What You Don't Know Of Degree of Deception in Sports Hero Pat Tillman's Death By Friendly Fire

[Ed. note: I also posted this at All Things Democrat, but I believe this needs to be seen by as many eyes as possible.]

If you think you already know all the horrible truth about the level of corruption and lies in the coverup of the death of former sports star Pat Tillman - who chose to serve in Afghanistan because he did not, says his mother, believe that the war in Iraq was just - you don't. Not by a long shot.

Read this Associated Press probe piece at Editor & Publisher.

Within hours of Pat Tillman's death, the Army went into information-lockdown mode, cutting off phone and Internet connections at a base in Afghanistan, posting guards on a wounded platoon mate, and ordering a sergeant to burn Tillman's uniform.

New investigative documents reviewed by The Associated Press describe how the military sealed off information about Tillman's death from all but a small ring of soldiers. Officers quietly passed their suspicion of friendly fire up the chain to the highest ranks of the military, but the truth did not reach Tillman's family for five weeks. The clampdown, and the misinformation issued by the military, lie at the heart of a burgeoning congressional investigation.

"We want to find out how this happened," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House oversight committee, which has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday. "Was it the result of incompetence, miscommunication or a deliberate strategy?"

It is also a central issue as the Army weighs punishments against nine officers, including four generals, faulted in the latest Pentagon report on the case of the NFL star-turned-soldier. Military offocials said those recommendations could come in the next several weeks.

It is well known by now that the circumstances of Tillman's April 22, 2004, death were kept from his family and the American public; the Army maintained he was cut down by enemy bullets in an ambush, even though many soldiers knew he was mistakenly killed by his own comrades. The nearly 1,100 pages of documents released last month at the conclusion of the Army Criminal Investigation Command's probe reveal the mechanics of how the Army contained the information.
Read the rest here.

Absolute Must Read/Must See: A Probe of the Press and Iraq by PBS' Bill Moyers

Regular readers know of the extremely high esteem in which I hold Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher magazine (the journal of the press about the press). While I link to him and the online magazine frequently, I implore you to catch Greg's latest piece about the new Bill Moyers' PBS documentary upcoming about the press and America's war with Iraq labeled "devastating (and then you need to be sure you see this documentary):

The most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq will appear next Wednesday, a 90-minute PBS broadcast called "Buying the War," which marks the return of "Bill Moyers Journal." E&P was sent a preview DVD and a draft transcript for the program this week.

While much of the evidence of the media's role as cheerleaders for the war presented here is not new, it is skillfully assembled, with many fresh quotes from interviews (with the likes of Tim Russert and Walter Pincus) along with numerous embarrassing examples of past statements by journalists and pundits that proved grossly misleading or wrong. Several prominent media figures, prodded by Moyers, admit the media failed miserably, though few take personal responsibility.

The war continues today, now in its fifth year, with the death toll for Americans and Iraqis rising again -- yet Moyers points out, "the press has yet to come to terms with its role in enabling the Bush Administration to go to war on false pretenses."

Among the few heroes of this devastating film are reporters with the Knight Ridder/McClatchy bureau in D.C. Tragically late, Walter Isaacson, who headed CNN, observes, "The people at Knight Ridder were calling the colonels and the lieutenants and the people in the CIA and finding out, you know, that the intelligence is not very good. We should've all been doing that."

At the close, Moyers mentions some of the chief proponents of the war who refused to speak to him for this program, including Thomas Friedman, Bill Kristol, Roger Ailes, Charles Krauthammer, Judith Miller, and William Safire.

But Dan Rather, the former CBS anchor, admits, "I don't think there is any excuse for, you know, my performance and the performance of the press in general in the roll up to the war…We didn't dig enough. And we shouldn't have been fooled in this way." Bob Simon, who had strong doubts about evidence for war, was asked by Moyers if he pushed any of the top brass at CBS to "dig deeper," and he replies, "No, in all honesty, with a thousand mea culpas….nope, I don't think we followed up on this."

Kudos For The House: Vote Succeeds To Give Washington D.C. Representation

Long past time, but sadly, not a done deal yet either; as reported by Political Wire:

"A bill giving the District its first full seat in Congress cleared the House yesterday, marking the city's biggest legislative victory in its quest for voting rights in nearly three decades," reports the Washington Post.

However, "the bill faces considerable obstacles. Democrats don't appear to have enough votes in the Senate to avoid a filibuster, and the White House has threatened a veto. If the measure becomes law, it probably will be challenged in court."
Can anyone possibly offer a truly legitimate reason that these voters, too long denied and forced to endlessly endure "taxation without representation", should not get a representative?

And have you noticed Bush threatens to veto anything and everything that is constitutionally correct, fair and appropriate?

Frank Rich: "Everybody Hates Don Imus"

While I actually can't care about Imus enough to bother to hate him, I think Rich makes some excellent points in Sunday April 15th's Times' OpEd piece:

Familiar as I am with the warp speed of media, I was still taken aback by the velocity of Don Imus’s fall after he uttered an indefensible racist and sexist slur about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Even in that short span, there’s been an astounding display of hypocrisy, sanctimony and self-congratulation from nearly every side of the debate, starting with Al Sharpton, who has yet to apologize for his leading role in the Tawana Brawley case, the 1980s racial melee prompted by unproven charges much like those that soiled the Duke lacrosse players.

It’s possible that the only people in this whole sorry story who are not hypocrites are the Rutgers teammates and their coach, C. Vivian Stringer. And perhaps even Don Imus himself, who, while talking way too much about black people he has known and ill children he has helped, took full responsibility for his own catastrophic remarks and didn’t try to blame the ensuing media lynching on the press, bloggers or YouTube. Unlike Mel Gibson, Michael Richards and Isaiah Washington, to take just three entertainers who have recently delivered loud religious, racial or sexual slurs, Imus didn’t hire a P.R. crisis manager and ostentatiously enter rehab or undergo psychiatric counseling. “I dished it out for a long time,” he said on his show last week, “and now it’s my time to take it.”

Among the hypocrites surrounding Imus, I’ll include myself. I’ve been a guest on his show many times since he first invited me in the early 1990s, when I was a theater critic. I’ve almost always considered him among the smarter and more authentic conversationalists I’ve encountered as an interviewee. As a book author, I could always use the publicity.

Of course I was aware of many of his obnoxious comments about minority groups, including my own, Jews. Sometimes he aimed invective at me personally. I wasn’t seriously bothered by much of it, even when it was unfunny or made me wince, because I saw him as equally offensive to everyone. The show’s crudest interludes struck me as burlesque.

I do not know Imus off the air and have no idea whether he is a good person, any more than I know whether Jerry Lewis, another entertainer who raises millions for sick children, is a good person. But as a listener and sometime guest, I didn’t judge Imus to be a bigot. Perhaps I felt this way in part because Imus vehemently inveighed against racism in real life, most recently in decrying the political ads in last year’s Senate campaign linking a black Tennessee congressman, Harold Ford, to white women. Perhaps I gave Imus a pass because the insults were almost always aimed at people in the public eye, whether politicians, celebrities or journalists — targets with the forums to defend themselves.

And perhaps I was kidding myself. What Imus said about the Rutgers team landed differently, not least because his slur was aimed at young women who had no standing in the world of celebrity, and who had done nothing in public except behave as exemplary student athletes. The spectacle of a media star verbally assaulting them, and with a creepy, dismissive laugh, as if the whole thing were merely a disposable joke, was ugly. You couldn’t watch it without feeling that some kind of crime had been committed. That was true even before the world met his victims. So while I still don’t know whether Imus is a bigot, there was an inhuman contempt in the moment that sounded like hate to me. You can see it and hear it in the video clip in a way that isn’t conveyed by his words alone.

Does that mean he should be silenced? The Rutgers team pointedly never asked for that, and I don’t think the punishment fits the crime. First, as a longtime Imus listener rather than someone who tuned in for the first time last week, I heard not only hate in his wisecrack but also honesty in his repeated vows to learn from it. Second, as a free-speech near-absolutist, I don’t believe that even Mel Gibson, to me an unambiguous anti-Semite, should be deprived of his right to say whatever the hell he wants to say. The answer to his free speech is more free speech — mine and yours. Let Bill O’Reilly talk about “wetbacks” or Rush Limbaugh accuse Michael J. Fox of exaggerating his Parkinson’s symptoms, and let the rest of us answer back.

Liberals are kidding themselves if they think the Imus firing won’t have a potentially chilling effect on comics who push the line. Let’s not forget that Bill Maher, an Imus defender last week, was dropped by FedEx, Sears, ABC affiliates and eventually ABC itself after he broke the P.C. code of 9/11. Conservatives are kidding themselves if they think the Imus execution won’t impede Ann Coulter’s nasty invective on the public airwaves. As Al Franken pointed out to Larry King on Wednesday night, CNN harbors Glenn Beck, who has insinuated that the first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, is a terrorist (and who has also declared that “faggot” is nothing more than “a naughty name”). Will Time Warner and its advertisers be called to account? Already in the Imus aftermath, the born-again blogger Tom DeLay has called for the firing of Rosie O’Donnell because of her “hateful” views on Chinese-Americans, conservative Christians and President Bush.

Read the rest at Rozius.

Paul Krugman: "Way Off Base"

Belatedly, here's Krugman's April 16th Op/Ed from The New York Times (read the entire thing at Casa Rozius):

Normally, politicians face a difficult tradeoff between taking positions that satisfy their party’s base and appealing to the broader public. You can see that happening right now to the Republicans: to have a chance of winning the party’s nomination, Republican presidential hopefuls have to take far-right positions on Iraq and social issues that will cost them a lot of votes in the general election.

But a funny thing has happened on the Democratic side: the party’s base seems to be more in touch with the mood of the country than many of the party’s leaders. And the result is peculiar: on key issues, reluctant Democratic politicians are being dragged by their base into taking highly popular positions.

Iraq is the most dramatic example. Strange as it may seem, Democratic strategists were initially reluctant to make Iraq a central issue in the midterm election. Even after their stunning victory, which demonstrated that the G.O.P.’s smear-and-fear tactics have stopped working, they were afraid that any attempt to rein in the Bush administration’s expansion of the war would be successfully portrayed as a betrayal of the troops and/or a treasonous undermining of the commander in chief.

Beltway insiders, who still don’t seem to realize how overwhelmingly the public has turned against President Bush, fed that fear. For example, as Democrats began, nervously, to confront the administration over Iraq war funding, David Broder declared that Mr. Bush was “poised for a political comeback.”

It took an angry base to push the Democrats into taking a tough line in the midterm election. And it took further prodding from that base — which was infuriated when Barack Obama seemed to say that he would support a funding bill without a timeline — to push them into confronting Mr. Bush over war funding. (Mr. Obama says that he didn’t mean to suggest that the president be given “carte blanche.”)

But the public hates this war, no longer has any trust in Mr. Bush’s leadership and doesn’t believe anything the administration says. Iraq was a big factor in the Democrats’ midterm victory. And far from being a risky political move, the confrontation over funding has overwhelming popular support: according to a new CBS News poll, only 29 percent of voters believe Congress should allow war funding without a time limit, while 67 percent either want to cut off funding or impose a time limit.

Health care is another example of the base being more in touch with what the country wants than the politicians. Except for John Edwards, who has explicitly called for a universal health insurance system financed with a rollback of high-income tax cuts, most leading Democratic politicians, still intimidated by the failure of the Clinton health care plan, have been cautious and cagey about presenting plans to cover the uninsured.

But the Democratic presidential candidates — Mr. Obama in particular — have been facing a lot of pressure from the base to get specific about what they’re proposing. And the base is doing them a favor.

The fact is that a long time has passed since the defeat of the Clinton plan, and the public is now demanding that something be done. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed overwhelming support for a government guarantee of health insurance for all, even if that guarantee required higher taxes. Even self-identified Republicans were almost evenly split on the question!
Read the rest!

Unreal: When American Idol's Reject Sanjaya Meets The White House

As Cernig at Cernig's Newshog (aka The News Hoggers) reports, American Idiot...Idol's latest vapid-to-the-max reject "singer" Sanjaya has been invited as a "special guest" to the famed-and-fabled White House Correspondents' Dinner.


But hey, when you lower the standards enough to allow a George W. Bush (or a Dick Cheney or a Jeff Gannon/JD Guckert or a Bill O'Reilly) anywhere near the White House, you just know the standards are subterranean.


Note to Bushies: Where Have All The Federal Documents Gone?

Anyone who has ever worked in any kind of office knows that documents go missing occasionally. When the "office" is the federal government, the bureaucracy alone raises the amount of missing records exponentially high.

But what we're seeing today among the Bush Administration is a not just astounding but downright frightening and yes, criminal and deliberate loss of any document, file, record, or "fact" that the Bushies don't like or want others to see. This is not just me stating this: we've been hearing this for years from citizen and taxpayer organizations, from lawyers and constitutional and federal experts, from scientists and academicians, and even from Bush supporters and righties as well as from Bush haters and lefties.

As reported last night by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Countdown program, there are scads of cases before the courts right now that show a global-sized laundry list of documents, records, emails, and other material required by law (and in some cases, the Constitution) to be kept and maintained safely and openly by the U.S. government that have been reported "missing" from the White House and other Bush- and GOP-led organizations.

Some of these you already know about, like the "sudden" disappearance of George W. Bush's National Guard records which Bush has claimed (if only these silly documents weren't somehow eaten by the government dog) would show he faithfully fulfilled his military service since he was able to slide off from having to serve in the Vietnam War. That we have documents that show just the opposite - that Bush partied/drank/drugged his way through what little service he performed - are not supposed to be believed; no, we're supposed to believe what he (a serial liar) says about files the people on HIS watch magically "lost."

Also among the lost is much of the evidence the feds supposedly built against "terror" suspect Jose Padilla (seems like important data to lose, no?) as well as countless other never-charged detainees at Gitmo and elsewhere.

We also have many thousands of supposedly "lost" emails that reference the firing of federal prosecutors case (aka GonzalesGate or AttorneyGate or GonzoGate) with heavy White House involvement.

And I could literally go forward for the next few days just listing here the documents we "know" (because the government has claimed so) have been lost on the Bush Administration's watch.

How damned convenient. And criminal.


Vermont Senate: Impeach Bush Administration

Here's the details of today's vote in the Vermont state senate, echoing resolutions already passed in many of the Green Mountain state's communities on Town Meeting day last month.

Got Memory? Senators Question U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Though His Answers Are Pretty Equivocal

OK, which of you could/was quite at utterly incredulous about the testimony of the U.S. Attorney General Alberto "Fredo" Gonzales today. The whole damned thing was damned pitifully worm-lame, from the 74+ times he suggested HE couldn't quite recall or quote or do much as else.

Mr. Gonzales has no big fans among even the Republicans, one of whom suggested he either resign or re-acquaint himselfith rules and ethics OR "go homr to spend more time with his obligatory family.