Thursday, March 29, 2007


There seems a simple solution to end the whole row about Iran arresting 15 British sailors/marines. Tony Blair should apologize. Something like, "I am sorry our marines wandered into waters considered by Iran to be their territorial area." What is so hard about that? Iran would then return the sailors.

Instead, Blair wants to ratchet up the brouhaha. Unsaid is the threat to use military force to force the marines' return and to punish Iran.

Iran arrests British sailors, so the U.K. is going to threaten military action? There is no proportionality. And if this happens, then we can expect the trigger-ready Bush and his chief war-monger Cheney to start bombing Iranian cities and civilians.

Is this all it takes to constitute a casus belli? Does this justify sending war planes and dropping cluster bombs? Where are the statesmen and wise men in Britain and the U.S. who might speak up against this silliness and prevent this coming catastrophe?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Instead of Tony Blair threatening Iran with "other means" and George Bush ordering war games in the Persian Gulf bordering Iran's southern border, in response to the Iranians' seizure of 15 British marines, these two great western world leaders should try diplomacy and negotiation. How about Mr. Blair placing a simple phone call to Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and asking for a meeting between the leaders of Iran and the U.K.? How about Mr. Bush arranging for a visit to Teheran to settle differences, just as Mr. Nixon travelled to China to meet Mao Tse Dung and Chou En Lai? Instead of treating Iran as an "enemy," the U.S. and U.K. should disabuse themselves of the urge to bomb Iranian cities and sit down and work things out as adults.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


When the press such as The Guardian reported the Lancet study on the number of civilian casualties in October 2006, the world was shocked by the number estimated, approximately 655,000. Yet at that time, both the U.S. and the U.K. tried to cast doubt on the validity and accuracy of the numbers, claiming that they were inflated and exaggerated. Owen Bennett-Jones writes for the BBC World Service:

"Shortly after the publication of the survey in October last year Tony Blair's official spokesperson said the Lancet's figure was not anywhere near accurate. He said the survey had used an extrapolation technique, from a relatively small sample from an area of Iraq that was not representative of the country as a whole. President Bush said: "I don't consider it a credible report." ""

Now Owen Bennett-Jones reports in the BBC World Service that the British Government at that time had cause to believe that the Lancet/John Hopkins study of the number of civilian casualties in Iraq was based on scientific methodology and rigorous statistical sampling. The BBC has secured a memorandum written by the chief scientific adviser of the U.K. Ministry of Defense in which the scientific adviser says the survey's modus operandi was "robust" and "best practice":

"The study design is robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to "best practice" in this area, given the difficulties of data collection and verification in the present circumstances in Iraq."

Another U.K. official admits at the time of the report's publication that, despite the official belittling by Blair and Bush, the study "could not be rubbished."

Monday, March 26, 2007


The NewsHour with Judy Woodruff had a debate tonight between John Yoo and Neal Katyal on the rationale behind the detention center at Guantanamo. Katyal was incisive, insightful, illuminating. Yoo was defensive and meandering. Scorecard: Katyal 10, Yoo 3. Katyal argued that the suspension of the protections of the Constitution was and is the main purpose of Guantanamo. Yoo's defense was that war justifies removal of the Great Writ and other constitutional guarantees. The same John Yoo who supported the Department of Justice in allowing harsh interrogation techniques and gave "legal"cover to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld in using methods short of organ failure to extract "useful" information from suspects. Here is the John Yoo/DOJ definition of "torture" :

"Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. For purely mental pain or suffering to amount to torture (under U.S. law), it must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years. . . . We conclude that the statute, taken as a whole, makes plain that it prohibits only extreme acts.''

I will be out of the office much this week, so blogging will be light.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Margalit Fox in Friday's The New York Times writes an obituary on Professor Tanya Reinhart which illuminates the diversity of views of Israelis towards the Palestinian Question. According to the obit, Ms. Reinhart "was best known to the public as an ardent critic of her country's plicies towards the Palestinians . . ."

"Professor Reinhart, who for many years taught linguistics and cultural studies at Tel Aviv University, was known for her outspoken views and writings on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She called repeatedly for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, and in recent years supported a European petition calling for an academic boycott of Israel."

