Sunday, June 10, 2007

Truest statement of the week

MAHMOOD MAMDANI: Well, I was struck by the fact -- because I live nine months in New York and three months in Kampala, and every morning I open the New York Times, and I read about sort of violence against civilians, atrocities against civilians, and there are two places that I read about -- one is Iraq, and the other is Darfur -- sort of constantly, day after day, and week after week. And I'm struck by the fact that the largest political movement against mass violence on US campuses is on Darfur and not on Iraq. And it puzzles me, because most of these students, almost all of these students, are American citizens, and I had always thought that they should have greater responsibility, they should feel responsibility, for mass violence which is the result of their own government's policies. And I ask myself, "Why not?" I ask myself, "How do they discuss mass violence in Iraq and options in Iraq?" And they discuss it by asking -- agonizing over what would happen if American troops withdrew from Iraq. Would there be more violence? Less violence? But there is no such agonizing over Darfur, because Darfur is a place without history, Darfur is a place without politics. Darfur is simply a dot on the map. It is simply a place, a site, where perpetrator confronts victim. And the perpetrator's name is Arab, and the victim’s name is African. And it is easy to demonize. It is easy to hold a moral position which is emptied of its political content. This bothered me, and so I wrote about it.

[. . .]

And I'm struck by the innocence of those who are part of the Save Darfur -- of the foot soldiers in the Save Darfur Coalition, not the leadership, simply because this is not discussed.Let me tell you, when I went to Sudan in Khartoum, I had interviews with the UN humanitarian officer, the political officer, etc., and I asked them, I said, "What assistance does the Save Darfur Coalition give?" He said, "Nothing." I said, "Nothing?" He said, "No." And I would like to know. The Save Darfur Coalition raises an enormous amount of money in this country. Where does that money go? Does it go to other organizations which are operative in Sudan, or does it go simply to fund the advertising campaign?

-- Mahmood Mamdani to Amy Goodman on last Monday's Democracy Now! ( "Mahmood Mamdani on Darfur: 'The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency'").

Truest statement of the week II

Jim Wallis, the man who would be Jerry Fallwell in clown drag, held a 'debate' on Monday that was by invitation only. Jesus may have sat with the sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, etc., but Wallis only breaks bread with the really big names. That's the only explanation on how a supposed 'forum on faith, values and politics' sponsored by our Right-On-Bro Jimmy managed to include 2008 Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama but, SOMEHOW, managed to exclude Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, Bill Richardson and Mike Gravel.
Heaven may be open to all but Wallis has a bit of the bully bouncer in his carriage. After Obams, Hills and Johns joined Right-On-Bro Jimmy to ask, "Are You There God, It's Me Front Runner?", CNN's Paula Zahn Now presented Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden. Strangely, all four are Catholic. Strangely? Catholics in Alliance For The Common Good sponsored the Jimmy Wallis group -- the one that . . . excluded four Catholics. Exactly how does Catholics in Alliance intended to meet their stated goal ("promoting the fullness of the Catholic Social Tradition in the public square") while denying Catholics invites?

-- C.I. from Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot"

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

A long, long session that shouldn't have been. Technical problems (some of you noticed it took forever for features to go up after "Highlights" went up and guessed we weren't having any luck posting) accounted for two hours, C.I. attempting to upload visuals (no luck for own artwork) took forever, and we had assorted other problems and issues.

Let's note who worked on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

Thanks also to Dallas (soundboard and links) and to Rebecca (photoshopping for the print edition this time since none of our artwork made it online).

Whadda' we got?

Truest statement of the week -- we had all agreed early on last week, this would be truest statement of the week short of a drunken Bully Boy, stumbling before a mircophone and yelling, "I'm back on cocaine! I'm a War Criminal! I lied the nation into war! You won't impeach me! You're too damn scared! Soon as I come down from my coke high, I'm declaring Martial Law!"
that this would be truest statement of the week. Since Bully Boy has yet to state the obvious, it remained the truest.

Truest statement of the week II -- This is a C.I. and C.I. didn't want it. But we had so many problems that when Dona said, "We can go with this or we can write another piece," C.I. said, "Fine." This was actually recommended as truest by three readers including Stanley who has a birthday today, Happy Birthday Stanley!

Editorial: The Thrice Screwed Adam Kokesh -- Paris Hilton gets covered on KPFA and those fighting to end the war may or may not get covered? That's screw one. Screw two is the MSM coverage. Screw three is is the US military. You know what would be really great, if the US media -- BIG AND SMALL -- could grasp that the Iraq war goes on each summer when they run off to vacation or cover other topics. That would be really great. And I will say it (I can feel C.I. cringing over my shoulder) -- if the independent media had done ANYTHING to cover Cindy Sheehan last summer maybe she wouldn't have felt like her efforts were being wasted -- maybe if they had covered her fast, her trip to Jordan, Camp Casey opening again, she wouldn't have felt that way, others would have learned what was going on and the whole peace movement would be a lot further along. We can't afford a second summer where independent media runs from Iraq and if anyone thinks we've been nasty thus far, just try to pull that sh*t this summer and you'll see how rude we can get. "Sh*t" because if C.I. doesn't have time to send out e-mails, we're censoring. I meant to note that last week (Mike did) but forgot. There are some that use a work computer on Sunday and on Monday and that's the only access they have. They get a mass heads up from C.I. when we're using language so they don't have to worry about write ups or firings. When there's not time to do a mass e-mailing, we'll censor.

TV: Creature Crap -- Ty says it seemed like I was ragging on Ava and C.I.'s commentary last week to most people e-mailing. I wasn't. I was really tired (we all were). I thought they were funny and observant but I did feel that they were making comments about serial dramas that I hadn't heard before (even from when we're all sitting around talking during the week) so that stood out the most. But it was funny and I wasn't trying to say it wasn't. This one is funny as well. I laughed my ass off while I was reading this out loud to everyone. Wally said, "Jim, either stop laughing or give it to someone else to read." Sidebar, I fill in for Rebecca and pick my ten favorite Ava and C.I. commentaries from 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 thus far. Just the favorites that come to mind. That was at least a month ago. I'm still getting hate mail on that. I'm still getting, "How dare you forget ____!" and e-mails along those lines so forget that I love what they do, just to avoid those angry e-mails I would never diss Ava and C.I. Again, this one will have you laughing. (I heard the phone call at the end of the review, by the way, and I was laughing during that too.)

Liam Madden -- Liam Madden held a press conference on Thursday. Friday morning, KPFA couldn't note that in their news breaks during The Morning Show but they could note Paris Hilton. Again, are you seeing the problem here?

Get America Out Of Iraq -- The print edition version of this is longer with each person drawing names out of a baseball cap and you got a candidate's name and "postive" or "negative." You then had to find something positive or negative (depending upon what you drew) to say about their plan. We liked it for the print version. We didn't want to defend Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton's plans up here. (No one drew "Obama positive.")

The Nation Stats -- Two more issues and the problem continues. Friday, on KPFA's The Morning Show, they addressed how few women owned radio stations. (More own rural than own big city and total percentage of women owners is 6%.) Does it make a difference when women are in charge? Looking at The Nation, you could argue, "No, it does not."

Caged Tepid -- Get it? Caged Tepid. Not Caged Heat? This is our humor feature.

Wait! Dahr's not Canadian! -- Two big features collapsed on us. One, C.I. pointed out this wasn't the week for. (When it is the week for it, we'll note it was the delayed feature.) C.I. didn't pull it. C.I. explained that we probably didn't want to offer praise or attention and we all knew why. So that got pulled. The other just wasn't coming together. (The latter ran in the print edition.) We'd put it through several drafts. We also had a short feature that C.I. said, "That's nice but Isaiah's comic for today is that exact same thing." So we killed that and were left with a huge hole and nothing to fill it with. Dona asked C.I., "What didn't you note -- for a short item -- last week that you meant to. Remember, short item." (Dona says short item every chance she gets.) C.I. remember the Thursday correction in The New York Times so we ran with it as a short item.

Socialism 2007, Chicago, June 14-17th -- This takes place this coming weekend. Lot of people there. Anthony Arnove, Dahr Jamail, Laura Flanders, Sharon Smith, Jeffrey St. Clair, Kelly Dougherty, Camilo Mejia and Garrett Reppenghagen among others.

Highlights -- Mike, Wally, Cedric, Elaine, Rebecca and Betty did this. We thank them for it.

That's it. We'll see you next weekend and next weekend may be our summer fiction read. May not be. But it's next weekend or the weekend after. So that's your heads up.

-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: The Thrice Screwed Adam Kokesh


The Government's argument in this case seems to imply that somehow what these amateur actors did in Houston should not be treated as a "theatrical production" within the meaning of 772 (f). We are unable to follow such a suggestion. Certainly theatrical productions need not always be performed in buildings or even on a defined area such as a conventional stage. Nor need they be performed by professional actors or be heavily financed or elaborately produced. Since time immemorial, outdoor theatrical performances, often performed by amateurs, have played an important part in the entertainment and the education of the people of the world. Here, the record shows without dispute the preparation and repeated presentation by amateur actors of a short play designed to create in the audience an understanding of and opposition to our participation in the Vietnam war. Supra, at 60 and this page. It may be that the performances were crude and [398 U.S. 58, 62] amateurish and perhaps unappealing, but the same thing can be said about many theatrical performances. We cannot believe that when Congress wrote out a special exception for theatrical productions it intended to protect only a narrow and limited category of professionally produced plays. 3 Of course, we need not decide here all the questions concerning what is and what is not within the scope of 772 (f). We need only find, as we emphatically do, that the street skit in which Schacht participated was a "theatrical production" within the meaning of that section.
This brings us to petitioner's complaint that giving force and effect to the last clause of 772 (f) would impose an unconstitutional restraint on his right of free speech. We agree. This clause on its face simply restricts 772 (f)'s authorization to those dramatic portrayals that do not "tend to discredit" the military, but, when this restriction is read together with 18 U.S.C. 702, it becomes clear that Congress has in effect made it a crime for an actor wearing a military uniform to say things during his performance critical of the conduct or [398 U.S. 58,63] policies of the Armed Forces. An actor, like everyone else in our country, enjoys a constitutional right to freedom of speech, including the right openly to criticize the Government during a dramatic performance. The last clause of 772 (f) denies this constitutional right to an actor who is wearing a military uniform by making it a crime for him to say things that tend to bring the military into discredit and disrepute. In the present case Schacht was free to participate in any skit at the demonstration that praised the Army, but under the final clause of 772 (f) he could be convicted of a federal offense if his portrayal attacked the Army instead of praising it. In light of our earlier finding that the skit in which Schacht participated was a "theatrical production" within the meaning of 772 (f), it follows that his conviction can be sustained only if he can be punished for speaking out against the role of our Army and our country in Vietnam. Clearly punishment for this reason would be an unconstitutional abridgment of freedom of speech. The final clause of 772 (f), which leaves Americans free to praise the war in Vietnam but can send persons like Schacht to prison for opposing it, cannot survive in a country which has the First Amendment. To preserve the constitutionality of 772 (f) that final clause must be stricken from the section.

We're having a real hard time grasping what is so difficult to understand about the above. It's the Supreme Court's decision in Schacht v. United States (1970) and, for some reason, reporters just can't grasp it.

Four of us saw it in Boston on Thursday when Liam Madden held a press conference to discuss the US military's attempts to silence him and someone (a reporter, naturally) wanted to liken his case to Adam Kokesh. Here is Madden's response in full, "Adam's case is different than mine. He was charged with wearing a uniform during a political street theater and also with making disrespectful comments to a superior commissioned officer. So his charges are different and the board will be different. And that is just one grounds that Adam has to appeal his case."

Adam Kokesh was 'tried' last Monday for taking part in street theater and damned if the reporters just couldn't grasp it. Heather Hollingsworth has earned a special place in hell for her lazy reporting and we're sure she'll bump into many others that she knows once she gets down there.

Hollingsworth failed to tell readers (repeatedly) that during the so-called hearing, Kokesh was asked a number of questions including whether or not he voted in the 2004 election and whether or not he was "a card carrying member of Iraq Veterans Against the War? Meaning what exactly? Does he attend meetings with Garrett Reppenhagen but get in on a guest pass?

After you get over how ridiculous the question is, you may zoom in on how offensive this throw back to the HUAC days is. We weren't aware that Iraq Veterans Against the War was on an official government blacklist. We aren't surprised to know that it is considering the current administration but that says a great deal about how the government truly feels about the troops.

Another thing that Hollingsworth (Associated Press and her scribbles were picked up everywhere) somehow missed was that the three 'judges' at the alleged hearing admitted that Kokesh was not governed by UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). They admitted that no one in the IRR is.

That being the case, the only thing that should apply to Kokesh is the Supreme Court ruling which found that the US military has no say over who wears what in a theatrical production.

But that's just too much for the small brained press to grasp. They also appear to have serious problems telling the difference between a "letter" and an "e-mail." It's all so confusing for them you start to wonder if they pay someone to come in and program their Tivo?

While the mainstream was missing every detail that mattered (with few exceptions, Reuters and The Washington Post being two), where the hell was independent media?

When the mainstream media screws up the facts, don't we all expect independent media to step in? But where were they? It's as though they all sprouted pubes last week and took to the bathroom with a cellphone to examine and share the findings with friends.

In the process, Adam Kokesh got screwed over three times. First by the alleged hearing which downgraded him from honorable discharge to a general discharge. Second by the mainstream media who screwed up the details and basic facts to badly that it seemed as if they had enlisted in the service of something other than a free press. Third by independent media which, believe it or not, in its broadcast form, made time for Paris Hilton but had no time for Liam Madden's press conference.

Let's just repeat that: Paris Hilton could get covered on broadcast independent media news last Friday; however, Liam Madden's Thursday press conference? There just wasn't room to squeeze it on for Friday's news breaks. And that may say it all.

TV: Creature Crap

Do you remember the kid in high school who was hung up on a musical artist, generally a really bad artist? S/he would go on and on about how deep the lyrics were. S/he would scribble them in spirals during classes and try to foist them off on people as soon as the bell rang. The artist in question could never write a song because songs are lyrics and music. So maybe you don't remember the artist the kid was pimping but you surely remember the annoying kid. Well we've discovered what they grow up to be: members of the Water Cooler Set.

CBS hit a new ratings low and no one saw it coming because the Water Cooler Set was spit polishing crap yet again. The show's called Creature Comforts and if it demonstrated the type of kids the Water Cooler Set was in high school, it also demonstrated that there's more movement in those commercials for HoverRound and Little Rascal than there is in this eye sore.

The whole point of doing a non-live action series was supposed to be providing the giddy rush that those not bound by earthly laws can provide. So we were shocked to tune in and discover that this was like downscale Merchant Ivory, minus the costumes, as everyone sat or lay around while speaking. The "camera" is trained upon claymation animals. The scripts?

There are no scripts. The voices of real life people are used as they babble on about whatever minor topic comes to mind and then, by pairing it with claymation, it's supposed to be not only worth watching but also funny. Reality is Adults Say The Dullest Things repeatedly while the claymation animals remain inert and immobile except for the flapping gums and occasional eye dart.

Reality is also that this "British" series didn't air on BBC, it aired on ITV and if most Americans just asked "What?" that tells you a great deal. It's equally true that, on ITV, each program is ten minutes, not thirty minutes (excepting only their Christmas special). Comedy Central used to burn the British edition off during overnight hours because the show was such a dog.

But with few exceptions, the Water Cooler Set was talking it up as though it was the second coming of The PJs if not The Simpsons. The Idiot Bellafante, always, wins top prize in the American Idiot competition for over reaching to draw comparisons between the program and the film Borat (last we checked, Borat could and did walk). As The Idiot Bellafante babbled on and on, she revealed that she sees herself a snob. We see her more as a TV anarchist.

What Bellafante and her idiot posse among the Water Cooler Set really want is unentertaining TV. We've seen that all year long. They've rushed to praise the badly written Studio Yada Yada, they've gone ga-ga over the return of the hoary sixties device of one camera sitcoms not shot in front of a studio audience. The less entertaining something is, the more they cheer it on. (Possibly, along with being anarchists out to destroy entertainment, they're also not-so-latent masochists?)

The fall and spring TV season was all about the voice over. Don't show the audience what's happening, tell them repeatedly, over and over. With Studio Yada Yada, the voice overs were delivered as speeches -- on the nose, verbose dialogue. Voice overs is really all Creature Comforts is and before the next alarmist series of articles weighs in on Americans' increasing weight gain, one might want to consider how much all these stationary TV programs have contributed to the increasingly sedentary nature of America?

We worry most about the kids who may (mistakenly) watch Creature Comforts. Gone will be the days when they ran down alleys playing Linc, Julie and Pete, hopped on their bikes and pretended they were Starsky & Hutch, or played vampire slayers. They may instead assume that Creature Comforts is the way to go and lay on their sides mouthing really dopey dialogue for an hour and a half before coming indoors claiming to be tired and worn out.

In the last ten months, the Water Cooler Set has repeatedly embarrassed themselves but they have no shame and seem intent on providing groans all summer long judging by their takes on Creature Comforts. While they seem determined to demolish all life left in TV, CBS can't really afford to do that since it depends on viewers to pay the bills and those big bonuses. At the end of last week, CBS announced they were un-cancelling Jericho. Some in the press have seen it as a victory for those viewers showering CBS with peanuts (don't ask) in an attempt to force them to bring the show back. The reality is that a certain one hour program revolving around a vampire is quickly becoming a nightmare. The lead's not filming as well as the suits thought he would and the scripts are belabored. That, more than peanuts, is why Jericho is being brought back. We were told by two friends in programming at CBS that they think the show can reach a wider audience if it focuses more on the "young" characters. (Some of whom are played by actors in or nearing their thirties. But this is, after all, CBS which skews the oldest of any network when it comes to their audience.) On Saturday, we tried hard not to laugh as we were told that CBS thinks it can be the new Roswell. For those who have forgotten, Roswell was a WB series that lasted three seasons and was never a heavy hitter for the net-lette. It also featured a better looking (and younger) cast that could actually act. How, we wondered, does CBS plan to address the beer bloat of one cast member? A diet or a nasty smack habit?

Steering the conversation back to Creature Comforts, we asked exactly what persuaded CBS to air the show in the first place? They did see the episodes before air, right? We were told it was cheap to make (most unscripted shows are) and that the creators were "proven" with American audiences. How so? As evidence by the box office for Wallace & Gromit, we were told. For the record, that animated film made approximately $56 million at the box office in the United States. Disney's Lilo & Stitch, by contrast, raked up $140 million at US theaters. But Chicken Run, we were told, Chicken Run! To which we asked, "Who's running, who's even moving in Creature Comforts?" The only movement involved in Creature Comforts is the audience that's grabbing the remote and switching to another channel.

[Note: A regular reader passed on to Ty that he would appreciate a shout out to Daniel Coyne and The Uncommon Man website. Since the reader was writing about our -- Ava and C.I.'s -- TV reviews, we're including it as a note here to make sure it's not forgotten in the all night writing session. For Bill, there's the shout out.]

Liam Madden


The photo above demonstrates one of the two (trumped up) charges against Liam Madden currently. Like two other Iraq Veterans Against the War, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh, Liam Madden is being targeted by the US military in an attempt to silence dissent. One of the charges is that Madden wore his "uniform" or parts of it in demonstrations. Study the photo above, we'll get back to it.

On Thursday, in broad daylight, Liam Madden spoke on the steps of the Massachusetts State House with supporters and reporters gathered. Madden might be thought to be news with what he's facing and he's certainly photogenic ("Like a young Tom Cruise," said one attending the press conference). Surprisingly the press was elsewhere. His conference resulted in no coverage, for instance, on Democracy Now! or, for that matter, Boston IMC. Dave Goodman filed a brief report that aired on Thursday's The KPFA Evening News and Free Speech Radio News.

Four participating in the writing of this feature did attend and can report (much to the military's pleasure, we're sure), Madden wore no fatigues or portions of fatigues, let alone a uniform. He wore a black Iraq Veterans Against the War t-shirt and a pair of jeans.

He began the press conference with a prepared statement, then did a question and answer session and then spoke with individuals. In his opening statements he spoke of how the US military's efforts to punish him, Adam Kokesh and Cloy Richards was "vindictive waste of tax payer dollars to silence free speech and to assault the First Amendment rights of our veterans."

Madden served in Iraq and was discharged from active duty status at the start of this year with an honorable discharge and the rank of Sgt. As he re-entered civilian life, he became active and outspoken against the illegal war and was informed last month that his discharge status was now in question and that he "was being recommended for an other than honorable discharge from the IRR [Inactive Ready Reserves]."

He explained that this resulted from two charges, "wearing a partial uniform at a protest" and making "disloyal statements" while in uniform.

The "uniform" can be seen in the photo above. For those unaware, those returning from Vietnam wore much more in protests and were never prosecuted. If, however, you wore your uniform (your actual uniform) while you were serving you could be (and some were) punished.

The US military is attempting to change the rules and your dumb ass pundit class wants to play like fatigues are "uniforms" while your independent media is actually AWOL on this story.

That's how much the illegal war matters to (and registers with) independent media currently, they are perfectly happy to throw Richards, Kokesh and Madden to the wolves of mainstream media. We are not aware of a sit down interview with Cloy Richards in the past. (We have heard him reading from his writings on Flashpoints Radio) but his mother, Tina Richards, is certainly not shy nor are Kokesh and Madden. If that's confusing to anyone, you don't hold a public press conference, as both Kokesh and Madden have done, if you dry up around cameras.

But strangely enough, there is just no time for them -- even Dave Goodman's report was reduced to the headlines section of Free Speech Radio News as opposed to being a true report aired during the bulk of the show. Now it is true that independent media, like the bulk of the mainstream, is largely located in NYC and thinks if it didn't happen in NYC it just didn't happen.

The Progressive is located outside of NYC which may be why Matthew Rothschild could write about Kokesh while no one at The Nation could -- but certainly whether the entertainment industry is backing Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is more earth shattering news than what happens to any of these three people. It's not? Well The Nation thinks so.

In his press conference, Madden discussed the nonsense of the "uniform" by noting he wore "a camouflage top, unbuttoned with jeans and t-shirt." Most in the media repeat still that Madden was in "uniform." (Check the photo at the top.) He also pointed out that Vietnam veterans did the same during that illegal war and did so without being punished or threatened with punishment. Why? Ourselves, we'll assume because independent media was a lot stronger back then.

The second charge, as he noted, was for making "disloyal" statements. Disloyal statements? It all sounds so very McCarthy-ish that we'd grab our bobby socks were it not for the fact that J. Edgar Hoover had asked to be buried with them. (We refused to honor the request, so he had Mark Felt break into our homes and steal them.) How was he "disloyal"? He called War Crimes "War Crimes." He spoke to truth and that's "disloyalty."

In a really bad movie, Dennis Hopper's character once said, "The nineties are going to make the sixties look like the fifties." Bully Boy has certainly tried to make this decade be the fifties. And where is brave independent media on this?

Madden ended his remarks by noting, "I stand by what I said." If independent media stands by what they've said throughout the illegal war, don't they need to be covering Madden, Richards and Kokesh? (Though Madden's press conference couldn't be cover on the KPFA news breaks the next day, as Ruth points out, Paris Hilton's drama could be. We doubt listeners were informed or educated by that nonsense and we question the critical abilities of anyone who thinks Hilton is more of a news story than Madden.)

They all deserve serious attention and by refusing to offer that, independent media has allowed mainstream media to set the terms of the discussion. If you want to show your support for the three you can demand better coverage from independent media, you can provide your own coverage in your own circles and sign the petition to support of Madden.

Get America Out Of Iraq


No, we're not endorsing anyone. But we have been looking at campaign literature that arrives in the mailboxes. Bill Richards deserves credit not only for his bumper sticker, but also for an envelope that states (between the sender and the mail to addresses) "The war in Iraq is not the disease. Iraq is a symptom. The disease is arrogance." (Richards' plan is that Congress should reauthorize the illegal war and then pull troops out of Iraq within six months -- no qualifiers of "combat" troops: "We must remove ALL of our troops. There should be no residual US forces left in Iraq. Most Iraqis, and most others in the region, believe that we are there for their oil, and this perception is exploited by Al Qaeda, other insurgents, and anti-American Shia groups. By announcing that we intend to remove ALL troops, we would deprive them of this propaganda tool. And once all US troops are out of Iraq, Al Qaeda foreigners will no longer be able to justify their presence there, and the Iraqis will drive them out.")

The John Edwards campaign, by contrast, recently sent out a mailing which included a four page letter. While Iraq is number one of his "three specific examples," you have to turn to page two (the back of page one) before you find Iraq mentioned. We'll note the statement from the Edwards campaign on Iraq in full:

1) Iraq -- I was wrong when I voted in 2002 to give President Bush the power to invade Iraq. His Administration has failed us on the war at every turn.

While we can't change the past, we need to accept responsibility, because a key part of restoring America's moral leadership is acknowledging when we've made mistakes -- and showing that we have the backbone to make them right.

That's why I've called for the immediate withdrawal of 40,000 to 50,000 combat troops from Iraq, followed by a complete withdrawal in about a year.

There's no military solution to the civil war that's taking place in Iraq, and until we show we are serious about leaving, the Iraqi people won't start taking responsibility for their country.

More debate in Washington isn't enough. We need to end this war, and with your support today, I'll use my campaign as a platform to speak out for all of us who want to bring our troops home and find a diplomatic solution to this crisis.

If you missed it, last Sunday the Democratic candidates for hoping to win their party's presidential nomination had a debate last week. In it, Barack Obama thought he could score some points on Edwards (who had rightly stated there is a difference between legislating and leadership) by saying Edwards was four-and-a-half years too late. Barack Obama expects a lot of brownie points for being against the illegal war before started. But, as Cedric and Wally noted, the proper response to Obama's assertion is, "BARACK, I KNOW YOU USED TO SPEAK AGAINST THE ILLEGAL WAR BEFORE THE SUMMER OF 2004, BUT WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR US LATELY? OOOOH-OOOOH-OOOOH-YEAH."

Seems to us that if you're running for president (two years after being elected to the US Senate) and you were against the illegal war before it began, you should be able to offer a real plan and, no, cribbing from the James Baker Circle Jerk doesn't count. But it does add to the general opinion that Barack Obama is not a leftist, he is a triangulating centrist. As Ruth Conniff (whom we're thrilled to be able to say something nice about) noted, "Less inspiring, in his best-selling book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama stakes out the middle ground between political poles he describes as right and left 'extremes.' He associates Rush Limbaugh with one and NPR with the other" ("Obama's Kennedy Bid," pp. 14-15, The Progressive, June 2007). This is the great left hope? Someone repeating the lie that mainstream media is liberal?

At his feel-good website ("Did you get your box?" asks a former coffee fetcher for Katrina vanden Heuvel), Iraq is the second issue listed. (First? "Security" underscoring Conniff's points about his war-on for Iran.) After he's done back-patting and self-stroking, this is offered:

Senator Obama introduced legislation in January 2007 to offer a responsible alternative to President Bush's failed escalation policy. The legislation commences redeployment of U.S. forces no later than May 1, 2007 with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008 -- a date consistent with the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's expectations. The plan allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces. If the Iraqis are successful in meeting the 13 benchmarks for progress laid out by the Bush Administration, this plan also allows for the temporary suspension of the redeployment, provided Congress agrees that the benchmarks have been met.

Okay, can we all just grow up for one damn minute? The symbolic Pelosi-Reid measure was worthless for many reasons but one was the "combat brigades." As with that measure, Obama's plan allows troops to remain in Iraq 'till the end of time. How so? Bully Boy can reclassify them as "military police" or state they are needed not for "combat" but to fight "terrorism." Barack Obama's 'plan' is short on specifics (all this time later) and symbolic. This from the candidate who thinks he is qualified to lead the country?

Reality is that Barack Obama lost his semi-strong voice on Iraq when he lost Jack Ryan as a challenger in the 2004 election. By the time he was tossing out sap to the masses (which, among big independent media, only Matthew Rothschild called out in real time), at the 2004 DNC convention he found his touchy-feel, moist voice that he's more or less kept ever since.

Iraq is nothing but a slogan -- and a soft one at that -- at this point in Obama's campaign. So much so that even War Hawk Joe Biden (who wants to partition Iraq into three sections) is coming off more serious about the war than is Obama:

Following the announcement yesterday by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of six sanctioned Presidential Debates, Senator Joe Biden called on all four participating network news Presidents to organize one 90-minute debate focused solely on ending the War in Iraq. Biden also asked DNC Chairman Howard Dean to join him in his efforts.

Click here to find the petition and add your voice to the debate.

The American people want to understand our plans for ending the Iraq war, and numerous news outlets all agree that Iraq is the defining issue of the upcoming Presidential election. As such, the Concord Monitor argued that, "Joe Biden is absolutely right about one thing: 60 seconds is not enough time to debate the future of Iraq. He's called for a 90-minute debate on that one topic alone. The other candidates for president should sign on to the idea and find a television network willing to give them the airtime." [Concord Monitor, 5/2/07] Des Moines Regiser columnist David Yepsen also endorsed a debate on Iraq. Yepsen said that a debate should be held "on Iraq and the U.S. role in the world." [Des Moines Register, 5/8/07]

Exactly why is Joe Biden the candidate calling for a debate on Iraq? Iraq clearly decided the 2006 elections (based on polling), so why are so many of the candidates shy about broaching the topic in specific terms?

Not a lot of feel good moments in discussing Iraq but anyone wanting to aspire towards president should be able to offer leadership right now.

Dennis Kucinich isn't afraid to grapple with the issue of the illegal war. He spoke out against it before it began, he voted against it in Congress. And, unlike Obama, he's been able to come up with a twelve-plan point for ending the illegal war (one that doesn't crib from centrist panels).

Appearing last week on Paula Zahn Now (CNN) for a discussion on faith, Kucinich repeatedly addressed the topic of Iraq:

We have -- we're in Iraq based on lies. And, you know, the Bible has a line that says that which is crooked cannot be made straight. Nothing will ever be made straight about our presence in Iraq. We must leave Iraq. We must bring our troops home. And we must work to achieve a kind of reconciliation with the people of Iraq, with the people of the world and within our own country for -- in order to establish truth once again and make that truth the single principle upon which our country is based.

Hillary Clinton argues she has a plan. Actually, she argues she is pushing two plans but has anyone noted that they overlap on the authorization issue? Both include that, so is that her playing it safe to be sure it is addressed or is she really not going to put her muscle behind one or both measures? More curiously, her campaign website notes:

Hillary opposes permanent bases in Iraq. She believes we may need a vastly reduced residual force to train Iraqi troops, provide logistical support, and conduct counterterrorism operations. But that is not a permanent force, and she has been clear that she does not plan a permanent occupation.

Well nothing is "permanent" in the lasts forever, but that certainly sounds like prolonged occupation. And Clinton's twice-focused measures on authorization seem to firmly accept that the illegal war is authorized. One who doesn't is John Edwards and this is from his plan:

Edwards' plan for Iraq calls for Congress to:
Cap Funds: Cap funding for the troops in Iraq at 100,000 troops to stop the surge and implement an immediate drawdown of 40-50,000 combat troops. Any troops beyond that level should be redeployed immediately.
Support the Troops: Prohibit funding to deploy any new troops to Iraq that do not meet real readiness standards and that have not been properly trained and equipped, so American tax dollars are used to train and equip our troops, instead of escalating the war.
Require Authorization: Make it clear that President Bush is conducting this war without authorization. The 2002 authorization did not give President Bush the power to use U.S. troops to police a civil war. President Bush exceeded his authority long ago, and now needs to end the war and ask Congress for new authority to manage the withdrawal of the U.S. military presence and to help Iraq achieve stability.
End the War: Require a complete withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq in 12 to 18 months without leaving behind any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.

As Norman Solomon noted, it's clearly Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel who have an anti-war position (last Friday's Living Room, hosted by Kris Welch on KPFA). Gravel has a plan for Congress to end the illegal war:

Effective 120 days after this bill becomes law:
1. All members of the United States Armed Forces must be withdrawn from Iraq, except the Marine Corps guards serving on the sovereign territory of the United States at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and performing solely typical embassy guard duties. No member of the United States armed forces may remain within the borders of Iraq on or after the 121st day after this bill becomes law.
2. No funds authorized or appropriated at any time by any other Act of Congress or controlled by the United States or any of its officers, employees, or agents (whether or not the use of such controlled funds has been authorized or appropriated by an Act of Congress) may be used to conduct or support military or paramilitary operations (whether conducted by members of the United States Armed Forces or by military personnel or civilians of any nation) within or over the territory of Iraq (which territory of Iraq includes the waters within 3 miles of the Iraqi coast) except for travel by the Marine Corps embassy guards allowed by Section 1.
3. On the 122nd day after this bill becomes law and on the first business day of each month thereafter (for a period of one year following the 122nd day after this bill becomes law), each of the following officials shall deliver to the Congress a separate written certificate signed by the official under penalty of perjury certifying that since the 121st day after this bill becomes law the United States has complied with the sections of this law indicated immediately after each official’s position:
a. the President - Sections 1 and 2
b. the Vice President - Sections 1 and 2
c. the Secretary of Defense - Sections 1 and 2
d. the Secretary of the Treasury - Section 2
4. It shall be unlawful for any person willfully and knowingly to violate, or to conspire to violate, any provision of this law or to deliver a written certificate to the Congress as required by Section 3 which certificate is false. The provisions of this Section 4 shall not apply to any person who, at the time of the violation, was a uniformed member of any branch of the United States Armed Forces below general officer or flag rank (below the rank of Brigadier General or below the rank of Rear Admiral). Any violation of any provision of this law, and conspiracies to commit such a violation, occurring outside the United States, shall be prosecuted only in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over any such prosecution. Each act constituting a violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of $1,000,000 and by imprisonment for five years (without the possibility of parole, probation, or reduction in fine or sentence for any reason other than a written certificate from the prosecuting attorney representing the United States to the effect that the convicted person has provided information necessary to a conviction actually obtained of some person of higher rank for a violation of any provision of this law). Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the event any fine is not paid as ordered by the court, the Secretary of the Treasury shall deduct the unpaid amount of the fine from any funds otherwise payable for any reason by the United States to any person convicted of a violation of any provision of this law. Such deductions shall continue until the fine has been paid in full. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any prosecution of a violation of any provision of this law must commence within fifteen (15) years after the violation occurred.
5. The Joint Resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq (H.J. Res. 114), approved by the House of Representatives on October 10, 2002 and by the Senate on October 11, 2002, is hereby repealed.

Chris Dodd's campaign offers a speech where he calls for support for the Feingold-Reid measure

"that sets a firm timetable to end this war by March 31st, 2008". (A note on Chris Dodd's campaign website, it is now offering text as well. For many, the over dependence upon video clips seemed far from inclusive. So to repeat, it is now offering text as well a/v material.)

Does the illegal war matter to you? It should. And more than Joe Biden should be calling for at least one Democratic debate on the topic. It's easy to sit on your ass and Obama appears happy to do so. But others are offering plans to varying degrees. You need to know what their plans are because that's a great deal more important to all of our lives than who won the latest fundraising cycle or who is up in the polls?

In terms of seriousness on the issue we grade the following as serious or semi-serious: Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton. We don't grade Obama as serious at all. He's fond of pointing out that he was opposed before the illegal war began and the best that he can do, all these years later, is offer "me too!" to the James Baker Circle Jerk (which pushes for the privatization of Iraqi oil -- Dennis Kucinich has come out firmly against that). In terms of people whose positions speak to us in part or in whole, we'd note the following: Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd. You need to figure out where you stand and you better believe mainstream media isn't going to assist you (nor will the fluff that The Nation keeps churning out by their new crops of writers).

The Nation Stats


Yes, it is that time again. Time to check in on The Nation, the 'leading' publication for the left, the weekly that has a woman as editor and publisher -- though you'd never know it from their sorry record on publishing women writers this year. Still, she is pictured above entertaining the male staff. We have two issues this edition.

June 11, 2007 issue. "Sick Justice" screams the cover headline and, no, they aren't pointing the finger at themselves over their ratio of male to female bylines.

Editorials & Comment

"Sick Justice" -- well there's a Mick Jagger (if not a Rolling Stones) fan at the head of the magazine and we've all heard "Rough Justice" off A Bigger Bang.

"Raw Deal On Immigration"

"Iraq Timeline Runs Out" -- no, we haven't made a mistake, they ran three unsigned editorials this issue.

Mark Weisbrot's "Wolfowitz and the Bank"

4 pieces

Score: 0 women, 1 man


Calvin Trillin's "A Letter to Paul . . ."

Alexander Cockburn's "The Greenhousers Strike Back, and Strike Out" -- which the editors slam in the next edition by hopping on a high horse that they felt no need to mount when they ran an anti-Arab ad despite the fact that one was awarded, not all that long ago, a little prize for portrayals of Arabs.

Katha Pollitt: "'Feckless'? No Way!" -- they do love headlines with punctuation at The Nation so that one must have provided multiple orgasms.

3 pieces

Score: 2 men, 1 woman


Stephen Glain's "Exodus"

Nick Turse's "The Secret Air War In Iraq" -- a well kept secret that The Nation intends to keep which is why the illustration for the cover is for an unsigned editorial as opposed to an actual article in the magazine.

Christopher Hayes' "Hip Heterodoxy" -- If it's Hayes, it's hip. In someone's mind.

3 pieces

Score: 3 men


Andrew Rice on Epstein & Nolen

Rae Armantrout's "Lengths (poems)"

Lizzy Ratner on Gawande and Chen

Stuart Klawans on three movies you'll never see.

4 pieces

Score: 2 men, 2 woman

For the issue: 8 men, 3 women

Year to date score: 63 women, 233 men

June 18, 2007 issue. If it's summer, it's Israel.

Editorials & Comment

"The Honeymoon Is Over" -- while most are filing for a legal separation (if not a divorce), The Nation acts like the Congressional Democrats caving on the Iraq war was akin to find out hubby left his socks in the hall at the end of the day. Honeymoon is over. Man, we could just stick out our tongues and pout over that! Fortunately, The Nation already has.

"Endless Occupation?" -- unsigned -- part of the Israel theme.

John Nichols' "Cindy Sheehan's Farewell" -- all she had to do in order to receive serious coverage from The Nation was to leave. That says a great deal about the priorities of the magazines. But remember, the week before Cindy Sheehan announced her departure, Katrina vanden Heuvel was using her Editor's Cut (on the day the supplemental was being passed!) to dish about how totally, far out, unbelievable, OMG-ish American Idol was. That'll end the war. And enlighten us all! (That was sarcasm.)

H. Abrishami's "Crackdown In Iran" -- we won't out "H." but we will note, "He's a man, baby."

Edward Jay Epstien's "The Polonium Papers"

Jonathan Cohen's "SI Cooks The Books"

6 pieces

Score: 4 men, 0 women


Calvin Trillin's "Monica Goodling Testifies . . ."

AlterPunk's "Potemkin Papers" -- Potemkin, Polonium, all these papers are starting to worry us. Are they rolling their own in the halls of The Nation? Surely not. They must just be grooving to some Betty Wright something fierce.

Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Burns, Calgary Booms" -- remember Labor Day.

3 pieces

Score: 2 men, 1 woman


Meron Benvenisti's "The Case for Shared Sovereignty"

Saree Makdisi's "For a Secular Democratic State"

Michael Reynolds' "The Abstinence Gluttons" -- where The Nation gets all up in arms that abstinence education is a sham. Welcome to the party. You're three years too late so the cake's all gone, but welcome.

3 pieces

Score: 3 men, 0 women


Brian Klug on Avishai, Rose, Rabkin and Ezrahi

Mark Sorkin on Savage

Barry Schwabsky on Gordon Matta-Clark

3 pieces

Score: 3 men, 0 woman

Issue score: 12 men, 1 woman

Year to date score: 64 women, 245 men

That's a little over 3.8 male bylines for every piece written by a woman.

We're still left with the four-to-one ratio.

The lack of women being featured in the magazine was brought to C.I.'s attention by a group of women late in 2006. For a column at Polly's Brew, C.I. went back and compiled the stats for that year. What we had discussed was following 2007's issues each time they arrived in the mailbox. Ava and C.I. were in charge of the December 24, 2006 edition and that was the first week that a 2007 issue had arrived (January 1, 2007 issue). They immediately started up "The Nation Stats." "The Nation Stats" ran again in our December 31st edition (covering the magazine's January 8, 2007 issue -- a "double issue"). January 21st, we covered the January 22nd issue in "The Nation Stats." January 28th, "The Nation Stats" covered two issues since two arrived the same day for three of us participating in this feature. February 4th, we covered the Feb 12th issue in "The Nation Stats." February 11th we covered the February 19th issue in "The Nation Stats." February 25th, we coved the February 26th issue in "The Nation Stats." March 4th we covered the March 5th and March 12th issues of the magainze in "The Nation Stats." March 11th, we covered the March 19th issue in "The Nation Stats." April 1st, we covered the March 26th and April 2nd issues in "The Nation Stats." April 8th, we covered the April 9th and April 6th issues in "The Nation Stats." April 22nd, we covered the April 32rd and April 30 issues in"The Nation Stats." April 29th, "The Nation Stats" addressed the May 7th issue. May 20th, "The Nation Stats" covered four issues -- May 14th, May 21st, May 28th and June 4th.

Caged Tepid

He was the best of runts, he was the worst of runts.

That's what he told himself anyway, as he pressed his body against the bars and tried to pretend like he didn't care about the dangerous cell mate.

He worried about "presenting" in such a manner. He'd logged a lot of hours with The Discovery Channel and he knew all about the mating habits of animals. Sometimes he got a little excited. Especially when he saw the special on how male sea horses get pregnant. So he did worry about whether his ass facing his cell mate would be seen as "presenting"?

But on Animal Planet, he'd heard that you weren't supposed to look another animal in the eye. So it was "present" or look in the eye.

He chose to present.

Criminal trespass! Criminal trespass! Busted for it!

Didn't they know who they were dealing with?

He'd expected both of the cops to blanch and shiver when he whined, "I am AlterPunky, hear me snivel!" But he'd been put in handcuffs! Booked! Finger printed! Mug shotted! Him! Lord Altherman.

It was so unfair.

He was a Private Party Resister! That's what he was!

A political prisoner. Just like Mumia . . . Wait, he didn't like that association. Just like Andy Gibb! After he broke up with Victoria Principal and eventually landed in rehab. He wished he could wear those open to the navel shirts like Andy but, not being a Gibb brother, he had to face the fact that an AlterPunky chest was a sunken, ghostly white, hairless chest. So he kept it buttoned up. Heck, sometimes he felt like rebelling. On those days, he'd unbutton the top button.

Political prisoner, that's what he was. Amnesty better be working on their strong statement, that's for darnny-dang sure.

A Private Party Resister. He didn't believe in private parties.

Well, he didn't believe in Private Parties that didn't invite him. All parties should be open to him, and other West Side elitist liberals like him, because he was as chatting and lively as any braless guest number three on the late night shows. He had no problem excluding people from his parties, but he was not to be excluded.

He was feeling very Alex in Fatal Attraction and began semi-pacing and whispering, "I will not be ignored." Whispering it over and over to himself. He wished there was a bunny he could boil right about now. Maybe not a bunny.

But he'd boil that mean old Joe Klein in a minute!

Joe Klein had probably heard about this, was probably laughing it up. In fact, he bet all of his enemies were laughing it up right now. He started to count them but there were far too many to remember. Basically, he looked down on everyone who wasn't him.

"As soon as I get out," he told himself -- trying to block out visions of getting shanked, "I'll leave a wimpy note at CNN. I know I have several outlets but I'm like manure and I like to spread it around."


He'd fight this. He'd fight it all the way to Supreme Court and they'd take the case too because this was about AlterPunk and he was the world and the world was him.

He just wished that mean looking man wasn't in the same cell with him.

The guard was walking up.

Could it be . . .

Yes! He was unlocking the door.

"Free at last, great God almighty," Alterpunky exclaimed, "free at last."

"We're not releasing you, we're just moving you."


"Yeah, we've got you in here with that 11-year-old. We can't mix children and adults. We thought, for some reason, you were only eight years old. Must have been the strip search."

"A lot of boys develop late," AlterPunky whimpered.

As he walked down to his new cell, AlterPunky repeated his new mantra, "I am the new Lindsay Lohan, I am."

[Also see Cedric and Wally's "AlterPunk Busted!""THIS JUST IN! THE PRIVATE PARTY RESISTER!".]

Wait! Dahr's not Canadian!

Thursday, June 7, 2007, The New York Times ran the following on A2 in their corrections:

An article in The Arts on May 29 about "Fallujah," a play in London about the American attack in 2004 on the Iraqi city of that name, misidentified the nationality of a journalist whose account was one of those used for the script. The journalist, Dahr Jamail, is American not Candian.

Since the paper of little record can't identify the reporter who made that mistake (and many others in that article), we'll drop back to the "Iraq snapshot" for May 29th, to round out the picture:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces 10 deaths, the peace movement gets mainstream media coverage (so you know something bad has happened) and we love our Canadian Dahr Jamail . . . Wait. Dahr Jamail's not Canadian! He is to Jane Perlez. All this and more.

[. . .]

Staying with the New York Times, Jane Perlez who did some fine work on the tsunami (end of 2004, start of 2005) apparently decided today to illustrate Laura Nyro's "Money" ("I found the system and I lost the pearl"). That's the best logical explanation for "An Assault in Iraq, a Stage Hit in London" which mangles every known fact in the supposed search of a play review. Fallujah is playing London and that may be one of the few things Perlez gets 100% correct. She describes Dahr Jamail as "a freelance Canadian journalist." Is that for comic effect? Jamail grew up in Houston, Texas is a Lebanese-American who was born in the US. Jamail's reporting from Iraq is used for one of the character's lines. We don't have time to go over all of Perlez' errors. We will ask did Perlez measure US v. British sentiment with a dipstick when determining "deeper" and when was she last in the US? And we will note that she's surprised "The Guardian, a liberal daily" did not care for the play while even the Telegraph of London (conservative) did. The Guardian is the bible of Tony Blair and New Labour, buy a clue Perlez. Blair is a war monger and the Guardian of London works overtime to avoid pointing that out (just like it ignored the Downing Street Memos). She notes allegations of napalm use in Falluja "never substantiated." Napalm was used in Iraq. The US State Department and the Pentagon both admitted to it being used early on in the illegal war. The charge of napalm, remember Perlez is assigned to London, came, in England, from the Sunday Mirror, not "left-wing critics" as Perlez wants US readers to believe. Sunday Mirror political editor Paul Gilfeather wrote, on November 28, 2004, "US troops are secretly using outlawed napalm gas to wipe out remaining insurgents in and around Fallujah. News that President George W. Bush has sanctioned the use of napalm, a deadly cocktail of polystyrene and jet fuel banned by the United Nations in 1980, will stun governments around the world. And last night Tony Blair was dragged into the row as furious Labour MPs demanded he face the Commons over it. Reports claim that innocent civilians have died in napalm attacks, which turn victims into human fireballs as the gel bonds flames to flesh." Now maybe Perlez would prefer to argue that was all from the white phosphorus which, for the record, her paper didn't report in real time, denied when Democracy Now! reported it and then sent Scott Shane out with the big mop to yet again clean up. If Perlez was starting out at the paper, this article and all of its errors (big and small) would probably mean she'd be cleaning her desk right about now.

Dahr Jamail, independent journalist and Canadian! For nine days until The New York Times finally got around to correcting their mistake. Jane Perlez, the reporter who couldn't do the basic work required before assigning a nationality to Dahr Jamail.

Socialism 2007, Chicago, June 14-17th


The advertisement above is from the back cover of International Socialist Review's May-June 2007 issue. It notes those who will be attending the Socialism for the 21st Century Socialism 2007 in Chicago June 14-17th. (Elaine and Mike will be taking Mike's grandfather and Mike promises photos if not a write up in next Sunday's Polly's Brew. He'll try for a write up, but photos will appear.) That's this coming weekend.

Now we're just swiping from C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot"s, but John Pilger will be there. Before that (and we'll also include more info on the Chicago events as well):

Finally, independent journalist John Pilger is on a speaking tour with his new book Freedom Next Time and his documentary Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror (which looks at DC, Afghanistan and Iraq). June 11th, Pilger will be in Los Angeles at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (244 S. San Pedro St.) and will discuss his book and show his documentary beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm). The price of admission to the even is five dollars. "

Directions, maps, and parking info at:

Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, and The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. For ticket information, call or visit the JACCC. Box office: 213-680-3700 (Box Office Hours: Monday - Saturday: Noon - 5 pm)

For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or

For more information, email

"June 13th finds him in San Francisco showing his film and discussing his book at Yerba Beuna Center for Arts (beginning at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:00 pm) and the price of admission is $15 general and $5 for students. "Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The Nation Institute, and KPFA, with support from the Wallace Global Fund.

For ticket information, call 415-978-2787 or order online at In person tickets at YBCA Box office located inside the Galleries and Forum Building, 701 Mission Street at Third. (Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun: noon - 5 pm; Thu: noon - 8 pm.) For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or

For more information, email"

From San Francisco, he moves on to Chicago for the 2007 Socialism conference. At 11:30 am Saturday June 16th, he and Anthony Arnove will participate in a conversation, audience dialogue and book signing (Arnove is the author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) and that evening (still June 16th) at 7:30 Pilger will be at Chicago Crowne Plaza O'Hare (5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018) as part of a panel of international activists.

To attend the conference, the fee is $85.

For Saturday and Sunday only, the price is $70. To attend only one session, the cost is ten dollars.

"Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. Co-sponsors: Obrera Socialista, Socialist Worker, International Socialist Review, and Haymarket Books.

For ticket information, call 773-583-8665 or e-mail

For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or

For more information, email"

The Socialism 2007 conference will take place in Chicago from June 14-17. Along with Pilger and Arnove, others participating will include Dahr Jamail, Laura Flanders, Kelly Dougherty, Joshua Frank, Amy Goodman, Sharon Smith, Dave Zirin, Camilo Mejia, Jeremy Scahill, Jeffrey St. Clair and many others.

And while we're swiping from C.I.'s snapshots, we'll also note this:

In other media news, as independent media continues to be under attack, News Dissector Danny Schechter's "Special Blog: Can Our Media Channel Survive?" announces the potential fate of which may shut down: "If we can get 1500 of our readers (that means you) to give $25, we can keep going for another quarter. [PLEASE CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION ONLINE]"


This piece written by Wally, Rebecca, Cedric, Elaine, Betty and Mike and all selections picked by us unless otherwise noted.

"Ruth's Report" -- Ruth reviews independent media (at the request of community members) and finds it lacking in presentation and scope.

"Kat's Korner: Summertime Hammond" -- Kat likes this album. She doesn't care for the lyrics but that's the only weak spot and she recommends as the summer CD.

"KPFA, you're getting on my last nerve" -- Kat explains why KPFA is ticking her (and others) off.

"Truly, what a mess" -- Betty's latest chapter where she notes the media and zooms in on Betinna's cross-dressing, xenophobic, fat ass husband.

"Red skin potato salad in the Kitchen" -- Trina weighs in on food and Kucinich. And the core six (Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.) and Kat made the recipe and report it really is easy.

"Liam Madden, Law & Disorder, Joel Kovel" -- Mike gives the run down on Law and Disorder and notes guests and attending the Liam Madden press conference.

"Obama and Clinton get their clocks cleaned" & "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY TALKING POINTS NOT GOING TO FLY IN 2008!" -- two front runners stumble. Wally and Cedric attempt to figure out if it's time to send them to the glue factory or if they can still race?

"Adam Kokesh, Isaiah" -- our favorite post by Elaine last week. We like Isaiah's work as well but it's so hard to post now that Hello is out and Flickr is in.

"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bully Boy's Immigration Plan" -- And we would've forgotten Isaiah if Elaine hadn't made him part of her post. (We're really tired when we're doing these highlights and just trying to hurry through.)

"Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- Ty passed on Lynda's request that both Thursday and Friday's snapshots get noted for "their amazing work."

"And the war drags on . . ." -- and our pick for the best entry by C.I. last week which runs down the do-nothing politician running for president.

"Shameless" & "THIS JUST IN! BARACK SCARES UP VOTERS!" -- after failing miserable in the debates, Barack Obama gets a new theme: Vote For Me, Whitey, Because Those African-Americans Are On The Verge Of Rising Up and Only I Can Keep Them Down.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }