Friday, May 09, 2008

There's a Congress? (Don't tell Panhandle Media)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday postponed consideration of a bill that would continue funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a bloc of conservative Democrats balked at the high cost of including several of Pelosi's favored domestic spending programs.
Pelosi (D-Calif.), who also faces Republican stalling tactics in protest of unusual parliamentary procedures, predicted that the complaints of "Blue Dog" Democrats would be addressed and that the bill eventually would receive unanimous support from Democrats.
[. . .]
The Blue Dogs have objected to the creation of a program that would guarantee veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan a year of in-state college tuition for each year served in the war zones. The Blue Dogs said the House had not found any additional money, through spending cuts or tax increases, to pay for the program, a violation of pay-as-you-go rules imposed by House Democrats in early 2007.

The above, noted by Brady, is from Paul Kane's "'Blue Dog' Democrats Join GOP in Opposing War Bill" (Washington Post). Wait, wait! What education proposal for veterans! You'd have to have a fully functioning media to know about that. And where were our 'lovelies' of 'independent' media? Did they cover the bill? No. They gas bagged and they gas bagged again. They lied a little and then they lied some more. They don't care about Iraq -- not the Iraqis there or the foreign fighters serving there. They need 'fun' topics. They've applied the same 'standards' that they do to those 'fun' topics. Remember when Katrina vanden Heuvel -- editor and publisher of The Nation, an alleged political journal -- had that proud week where she was blogging about both American Idol and her daughter's impending sweet sixteen birthday? Poor dear was so tired from the effort she had to take several days off -- as she announced in a blog post. Never forget Panhandle Media always think they are the story. Or maybe Amy Goodman can book some more friends to come on and discuss their entertainment film "FOR THE HOUR!" If you're late to the party, cake's almost gone, but I'm not insulting Kane or the Post. I'm commenting on the fact that Panhandle Media -- always begging for 'donations' (vagrants don't use "donate," why is Panhandle Media allowed to?) -- doesn't educate, doesn't enlighten and doesn't inform. I'm saying that media critics in Panhandle Media ought to have been calling out their own a long, long time ago. I'm saying that their gas baggery serves no one and doesn't serve the country or the world. They dumb down the country as much as any other outlet but, then, they need their audience to be dumb. Otherwise they might rise up and rebel during the next 'pledge drive.'

This is an excerpt from Julian E. Barnes' "U.S. Army's 'stop-loss' orders up dramatically over last year" (Los Angeles Times) -- read the excerpt or read the article in full, catch what's missing:

The number of soldiers forced to remain in the Army involuntarily under the military's controversial "stop-loss" program has risen sharply since the Pentagon extended combat tours last year, officials said Thursday.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was briefed about the program by Army officials who said that thousands of new stop-loss orders were issued to keep soldiers from leaving the service after Gates ordered combat tours extended from 12 to 15 months last spring.
The Army has resorted to involuntary extensions of soldiers' enlistment terms to prevent them from leaving immediately before a combat tour or in the middle of a deployment.

Did you catch what was missing? If not, note this by Barnes: "That number steadily declined through May 2007, when it hit 8,540. But since then, the number of soldiers subjected to stop-loss orders began to increase again, reaching 12,235 in March 2008." Now did you catch it?

If you didn't and you don't work for a paper, give yourself a break. If you work for a paper or other news outlet, maybe someone needs to work at connecting dots.

The stop-loss number is on the rise and it was 12,235 in the last revealed month -- March. March? Drop back a month. As noted in the February 26th "Iraq snapshot," the Senate's Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2009 and the Future Years Defense Program. Anybody in the press remember that?

Anyone remember who offered side-by-side testimony? Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army, and Gen. George W. Casey, Chief of Staff Army. And what did they tell the committee? From that snapshot:

In regards to the issue of the months involved in a tour, the committee chair, Carl Levin, had to be rather specific repeatedly finally asking "shorthand, you have to drawdown to what level?" Levin also had to pin Casey and Geren down regarding stop-loss. Beaming, Geren declared that the Army will get the number of stop-lossed soldiers down to "a little less than 8,000 today" and insisted -- at length -- that the Army wanted to "move away from" using stop-loss. Stop-loss is the backdoor draft. It's when you're service contract is ending and you're told, "Forget what your contract says, you're staying." Pressed by Levin about the decrease in the number of soldiers stop-lossed that Geren was so optimistic about, the Secretary of the Army swallowed and stated, "It might get to 7,000." Wow. It might drop to 7,000. To hear him spin and spin before Levin pinned him down you would have thought the figure was going to be significantly below 5,000. Geren insisted, "We're growing this Army faster than we planned."

