Military

By Tom Blumer | June 22, 2013 | 10:08 AM EDT

Netroots Nation, the leftist annual convention currently in progress in San Jose (next year it's in Detroit; can't wait), bills itself as a "connector of awesome progressive activists."

Based on Emily Schultheis's Saturday morning report at the Politico on the viewpoints of those in attendance, the gathering's slogan should really be, "Blame it on Bush and Boehner." The Politico reporter also professes surprise that these largely angry leftists aren't angry at President Barack Obama, as if anyone would have really expected that (bolds are mine):

By Andrew Lautz | June 18, 2013 | 5:15 PM EDT

If you need any further proof that the Lean Forward network is all in for the Democratic Party, look no further than the weekend program Disrupt. The newly-minted show is hosted by Karen Finney, frequent MSNBC contributor and former Director of Communications for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Finney decided to rewrite history on Sunday, suggesting to guest Heather Hurlburt that NSA surveillance is acceptable under the Obama administration, but was unacceptable under the Bush administration, because fighting a “global war on terror with these unseen foes” is the “new normal.”

By Nathan Roush | June 11, 2013 | 12:55 PM EDT

Openly gay CNN anchor Anderson Cooper devoted a full quarter of his Thursday, June 6 program to the story of a transgender ex-Navy SEAL who laments that he could not serve in the military now as a man who identifies as a woman. [Listen to the audio here]

Cooper chronicled the adult life of Christopher Beck, who now goes by Kristin, who first enlisted in the Navy in 1990 and would eventually achieve his goal of serving as a member of the Navy SEALs. However, he claimed that he always had an inner struggle with his gender identity. He was born a man, but identified himself as a woman.  He also claims to have signed up for the SEALs to try to suppress or “cure” his feminine desires but never could.

By Tom Blumer | June 10, 2013 | 11:46 PM EDT

In a story which I can attest is accurate, Gina Loudon at WND.com, formerly WorldNetDaily, reports that the Air Force's 624th Operations Center is warning airmen not to look at the news.

That's not exactly what they're saying, but they might as well be. What the "Notice to Airmen" says is that "Users are not to use AF NIPRNET systems to access the Verizon phone records collection and other related news stories because the action could constitute a Classified Message Incident." It's currently pretty hard to go to a news site without seeing a blurb on a "related story," given how many "related stories" there are which go way beyond Verizon to nine tech companies, 50 other companies, Edward Snowden, White House, congressional and bureaucrats' responses, etc. The Air Force's claim that reading a news story or even looking at documents which have been made public is a "Classified Message Incident" is pretty shaky, based on the definition provided in a two-year old memo I located. That definition, and a grab of the censorious memo, follow the jump.

By Mark Finkelstein | June 10, 2013 | 8:57 AM EDT

Things got feisty on Morning Joe today, as Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian clashed with Mika Brzezinski over the leak of the NSA phone surveillance program by Greenwald's informant, Edward Snowden. H/t NB reader Jeff M.

When Brzezinski alleged that wiretapping or the review by the NSA of emails required an additional judicial review and warrant, Greenwald accused Mika of using "White House talking points" that were "completely misleading and false."  Mika denied it. Greenwald upped the animosity by telling Mika she would have known better if she had paid even "remote attention" to the issues over the last ten years. View the video after the jump.

By Andrew Lautz | June 1, 2013 | 10:34 AM EDT

Former President George W. Bush has kept a low profile in his years after office, preferring to focus on personal reflection and veterans' causes since leaving the presidency in 2009. But that didn't keep a left-wing panel on MSNBC from using Bush's recent bike ride with wounded veterans to blast his presidency, though.

Alex Wagner, who anchors the noontime Now program on the Lean Forward network, introduced a segment on Friday's program about Bush's annual mountain bike ride with wounded veterans around his ranch in Texas. But she quickly turned the nonpartisan cause into a sneering criticism of the former president's intelligence and decision-making, with nary a word of praise for the charity work:

By Tom Blumer | May 26, 2013 | 12:16 PM EDT

In case you didn't get the gist of President Obama's Thursday speech at National Defense University, the AP's Robert Burns boiled it down on Saturday, perhaps supportively: "OBAMA REFOCUSES TERROR THREAT TO PRE-9/11 LEVEL."

That leaves one annoying detail Burns and Obama ignore: The "pre-9/11 threat level" wasn't that much different from the threat level during the first few years after 9/11. But our response in going to a war footing and more conscientious coordination at home was. As a result, there were no more successful terrorist attacks until the Ft. Hood massacre (mislabeled "workplace violence by our hapless government) in November 2009. The World Trade Centers were bombed in 1993. After that, there were at least the following: Khobar Towers in 1996, the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, and other incidents in the U.S. which may have been inspired by Islamist terrorists despite official conclusions to the contrary. The "pre-9/11 threat level" was actually higher, especially if one remembers, well, 9/11. But that's certainly not the message Obama, with Burns's help, is trying to convey. Instead, it's that the President "has all but declared" that global war on terror is over (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | May 25, 2013 | 6:41 PM EDT

Code Pink's Media Benjamin managed to break into another presidential event on Thursday, namely Barack Obama's speech at the National Defense University. The topic was "U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy," meaning that the administration's aversion to the T-word seems to be diminishing as the damaging scandal-related news continues to pour in.

Readers will see that Benjamin was relatively civil towards Obama. In fact, Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons at the Los Angeles Times wrote the following: "Rather than dismiss Benjamin as a heckler, the president engaged her, asking her to let him explain but also pausing to listen as she continued to talk while security closed in around her." That behavior is in direct contrast to how she behaved last decade during the Bush administration -- something never mentioned in any coverage of Thursday's speech I found. The full exchange with Obama followed by a recounting of what made Benjamin an overnight sensation in Sepetmber 2002, follow the jump.

By Andrew Lautz | May 24, 2013 | 3:42 PM EDT

In a way you have to hand it to Krystal Ball. The former Democratic congressional candidate-turned-MSNBC co-host is always hard at work spinning for the Obama administration, come what may. Appearing on Thursday's Politics Nation, the co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle raved about President Obama’s May 23 national security speech, claiming the president is “reining in his own power,” a “remarkable and incredibly unusual” move.

Ball fawned over the president’s speech to host Al Sharpton, claiming he “put the steps in place” to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, before offering this proclamation about Obama’s executive power:

By Ken Shepherd | May 23, 2013 | 6:10 PM EDT

Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hassan is still drawing his military paycheck while the Defense Department has refused to deem Hassan's victims as suffering combat-related wounds, which would entitle them to Purple Hearts and additional pay and benefits to aid the cost of their rehabilitation, Scott Friedman of Dallas, Texas, NBC affiliate KXAS reported on Wednesday morning. [watch the original KXAS report below the page break]

Yesterday, native Texan and MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall aired Friedman's report on her NewsNation program in her "Gut Check" segment in which she asked her viewers to weigh in on her Facebook page, "Should the Pentagon designate the Fort Hood shooting a terrorist attack?" [For their part, 76 percent of her viewers agreed that it should.] Although this is a pretty compelling report, at time of publication, neither NBC's Nightly News nor Today programs have aired the story.

By Paul Bremmer | May 23, 2013 | 4:58 PM EDT

On last Friday’s Washington Week, PBS moderator Gwen Ifill brought in a panel of four liberal journalists to dissect the three scandals that have plagued the Obama administration the past couple of weeks. Predictably, most of the panelists attempted to downplay the seriousness of the Benghazi fiasco.

Midway through the Benghazi discussion, Ifill turned to The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and posed the question that has surely been on every left-wing reporter’s mind for months: “But Ed, why is this -- why is this stuck? Why is this a story that never went away?”

By Paul Bremmer | May 22, 2013 | 5:45 PM EDT

Defending the indefensible can make a liberal journalist a little prickly. How else do you explain Washington Post columnist Colbert I. "Colby" King's specious attack on his fellow Post colleague and Inside Washington panelist Charles Krauthammer this weekend?

It all happened when Krauthammer responded to a Post editorial, published in Thursday’s paper, which asserted that UN Ambassador Susan Rice did not mislead anyone about the nature of the September 11 Benghazi attack. Ninety-seven House Republicans had signed a letter charging that Rice did mislead the public, and the Post editorial demanded that those Republicans apologize to Rice.