Sunday, August 10, 2014

Media: Barack Lies, Cher Tweets and Martha Plays (Ava and C.I.)

Barack made a hugely controversial statement last week, a game changing type of statement.  In a functioning media, his attempt to create a new narrative would have been rebuked and, yes, even mocked.  But there is no functioning media in the US.

Martha Raddatz seemed bound and determined to establish that as she hosted This Week today.  ABC News is quickly becoming the biggest joke -- including the online decision to 'embargo' news programming (not just Revenge and Scandal) and prevent non-cable and dish subscribers from seeing it for over a week -- and Martha certainly did her part Sunday morning to ensure that David Gregory and Meet The Press had a fighting chance.

Opening with Iraq, she flaunted her extreme ignorance as she spent less than a minute with Jonathan Karl (and video of Barack speaking), less than a minute with The Wall Street Journal's Matt Bradley (on the ground in Iraq) and  approximately two minutes with retired General Carter Ham and former US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill (as well as video from Martha's January interview with current US Ambassador to Iraq Steven Beecroft) and then she rushed off to another story (non-Iraq) in the same opening segment.

There was so much wrong with all the above but, at it's most basic, news is supposed to inform and how Martha's equivalent of bumper stickers and headlines qualified as informing escaped us; however, it did remind us of Joni Mitchell's "Dog Eat Dog:"

Land of snap decisions
Land of short attention spans
Nothing is savored
Long enough to really understand
In every culture in decline
The watchful ones among the slaves
Know all that is genuine will be
Scorned and conned and cast away

And that pretty much describes Martha's opening segment.

Not only did it fail to inform, but her televised checklist included so much lying.

Chris Hill is a joke.

More than any US official except for US President Barack Obama, he's responsible for the current crisis in Iraq which is a response to multiple crises kicked off following the 2010 decision to ignore the Iraqi voters and give Nouri a second term.

Some Barack defenders in Congress insist to us that, in retrospect, Barack could not have demanded Ayad Allawi be made prime minister in 2010 because Allawi's Iraqiya won the 2010 elections.  To make that demand, they insist (today), would have forced Barack into a face off with thug Nouri al-Maliki.  Had Nouri refused to accept an ultimatum from Barack to step down, they insist, Barack would have lost face.

Our reply to that it quite a bit wordy than "whatever."  However, we'll save it for another time.

We'll instead note here that if they want to make that argument, they need to blame Chris Hill.

Hill told Martha, "And frankly speaking, although I think an improvement or the naming of a new prime minister not named Maliki might be helpful, I don't think it's going to in and of itself solve this problem."

Hill would downplay Maliki's importance.

A real journalist would not only know that, would not only expect that.  A real journalist would call it out.


Chris Hill was not just inept, not just manic depressive, he was also a glory hog.

General Ray Odierno was the top US commander in Iraq in 2010.  At the start of that year, with elections approaching (they would take place in early March 2010), Odierno became very concerned that Nouri might lose and might refuse to step down.

Should that take place, what would the US response be?

That did take place.

The US government had no plan in place.


Chris Hill cut Odierno out of the process.  He was miffed that Odierno got press attention and demanded the White House order Odierno to stop granting press interviews so that all media would instead come to Hill.  (For any who might wrongly think the State Dept. was over the US mission in Iraq at that point, they were not.  They take over in October of 2011.  Until then, it was a "joint-mission" that was really led by the Pentagon.)

Odierno didn't mess with politics which Barack's administration misread.  They assumed his focus on the issue, and not politics, stemmed from his taking his post under Bully Boy Bush.  (What they feared of Odierno was actually true of former General David Petraeus, FYI.)

So when Barack-appointee Hill had a conflict with Odierno, they used it as an excuse to cut Ray Odierno out of the process.

Hill was a Nouri groupie, in addition to everything else.

He gave 'progress' reports to the administration that were one sided and dishonest.

As things worsened following the election, Odierno went to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to explain that one of the biggest problems for Iraq currently was US Ambassador Hill.  Gates listened, verified and brought then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into the loop.

At this point, Gates and Clinton met with Barack to inform him that Hill had to go and the White House moved quickly to replace Hill (who lasted only one year and almost two months in the job) with James Jeffrey.

Hill is a failure and most know this -- they know he 'power napped' (under his desk) in the Baghdad Embassy, they know he was manic, they know he regularly spoke of Iraqis as if they were animals -- and that he did this in front of Iraqi embassy workers.  He, in fact, got on so well with Nouri because they both thought so little of the Iraqi people who both men regularly mocked.

Were it not for Hill, Congress supporters of the President can argue, Barack might not have been forced to keep Nouri on in 2010.

Why anyone would book Hill to begin with is a huge question mark but even more shocking is Martha's refusal to pin him down on his (brief) remarks which sought to argue the cause of the problem was not thug Nouri.

Another problem was Matt Bradley.

We have no problem with what he said on the program and we follow his print reporting and have found no real problems with it either.

Our problem with him being on goes to ABC News.

Following the November 2008 elections, ABC News announced its withdrawal from Iraq.

At the time, they insisted to Variety and anyone who listened (few even cared) that this move did not mean ABC news viewers would miss out on Iraq coverage because, they insisted, they would be using BBC News footage to 'cover' Iraq.

It was laughable in real time.

So much so that ABC quickly dropped that idea.

They have no reporters in Iraq.

And, goodness, does it show.

Check out, for contrast, what Bob Schieffer and Face The Nation were able to do this morning as a result of CBS News having Holly Williams in Iraq.

SCHIEFFER: More on the story now from Holly Williams, who is in Irbil this morning -- Holly.

There were four more U.S. airstrikes here last night targeting the armored vehicles and trucks used by ISIS militants, and some of those militants are just 30 miles away from where we are here in the city of Irbil.
Kurdish soldiers from this area are the only ones still fighting ISIS on the ground here in Northern Iraq after Iraqi government soldiers abandoned their posts and ran away in June. The American airstrikes will help those Kurdish fighters in their battle against the militants.
Now, ISIS captured a swathe of territory across Northern Iraq two months ago, extending the borders of what it claims is its own Islamic state. Then, last week, the militants struck again, seizing 15 more towns, a military base and Iraq's biggest damn.

SCHIEFFER: Holly, could the Kurdish forces on their own defeat ISIS if they decide to move on Irbil?

WILLIAMS: Well, Bob, the Kurdish fighters tell us that they're confident that they can defend Irbil, which is their capital. But they say if they are going to push ISIS out of Iraq, then they need the U.S. to give them weapons, because they say they're relying on outdated guns, whereas the militants have American tanks and artillery that they captured from Iraqi government soldiers when they ran away two months ago.

SCHIEFFER: Well, will these airstrikes be enough to actually defeat ISIS?

WILLIAMS: Well, the very limited strikes that we have seen so far won't be enough. But the hope is that they will give Kurdish fighters who everyone is relying on here just a little bit of breathing room.

SCHIEFFER: All right, Holly Williams. Well, be very careful, Holly. Thanks so much.

And while Holly was the only CBS News reporter in Iraq to appear on the morning show, she's not CBS News' only reporter in Iraq.  See, ABC may call it's nightly newscast "World News" but it's not and the attempts to cover 'news' on the cheap is really starting to show.

Let's move over to Cher.

Our intent is not to mock Cher.  We both know her.  We understand this community walked away from her over a Tweet (calling another woman a c**t) and we don't defend the Tweet or pretend it was acceptable or justifiable.

Cher Tweeted about Iraq on the 10th and a number of friends on the left in the entertainment community phoned and e-mailed encouraging us to go after, as one put it, "the Tweeting twit."  (Cher is disliked more than she's liked in the film industry.  We're not saying that's fair, we're just noting she's made a lot of enemies.)

We looked at the Tweets and were relieved to find they weren't as bad as many made them out to be.

First off, Cher needs to follow events in Iraq more closely.

She's not the only one who needs to.  She's a victim of the same US media so many others are.

We're including -- and responding to -- her Tweets because (a) we're glad (but not surprised) that she cared enough to Tweet about Iraq -- a lot more than many other people are doing and (b) where she needs some supplementing many others do as well.

We're not sure about Crucifixions.  We know there have been people killed -- Christians and Yazidis.  But Cher's not "wrong" on this because some outlets have reported Crucifixions have taken place.

Next Tweet.

We agree 100% that Iraq should never have been invaded.  We disagree that the current crisis can be solely attributed to the invasion.  It is primarily the result of multiple crises created by Nouri al-Maliki who refused to honor the 2010 power-sharing agreement (The Erbil Agreement) which gave him a second term after he lost the elections.  No, the US media hasn't been interested in talking about the early 2011 protest in Iraq, the summer 2011 call by many (including the Kurds, Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr and Ayad Allawi and his Iraqiya which won the 2010 elections) for Nouri to implement The Erbil Agreement as he promised (promised only in order to get his second term), the May 2012 effort to hold a no-confidence vote in Nouri (all Constitutional measures were followed but Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, under US pressure from the White House, announced he was not forwarding the petition onto Parliament and then Jalal ran off to Germany claiming medical illness), the return of massive protests in December of 2012 -- protests against Nouri which lasted over a year despite Nouri's forces targeting, wounding and killing protesters -- and killing at least 8 children, with twelve more left injured, at one protest according to UNICEF.

The US press doesn't cover this, we know.  So, from August 2013, we'll note the International Crisis Group's "Make or Break: Iraq’s Sunnis and the State:"

As events in Syria nurtured their hopes for a political comeback, Sunni Arabs launched an unprecedented, peaceful protest movement in late 2012 in response to the arrest of bodyguards of Rafea al-Issawi, a prominent Iraqiya member. It too failed to provide answers to accumulated grievances. Instead, the demonstrations and the repression to which they gave rise further exacerbated the sense of exclusion and persecution among Sunnis.
The government initially chose a lacklustre, technical response, forming committees to unilaterally address protesters’ demands, shunning direct negotiations and tightening security measures in Sunni-populated areas. Half-hearted, belated concessions exacerbated distrust and empowered more radical factions. After a four-month stalemate, the crisis escalated. On 23 April, government forces raided a protest camp in the city of Hawija, in Kirkuk province, killing over 50 and injuring 110. This sparked a wave of violence exceeding anything witnessed for five years. Attacks against security forces and, more ominously, civilians have revived fears of a return to all-out civil strife. The Islamic State of Iraq, al-Qaeda’s local expression, is resurgent. Shiite militias have responded against Sunnis. The government’s seeming intent to address a chiefly political issue – Sunni Arab representation in Baghdad – through tougher security measures has every chance of worsening the situation.
Belittled, demonised and increasingly subject to a central government crackdown, the popular movement is slowly mutating into an armed struggle. In this respect, the absence of a unified Sunni leadership – to which Baghdad’s policies contributed and which Maliki might have perceived as an asset – has turned out to be a serious liability. In a showdown that is acquiring increasing sectarian undertones, the movement’s proponents look westward to Syria as the arena in which the fight against the Iraqi government and its Shiite allies will play out and eastward toward Iran as the source of all their ills.
Under intensifying pressure from government forces and with dwindling faith in a political solution, many Sunni Arabs have concluded their only realistic option is a violent conflict increasingly framed in confessional terms. In turn, the government conveniently dismisses all opposition as a sectarian insurgency that warrants ever more stringent security measures. In the absence of a dramatic shift in approach, Iraq’s fragile polity risks breaking down, a victim of the combustible mix of its long­standing flaws and growing regional tensions.

From this year, here's  Anthony H. Cordesman and Sam Khazi (CSIS):

Iraq’s main threats, however, are self-inflicted wounds caused by its political leaders. The 2010 Iraqi elections and the ensuing political crisis divided the nation. Rather than create any form of stable democracy, the fallout pushed Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki to consolidate power and become steadily more authoritarian. Other Shi’ite leaders contributed to Iraq’s increasing sectarian and ethnic polarization – as did key Sunni and Kurdish leaders.
Since that time, a brutal power struggle has taken place between Maliki and senior Sunni leaders, and ethnic tensions have grown between the Arab dominated central government and senior Kurdish leaders in the Kurdish Regional government (KRG). The actions of Iraq’s top political leaders have led to a steady rise in Sunni and Shi’ite violence accelerated by the spillover of the extremism caused by the Syrian civil war. This has led to a level of Shi’ite and Sunni violence that now threatens to explode into a level of civil conflict equal to – or higher than – the one that existed during the worst period of the U.S. occupation.

This struggle has been fueled by actions of the Iraqi government that many reliable sources indicate have included broad national abuses of human rights and the misuse of Iraqi forces and the Iraqi security services in ways where the resulting repression and discrimination has empowered al-Qaeda and other extremist groups. As a result, the very forces that should help bring security and stability have become part of the threat further destabilized Iraq.

The problem is Nouri.

And Martha Raddatz might need to book Reuters' Ned Parker next time to bring some reality onto This Week.

Parker started covering Iraq for The Los Angeles Times and does so now for Reuters.  Among his many strong contributions this year?  Two essays:  "Who Lost Iraq?" (POLITICO) and"Iraq: The Road to Chaos" (The New York Review of Books).

Cher notes that the group -- she doesn't define it and shouldn't have to, she's Tweeting; but few in the press have attempted to define it -- said it would take the battle to New York.

What is she Tweeting about?

Michael Daly (Daily Beast) reported in June:

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island.

The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from the biggest U.S.  detention camp in Iraq in 2009.
“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.

We've noted that (barely) and failed to emphasize it.  It's one of those 'pleasing' tales.  We're not calling Daly or King a liar, we're just not vested into that story.

If it is true, two points.  (A) He was released from US custody under Barack.  (As were the League of Righteous but let's keep this simple.)  (B) The comment could be an intended threat, could be mere words, could be any number of things.

Again, we're not too vested in it.

Cher next Tweeted:

No argument or quibble there.  (And Cher has long been a defender of those serving.  She was speaking out on their behalf while Bully Boy Bush was in office and when those speaking out frequently were attacked.)

She also Tweeted:

That's where we feel clarification is needed.

Over the last few days, we've heard similar remarks in person.  We've stopped for a Diet Coke, for example and entered into intense Iraq discussions with other patrons.

What Cher wrote is correct.

But there's a bit more.

The Yazidis are being attacked right now by the Islamic State and, in Mosul, the Islamic State did the same and then went on to do it to the Christians.  (The pattern emerging is that IS enters a city or town and initially goes after Yazidis or other religious minorities first before going after Christians -- who are also a religious minority in Iraq but one of the country's largest religious minorities.)

But it needs to be noted that the Yazidis and the Christians have been attacked repeatedly -- including throughout Barack's two terms -- by Shi'ites as well.  The reason, for example, so many Christians were in Mosul to being with this year was due to so many fleeing Baghdad after repeated attacks by Shi'ite militias -- many of whom were on Nouri's payroll.  We'd yet again link to Tim Arango's expose on that for The New York Times last fall; however, we've linked to it and linked to it and don't feel like anyone's reading it -- McClatchy Newspapers is clearly unaware of it -- so this time we'll just mention it and maybe it will make someone hunt it down.

But we will link to and quote from the "International Religious Freedom Report for 2013," which the US State Department released last month:

There were reports of arrests and detentions, as well as reports of restrictions and discrimination based on religion by both the central government and the KRG. Sectarian misuse of official authority continued to be a concern. Official investigations of abuses by government forces, illegal armed groups, and terrorist organizations were infrequent, and the outcomes of investigations were often unpublished, unknown, or incomplete. Religious and ethnic minorities residing in the disputed internal boundaries (DIBs) in north-central Iraq faulted the central government and the KRG for the lack of security in the area, creating a security vacuum enabling attacks by armed terrorist groups, including the suicide bombings targeting the Shabak in the towns of Bashiqa on September 14 and Al-Mowafaqiah on October 17.
Many Sunni Muslims alleged an ongoing campaign of revenge by the Shia majority in retribution for the Sunnis’ favored status and abuses of Shia during Saddam Hussein’s regime. Complaints included allegations of discrimination in public sector employment due to the ongoing campaign of de-Baathification. This process was originally intended to target loyalists of the former regime. According to Sunnis and NGOs, however, the Accountability and Justice Law (de-Baathification law) has been implemented selectively – targeting Sunnis – and used to render many Sunnis ineligible for government employment.
Sunnis also reported that central government security forces targeted them for harassment, illegal searches, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture and abuse. Since politics and religion are often inextricably linked, it is difficult to categorize many incidents specifically as religious intolerance. Grievances over perceived sectarian differences in treatment by security forces were exacerbated after 44 Sunni protesters were killed by security forces when they sought to disband a protest in Hawija in April following months of protests against the government seeking redress for policies they believed were anti-Sunni.
In July government security forces reportedly made mass arrests in predominantly Sunni areas of Abu Ghraib and Taji following a large-scale prison break carried out by AQI terrorists. Government officials denied the arrests targeted Sunni Muslims. Upon release detainees and witnesses reported to NGOs they were not shown arrest warrants and some detainees reported they were tortured while in custody.
In July during Ramadan, armed Shia militants, reportedly with the tacit support of local security forces, raided dozens of businesses in Baghdad, including cafes employing women, restaurants, bars, social clubs, and nightclubs they considered “un-Islamic.” Eyewitnesses reported local police destroyed property and beat staff and patrons; several people were hospitalized for their injuries and at least one individual died. Baghdad municipal officials stated the raids only focused on establishments “engaged in prostitution,” a claim local NGOs dismissed as false. They viewed the attacks as part of a broader assault on secular establishments.
On June 28, the Shia Endowment authorities demolished the house of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Bahai Faith, in Baghdad. According to local Bahai contacts and the Ministry of Human Rights, the house had been converted into a mosque decades ago and turned over to the Shia Endowment under the Saddam Hussein regime. The mosque had deteriorated and, according to endowment officials, had to be demolished in order to build a new one. The Bahai World Center reported that it had been attempting to regain ownership of the holy site since 2004.
Yezidi political leaders alleged that Kurdish Peshmerga and Asayish forces harassed and committed abuses against their communities in the portion of Ninewa Province controlled by the KRG or contested between the central government and the KRG. Several human rights NGOs and Yezidi political leaders stated the KRG neglected Yezidi neighborhoods and discriminated in the provision of basic public services such as water, sanitation, and electricity. These groups also stated Yezidis were routinely held in arbitrary detention by KRG officials at Asayish checkpoints. For example, on October 20 19-year-old Hadi Hamo was detained incommunicado at a KRG checkpoint for nine days. He was released without charge on October 29. Yezidis stated this form of intimidation was intended to harass Yezidis who did not self-identify as Kurdish.
On December 2, 2011, 300 to 1,000 rioters attacked Christian and Yezidi businesses in Dahuk Province, burning and destroying 26 liquor stores, a massage parlor, four hotels, and a casino, denouncing the businesses as un-Islamic. By the end of the year, the KRG had compensated all of the Chaldean, Syriac, and Yezidi victims of the Dahuk riots, although some victims asserted the compensation was insufficient.
On December 7, the KRG Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs filed a lawsuit against Dr. Abdul Wahaid, a lecturer at Sulaimaniyah University, for making derogatory statements about the Yezidi religion during his lectures. The case was ongoing at year’s end.
Some Christians in the IKR reported the KRG unreasonably delayed the return of church land and land confiscated from members of their community under the former regime. Evangelical churches continued to report they were unable to obtain official registration, and the government registration requirements, including the requirement to have at least 500 members in their congregations, were too onerous. Christian leaders said a Kurdish partner was often required in order to do business in the IKR. Yezidis and foreigners indicated they faced the same obstacle. Despite such reports, many non-Muslims chose to reside in the IKR because of its reputation of offering greater security and tolerance. The KRG denied allegations it discriminated against Christians and other minorities.

We link to and quote from that because there appears to be a misconception growing that there was religious freedom and tolerance in Iraq until just recently -- or that this is a problem where Sunnis are attacking.

To be a religious minority in Iraq has not been at all easy since the start of the illegal war which demolished a secular state and replaced it with a thugocracy led by Nouri al-Maliki (on behalf of the US government).

The current attention to the most recent attacks on religious minorities is a good thing but this moment also needs to note that the religious minorities have been ongoing victims throughout the Iraq War.

We have few quibbles -- if any at all -- with Cher's Tweeting and are very glad she bothered to note what's going on in Iraq.

We have many problems with Martha who tried to lump Syria and Iraq together (Monday, at The Common Ills -- in the Iraq snapshot, this will be addressed) and who spent time on the NCAA.  Does the NCAA matter in term of world events?  Then it was onto a superficial look at Ebola, a guessing game (Barbra Streisand was the answer), Baltimore's new curfew, with a roundtable on all those topics and Iraq followed by a personal comment by Martha.

Of that, we'll take issue with this, "And I was with our soldiers for the final ride out of the country, with a memory of those who did not make it home, those 4,487 Americans who gave their lives in this war, was still fresh."

Good for Martha for trying to note a number.  She's attempting to note the number of US military personnel killed.

She's a journalist and few bother to try.  They give an estimate.

This despite the fact that it's the only known number because the Pentagon publishes it.

Published it?

No, publishes it.

Saturday night, at The Common Ills, this screen snap of the Pentagon numbers went up:

Do the math.

That's four more than the number Martha used.

In fairness to Martha, that increase of four is new -- weeks new, we're told.  And we missed it ourselves until, Friday night, a Pentagon friend called one of us (C.I.) to ask why the new number hadn't been noted?

Martha tried to note the real number and she had every reason to assume the number hadn't grown. But reporters aren't supposed to publish assumptions, they're supposed to go with facts.  Martha missed the facts -- including that the death toll had increased by over four.

She and many others appear to have missed Barack answering a question on Saturday:

Q Mr. President, do you have any second thoughts about pulling all ground troops out of Iraq? And does it give you pause as the U.S. -- is it doing the same thing in Afghanistan?

THE PRESIDENT: What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision. Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.
And the Iraqi government, based on its political considerations, in part because Iraqis were tired of a U.S. occupation, declined to provide us those assurances. And on that basis, we left. We had offered to leave additional troops. So when you hear people say, do you regret, Mr. President, not leaving more troops, that presupposes that I would have overridden this sovereign government that we had turned the keys back over to and said, you know what, you’re democratic, you’re sovereign, except if I decide that it’s good for you to keep 10,000 or 15,000 or 25,000 Marines in your country, you don’t have a choice -- which would have kind of run contrary to the entire argument we were making about turning over the country back to Iraqis, an argument not just made by me, but made by the previous administration.

So let’s just be clear: The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because the Iraqis were -- a majority of Iraqis did not want U.S. troops there, and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops in Iraq. 

WTF was that?

It should have been the lead story on the front page of every Sunday paper.

We covered the 2012 presidential debates:  "America recoiled from Barack last night (Ava and C.I.)," "The King of Self-Love sings to the Choir (Ava and C.I.)" and "The only thing worse than the debate itself (Ava and C.I.)."

Saturday, Barack said it wasn't his choice to pull troops.

That's not what he said during the debates.  To offer only one example:

ROMNEY: Number two, with regards to Iraq, you and I agreed I believe that there should be a status of forces agreement. 


ROMNEY: Oh you didn't? You didn't want a status of...

OBAMA: What I would not have had done was left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. And that certainly would not help us in the Middle East.

ROMNEY: I'm sorry, you actually - there was a - there was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces agreement, and I concurred in that, and said that we should have some number of troops that stayed on. That was something I concurred with...


OBAMA: Governor...


ROMNEY: ...that your posture. That was my posture as well. You thought it should have been 5,000 troops...


OBAMA: Governor?

ROMNEY: ... I thought there should have been more troops, but you know what? The answer was we got...


ROMNEY: ... no troops through whatsoever.

OBAMA: This was just a few weeks ago that you indicated that we should still have troops in Iraq.

ROMNEY: No, I...


ROMNEY: ...I'm sorry that's a...


OBAMA: You - you...

ROMNEY: ...that's a - I indicated...

And October 21, 2011, the White House website carried Matt Compton's blog post "President Obama Has Ended the War in Iraq."  He gave a speech where he took credit (even The Nation's Robert Dreyfuss expressed disbelief).  He campaigned on it.

And now that some feel it may have been a mistake, he wants to rewrite what he's been saying?

And he's going to get away with it?

Sorry to our many friends who contacted us Friday and Saturday but Cher's Tweets are not the problem. Cher may have been one of the few people in the country using the media to tell the truth.



Cher is a strong woman.  Some of the animosity towards her in the film industry stems from that.

We note Jalal fled to Germany.  Do not e-mail us, "He had a stroke!"

Not at the end of May 2012.  That's when he fled.  It was an 'emergency' -- no, it was elective knee surgery.  Jalal lies a lot.  Now in December 2012, he had a stroke and ended up in Germany, where he remained until last month.

But we're referring to when he first fled to Germany in May of 2012.  Do not 'correct' us, we are correct.

Tim Arango has done some excellent reporting and we only don't link to him this time to emphasize that people need to read his report that we've repeatedly linked to.

Dexter Filkins has had some important reports in recent months.  We're going with Ned Parker who has been a strong reporter throughout the war.  (We're trying to be kind on Dexter, so just leave it alone so we don't have to unpack all of that.)

Martha Rad.  We hadn't planned to slam her -- or even to write this piece, it was a last minute addition.  We do give her credit for trying to get the number of US military personnel killed in Iraq correct.  But that broadcast was a nightmare.  When we went to the ABC website and found out that ABC News programs require subscriptions to cable or dish to view online we were appalled.  We entered our info and streamed but are damn well aware that many can't afford cable or dish and the fact that ABC's creating a firewall for so-called news programming is shocking and repulsive.  If Martha feels she was treated unfairly -- or any of her fans do (she has many fans) -- that's the hook they can use to excuse her, "Oh, Ava and C.I. are all big on information for all and that's why they were so tough on Martha, she really didn't warrant their treatment of her."

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