The numbers released today conflict with the testimony Geren gave -- with Casey at his side. They lie and then they lie some more. If they're ever in need of employment, they'd should check out Panhandle Media which they are clearly qualified for.

In the New York Times this morning, Alissa J. Rubin covers a topic we're not going to. We're not interested because it would require using statements that most likely were obtained through torture. If the torture at Guantanamo turned someone into a blood thirsty criminal, that's really not surprising. "If" is the key word to all the factors of the story including "if" the US military brass is telling the truth, "if" the statements released are factual, etc. Rubin does a very strong job navigating the "ifs" and avoids the sweeping generalities and judgements too many others began making yesterday. For that reason it gets a link and a mention. It will not be noted in the snapshot. I'm not interested in the release of selective bits (by the US government) which may or may not be correct. At some point (probably years from now), the file on the deceased's time in Guantanamo may be available and it may be analyzed in full. That's not happening and we're not noting that story here. Rubin took a lot of care with the writing of the story not to jump conclusions and to note the 'if' factor of it so it's gets noted. She should also get noted -- same article -- for not falling into the "al Qaeda leader arrest!" trap that too many of her peers did and have egg on their faces this morning. (The story imploded -- by the US military's own admission.)

Keelan notes Deirdre Murphy has a photo essay up at of Hillary and Chelsea in West Virginia.

On Hillary, a few visitors e-mailing saw last night's "I Hate The War" as "nice race run, Hillary, thanks" and in a farewell manner. Nothing of the sort was intended on my part. This community is firmly and overwhelmingly for Hillary. Those not for her are for Nader and still wish her the best in the primary. As noted in today's gina & krista round-robin, should Hillary not get the Democratic nomination, 97% of the community votes for Ralph Nader ("barring Cynthia McKinney declaring that she will run a real race") with three percent undecided.

If there was a farewell tone, you may have been sensing my long kiss-off to Panhandle Media. But, on my part, Hillary was not being bid farewell. The race isn't over and as long she's in, the community's behind her. The community would never be behind Barack and Elaine (reading the round-robin) phoned to joke, "Blame me." She didn't know the liar would run for president. He swore, after getting elected to the Senate, he would serve his full term. Elaine wrote for the round-robin long before she started her own site. She wrote about peace. And Barack is not about peace. She wrote about the fundraiser (and where it took place -- how pissed off do Elaine or I have to get to out that and post photos? Probably just a little more pissed, keep it up Panhandle Media and we''ll take your Christ-child all the way down) at length and how we walked when Barack told us the US had to stay in Iraq. She wrote about the townhall after he was senator which she attended and how he was booed and hissed for showing his War Hawk bonifides. She wrote about friends of ours and what they thought and said about him. Barack's not new to the community. The community would never support him. Again, Elaine didn't think he'd run for president (nor did I, as I've noted) in 2008. He swore he wouldn't -- just another lie from Mr. Pretty Words. So to those Panhandle Media writers who continue to LIE in e-mails and try to get their pro-Barack pieces linked to here, peddle it somewhere else. We know the candidate, we know the people around him. We knows he is not now or ever about ending the illegal war and we know the garbage that would come out in a general election that would expose the Christ-child as just another imposter.

Again, the community wants Hillary as the Democratic nominee. We're not walking away from her. And the battle's not over. What you saw yesterday was Bully Boy assembling his cabinet. Remember that? In 2000? While the recounts were going on Bully Boy had his 'cabinet' come to Crawford. To give the appearance that it was all wrapped up, to make people join in calls for Al Gore to give up. Barack plays from the same handbook and that's only surprising if your first encounter with him was at the 2004 DNC convention or after.

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