So much for a common American misconception that the views of Israelis are monolithic and unified in support of the Israeli government's harsh policies and actions versus the Palestinians.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Raw Story pointed me to an interview that John Bolton, former U.N Ambassador gave to the BBC. In the interview, Bolton said he was "damned proud of what we did" (meaning the United States government) to prevent an early ceasefire in the war between Israel and Lebanon.

Recall that during the time of the conflict, the U.S. was supplying Israel with bunker-busting bombs, as well as cluster bombs. It turns out that the U.S. was resisting calls for a cease fire because according to the BBC,

" . . .US officials argued a ceasefire was insufficient and agreement was needed to address the underlying tensions and balance of power in the region."

Meanwhile the U.S. was happy having Israel attempt to destroy Hezbollah, as if a social and political organization could be destroyed by mere bombing.

"Mr Bolton, a controversial and blunt-speaking figure, said he was "damned proud of what we did" to prevent an early ceasefire."

The BBC's piece also indicates that other Arab states showed little sympathy for Hezbollah.

There were many not - how should I put it - resistant to the thought that the Israelis should thoroughly defeat Hezbollah, who... increasingly by Arab states were seen as an Iranian proxy," said UN special envoy Terje Roed Larsen.

This is understandable both from a religious and ethnic position. The Arab states for the most part are Sunni whereas Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon are Shia. Furthermore and equally important, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have populations that are primarily Arab. Iran's population is Persian, not Arab.

According to the BBC,

"More than 1,000 Lebanese civilians and an unknown number of Hezbollah fighters were killed in the conflict. Israel lost 116 soldiers in the fighting, while 43 of its civilians were killed in Hezbollah rocket attacks."

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Reuters has a story today on how the U.S. and Britain are complaining that Italy should not have swapped five Afghani prisoners for an Italian journalist held by the Taliban.

"A senior U.S. administration official said on Wednesday Washington had formally complained to Rome about the prisoner swap to free journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo."

This whole argument against swapping prisoners seems surreal and at its base is porous and full of holes. Imagine if the Taliban captured the Bush twins and offered to trade them for Taliban prisoners. Would Bush and Blair remain as unyielding and as stiff-backed if the hostages were their own daughters? Of course not. The firm policy against swapping hostages applies only to other people's kids.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


In a previous blog on Pakistan's judicial crisis caused by Gen. Musharraf suspending the Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court, I pointed out the hypocrisy of the U.S. Government urging Pakistan to follow the rule of law while it at the same time was trying to fire eight U.S. attorneys for what appears to be illegal partisan political reasons.

Now today Griff Witte in the Washington Post reports that police stormed into offices of law firms last week in Lahore and smashed furniture, computers and files. According to lawyers in Witte's story, the raid was a clear message to lawyers from Musharraf against continuing the protests against the government on behalf of the suspended Chief Justice.

So it seems that Musharraf's government is more in danger from protesting lawyers than from fundamentalists eager to overthrow secular Musharraf. Witte reports that the lawyers intend to continue their protest today in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The BBC reports that "[t]he UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says there has been an "abject denial" around the world of the humanitarian impact of invading Iraq."

"The UN faces an enormous task in helping countries such as Jordan and Syria cope with the huge influx of Iraqi refugees, a spokesman said. He said the international community had to step in to help address their food, health and education needs. Syria says it is home to 1.2m Iraqi refugees, with up to 800,000 in Jordan. "

As for the U.S., according to NPR in a story dated February 14, 2007, the United States agreed to take in 7,000 Iraqi refugees. For 2006, the U.S. took in only 202. That is two hundred and two for all of 2006!

The critical political question is: why has the U.S. been so reluctant to accept refugees fleeing the violence in Iraq when it was the U.S. through George W. Bush that caused this humanitarian catastrophe?

Perhaps as suggested by various commentators, if the U.S. opened its doors to those millions of Iraqis who have fled Iraq for their lives, the U.S. would be openly acknowledging Bush's catastrophic mistakes in Iraq, the American failure to establish a democratic and free Iraq, and the present bloody civil war upheaval. All mistakes that Bush refuses to admit.


Think Progress yesterday posted a video of MSNBC's Nora O'Donnell talking with Sen. Joe Lieberman about foreign policy. Lieberman bemoans current Democratic presidential candidates who are not "strong and muscular on foreign and defense policy." Joe says he won't rule out switching parties although he currently does not plan on it. It depends, Lieberman says, on the party's stand on Iraq, Iran and militant Islam.

How did Connecticut Democrats allow this guy to win the general election after rejecting him in the Democratic primary?

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Over the past year NPR has had numerous stories involving John Yoo, the former deputy assistant attorney general and now law professor at the University of California, Berkley. Here is Yoo on NPR on October 4, 2006, justifying the lack of rights of detainees at Guantanamo to receive a fair trial, be represented by lawyers or petition federal courts for review.

""Well, it's not a criminal trial," says Yoo, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who served as a deputy assistant attorney general from 2001 to 2003. This is part of the way the rules of war have worked for a long time," he says. "The military proceedings to determine if you're an enemy combatant usually don't require as much proof. You know, the point of the war is not to collect evidence and solve crimes. It's to fight and defeat the enemy. So I think this sort of flexible process reflects the demands and the nature of warfare."

Now in a post from Prof. Marty Lederman on the excellent legal blog Balkinization, citing an interview Yoo gave to Alasdair Palmer of The Spectator, a London weekly, as quoted in the Montreal Gazette, we learn that Yoo feels water-boarding is permissible, because while it may be torture, it is far better than being put to death, an action Yoo feels is justified by the laws of war.

"Does water-boarding (inducing the perception of drowning in someone to make him talk) inflict serious pain?" Yoo asks. "I doubt that the CIA thinks that it does ... or that it is going to stop using the technique, if the stakes are high enough." So despite the new law, the old tactics will be available? "I think so. And more important, so do they ..."

Again as cited by Lederman, John Yoo also confesses that he just doesn't understand why torture is prohibited: After all,

"[D]eath is worse than torture, but everyone except pacifists thinks there are circumstances in which war is justified. War means killing people. If we are entitled to kill people, we must be entitled to injure them. I don't see how it can be reasonable to have an absolute prohibition on torture when you don't have an absolute prohibition on killing. Reasonable people will disagree about when torture is justified. But that, in some circumstances, it is justified seems to me to be just moral common sense. How could it be better that 10,000 or 50,000 or a million people die than that one person be injured?"

So now we have John Yoo coming out and admitting he believes that there is no absolute prohibition on torture. For Yoo, torture is at times legally and morally justified, on the principle that if a fortiori war is allowed, then torture cannot be so bad.

Is this how Bush and Cheney think.? Will they justify any means however loathsome and cruel to obtain their ends? What makes Bush & Co. any different from religious fanatics and church authorities in the Inquisition, believing themselves to be doing God's work, condemned people to be burned at the stake or turned them over to the civilian authorities for other equally cruel and degrading methods of torture. In answer to the question of whether you conversed with the devil, who of us would not answer in the affirmative after so many turns on the rack?

Saturday, March 17, 2007


NPR covered Valerie Plame Wilson's appearance on Capitol Hill yesterday on All Things Considered. C-Span also had full video coverage of her appearance and testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. I watched most of the video, and came away thinking it would have been better for Ms. Plame not to testify. Her answers were meandering and at times seemed self-serving. Valerie even made the questions of Republicans on the Committee seem mature and well-thought-out. At least that was my impression. Then I came across a sketch by Dana Milbank in today's Washington Post. Oh this is good. You must check it out.

Friday, March 16, 2007


The U.S. State Department yesterday chided Pakistan and implicitly urged Gen. Pervez Musharraf to follow Pakistan's laws and procedures in the case of Chief Justice Chaudry who was suspended on charges of "judicial misconduct." The State Department cautioned that Pakistan should uphold the rule of law, and follow due process in conducting the prosecution of the complaint against Chaudry, keeping it clear and transparent, and free from the taint of internal politics. Here is a reporter's question and State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack's response:

QUESTION: On Pakistan. Do you have any comment on the arrest of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? There is – (inaudible) of President Musharraf say that his move is unconstitutional and it's created a rather difficult situation to his opposition.
MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Now, understood we have -- it's a situation actually that we have been monitoring very closely for some time and I think this occurred several days ago and we are watching it closely. It is a matter of deep concern. And we believe that the resolution of this matter should take place in a way that is completely transparent and strictly in accordance with Pakistan's laws. It's essential for any developing democracy to adhere to the rule of law and conduct any investigations, any proceedings that may follow on from those investigations in a clear, aboveboard, transparent manner that strictly accords with Pakistan's laws.

The amazing part of this whole response is that the State Department is here sanctimoniously urging the rule of law on Pakistan and Musharraf at the same time that the White House and Department of Justice have been conducting a secret, concealed and political campaign to fire eight U.S. attorneys for what looks like totally political skulduggery.

This is why much of the world hates the United States. Not because foreigners hate "our democracy," as Bush likes to say, but because they resent the U.S. and its president telling them what they should do, while at the same time the U.S. shows itself a hypocrite in flaunting its own principles.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Khalid Sheik Mohammed's Confession at Guantanamo

As a retired lawyer, I am most suspect of obtaining a confession from someone who has been tortured. I am sure even Dick Cheney would confess if interrogators gave him the water treatment. Moreover, Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) allegedly gave his confession to a secret military tribunal in Guantanamo. No reporters got in. There were no non-military witnesses. Above all, there were no lawyers for the defense. What type of tribunal is this? It is a throw-back to the Inquisition where secrecy ruled and no defense lawyers were allowed. Therefore, for me, the whole confession is tainted. My only conclusion is that Bush and Cheney and sub-torturers must be afraid of allowing KSM to detail and describe to the world how and when he was tortured.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Dan Froomkin in his blog White House Watch on Washington today has a thorough run-down of the developing political storm over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys apparently for Republican political advantage. Among many, many incisive points in his blog, Froomkin gives some of the contradictions observed in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales news conference yesterday.

This guy Froomkin is amazing. Five days a week, he writes White House Watch, each post 8-10 pages. Readers you need to check him out.

Monday, March 12, 2007


NPR ran a good story by Jennifer Ludden on Morning Edition today about the small town of Hazelton, Pa., which has passed an ordinance which punishes employers of undocumented immigrants and which imposes a fine on landlords who rent apartments to such people. According to Ludden, Hazelton's mayor, Lou Barletta, claims the town used to be "an idyllic slice of America." We all know what Mayor Barletta means, no brown or black faces, just all white. And no Mexicans or other Latinos.

One of the interesting parts of the NPR story was when Ludden's piece disclosed who Hazelton's main lawyer is. Kris Koback is none other than the former immigration advisor to ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Koback's legal strategy apparently is to frame Hazelton's ordinance in terms that do not mention race, ethnicity or national origin of the undocumenteds. Just bring charges against employers and landlords of "undocumenteds." Have the complaint say nothing about Mexicans and other brown skins. Yeah, but we all really know what is going on. Just don't mention that the person is a Mexican or has brown skin and you can get away with all the discriminatory ordinances your racist contributors and backers so desire.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I don't see Lucy Kraft listed on the NBR web site as either a staff member or contributor. But she offered an insightful and comprehensive story last night about the changing fashions in Japan, especially among young women. The story was anything but superficial. It examined the phenomenon of companies in Japan that rank the popularity of products. Such rankings become an engine driving consumer preferences for modern Japanese youth. Shakespeare's put-down of changing women's fashions (Sonnet # 20*) would find no resonance with many Japanese women. The apparently perfectly bi-lingual Kraft is a solid asset for NBR, even though she might now be just a part-time contributor. Bravo NBR and Lucy Kraft.

*A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion.
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion.
(Lines 1-4)

Friday, March 9, 2007


I listened to Steve Inskeep interview Tedd Koppel this morning on NPR, discussing the presence of U.S. Special Forces in Ethiopia, and their participation in the invasion of Somalia this past December. I think the important part of this story should have been the ongoing militarism of the United States. Over the past 100 years, the U.S. it seems has been in a foreign war about once every 10 years. Why should the U.S. have forces in countries overseas? Why does the U.S. think it can invade sovereign countries anytime it wants? Can any American really believe the U.S. can successfully pursue its foreign policy by way of tanks, planes and bombs? This is the story that I wish Steve Inskeep would have pursued.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


One of the Newshour's stories tonight was by Margaret Warner on Bush's tour of South and Central America, visiting those countries Bush thinks are not 100% against him. I have several objections to the report. First, Bush suggested in a video clip that poverty in Latin America turns people away from democracy. I would have liked Margaret Warner to critique Bush's statement and object to it. But she let it go. This is why we left-leaning bloggers take umbrage at times with the work of certain MSM journalists. They seem to permit themselves to be used by those currently in power. Show me one Latin American country that fits Bush's thesis. Certainly not Venezuela where Hugo Chavez was recently re-elected president with over 70% of the popular vote. Not Bolivia. Not Brazil. Not Ecuador. Not Mexico.

Now on other facets of the report. Okay, Chavez called Bush "Satan." So what? There are a lot of us Americans who think Bush is a devil.

Chavez nationalises Venezuelan telephone and oil companies. So what? Vladimir Putin does the same thing.

The main point should have been the depth of animosity of the Latino hoi polloi against Bush even in the "safe" countries, such as Uruguay or Colombia. This animosity is not "anti-United States," contrary to what the Newshour report stated. Rather it is anti-Bush. There is a big difference.

Finally, Margaret Warner gives me the impression that she does not hear the answers which her questions elicit. No matter what a guest answers, Margaret Warner seems to forge ahead with her pre-determined questions. Do any of the answers really matter?

Walter Reed and Bush's "Bi-partisan" Committee

I was amazed to hear former Clinton administration official Donna Shalala on The Newshour last night say that she and former Senator Bob Dole were going to conduct an "impartial" investigation of the Walter Reed mess. Is she kidding? Whenever Bush wants to deflect attention from his personal and administrative failings, he appoints a commission, ostensibly with some Democrats as members. See, for example, the Iraq Study Group commission. Then after the smoke has cleared, Bush simply ignores suggestions from his commission that he does not like. So how could any Democrat or other reasonable person go along with this charade which at its sole raison d'etre provides Bush cover?

On The Newshour's follow-up interview, Judy Woodruff did a thorough and commendable job in questioning Sens. Patty Murray and Lindsay Graham on the Senate's investigation of the scandal.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Press and Media Tarnished in Libby Matter

Members of the media connected with the Libby story should be ashamed of themselves. The Libby trial showed us the soft underbelly of journalism, specifically how journalists cozy up to people in power, write favorable stories about them, allow those in power unchallenged publication, claim "privilege" even when they observe or are a party to a crime being committed by their sources. Tim Russert surely is diminished. The Vice President recognized him as an outlet who would blithely repeat the administration's blather du jour. And how about the journalistic ethics and demeanor of Russert when he sat as supreme arbiter on MTP without disclosing that he was going to be the main witness on the prosecution side even when discussing the Libby matter with his guests?

Bob Woodward also is tarnished. Recall that Woodward was the one who claimed that the whole Libby matter was of small consequence, a tempest in a teapot. Sure it was, Bob. You could get away diminishing the case only because that was at a time that no one knew you personally were involved in receiving information from Richard Armitage.

Matt Cooper. Oh, this is a beaut! Cooper takes notes while lying on his bed. Then the notes are so disorganized, no one can make heads or tails. Is this how other journalists take notes?

Then Judy Miller. She went to jail for over 80 days to protect Scooter Libby! Whose side is she on anyway? Where was her loyalty? To people like Scooter Libby and her friend John Bolton, or to her readers when she was at the NYT?

Dan Froomkin blogs today in the WaPo that with the Scooter conviction Messrs Bush and Cheney should come clean with the American public on what they knew and what they did. I agree with Froomkin, only I add journalists should fess up and adopt a standard of ethics for dealing with people in power.

Defender of Libby Gets Nowhere on The Newshour

Victoria Toensing was a guest last night with Richard Ben Veniste on The Newshour talking with Ray Suarez about the Libby Verdict. Toensing got nowhere when she tried to claim the prosecution led by U.S. attorney Fitzgerald was politically motivated and a mere case of he said/she said. I commend Ray Suarez for not letting her get away with her attempts to color the prosecution with political paint. Suarez challenged her on each point to give reasons and explanations. That's the way it needs to be done. Jim Lehrer, Margaret Warner, please take notice. No more passive complicity on the part of reporters/interviewers with baseless and conclusionary statements of partisans.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Invite Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame to Newshour

With the Libby verdict coming down, finding Scooter Libby guilty on four counts (as reported by, the Newshour should have Joe Wilson and his wife ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame on the Newshour tonight as guests. We viewers need to hear what they have to say. Should Cheney be indicted next? Should Bush be indicted? As reported by Think Progress, Bush said he was sorry to hear of Scooter's conviction when he should have expressed sympathy for the Wilsons.

Bush and Cheney's Self Serving Attempt to Escape Culpability in Walter Reed

Yo! You guys at the The Newshour. We heard what Cheney said to the VFW convention delegates yesterday. How the Bush administration would not allow the bureaucracy to continue its neglect of wounded service men and women. According to an AP story in Yahoo News, Cheney said:

"There will be no excuses — only action . . . And the federal bureaucracy will not slow that action down."

We can expect the same transference of blame from Bush today when he appears at the American Legion. Jim Lehrer and the Newshour: don't take this mush without giving careful critique. The buck stops at the top. Don't allow Bush to escape responsibility by blaming the "bureaucracy" for Bush's own reckless lack of supervision and direction.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Nightly Business Report's Stupid Videos

I watched NBR tonight. Unfortunately Paul Kangas was off, so we were left to Susie Gharib and Jeff Yastine. Then we had a story about Research in Motion, during which we had to watch someone playing with his Blackberry. It never fails. A story about Intel, and we must see computer chips being manufactured. A story about Delta, and NBR forces us to watch aircraft landing and taking off. NBR must think that its viewers are village idiots. Here's a tip to NBR - just present the story. Eliminate the dumbed-down videos.

Judy Woodruff and Bill "Clinon"

Judy Woodruff did a piece tonight on the Selma appearances yesterday of Hillary and Barack and Bill. Nice story. My question is, can Judy Woodruff pronounce "Clinton" with a "t"? After hearing her, I doubt it. "Clinton" becomes "Clin-on." Is it too much to ask that she as well as all reporters appearing on PBS first pass a basic English speech articulation test? Or do we want our children speaking the same lazy way as Judy Woodruff?

Story by Jim Lehrer on Afghan Killings a Disappointment

Okay, The News Hour did run a story tonight on the killing of at least 10 Afghan civilians by U.S. Marines on Sunday, but . . . Jim Lehrer went no further than say that the U.S. maintains the Marines acted in self defense. How lazy is The News Hour? Both the AP through Yahoo News and the Baltimore Sun discussed conflicting accounts of what happened. See our earlier posting today. Some Afghans maintain that the Marines fired at anything that moved in making their escape from the suicide location. But Lehrer did not even mention this. His M.O. - just take the government's account and run with it.

Three Important Stories for The News Hour Tonight

There are several news stories that I hope The News Hour covers tonight.

The first story as reported in today's Baltimore Sun deals with the carnage in Afghanistan near Jalalabad Airfield yesterday when a suicide bomber in a mini-van attacked a convoy of U.S. Marines. The story indicates what can happen when soldiers with lethal weapons panic. The Marines apparently opened fire on whatever moved, including passing cars and civilians. At least 10 civilians were killed and at least 25 were wounded in the ensuing blood-bath. There is an important lesson here. The U.S. and NATO should not have military forces in Afghanistan. The history of Afghanistan over many centuries shows that there is no possible way of winning militarily in a country that understandably detests foreign troops and occupiers. The one predictable outcome is that this misplaced military occupation will end many lives, both civilian and military.

The second story is related to the first. ABC News reports that Afghan journalists and photographers claim that U.S. Marines forced them to delete photos showing civilians in vehicles shot by Marines in the Marines' attempt to leave the site of the suicide bombing. Cars were allegedly shot up over a six-mile stretch.

And, finally, The News Hour should cover this third story, as reported in Yahoo News from the AP . Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, claims that Venezuela has intelligence that the CIA is out to assassinate him. Margaret Warner of The News Hour was recently on assignment in Venezuela. She needs to follow up to evaluate Chavez' claim, and not simply accept the word of the CIA that Chavez' claim is without merit.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Obama Too Beats Up on Iran

The Left Coaster picks up on a report in the Baltimore Sun about Barack Obama's recent speech to a Chicago regional committee of AIPAC, in which he tells his audience that Iran is a major threat to the U.S., Israel and world peace. Gimme a break! Now Obama is joining other Democrats Edwards and Clinton in bashing Iran. Instead of repeating charges devoid of evidence, let's sit down and negotiate.

All this Iran-bashing does is make it easier for Bush and Cheney to start a preventive war against Iran. This would be akin to Hitler invading Poland. A totally unjustified and immoral war without any basis or evidence to define it as in self-defense. Completely against the Charter of the United Nations. Yet this is what Cheney and Bush must mean when they say "all options are on the table."

Reporters Fear the "Liberal Bloggers"

Think Progress has a good report on several reporters and columnists from the Washington Post whining about being criticised by us bloggers and our readers.

It's about time reporters understand that their readers hold them accountable. A lot of these guys love access to people in power, and they will do anything to gain and keep that access, even if it means shading their stories about the War in Iraq and other malfeasances of the Bush gang.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

PBS Avoids Story on Ann Coulter Calling John Edwards "a Faggot"

How come The News Hour like almost every other major news organization avoided the big story on Ann Coulter? She called John Edwards "a faggot" in her speech before a major conservative gathering. PBS is derelict, and in its omission, aids and enables people like Coulter in her outrageous comments.

Don't Let National Public Radio Manipulate the News

For an excellent daily commentary about the treatment of news on National Public Radio, visit NPR Check.

News Hour 03/02/2007

Here's my main objection to the news on The News Hour (TNH) with Jim Lehrer. Last night, TNH played an advance clip of Mr. Bush's Saturday Radio Address. We heard stuff like W claiming righteously that his administration won't tolerate shabby treatment for injured war vets. Then we saw clips of W as Resolute Leader saluting the Marine guard in front of the presidential chopper. Why is this "news? All it is is propaganda. If TNH wishes to present drivel like this, it owes us viewers something to properly counterbalance it. The Walter Reed scandal shows another area where Bush has screwed up by his inferior and disinterested management of the federal government. TNH needs to articulate this, shine a bright light, not just accept Bush's faux hypocritical self-absolution and his blaming subordinates.

Nightly Business Report

I'm getting tired of the Nightly Business Report. Every broadcast, always the same format, always the same type of contrived interviews, the total lack of spontaneity. Maybe NBR could benefit by getting rid of Susie Gharib and giving a chance to its regional reporters, all of whom have been on NBR for at least the last 20 years. Someone like Suzanne Pratt or Stephanie Dhue. Even Paul Kangas needs to vary his format, but he is the least objectionable. Susie Gharib is the main offender. I vote to send her back to CNBC.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Welcome to PBS Monitor

This is our first post. What I want to do on this blog "PBS Monitor" is to hold PBS to the fire, especially as it involves "news" and "news programs." Too often in the past, news on PBS has been one-sided and ingenuous. Too often, PBS has accepted as gospel truth whatever silly thing the Bush Administration tells it. Too often, news on PBS has been shallow and superficial. My goal on this blog is to call PBS on it, not to let PBS get away with the pro-Bush crap it often offers up to its viewers. Feel free to comment on whatever concerns you about PBS.