Tuesday, March 28, 2023

That awful DeSanis and that awful Caitlyn Johnstone

Graham Elwood has a new video up.

Picking up from yesterday, America doesn't need crazy Ron DeSantis.  We don't need him as a president.  And we don't need him as the governor of Florida.  POLITICO reports:

The GOP-controlled Florida Legislature last year approved a contentious law on gender identity and sexual orientation in school — but this year it aims to go further.

Florida's Republican-controlled Legislature is now moving ahead with a second round of proposals that are alarming LGBTQ advocates who say they are being demonized to help GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis' likely presidential campaign. The bills include prohibiting pronouns in schools, banning children from drag shows and outlawing gender-affirming care for transgender minors and expanding the state’s Parental Rights in Education law, known throughout the country as “Don’t Say Gay.”

The moves come after the DeSantis administration enacted similar policies or actions over the last year. During the fall, two state medical boards approved rules that forbid trans minors from receiving gender-affirming care such as hormone therapies or, in rare cases, surgery. And last December, the state’s liquor and business licensing agencies investigated two separate holiday-themed drag performances out of concerns that young children attended the events or the performances were “lewd.”

“It is maddening and it is sad to see the continuous attack of people who are quote unquote, other,” state Rep. Michell Raynor-Goolsby, a Democrat from St. Petersburg and the state’s first Black female queer legislator, said in an interview. “And that is what we're seeing in this legislature, in this body, through the different types of legislation that is passed by the majority.”

Please read Elaine's "Crazy MTG and Ronnie D."  Also be sure to check out Wally, Cedric, Betty and Ann's joint-post about DeSatis:

New topic, Does anyone take Caitlin Johnstone seriously?  She writes stuff like, "Refusing to acknowledge that it's immoral to serve in an immoral military serves no one but military recruiters, war profiteers, and the imperialists in Washington DC and Virginia." What about Canberra?

That is the capital of her own country -- Australia.  I'm so tired of her never calling out her own country.  John Howard signed off on that war but she can't note him.  She can't do anything but talk about the US and the UK because she's too much of a coward to call out her own country.  

I also question her Tweeting "Obama belongs in a cage."  I'd put Barack in prison.  But considering his father was African, a cage?  Seems a little racist.  

She also made time to attack THE NEW YORK TIMES repeatedly in the last few days.  I'm no fan of THE TIMES.  But, you know what, they have newspapers in Australia.  THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, THE AUSTRALIAN, THE AGE, THE CANBERRA TIMES, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH . . .

Guess none of those papers -- even the ones owned by Rupert Murdoch -- pimped the Iraq War, right?  That's why Johnstone is silent on Australia's papers regarding Iraq?  Right?

She's also slamming the poor in the United States.  Let me repeat, she does not live in the US.  For all I know, she's never been here.  When someone kindly pointed out that she was shaming them, Caitlin responded with an attack on 'woke.'  

Can't Australia keep her in their boundaries.  I'll be happy to dig a fence and put a shock collar on her.  More than happy.  That way she can stay in her own backyard. 

I'm especially sick of her when she starts attacking rights in the US.  They aren't your business, but there she is insulting trans people and dismissing the struggle for equality as "cultural wars."  Get your stanky ass out of our business, you cowardly fake ass.

My mom wrote a great piece last night about this war on the LGBTQ+ community, "We need more love in this world."  Please make a point to read it. 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, March 28, 2023.  Look as they continue trying to lie about the Iraq War, meanwhile turmoil in Iraq over the new election law, THE PROGRESSIVE rediscovers the Iraq War, and much more.

The Iraq War started (or this phase of it) 20 years ago.  We should probably stop a second on that.  The Iraq War has been going on for decades.  Last week, we saw that reality be acknowledged by various outlets.  Where were they in 2019?  Where were they when Glenn Kessler was using 'fact checks' to attack Joe Biden's rivals in the Democratic Party primaries?  When Glenn was ridiculing Beto O'Rourke for noting this reality?

Facts didn't matter to Glenn when it came to his buddy Joe.

20 years ago.  And if you paid attention you didn't just the media offering more lies, you also saw them showing no remorse.

74-year-old George Freidman should be in prison.  He has no regrets or remorse and wants to lie still but if you can endure his garbage long enough, he's saying the Iraq War is worth it because it basically acted as fly paper for al Qaeda.  That was his goal all along.  Didn't matter that people lived there, it was worth it to him -- destroying Iraq -- because it would attract al Qaeda to one central location.  He should be in prison.  

Then there are weasels like Bret Stephens.  Who but THE NEW YORK TIMES would put him on staff these days?  He's a hack and a liar.  He doesn't regret supporting the Iraq War.  Why?  Well, he insists, because it shows all the money the US government wasted (our money, taxpayer money -- a point he doesn't make) in Iraq on reconstruction.  This proves, he insists, that the US does "better as a cop than savior."  No, it doesn't prove that.  Because there's also a huge amount of money wasted on the war but Bret ignores that.  He ignores a great deal because there's no other way he could sleep at night.  He applauds this 'knowledge' but doesn't note that the waste is unknowable because The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction -- created in 2004 by Congress -- was shut down in 2013 and shut down over the objection of the IG Stuart Bowen.  Lives don't matter to Bret so, no surprise, facts don't matter to him.  That includes Bret's inability to call out that closure in real time or, for that matter, since.  Kind of strange until you realize he's grasping at anything to justify his shameful war cheerleading past.

By the way, is this a declarative sentence or isn't it?  "If anything, the invasion of Iraq appears to have prompted Iran to shutter its illicit nuclear program out of fear of American power, at least for a time."  He can't stop hedging -- not even in a single sentence.

Then there's John Feffer.  We're not linking.  John Feffer is a little whiny bitch and that's about the nicest thing you can say about him.  I noted last week that we walked away from IBC early on this site's history because of the US government monies that went into that 'independent' site that couldn't even get the number of US troops killed in Iraq correct.  Feffer then came along with his own gadget.  As usual, he boasted it would be the latest and the best and as usual, he took two thrusts and left us asking, "Is that all?"  And this after we'd already had to ask, "Is it in?  Is it in yet?"

Within a month of announcing the new count, it was no longer working.  

In the time since he does many other awful things.  Let's drop back to March 15, 2017:

I am the ruler of all.


Who knew?

I didn't know it until the angry e-mail over "IPS and FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS have been removed" from last night.

Turns out, if I don't link to something, I have censored them and denied them an audience.

I am basing my judgment, it is viciously explained to me, on my personal opinion of someone and not on politics.

I really love it when an e-mailer wants to tell me who I am and what I think.

I really love that.

John Feffer, you were delinked last night.

Were I delinking you for personal reasons, I would have done so in March 2008 after your series of e-mails where you BMW-ed nonstop (Bitch Moaned and Whined).

You didn't know what you were talking about -- apparently a factory standard on all John Feffer models -- and you thought you could dictate what I wrote.

Now you learned otherwise back then.

You've gotten links since and both FPIF and IPS stayed on the links -- mainly because of Phyllis Bennis.

Now you got called out a lot here because you are so deeply stupid.

And your FPIF colleagues got called out as well.

Like when you applauded the massive bombs being dropped on Iraq.

Remember that little protege you had?

And you'll published that crap.

I've heard you've since pulled it from FPIF -- doesn't matter, we quoted enough here when we called it out.  You forever indicted as an idiot who believes in 'precision bombing.'

I should have delinked you then.

But Elaine's "John Feffer is a damn liar (and don't e-mail, prick, I won't retract)" was where I learned you were now part of Team Hysteria fostering hate of Russia -- the whole country and people, you couldn't even just limit it to their government because that's the kind of trash you are.

At COUNTERPUNCH, he's back to pimping lies but isn't he always back to pimping lies.   He's ridiculous and he's disgusting.  He's trying to talk Iraq to sell war on Russia (and he's trashing Andrew Bacevich, of all people).  

All those liars -- and Feffer going after Julian Assange in his Watergate analogy -- is that why they hate Julian?  His 'crime' of telling the truth?


At last, the world has found someone to punish for the Iraq War -- Julian Assange whose 'crime' is telling the truth about what took place in Iraq.

Julian remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist."  Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:

A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat

The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.

But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.

Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.

Julian remains persecuted.  Julian told the uncomfortable truth.  Dardo Gómez (PRESSENZA) notes:

On 5 April 2010 WikiLeaks released a classified military video showing a US Apache helicopter shooting and killing two journalists and a group of Iraqi civilians in 2007. The military claimed that the helicopter crew believed the targets were armed insurgents, not civilians, but it was considered a case of lèse humanité by human rights experts.

Assange and WikiLeaks published documents proving physical and psychological abuse of prisoners denied legal assistance at the Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib detention centres on the eve of the US presidential election.

They also revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on three French presidents, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande. Among the conversations spied on by the NSA are years of discussions about Greece’s debt crisis – including the possibility of that country leaving the Eurozone – discussions about the leadership of the European Union, and conversations about the relationship between Hollande’s government and that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

All of this is information that the public should know about and should not be kept from them as a matter of Right to Information; a universal right that does not recognise the alleged state secrets that cover up the atrocities they commit.


Meanwhile, someone wake Richard Engel, Iraq's seeing turmoil today.  Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reports:

The streets of major southern Iraqi cities were aflame early on Tuesday morning with pro-reform protesters burning tyres to express objection to the new amendments to election law.

In a chaotic session on Monday, the parliament endorsed the controversial amendments despite objections from protesters and independent politicians.

These amendments could make it hard for independent candidates and small parties to compete against big parties and to reach the legislative body.

MPs were forced to adopt a new election law after pro-reform October protests swept Iraq in late 2019, with many small electoral districts in each province and the winner being the party with the highest number of votes.

That move gave new independent parties — many of which were supported by protesters — a stronger chance of winning seats in the 329-seat parliament in October 2021 elections.

The new amendments return the law to the modified Sainte Lague system introduced in 2014, which uses a complicated formula to apportion seats and tends to favour established parties.

They also reverse a key change in 2019 law, reducing the number of constituencies from 83 to 18 which is one district for each governorate.

Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reports of the Parliamentary session:

Videos emerged from the parliamentary session showing Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi calling out to security forces to contain the lawmakers who loudly voiced their disapproval to the voting method, claiming that the system favors candidates of popular political blocs over smaller and independent candidates.

Several MPs took to social media to continue voicing their opposition, calling the threats of terminating their membership in the council “a great honor.”

“These measures increase our will and give us strength in the face of those who want to dominate and seize power in various ways, at the expense of the people and their interests,” said Dawood Idan, Emtidad Movement MP, in a Facebook statement calling the use of security forces to remove the lawmakers “a dangerous precedent.”

The Emtidad Movement was formed by protesters of the popular 2019 Tishreen (October) demonstrations to contest the 2021 elections.

If an MP or a provincial council withdraws from their positions under the Sainte- Laguë system, their seat will be given to another member of their political party. Under the 2021 system, the seat would be given to the candidate with the second highest number of votes in their constituency, regardless of their party.

Meanwhile, mark your calendars, the afternoon of March 27th was when THE PROGRESSIVE finally rediscovered Iraq.  This might be a momentary thing -- a fleeting blip on the radar.  But they published Stephen Zunes on the topic of the Iraq War.  Excerpt:

Nearly 80 percent of U.S. international relations scholars, an estimated 90 percent of U.S. Middle East scholars, and an estimated 80 percent of State Department specialists on the region opposed the invasion, according to my research. Yet backers of the war insisted the experts were wrong and that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were right. This is why many of us look at Biden and other politicians who supported the war the same way climate scientists look at Donald Trump and other climate change deniers—as anti-intellectuals driven more by ideology than facts and reason.

Indeed, members of Congress were repeatedly alerted by American academics, Middle Eastern political leaders, former State Department and intelligence officials, and others that a U.S. invasion would likely result in a long, bloody insurgency, a rise in Islamist extremism and terrorism, increased sectarian and ethnic conflict, increased Iranian influence, and related problems. Therefore, subsequent claims by war supporters that they were somehow unaware of the likely consequences of the invasion are completely false.

Similarly, throughout the country and across the world, trade unions, human rights, racial justice, and environmental groups, and others came out in opposition. Millions of Americans took to the streets in the largest series of demonstrations at that point in U.S. history. Yet the Bush Administration, Congressional Republicans, and more than one-third of Congressional Democrats ignored them.

What is striking is how forgiving many Democrats are of their leaders who supported the war. For example, the Catholic Church and virtually every mainline Protestant denomination also came out against the invasion, noting how it did not meet traditional Christian teachings regarding a just war. Only the rightwing evangelical fundamentalist churches voiced their support. It is hard to imagine that any Democrat who would side with the fundamentalists on abortion or LGBTQ+ issues would become a Congressional leader or be nominated for President. Yet regarding the critically important moral and theological issue of war and peace, Democratic voters have been quite tolerant of their leaders siding with the fundamentalists.

Part of the reason may be that many Democratic supporters of the invasion -- such as presidential nominees John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden -- have subsequently misled the public on their role. Each has insisted that the October 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force was somehow not really an authorization for the use of force, but simply a tool to convince the Iraqi regime to finally allow United Nations weapons inspectors -- whom President Bill Clinton ordered removed in 1998 --back into the country to engage in unfettered inspections.

New content at THIRD:

The  following sites updated:

Monday, March 27, 2023

That disgusting Ron DeSantis

From the start of the month, this is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS'  "Ron DumpSantis


Let's talk about that disgusting Ron.  POLITICO reports:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' groundwork for a potential presidential campaign has drawn a second ethics complaint, this time coming from the head of the Florida Democratic Party.

The complaint centers on whether money DeSantis’ political committee spent on a three-day retreat at a Palm Beach resort hotel was an improper gift to the Republican governor. DeSantis in late February huddled with donors and Republican elected officials such as Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Tom Cotton of Arkansas at the Four Seasons at an event that was billed as a celebration of the “Florida blueprint.”

Campaign records show that Friends of Ron DeSantis paid the Four Seasons more than $235,000 toward the cost of the event.

Nikki Fried, the chair of the Democratic Party, filed a complaint late last week with the Florida Commission on Ethics that alleges that the committee’s spending violates a Florida law that bars spending money on activities that are unrelated to the political work of the committee. The committee was initially set up to aid DeSantis in his race for governor.

Just another crooked politician on the down low.  Just another Mark Foley wanna be.  Christopher Wilson (YAHOO NEWS) notes:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s restrictive education policies and advocacy for “parental rights” have resulted in multiple books being banned from public schools. But the controversy over what’s deemed appropriate for students hasn’t been limited to literature.

This month, there has been fallout when a film about civil rights was pulled and a principal was forced out of her job over the issue of nudity in a piece of classical art. Both occurred after complaints from parents, emboldened by state laws requiring “curriculum transparency” from schools.

The Republican governor has been at the forefront of a nationwide right-wing push to restrict what is taught in schools, generally focusing on removing books that discuss race, sexuality or gender that are often written by nonwhite or LGBTQ authors.

Earlier this year, DeSantis forced changes to an AP African American studies course after rejecting the initial curriculum. He has signed bills banning the teaching of critical race theory, an academic study of systemic racism in the country. He is also looking to ban the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity through high school graduation, an expansion of last year’s "Don’t Say Gay" bill, which banned the teaching of those subjects from kindergarten through third grade. 

He's destroying schools.  That's what we want in this country?  Since when?  Is he even electable outside of Florida?  Philip Bump (WASHINGTON POST) reports:

It is fair to assume that some significant part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s high-profile, combative policy moves over the past two years have been undertaken with an eye toward the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Some part, certainly, is a reflection of his political views. But the guy who won the Republican gubernatorial primary in his state in 2018 by drawing over-the-top comparisons between himself and Donald Trump might be assumed to also be thinking about the political utility of his efforts. 

There’s just one catch: New polling suggests that those policies get mixed reviews from Republicans, including Republicans who support DeSantis. What’s more, for a candidate whose central value proposition to primary voters might be that he is more electable in a general election, his policies get broadly negative views from Americans overall. 

Now let me note this report from DEMOCRACY NOW!

That's a good segment but I'm mainly noting it because Amy Goodman really stepped up last week on the Iraq War and I really appreciated that.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, March 27, 2023.  More reflections on Iraq, NPR serves up War Porn and tries to pass it off as reporting, and so much more.

20 years and counting, the Iraq War continues.  Next year, it'll be of legal drinking age.  Murtaza Hussain (THE INTERCEPT) reports:

[Ghaith] Abdul-Ahad is among a generation of Iraqi writers and journalists who lived through the conflict and, two decades later, are finally being heard. What he has to say not only confronts the self-serving narratives of the war’s supporters and revisionists, but also bitterly confronts how the Iraqi people were used as pawns in a war that was launched in their name.

“Why were the only options for us as a nation and a people the choice between a foreign invasion and a noxious regime led by a brutal dictator? Not that anyone cared what we thought,” Abdul-Ahad writes. “We were all merely potential collateral damage in a war between the dictator and American neocons adamant that the world should be shaped in their image.”

[. . .]
Instead of freedom from Saddam’s predictable tyranny, the U.S. invasion delivered violent anarchy: extrajudicial killings, torture, warrantless detention, and the destruction of Iraq’s basic infrastructure. Following a chance encounter with a British reporter covering the invasion, Abdul-Ahad became a journalist himself, bearing witness to the total destruction of his country.

And THE INTERCEPT discusses the war with Abdul-Ahad in the audio below.

A complacent and willing mass media acquiesced in the Bush fantasy about WMD. The list of Iraq War cheerleaders was bi-partisan, including many liberals as well as neo-conservatives. All shared a colonialist mentality. In its coverage of the war, the Fourth Estate failed America by buying into lies and deception and regurgitating the propaganda. They lent a helping hand to American imperialism.

Still, before the war was fought, many millions around the world saw through the falsity and knew the war lacked any justification. Absolutely massive anti-war demonstrations flared up around the globe. I recall marching in front of the State House in Concord with many others. The anti-war voices were ignored though, and what ensued was a monumental and predictable debacle.

[. . .]

The lies of the Iraq War paved the way for a pathological liar and fascist like Donald Trump. Government lies conditioned the public to an acceptance of a war on truth. I wish I could say we have learned lessons from Iraq but we clearly have not.

The military-industrial complex and our capitalist system are heavily invested in war-fighting. It remains to be seen whether our policymakers will avoid future disasters as foolish, unnecessary, and destructive as the Iraq War.

Have any lessons been learned?  Doesn't appear so, certainly not on the part of those who rushed the United States into war.  Mary Clarke Jalonick (YAHOO NEWS) reports:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, then a House member who was running for the Senate, says the war will have been worth it if Iraq succeeds in becoming a democracy.

“What can you say 20 years later?” Graham said this past week, reflecting on his own vote in favor. “Intelligence was faulty.”

On Lindsey, Rebecca notes in "lindsey graham got a blow out and new do:"

like this 1.  omg.  is lindsey graham trying to recast himself from u.s. senator to 'a lovely lady'?  because that new hairstyle screams carol brady on 'the brady bunch.'  it's a story ... of a lovely lady ... who spent way too many years in the senate ...  and he was all alone.

Clearly, he has time to contemplate new hair styles.  Sadly, he won't use any of that beauty time to contemplate the many deaths resulting from his actions.

At THE GUARDIAN this morning, Candice Pires reports on families of the fallen and we'll note the family of Jonathan Collns:

Angel Collins, 62: ‘For our family, your best day is your worst’

LCpl Jonathan Collins, son of real estate agent in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Collins was killed in action in Iraq on 8 August 2004, aged 19

It was the middle of the night when we got a call from Jonathan to say he was OK. His unit had recently been ambushed and nine Marines killed. It was April 2004 and the first time we’d heard from him since he’d gone to Iraq two months before.

Usually, if anything was going on with one of our four children, it was a car or plane ride away. But this time, I was helpless. I couldn’t sleep, I was having stress headaches. I often cried, alone. I lived for email updates from the parents of other marines. I listened to all the news I could. I knew there were no weapons of mass destruction.

Jonathan was an incredibly confident kid. He loved being in theatre. He did silly things like go to school dressed up like he was going to play golf. He was always quick to say, “I can do that.” When his brother went to college a four-hour drive away, he insisted he could run there.

He was 15 on September 11th. Then when we went into Afghanistan, a kind of cowboys and Indians ideology was out there with the kids. I was surprised when he said he wanted to join the Marine Corps. But school wasn’t his forte and he saw it as an opportunity to figure out what he wanted. Military recruiters came into the schools and looking back, I think he’d been talking to one.

After that first call from Iraq, we were able to communicate more. We sent him a digital camera and laptop. He always told me it was fine. It was dusty, it was dirty, but he would never say if he was afraid. Later I read in the journal I gave him: “We’re getting scared. We’re being told to get insurance policies out on ourselves.”

The higher-ranking officers started telling the marines to stop telling their parents what was really happening. They couldn’t control the flow of information and they didn’t have anything in place to handle the number of deaths.

Our daughters were 12 and 14. I never left them home alone during that time, because I didn’t know if someone was going to show up at the door. Jonathan was due back in September and by August, I thought he was safe. One day, I finally decided to take my dad to visit his brother when my older daughter called and said: “Mom, there’s a marine at the door.” I was in the car and threw my phone and just screamed and screamed and screamed. My husband and I both drove a hundred miles an hour to get home. The whole time I thought, “Maybe he’s injured. Don’t tell yourself he’s dead.” Another part of me knew they only came to the door for one reason.

Iraq's no better off today.  People died and there is no 'up' in that.  And the media has learned nothing from it.  There's 

NPR's cancelled four podcasts.  (See Ruth's "NPR created their own problems.")  They should make it five.  TAKING COVER needs to be cancelled as well.

Tom Bowman's always been more of an idiot than a journalist -- but he really let his stupidity shine last week with a 'report.'  Bowman and company wasted 49 minutes and over 7,500 words to tell you nothing.  NPR should be ashamed of themselves.  They gave your war porn while claiming it was reporting.  

Here's how it started: A tip to Tom about the US military (when? This year? we're never told).    The tip was  about events on April 12, 2004 in Falluja.  The US military lied.  They concealed details of a death.  They didn't just conceal it in real time.  When Bowman and NPR made an open records request, they were told that there were no records.  

This should have been big.  It should have been huge.

A report like this should have ended with the family of the dead Marine -- or his friends -- speaking about how disgusting it was that the US military concealed his death for 'optics.'   It should have had a comment from Senator Jack Reed who is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

It didn't.  Instead we got a lot of nonsense.  Including the fact that no one ever needs to hear NPR reporters tossing around the term "man" as though they're buddies with the veterans.  Graham Smith and Tom Bowman aren't part of the Marines.  They are journalists -- someone should have reminded them of that.


They use the 49 minutes  to serve up war porn.  

And to make themselves the stars.

You can listen to the report and find out about how what books and documents the two 'reporters' went through.  As though that's the story?  Because that is what they made the story.  

Not the death, not the cover up.  In fact most people listening to this garbage may not grasp at the end, after 49 minutes, that Bowman and Smith never revealed what the story needed revealed.

Here's Tom Bowman yammering away early in the porn:

 I might run into a colonel I knew in Afghanistan or a general visiting from his overseas command who can tell me what's really going on. But there are some things, well, people just don't want to talk about in the building. So I might call them at home at night, or...


BOWMAN: ...We might meet up at a bar, which is what happened one night at a whiskey bar in D.C. Actually, this very bar, a guy who spent a lot of time in Iraq told me a story very few people knew. He told me that early in the Iraq War, there'd been this tragedy. U.S. Marines had dropped a mortar or a rocket on their own people. That's what they call friendly fire. Now, in this case, he said, one Marine was killed and another seriously wounded. Friendly fire deaths - they happen. They happen in every war throughout history. That's not what made his story shocking. Here's the thing - he said that the Marine brass had actually covered it up, burying the truth about this terrible incident because, he said, the son of a powerful politician was involved in the screw-up.

"SOUNDBITE OF DRINK POURING"?  That was needed to drive home that the two are trying for entertainment not not news.

A death was covered up.  And it was covered up because "the son of a powerful politician was involved in the screw-up."

We need to know why the cover up and we need to know son of a politician.  

They can add sound effects and they can brag on themselves but Bowman and Harris can't deliver the basic facts.

This is shameful.

You can be sure this isn't the only death that got covered up in Iraq.  In real time, we used to know the helicopter 'crashes' -- they were under investigation, the US government insisted.  Then we'd either find out that they were shot down or there would be no information released on them.  But when they happened, despite what was reported by news outlets, the US military would say that it was probably mechanical issues.

No, they were being shot down and shame on the government for lying to the American people.

And shame on NPR for thinking we needed to hear about Tom Bowman and G Smith cock-knocking around with the Marines and asking if reworking a BLACK & WHITE cigar is like making a spiff -- as though that has a damn thing to do with what they're supposed to be covering.

They pad their garbage with stuff that should be on the cutting room floor.  For example, "Ben was traveling in South America with his girlfriend, a musician, when I reached him. I set up a time to talk. And a week later, I called him from a studio here at NPR."  Who gives two s**ts and what does this have to do with the powerful politician NPR never names.

We don't need 'reporter' Smith sharing, "Yeah. I mean, I've spent a lot of time with Marines over in Afghanistan. I went in 2009 with 2/8 out of Lejeune on the whole, like, insert into the Helmand River Valley and, you know, dropped in with them on the helicopters."  That doesn't have one damn thing to do with Iraq or with the April 12th incident.  But garbage like that -- where 'reporters' try to make themselves the story -- keeps popping up throughout.

Nor do we need this from NPR 'reporter' Smith, "Yeah. Yeah. And let me preface this whole thing by saying I, you know, like - even after talking to Carlos, you know, I was, like, back in the zone for, like, a week. And my wife was like, why are you being such a b****? And..."

No one needs it.  You are not the story.  You're nothing but a piece of garbage using 49 minutes of NPR's time -- and the public's money -- to make yourself a star of a report that should be focusing on facts regarding an April 12, 2004 explosion in Falluja.

Brad Shuder is apparently the one the US military lied about.  When?  When he died April 12, 2004.  When did they get honest?  I don't know but his correct cause of death (what they lied about) is listed in MILITARY TIMES' HONOR THE FALLEN  database:

Marine Lance Cpl. Brad S. Shuder

Died April 12, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of El Dorado, Calif.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed April 12 by friendly fire in Anbar province, Iraq.


Brad S. Shuder signed up for the Marine Corps soon after his 18th birthday, making for a dramatic change in lifestyle: He was a gourmet cook who wanted to open a bakery, a man who wore designer fashions and took dates to the opera. “He was a genuine person,” said his longtime friend Kurt Hall. “He was someone who you could trust to be a real friend when you needed one.” The 21-year-old Camp Pendleton Marine from El Dorado Hills, Calif., was killed April 12 by friendly fire in Iraq’s Anbar province. Shuder seemed to know he might die on his second tour in Iraq. “He told us that he felt he wouldn’t be coming back,” his father, Glenn Shuder, said. But he wouldn't listen to his family’s pleas to request a change in assignment. He felt it was his duty to return, his parents said. “From the time he was a youngster, he always wanted to be in the military,” his father said. “He always said it was every American's duty to serve in the military.”

— Associated Press

The original DoD press release lied:

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Corporal Brad S. Shuder, 21, of El Dorado Hills, California, died April 12, 2004,  from hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.  He was assigned to EchoCompany, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.

It was not hostile fire, it was friendly fire.  A bombing was called in by the US military and it hit the Marines instead.

From a 2011 Laura Newell report that GOLD COUNTRY MEDIA ran:

“It’s never the same,” said Rose Shuder, Brad’s mother. “I guess for me, I wonder what he would be doing now at the age of 29. What would he look like and be doing? It never stops. Time makes it not as difficult, but it never stops.”

Rose said the El Dorado Hills community has been supportive and helpful during the time after her son’s death.

“When Brad died, the support was unbelievable, the community was so supportive for our family,” Rose said. “Everyone was so helpful. It was a great honor for Brad’s memory.”

Brad was adopted from Korea at 18 months old into the Shuder family including Rose and her husband Glenn. They also have a younger daughter Chelsey, 26.The family moved to El Dorado Hills in 1993.

“Brad went through the El Dorado County School system and graduated from Oak Ridge in 2001,” Rose said. “He was very well liked. … He always wanted to be in the military. Upon his graduation, Sept. 11, 2001 happened, so he signed up for the Marines.”

After graduating boot camp, Brad went to Iraq in 2003.

In those six paragraphs, Newell provides more information about Brad Shuder than Bowman and Smith did in their 49 minute 'report.'

Bowman and Smith can't be bothered speaking to Brad's parents.  Strange because NPR's DAY BY DAY spoke to his father back in 2006:

MIKE PESCA: We're joined by his father, Glen Shuder. Thanks for coming on, Glenn.

Mr. GLENN SHUDER (Father of Slain Marine): You're welcome.

PESCA: Glenn, in the past three years, or maybe two and a half, since your son died, has your attitude on the war itself changed?

Mr. SHUDER: Probably more so to the point where I just don't think it's a worthwhile cause anymore.

PESCA: And in the beginning, what did you think?

Mr. SHUDER: I really had really strong reservations about invading a country that I don't think we belong there. Since then, I just think it's deteriorated to a point where we've done more harm than good.

PESCA: Now, in the beginning, did you find yourself saying to people that phrase, I support the troops, in fact my son is one but I don't support the war?

Mr. SHUDER: No, I didn't say that. I would just say, you know, I support all the troops and the military and we need to keep on with that. I never said anything against or - for or against the war at that time. 

Bowman and Smith didn't tell who the son of the politician was -- or who the politician was -- that lied.  They don't explore that or anything of value.  Why the lie?

We don't have that in the report so NPR's encouraging conjecture.  Fine, let's go there.  You have two deaths from friendly fire.  You lie and say that it's from an enemy attack.  You do that in the spring of 2004.  By this point, people are turning against the war in the United States.  People are asking why is the US still there?  Two deaths can be used.

Not if you're honest.  If you're honest that the US government just did a bombing that killed 2 US Marines, you're going to get even more complaints about this on going war.  But if you can claim -- just long enough for a press cycle -- that they were killed by Iraqis?  Well you can pump up emotions and maybe get a little support going for the war and a response of "let's go kick their ass" that just might save you for another week or two.

Nothing was accomplished in Iraq, nothing that benefited the Iraqi people.  All this time later, that should be obvious.  Right now, RUDAW notes, Iraq is experiencing flooding in places:

 Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani directed the suspension of working hours in all provinces of the country for Monday on account of heavy rainfall and bad weather conditions.

Torrential downpour accompanied by strong windstorms and floods caused significant material damage in the provinces of Baghdad, Anbar, Najaf, Diwaniyah, and Wasit on Sunday. Many of the provinces individually announced the suspension of working hours prior to the decision from Sudani.

Water levels rose in many of the provinces, including Najaf, where water swept into houses, the historic Great Mosque of Kufa, and the Najaf International Airport.

Some of the flooding is a result of the infrastructure.  As always, you can be sure Sadr City is flooded.  That's what happens when you don't invest in drainage and sewers.   And those issues were never addressed.  Millions wasted and people can't even have basic infrastructure, potable water, electricity, you name it.  There is no way to grade the illegal war as anything but a failure.

THE KATIE HALPER SHOW posted another segment on Iraq yesterday.

The following sites updated: