woods, for missing woman

UNIONTOWN, Ohio (AP) -- About 1,000 volunteers turned out to search for a pregnant mother Saturday, the third straight day searchers picked through rural areas of eastern Ohio.

Ned Davis, the father of 26-year-old Jessie Davis, begged volunteers to continue their efforts.

"Please help," he said Saturday in an interview with MSNBC. "Please don't quit. Please don't quit until we find Jessie."

Searching on Thursday and Friday of an area near Davis' home yielded nothing more than a marijuana patch.

My heart goes out to the family of the missing woman, but... honestly. This is local news, not national news. And certainly not the headline story on CNN's main website.

What about FOX News, you say? Glad you asked:

Illegal immigrants are being given Red Bull energy drinks and ephedrine to give them a boost as they scurry across the U.S. border, according to a radio report.

Smugglers are reportedly giving immigrants what is known as a “triple stacker” — an ephedrine pill and aspirin, with a can of Red Bull to wash it all down, U.S. Border Patrol agents told WOAI news radio station in Texas.,2933,286392,00.html

Honestly, I wish I was making this up. But here's the Kansas City Shuffle, right before your eyes.

Look! Over there! It's Paris Hilton!

Paying Paris

We all want to know about the hotel heiress’s time in jail. The question is whether news organizations should give her money to tell us. A media-ethics expert weighs in.

Actually, we don't all want to know. Those of us who are out here in Iraq are all sickened by the obsessive press coverage she and other celebrity-types have received lately. The American press is a joke.

But to the topic at hand: what is Bush concealing from us now? The Iraq Oil Law seems like the most obvious one, given the dearth of coverage in the American press, but that can't be all. I honestly don't think most Americans would think twice about the law. Besides, it's 33 pages long and full of legalese that I haven't even sorted all the way through. No, there has to be something else. Could it be the vote caging issue that Greg Palast has been covering and Rep. Conyers has been inquiring about? Possibly. Could it be upcoming plans to attack Iran, as Sy Hersh has alleged? It almost seems too obvious, too right in front of our faces. But that's how a Kansas City Shuffle works; the answer is right in front of you -- you're just looking the wrong way.

Gen. (ret) Wesley Clark is working to prevent a war with Iran, which I fear may be our next step on Bush's Excellent Adventure. Obviously, I've no desire to see a further loss of life, so avoiding needless war should be a top priority. Wesley Clark's organization is Pay them a visit to learn a bit about the background behind the push to war with Iran, as well as the push back to avoid it.

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