Sgt. Bergdahl Is Freed By Taliban In Prisoner Exchange
Bergdahl Handed Over To American Special Operations After Prisoner Exchange. Bergdahl, who was captured by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan in June 2009, was released on May 31 in exchange for five Taliban detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. [The New York Times, 5/31/14]
Media Disparage Deal To Release Bergdahl
Fox Regular Donald Trump: “This Was A Terrible Deal We Made.” On the June 2 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Trump asserted that the U.S. made a “terrible deal to secure Bergdahl’s release: “This was a terrible deal we made, by the way. This was a terrible deal. Every soldier and every American is at risk right now.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/2/14]
Breitbart's Gorka: We Have Sent Message To “Jihadists”: “Capture An American And America Will Do Your Bidding.” On June 1, Breitbart.com National Security Affairs Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka criticized the Obama administration for securing Bergdahl’s release saying, “Now we have sent a message to all jihadists around the world: capture an American and America will do your bidding.” [Breitbart, 6/1/14]
Daily Caller: “Obama Submits to Taliban Demands.” The Daily Caller framed the Obama administration trade of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to secure Bergdahl’s release by stating in a headline “Obama Submits to Taliban Demands.” [The Daily Caller, 6/1/14]
ABC News Contributor Bill Kristol: We Shouldn’t Have Made Trade Because It’s Possible Bergdahl Wasn’t A “Real POW.” On the June 2 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, ABC News contributor and conservative pundit Bill Kristol slammed the deal that secured Bergdahl’s release by citing the ‘anger’ expressed by other soldiers and stating, “it’s one thing to trade terrorists for a real P.O.W., for someone who’s taken on the battlefield fighting honorably for our country. It’s different to trade five high ranking terrorist for someone who walked away”:
KRISTOL: Secondly, what about Bergdahl? Everyone’s happy to see him back and all that. The fact is Susan Rice said on TV yesterday that he was taken in battle. Taken on the battlefield and he served the United States with honor and distinction. There’s a lot of reporting that he wasn’t taken in battle. He seems to have deserted or at least gone AWOL, he may have cooperated with the enemy. Soldiers died trying to find him. His own platoon and his own battalion seem to have come under a lot more attacks after he was taken. The degree of anger among soldiers on e-mail and listservs is unbelievable. And that needs to be taken seriously. That’s not just people, those are the people who fought in the same company in some cases. And who feel like they sacrificed a lot to get this guy back who may have behaved vastly irresponsibly or worse. And we need to have honesty about that. There was a big army investigation. What did Susan Rice know what did President Obama know about the investigation about Bergdahl? It’s one thing to trade terrorists for a real P.O.W., for someone who’s taken on the battlefield fighting honorably for our country. It’s different to trade five high ranking terrorist for someone who walked away. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 6/2/14]
The U.S. Military Has Committed To Gaining Release Of POWs
Military Code Of Conduct: U.S. Govt. “Will Use Any Practical Means To Contact, Support And Gain Release” Of POWs. A Department of Defense military code of conduct and ethics dating back to 1954 states that the U.S. government has an explicit obligation and responsibility to “stand by” POWs and that the government “will use every practical means to contact, support and gain release for you and for all other prisoners of war” (emphasis added):
As a member of the armed forces of the United States, you are protecting your nation. It is your duty to oppose all enemies of the United States in combat or, if a captive, in a prisoner of war compound. Your behavior is guided by the Code of Conduct, which has evolved from the heroic lives, experiences and deeds of Americans from the Revolutionary War to the Southeast Asian Conflict.
Just as you have a responsibility to your country under the Code of Conduct, the United States government has an equal responsibility — to keep faith with you and stand by you as you fight for your country. If you are unfortunate enough to become a prisoner of war, you may rest assured that your government will care for your dependents and will never forget you. Furthermore, the government will use every practical means to contact, support and gain release for you and for all other prisoners of war. [American Civil Liberties Union, accessed 6/2/14]
U.S. National Security Adviser: “We Have A Sacred Obligation” To Bring Back POWs. On the June 1 edition of ABC’s This Week, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice pointed out that the U. S government has a “sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do the must to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle.” Rice argued that the government has a responsibility to “do our utmost to bring our prisoners-of-war home”:
RICE: Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war, captured on the battlefield. We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do the most to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle, and we did that in this instance. If for some reason we took a position now in the 21st century, when some of our adversaries may not be traditional state actors, that we would not do our utmost to bring our prisoners of war home, that would break faith with the American people and with the men and women in uniform, so regardless of who may be holding an American prisoner of war, we must do our best to bring him or her back.[ABC, This Week, 6/1/14]
Secretary Of Defense Chuck Hagel: Securing Release Was Necessary To Save Bergdahl’s Life. On June 1, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel argued that the administration had to act quickly in securing Bergdahl’s release once an “opening” with the Taliban was found, citing concerns about Bergdahl’s health:
Believing that his health was deteriorating, the United States acted quickly to save his life after years of work to free him from being a prisoner of war, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday.
"It was our judgment that if we could find an opening and move very quickly with that opening, that we needed to get him out of there essentially to save his life," Hagel said. "I know President Obama feels very strongly about that, I do as well." [CNN.com, 6/1/14]
If old HuckaJesus really thinks that North Korea is that great, I would welcome him joining Dennis Rodman and moving over there so we could be rid of both of them here. From this Saturday’s “Freedom Summit,” sponsored by Citizens United and Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity.
Huckabee hit on everything from the issue with the rancher that he and his network continue to toss gasoline on, to Fast & Furious, to Benghazi, to the IRS, before finally going after the TSA and airport security, and then making the ridiculous comparison between citizens having the right to vote and the security required to enter the White House:
Speakers at the New Hampshire Freedom Summit, which was sponsored by Citizens United and Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity, included Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, all of whom would be top tier presidential contenders should they run.
Donald Trump also spoke.
From the August 20 edition of Fox News’ On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.
Today's Best LMFAO: Ever Humble Donald Trump Says I'm A Great Christian Who's Angry the Unemployed 'Get Better Benefits' than People with Jobs (audio)
Donald Trump is totally serious this time about maybe running for president, and to prove it he is appearing at The Family Leader’s upcoming conference in Iowa alongside Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Steve King and Brian Brown. He chatted with conservative talk show host Steve Deace on Tuesday about why Religious Right voters should love the thrice-married casino magnate.
Trump said he is a “pro-life,” “very, very, pro-family” Christian. “I’m a Presbyterian and a good one,” Trump elaborated. “A lot of people ask me about my children, how did you get them so they’re not drinkers and they’re not on drugs and you know lots of good things.”
Plus, he has a “great relationship with the church” and people love him: “Tickets are going at a rate like they’ve never gone before, maybe it’s one of the other candidates but you know what, I doubt it.” “I know some of the people that are candidates and the Republicans are not going to be winning with these people,” Trump continued.
Trump showed off his conservative credentials by making the absurd claim that “people don’t work, they don’t have to work, they get better benefits if they take it easy, which is unfair because the people that are working are paying for that.”
Malkin v. Trump.
According to the NY Daily News, Donald Trump‘s three eldest children held a pre-election meeting with the outspoken businessman to request that he tone down his anti-Obama rhetoric lest he ruin the family’s reputation.
A source told the New York paper that Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump met with their father in mid-October to request that he calm down the presidential bashing.
“The three of them met and went to see their dad in his Fifth Ave. office,” the source said. “They showed a lot of respect, but told him he’s worked too long and too hard to build up the reputation he has. They understand completely he’s always been outspoken and that he likes attention, but this is too much.”
However, Trump’s reps deny the existence of any such meeting, calling any rumors “completely untrue” and that his children love his exercise of “free speech” and would “they would never” try to rein in their father.
Throughout the 2012 election season, Trump became rather infamous for continually bashing the president over a variety of issues — namely whether Obama was legitimately born in the United States. Despite the state of Hawaii presenting an official birth certificate to try and end the whole debacle, Trump persisted on, claiming that there are ways for this document to have been fraudulent.
The News’ source said that the Trump “kids said they know it’s not helping” the business for Trump to be engaged in “birtherism.” “They told him you can’t throw this all away on this nonsense,” the source claimed.
Please someone, anyone, hit him HARD!
Time to put Trump in his fucking place!
NBCUniversal has a relationship with Donald Trump, the long-time performance artist and host of its NBC reality competition show The Apprentice, that’s strikingly similar to the one between the Donald and the Romney campaign McKay Coppins described in one of what will be one of many post-mortems of the campaign:
Among the savvy sophisticates who populated the campaign headquarters in Boston, Trump was viewed as a joke and a blowhard — an outrageous figure whose fixation on Obama’s birth certificate was, at once, bizarre and off-putting, according to campaign sources. But he was also popular among the very voters Romney was most concerned about winning over. And the candidate’s aides believed — perhaps naively — that if they could win his endorsement, they might be able to win the hearts of his many conservative fans. “He played very well with blue-collar-type Republicans, and the campaign saw that,” said one source in Trump’s camp. “If you have no education, and you work with your hands, you like him. It’s like, ‘Wow, if I was rich, that’s how I would live!’ The girls, the cars, the fancy suits. His ostentatiousness is appealing to them.”
For NBC, The Apprentice is a product similar to a Trump political endorsement. It’s relatively cheap to buy, in part because it’s heavily supported by product placement. It channels the things that make Trump irritating, his presumptions of expertise, his abrasiveness, and his showman’s flair, towards reasonably amusing targets. And in its Celebrity Apprentice iteration, the show pulls in stars with their own followings. For this, Trump got a $130 million contractfrom NBC last year. But NBC handed down that deal to Trump at the end of an awful year for the network. And now that the ratings landscape–and the political one–are very different, NBC should seriously consider if they want to stay in business with Trump, or if both he and The Apprentice have reached the end of their usefulness.
The Apprentice is probably near the end of its natural lifespan as a show anyway. Its celebrity editions are drawing fewer than 9 million viewers per episode, a figure that isn’t bad, but also isn’t strong enough to use to launch other new shows. And it pales in comparison to The Voice, which both has given NBC a platform to boost freshman success stories like Revolution and Go On, and provides an alternate revenue stream to the network in the form of music sales. As NBC solidifies its revitalized brand, and as non-musical competition shows increasingly show their age, the network should consider Trump and The Apprentice both in the context of the larger primetime environment and with an eye towards the special headaches Trump brings in his wake.
Trump may have helped bridge NBC’s image during the truly awful years it’s only now beginning to emerge from. But he’s hardly a team player–in fact, there are times when he seems as committed to trashing the network that signs his paycheck as in supporting it. The day after the Presidential election last week, Trump took a series of shots at NBC News’ Brian Williams, saying “.@bwilliams knows that I think his newscast has become totally boring so he took a shot at me last night,” continuing “Brian, I hope @NBCNightlyNews isn’t paying you too much–look at what’s happening to nightly news,” and finishing by saying “Brian Williams was never a smart guy but always passes himself off as such. People will learn the truth! @NBCNightlyNews…Brian, if I’m “well past the last exit to relevance” how come you spent so much time reading my tweets last night?” Williams has been part of the NBC corporate family since 1993, and the company’s presumably as interested in figuring out how to make programming involving him work as it is in the future of The Apprentice. The network’s revitalization is not so dependent on Trump, or even due to him at all, such that he ought to be allowed to slam his colleagues with impunity.And the question of how they ought to be allowed to approach him creates a journalistic challenge for the NBC networks. Given Trump’s continued involvement in politics, particularly if Republican candidates intend to keep courting him without regard for his most outrageous statements, Trump’s provocations (some of which occur on sister network CNBC, where he appears as a commentator) are newsworthy.It’s time for NBCUniversal to consider whether what Trump brings to NBC prime time is worth the embarrassment and irritation he causes elsewhere. And even if it wants to keep The Apprentice alive in some form, the company might do well to take a lesson from The Voice, which NBC is refreshing by substituting new judges for its spring cycle. Change is good. And NBC should remember that right now, they need Donald Trump’s ratings less than he needs the credibility NBC offers him.
Right-Wing Media React To Obama's Re-Election: War, Impeachment, Revolution | Research | Media Matters for America
Breitbart.com: “The War Begins Now.” A Breitbart.com post titled “#War More Years” by editor Ben Shapiro belittled the Americans who supported the president and wrote:
The answer here isn’t to end the war against liberalism - a philosophy that will bankrupt the country in the long run and steal its constitutional soul in the short run. The answer is to fight back.
The fight does not end with retaking the Republican Party, though. It extends to the palace guard for liberalism - the media.
We will not heel. We will not stop. The defeat of Barack Obama would have launched the beginning of America coming together. But apparently, liberal America prefers to battle for the soul of the country.
And so we battle.
Democracy works. We still believe in democracy. We still believe in the power of ideas. But the only way to win in the battle of ideas is to fight the bullies, as Andrew did. Democracy is not blood; that’s a miracle. But the civil war for the heart and soul of this country is real.
We’ve made gains; perhaps we will even win the popular vote. In any case, the election of 2012 was not the election of 2008. But the battle has only just started.
The war begins now.
#War [Breitbart.com, 11/6/12]
NY Post Compares Obama To Caesar After Re-Election. The New York Post tweeted a post-election front page, showing the president wearing a toga and a wreath with the headline: “Hail ‘O’ Caesar”:
Wall Street Journal: Obama’s Successful Campaign Was The “Definition Of Winning Ugly.” A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that Obama caricatured Mitt Romney’s position “even by the standards of modern politics.” But, the Journal claimed, Obama’s strategy “worked with brutal efficiency — the definition of winning ugly.” The Journal also claimed that Obama benefitted from a “long run of extraordinary good luck” and pinned some blame on Republican appointees who helped Obama such as Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and Chief Justice John Roberts:
[Obama] said little during the campaign about his first term and even less about his plans for a second. Instead his strategy was to portray Mitt Romney as a plutocrat and intolerant threat to each of those voting blocs. No contraception for women. No green cards for immigrants. A return to Jim Crow via voter ID laws. No Pell grants for college.
This was all a caricature even by the standards of modern politics. But it worked with brutal efficiency—the definition of winning ugly. Mr. Obama was able to patch together just enough of these voting groups to prevail even as he lost independents and won only 40% of the overall white vote, according to the exit polls. His campaign’s turnout machine was as effective as advertised in getting Democratic partisans to the polls.
Mr. Obama also benefitted from his long run of extraordinary good luck. Hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast a week before Election Day, letting him rise for a few days above the partisanship that has defined his first term. The storm changed the campaign conversation and blunted Mr. Romney’s momentum. The exit polls show that late-deciders went for the incumbent this year when they typically break for the challenger.
The President owes a debt as well to a pair of Republican appointees in government—John Roberts and Ben Bernanke. By joining four liberals on the Supreme Court in upholding ObamaCare in June, Chief Justice Roberts provided a salve of legitimacy to the President’s deeply unpopular health-care law. It also helped him unify his party around something to protect in an otherwise aimless second term. [The Wall Street Journal, 11/7/12]
Fox’s Todd Starnes: Time To Impeach Obama. Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes wrote that Republicans should begin “impeachment proceedings” after Obama’s re-election:
Fox Regular Trump: “We Should Have A Revolution.” Regular Fox News guest Donald Trump tweeted twice that America needs a revolution after the president’s re-election. Trump later deleted the tweets.
[Media Matters, 11/7/12]
Fox Host Brian Kilmeade: “We’re The Shallowest Country In The History Of Man.” Discussing exit polls that found voters approved of Obama’s handling of the response to Hurricane Sandy, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade attacked people who said their votes were swayed by Sandy:
STEVE DOOCY: (co-host): The October surprise turned out to be something named Sandy.
HEATHER NAUERT (Fox News host): Yeah, who would have thunk that, right? Well, 42 percent of those people we spoke with said the response to the storm was an important issue, and 15 percent said it was the most important issue. So this may have become —
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): I can’t believe those numbers.
NAUERT: Yeah. This may have become a national issue in fact.
KILMEADE: Then we’re the shallowest country in the history of man. One photo-op, walking over a two-by-four, and all of a sudden, he’s handling a storm, which by the way hasn’t been handled well. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/7/12, via Media Matters]
Washington Times Columnist Ted Nugent: “Pimps Whores & Welfare Brats” Now Have A President To “Destroy America.” Washington Times columnist and NRA board member Ted Nugent tweeted in reaction to the president’s re-election that “pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters” won the election:
WND’s Farah: “We Have Allowed Our Fellow Americans To Pronounce Judgment On The Nation.”WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah wrote in his column following the election that Obama’s re-election shows Americans “have turned away from” God and the founders:
For those of us who fundamentally reject Obama’s policies, things are going to get very rough for the next four years. We have allowed our fellow Americans to pronounce judgment on the nation.
That’s what Obama represents to me - God’s judgment on a people who have turned away from Him and His ways and from everything for which our founders sacrificed their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
When you turn away from the ways of God Almighty, this is what you should expect, if you are a student of the Bible and history. [WND, 11/7/12]
NRO’s Steyn: “If This Is The Way American Wants To Go Off The Cliff, So Be It” In a blog post for National Review Online titled, “Live Free … Or Die,” conservative columnist and guest host of The Rush Limbaugh Show Mark Steyn wrote about Obama’s victory in New Hampshire and concluded: “If this is the way America wants to go off the cliff, so be it.” [National Review Online, 11/6/12]
During an appearance on the “Tonight Show” Wednesday, President Obama condemned Indiana Republican Senate nominee Richard Mourdock’s recent comments claiming pregnancies from rape are part of God’s plan.
“I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas,” Obama said. “Let me make a very simple proposition. Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me — don’t make any sense to me. The second thing this underscores, though, is this is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s health care decisions.”
The wide-ranging interview hit on the Euro crisis, the war in Afghanistan and Secretary of Sate Hillary Clinton’s tenure in the administration. On the World Series, Obama said: “I didn’t want to let Detroit go bankrupt. In this particular World Series, I may be a little partial.”
From the 10.24.2012 edition of NBC’s The Tonight Show:
h/t: David Taintor at TPM
Birther queen Orly Taitz remains isolated in her quest to prove that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and is ineligible to be president. In an interview with Vic Eliason on VCY America, Taitz alleges that Barack Obama’s Social Security number is invalid, insists that “we are getting very close to a dictatorship” in the United States today, and expresses disappointment that she has not received support from fellow birthers Donald Trump and Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona.
Taitz claimed that Obama’s Social Security number is a “Connecticut number which was issued to another individual,” and states that the number he is using is “not a valid number.” She was stunned that her “persuasive” evidence was rejected by courts in Georgia. Taitz concludes that judges continue to shoot down her allegations against the president not because they are wrong, but because the conspiracy goes all the way to the top. Eliason affirms this belief, asserting that judges are merely “intimidated” by “dealing with a case that is so volatile, [that involves] the highest executive in our country.”
Taitz said that her inability to remove Obama from the ballot is further proof that “we are getting very close to a dictatorship” akin to the Soviet Union.
Yet even the greatest supporters of the birther movement have failed to back Taitz. Taitz was “disheartened” that Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a leader of the “Cold Case Posse,” did not show up at her trial to testify. Donald Trump has also been unresponsive to Taitz.
This morning, regular Fox News and CNBC guest and Mitt Romney surrogate Donald Trump tweeted that Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington “is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision.”
.@ariannahuff is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2012
Trump makes weekly guest appearances on Fox News’ Fox & Friends and on CNBC’s Squawk Box. He often uses those appearances to offer baseless conspiracy theories about President Obama. Indeed, CNBC.com has noted that Trump “has been at the forefront of the ‘birther’ movement — those who question whether Obama was born in the U.S.”
YOU’RE FIRED, Donald!
The Obama campaign swiftly and harshly condemned a joke made by Mitt Romney about the president’s birth certificate on the campaign trail in Michigan Friday, saying Romney made the “decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement.”
“I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised, where but the both of us were born,” Romney said after introducing his wife, fellow Michigan native Ann Romney. “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place where we were born and raised.”
“Throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them. It’s one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff [Joe] Arpaio, and Kris Kobach,” Obama spokesperson Ben LaBolt said in a statement. “But Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”
The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TPM. A Washington Post reporter tweeted soon after the joke that a Romney adviser told him, “The governor has always said, and has repeatedly said, he believes the president was born here in the United States.”
From the 08.24.2012 edition of KFTK’s The Dana Show: