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.”
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:
The email announcing the supposedly momentous occasion of another column by the Politico's Glenn Thrush arrived in my mailbox with the following headline and subhead: "Obama: Hey guys, I'm still here -- The president's press conference brimmed with frustration and was filled with tantalizing promise."
On clickthrough, I learned that the online website's massagers-in-chief changed those items (but not the underlying URL, which reflects the email) to the following in the published article: "President Obama: I’m still relevant -- Obama finds himself hemmed in by the familiar constraints of partisanship and world events." Thrush's text identifed another problem supposedly hemming Obama in, complete with a slavery analogy: "the shackles of his own commitments." Poor guy; he has to deal with the world as it is, not how he'd like it to be, and those darned things he promised to do to get elected and reelected. Gosh, life is just so unfair, isn't it? Excerpts following Thrush's theme follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, "fabricating" hypocrite. Her Sunday column about the lack of veracity in the current crop of award-nominated movies, "The Oscar for Best Fabrication," has some interesting revelations on the true history behind the stories of "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Lincoln."
But Dowd is the last person to credibly comment on the subject, given her own history (item #3) of fabricating quotes, in the form of leaving out vital words from her May 14, 2003 column on President Bush's pursuit of the Taliban – a tale broken on Times Watch. Dowd wrote on Sunday:
During a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, attorney Star Jones and the network's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman hyperventilated over Britain's Prince Harry revealing in interviews that he killed Taliban fighters during combat in Afghanistan. Jones fretted: "Why do you need to antagonize the Taliban?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan's Sunday column on drone strikes featured an interesting comment about (media?) bias against Republicans from David Rohde, a reporter kidnapped by the Taliban in 2008.
First, Sullivan criticized the Obama administration from the left:
Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner (HT Meredith Jessup at the Blaze) reports that Karen Vaughn, mother of Aaron Vaughn, a member of Navy SEAL Team 6 and one of 30 American servicemen, including 21 other SEAL Team 6 members, killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan three months after the May 1, 2011 execution of Osama bin Laden, says in a video released yesterday by Veterans for a Strong America that the Obama administration "put a target on my son’s back and even on my back" by revealing the SEAL Team unit's identity after the Bin Laden raid.
Actually, as seen here in a September 10 Fox News story, Mrs. Vaughn has been saying this for almost a month, which makes me wonder where Maureen Dowd at the New York Times has been. But first, the specifics from the Vaughns (bolds are mine throughout this post):
“Those who came here insulting Islam and the Koran, I will take revenge on them,” said a Taliban suicide bomber with a chilling smile. Moments later he drove a truck loaded with 10,000 kg of explosives into U.S. Forward-Operating Base Salerno in Khost, Afghanistan, killing two U.S. soldiers.
It was all captured on a Taliban propaganda video narrated by an Al Jazeera reporter. (Video below.) It’s currently available for anyone to see on YouTube. More shocking, the Taliban have their own YouTube channel, though it is mostly dormant.
American blood was shed and mobs of Muslims continue to burn American flags and chant “Death to America!” around multiple U.S. consulates. It’s a scene that’s played out on almost a regular basis. A media story (about flushing Korans or other slights to Islam real or imagined) provides some pretext and the “Arab Street” explodes with raging mobs. The ambassador’s death is what sets the current situation apart.
Appearing as a guest on Monday's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC, actor and comedian Martin Short lambasted several of the GOP presidential candidates, as he called Rick Santorum a "crazy Catholic," compared Michele Bachmann to the Taliban while questioning her intelligence, and suggested that Mitt Romney has sent jobs to other countries.
When Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, appeared as a guest on Monday's Today show on NBC for the Memorial Day occasion, substitute co-anchor Savannah Guthrie raised concerns from the right about whether announcing the timeline of a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan might benefit Taliban insurgents tactically. Guthrie:
On September 11, 2001, thousands of Americans died in an attack that was planned and trained for in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. The same Taliban that sheltered Al Qaeda governed Afghanistan as a 7th Century theocracy where women were hidden under burqas and homosexuals were executed by having stone walls toppled on them. They were removed and kept from power at the cost of thousands of U.S. and NATO lives. Americans are still dying there while the Taliban burn down schools for girls and splash acid in the faces of women who don’t cover them.
But boy, can those guys compose a couplet! In June, an anthology of poems written by Taliban soldiers will be published and available for sale in America.
It has now been a year since Osama bin Laden became a ghost courtesy of the United States SEALs. I had long since come to the conclusion that Osama became crˆpes suzettes for the worms back in Tora Bora in December 2001, and I was somewhat stubborn in my belief. Yet he fooled me and the student of Araby Mark Steyn and a few other pundits. I shall be a big enough man to admit it. I was wrong.
Apparently, Osama took up residence in the wilds of Pakistan, where he believed he was safe. Doubtless like-minded pietists in the Pakistani army or intelligence community told him he would be safe there. They were doubtless proud of their world-famous tenant. Well, they were asleep on the night of May 2, 2011, or they had the good sense not to get involved. When the US helicopters swooped in, Osama was pitifully exposed. He had no guards that we know of, save a few women. Several doors collapsed before our tough troops, and pop, he was on his way to the 72 virgins in Heaven or the 42 cows or whatever the Muslim theologians estimate the Hereafter to be composed of. At any rate I am glad he is gone, and doubtless you are too.
NBC's special presentation of Rock Center on the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's assassination wasn't just a victory lap for Barack Obama.
It was also a chance for host Brian Williams to praise Bill Clinton for going after the former al Qaeda leader without mentioning all the times his administration passed on chances to get him (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
On PBS's Inside Washington on Friday, the Politico's Evan Thomas - formerly of Newsweek - characterized the United States as a "great giant" that would go on to "stomp on" other countries after the 9/11 attacks.
After substitute host Mark Shields introduced a segment on the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan by asking how history would "judge" the military operation, he turned to regular panel member Thomas who responded with a questionable choice of words:
In an otherwise typically dismal column about President Barack Obama which is one part pity party and another part an attempt at building him a he-man reputation (not kidding), New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd describes an upcoming movie featuring the exploits of Navy SEAL Team 6 in the operation which killed Osama Bin Laden on May 1.
Dowd celebrates the fact that the movie's currently anticipated opening is October 12, 2012, describing it as "perfectly timed" and "just as Obamaland was hoping." She expects that it will "give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher," and "counter Obama’s growing reputation as ineffectual."
Here are the relevant paragraphs from Dowd's column, including reference to a New Yorker column about the operation which has become the subject of considerable controversy (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Throughout his tenure, there have been several facets in which President Obama has been demonstrably weak on leadership, with the debt debate coming to the forefront in recent months. Now however, lost in that news cycle has been another failure of leadership for the President – his own request to tone down violent rhetoric in this country. For it was mere months ago that Obama stood in front of a crowd in Tucson that had anxiously sought leadership amidst the chaos of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting; a teachable moment that had The Guardiangushing about how the President had delivered “calm amid the toxic rhetoric.”
That moment of calm has long since dissipated. Where once the President had denounced discourse that places “the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do”, we hear Republicans blamed for holding the American people hostage to their economic policies. Where once we were urged to talk “with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds”, we now hear Tea Party members being denounced as terrorists.
Make no mistake, this ratcheting up of terrorism and hostage-taking discourse directly coincides with recent events in Norway. The instant that Oslo terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, was labeled as a ‘right-wing Christian’, liberals finally had their moment to seize upon - not just a chance to label conservatives as extreme ideologues but a chance to label them as violent ideologues. This message has been a coordinated and vicious attack amongst the media, the Democrats, and most assuredly, the President.
On ABC’s World News on Sunday, a report by correspondent Jim Avila highlighted the complaints of left-wing mayors who expressed wishes that more defense spending would be redirected at projects in their cities.
The NBC correspondent speculated about what other items could be paid for using the money used by the Pentagon in Afghanistan and Iraq, and concluded the report seeming to suggest that spending on the wars had played a role in causing "damage" to the economy of the U.S. Avila: "It's a growing part of this country's war fatigue - a decade of human cost and damage to a struggling economy."
President Obama announced last night that he will withdraw his entire 30,000 troop surge from 2009, bringing home 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year, and an additional 20,000 troops by the end of next summer.
The plan is a much more aggressive withdrawal than recommended by the Gen. David Petraeus and other Pentagon officials, who recommended one more fighting season against the Taliban to maintain the recent gains American troops have made.
Check out a video of his speech after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Left-wing Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs, a frequent Morning Joe guest, has accused US special operations forces of committing "high-tech murder on a large scale" for their targeted campaign of killing or capturing Al Qaeda Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Sachs made his contemptible accusation on today's Morning Joe in the course of a discussion of the PBS Frontline documentary "Kill/Capture" on the JSOC operations. Stephen Grey, a producer of the documentary, was a guest.
Sunday was an historic day for America, an historic victory in the War on Terror - Usama Bin Laden, the man who had ordered the death of over 3,000 Americans on 9/11, had finally been killed. It was also an historic revelation that, conducting the war according to far-left liberal policies would have prevented this day from ever happening.
Classified dossiers of detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison released by Wikileaks were naturally splashed on the front of Monday’s New York Times, which had editorialized in strong terms for the closing of the Cuba prison. Reporters Charlie Savage, William Glaberson, and Andrew Lehren filed “Details of Lives in an American Limbo.”
(In February 2009, Glaberson let two hard-left groups he called "human rights groups" ridicule a Pentagon report saying there was no mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay.)
From Monday's lead story:
A trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there.
Military intelligence officials, in assessments of detainees written between February 2002 and January 2009, evaluated their histories and provided glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.
Of all the reasons to send our people to fight and die in Afghanistan, spending $2 billion per week in the process, Howard Dean has managed to come up with perhaps the worst: feminism.
On today's Morning Joe, Dean explained that "the whole reason" he used to support President Obama's waging of the Afghanistan war was that leaving the country would plunge its women back into "the Stone Age." But now that Afghan President Karzai has showed insufficient support for women's right in Dean's eyes, it's time to get out.
In today’s world, video war games are all the rage. The military knows that video games make young men more interested in military service, and can even make them better soldiers. As is so often the case, some of the producers of these games have taken the simulation too far.
For the latest version of its wildly popular shooter game “Medal of Honor,” Electronic Arts chose to set the game in post-9/11 Afghanistan. But now it also allows players to fight as the Taliban and kill American troops. This was too much for the military. Army, Air Force, and Navy bases have announced they will refuse to sell the game out of respect to our troops who have been killed by the Taliban.
"You know how many of my friends have been killed by the Taliban?" Staff Sgt. William Schober, a fan of the earlier “Medal” games, asked the New York Times. "One of my friends was sniped in the head by them. That's something you want to have fun with?"
Defenders of controversial imam Feisal Abdul Rauf have been touting his past efforts in offering counterterrorism advice to the FBI as a way to illustrate his bridge-building intentions. Much like other reports, they tend to gloss over the more controversial aspects of Rauf's statements. But, as is typical with the Ground Zero mosque imam, it can be demonstrated that he is frequently speaking with a forked tongue.
There is no doubt that Rauf has made some questionable and incendiary comments regarding America and her role in the Muslim world. Perhaps these statements fit the imam's overall rhetoric involving U.S. complicity in the attacks of 9/11. As does the following statement to the FBI, which is conveniently omitted from media reports defending Rauf.
Bridge-building imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was giving a crash course in Islam for FBI agents in March of 2003. When asked to clarify such terminology as ‘jihad' and ‘fatwa', Rauf stated (emphasis mine throughout):
"Jihad can mean holy war to extremists, but it means struggle to the average Muslim. Fatwah has been interpreted to mean a religious mandate approving violence, but is merely a recommendation by a religious leader. Rauf noted that the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks could be considered a jihad, and pointed out that a renowned Islamic scholar had issued a fatwah advising Muslims in the U.S. military it was okay to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan."
Happy belated birthday, America, your presence in Afghanistan is "inherently corrupting." That's the message Rachel Maddow gave on her July 6 program.
During the Bush administration, the Left often argued that the president had distracted America by engaging in hostilities in Iraq, bleeding resources and attention away from the real war on terror in Afghanistan, which had harbored al Qaeda pre-9/11.
Now with Iraq all but won following the success of the Bush-approved, Petraeus-executed "surge," the Left is becoming vocal in its opposition to the war in Afghanistan and finding a platform on MSNBC.
Daytime network anchor Dylan Ratigan has been calling for withdrawal from Afghanistan for weeks, arguing that the war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than Vietnam and been a needless waste of money.
Now Ratigan's colleague has joined in the chorus. On the Tuesday, July 6 edition of her eponymous show, Maddow made this argument:
The first six words (bolded by me) of Deb Riechmann's report from Kabul, Afghanistan for the Associated Press are refreshing:
"We are in this to win," Gen. David Petraeus said as he took the reins of an Afghan war effort troubled by waning support, an emboldened enemy, government corruption and a looming commitment to withdraw troops - even with no sign of violence easing.
It would have been even more refreshing if the AP's Riechmann, who obviously felt compelled to tick off as many of the reasons Petraeus and the troops he leads may not meet the goal as quickly as possible, would have reminded readers that Petraeus's boss, President Barack Obama, has been decidedly allergic to using the words "win" and "victory" in Afghanistan since his inauguration. One of her later paragraphs presented a perfect opportunity to remind readers of the president's aversion. She passed; she shouldn't have.
Petraeus, thankfully, feels no need to hold back, as noted later in Reichmann's report (bolds are mine):
In Wednesday's "Bill Puts Scrutiny on Detainees' Lawyers," New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage sank his teeth into a Republican proposal that would crack down on lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees suspected of taking actions to harm the military.
A provision tucked into a defense bill before Congress would direct the Pentagon's inspector general to investigate any suspected misconduct by lawyers for Guantánamo Bay detainees, opening a new chapter in a recurrent political controversy over legal ethics and the representation of terrorism suspects. .... The provision would require the Pentagon inspector general to investigate instances in which there was "reasonable suspicion" that lawyers for detainees violated a Pentagon policy, generated "any material risk" to a member of the armed forces, violated a law under the inspector general's exclusive jurisdiction, or otherwise "interfered with the operations" of the military prison at Guantánamo. .... In introducing the proposal last week, Representative Jeff Miller, Republican of Florida, focused on the John Adams Project, a joint enterprise of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. It provides research and legal assistance to the uniformed lawyers defending detainees who are facing prosecution before a military commission.
Mr. Miller characterized the John Adams Project as a "treacherous enterprise," referring to accusations that its researchers took pictures of interrogators and gave them to military defense lawyers, who in turn showed them to detainees.
The lawyers have defended the legality and propriety of their efforts. They contend that the detainees were illegally tortured in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency, and they want to raise that issue at trial. To do so, they need to identify potential witnesses to the interrogation sessions.
So far unobjectionable, though we could have learned more about those photographs: Were researchers trying to make targets out of interrogators?
But Savage went off the rails in the last two paragraphs:
On Wednesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan didn't see any point to continuing the war in Afghanistan and slammed military air strikes against terrorist targets as: "kids with joysticks in New Jersey and Las Vegas dropping predator bombs on civilians willy-nilly." [Audio available here]
Ratigan began a panel discussion on Afghanistan with Democratic strategist David Goodfriend and Republican strategist Brent Littlefield by wondering: "Is there anybody in this administration on either side that can actually justify the American presence in Afghanistan at this point?" Littlefield attempted to explain: "we had the previous president, took the country in there because of the attacks on 9/11." Ratigan was dismissive: "That was almost ten years ago, right? I mean that was a long time ago."
Ratigan moved on to Goodfriend and referenced NBC correspondent Richard Engel's appearance on the show on Tuesday: "He is making the point that the Bush doctrine of fight them there and they won't get us here appears to be continuing to break down as we now default to just predator drone-them-to-death wherever they may be on remote control and an apparent, sort of, nonevent in Afghanistan. It's like a charade." Of course the reliance on predator drone attacks was significantly increased under the Obama administration.