No, But We Are Willing To Learn

In case you’re curious to read the e-mails between Corey Andrew and Sgt. Marcia Ramode, KIAV’s got ’em. Found them on the internets. Stole ’em. Heh-heh. (PDF)

In case you haven’t heard this story, have a seat. It’s a doozy. Andrew went and put his CV up on a job-hunting website. Ramode contacted him about signing up to fight for Uncle Sam! Andrew wrote back: “…I would imagine also that I am now able to serve in the US military as an openly gay man, right?”

She found the caps lock key.



Ah. A Ted Nugent fan. Excellent.

It’s priceless. Click here, scroll to the bottom, work your way up. You’ll see what I mean when I’ve said that I think this is more than just prejudice; that it’s a genuine mental disorder. Andrew gooses her a bit, but this exchange goes from zero to Michael Richards with relatively little provocation—especially considering that the initial contact was from her, not he.

Second, I can’t help but believe that this sort of exchange really indicates that effluent—that’s a fancy word for “shit”—really does run downhill. Coincidence, is it, that we see this ugliness just weeks after the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this: “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that [the U.S. military] should not condone immoral acts…I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way…As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy.” ?

And if it can be shown, at least anecdotally, that effluent indeed can run downhill this easily, why is it so difficult to believe that the idea to hood and wire and force into standing and dogs and fake menstrual blood and all that to other human beings came from higher up?

Geez. Send A Family’s Kid Off To Die In A Meaningless War and then Lie About How He Died and People Just Won’t Cut You A Break.

Statement by the family of Army Ranger Pat Tillman, following a briefing the family received from Pentagon officials Monday. Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

Our family will continue to pursue the full truth about the circumstances of Pat Tillman‘s death and the so-called “missteps” of the Army, the Department of Defense , and this administration.

The characterization of criminal negligence, professional misconduct, battlefield incompetence, concealment and destruction of evidence, deliberate deception, and conspiracy to deceive are not “missteps.”

In our opinion, this attempt to impose closure by slapping the wrists of a few officers and enlisted men is yet another bureaucratic entrenchment.

His investigation contained the unaltered statements, taken when memories were still fresh, by witnesses to the events surrounding Pat‘s death.

This is not a misstep.

The Army has yet to provide the family with a copy of the original narrative required by Army Regulation to support the award of the Silver Star.

Submitting fraudulent awards is a crime.

The general officer who appears to bear the brunt of this so-called investigation is Lt. Gen. Kensinger.

Investigators from the Army … tell us that Secretary Rumsfeld was not even aware that Pat’s death was friendly fire for almost a month.

Anyone familiar with former Secretary Rumsfeld’s reputation as an unforgiving micromanager must find this claim to be extremely disingenuous.

The Army regulation on the award of the Silver Star requires a detailed summary, elicited from witness statements, of the exact circumstances of the event which precipitates the award.

We know, from sworn statements, that the award was directed by then-Regimental Commander Col. James Nixon on April 23rd, before the unit with the witnesses had even returned from the field for debriefing.

We know, from sworn statements, that the original draft of the award falsely claimed that Pat was killed by enemy fire, when Pat was not subjected to enemy fire throughout the entire incident.

We know, from sworn statements, that the draft was changed to exclude explicit reference to enemy fire — probably as a precautionary legal measure — while maintaining the impression that Pat was killed in an intense firefight with the enemy … which he was not.

The Army can still not cite a single instance of any Silver Star, before Pat, that was awarded in the case of fratricide, when the subject of the award was never fired upon by the enemy.

No one who knew Pat ever doubted his physical or moral courage.

But the award of the Silver Star appears more than anything to be part of a cynical design to conceal the real events from the family and the public, while exploiting the death of our beloved Pat as a recruitment poster.

The characterization of this fraudulent award as a list of “deficiencies” has the powerful odor of intentional minimization to a level just below criminal, in a case for which the accumulation of errors and missteps has long past the laws of probability for coincidence.

E-mails discovered in the conduct of investigations refer to a “Silver Star Game Plan.” This certainly at least suggests conspiracy.

The entire military, we believe, compelled by the Secretary of Defense’s office, was seeking to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, as it was embroiled in a huge tactical setback in Iraq in April 2004, and as the Pentagon was preparing to deal with the public affairs crisis engendered by the about-to-be-revealed horror stories from Abu Ghraib .

This investigation draws conclusions, conclusions that are meant to be implanted in the minds of the American public, that say the wrongdoing flowed from bottom to top.

We base our beliefs on the relentless pattern of the Bush administration of deception, evasion, and spin in the conduct of the entire dual-occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

We remain convinced that the priority of the Pentagon was to prevent the public knowing that Pat was killed by the military’s highest priority shock infantry unit; and that he was killed by a combination of shoddy leadership and clear violations of the Rules of Engagement, as well as violations of the Law of Land Warfare.

We detail only two major themes in a much larger story.

These themes exemplify the way this case has been handled, and the way it continues to be handled.

These examples show that we are not dealing with “missteps.”

There is an overpowering suggestion of violations of law, regulation, and policy that reaches from the vehicle that fired on Pat and took his life to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, who — with his reputation as a world-class micromanager — was certainly aware of every move made in this case.

In three years of struggling with the Pentagon’s public affairs apparatus, we have never been dealt with honestly.

We will now shift out efforts into Congress, to which we appeal for investigation.

Perhaps subpoenas are necessary to elicit candor and accuracy from the military.

We do not think that Pat’s notoriety — about which Pat himself was self-effacing — gives him a special qualification for Congressional attention.

But if that notoriety can serve as a catalyst to open dozens of cases — many of the families known to us — of troops who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by fratricide, and whose families, like us, were deceived about the circumstances of these deaths.

We believe Pat would approve of this.

These cases will further establish a pattern — now well-known by the American public — of spin and deception by the Pentagon and the administration it serves.

Our family has worked hard to stay out of the spotlight.

We have continued to hope that we might receive satisfactory answers from the Pentagon and the executive branch.

Now we ask the assistance of Congress and the press.

Human beings continue to be sacrificed on the altar of a dual foreign military occupation.

Thousands of Americans and Afghans, hundreds of U.S. allies, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis‘ lives have been lost and shattered.

We say these things with disappointment and sadness for our country.

Nonetheless, we will persevere in our search for the truth.

The truth is not what we received today.

Once again, we are being used as props in a Pentagon public relations exercise.

Can’t Say As Though I Blame Him

LTR reports that Maron has at last had it up to here with the AAR. Man, who would evar get into radio? That industry takes its best and brightest and wipes poop on them and makes them wear a funny hat and then tells them that they’re ugly. Who on earth would evar work for this shit-headed industry?

Speaking of the wireless: I have to brag on the new KIAV widget that sometimes appears on the right. We have for some time now been using a series of PHP if/then statements to create a “now playing” feature. At first, the thing only featured AAR talent and pointed to the AAR website for streaming. For various reasons, including a quality drain at AAR and the more practical consideration that the AAR stream don’t werk so good no more, I’m tweaking the widget. It now includes offerings from other broadcast networks and streams from other sources. I like it and may soon place it at Leftblogistan too. I must thank LTR for being a comprehensive, constant resource.

Republigoats: The Other White Meat

KIAV feels a compelling obligation to report that David Stockman, Ron Raygun’s budget director, author of Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, and supreme architect of the original “Ketchup Is A Vegetable,” faces indictment on charges of fraud.

No budget director since Stockman has been so successful at becoming a household name. Bet you can’t name the current president’s OMB Director off the top of your head. Bet you can’t. Bet you can’t.

Rob Portman. He replaced Josh Bolten, presidential hand fetishist, who now serves as the current president’s Chief o’ Staff. I don’t recall if Clinton’s first OMB director, Leon Panetta, became a familiar name before or after he made the move to Chief o’ Staff. But I guarantee you never heard of his successor, Alice Rivlin.

There is no doubt: David Stockman is the most famous Budget Director for being a Budget Director, ever. And, now, unfortunately for him, his career has a coda.

Nelson Muntz say: Ha Ha.

Arrogance Unlimited

So White House Flautist Tony Snow today was all like, what the heck would ya need transcripts for, ya dummy?

Speaking of dummies… ==>

He really said it, regarding the ongoing “my contempt of Congress is bigger than your executive privilege, is not, is too.” (I know I used it before. I like it.) He said, “What do you gain from a transcript? The answer is, not much.”

The point isn’t what’s actually “gained” from the transcript, TonySnow. It’s that it exists. So the record may show that Harriett Miers picked her nose at 1:17 p.m. So that if Karl Rove inadvertently comes out of the closet under oath, we might know that. Mostly, tho, it’s so you lying rat-boners will have to start smelling the sweet disinfectant known as “sunlight.”

That reminds me. Did you hear the one about the 18 days missing from the recent e-mail dumps (which may the most aptly named person place or thing out of Washington since the current president started calling Alboo Gonzoo “Fredo”)? 18. Not minutes. Days. Uh-huh.

Finally, the Tables Are Starting to Turn

What a shame that the American government must perodically be pushed to the gnarly edges of Constitutional crisis just to run through its own bowel.

(Yes. We were just watching “Grey’s Anatomy” reruns.)

One would think that the architects of this fine nation would have been wise and wizardly enough to have created some form of government whereby said government were trisected, and whereby each of the sections would have another of the sections looking over it, providing, how you say, “oversight,” so that the American government would not have to poke its own finger down its throat every 30 years or so.

Oh, wait.

It’s a shame, too, that this administration’s smudged blue dress is no more than a bungled personnel issue, that it has nothing to do with a preferential government contract offered for the exact same amount of munny that had been negotiated for a Washington lobbyist to purchase a boat for a Congressman, thereby drawing a direct straight line from a now jailed ex-congressman directly to the top of the food chain or anything that’s all batsexy like that.

Oh, wait.

For some reason, the ancient insult, “may you live in interesting times,” keeps perking up to me. You too? Yeah?

My question is, if the current president does send his beloved Alboo Gonzoo, he who saved the then current governor of Texas from having to cop to a drunk driving charge, packing, does that mean all this subpoena silliness goes away? Or does the “my contempt of Cngress is bigger than your executive privilege, is not, is too” contest commence even if The Torture Guy gets canned/resigns to spend more time with his family?

P.S. A special note to mashup artists: Tracy Chapman’s “Revolution” and Boston’s “More Than a Feeling.” Get to work!

In Which I Unleash My Stream on the ‘Mainstream’ Media

There’s a friend of my Dad’s who is sort of his circle’s George Costanza. And so Dad was in town and on Fry-day we went to the Renaissance bar to watch ACC games we didn’t give a crap about while keeping track of the ticker that told us that KU was embarrassing Niagra. Often, when the conversation comes around to the politics, Dad and I are both wont to quote cross-dressing lesbian Rachel Maddow. She is one of the few AAR radio hosts we seem to agree is wonderful.

Now George has a rather visceral reaction to even the mention of the Air America Radio. It’s a weird reaction from my perspective, one of those that doesn’t just disagree with the views elicited there, but seems to connote that the speaker feels about it the way many people in the world feel about Israel—that it shouldn’t even exist in the first place. But George’s reaction isn’t from a grinchy right-wing agenda, it’s from a real D.C. policy guy who just finds that the coverage AAR offers the issues is superficial and woefully two-dimensional. And of course he’s not entirely wrong.

I’ve been making an effort lately to try to include more mainstream media in my diet in addition to the lovely carbohydrates of Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” and the Air America Radio. I am often plugged into the Span Radio especially if there’s something goin’ on, and I have been recording the XM’s rebroadcast of the The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer for the commute. But they sure do make it difficult.

The NewsHour is supposed to be the most reliable, most dry source of news that exists. And yet, on the broadcast to which I listened, Gwen Iffel led a discussion panel that included William Kristol.

If you were a listener to the Al Franken Show, then you know that Al was fond of playing the following quote by William Kristol, which he snidely offered to NPR’s Terry Gross in April 2003: “There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America…that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.”

Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and regular commentator on Fox “News,” was also a founding member of the Project for a New American Century. He was one of the strongest American voices in support of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He has also been absolutely outspoken in the smearing of Congressman Murtha and has been an otherwise very successful propagandist on behalf of the current president and our ongoing occupation.

And yet, The NewsHour still takes him seriously enough to include him in a panel discussion, as do many other outlets in the “mainstream” media.

In February 2006, Media Matters for America released a study that showed empirically that the leading Sunday morning chit-chat shows tend to lean rightward. Just this week, the media watchdog released “If It’s Sunday, It’s Still Conservative,” which found that the trend continues, robbing Media Matters’ detractors of the argument that more conservatives tend to appear on the shows because they’re in power.

Then there’s the ridiculous sleeping-giant-poking that seems to have occurred over the announced merger intentions of the two satellite radio companies, XM and Sirius. Regulations presently allow the same company to own up to three television stations, the local newspaper, the cable system and up to eight radio stations in one media market, and these folks think a merger of one of the most proprietary, non-public forms of media around is a problem. Fox “News” can exist and can continue its sponsorship of Bill “Your So-Called Compassion Helped Kill Those Kids” O’Reilly, but our George is strangely whapped on the head about bias from an upstart media outlet that admits openly that it’s liberal like Bobby Trendy admits openly that he’s gay?

Once upon a time, journalism meant something, to me and to the country. Journalists started the ball rolling on the complete unmaking of a president who was a shoplifter to the current president’s Manson murders. I majored in journalism and I listened to journalists and I still quote the AP Stylebook like some quote Ephesians. But I must take with a boatload of salt a news broadcast the treats William Kristol as if his analysis still works, and I must continue paying attention to the Air America and The Nation and other alternative forms of media.