WE TOLD YOU YEARS AGO THAT FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O WAS A LITTLE BITCH.
TODAY, EVEN CNN IS NOTING THAT REALITY.
Of all recent presidents, Obama has taken humor closer to the hard-to-define threshold of what is appropriate coming from the mouth of a president.
Sure, like his predecessors he usually opens with the regular ribbing of the press and his staff and greases the way for his biting attacks with self-mockery, poking fun, for example, at his penchange for teleprompters or his allergy to D.C. backslapping.
But Obama's jokes can also be daring and cut deep.
YEAH, HE'S A BIT OF A BITCH.
AND, AS THIS JUNE 18, 2008 CAPTURES PROVES, IT WAS ALWAYS THERE ON THE SURFACE FOR ANYONE TO SEE IF THEY WANTED TO.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
"The problem is not that David Petraeus is getting lenient treatment, The problem is that lenient treatment is only available to people in high places."
That's the ACLU's Ben Wizner quoted in Tasnim today on the issue of disgraced David Petraues, once know as General Betrayus. (Wally and Cedric came up with that name for their joint humor posts and then MoveOn later ran with it in a serious manner and shocked and offended many.)
Petraues was once the top US commander in Iraq and later the director of the CIA.
We met Petraeus via non-stop e-mails early on, one missive after another objecting to the portrayl of him here in verbal narrative I'd written or in a comic feature Isaiah had drawn. As whine after whine, objection over objection arrived at the public e-mail account, you had to marvel over the man's self-obsession, over his never-ending devotion to how he was seen.
Well you're where you should be all the time
And when you're not you're with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend
Wife of a close friend and
You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I bet you think this song is about you
Don't you, don't you, don't you
-- "You're So Vain," written by Carly Simon, first appears on her No Secrets album
In the end, that vanity was his undoing.
Brad Knickerbocker (Christian Science Monitor) notes that "retired four-star US Army general and former CIA director David Petraeus appeared in a federal court in North Carolina Thursday to learn his punishment for having provided highly classified documents to his biographer, with whom he was having an adulterous affair."
If he acted out of love, it was self-love.
An attempt to ensure his mistress painted him in the most flattering light.
Jim Bradley and Jenna Deery (WSCO TV -- link is text and video) note "he was sentenced to two years probation and the judge instituted a $100,000 fine,"
His ego fat and full, Petraues showed no remorse after the judge sentenced him. Theodore Schleifer (CNN) quotes him declaring outside the courthouse, "Today marks the end of a two-and-a-half year ordeal. I now look forward to moving on with the next phase of my life."
Oh, the melodrama.
As journalist Dorothy Kilgallen once observed of Joan Crawford's Flamingo Road character, "A wrong girl for the right side of the tracks and the question never arose that she would cross over those tracks but how she would do it."
And you picture David slinging his mink stole over one shoulder, head tossed back as he stalks into a national security briefing on the arm of his dashing escort US President Barack Obama.
Because that's what he more or less does.
Disgraced or not, he's still briefing Barack.
He still has access to classified information.
Zachary Cohen (CNN) reported at the end of last month:
Former CIA director and retired Gen. David Petraeus remains a trusted adviser to the White House on its strategy in Iraq, despite being convicted of leaking classified information to his mistress and biographer, then lying to the FBI.
The National Security Council and Obama administration have been consulting with Petraeus on matters related to Iraq and ISIS, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed on Monday.
Kid gloves treatment and entrusted by the White House?
Whistle-blowers Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden aren't rewarded with similar treatment.
The US government, it turns out, is very understanding and forgiving of classified information being leaked when its done in service of your own stature and star power, the way Petraeus did.
But when you leak to inform the public of illegal crimes in the US, the way Ed Snowden did, or of crimes carried out in Iraq, the way Chelsea Manning did, when you leak to perform a public service, the US government rages and fumes and shows no mercy.
Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Chelsea Manning who stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions. Independent.ie adds, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor." February 28th, Manning admitted leaking to WikiLeaks. And why.
Bradley Manning: In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.
If only Chelsea had leaked to be portrayed better in a self-serving biography, maybe she too could walk free?
Instead, she's been sentenced to 35 years.
And Ed Snowden, who exposed the US government's continued (and illegal) spying on American citizens? Ed remains in Russia and continues to be threatened with prosecution should he return to the United States.
Break the law to feed your monumental ego and the US government will look the other way, do it to inform the people of what's really going on and the US government will attempt to destroy you.
The unequal 'justice' handed out did not go unnoticed:
Again, as Ben Wizner observed, "The problem is not that David Petraeus is getting lenient treatment, The problem is that lenient treatment is only available to people in high places."
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