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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2006 7:16pm PT  

When will George W. Bush leave office?
View Results

Beyond that, consider this an Open Thread and/or describe the reasons for your vote below...

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By Alan Breslauer on 12/19/2006 7:08pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

This clip is from a Noam Chomsky speech given over the weekend titled, "What's Next? Creating Another World in a Time of War, Empire and Devastation," which aired today on Democracy Now! In this excerpt (3:45), Chomsky uses the recent Baker/Hamilton Report as the starting point for his critique of US foreign policy. He questions the selective use of polling data in the Report which fails to mention that the vast majority of both Iraqis and Americans desire an immediate pullout of US troops or a definitive time-line for withdrawal. It's all a bit strange to Chomsky, who states, "In our mission to bring democracy to the world we don't care about the opinions of people --- they're kinda irrelevant."

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Finally, Someone in the 'Media' Demands Some Accountability...But it Wasn't CBS...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2006 10:13pm PT  

Yesterday, at CBS, a reporter with a camera crew asked a number of very tough, very overdue questions of Colin Powell, who has received an inexplicable Get Out of Jail Free card from the media and almost everyone else. No, we're not referring to his much ballyhooed --- and also very overdue --- admissions on Face the Nation that "we are losing" in Iraq, and that he's "not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad...will work."

The very tough questions, which obviously irritated Powell, concerned his own complicity in getting us into this mess in the first place. But the questions weren't asked by CBS's Bob Schieffer during his own televised "exclusive." Nor were they asked by a determined reporter from the NY Times or Washington Post or Newsweek or any of the networks.

The questions were asked by a guy named Sam Husseini of Washington Stakeout. He stands outside the network studios on Sunday mornings trying to ask actual questions of the "newsmakers" after they've left their softball interviews with Bob and Tim and George.

Jonathan Schwartz highlights the questions for Powell and his answers (both caught in short video segments) in which Husseini simply nails Powell on his UN garbage.

Imagine if the corporate mainstream media actually asked such questions --- before we end up in intractable wars at unspeakable cost...though we'd settle for them asking such questions now. Any takers out there?

Until then, thank you, Sam. Keep up the good work. We'll try to keep watching.

(Hat-tip David Swanson for the heads up.)

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By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2006 7:09pm PT  

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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(As Good to Write as it is to Read)...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2006 10:14pm PT  

No real news here. But now it's official...And damned good to see in print...

Someone pinch me. I think it's for real. Rest of the letter here...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2006 4:48pm PT  

Paul Krugman's Friday column about the praise --- and apologies --- now owed to those who warned us before going into Iraq about what we now face needs to be read by all. Since the complete column is behind the New York Times' iron curtain, I'm joining several other websites out there in reposting the column in its entirety below.

Those who not only ignored but attacked the messengers relentlessly and inexcusably (and worse, attacked their patriotism in the bargain!) prior to the ill-conceived assault on Baghdad and just after it's "fall" should be held accountable for their egregious behavior. Yes, we're talking to you, Fox "News", New Republic, Rush Limbaugh, Weekly Standard, NY Post et al! You owe a lot of people a lot of apologies.

Krugman follows in full. Please read it...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Somebody Needs a Nap...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2006 5:33pm PT  

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Fortunately, We're Not at War or Anything...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2006 11:09am PT  

The Senate confirmation hearings for the nomination of Robert Gates to be the next Secretary of Defense were not carried live on any broadcast or cable news networks. Neither C-SPAN 1 or 2 carried it live either, although they have an excuse (by charter, as we understand it, they must carry live coverage from the House and Senate floor when in session.)

It's a good thing we're not at war, that we have a broad national consensus about the direction of the nation and its military, and that the matter of who will lead the Pentagon as the next Sec. of Defense isn't all that important to the country at this time.

Otherwise, we might have suggested the cable news outlets' decision to carry live coverage of a press conference on a missing man in Oregon (he's still missing), the auction of Princess Diana's death car (she's still dead), and Gwyneth Paltrow's comments about America (she didn't say them), was somewhat less than responsible or in the best interests of the nation they like to suggest they are serving.

Just one of the benefits of being at peace around the globe. Thank you, media.

(P.S. We were able to listen to the hearings live on the radio via NPR. Gates says we're not winning the War in Iraq, blah, blah, blah, who cares...)

UPDATE: Who needs cable? David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org decides to be the media, he's live blogging the event from within the hearing room.

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NPR Reports on Soldiers 'Dishonorably' Discharged from the Army Rather Than Receiving the Help They Deserve for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2006 6:35pm PT  

This story really ticks me off.

Some BRAD BLOG readers may recall the story of Army Specialist Douglas Barber, who committed suicide last January after suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) upon returning from Iraq. We followed up with a letter that Barber himself had written in 2005 describing what some of the troops coming home from Iraq were dealing with. One graf:

We come home from war trying to put our lives back together but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. They kill themselves because they are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.

In his letter, Barber wrote about the struggle that soldiers face in dealing with PTSD when they return stateside: "PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy." He then goes on to excoriate those in the media who claim to "support the troops" even while they ignore this enormous problem and the administration's lack of funding for VA programs:

Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any credence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.

Well, were it up to Sean and O'Reilly and Limbaugh, there would be no more NPR either. But thank god, they are still there.

Love 'em or hate 'em, they seem to be the only media outlet to have followed up on a GAO report [PDF] from back in May which they report says "that about 80 percent of the soldiers who showed potential signs of PTSD were not referred for mental health follow-ups" by the military.

While the Pentagon apparently disputes those numbers, according to the report from NPR's Morning Edition today, "Army studies show that at least 20 percent to 25 percent of the soldiers who have served in Iraq display symptoms of" PTSD.

And yet, with all of that, NPR's investigation of the treatment soldiers are (or aren't) receiving in at least one location, Colorado's Fort Carson, reveals a shameful reality. These troops who have been putting themselves in harm's way to serve their country are simply not getting the mental health support they deserve upon returning home. That, even while many of them are run out of the Army with less-than-honorable discharges --- which makes re-adjusting to civilian life even more difficult for them --- in order to mask the problem and avoid having to pay them benefits.

Shameful. The gauntlet such troops are reportedly forced to run in order to receive appropriate treatment is to all of our eternal shame.

I recall while broadcasting from Crawford, Texas, during the summer of 2005 --- even with Iraq and Afghanistan vets inside the tent at Camp Casey supporting Cindy Sheehan's stand --- the creeps who would drive by, honking horns, giving us the finger and yelling epithets as they waved their "Support the Troops!" signs in ignorance.

While I'd like to believe those days are coming to an end --- where the insidious chicken-hawk cowards and opportunists like Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity, and George W. Bush were able to use their microphones to manipulate American citizens into believing those who were against the war were somehow against the troops --- I fear it'll be a long and hard battle to ensure the men and women of our armed forces actually receive the support they are due from this Administration, this military, and those in the future.

The NPR report does not bode well. I can't do it justice here and urge you to read their written report and/or listen to their audio report (linked from the same page) in full. But here are just a few examples of the shameful treatment some of the troops at Fort Carson have had to deal with...

For instance, soldiers fill out questionnaires when they return from Iraq that are supposed to warn officials if they might be getting depressed, or suffering from PTSD, or abusing alcohol or drugs. But many soldiers at Ft. Carson say that even though they acknowledged on the questionnaires that they were having disturbing symptoms, nobody at the base followed up to make sure they got appropriate support.
...
Soldiers at Ft. Carson also say that even when they request support, the mental-health unit is so overwhelmed that they can't get the help they need. Corey Davis, who was a machine gunner in Iraq, says he began "freaking out" after he came back to Ft. Carson; he had constant nightmares and began using drugs. He says he finally got up the courage to go to the Army hospital to beg for help.

"They said I had to wait a month and a half before I'd be seen," Davis said. "I almost started crying right there."

Perhaps most disturbingly, there are the ones who are treated like pariahs by friends, employers, and yes...the Army itself:

Almost all of the soldiers said that their worst problem is that their supervisors and friends turned them into pariahs when they learned that they were having an emotional crisis. Supervisors said it's true: They are giving some soldiers with problems a hard time, because they don't belong in the Army.

Jennings called a supervisor at Ft. Carson to say that he had almost killed himself, so he was going to skip formation to check into a psychiatric ward. The Defense Department's clinical guidelines say that when a soldier has been planning suicide, one of the main ways to help is to put him in the hospital. Instead, officers sent a team of soldiers to his house to put him in jail, saying that Jennings was AWOL for missing work.

And the purges of these troops from the ranks seem to be more than simply isolated incidents...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Alan Breslauer on 12/1/2006 3:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan have at each other debating President Bush's stay the course policy in Iraq in this entertaining clip (10:00) from yesterday's Scarborough Country. Buchanan actually defends Bush despite calling the war a "horrible mistake" and suggesting that the President may be acting with his legacy in mind.

Scarborough finds Buchanan's stance perplexing since he knows that "there are not ten Republicans on Capitol Hill that agree with this President" and that the "President stands alone in the world in his view on Iraq".

The clip begins about 3 minutes into the segment while the real fireworks start at approximately the 7 minute mark. Finally, despite all appearances, the clip is not cut off at the end as Scarborough only goes on to thank his guests.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2006 7:35am PT  

...Bob Geiger gets it exactly right.

(Someone remind me to read him more often. He gets quite a bit right.)

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Quote: 'Quack quack quack quack quack'
'They had a coup d'etat after 9/11'...
By Alan Breslauer on 11/29/2006 2:01pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


Gore Vidal was typically funny and outspoken during an appearance yesterday on Late Night on PBS with Tavis Smiley. This clip (5:08) includes Vidal's views on Bush and Iraq as well as the following descriptive quote:

But because of our crazy little President. 'I'm war-time President, I'm war-time President.' You know, quack quack quack quack quack. I mean, this is a loon. Any fool can see that he is looney.
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By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2006 2:46pm PT  

As we all know, nothing actually exists or is true or has happened until the corporate mainstream media says it exists or is true or has happened. So it's nice to know that what American citizens have by-and-large known all by themselves for some time actually exists and is true and has happened: "MSNBC Now Characterizing Situation in Iraq as Civil War".

To cover their asses, MSNBC is running a poll (results as of now seen below)...

Geez, other than 86% of us, we would have never known. Thank god for the CMSM.

What next? "MSNBC Characterizes Oxygen as Good for Americans"? "Daytime Seen as Brighter than Nighttime"? "American Electoral System Broken"?

(Cynical much today, Brad?)

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By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2006 1:14pm PT  

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Right-Wing News Site WorldNetDaily Reports $2 Million Paid to Palestinian Terrorists for Release of Fox 'News' Hostages!
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2006 8:35am PT  

Was it Fox? Was it Bush? Or someone else who seems to have paid $2 million to Palestinian terrorist organizations for the release of Fox "News" correspondents held hostage in Gaza last Summer?

JERUSALEM – Palestinian terror groups and security organizations in the Gaza Strip received $2 million from a United States source in exchange for the release of Fox News employees Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, who were kidnapped here last summer, a senior leader of one of the groups suspected of the abductions told WND.

The terror leader, from the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, said his organization's share of the money was used to purchase weapons, which he said would be utilized "to hit the Zionists."

He said he expects the payments for Centanni and Wiig's freedom will encourage Palestinian groups to carry out further kidnappings.
...
"We used 100 percent of the money for one precise goal – our war against the Zionists," the Committees leader said.

Unbelievable. WorldNetDaily has the extraordinary story.

(Big hat-tip to John Aravosis for the find!)

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