Sunday, July 06, 2008

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.


But let's back up. Tom-Tom's shocked (!). Elaine and C.I. know very well you've lived a life estranged from the truth; however, that doesn't give you the right to lie. Samantha Power made the news cycle on March 7th (a Friday). You can refer to that day's "Iraq Snapshot." In fact, we are referencing that at length (and overruling C.I. on it):

Meanwhile, it was not a good day to be Our Modern Day Carrie Nations or, as Samantha Power prefers to be called, "the humanitarian War Hawk." Last night, The Scotsman was making news with Power's insults of US Senator Hillary Clinton and "the poor" in America and, generally, just flashing that foul mouth everyone knows about but generally ignores. The morning started with Sammy Power expressing 'sorrow.' She wasn't sorry and we're not going to play around with this story. Here's reality, the press was lining up this morning the stories on this and talking to one another (as they are prone to do) for background examples of other times Sammy Power has personally (and destructively) insulted Hillary Clinton. When it was obvious that those stories would come out if she stayed with the campaign she 'resigned.' At The New Statesman, she was flaunting her War Hawk nature in an interview (as well as that foul mouth). [Personal note: I'm sure I could match Sammy swear word for swear word, but I wasn't planning on becoming Secretary of State.] Lynn Sweet (Chicago Sun-Times) was one of the first out of the gate noting that Sammy Power "resigned as a foreign policy advisor to Sen. Barack Obama" this afternoon. Her calling Hillary a "monster" did matter, it was off sides -- both for a future Secretary of State as well as for a professor at Harvard. It's a shame Obama still lacks the leadership to take control of his campaign -- that would have required firing Power. Instead she resigned indicating that he's unable to run a campaign as well as unable to tell the truth. Power -- who also went to work for Obama in 2005 when he was first elected to the US Senate (November 2004) -- also had to deal with the BBC interview she'd given. Barack Obama has not promised to pull ALL troops out of Iraq in 16 months. He has promised the American people that "combat" troops would be removed. But promises, promises (as Dionne Warwick once sang) . . .

Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?

Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009. We can't even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.

Which would mean Mr. Pretty Speeches has been lying to the American people. (Add the "AGAIN!")

Her rise was swift, her fall even faster. Our Modern Day Carrie Nations took part in the "Bring the troops home and send them to Darfur" nonsense. [For more on that nutso crowd, see Julie Hollar's "
The Humanitarian Tempatation" (Extra!).] Despite presenting herself recently as against the Iraq War from the start, the public record has never backed that up. But it is true that she wanted wars in Africa and was selling them under "humanitarian" guise. "Stop the killing!" she cried but if she really wanted to stop the killing, she might have tried to speak out against the ongoing genocide in Iraq (which has also produced the largest refugee crisis in the world). She didn't care about that. Probably because it demonstrates that sending armed forces in is not an answer. Again, if Barack Obama had any leadership abilities, he would have announced today that he fired his longterm advisor. He did not, she resigned. (She foolishly doesn't grasp that this is her Alexander Haig moment and there is no comeback.) Power was not a campaigner, she was a high level, longterm foreign policy advisor being groomed to be the next Secretary of State. As Krissah Williams (Washington Post) notes, Senator Clinton's response to Power's BBC interview was to note Power's agreement that Obama's pledge to have "combat" troops out in 16 months was never more than a "best-case scenario". Hillary Clinton: "Senator Obama has made his speech opposing Iraq in 2002 and the war in Iraq the core of his campaign, which makes these comments especially troubling. While Senator Obama campaigns on his [pledge] to end the war, his top advisers tell people abroad that he will not rely on his own plan should he become president. This is the latest example of promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another. You saw this with NAFTA as well."

The Clinton camp didn't call it out Tom-Tom?

March 8th, one day after the news broke, the Clinton campaign issued "MEMO: Obama's Iraq Plan: Just Words:"

Once again, it looks like Senator Obama is telling voters one thing while his campaign says those words should not be mistaken for serious action. After months of speeches from Senator Obama promising a hard end date to the Iraq war, his top foreign policy adviser that counseled his campaign during that period is on the record saying that Senator Obama will 'not rely on some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator. Voters already have serious questions about whether Senator Obama is ready to be Commander-in-Chief. Now there are questions about whether he's seriou about the Iraq plan he's discussed for the last year on the campaign trail.
Senator Obama has made hard end dates about Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign and has repeatedly attacked Senator Clinton for not being clear about her intentions with regard to troop withdrawal.
It turns out those attacks and speeches were just words. And if you can't trust Senator Obama's words, what's left?

Want to try lying again, Tom-Tom? They immediately sprung into action. (And that one release wasn't all they did. We'll note at least one more thing but they hit on it. It was the failure of our 'left' media -- Goodman, et al -- to cover the story that kept it from getting traction.)

Where was Panhandle Media? Tom-Tom, we know where you were. C.I. outlined it in the same snapshot:

Meanwhile Tom Hayden again offers Barack advice from the heart, from love. At Common Dreams, Hayden feels that, "The only policy difference favoring Obama that goes straight to the issue of 'experience' is Iraq. It no longer is enough that Obama opposed the war five years ago, especially if it appears that there are no differences between the candidates now. For whatever reason, Obama has allowed Clinton to appear to take an identical stand on the war. Is that true? Or is it time for Obama to issue a further clarification of his position separating him from both Clinton and McCain? The peace movement and media can play a role here." Tom then asks, "Does Clinton propose a timetable for withdrawing combat troops, like Obama does?" Apparently Tom missed Sammy's interview -- Obama has no proposal. As Sammy notes, things change, who can say? Should we expect Hayden's endorsement of Hillary anytime soon? Or will he again plan to 'represent' the peace movement by covering for the 'anti-war' candidate -- one whose own foreign policy advisor (she was that when she gave the interview) informs is saying words he'd not planning to live up to?

The Washington Post was blogging it (they would also do an article on it), the Clinton campaign was issuing a statement (they would later issue this release), Boston Globe offered Peter Canellos' "Comments raise questions about Obama, his advisers" and where was Panhandle Media? Covering for Barack.

You did. 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.

Over at Mother Jones, David CornNuts kind-of sort of covered it (as C.I. noted March 10th) huffing ("An Ugly Moment for the Clinton Campaign," March 10th) that the campaign "took the unusual step of convening a second conference call of the day for reporters. And it was a sorry spectacle." (CornNuts, you went nuts.) Davey C writes "the Clintonites pounced on the comments" -- comments, pay attention Tom Hayden -- that Davey C immediately dismissed: "In other words, a campaign proposal is just that: a proposal. And only a fool would think that a military plan would be applied to reality unchaged a year after it was first devised." That's what happened Tommy Hayden -- AS YOU DAMN WELL KNOW -- Panhandle Media mainly ignored it and then the CornNuts crowd excused it and attacked Hillary for raising the issue. They lied repeatedly and we can outline that (mainly because we already have -- starting with John Nichols' LIE that Samantha Power and Hillary knew each other very well when Power told Charlie Rose they'd only met once). C.I. led on this at The Common Ills, but we all called it out at community sites and we didn't do it for one day or one week. We stayed on the story. The one Tom Hayden couldn't bother to write about until July 4th -- even though it took place March 7th. The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and others in the MSM did cover it and the response was silence from 'independent' media and attacks from the Barack groupies in comments and e-mails to the outlets.

Let's remember that you had time to tell the world that your current wife "screamed" when Hillary was on TV. You had time to write that sexist hogwash. (So bad even Katha Pollitt had to call you out.) But you didn't have time to write about what Power said about the non-promise. You weren't concerned. What you were concerned with -- and this goes for all the trash in Panhandle Media -- was in destroying Hillary, attacking her, distorting her and spit-polishing Barack.

Tom, this isn't the days of the Red Family. Whereas back then (as Elaine and C.I. well remember), you could be kicked out for your disgusting sexism and, shortly after, attempt to rewrite it (which didn't work a great deal better than your stint at the Blue Fairyland worked out), you can't get away so easy today.

January 28th, at The Nation (online), you contributed "Endorsing Obama" and, along with your attack on Gloria Steinem (whom you've always hated), you got off this tickler: "Nor do I like the role being played by President Bill Clinton, who is telling lies about Iraq and about Obama that are unbecoming to a former President." What was Tom-Tom talking about? We covered Bill Clinton's comments in real time. The first time in this community was the January 9th "Iraq snapshot." Surprised that they were still being blown off, C.I. immediately noted them in the January 10th snapshot and provided links to what Bill was referring to:

"But since you raised the judgment issue, let's go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. 'It doesn't matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I'm the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.' ""First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn't co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way."
"Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, 'Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your website in 2004* and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since?' Give me a break.

"This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen...So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?"

"Or what about the Obama hand out that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook? Scouring me, scathing criticism, over my financial reports. Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon."So, you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want. It wasn't his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly that we didn't do better in Iowa. But you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that's in the media, doesn't mean the facts aren't out there."

Those are the remarks that, on January 28th, Tom-Tom accused Bill Clinton of "telling lies about Iraq". Bill wasn't lying. And guess what?

On the Fourth of July, Tom-Tom showed up hoping no one would remember he called Bill Clinton a liar. He wrote:

As I pointed out in Ending the War in Iraq [2007], Obama's 2002 speech opposed the coming war with Iraq as "dumb", while avoiding what position he would take once the war was underway. Then he wrote of almost changing his position from anti- to pro-war after a trip to Iraq. He never took as forthright a position as Senator Russ Feingold, among others. Then he adopted the safe, nonpartisan formula of the Baker-Hamilton Study Group, which advocated the withdrawal of combat troops while leaving thousands of American counter-terrorism units, advisers and trainers behind.

Yeah, Tom Hayden, you did do that in 2007. In 2007, when Barack was insulting you personally ("Tom Hayden Democrats"), you did point out a few flaws. Then you jumped on the bandwagon and, not only did you jump on, you threw stones at people telling the truth. Bill Clinton was once such person. Again Tom-Tom, this doesn't disappear. This isn't, for example, 1969 (which hasn't disappeared either) and you can't just rewrite history. You can't show up on the 4th of July, reference something you did in 2007, and think that wipes away all that you did in 2008. It's not that easy.

You covered for Barack. You attacked Hillary. You attacked Bill. When they called Barack out on the Iraq War, you attacked. Over and over. You participated in that 'ridiculous' KPFA two-hour post-debate 'analysis' with all the other Barack endorses who didn't think the audience had a right to know that these media critics were all in the tank for Barack, had all endorsed him publicly.

This doesn't go away. And Iraqi blood? It's not going to wash off your hands. No matter how many damn lies you to tell. Please note, we're not underestimating your ability to lie non-stop, we're just saying there aren't enough lies for you to wipe the blood away. When you ran interference for the Barack campaign, when you lied for them, when you attacked the Clinton campaign falsely, you enlisted in the continuation of the illegal war. It will not be forgotten.

For "E-mail to An Old Sell Out," see "THIS JUST IN! TEACHING 'PROGRESSIVES' TO READ!" & "Teaching 'progressives'."

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