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.
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.
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…
JUDY WOODRUFF: In Iraq.
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: