For your consideration via Robert Reich:

I'm as sensitive as anyone to the sufferings of Afghani's now, but I've had it with the sanctimony of journalists and pundits who haven't thought about Afghanistan for 20 years -- many of whom urged we get out -- but who are now filling the August news hole with overwrought stories about Biden's botched exit and Taliban atrocities.

Yes, the exit could have been better planned and executed. Yes, it's all horribly sad. But can we get a grip? The sudden all-consuming focus on Afghanistan is distracting us from hugely important stuff that's coming to a head at home:

(1) Republican politicians and right-wing media worsening the surging Delta variant of COVID by fighting masks and vaccinations, as cities and school systems struggle to decide what to do;

(2) wildfires and floods consuming much of America as House Democrats absurdly threaten to oppose Biden's $3.5 trillion budget blueprint containing important measures to slow climate change;

(3) Texas on the verge of passing the nation's most anti-democracy voting restrictions, adding to voter suppression measures in 24 other states, at the same time the "For the People Act" and the "John Lewis Voting Rights Act" -- which would remedy these horrendous laws -- languish in the Senate because Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema refuse to do anything about the filibuster.

Enough sanctimony over Afghanistan. Enough about Biden's falling approval ratings. We've had enough wall-to-wall coverage of the Olympics and then Andrew Cuomo and now the airport in Kabul. Can we please focus on the biggest things that need and deserve our attention right now? The window of opportunity to do anything about them will close sooner than we expect.

If we don't take action now on COVID and the critical importance of vaccinations and masks, on climate change and Biden's $3.5 trillion package, and on voter suppression and the necessity of the For the People and the John Lewis Voting Rights Acts, we may never.

That's my view. What do you think?


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I'm ready now to give President Biden and his administration some slack on the execution of the withdrawal after learning what a mess anti-immigrant, xenophobe Stephen Miller left the immigration system and the Special Immigrant Visas for those who aided the US in Afghanistan in. Where he couldn't tear apart and destroy about the immigration system, he created more and more red tape adding years to the immigration process. While I don't understand why the Biden administration didn't anticipate the speed of the Taliban take-over since the Taliban started negotiating with all the Afghan regional leaders once the US withdrawal was announced, I am heartened by how far the Biden administration has come this past week in turning around the situation which is becoming more effective every day getting people out of Afghanistan and even taking refugees especially women and children. Actually, with the Taliban promising to not attack the US during the withdrawal may be a major factor in why now is the best time to leave. The war was only prolonged because the Defense Contractors wanted to make more money on arms sales. There was no other reason for it to continue.

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Reciting the facts as they are known is helpful since our headlong plunge into the conflicts of the Middle East, after the September 11 attack, has proven, over time, to be not the wisest response. Our military possesses many capabilities not the least of which involves commando style special operations under the control of an elected Commander in Chief. First: it really matters who we elect as President and who we elect to represent us all the way down to the School Boards. Second: the elected President and our various representatives need to make good decisions during the emotional heat of conflict. Third: many of the decisions reached can’t be fully understood at the time they are taken. For example, during the Cuban Missile Crisis President Kennedy, a WWII veteran, was urged to go ahead and bomb Cuba….others counseled restraint. He made the decision, backed by Khrushchev, not to attack which saved us from nuclear war. It matters who we elect to represent us. President Biden probably regrets that he didn’t start getting everyone out from Afghanistan much sooner because, as it turns out, there are many thousands, beyond those in our military, who need to leave. Their pain and terror is really ours as well; we need to feel and understand that. Of course, it’s easy to complain about incomplete media coverage because their efforts are so emotionally charged and often incomplete. It’s what it is. We have a Free Press and thank goodness for that. They ultimately do a good job. Lincoln felt the sting of the media during the worst years of the Civil War when the war went on and on. He faced so much pressure to just end it and negotiate a settlement with the Confederacy. He didn’t but his assassination cost us a durable peace which unfortunately threw us backwards into the arms of the very same people we fought against at Gettysburg, Antietam and Petersburg. President Biden, like Lincoln, is trying very hard to reunite our Nation now after years of efforts to weaken it by powerful forces who don’t really understand, care about or respect our democracy. “We the People” need to see through all this smoke. Not easy. Never was before…why should it be any different now? President Biden has the right ideas and he has the support of the majority; the complicated and fraught withdrawal from Afghanistan had to finally happen. Perhaps there will be valuable lessons learned from it but there will always be the temptation to use the fire we possess to fight fires imposed on us. We have to struggle hard, and thoughtfully, not to just react again in the future because there are so many ways we can overcome an enemy without engaging as we did in Afghanistan and Iraq and of course, Vietnam as well. We’re moving in the right direction again as a country. The Biden Administration isn’t perfect and will make errors along the way. It’s up to all of us to try to see and understand this as we now work together try to overcome the many very difficult challenges to our democracy and cherished way of life…I believe, we will.

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Oh HCR thank you for this quiet statement of facts. It is balm against the onslaught of flatulent, flapping gums.

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The war in Afghanistan is 20 years old. It encompasses now 4 presidential administrations; 12 years of Republiqan, and 8 years and 8 months of Democratic administrations. President Biden took over the country on 20 January 2021 in the midst of a global pandemic and having NO assistance in the transition of administrations from the former guy, having seen an insurrection at the Capitol in an attempt to change the results of the election, and the current Republiquan party continuing its efforts to discount the free and fair election of 2020. He inherited a gutted State Department and a Department of Justice that has been tainted and corrupted. He inherited an Afghan withdrawal agreement brokered by a one term President that was engineered without the inclusion of the Afghan Government that the US had installed. He is looking down the barrel of a weapon that is having voting rights gutted in a majority of US states to insure that a Repuliqan minority can regain control over the two elected branches of government.

What I see is that Biden has been in office for 8 months, and has been fighting an uphill battle the entire time. To put the blame of the debacle of the withdrawal from Afghanistan entirely on Biden is to ignore the previous 19 years and three presidential administrations that created this mess. Personally, I put the most blame on President Obama, who has been the best Republican President we've had in this country since Dwight Eisenhower.

Further, I believe that there is a huge problem with the main stream media and how they are covering most everything these days. It is apparent that corporate interests rather than any semblance of actual reporting are the largest portion of any broadcast/news reporting seen.

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After seeing the overwhelming and almost uniformly unfair media response to troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, I see how biased the media is towards corporate interests. And it’s largely corporate interests in favor of staying in Afghanistan since there’s been lots of money made there.

[For the record, I don’t believe Biden Administration handled it perfectly, but Americans have never handled anything in the Middle East perfectly in the past, so it is unreasonable to expect it now. I do hope we at least stop repeating our mistakes though.]

Our current situation with the media is beyond dangerous.

This is why our air, water, and society are poisoned beyond repair. News gets squelched or discredited.

Our healthcare system is profit oriented rather than healing oriented. The products we use at home, such as fragrance products, are slowly chipping away at our health. Zealotry and ugliness in the name of religion has been allowed to expand to harmful proportions.

This is all because corporations and their owners have been carefully tended and protected by wealthy media owners and the money surrounding the media industry and vice versa. It’s all one big network of peers protecting each other’s interests: Wall Street, Corporations/Manufacturers, Religions (follow the money), Special Interest Groups / Foundations, Politicians & Lobbyists, Healthcare & Pharma, Universities (who owns & supports them?), Research facilities (who owns & supports them?), Oil & Gas, etc.

I’m not saying its all had a completely bad effect, because it’s probably kept things stable in the Age of Social Media.

We have a huge tasks in front of us: Fix our voting system to ensure everyone is heard, fix our educational system because ignorance is helping destroy America, fix our media system so that it is as fair and unbiased as possible, fix Social Media to limit its destructiveness, fix the wealth disparity, fix the separation between Church and State - freedom OF religion must include freedom FROM religion, etc.

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From the outset of our withdrawal from Afghanistan I have been outraged by the media coverage. Biden’s withdrawal of 2500 troops is the cause of the fall of the Afghan government. Shame on the media. We have been building a Democracy in Afghanistan for 20 years and if falls apart because we are pulling out our 2500 troops? I would say our failure at building a Democracy in Afghanistan was quite apparent. A 20 year military involvement and this is what all our money and loss of troops reaped.

We are in a major crisis at home supporting our Democracy. So media does not focus on our own war on Democracy. If we don’t attack the states who are supporting voter suppression by assuring all citizens have the right to vote we will lose our Democracy.

If we don’t focus on climate change there will be no planet. If we don’t attack the states who refuse to protect the most vulnerable our children under 12 by instituting mask requirements then we are supporting genocide. 5000 people died in the USA of covid last week and the media focuses on Biden’s failure in withdrawal of 2500 troops last week. The media and capitalism may be the true enemy here in this country.

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Democracy can not just be exported at the barrel end of a gun. It has to come slowly and from the growing pressure of the people who will nolonger cower under the force and threats of their "betters" and, as always, those infinitely more wealthy than themselves. It has to evolve with the unstoppable emergence of values that are innate to true individual and collective freedom and security for all within a people and a nation.

America has often thought of itself as a beacon for this movement but has rarely understood that it takes more than just the idea and the opportunity for the concept to take root and flower....it takes time and the willpower of each people. Each of us has a different conception of time time. Our institutions each have a different sense of time. The Media has difficulty going beyond the "here and now", whilst the politicians sense of time tends towards the 2 years between elections. The judiciary think in terms of decades and centuries. All of these different attitudes towards time must come together to achieve, improve or maintain democracy. Only when it becomes the overriding priority of the great majority of the people and the institutions will this be achieved with the necessary urgency, efficiency and perrenity.

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Brilliant! The more I read Heather's letters, the more I see that my thinking is aligned to hers. The failure of the media to inform the world honestly and WITH FACTS both pre- and post-withdrawal is abysmal. I'm personally disgusted by the coverage even of the NYT and FT, my favorite editions. Thus, the people in Europe, for example, are divided on the ongoing events in Afghanistan and Biden administration's preparedness, wrongly fed by ideologically biased media who do not dare send reporters to the ground. The story is like Covid: scare the people, pump up disastrous comments, and get more readers. People love sensations.

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"...while in the same period of time, 5000 Americans have died from Covid-19 and 500 have died from gunshots."

All those dying Americans had the temerity to expire far apart from each other, away from the bright cameras and microphones of big media. Those people might as well not exist, in a system which values us almost exclusively as consumers, who can barely tear ourselves away from our narrow, addictive little screens.

What else in the world are we missing while we have our heads down?

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Christopher Johnson (Ohio)just now

Regarding the lopsided reporting as described by Josh Marshall and Matthew Dowd, Judd Legum's Popular Information newsletter dug deeper into the epidemic of Judith Milleresque reporting. This quote from a veteran (unnamed) communications professional lays it out nicely:

"I’ve been in political media for over two decades, and I have never experienced something like this before. Not only can I not get people booked on shows, but I can’t even get TV bookers who frequently book my guests to give me a call back…

I’ve fed sources to reporters, who end up not quoting the sources, but do quote multiple voices who are critical of the president and/or put the withdrawal in a negative light.

I turn on TV and watch CNN and, frankly, a lot of MSNBC shows, and they’re presenting it as if there’s not a voice out there willing to defend the president and his decision to withdraw. But I offered those very shows those voices, and the shows purposely decided to shut them out.

In so many ways this feels like Iraq and 2003 all over again. The media has coalesced around a narrative, and any threat to that narrative needs to be shut out."

With such slanted/biased reporting by the mainstream media, it's no wonder people are flocking to independent sources like LFAA and other good Substacks, TMP and Popular Information.



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I, for one, am tired of these Tя☭mp enablers now blaming Biden for the situation in Afghanistan. Listen to Rachel Maddow's Friday night show with Olivia Troye who clearly stated that Steven Miller's (and others') opposition to getting Afghans out was deliberate and calculated. Or, read this story : https://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-miller-racist-hysteria-blocked-help-afghans-ex-pence-adviser-2021-8

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If we have learned nothing else since tfg shockingly made his way to our Oval Office we should have learned to believe evil when they tell us who they are. Tfg has never had a good intention in his life. He is in bed with Russia and the Saudi’s, both having a vested interest in Afghanistan. The media have never been more disappointing than they are today when they cannot look behind the deception right in their face. People with any curiosity to ask WTF would ask WTF is going on here. TFG set this current chaos up with the help of Miller and numerous others. He has said so in black and white, loud and clear. If the media can’t do their job we are effed. Justice (and finding the truth that is drowning in the demagoguery) is too slow.

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Third Pfizer dose significantly lowers risk of infection in seniors, Israeli data shows

Fresh data out of Israel is providing encouraging news about the effectiveness of coronavirus boosters in seniors. A study by the Israeli Health Ministry found that a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provided four times as much protection against infection as two doses in people 60 and older.

The level of protection was five to six times higher against serious illness and hospitalization, according to the study published Sunday, which looked at protection provided 10 days after a third dose. Israel approved booster shots for people 60 and older late last month, and lowered the age of eligibility to 40 last week. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, 49, received his third Pfizer shot on Friday.

Although the World Health Organization has criticized wealthy countries for moving forward with booster shots while much of the world’s poorer populations have yet to receive a first dose, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy on Sunday defended the Biden administration’s plan to offer third shots first to immunocompromised people and then to the broader population starting in late September. “We don’t have a choice. We have to do both,” he said on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the administration’s plans to both administer booster shots at home and donate doses abroad.


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HCR, thank you for putting the Afghanistan withdrawal in context.

As my wife & I discuss the history and circumstances of two Bush Iraq wars and the Afghanistan war, we find ourselves agreeing with Matthew Dowd's observations. Further, as we reflect on HCR's news summaries with historical references and context, we see that Americans are particularly vulnerable and negligent in isolating events into little boxes where we fail to keep them in context, fail to appreciate where they came from, how we got here, and what historically happens when we finally address them.

The first H.W. Bush Iraq war accomplished exactly what President H.W. Bush set out to do, in a very limited narrow scope. It was a success in extracting Iraq from Kuwait. But that President was punished by the media, politicians and eventually voters for not taking out Sadam Hussein. US leaders and oil companies had been guilty of supporting Sadam Hussein for decades, but that's another story. The unwarranted punishment of H.W.Bush led to the G.W.Bush trying to undo the so called H.W. mistake by not accepting the Taliban surrender and then doubling their mistake by going back after Sadam Hussein. This double whammy has cost our nation dearly in trillions of dollars, lost lives, lost credibility, domestic political terrorism, distractions and political abuse of our greatest domestic and international needs, and leaving most Americans behind on every topic and issue.

Afghanistan regardless of how you slice it is a Vietnam War sequel for all the same reasons, getting into something, another country for all the wrong reasons, staying too long and no good way out. We need a free and independent media not the media that Trump would have, and not the media that is somehow tied to a military, industrial, corporate complex using the same pundits that get us into wars, flit around looking for headlines while ignoring the data and significance of issues decades before they become disasters, and then criticize the messy reality of cleaning up these messes.

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There is so much press attention being paid to Afghanistan, that the news at home is being lost. How many have died due to flash floods in Tennessee? A terrible tragedy.


How many died yesterday from Covid? How crazy are DeathSantis and Abbott and their ongoing stupid threats about mask mandates? When will the TX legislature actually vote on the bill grossly restricting voting rights? When will the US address the issue of voter restrictions and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and/or the Voting Rights Act? This is the important news that we need to see and regularly Come on journalists. Let Biden move ahead with evacuation plans, and give us some important national news. (I know these items are being covered, but not loudly enough.)

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