Thursday, May 08, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, May 8, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Newsweek (via Janine di Giovanni) becomes the first US outlet to note the ongoing killing of civilians in Falluja by the Iraqi military (under Nouri's orders), more US troops going into Iraq?, we take on the sexist nonsense about Hillary (Monica's latest garbage) and we take on wanna-be-a-boy Heather Digby Parton and her lousy (and sexist) writing, and much more.

Starting in the US where this morning the House Veterans Affairs Committee held a brief business meeting.  The Committee Chair is US House Rep Jeff Miller, US House Rep Mike Michaud is the Ranking Member.

Committee Chair Jeff Miller:  I would like to take care of one item of business this morning.  My hearing a motion for the issuance of a subpoena to the Dept of Veterans Affairs to produce e-mails and other written correspondence related to the investigation of the Phoenix VA Medical Center.  It's unfortunate that we have to come to this decision but we did not do this without some substantial justification.  The last few weeks have been a model of VA stonewalling which precipitated the need for this subpoena.  First on April 24th, our staff was briefed and informed of an alternate wait list and how that list was subsequently destroyed.  We made follow up phone calls to VA OCLA [Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs] beginning on the 28th asking for additional information about the list.  However, we didn't get a response back on the 28th.  So we called back on the 29th and got no response on the 29th.  So we called again on April 30th and spoke directly to Assistant Secretary Joan Mooney but still got no response. Look, this failure to provide information led to my first letter stating that the Committee would pursue a subpoena if we were not provided with the information this Committee had requested.  Yesterday, May 7th, I received a response from VA that does not -- does not -- fully answer the very simple questions that I asked.  Therefore, the time for requests for this matter is over.  Today, we'll vote to issue a subpoena.  It's a historic vote.  This Committee has voted once before to issue a subpoena the first time ever in the history and we worked with VA and actually we did not deliver that subpoena but we got the information that we were asking for.  But I trust the VA will have the good sense to not further delay and ignore the request that this Committee has made. The subpoena will cover e-mails and written correspondence sent since the 9th of April, 2014 at 8:45 a.m. to or from Secretary Eric Shinseki, Dr. Robert Petzel Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Thomas Lynch Assistant Secretary for Health for Clinical Operations and Management, Mr. Will Gunn General Counsel, or any other representative of the Office of General Counsel, Ms. Joan Mooney Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Dr. Ron Maurer Director Congressional Liaison Service, and Mr. Aakash Bhatt Congressional Relations Officer or Mr. Michael Huff Congressional Relations Officer. The scope of this subpoena will encompass all e-mails and other written correspondence where these parties discuss the destruction of an alternate wait list regardless of which name it was given and which form in which it was kept.  Pursuant to Rule 11 Clause 2M1B of the House of Representatives in Rule G Clause 3 of this Committee, we have a motion before us that's at the desk and I will ask that the clerk will read the motion.

Clerk: Ranking Member Michaux moves that the Committee authorize the issuance of the subpoena to Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the US Dept of Veterans Affairs for the Dept of Veterans Affairs to produce all e-mails and correspondence sent between April 9, 2014 9:45 a.m. and May 8, 2014 6:00 p.m. which address in whole or in part the destruction or disapearance of an interum wait list with regard to the Carl T. Hagen Medical Affairs VA Center located in Phoenix, Arizona in which Secretary Shinseki, Dr. Robert Petzel Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Thomas Lynch Assistant Secretary for Health for Clinical Operations and Management, Mr. Will Gunn General Counsel, or any other representative of the Office of General Counsel, Ms. Joan Mooney Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Dr. Ron Maurer Director Congressional Liaison Service, and Mr. Aakash Bhatt Congressional Relations Officer or Mr. Michael Huff Congressional Relations Officer -- or parties to or referenced within -- e-mails and written correspondence

Chair Jeff Miller:  Members, you've heard the motion.  Do I hear a second?  Motion's been moved and properly seconded.  I will open the floor for the Ranking Member to make a statement and would ask that if any other members have a statement that they be very brief because everybody has a very, very tight schedule this morning.  I understand.  The Ranking Member is recognized.

Ranking Member Mike Michaud: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.  I think we all can agree that quality, safe, accessible health care has always been a priority of this Committee and I believe that has not changed today.  We have over the past years asked the VA for information that has not been forthcoming.  Frustrations remain high among Committee members. The Chairman sent a letter on May 1, 2014 requesting the answers to two questions. The response we received yesterday from VA was, in my view, insufficient.  The subpoena we will authorize today is limited in scope and it  narrowly is constructed in order not to interfere or impede the ongoing IG [Inspector General] investigation.  At the end of the day, we all are waiting for the results of the investigation to be provided to us so that we can be in a position to take action.  We need to fix the problems not only in Phoenix but across the VA system.  I was pleased to hear that the Veterans Administration will complete a nation wide access review to ensure that employees have a full understanding of VA policy and that they will conduct a national face-to-face audit at all the clinics and every VA medical center.  And I understand that Ms. [Ann] Kirkpatrick, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation recently sent a letter calling for VA to undertake a similar action in light of the numerous problems throughout the system.  So I want to thank you very much, Ms. Kirkpatrick.  So with that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time. 

Chair Jeff Miller:  Thank you, Mr. Michaud, for your cooperation.  I would ask is there any other member that would like to make a statement?  Very well.  All those in favor of the motion to issue the subpoena will say I.

All Present:  I.

Chair Jeff Miller:  All those opposed will say "No." [Silence.]  The motion carries.  And I am now going to sign the subpoena for the production of e-mails and written correspondence and hereby direct its issuance forthwith.  This concludes our business meeting for today. This meeting is adjourned. 

This is a major move.  The vote was unanimous on the motion.  There was a hearing today, an important one, that followed the above.  We may cover that tomorrow.

However, I promised we would address the issue of the US Ambassador to Iraq when it became verifiable.

Dropping back to the April 23rd snapshot:

On the topic of Stephen Beecroft, Laura Rozen (Backchannel) reports the word is Beecroft will be nominated to be the US Ambassador to Egypt shortly.
That would be a deeply stupid move.  So it's probably going to happen.  If it does, we'll go into how stupid it is.  Until then, we'll just note the rumor.

It's now reported everywhere.

So let's turn to Iraq and the war on women -- the real war, not the faux war, on women.

It's now official, Robert Stephen Beecroft is nominated to be the US Ambassador to Egypt.

The problem with that?

He's the US Ambassador to Iraq currently.

Iraq needs stability and unity and you can't approach it with chaos.  If you approach it with chaos you amplify the ongoing chaos.

When Barack Obama was sworn in as US President, he asked the US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker to remain in the position while he found someone to nominate.

Crocker did.

Barack wasted that opportunity by nominating Chris Hill who was all wrong for the post, whose employment file made clear his problems would make him unfit for the post, whose confirmation hearing was a non-stop embarrassment.

As everyone knows, Hill was manic and tended to crater in the afternoons.  A full day's work was beyond him.  He also had a problem with taste.  For example, the Halloween Party he attended while Ambassador?  Going with a woman -- not his wife -- dressed as Jacqueline Kennedy -- with fake blood -- on the day JFK was shot?  Not tasteful, to put it mildly.  But him dressing as a Secret Service agent to accompany her?

Chris Hill was trash.

Instead of focusing on Iraq, he tended to explode about what a sewer he thought Iraq actually was -- tended to explode in the presence of Iraqis working with the US Embassy in Baghdad.

Way to create an impression, Chris.

He also was more concerned about press coverage -- specifically he had penis envy over the press coverage Gen Ray Odierno received.  Odierno was a press favorite (still is) and that's because he played it straight.  He was unassuming (especially a relief to the press after David Petraeus) and he was focused on the mission.  He made for good copy.

Chris wanted to be a media star so he whined about Odierno's press to the White House repeatedly until the White House asked Ray to please stop speaking to the press because it upset Chris so much.

All this focus on everything but his job led Chris to be a lousy ambassador.

It was Ray Odierno, not Chris Hill, who wondered at the start of 2010, what happens if Nouri al-Maliki doesn't win the election?  What happens if he doesn't win and he refuses to step down?

That's exactly what happened.  Take Odierno to the races with you and let him pick the horse.

But it would be a legitimate concern even if it hadn't ended up coming true.  It was worth considering.

But Chris Hill wouldn't and Chris Hill dismissed it and Chris Hill cut Odierno out of the loop.  After the March 2010 elections, Odierno would speak with then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who would then bring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into the conversation and the two of them (Gates and Clinton) would go to Barack and tell him he needed to listen to Odierno.

Once he did, Barack realized Chris Hill had to go.

Chris was a huge mistake.  He was Barack's choice.  I don't care for Barack's leadership.  But anyone can make a mistake and, to his credit, Barack was willing to move quickly on this.

Which is how James Jeffrey became the next US Ambassador to Iraq.


Briefly he was the US Ambassador.

Barack's next ambassador to Iraq was Robert Stephen Beecroft.

All of this happened in his first term.

Three different ambassadors for one country.

That goes to incompetence.

That's before you consider that the country is Iraq which has gotten worse and worse in terms of security, in terms of politics, in terms of the treatment of women, in every term you can measure.

From January 2009 to January 2013 -- Barack's first term, Iraq had three different US ambassadors.

In his second term, he's already changing ambassadors again.

Peter Cooney and Leslie Adler (Reuters) report on Beecroft being nominated to be the new US Ambassador to Egypt and Stuart Jones being nominated to be the new US Ambassador to Iraq.


When he was nominated to be the Ambassador to Jordan, the White House issued this (April 14, 2011):

Stuart E. Jones, Nominee for Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Department of State
Stuart E. Jones is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Prior to this post, Mr. Jones served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Mr. Jones has held numerous positions both domestically and abroad since joining the U.S. Foreign Service in 1987.   In Washington, Mr. Jones served as Director for Iraq at the National Security Council, Deputy Director for European Regional Military Affairs, Desk Officer for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Executive Assistant to the U.S. Permanent Representative at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. Overseas assignments have included: Governorate Coordinator in Al Anbar Iraq; Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara; Principal Officer at Consulate Adana; Legal Advisor and Commercial Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador; and Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota. Mr. Jones received a B.A. from Duke University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Colby Itkowitz (Washington Post) reports on the nominee here.  Not only is it wrong to yet again destabilize the US mission in Iraq by nominating again another person, let's note it's yet again a man.

As I noted in 2009, Ava and I made the case to members of Barack's transition team for a woman to be the US Ambassador to Iraq.  We noted it would symbolic importance.  We noted that even without the symbolic importance, there were many women qualified for this post.

Now Canada has a woman in Iraq.  And she's doing and has done a solid job.

But the US?

I don't need to hear Barack's idiotic remarks about wages and I don't need to hear how men will be the saviors who will stop rape.

I especially don't need yet another man sent to Iraq as ambassador.

And let's remember it's not just Chris Hill, James Jeffrey, Robert Stephen Beecroft and now Stuart Jones.  Barack also nominated Brett McGurk.  That nomination went down in flames.

Five men.

Barack has nominated five men to be Ambassador to Iraq and not one woman.

That's a war on women.

When women can't get nominated?

Don't pretend to give a f**k about women.

Five times, the best person, in Barack's judgment, has been a man.

What does a woman have to do to get nominated?

Apparently be a big donor or be born a Kennedy.

But the women who've actually worked in the diplomatic corps?

They don't stand a damn chance.

Maybe Barack needs to ask Mitt Romney if Romney can send over those "binders full of women" to the White House because clearly Barack struggles with finding women who are worthy of positions.

Things were not great for women in Iraq when Ava and I pitched to the transition team.

Things are even worse today.

For example, April 16th on KPFA's Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, the very controversial bill which passed Iraq's Cabinet of Ministers and that chief thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki  has forwarded to the Parliament was discussed. 

Shahram Aghamir: Last month the Iraqi Cabinet approved a new personal status legislation called the Ja'fari law which is named after the sixth Shi'ite Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq who established a school of jurisprudence in Medina in the 8th century.  This legislation has created an uproar among Iraqi women's rights and the civil rights community.  If approved, the Ja'fari law will abolish the current Personal Status Law 188 which is considered one of the most progressive in the Arab world.  The new law will roll back the rights of women in marriage, divorce and child custody as well as inheritance.  It will lower the age of marriage for girls from 18 to 9 and boys to 15.  Who has initially proposed the law and what are the implications of this law for Iraqi women?  Malihe spoke with Iraqi women's rights activist Basma al-Khateeb who volunteers with Iraq's 1st Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Shadow Report Coalition as an expert and a trainer.

Basma al-Khateeb:  Actually, the Minister of Justice by the end of October declared that they have a committee -- expert committee -- and they have finished drafting the Ja'fari law.  It consists of 256 articles and he's going to present it to the Cabinet by the next session.  He says that they've been working on for the past two years.

Malihe Razazan:  Back in 2004, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim who died in 2009, he was in exile in Iran for 20 years before the invasion, and after the occupation of Iraq, he worked very closely with the Americans.  His party worked to pass Decision 137 issue by interim governing council to abolish the Personal Status Law Number 188 which was passed  in 1959 --

Basma al-Kahteeb:  That was actually the first thing that he -- that he issued, this Resolution 137 -- as if Iraq had no problems.  This was the only rule that he came up with.  And we had demonstrations and we managed to defeat that.  They withdrew it.

Malihe Razazan:   Yeah, because there was a huge backlash against it.

Basma al-Khateeb:  But this is historical.  His father, Muhsin al-Hakim, back in 1959, when the civil Personal Status Law was issued, the religious institutes led by Muhsin al-Hakim back then, his father, refused this Personal Status Law because it will take all the authority from the cleric.

Malihe Razazan:  In matters regarding women's divorce, child custody, inheritance it will be left to civil courts.

Basma al-Khateeb:  Yes.  And this is how our judicial system and lawyers and colleges and scholars all -- I mean, we're talking about sixty years that all our institutions -- judicial, court, everything -- is built on it.  This -- going back just to abolish all of this -- this law --the formal law, the Personal Status Law that's still active now. It doesn't go to clerics, only the judge rules.  This current law puts another council that is in control of judges of courts.  It just turns everything into chaos.  Every lawyer has to study all these religious and cleric institution and legal issues.  It doesn't mean that we have one court.  It means that we have more than 20 courts because each Ayatollah is different in examination with the other.  Havilah?  Even though they're Sh'itie, they're different from the Sadr group, they're different from Sistani interpretation which means multi courts.

At a time when Iraqi women are suffering, the US could make a difference with something as basic and symbolic as nominating a woman to be the US Ambassador to Iraq.  There are 15 women who exceed the qualifications needed to hold this post, 15 women in the diplomatic corps.  We identified them in 2009.  We also noted seven other women who have since left the diplomatic corps.  Strange that we can find women worthy of the post but Barack can't.

Stuart Jones is his fifth nominee for the post -- all five have been men.

Save your b.s. about 'war on women' because your administration lacks clean hands in that war.

Gordon Lubold has long covered the Iraq War -- including for the Christian Science Monitor.  He has a post with disturbing news at Foreign Policy -- on the discussions of sending (more) US troops into Iraq:

But the nature of the fight the Maliki government confronts in western Iraq is such that officials say Baghdad is looking not only for better reconnaissance and surveillance capability, but also for more robust, lethal platforms. Iraq has been unwilling to accept American military personnel in the country in any operational form, but the willingness to revisit that policy appears now to be shifting. A spokesman for the Iraqi Embassy declined to comment on the issue of allowing American military personnel into the country to conduct drone operations, but acknowledged that the U.S. and Iraq share a "common enemy" in al Qaeda.
"Iraq's view is that all available tools must be utilized to defeat this threat, and we welcome America's help in enhancing the capabilities we are able to bring to bear," the spokesman said.  

You need to put that with other news because Lubold isn't smart enough to.  There's the fact that all US troops never left Iraq.  There's the fact that Barack sent a brigade of Special-Ops in during the fall of 2012. Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "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 General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."  And let's include the news from the April 25th snapshot:

Mark Hosenball, Warren Strobel, Phil Stewart, Ned Parker, Jason Szep and Ross Colvin (Reuters) report, "The United States is quietly expanding the number of intelligence officers in Iraq and holding urgent meetings in Washington and Baghdad to find ways to counter growing violence by Islamic militants, U.S. government sources said."  It was 1961 when US President John F. Kennedy sent 1364 "advisors" into Vietnam.  The next year, the number was just short of 10,000.  In 1963, the number hit 15,500.  You remember how this ends, right?

Nouri's continued War Crimes.

When will the world demand he stop practicing collective punishment?

Who knows.  But in big news, the US media finally finds the story.  Janine di Giovanni and Newsweek become the first to cover the ongoing killing of civilians via collective punishment.  From di Giovanni's article:

“First it was hospitals, then densely populated civilian areas,” says Erin Evers from Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Baghdad. “Now it’s neighborhoods where people are just trying to live.”
The tragedy in Fallujah was barely noticed in the run-up to the Iraqi parliamentary elections, which took place on April 30, the first national elections since U.S. troops pulled out of the country in 2011. No one much paid attention because violence has become a trademark in this campaign.
Since January, when the Shia-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki began a campaign of retaliation against the Sunni-backed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām, it is estimated that 4,000 have been killed, or roughly 1,000 a month. Researchers on the ground say 20 to 30 percent of the dead are children. Meanwhile, government forces have killed 348, according to Iraq Body Count.

Good for Newsweek.  Maybe others will pay attention to it now.

Because it continues every day.  Nouri  continues to bomb the residential areas of Falluja. NINA reports that 13 civilians ("including a woman, three children") were killed and twenty-one more injured.

In the April 16th "Iraq snapshot," we went over the attacks each day up to that point and how many people were killed.  Today, Felicity Arbuthnot does something similar but including May.

Turning to literary news,  Ahmed Saadawi was born in Baghdad in 1973 and he's a poet, a novelist, a screenwriter and a documentary filmmaker.  UNAMI issued congratulations to him today:

Baghdad, 8 May 2014 – The Special Representative of the United Nations for Iraq (SRSG), Nickolay Mladenov, today sent a message of congratulations to Iraqi novelist Ahmed Saadawi on the occasion of his winning the prestigious International Prize for Arabic Fiction, which is sponsored by the Booker Prize Foundation in London.  Saadawi won the prize for his book Frankenstein in Baghdad.

In a message to Saadawi, Mr. Mladenov said, “I salute you and congratulate you and the entire literary community in Iraq on this very important achievement.  This reflects the creativity of the Iraqi mind throughout history and particularly at these very difficult times that Iraq is going through”.
“I hope that this achievement will be a catalyst to all Iraqi intellectuals to continue with their creative work to enrich the literary culture of this country”, the Envoy added. 

In news of bitchery, Digby -- who's always provided us with so many unintentional laughs over the years -- has written another idiotic attack at Salon.

Let's deal with Digby's stupidity first and then we'll get to her stupidity and her sexism and her bitchery.  She's in a tizzy that Lara Logan stated the following:

When I look at what’s happening in Libya, there’s a big song and dance about whether this was a terrorist attack or a protest. And you just want to scream, for God’s sake, are you kidding me? The last time we were attacked like this was the USS Cole which was a prelude to 9/11. And you’re sending in the FBI to investigate? I hope to God that you are sending in your best clandestine warriors to exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil, its ambassadors will not be murdered and the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.

Lara was right.

That's basic.  She wasn't calling for mercenaries and only an idiot -- like Heather Digby Parton -- would think that.  It was a terrorist attack.

Lara, in those quoted remarks, advocated for Special-Ops.

Barack's decision to do nothing -- that is where things stand now one year and eight months later -- puts diplomatic staff at risk because the message an attack will result in no retaliation.

The White House knows who carried out the attack.  The White House could take this on legally or militarily.  I favor legally.  Lara favors (in her remarks) the military option.  Neither has been taken and it does send a message to the world community.  It is not a positive message to send and Digby's too much of an idiot to know that -- also too much of a partisan whore.  To 'prove' Lara wrong, Digby links to . . a man.

Digby links to a man.

I believe that's a mantra, isn't it?

It's certainly a never ending pattern and how the token queen bee got included in the boys circle jerk even after it slipped out that she wasn't the man that she pretended to be for so many years.

Unlike Digby, we support women.  As Elaine pointed out this week, "You either promote women artists or you don't."  We do.  Digby doesn't.

Heather Parton has always refused to support women.  She attacks Lara Logan today while praising Dan Rather.

There is nothing to praise in Dan Rather.  His career was an ongoing disgrace and he took the CBS Evening News right into the toilet ratings wise and content wise -- and that's not just my opinion or the opinion of many, it was the opinion of Walter Cronkite as well.  He disgraced himself on air with his little tantrum, to note only one example.  None of that's praise worthy and that's not even the tip of the iceberg.

But Heather needs a man to prop up, to stand behind, to hold hands with at the urinal.

Heather Parton (Digby) embarrasses herself all the time with crap like this.  She lacks the ability to actually analyze, she lacks facts, she lacks context and, if it happened before 2003, she lacks history.

She tries to compare Lara Logan to Judith Miller.  Why?

Because faux men like Digby always attack women and glorify men.  That's why she's such a disgusting piece of trash.

There is no comparison between Judith Miller and Lara Logan.

Here's Digby stupidy and sexism:

The point is that in similar fashion to Judith Miller, who also famously attached herself to the national security state apparatus and helped them spread lies, Logan’s biases led her to be similarly uncritical of the military's often unsparing disdain toward politicians --  something that's been true of the military since time began.

No, Lara didn't attach herself to the powers-that-be.  If so, she wouldn't be questioning Benghazi.

She would instead be whoring -- like Heather Parton is doing -- for an administration.

It's cute the way little Digby jerks her faux penis and tries to spew on Lara.

New York magazine -- no surprise -- churned out yet another sexist article -- this time on Lara Logan.  And the Democratic Whores -- as opposed those of us on the left with actual ethics (we can be identified by calling out The Drone War, for example, and its commander Barack Obama) -- needed a vagina to amplify the attack on Lara.  So they got Heather Parton because an ugly woman who posed as a man is a natural to attack any one of beauty.

Lara's looks help.  That's never been a surprise.  It also has nothing to do with gender.

Why did NBC News hire Kier Simmons?

Because, to women and men who are attracted to men, his male beauty can get the pulses racing.  That's why NBC is attempting to work him into any broadcast they can.  (And why "Kier Simmons shirtless" is one of the most popular Google searches.)  Like Lara, Kier has actual news chops.  But it would be lying to pretend that Kier's beauty or Lara's beauty didn't result in air time, didn't result in viewer response and didn't allow them an easier time pushing through stories.

Despite the sexism of the New York magazine article, Lara had to push and push and ask for help from colleagues to get certain stories on the air.  Digby's strap-on must have kept slipping off and required Digby to use both hands to secure it or she could have found that fact online.  She could have started, for example, going to Danny Schechter's New Dissector posts when Lara was in Iraq.

Lara's not Judith Miller.

Judith Miller ran interference for a White House.  That's what Digby does now.  So the person who is like Judith Miller is not Lara Logan, it's Digby.

And, by the way Heather Parton, Judy started out on the left too.

She was published by The Progressive early in her career.  It was always a shoddy career just like the career of Heather Parton -- there was no independence and there was no ethical standard.  Just whoring and spinning.

We're not linking to her garbage at Salon and we're not linking to New York magazine's sexist and unethical article.  Unethical?

See that's the thing about sexist pigs like Digby, as they rush to amplify an article which allows some of Lara's colleagues to slam her -- to anonymously slam her.  I guess I missed the moment when it became ethical in journalism to base all your article on anonymous slams.  Oh, I didn't miss that.  It's still not allowed.

But sexist pigs -- and that includes Heather Parton  -- will always embrace anything that can let them rage.

They'll even fool themselves that Lara's situation is similar to Dan Rather's.

The 60 Minutes segment was not pushed by Lara.  It was pushed by CBS, it was synergy.  The reason Lara's not been fired yet is because she wasn't publishing a book.  Publishing a book -- a non-fiction one -- is supposed to mean the book is vetted by the publisher.  In other words, the problems in the report go to the publisher.  Heather's not interested in making that argument because it would require to defend a woman.  She's more interested in linking to men, in name checking James Wolcott, etc.



She's a deeply stupid woman.

Any smart woman knows James is a sexist pig and they didn't need his crazed rantings on Patti Smith to make that call.  He's got a long, long history but facts aren't Heather's strong suit.  James made a 'funny' and Heather's too dumb to make her own, so she pulls his 'funny' out of mothballs and tries to shoe-horn Lara Logan into it.  Yeah, that is the sign of a really bad writer.  No style, no analysis and lousy on facts.  Enjoy Salon while you can, Heather because women who can't write don't end up with writing careers.

I ignored the sexist New York magazine article.  I'm weighing in now so let me weigh in on one other sexist issue.

What Hillary Clinton though about Monica Lewinsky is not a feminist issue.

Yes, women should stop solely blaming other women when a man cheats on them.  Yes, Bill Clinton is responsible for his actions.  But so is Monica.  And her ridiculous piece for Vanity Fair -- no link to that trash -- where she claims to take accountability for her actions is revealed to be as fake as everything else about Monica Lewinsky.  You can't take accountability and then whine about what Hillary wrote about you in a private letter to a friend.

That I even have to defend Hillary goes to how sexist this nonsense is.

For those who didn't live through the press induced hysteria, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton had sexual relations.  By the rules of hetero sex at that time, this wasn't all the way -- Monica blew Bill, his penis never entered her vagina.  By the rules at that time, there was no reaching 'home base.'  Bill Clinton was President of the United States at the time.  Hillary was First Lady and Monica was so 'classy' that she kept a dress and refused to clean it just because the man she loved juked on it.

Monica was not a smart woman -- and she was a woman.  She wasn't a girl, she wasn't a teenager.  She was a full blown adult.  (And Andy Richter hilariously skewered her in a skit on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.)

At the time, as evidenced by a letter Hillary wrote to a friend that has recently emerged, Hillary blamed herself and she blamed Monica.

Guess what?

Hillary -- any woman -- is allowed to grapple and stumble -- especially privately -- as they deal with some shocking moment.  Her husband cheating on her and the entire nation looking at Hillary to see if she would crumble was a moment no one should have to live through.

Hillary dealt with it.  I'll speak out of school and note -- what I don't think's a secret but if it is, oh well -- Hillary did blame Bill.  She buried it deep and it finally exploded. They got into a very loud argument -- her being loud, Bill taking it because he was guilty of cheating.  They didn't have the argument in the White House.  They had it on vacation.  As she told the story, she was overcome with -- and shaking from -- rage. Perfectly understandable.

And they talked it out and they agreed to work on their relationship.  I like Rosie O'Donnell but I was really embarrassed for Rosie in the early '00s when she slammed Hillary for staying with Bill.

A relationship is never perfect -- not from the inside.  Hillary and Bill worked very hard on their marriage -- yes, Bill who cheated worked as well.  I'm not voting for Hillary if she runs.  I wish I could.  But I can't.  But I also won't stay silent while people attack her unfairly.

Decades ago, her husband cheated on her.  She and he dealt with it.  It shouldn't be an issue for the press today.  And there's something really sad about Monica Lewinsky and how she pops up every few years.  I'm not calling it a GOP 'plot.'  It's all Monica.

She had a sexual relationship with a married man -- she knew he was married.  So for her to insult Hillary in any way?  Monica is cheap and tacky.  She always was and, all these years later, she still is.  Next time she's taking accountability for her actions?  She might ask herself why she's still trading on this long ago affair to get media attention?

Monica is famous for sperm.

That's her entire entry into the history books.  If that was the sum of my accomplishments, I'd work really hard on keeping a low profile or work really hard on finding a way to give my life meaning.

Monica Lewisnky is 40-years-old.  It's past time America let her know how tired they were of her.

Just because Linda Tripp once hung on Monica's every word doesn't mean the country has to -- especially all these years later.

Like her black beret, Monica is passe and needs to go away.

warren p. strobel

the new york times