Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The reality about John Lewis

At BLACK AGENDA REPORT, Bruce A. Dixon covers the hack John Lewis:

Supporting Hillary Clinton last year, Lewis spoke out against free health care and free college tuition which many countries grant their young people, explaining that “free stuff” was just not the American Way. Lewis was also an early member of the Democratic Leadership Council, which irretrievably locked that party into subservience to its one percenter donors.
Sometimes members of Congress can undo historic wrongs. Lewis blew one such chance when he doubled down upon the expulsion of the descendants of black freedmen from the Cherokee nation in which they had once enjoyed voting rights.
John Lewis calls himself a pacifist and never misses a chance to lecture on the supreme utility of nonviolence. But the US Navy is building a ship with his name on it, a “fleet replenishment oiler” to resupply warships on deployment. Isn’t this an “honor” a pacifist should reject? And shouldn’t our Apostle of Non-Violence vote against every arms giveaway, sale and Pentagon budget? John Lewis doesn’t. Like most other members of the Black Caucus Lewis votes to fund mass surveillance and re-arm the apartheid state of Israel with depressing regularity.

It’s time to ask whether Civil Rights Hero status from 52 years ago is really enough to cancel out or ignore all this, and what purpose John’s Hero status serves today. John Lewis is in the news now because he called Big Cheeto’s presidency “not legitimate.” But why?

And Margaret Kimberley (BAR) points out:

Instead of providing inspirational leadership to their constituents CBC members are now mere lackeys for the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. They said nothing when Barack Obama made grand austerity bargains with Republicans, or used sanctions, jihadists and drone warfare to kill in Somalia and Libya, or when he refused to prosecute killer cops. Only one of them, Keith Ellison, chose to support Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton, and CBC’s lobbying arm gave her a hearty and undeserved endorsement.
Lewis stood out among all the genuflectors. Having been dubbed a “civil rights icon” his opinions are given undue weight and he uses them to uphold the corrupt establishment. Not only did the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation endorse Clinton but Lewis chose to give the hapless Sanders a very public beat down. Sanders used his own youthful movement activism as a political calling card but Lewis dismissed him. He claimed he knew nothing about Sanders but did know the Clintons who were great friends of black people. The effort to discredit Sanders was so obvious and the claims about the Clintons were so outrageous that Lewis was forced to back track and clarify his comments.
But, like the rest of the black misleaders, Lewis never stopped stomping on the mildly reformist Bernie Sanders. Sanders signature proposal of providing free university education was rejected out of hand by the civil rights icon. “I think it’s the wrong message to send to any group. There’s not anything free in America. We all have to pay for something. Education is not free. Health care is not free. Food is not free. Water is not free. I think it’s very misleading to say to the American people, we’re going to give you something free.”
Of course all of those things should be free. That statement alone exposed Lewis as a rank opportunist. We don’t know what went through his mind at the moment he was beaten by cops but it doesn’t matter now. He used his experience to win a congressional seat and all the trappings that come with it, including giving paid speeches at
Goldman Sachs

John Lewis is an embarrassment.

I am glad I didn't fall for the nonsense last week.

I am sad that so many did.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, January 18, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the Mosul Slog continues, the truth behind Barack Obama's decision on Chelsea Manning, and more.

Let's start with Chelsea Manning.  I added a sentence on that to yesterday's snapshot when I found out about it.

Ed Snowden is a whistle-blower.  So is Chelsea Manning.

Chelsea got her sentence commuted.  There was no word on Ed yesterday.

Will there be today?

I don't think so.

Here's what I was told.
Barack's inside circle split on Chelsea -- pardon or not.

But Barack made the pardon out of fear.

History, he argued, would have no problem with him not pardoning Ed but due to Chelsea's sexuality there could be a historical backlash because she could end up in another category besides "whistle-blower."

Barack's aware of history and how horrific treatment of African-Americans or Jews, for example (his), could have been tolerated 40 or so years ago, it's not today and some are judged for their actions in the past.  Due to the fact that Chelsea is not an exception but part of the march to the future (she is a role model -- much more so than some celebrity versions) and keeping her imprisoned might defeat -- when people look back a few decades from now -- his work on the bathrooms issue.

Ed doesn't have that.

And Ed doesn't have a chance.

Why am I writing this?

Ed's chances are fewer also because some of Barack's advisors were arguing Ed didn't show "remorse" and that Ed wasn't in prison or in the US.

I knew at least one would argue that.

Ed has more than a few supporters advising Barack.

I'm writing this to make it transparent why Chelsea got commuted and Ed got nothing yesterday in the hopes that this will re-start the conversation among Barack's circle (and because I was asked to write it by someone wanting to restart it with Barack).

Ed deserves a pardon.

He did a great service to the country and did it at great risk.

Commuting of Chelsea leaves Barack "basking," I was told.  We need feet to the fire if Ed's going to get pardoned.

And if that means revealing why Barack really decided to pardon Chelsea, then so be it.

As it is, there is nothing to praise Barack for there.

He made a calculated decision that 40 or so years from now, there will be more awareness of transgendered persons and that he would be seen as horrible person.  He has no real legacy to speak of and he's aware that reality is going to hit home strong.

Pardoning Ed would be bravery.  Anything less just goes to Barack's vanity.

ed snowden

 Ed Snowden is an American citizen and whistle-blower who had been employed by the CIA and by the NSA.  At the time he blew the whistle, he was working for Booz Allen Hamilton doing NSA work.  Glenn Greenwald (GUARDIAN) had the first scoop (and many that followed) on Snowden's revelations that the US government was spying on American citizens, keeping the data on every phone call made in the United States (and in Europe as well) while also spying on internet use via PRISM and Tempora.  US Senator Bernie Sanders decried the fact that a "secret court order" had been used to collect information on American citizens "whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing."  Sanders went on to say, "That is not what democracy is about.  That is not what freedom is about. [. . .] While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans."  The immediate response of the White House, as Dan Roberts and Spencer Ackerman (GUARDIAN) reported,  was to insist that there was nothing unusual and to get creaky while compromised Senator Dianne Feinstein insisted, in her best psychotic voice, "People want to keep the homeland safe."  "Der Fuhrer" was apparently implied.
The spin also included statements from Barack himself.   Anita Kumar (MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS) reported, "Obama described the uproar this week over the programs as 'hype' and sought to ensure Americans that Big Brother is not watching their every move."  
Josh Richman (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS) quoted Barack insisting that "we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about."  Apparently not feeling the gratitude, the NEW YORK TIMES editorial board weighed in on the White House efforts at spin, noting that "the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights."  Former US President Jimmy Carter told CNN, "I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."

The more Barack attempted to defend the spying, the more ridiculous he came off.  Mike Masnick (TECH DIRT) reviewed Barack's appearance on THE CHARLIE ROSE SHOW and observed of the 'explanations' offered, "None of that actually explains why this program is necessary. If there's a phone number that the NSA or the FBI gets that is of interest, then they should be able to get a warrant or a court order and request information on that number from the telcos. None of that means they should be able to hoover up everything."  As US House Rep John Conyers noted, "But I maintain that the Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable search and seizure to mean that this mega data collected in such a super aggregated fashion can amount to a Fourth Amendment violation before you do anything else.  You've already violated the law, as far as I am concerned."  Barack couldn't deal with that reality but did insist, in the middle of June, that this was an opportunity for "a national conversation."  He's always calling for that because, when it doesn't happen, he can blame the nation.  It's so much easier to call for "a national conversation" than for he himself to get honest with the American people. And if Barack really believes this has kicked off "a national conversation" then demonizing Ed Snowden is a really strange way to say "thank you."
It's time to pardon Ed.  


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 (then known as Bradley Manning) and she 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. Chelsea had yet to enter a plea. 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 added, "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 28, 2013, Chelsea admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

Chelsea:   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.

For truth telling, Chelsea was punished by the man who fears truth: Barack Obama.  A fraud, a fake, a 'brand,' anything but genuine, Barack is all marketing, all facade and, for that reason, must attack each and every whistle-blower.  David Delmar (Digital Journal) points out, "President Obama, while ostensibly a liberal advocate of transparency and openness in government, and of the 'courage' and 'patriotism' of whistleblowers who engage in conscientious leaks of classified information, is in reality something very different: a vindictive opponent of the free press willing to target journalists for doing their job and exposing government secrets to the public."

 Tuesday, July 30, 2013, Chelsea was convicted of all but two counts by Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge in his court-martial.

And that's it for Barack and Iraq apparently.

While some in the US pretended to care about War Resisters while Bully Boy Bush was in the White House, they didn't give a damn after Barack was sworn in.

Laura Flanders and Amy Goodman and Norman Solomon certainly pretended to care once upon a time.

But Barack became president and they fell silent.

Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter both offered programs following the Vietnam War.

Barack offered nothing.

One day, Bully Boy Bush was in the White House and we pretended to care about Jeremy Hinzman, the next day Barack was in and it was "Jeremy who?"

We covered war resistance here.  Even while Barack has been in the White House.

We did stop focusing on certain individuals.  I understand completely that it is maddening to do the right thing and be attacked for it.  I also understand that I am not your s**t eater.  Those who made the mistake of thinking I was -- or doing the bidding of _____ -- we won't give her publicity, she rode that in the past to the closet approximation of popularity she'll ever get -- got crossed off my list.

Offline, we continued our work and I helped anyone who personally asked for help.

Asylum in Canada is still a dream for war resisters.  Or for some.  The ones we helped got it.  Because we didn't go through the war resistance channels.  You don't go through marriage either.  You go through adult adoptions.

That's how you get Canadian citizenship.

Adult adoptions, for those who don't know, were used in the US by gay partners when marriage equality was denied to them.

If you're going to move mountains, you're going to have to leave your skill set and learn to cross reference.

As the same case was tried over and over for public war resisters in Canada, I just had to shame my head.

As I noted here many times, "Is the goal to prove a political point or to get the person safety?"

A political point has still not been proven in Canadian courts (and it would be hard for that to happen without a strong prime minister willing to buck the system -- if the Queen of England's not opposed to it, how can the subjects be -- and subjects are the Canadian court).

Those of us who worked on the issue and had success didn't get it by trying to tear down the wall, we went over the wall.

Gerald Ford (a Republican) and Jimmy Carter (a Democrat) both offered programs.

Barack offered nothing to War Resisters.

Despite claiming to oppose the war and running on the (failed) promise to end the war.

Reminder that Manning's actions helped end the War in Iraq


And the lies continue.

Adam Johnson works at FAIR.  They stood for something.  Once.

Chelsea didn't end the war in Iraq -- because it did not end.

Nor did she end the presence of US forces in Iraq.

It's really time to stop lying.

Adam Johnson should be embarrassed.

And he should be ashamed.

This lie about Chelsea was created to make her super woman.

Fine, I could care less.

But I do care what the lie says about the Iraqi people: They were too stupid to know what was going on until the Great White Media of the US and Europe informed them.

They knew exactly what was going on.

Chelsea's revelations were news to some in the west but they rather tame when it comes to what was going on in Iraq and what Iraqis knew.

Adam Johnson and the other ahistorical idiots never got the SOFA because they never paid attention.

The US war was illegal.  The US occupation -- though wrong -- was not illegal.

That's because the UN provided a mandate for the occupation.

One that the (US-installed) Iraqi government signed off on.

This was a yearly mandate.

In 2006, Nouri al-Maliki was made prime minister (by the Bully Boy Bush administration).

Near the end of the year, it was time for the US and Iraq to renew the UN mandate.

They did.

Nouri did not consult the Parliament.  He did the same in 2007.

Both times there were outcry from the Parliament.

He was threatened with a vote to remove him from office if it happened again.

In 2008, there would be no UN mandate.

The UN informed all countries in Iraq that they would have to work out their own contract with Iraq.

The UK and US did.

Nouri told them he would have to go to the Parliament.

Nouri told them he could not keep doing this yearly.

So the deal was made for three years (with a kill clause that could kill the second and third year -- ideally the first year could be killed but realistically due to notification requirements, the first year really couldn't be killed).

In order for the US to get that through Parliament, they had to bribe heavily.

They bought votes.

Blackwater's actions in Iraq may seem to some in the west to be a private corporation's actions.  In Iraq, Blackwater meant the US.

Incidents like the September 16, 2007 slaughter of 17 Iraqis in Nisoor Square were well known by the Iraqi people and they didn't need some western media -- or western savior -- to know what was going on in their country.

Those who took bribes from the US to vote for the SOFA (Thanksgiving Day, 2008) were surprised by the push back from the Iraqi people.

Because the Green Zone is a bubble and many MPs never venture out.

Not only did they know they would have a problem with renewing it in 2011, so did Nouri.

The Arab Spring started in 2011.

It actually started in Iraq but no one wanted to pay attention to that -- including FAIR -- it continued in Iraq.

To stop the protests, Nouri said give him 100 days and he'd end corruption.

The protesters were urged to go home.

They did.

Nouri didn't do anything.

The protests wee restarting.

Iraqi officials were aware of that.  They knew they couldn't get away with voting for another SOFA.  So did Nouri.

Nouri asked for time.

Which is why then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was saying after the drawdown took place that a deal could still be reached.

Instead, they went with the Memorandum of Understanding.

For those who tuned out in the Barack era, let's drop back to the April 30, 2013 Iraq snapshot:

December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way.  It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

So last fall saw another Special Ops unit go into Iraq and the end of the year saw a new military agreement allowing for joint US and Iraq patrols in Iraq. From the December 11, 2012 snapshot:


In yesterday's snapshot, we covered the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department of Defense of the United States of America.  Angry, dysfunctional e-mails from Barack-would-never-do-that-to-me criers indicate that we need to go over the Memo a little bit more.  It was signed on Thursday and announced that day by the Pentagon.   Section two (listed in full in yesterday's snapshot) outlines that the two sides have agreed on: the US providing instructors and training personnel and Iraq providing students, Iraqi forces and American forces will work together on counterterrorism and on joint exercises.   The tasks we just listed go to the US military being in Iraq in larger numbers.  Obviously the two cannot do joint exercises or work together on counterterrorism without US military present in Iraq.
This shouldn't be surprising.  In the November 2, 2007 snapshot -- five years ago -- we covered the transcript of the interview Michael R. Gordon and Jeff Zeleny did with then-Senator Barack Obama who was running in the Democratic Party's primary for the party's presidential nomination -- the transcript, not the bad article the paper published, the actual transcript.  We used the transcript to write "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq'" at Third.  Barack made it clear in the transcript that even after "troop withdrawal" he would "leave behind a residual force."  What did he say this residual force would do?  He said, "I think that we should have some strike capability.  But that is a very narrow mission, that we get in the business of counter terrorism as opposed to counter insurgency and even on the training and logistics front, what I have said is, if we have not seen progress politically, then our training approach should be greatly circumscribed or eliminated."
This is not withdrawal.  This is not what was sold to the American people.  Barack is very lucky that the media just happened to decide to take that rather explosive interview -- just by chance, certainly the New York Times wasn't attempting to shield a candidate to influence an election, right? -- could best be covered with a plate of lumpy, dull mashed potatoes passed off as a report.  In the transcript, Let-Me-Be-Clear Barack declares, "I want to be absolutely clear about this, because this has come up in a series of debates: I will remove all our combat troops, we will have troops there to protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities."

So when the memo announces counterterrorism activies, Barack got what he wanted, what he always wanted, what the media so helpfully and so frequently buried to allow War Hawk Barack to come off like a dove of peace.

It is what allows US troops in Iraq today.

The Iraqi people (and some leaders -- such as Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr) have long called for the US to leave.  And still make that call.

So let's stop pretending that the Iraq War is over, that US troops aren't in Iraq and that the Iraqi people were a bunch of idiots who didn't know what was happening in their country until a Big Brave White Person named Chelsea Manning came along to clue them in.

It's not only false, it's insulting to the Iraqi people.

You can praise and applaud Chelsea without insulting the Iraqi people.

Iraq military: Troops have "full control" of eastern Mosul.

The Mosul Slog continues.

93 days after the operation began, they have eastern Mosul -- they say -- and maybe just for now, who knows.

They still don't have western Mosul.

But, hey, this operation that was supposed to be a few weeks is still going (did Donald Rumsfeld plan the liberation of Mosul?).

In the US, we don't talk about Mosul.

We don't talk about the ongoing war in Iraq.

We don't talk about war resisters.

What do we talk about when we talk about Iraq?

‘You literally caused the Iraq War’: Internet rips Judith Miller for blaming war deaths on Chelsea Manning


Judith Miller.


Because you can have ignored Iraq for the last 8 years and still puff out your chest and pretend to know something by invoking her name.

So the answer is zero, which is about one million less than the number of people who died because of the Iraq WMD lies you helped spread.

Wil, you're a cutie and I love you to death, but put away the board games and pay attention to reality or stop Tweeting.

You're not helping Iraq at all.

So stop invoking it when you don't pay any attention to it.

It's White Hubris.  It's American Hubris.

And it's insulting to the people living in Iraq.

Their lives have gone on since you last tuned into AN AMERICAN CREATED TRAGEDY.

The war has continued to destroy their lives.

So you're pretending you're hip and informed is just insulting.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated.


  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    E's new show and Maxine Water's sad tired song

    This from DEADLINE:

    The 10-part drama follows aspiring actress Megan Morrison (Christine Evangelista), who lands a Cinderella-esque date with A-list movie star Kyle West (Josh Henderson), after which she is offered a $10M marriage contract with West and is introduced to the secretive self-help organization to which he belongs, The Institute of the Higher Mind. Megan, natch, has a mysterious past she is trying to keep hidden too. Sharp-eyed journalists noticed, back when the series was piloted, some plot similarities to various tabloid stories about Tom Cruise, his ties to Scientology and his relationship with Katie Holmes, leading E! to issue a statement insisting the project really most sincerely was not inspired by anyone in particular.

    I'm excited about that for several reasons.

    First, Josh Henderson.

    I'm sorry, the DALLAS reboot was boring.

    It was as though it was written for old men.

    The women didn't do enough and had no power of their own.

    But I did watch.

    Because of Josh.  He's a good actor and he's damn easy on the eyes.

    So I'm excited to see the show for that reason.

    I'm also excited because I'm KAPUT WITH THE KARDASHIANS -- how about you?

    There 15 minutes passed.

    Can they please go away?

    I'd rather see well written shows than supposed 'reality' television.

    Second, Maxine, really?

    I like US House Rep. Maxine Waters.

    And when she had her ethical problems a few years back, I stood up for her here.

    I will not be standing up for nonsense -- not her nonsense or anyone else.

    Her efforts to get impeachment going?

    Sit that tired ass down, Maxine.

    Bully Boy Bush should have been impeached.

    But Maxine wouldn't go against Nancy Pelosi (as she proved when she refused to stand up on Cynthia McKinney's behalf to Nancy).

    Now Donald may do something as president that's impeachable.  Fine, so be it.

    But stop this crap of 'he's done this and he's done that already.'

    Just grow the hell up, please, Maxine, grow the hell up.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Tuesday, January 17, 2017.  We explore the lies that allow the Iraq War to continue.

    Gwen Ifill was a closeted lesbian, Laura Flanders is now an out lesbian.

    Due to various reasons -- none of them positive -- a number of e-mails have been noting Flanders and how she's been awful and didn't make the list I did of the most disappointing a few weeks back.  She didn't?  I'll take your word for it.  I'm limited in what I can say about Laura Flanders. (Though if I take a current book offer -- I probably won't -- I don't care what's supposedly off the record and what's not.)  So if you think she's getting a pass, she's not.  I know a great deal more than I'm allowed to say publicly and so I tend to avoid her.

    But among the reasons some of you are upset in e-mails (and if you're a community member, I'll gladly write about Laura for this Friday's gina & krista round-robin and you'll get why I try to avoid Flanders) is that Ms. Media Critic Laura Flanders Tweeted love to the late Gwen.

    As you note, this is the Gwen who laughed -- on air -- when Blackwater attacked civilians -- dismissed the shooting and joked that it was no more than a bottle of water being thrown at them.

    This is the Gwen who carried water for the Bully Boy Bush administration.

    The Gwen who was a cheerleader for the Iraq War before it started, etc., etc.

    Why in the world would Laura Flanders praise her?

    The only reason I can offer publicly (in this forum) is what I offered at the top.

    Remember when that hideous 'journalist' wrote that embarrassing cover story on Ann Coulter?

    And remember how Rachel Maddow defended the article -- the article everyone was trashing -- media critics, the left?

    It was left to me to explain to you that Rachel was personal friends with the writer -- she 'forgot' to tell you that.  Although he himself told me he considered Rachel his "angel."

    She spent three days on radio defending that story and never told her listeners that she knew the author, let alone that she was friends with him.

    There are so many layers that never get made public.

    (And that, by the way, is how my book editor friend is trying to hook me.  For those of you in the press who are not my friends, unless you're Tim Arango, you should worry.  Especially if you're a certain economist who used to work for THE NEW YORK TIMES and write nasty e-mails attacking me for my 'mistakes' but the errors were actually at THE DAILY HOWLER.  I could do a whole chapter on your stupidity and foul mouth alone.)

    Gwen was a joke in life and she remains one in death.  Dying did not make her a better person and it certainly didn't make her a better journalist.

    Gwen was a joke, PBS is a joke.

    As a friend with THE NEWSHOUR likes to say, "If we told the truth, do you think they'd keep us on air?"


    To demonstrate that, let's drop back to Friday's NEWSHOUR when they pretended to explore Iraq.

    There were two segments.

    First, a supposed report.  Second a discussion.

    Let's start with the alleged reporting.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Looking at President Obama, he came into office with a desire to wind down America’s wars overseas and step up the focus at home, but events had a way of intervening, especially in the Middle East.
    Tonight, we take stock of the president’s record in that volatile region.

    [. . .]

    MARGARET WARNER: That view colored the president’s approach to making good on two of his campaign promises: ending the U.S. war in Iraq, and investing more military resources to Afghanistan, where the Taliban was regaining ground.

    [. . .]

    MARGARET WARNER: To fulfill a second campaign promise, the president moved briskly to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, ending the U.S. combat mission in 2010. Negotiations to leave even a residual force foundered in a dispute with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

    MICHELE FLOURNOY: When we removed our forces, we lost our ability to reassure Maliki, to influence Maliki, and, absent that reassurance, he took a very hard turn towards sectarianism.

    [. . .]

    MARGARET WARNER: In January 2014, President Obama dismissed is as a J.V. basketball team. But after ISIS took Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, and threatened Iraqi Kurdistan, the U.S. began airstrikes. The bombing campaign soon expanded into Syria.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.

    MARGARET WARNER: He would later add U.S. special forces, trainers and some troops in Iraq and Syria, where they remain today.

    It starts with a lie and really never gets better.

    Barack never said he'd end the Afghanistan War.

    If anything, like John Kerry campaigning in 2004, he offered that he'd focus on that war.

    I would love for the Afghanistan War to be over and I think you can certainly blame him for it not being over -- he was president for 8 years -- but I have never said he broke a promise there because he didn't.

    Barack did not campaign on the issue of ending the Afghanistan War.

    It wouldn't have gotten him votes.

    American then and now remains mixed on Afghanistan.  It's been falsely tied to 9/111 -- Afghanistan did not attack the US, the Taliban did not attack the US.

    The supposed reason for attacking Afghanistan was that they were harboring Osama bin Laden (turns out that would be Pakistan -- which the US did not attack).  Afghanistan said if the US government provided their evidence for feeling bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks, they would turn him over.  Then Secretary of State Colin Powell said hand him over and we'll provide it afterwards.

    On this -- and Ellie Smeal's vaginal desire to see war on Afghanistan -- the US went to war.

    That's the public record, that's no conspiracy theory.

    The 9/11 attacks were tied in by the media and the White House to Afghanistan which is why the American people have largely looked the other way -- to this day -- on what happens in Afghanistan.

    The Iraq War?

    The media also tied it into 9/11.  In fact, we seem to be the only ones alive today who remembers that the first front page lie on THE NEW YORK TIMES tying Iraq to 9/11 was not written or co-written by Judith Miller.  It did carry Chris Hedges' byline.

    Briefly, MOTHER JONES tried to report on that.

    But Hedges wasn't talking then or since.

    And they all cover up for each other, they refuse to hold one another accountable -- that's the media whether it's big media or small.

    Chris co-wrote the piece on the Iraqi informers.

    He's never had to answer for it.

    But though Iraq was falsely tied to 9-11, it didn't hold.  The lie fell apart.

    And the anger over the lies were felt in the population.

    The 2008 presidential election was going to go to a Democrat -- whomever they named -- because the country was furious about the Iraq War.

    The Democrats were slow to grasp that.

    They ran on ending the Iraq War in the 2006 mid-terms, however.  Give us one house of Congress, said Nancy Pelosi, and we'll end the war.  America gave them control of both houses.

    And they didn't end the war.

    Because they'd found another issue they could nothing on -- like abortion -- but use for votes.

    (Abortion rights have been chipped away by not only the Supreme Court but by Congress as well.  If the Dems stood by abortion in the halls of Congress the way they do in speechifying at election time, abortion rights would be safe.)

    Why keep your promise to the American people and end the war when you can use it to win the presidency?

    So the Dems did not end the Iraq War in 2007 or 2008.

    Enter Obama.

    Barack loved to yell "We want to end the war!" at those rallies of The Cult of St. Barack.

    And he promised he would do it.

    Elect him and he'd bring the troops home.

    He lied.

    What's really sad is so did journalists.

    It was THE NEW YORK TIMES, for example, who had a long conversation with him and printed his talk about ending the war -- when the actual transcript showed that really wasn't the case.  How lucky we are that the paper of record chose to edit out the statements Barack made.

    We noted this reality in the November 2, 2007 "Iraq snapshot" and two days later, at THIRD, we used the transcript to write the report THE TIMES should have published "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq'."

    And of course all the idiots -- Davy D, you a big old idiot -- came out in March of 2008 to defend 'poor' Samantha Power.  She was fired because of Hillary!

    No, she had to step down.

    And not because of Hillary.

    She had to step down because the BBC was airing her interview with them where she stated Barack's promise to end the war was just talk and he'd figure out what he'd do when he got into office.

    That's why she resigned.

    And we covered all the above in real time.

    The March 8, 2008 "Iraq snapshot" covered Samantha's remarks to the BBC.  Days later, Isaiah even did a comic on it.


    From March 9, 2008, "Kamikaze Sammy:"

    Samantha Power swoops down declaring, "You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in." Her comments to the BBC about how Barack Obama (whom she was an advisor to) making a 'pledge' to withdraw combat troops from Iraq within 16 months is nothing but pretty words that the campaign cannot and does not intend to live by.

    John Nichols whored for Sammy in the month of March.  And we called him out "John Nichols employs 'girl power' for Sammy Power."

    Even better the old drunk and lech Tom Hayden played dumb until Barack made some comments in July of 2008 that he didn't like.  Roaring drunk on the Fourth, Tom wrote about Samantha's March comments and then apparently fell asleep (passed out).  Oh, those lousy drunks.

    From the July 4, 2008 "Iraq snapshot:"

    Turning to the US presidential race.  Barack Obama?  Arab News notes, "For Obama, who recently changed his positions on campaign finance and a wiretapping law, the suggestion that he was also changing course on a central premise of his candidacy holds particular peril. While Obama has long said he would consult commanders in the field when withdrawing troops, that point might have been lost on many Democratic primary voters who supported his call to end the war."  What's going on?  A bit of reality on War Hawk Barack. Suzanne Goldenberg (Guardian of London) puts it this way, ".Barack Obama was yesterday fending off charges from right and left that he had abandoned the core premise of his candidacy - the withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office - in an attempt to attract voters from the political centre." Suzanne's a little out of it.  So were Katrina vanden Heuvel and Arianna Huffington on ABC's This Week last Sunday.  Withdrawal in 16 months?  That's 'so January 2008.'  Barack promised withdrawal of all (combat) troops within 10 months in a speech in Houston, Texas.  Always one to carry water for Barack, Tom Hayden immediately penned "End the War in 2009" (which popped up online at The Nation, Feb. 20th and elsewhere a bit later). Hayden: "In his victory speech in Texas Tuesday, Barack Obama promised to end the Iraq war in 2009, a new commitment that parallels recent opinion pieces in The Nation.  Prior to his Houston remarks, Obama's previous position favored an American combat troop withdrawal over a sixteen-to-eighteen-month timeframe.  He has been less specific on the number and mission of any advisors he would elave behind."  (The Texas primary was in March.  Barack was in Texas campaigning, for any more confused than usual by Tom-Tom's bad-bad writing.)  Texas community members saw the 10 month 'promise' pushed in advertising as well as on the campaign trail.  Those were his words (and Tom-Tom notes 'words matter') so let's all drop the nonsense that Barack's plan was 16 months (or at least leave the lying to Katrina who's become so very good at it).  Goldenberg's uninformed, ignorant or lying -- take your pick.  In her piece (dated tomorrow), she traces the uproar to Thursday when Barack said he might 'refine' his Iraq 'plan.'  If that's when the uproar started, is Arianna Huffington psychic?  Arianna was calling him out for 'refining' on Iraq Sunday on This Week. More water carrying from the allegedly 'independent' Guardian of London (which never wrote about the Downing Street Memos because 'independence' did not include informing people that Tony Blair lied England into an illegal war -- no time for 'truth-telling'  while Blair was in office at any rate.)  CNN reports that presumed GOP presidential candidate John McCain and the RNC are calling Barack a "flip-flopper" and they quote Barack's 'clarification' where Barack lies and says he has always said 16 months.  No, Barack, you went to ten months in February.  AP reports he celebrated the 4th of July in Butte, Montana (Kansas, he's done with you, he got what he needed) eating a hot dog. Tom Baldwin (Times of London) observes, "Grassroots activists whose energy and donations have helped to propel Barack Obama towards the White House are suddenly choking on the bitter pill of disillusion.
    In less than a month since clinching the Democratic nomination, he has performed a series of policy pirouettes to assuage concerns about his candidacy among a wider and more conservative electorate." Geoff Elliott (The Australian) points out, "Barack Obama has started a dramtic reversal of the policies that helped him defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination, softening hardlines stances on the Iraq war and troop withdrawals.

    Campaigning in North Dakota, Senator Obama said that while the US could not sustain a long-term presence in Iraq, his trip to the Gulf nation this month might prompt him to "refine my policies" on the war." John Bentley (CBS News) quotes Brian Rogers of the McCain campaign stating, "Today, Barack Obama reversed that position, proving once again his words do not matter. He has now adopted John McCain's position that we cannot risk the progress we have made in Iraq by beginning to withdraw our troops immediately without concern for conditions on the ground. Now that Barack Obama has changed course and proven his past positions to be just empty words, we would like to congratulate him on taking John McCain's principled stand on this critical national security issue. If he had visited Iraq sooner or actually had a one-on-one meeting with Gen. Petraeus, he would have changed his position long ago."  Jonathan Weisman (Washington Post) terms it Barack exploring "the possibility of slowing a promised, gradual withdrawal from Iraq". NPR has two audio reports here. How bad it is?  A friend just called to laugh at ____'s latest nonsense.  In place of a now killed feature for Third, we may address ____'s latest nonsense and his plethora of lies throughout the campaign.  Poor ____, it's even harder to airbrush out reality today than it was following his expulsion from the Red Family commune in his "smash the state" days (when he fancied himself Chris Jones in Wild In The Street).

    "____," of course, was Tom Hayden.

    And "was" in so many ways since he's now thankfully dead.

    We did cover it at THIRD with "Letters to An Old Sell Out: Iraq:"

    In "Obama's Position on Iraq Could Put His Candidacy at Risk" (Aging Socialite's Cat Litterbox), Tom Hayden declared last week:

    The most shocking aspect of Samantha Powers' forced resignation earlier this year was not that she called Hillary Clinton a "monster" off-camera, but that she flatly stated that Obama would review his whole position on Iraq once becoming president. Again, no one in the media or rival campaigns questioned whether this assertion by Powers was true. Since Obama credited Powers with helping for months in writing his book, The Audacity of Hope, her comments on his inner thinking should have been pounced upon by the pundits.

    No one questioned it, Tom-Tom? Check The Washington Post's archives. It wasn't that the media refused to challenge it (or that this site refused to challenge it, check our archives) it's that the Barack 'movement' (a fringe group of largely White eggheads in Panhandle Media) refused to even mention it! Did Jeremy Schaill rip Barack a new one? No. Did Amy Goodman immediately report it on Democracy Someday!? Hell no.

    [. . .]
    So did John Nichols. C.I. called out John Nichols nonsense on Saturday March 8th (the day after Power's remarks were known) when Johnny Five-Cents was lamenting "Samantha Power and the Danger of Gotcha Politics." Not only did John Nichols cover for Samantha Power (his post at The Nation is labeled "03/07/2008 @ 11:28 pm" meaning his article went up that Friday hours and hours after the "Iraq snapshot" calling out Power did -- isn't Johnny Five-Cents supposed to be a 'journalist'?), so did you. You want to show up on July 4th and blame the lack of attention to this story on the MSM when The Washington Post was blogging about it as the story broke, when they would go on to do a print report on it and yet Panhandle Media couldn't even be bothered with it?

    Like Nichols, they were all lying. Davey D would go on to lament -- on KPFA's The Morning Show -- that Samantha "Powers" (it helps to know the name of the person you're broken up about, Davey) had left the campaign for (he said) calling Hillary a "monster." But let's stay with The Nation where Tom-Tom sits on the board. It never got into The Nation and he damn well knows that. Not on March 7th, not on March 8th. March 20th, Eric Alterman would feel the need to weigh in Power's leaving the campaign in "The Ritual Sacrifice of Samantha Power" and though he would note "monster" and "NAFTA," he never said a DAMN word about the BBC interview that entered the press cycle March 7th. He didn't say one DAMN word. It didn't stop there. Michael Massing's "The Power Conundrum" (published online May 22nd and in the June 9th issue of The Nation) found time to recount the "monster" remark which was rather strange since he was reviewing Power's book on the UN involvement in the Iraq War. Wouldn't the better thing to have referenced when reviewing a book on Iraq have been Power's remarks on Barack's so-called "promise"?

    June 12th, John Nichols was back on the scene ["Students for Hillary, er, McCain (or McKinney)" -- what a wit and joy he must be for the others at the SciFi conventions] quoting a missive that referred to the "monster" incident. No need on his part to enlarge the topic and note Power's interview to the BBC.

    March 12th -- five days after the Power remarks were in the news -- FIVE DAYS AFTER -- Air Berman was offering "It's Okay to be Intemperate!" (at The Nation's blog Campaign '08) and yet again recounting Samantha Power's 'unjust' departure over the "monster" remark (when not licking Hendrick Hertzberg's aging sack). Never once -- FIVE DAYS AFTER -- did Berman mention Power's remarks to the BBC. He would conclude his sad eulogy to Sammy (and presumably devote full attention to "Rick") with this, "Thanks to the events of the past week, campaign officials will be even more guarded when dealing with the media, and I don't blame them. It's an outcome that benefits no one." Apparently Ari thought he could help fight that trend by not telling readers what Samantha Power said about the Iraq 'promise'? It needs to be noted that the day the news broke, Ari Berman attempted to distract from Power's statement by filing "Clinton Does McCain's Bidding" which was nothing but his rummaging through old chat & chew transcripts in an effort to discredit Hillary on Iraq. Needless to say, he said nothing about Power. [As we noted in our March 9th in "Editorial: The Whores of Indymedia."]

    What we got from the alleged 'independent' media (including The Nation) and from the alleged 'independent' web was inane defenses of War Hawk Samantha Power that avoided her Iraq remarks. Check out Josh Michah's Marshy & Hairy Butt Crack where Greg Sargent posted "New Hillary Campaign Video Seeks To Revive Samantha Power Controversy." It's a March 19th post and what does Sargent conclude of the commercial featuring Power revealing that Barack's 'promise' isn't a promise? A snippy: "Given that this is weeks-old story, the timing of its release is pretty obvious: The Hillary camp is hoping to use it to overshadow Obama's big Iraq speech today." That's from mind reader Greg Sargent and even then (and terming the commercial an "attack video"), check out the reaction of Josh's groupies (conditioned to salivate at the mention of Barack's name): "Ah, Hillary. Desperation becomes her," purrs one while Patagonia and das2003 lead the sizeable number who are offended and outraged that the video was even posted at Joshy's site.

    You were lied to then, you're lied to now.

    It's not just the corporate media that's been the problem.

    The press gave Barack a pass.

    And they continue to.

    Barack campaigned on ending the Iraq War.

    He did not do that.

    No where in Margaret Warner's 'report' did we hear those basic truths.

    Now for the discussion:

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For more on this part of the president’s foreign policy legacy, we turn to three guests with deep experience managing national security policy and, in some cases, fighting the United States’ wars.
    Retired General David Petraeus commanded American forces in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and for the entire Middle East. He also served as President Obama’s director of the CIA, a post he resigned in 2012. Ambassador Eric Edelman, he served in a variety of senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense, as well as the White House, and was a national security aide for Vice President Dick Cheney. And Philip Gordon, he served in the State Department under President Clinton and President Obama, and he served as the senior-most official responsible for the Middle East on Mr. Obama’s National Security Council staff from 2013 to 2015.
    Gentlemen, we welcome all three of you to the program.
    It’s a complicated region. There’s a lot to cover, but let’s focus on three countries.
    General Petraeus, to you first.
    Iraq, how do you size up the legacy of this president, President Obama, in Iraq?

    GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET.), Former Commander, Multi-National Force Iraq: I think it’s mixed.
    Certainly, the developments of the last couple of years, when we have responded to the actions by the Islamic State, has gathered a considerable amount of momentum and actually taken back from the Islamic State all but one of the major cities, which is likely to fall in the weeks and months ahead.
    But, prior to that, of course, there was a pulling out of our forces, various explanations for that and whether that would have, if we had been able to keep them, could have given us the influence to prevent the ruinous course that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pursued that became highly sectarian and created the fertile fields for the planting of the seeds of extremism that the Islamic State exploited, before drifting into Syria and gaining lots of power in that civil war.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ambassador Edelman, how do you see the president’s legacy in Iraq?

    ERIC EDELMAN, Former State and Defense Department Official: I see it largely as a lost opportunity.
    When General Petraeus and our mutual colleague Ambassador Ryan Crocker negotiated the agreement in 2008, I think all of us anticipated there would be a residual U.S. force staying after December 31, 2011. And I think we would have had more influence, we would have been better able to help prevent the rise of ISIS had we kept a residual force there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And was that a mistake?

    PHILIP GORDON, Former Assistant Secretary of State: Well, I think you have to remember the situation at the time.
    On balance, would it have been nice to have a residual force? I think the answer is yes. It also happens to be the case that the Iraqis very much wanted us to leave. The Bush administration had agreed that we would leave by 2011, U.S. forces shall leave the country.
    And so Obama was presented with a situation where you have the Iraqis asking us to leave, the U.S. public not wanting to say, the Iraqi parliament refusing to give the immunities we would need for our forces to stay.
    So, while it would have been nice to have, you can’t pretend that the president, that President Obama could have just somehow come in and said, all right, we’re staying whether you like it or not. In that sense, one, it’s kind of a moot point whether it would have been nice, because it wasn’t possible.
    But, two, I doubt, even though I would have rather seen some forces, that even a residual U.S. force, 5,000, 10,000, would have been enough to stop the very powerful trends that were going on in Iraq in terms of sectarianism, the rise of ISIS which was emerging from Syria, and all sorts of other things. So, yes, it would have been nice, but we should remember the context in which the president…


    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see…


    GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: One of the paradoxes now is that we now have nearly 6,000 troops on the ground. And we do not have a parliament…


    GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: We do not a parliamentary-agreed status of forces agreement.
    Again, it’s just one of the ironies, the terrible ironies of a country that has suffered so much.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You want to button this up before we turn to another country?

    ERIC EDELMAN: Well, General Petraeus made the point I was going to make.
    I think we could have made a more serious effort with the Iraqis. I think they detected what Philip was talking about, which is that the president really didn’t have his heart in it and that the American people were tired of a long and difficult war.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s turn to Afghanistan, Phil Gordon. How do you size up what the president — you were in the middle of all this. How do you size up what the president did, has done in Afghanistan?

    PHILIP GORDON: On Iraq, General Petraeus said mixed. I think mixed would probably be our answer for a lot of these questions

    I suppose the high minded thing to do would be to hate the lie but love the liar.

    Sorry, I'm going to hate the lie and the liar.

    First off, does teacher need a break?

    Why else are you letting two students self-grade?

    I can see interviewing them for a report but to allow two who participated in the decisions to evaluate?

    That's not journalism.

    Second, the lies, always the lies.

    Petreaus is correct that there's no Status of Forces Agreement currently.

    The troops are protected under the Memorandum of Understanding that the US and Iraq governments signed in December 2011.

    Yes, that same memo would have allowed 10 or so thousand troops to stay in Iraq.

    But here's the thing because we're running out of time.

    If Petraeus wants to argue that the mistake, knowing Nouri was paranoid (the CIA profile conducted in 2005 and completed in 2006 -- early 2006 -- demonstrated that and that the US could use it to control him if he was made prime minister), was not leaving troops in beyond 2011?

    Then the greater problem was not backing the Iraqi voters in 2010.

    In March 2010, they voted for a change of direction, a new course.

    For eight months, Nouri refused to step down as prime minister.

    Finally, Barack had US officials broker a contract (The Erbil Agreement) to give Nouri a second term.

    And this is after the press has exposed Nouri's secret prisons and torture chambers -- a detail that Petraeus 'forgets' in the discussion.

    ADDED: Credit to Barack for commuting Chelsea Manning's sentence. She's a whistle-blower.

    Hopefully, there's some action coming for Ed Snowden as well.

    The following community site -- plus Jody Watley-- updated:

  • iraq