Sunday, June 21, 2015

Truest statement of the week

In recent days Hillary has come out for same day voter registration and voting, and easing back onerous ID requirements many states have instituted to deliberately exclude millions of perfectly legal citizens from the polls. Good. She says there ought to be national standards for voting machines and a national standard of no less than 20 days of early voting that include evenings and weekends. Also good.
But this is about as far as Hillary will go on this. In the familiar tradition of encouraging Democrat base voters to believe hopeful things their presidential candidate will not actually say, Sean McElwee baldly asserts that candidate Hillary favors the rollback of felony disenfranchisement. Maybe she does. But since she hasn't said so herself, that makes McElwee a pandering liar.

Maybe Salon's fact checkers were out sipping latte that morning.

-- Bruce A. Dixon, "Way Too Little, But Not Too Late: Hillary & Dems Fake the Funk on Voting Rights" (Black Agenda Report).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.  First, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Bruce Dixon gets another truest.
The most under-reported revelation of the week.
Ava and C.I. tackle Mistresses and Brian Williams.
A question worth asking.
Zeke Miller gets it.
We go healthy -- and live to regret it.

Lester Holt.
At least Angelina Jolie cares. 
What we listened to.
Sherwood Ross.

David DeGraw.
Press release from Tammy Baldwin's office.

And that's what we came up with.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Barack's actually trying to ramp up the Iraq War

Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing during which one witness, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, let slip the reality of Barack Obama's plan for Iraq.

President Obama gives lip service to the need for a "political solution" while insisting there is no military answer but, in fact, he really wants a full blown war -- he just doesn't want it carried out by US forces.

Ranking Member Adam Smith: The Chairman and I met last week with the Sunni leader of the Iraqi Parliament [Salim al-Jabouri] and one of the things he said during our meeting that surprised me a little bit as we were talking about the difficulty of getting support from the Baghdad government and sort of shifting focus to where could the Sunnis in that path sort of from Anbar up into Syria where ISIL is most dominant and he expressed disappointment, frankly, that the other Gulf states -- Saudi Arabia, UAE -- or even Turkey, to go up north.  It did not seem to really be willing to provide much support -- uhm, even Jordan as well -- uhm, for the Sunnis in that area.  Uhm, number one is do you agree with that assessment?  I tend to take this guy at his word.  Uhm, and number two, why?  Uhm, it would seem to me that defeating ISIL is something that would be very important to Saudi Arabia -- amongst the others there.  Why aren't they doing more, uh, to help those groups that want to resist ISIS in that part of Iraq and Syria? 

Secretary Ash Carter:  That's a critical question and it goes back to something that you said in your opening statement about other Sunnis and Arab forces countering ISIL.  And I too met with Mr. Jabouri last-last week who said the same thing  and I think he was speaking on behalf of a number of the Sunni forces -- political forces in western Iraq who would like to see more support and recognize -- as I think you noted and the Chairman noted in the operning statements -- that Americans and westerners  are, uh -- can lead and enable but if they get too high a profile that becomes a problem in its own right.

Ranking Member Adam Smith:  Exactly.

Secretary Ash Carter:  Therefore all the more reason to get others uh, uh involved -- Sunnis involved in the fight.  Now the-the head -- one thing I'll note is the heads of state of the GCC were here in Washington and we went to Camp David -- about three weeks ago.  And I would say that this was one of the major themes of our conversation with them.  The other one being, to get them back to what the Chairman said checking Iranian malign influence which they're also concerned about.  Their concern about ISIL is genuine but their actions, I think, can be greatly strengthened.  And that was one of the principle things that we talked about, getting - leading them in the train and equip program --

Ranking Member Adam Smith:  But again --

Secretary Ash Carter:  Sorry?

Ranking Member Adam Smith:  Yeah, I got all that.  But why?  Why isn't -- What, in your opinion, having worked with these people, why isn't it happening?

Secretary Ash Carter:  Well  one reason is that they simply lack the capacity and so we talked a lot about building special operations forces that had counter -- as opposed to air forces.  We have enough air forces.  We're looking for ground forces. 

"We're looking for ground forces."

That's not a political solution.

Nor is it an end to the war.


For additional reporting on the hearing, see:

  • Iraq snapshot
  • Barack wants Gulf states to send ground troops int...

  • Iraq snapshot
  • TV: Brian Williams joins the cast of Mistresses

    ABC's summer hit (thus far) Mistresses returned Thursday night with two back-to-back episodes.  And NBC's Today, more or less, unintentionally saluted the program the following morning.

    But before we get to that, can Mistresses survive in season three?


    Alyssa Milano was the name who drew in viewers from the start.

    Season two found her character Savi largely sidelined as the show attempted to conceal Milano's real life pregnancy but Savi remained a force on the show and continued to be the glue that kept all four women -- Savi, her sister Jos (Jes Macallan), the wacky Dr. Karen Kim (Yunjin Kim) and April (Rochelle Aytes) together.

    Alyssa served an additional purpose.

    As every storyline went over the top, as one ridiculous and outrageous moment piled on top of another, there was Alyssa -- not just the rock everyone could depend upon but also the focal point for viewers.

    This is Phoebe from Charmed, this is Samantha who the country saw grow up (in real time or in syndication) on Who's The Boss? and that's nothing minor.

    Without Alyssa, the show honestly seems trashy.

    Jennifer Esposito has joined the cast.

    Stan's "Mistresses returns (Jos puts Harry on hold, Karen is suddenly interested in medical ethics)" and Ruth's "Mistresses (Savi's gone, April's got a new beau)" continued their long running coverage of the show and there was a sense of been-there-done-that as they wrote about season three's kick off.

    Ruth noted:

    Jennifer Esposito has joined the show as Calista Raines.
    She is an actress.
    By that, I mean she can act.
    She is not someone who embarrasses herself.
    But that said, she may be too much of an actress for this series.
    Thus far, in her limited bits (mainly with Joss), she is not gelling.
    This may change quickly.
    But right now, it is as though Dynasty cast Vanessa Redgrave as Alexis and not Joan Collins.

    And with Esposito bringing realism (or comparative realism) into her scenes the fluff factor is gone.

    Alyssa left the show because the decision was made to film season three in Canada instead of Los Angeles.  Stan points out that the look of the show has suffered and that actors now are badly lit, badly framed and look haggard.

    We agree and would argue that's why Esposito's Calista -- an alleged high priced fashion designer -- looks like a bag lady.

    There's a thin line between camp and vulgar and Mistresses has crossed it -- probably most infamously when Karen, April and Jos attended a funeral service at a church and Jos pulled out a chicken leg from her purse and began eating only to toss it aside under pressure from the other two while insisting there was nothing wrong with her action because it was Church's Chicken.

    In the lighter, frothier, LA-based Alyssa version, they might have been able to pull off that scene but with the poorly lit and badly shot Canadian version, the whole thing just seemed grotesque.

    The only scene that really worked in the two back-to-back episodes was early in episode one where Karen and April were hitting the booze hard and Jos joined them as they all confessed to their actions and poor judgment.


    Karen Kim, a psychologist, has slept with (and mercy killed) one patient, slept with the dead patient's son, slept with a patient's boyfriend . . .

    We'll stop there.

    But she's should have lost her license to practice a long time ago.

    Only on Mistresses, right?

    Well, not quite.

    "Distortions," Matt Lauer's term, led to a six month suspension (still ongoing) for NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and, last week, the announcement that Lester Holt would be the permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News while Brian Williams would move over to ratings-challenged and fact-free MSNBC.

    "Distortions" was Matt's word for lies.

    At CNN, Poynter Institute's Al Tompkins explained it this way:

    After questions arose regarding the accuracy of Williams' statements, NBC News assigned its top investigative producer to wade through his past and discover exaggerations and misstatements he has made on "Dateline NBC," "NBC Nightly News" and a range of late-night comedy shows, public appearances and radio talk shows. But NBC is keeping its findings to itself and is only saying that yes, they found inaccuracies in what Williams had said, but that most of those statements were not made on news programs.  

    Introducing his chat session with Brian Williams, Matt Lauer insisted, "We both agreed there would be no conditions or guidelines on this interview."

    Who needs guidelines or conditions when you've got Aunty Matt in full sob-sister role?

    Matt Lauer:  What have these past five months been like for you?

    Brian Williams:  Uh, it has been, uhm, torture. Looking back, it has been absolutely necessary.  Uhm, I have discovered a lot of things.  I have been listening to and watching the what amount to the black box recordings of my career.  I've gone back through everything -- basically 20 years of public utterances.

    Matt Lauer:  Why?  Did you have doubts about some of the things you've said over the years?

    Brian Williams:  I was reading these newspaper stories not liking the person I was reading about, wanting -- I would have given anything to get to the end of the story and it be about someone else but it was about me.  These statements I made, I own this, I own up to this and I had to go through and see and try to figure out how it happened.

    Matt Lauer: You're family, man, personally what have these five months been like?

    [Alternate reading, "You're a family man.  Personally what have these five months been like?"]

    Brian Williams:  Uh, it has been, uh, a time of realization, trying to find out in me, what changed.  You know, in our work, I have always treated words very carefully.

    Oh, do shut up.

    It's hard to know who was more pathetic -- the liar Brian Williams or the idiot Matt Lauer.

    Neither used the term lie.

    They were as 'compassionate' with one another as Karen, April and Jos.

    No judgment, one said at one point since April had lied to her daughter about everything (including about her daughter's father being dead), since Karen had her whole ethics issues and since Jos was caught at what was supposed to be her wedding to Scott instead making out on the beach with her brother-in-law Harry.

    No judgment.

    And while Matt Lauer didn't pour red or white wine for Brian Williams, he did offer him a judgment free zone.

    But, here's the thing, Brian wasn't sitting in Matt's living room.

    He was making his first appearance on TV since his punishment (demoted to MSNBC) had been announced -- his demotion that resulted from his lying.



    Two terms that were never used by Matt Lauer or Brian Williams in the interview.

    The interview also never addressed the lies themselves.

    Lauer never asked, for example, "How could you claim you saw a dead body floating in the streets when you didn't?  Why should we trust you now?"

    Instead, it was all, 'How do you feel, little buddy? How did you cope?'

    And Brian stuck to crap about how he treats words seriously.

    Brian is a liar.

    If he's going to go on NBC, he needs to be asked about his lies.

    Or does Matt Lauer also share a secret need to be the new host of The Tonight Show?

    David Bauder (AP) noted the only honest moment in the exchange, "By the end of Friday's televised portion of the interview, a line of perspiration ran down Williams' face."

    On Media Buzz with Howard Kurtz Sunday, Kurtz discussed Williams' lies and demotions with TV critic David Zurawik (Baltimore Sun).

    Dave Zurawik: And that's the point, Howie, a lie is a lie and a liar is a liar.  That's why I said banish him.  All of this other stuff?  You know that statement from NBC saying 'Well most of it --

    Howard Kurtz:  Right.

    Dave Zurawik (Con't): -- he didn't say on the air on NBC platforms'?  No, it's still a lie.  I mean the moral reasoning here is so tortured, that you have to wonder why would NBC not just end their relationship with him?

    Good question.

    And as two who have heard the whispers throughout the suspension, we're also aware that NBC execs were actually hoping that when Williams was told he wouldn't be going back as anchor of Nightly News (he screamed, he threatened and, yes, he cried) but instead would be demoted all the way to MSNBC, that Williams would use the words "I quit."

    They needed him to use that word to be off the hook for the new contract they'd signed him to right before this scandal developed.

    If he had responded, "I quit," NBC would have been off the hook.

    There are still some who hope he will be too humiliated to continue.

    But at present, Williams -- like a cheap whore -- will do any humiliating act if it means he gets paid.

    Last week, two big programming notes were revealed.  Nightly News can, in fact, survive without Brian Williams but Mistresses appears doomed without Alyssa Milano.

    Why does Disney hate Bette Midler?

    Splash was probably Disney's first adult film, certainly the first one to be a hit.  In 1984, Disney's Touchstone Pictures took off with this Daryl Hannah hit but it was another performer who would go on to become Touchstone's biggest star:  Bette Midler.


    In 1985, she signed a non-exclusive contract with Touchstone and kicked the deal off with 1986's Down and Out in Beverly Hills.  This hit was followed by the hits Ruthless People, Outrageous Fortune, Big Business and Beaches.

    Beaches actually was a blockbuster and an evergreen -- in the home video business an evergreen is a film that constantly provides fees from rentals and purchases.

    But those films, spread out loosely over five years, were all box office hits in real time.

    Bette would make other live action films for Disney including her final one, 1993's cult classic Hocus Pocus.  Jeffrey Katzenberg was the executive she worked with and he left Disney in 1994 (to form DreamWorks SKG with David Geffen and Steven Spielberg).

    If Katzenberg were still at Disney, would we have a boxed set?

    Go into any Target or WalMart and you'll find a DVD collection of four or five films by Jim Carey, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Sandra Bullock or others.

    But you won't find a five film collection by Bette.

    You won't find any Disney collection featuring Bette.

    Their work with Bette, their huge success with Bette, allowed Touchstone to sign similar deals with Whoopi Goldberg (resulting in the huge hit Sister Act) and Goldie Hawn (who they desperately wanted while Katzenberg was at Disney but who they didn't know what to do with once they signed her).

    As Disney focuses on one comic book hero film after another these days, it's very easy to forget that it was comedy that made Touchstone and that stars like Bette, Danny DeVito, Richard Dreyfuss, Whoopi, Robin Williams, Barbara Hershey and others that thrilled audiences.  Just like it's easy to forget that their last huge comedy hit was 2009's The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds which, made on a $40 million budget, brought in $317.4 million in ticket sales.

    As they slash and burn their way through one comic book after another, Disney would do well to remember they used to be able to make a Tin Man or a Beaches and maybe they should give that another try?

    At present, the refusal to turn a profit off of Bette's hits by releasing some form of collection looks like more than a bad business decision, it reads like a company in denial about how it sold tickets in the first place.

    Tweet of the week

    1. O'Malley today: "The entire world must think us mad—sending trillions to Afghanistan&Iraq while the casualties pile up here"

  • From The TESR Test Kitchen

    We love our sweets, as previous TESR pieces demonstrate repeatedly.

    But every now and then we do try to consume something supposedly good for you.

    This go round, that led us to sample Bolthouse Farms' Daily Greens.

    daily greens

    Available in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores, the bottle boasts "2  3/4 servings of fruit and veggies per bottle."


    Sounds good so far.

    On another panel, it insists:


    1/4 CUP CELERY

    All that and in a bottle?

    At the website they bill it this way:

    Maybe you don’t have time to sit down for a salad. Maybe you like using straws whenever possible. Whatever the case, we’ve juiced some kale, spinach, cucumbers and romaine lettuce and put them all into our Daily Greens. It’s got tons of Vitamins A, C, B6 and B12, plus a touch of lemon to brighten things up.

    It all seems wonderful, doesn't it?

    Boasting only 130 calories in the 11 ounce bottle, it promises 140% of your daily required Vitamin A, and 150% of your daily required Vitamin C as well as 70% Iron, 45% Vitamin K, 70% Zinc, etc.

    But here's the thing -- it tastes awful.

    This is not a V8.

    This is a thick product that honestly induces your gag reflex.

    Six of us tossed it immediately.  Ava and C.I. managed to drink the entire thing but by doing a sip every half hour (put it in the fridge between sips, this has to remain refrigerated).  Only vegetarian Jess was able to down it in one sitting untouched.  Jim added sea salt to it -- it needs flavor -- and was able to slam it down.

    It's great that Bolthouse Farms has a drink that is so nutritious.

    It's too bad it's not also tasty.

    Recommended only for those who want to promote the myth that vegetables have to taste bad.

    Winner of the week

    Editorial: The silence on the AUMF

    Brian Williams moves into further disgrace as he's reassigned to MSNBC and Lester Holt?

    He's now the permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News and the winner for the week.


    Illustration is  Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Nightly News Fill In."


    As the world's refugee crisis continues to grow, one person doesn't ignore the problem.


    That's Angelina Jolie,  actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador.  Saturday, she visited  Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Turkey.

     She and Antonio Guterres (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) also met with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey.

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issued the following:

    UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt has been commemorating World Refugee Day with Syrian refugees in Turkey, which has overtaken Pakistan to become the world's largest refugee-hosting nation with more than 1.77 million in urban areas and government-run camps.
    The Special Envoy and UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres also met Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to thank him and his people for the country's generosity towards Syrian and Iraqis refugees and to discuss the challenges that Turkey and other host nations face, and their need for support.
    In her capacity as co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, Jolie Pitt also raised her work on women's rights and the global campaign against sexual violence in conflict. Later, while visiting the Midyat Refugee Camp in Mardin, south-eastern Turkey, she made a powerful World Refugee Day call for more action to prevent conflict and support refugees. Her statement follows:
    "We are here for a simple reason: This region is at the epicentre of a global crisis. Nearly 60 million people are displaced from their homes. That is one in every 122 people on our planet. Our world has never been richer or healthier or more advanced. Yet never before have so many people been dispossessed and stripped of their basic human rights. We should call this what it is: not just a "refugee crisis," but a crisis of global security and governance, that is manifesting itself in the worst refugee crisis ever recorded and a time of mass displacement.
    "The greatest single source of these massive refugee flows is Syria. In the space of four years, Turkey has become the country with the largest number of refugees anywhere in the world, with 1.8 million displaced Syrian and Iraqis. Lebanon, where I was yesterday, is hosting an even greater density of displaced people: every fourth person in Lebanon is now a Syrian
    refugee. People are running out of places to run to. If you are an Iraqi or a Syrian fleeing violence, where do you go? Every border country is being pushed beyond its limits.
    "That is why we see so many dying at sea. It is not a "new trend," it is a result of those fleeing country after country and finding no safe place. These are not economic migrants looking for a better life, these are desperate refugees who are fleeing war and persecution. The average stay in a refugee camp is 17 years. Think of your own life. Think of what that would mean. For many, it is their entire childhood. During displacement you might be able to get an education, or continue your education. But very likely, you will not.
    "As a refugee, you cannot legally work in a host country. So your skills and education will dull over those long years and your much-needed contribution will be lost. As a refugee you learn how the world feels about you. You know if your suffering causes outrage and compassion or if it is mostly ignored. Familes like the six young people I met yesterday, living in Lebanon without parents, on half food rations and paying US$100 a month to live in a tent because UNHCR does not have the funds or capability to take full care of everyone they know.
    "We should see this time in displacement as the time where we should take the most care, and give the most support. Not because they are vulnerable, but because in fact they are the
    future stability of all the countries we say we are so concerned about. So my first message is that it is due time for people to respect the plight of refugees and see their value. We must protect them, and invest in them. They are not a problem, they are part of the solution to this global crisis. They are the potential for the rebuilding and restabilization of countries.
    "But second, even more than this, I plead to the international community and leaders of the world to recognize what this moment in mass human displacement means. This is not just another day. This World Refuge Day marks some frightening truths about our inability to manage international crisis about our inability to broker peace and find lasting solutions.
    Today as happened every day on average last year over 40,000 people will be forced from their homes. And it will be the same tomorrow. And the next day. And every day after that, if this political inertia continues.
    "It is hard to point to a single instance where as an international community we are decisively addressing the root causes of refugee flows. Displacement is multiplying because the wars don't end, and countries emerging from conflict don't get the support they need. We handle crises by discussing either boots on the ground or aid relief. The global crisis is showing us that this narrow view of dealing with conflict is wrong and ineffective. UNHCR, along with other UN and NGO agencies, cannot be expected to manage the chaos of a population the size of France displaced.
    "I have spent the last 14 years among the UNHCR staff. I know their dedication. Even love for refugees. I have also seen them overwhelmed and emotional over the last few years. They and other UN agencies and NGOs are filling a gap left by the international community. We are past the breaking point. The answer to a world crisis like this is not how many financial
    appeals can be met. Or in truth, by what percentage they can be met. I am of course grateful for the funds countries have contributed even if they are not enough to meet all the needs.
    But I say to those countries, your job is not to fund displacement but to prevent it. To end it.
    "Displacement at 60 million is a sign of our inability to work together as a community, to apply all our laws and uses our collective institutions effectively. To live by our standards and keep our word. There is an explosion of human suffering and displacement on a level that has never been seen before, and it cannot be manage by aid relief, it must be managed by diplomacy and law. This is a central problem. We cannot pick and choose which human rights violations we will and won't tolerate.
    "We have the tools we need the resolutions, the doctrines, the conventions, the courts. But if these tools are misused, inconsistently applied or applied in a self-serving way, we will continue on this trend of displacement and it will grow and grow. It is inhumane to expect all of these families to tolerate this kind of life. We all know what needs to be done, we must do better. And it is self-evident that we have to start with Syria.
    "I call, again, on the United Nations Security Council: Send your ministers and ambassadors here. Witness this crisis for yourself. See that it simply cannot go on. And that it is past time
    for a credible plan to reach a political solution to end the conflict. I thank the people of Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan for their generosity, and all host countries. To all the families here, and around our world, marking this Holy Month, I say, "Ramadan Kareem." And I pay tribute to refugees themselves the people we rightly celebrate today, not only here in Turkey but around the world. Thank you."

    This edition's playlist


    1) Steve Grand's All American Boy.

    2)  Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines.

    4)  Bruno Mars' Doo Wops & Hooligans.

    5) The Doors' The Doors.

    6) Brian Wilson's Brian Wilson.

    7) Carly Simon's Anticipation.

    9)  Fleetwood Mac's Tusk.

    10)  Sam Smith's The Lonely Hour.

    Obama versus Hersh: Who's Telling the Truth? (Sherwood Ross)

    Obama Versus Hersh: Who's Telling The Truth?

    By Sherwood Ross

    Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has charged in the London Review of Books that the White House narrative of the May 2, 2011, killing of the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, is largely "false." 

    In a 10,000-word account, Hersh wrote that when bin Laden was slain by U.S. Navy Seals he had been a prisoner of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency(ISI) since 2006 and that top Pakistani military officials knew of the raid in advance and were complicit in bin Laden's execution by removing their guards from his compound and ensuring airspace access for attacking U.S. helicopters. 

    President Obama said bin Laden and two of his men were killed in the firefight during the raid, as well as a bin Laden wife used as a human shield. He added that "no Americans were harmed." (It's a rather strange "firefight" when all the dead and wounded are on one side.)

    Moreover, the idea that bin Laden was killed when he resisted the assault force, suggests that the ISI guards allowed their prisoner and his aides to have weapons, also dubious. And the U.S. claim that Obama was not an ISI captive is undercut by the location of bin Laden's compound, in a Pakistan military and intelligence community.

    ISI was holding bin Laden hostage, threatening Taliban and al-Qaida leadership with turning him over to the U.S. if they ran operations contrary to ISI interests, Hersh said.

    "Some of the Seals were appalled later at the White House's initial insistence that they had shot bin Laden in self-defense," a Hersh source told him. "Six of the Seals' finest, most experienced NCOs, faced with an unarmed elderly civilian, had to kill him in self-defense?" the source scoffed.
    Hersh pointed out that "The White House press corps was told in a briefing shortly after Obama's announcement that the death of bin Laden was 'the culmination of years of careful and highly advanced intelligence work,'" when, in fact, the U.S. learned of his whereabouts from a walk-in informer. This man was an ex-Pakistani intelligence officer "who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the U.S…"

    Then there's the matter of Obama's alleged burial at sea. Although Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette said the funeral service followed "traditional procedures for Islamic burial," Hersh pointed out "there was no indication of who washed and wrapped the body, or of which Arabic speaker conducted the service."

    What's more, the Navy refused to make the carrier's log of daily events available to reporters and skipper Bruce Lindsey told them he was unable to discuss the burial. And Rear Admiral Samuel Perez, commander of the carrier group's strike force, told reporters "the crew had been ordered not to talk about the burial." Sound a bit fishy? Maybe that's because two "longtime consultants" to Special Operations Command(SOC) told Hersh,"the funeral aboard the Carl Vinson didn't take place." 

    Over and again, we find the Administration ordering its officials not to talk about the raid. As Hersh pointed out, every member of the Seals hit team and some members of the Joint SOC leadership "were presented with a nondisclosure form drafted by the White House's legal office; it promised civil penalties and a lawsuit for anyone who discussed the mission, in public or private."   

    Readers attempting to decide which account of bin Laden's death to believe might also consider that the Administration shifted its story on key points.

    "Within days (of the raid)," Hersh said, "some of the early exaggerations and distortions had become obvious and the Pentagon issued a series of clarifying statements. No, bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed. And no, bin Laden did not use one of his wives as a shield." The fact that bin Laden had no weapons adds strength to the argument he was an ISI prisoner, not a free man shielded by guards bristling with guns. 

    White House National Security spokesman Ned Price, brushed off the Hersh article with, "There are too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one." (So how many did he fact check?) And a CIA official dismissed the Hersh account as "utter nonsense." (This from an agency with a track record for lying stretching from Viet Nam to Iraq.)

    In point of fact, while Obama has built a reputation for lying and breaking his promises, Hersh has a reputation for honesty and repertorial excellence. He won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the My Lai massacre story in 1969. He's also won two National Magazine awards and five coveted Polk awards.
    Plus UK's prestigious George Orwell Award for political writing.

    By contrast, numerous observers have concluded that President Obama lies systematically to the public. Attorney John Whitehead, President of the non-profit Rutherford Institute, of Charlottesville, Va., a defender of civil liberties, writes:

    "When it comes to the NSA, Obama has been lying to the American people for quite some time now. There was the time he claimed the secret FISA court is 'transparent.' Then he insisted that 'we don’t have a domestic spying program.' And then, to top it all off, he actually insisted there was no evidence the NSA was 'actually abusing' its power." 

    Pacifist writer David Swanson, author of "War No More: The Case for Abolition," found no fewer than "45 lies" in Obama's September 24, 2013, speech to the United Nations. Just one example: Obama said, "we have ...worked to end a decade of war." 

    To the contrary, Swanson says, "Obama expanded the war on Afghanistan. Obama expanded... drone wars. Obama has increased global U.S. troop presence, global U.S. weapons sales, and the size of the world's largest military. He's put 'special' forces into many countries, waged a war on Libya, and pushed for an attack on Syria. How does all of this 'end a decade of war'?" 

    We also need to consider how much Obama had to gain if he could show voters he could "get" bin Laden. In his 2012 re-election bid, the Obama campaign milked the bin Laden slaying for all it was worth, even making a video narrated by actor Tom Hanks about it. The "Huffington Post's" Ben Feller at the time wrote an article headlined, "Obama Campaign Using Osama Bin Laden Killing As 2012 Campaign Tool."

    If the Hersh account is accurate, and bin Laden was unarmed, it begs the larger question of why the Pentagon ordered an elite unit to assault his compound with guns blazing when he could have been taken prisoner? Isn't there a question or two the American people might have liked to ask bin Laden about the 9/11 massacre?  

    In retrospect, the Obama White House achieved its goals. President Obama improved his re-election chances by killing bin Laden rather than bringing him to justice, even if he had to stamp out the truth to do it. In the process, he fixed things so the Seals can't talk,  the sailors can't talk, the admirals can't talk and, above all, Osama bin Laden can't talk.  *** 

    (Sherwood Ross, a Miami public relations executive, formerly reported for the Chicago Daily News and contributed regular news columns to two major wire services. In the Sixties he was a media director for a major civil rights organization and has won awards for his reporting and his poetry.)

    We Declare The US Government Illegitimate, Agenda For Peaceful Transition (David DeGraw)

    David DeGraw notes:

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    Online version #ExitMedia

    Here's 2 major announcements!!

    1) This is the most important piece that I have ever taken part in writing. Much gratitude to all who participated in the process. You can add your thoughts before the voting period begins in September. Here is the "Agenda For Peaceful Transition."

    We Declare The US Government Illegitimate, Agenda For Peaceful Transition

    We are announcing this preliminary draft of an agenda to restore accountability and set the conditions for a peaceful transition to a legitimate political process that represents the interests of the people. +Read More

    2) The website that this agenda is published on may very well be the most revolutionary act I've ever made. You can be one of the first to sign up and give it a test drive!!
    Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!
    Enjoy your weekend.
    The rEvolution begins!!!!!!!

    Support Grows for Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act



    Senator Tammy Baldwin's office issued the following:

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