Sunday, August 26, 2007

Truest statement of the week

JUAN GONZALEZ: And in terms of the growth of that resistance movement over the last couple of years -- obviously since you were one of the first -- how do you see that developing?

CAMILO MEJIA: I think we've come a long way from the time when I resisted the war. Like Amy said, I was the first public combat veteran to refuse to redeploy to Iraq. Back then, when I went public with my refusal to go back to the war, we had approximately twenty-two cases of desertion in the military. And then, by the time I got out of jail, that number was 5,500. Today, it's over 10,000 people within the military who are refusing to go to the war in Iraq since the war started. And just to put it in perspective, that's almost like saying like the 101st Airborne Division was wiped out by desertion or AWOL, basically people not wanting to fight the war.

AMY GOODMAN: How many?

CAMILO MEJIA: Over 10,000 people. So that's the equivalent to an Army division.

-- Camilo Mejia speaking with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!, August 23, 2007). In Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia, Camilo Mejia shares his journey.

Truest statement of the week II

Deepa Fernades: Can you just talk us through that . . . Those moments of deciding? Of realizing "Okay, I really don't have any other option but the military?" What was going through your mind? Did you actually think, "This is crazy. And what am I signing up for"?

Camilo Mejia: Not really because -- Well, first of all, I would disagree now days that there are no options. I think there are some options. I think we need to fight for more options. But young people really don't need to join the military to get themselves, you know, out of poverty and to get themselves educated. But that was my mentality, certainly that was my mentality when I joined the military.

War resister, and Iraq Veterans Against the War chair, Camilo Mejia speaking with Deepa Fernandes on WBAI's Wakeupcall Radio, Wednesday, August 22nd. A good starting point for

September 17th when IVAW will kick off Truth in Recruiting.

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
Another Sunday. Another rough Sunday. Is there any other kind?

Here's 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,
Wally of
The Daily Jot,
and Ruth of
Ruth's Report

We thank all of the above and Dallas for hunting down links and being a soundboard and Eddie as well. Eddie? As Ava and C.I. always say, we'll get to it.

Here's what we've got:

Truest statement of the week -- there were five serious contenders for this by Camilo Mejia in his Democracy Now! interview. Ava and C.I. wisely grabbed one section to quote and thereby allowed us to drop down to four.

Truest statement of the week II -- Mejia also was interviewed by Deepa Fernandes and that was a remarkable interview. Ava and C.I. (who review Wakeupcall in Hilda's Mix Tuesday) argued strongly for two "truest" this week. Dona, seeing no end in sight to the edition, immediately jumped on board.

Editorial: IVAW supports war resisters, do you? -- Screen caps are from Democracy Now! We attempted to note that where the first one runs but it just made the parenthetical too convaluted. We noted it at the end. This is an editorial we're all pleased with.

TV: Fox tried to tell news 'jokes', no one laughed... -- Ava and C.I.'s response was unprintable when we asked, "Could you postpone George Lopez again?" They are threatening to take it to Maria, Francisco and Miguel's newsletter (the review). Dona and I (Jim -- and this time Dona joined me in asking) weren't sure what we had this week. Ava and C.I. pointed out they'd planned to mention Now with David Branccacio but -- at the end of their ____ George Lopez piece that keeps getting postponed! Well they saw the nonsense on Fox last week, couldn't they grab that. Grunting, cursing and looking like they might rip our hearts out, they finally agreed but noted they couldn't write it until at least six a.m. PST because they'd need to call TV and newspaper friends in Texas. The show was set there (I watched it, or tried to, and didn't pick up on that but I didn't make it through more than about two minutes). They did research from six a.m. PST through eight a.m. PST (that's eight to ten in the morning in Texas) by calling "everyone" they knew in journalism living in that state. We had no idea what they'd end up with and were incredibly pleased when we read it. (Ava notes that we may not get a shot at George Lopez, they may just carry that piece over to the newsletter instead.) Ava and C.I., of course, wrote the piece (and edited). Eddie e-mailed a screen cap from NOW that he took. We were happy to include it and thank him for it. (That's community member Eddie, Ava notes.)

Thoughts on GreenStone Media and the real lesson -- The monster piece. This took six hours to write. This took two hours to edit (C.I. notes Jess, Dona and I did a wonderful job editing). We brought Ruth in for this. She also helped with the editorial. We appreciate Ruth's help so much.
The original of this ran five times as long. We cut out a lot of qualifiers in the editing stage (and asked Ava and C.I. to polish two lines for us, Jess notes). We supported GreenStone Media and we hope that's clear. Yes, it failed (and that was the hardest statement to get in there though, surprise, Dona was the big resister on that). But it didn't fail in terms of the quality of programs. We think there are lessons to be learned from this. The biggest being that some 'friends' prove they aren't. It's difficult to get the word out when the small media's not interested in helping you. But, Jess says, as Carole King sings, "Ain't That The Way"?

Bully Boy lies about Vietnam -- who calls him out?... -- Ty did the editing here solo. Blame him for anything wrong! Seriously, this was another long piece and Ty boiled it down. Ruth also worked on this. We think. We're all tired and can't remember.

FAIR late to the party and a little lost -- C.I. did not work on this. Ava also did not work on this. They were doing research for their TV commentary. C.I.'s noted as not working on it because when this was proposed, C.I. said, "Do it without me." C.I. also notes that "Wally and Cedric wrote their posts. I helped by calling a friend with [Barack] Obama's campaign to make sure he hadn't said what the paper reported and I maybe helped with two or three word choices. I don't believe I did anything else. Wally and Cedric are being overly generous." We'll note Wally and Cedric said, "Don't believe it if C.I. tries to give us all the credit. It was a three way post." They anticipated C.I. would make a statement in the note and asked Jess to write that down and be sure it was included here.

Obama sucks up again -- While it's wrong of The New York Times to distort Obama's statements, the statements that were actually made bear examination.

Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Cedric, Elaine, Rebecca, Betty and Wally wrote this and made selections. By the way, Mike says he's doing a "Behind the Web" post on this edition Monday so check that out.

Supermarket check out? -- We were so far behind and Ty checked the e-mails to find people were seriously in doubt that we'd be posting this Sunday due to the long delay. Dona said, "Get a 'We're posting' message up NOW!" I said, "We need something more than that." We were tired (and Dona and I love to argue) so 15 minutes of back and forth ensued before Ava and C.I. said an unprintable and then told us the rumor we note at the top. That did lower the volume of the e-mails coming in, Ty says, and had everyone attempting to guess what chain it is?

So that's what we've got. Hope you found something to make you laugh/cry/scream or all three. See you next week.

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

Editorial: IVAW supports war resisters, do you?

Last Sunday, Veterans for Peace concluded their 22nd annual conference (August 15th through August 19th) and this one was held in St. Louis. Among those participating in the conference were Iraq Veterans Against the War. Aaron Glantz (One World) reported that IVAW selected their new board members at the conference and chose war resister Camilo Mejia as chair for many reasons including the fact that, in the words of Garrett Reppenhagen (pictured below with Liam Madden and Adam Kokesh to his right), IVAW "decided to make support of war resisters a major part of what we do."


What they do includes the September 17th kick off of Truth in Recruiting. Mejia explained that campaign on Democracy Now! last week:

AMY GOODMAN: Now you have become chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and you are launching the organization Truth in Recruiting campaign in September. Can you explain what that is?
CAMILO MEJIA: Sure. Well, we are launching a number of actions that we had, and Truth in Recruiting is one of them. What we're basically going to do is we are going to continue doing what we have been doing, but we're going to up the tempo. We are going to increase the number of members who are going to go into high schools to inform young people about the reality of the military and about the reality of war. Far from telling them not to join the military, we are going to tell them, "You want to join the military, this is what could happen to you. This is what's happened to our members. This is what the contract means. This is what stop-loss is. This is what conscientious objection is," so to basically inform them and thus empower them to make an informed decision.
We are going to go into recruiters' offices, and we're going to talk to the recruiters. And this, in time, is going to -- in turn, is going to take up their time, so they're not, you know, out there basically lying to young people about, you know, the many wonderful benefits of the military, without talking about the realities of war.
And we're going to continue doing, you know, what we're doing. We're going to continue going out into recruiting events. And we just had one action, actually, at the St. Louis conference. Across the street, there was a convention, an African American expo, where they had the America's Army game, and they were basically targeting like, you know, kids as young as twelve years of age, you know, teaching them that the military is cool and the military is good for you. And, you know, about ninety of us went in there, and, you know, we had this very military-style formation. And, you know, we all sounded off, saying, you know, "War is not a game. War is not a game. War is not a game." And then we leafleted the families and the youth with our fliers, you know, that talk about the reality of being in the military, which talk about our position as veterans against the war. And this is basically what's behind this campaign and this effort, you know, to basically inform young people about the realities of the military.

IVAW has always included support for war resisters. However, IVAW has decided to make a very public statement at a time when so many are silent.

Mejia was selected for many reasons (including that he's wonderful at communicating and that he's been protesting the illegal war publicly for some time). But a clear message is sent at a time when so many play dumb and silent.

Mejia explained his decision not to continue fighting in the illegal war to Tony Pecinovsky (People's Weekly World) last week, "I couldn't return knowing that we are committing war crimes. This war is criminal. But I’m no longer a prisoner of fear. I have hope that we can end this war." And last Wednesday, he spoke with Deepa Fernades (WBAI's Wakeupcall Radio.) about the need for those being targeted by recruiters to know their options -- that other options exist. It's a point echoed in Aimee Allison and David Stout's Army of None, a new book from Seven Stories Press that is available online through Courage to Resist. Mejia tells his own story in the new book Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia.

Along with Mejia being selected as chair, Adam Kokesh (Sgt. Kokesh Goes To Washington) notes
the new board members of IVAW also include Margaret Stevens as treasurer, Phil Aliff as secretary and himself as co-chair.

Is it necessary for IVAW to go on the record supporting war resisters when they already publicly do?

Yes, it is. And that's not due to any inaction on the part of IVAW. It is due to the inaction on many in small media with The Nation, as usual these days, leading the way as worst example.
The Peace Resister's just not interested in war resisters. Give her a petition and she's happy to blog about that. Give her a courageous stand and she crumples. And prevents anyone else from covering it in the pages of the magazine which is how you with all of those 2006 "online exclusive" features on Ehren Watada whose name never makes it into print until a January 2007 issue where he's called a "coward" and then (for balance?) he's given a tiny sidebar to the main article (about the petition, by the way).

The Nation wants you to act . . . online! Step out of line -- pay attention Cindy Sheehan, Katha Pollitt's gunning for you -- and be slammed or ignored. It's all about what looks most 'respectable' for the Democratic Party which goes a long way towards explaining how a once vibrant magazine became the dreary, muddled mess it currently is.

They did a story that mentioned Camilo Mejia and Aiden Delgado, an over praised cover story (that alluded to 'dozens' of photos of abuse but figured 'We're not journalists so why print one!') and failed to mention either was a war resister. IVAW got included in the list of those interviewed. For 'balance,' they invited a Republican front group (a White House propaganda group as John Stauber has noted) to participate and they invited a neutral/fence-sitter group to participate. That's how they do it at the allegedly 'left' magazine these days. In one of the funnier moments following the publication of the article, the leader of the neutral/fence-sitter group (a group that showed no public support for Adam Kokesh, Liam Madden or Cloy Richards when the military was attacking them) wrote in to whine about the article. It was like watching two tabbeys swat at each other.

Last week (Friday in most PBS markets), NOW with David Brancaccio profiled war resisters Agustin Aguayo and James Burmeister in it's first segment. (Ava and C.I. note the program in this week's TV commentary.) While not a Green Light from the Democratic Party, the Peace Resister is interested in what PBS does (not as devoted to it as she was to The Apprentice or, more recently, American Idol) so possibly that will prompt some action on the part of The Nation? We won't hold our breaths.

IVAW made an important statement and if you support war resisters you grasp that. If you don't, you're probably scratching your head (or elsewhere).

IVAW's Jason Lemieux is pictured below speaking in Los Angeles for the January rallies to end the illegal war (this screen cap and the other above are from Democracy Now!'s January 29, 2007 broadcast). A question to ponder is why The Nation had one person present for the protest (in DC) since it's so fond of their once a year fiery editorial that they spend the rest of the time forgetting? Maybe they were all busy with e-activsm?


TV: Fox tried to tell news 'jokes', no one laughed

Last week it was time to have a few laughs at TV news and who can't enjoy that? Plenty it would seem because the laughs weren't provided due to the news or what passes for content. The laughs were to be provided by gender. Can one of "Barker's Beauties" become an anchor of the news? No, answered America forcing Fox TV to follow up the first airing of a reality show with a next day cancellation notice.

The "Beauty" in question is Lauren Jones who stood around on The Price Is Right after being a cheerleader (New York Jets) and model. Her people (such as they are) have gone into a frenzy insisting that the show was "partially scripted" (what reality show isn't?) and that it was intended to be a joke.

It's not fair, they insist, that Jones is being held up to ridicule when Anchorwoman was always supposed to be a put on. Don't people realize, they insist, that Jones' "promising acting career" could be destroyed? She was in on the joke!

No, she was the joke. And if there's any fallout over it, live with it. For the record, she's not an actress and Anchorwoman was a lousy show from the moment it was thought up. The 'reality' show was supposed to follow Jones' attempt to become an anchor woman on a cable news channel in Tyler, Texas (KYTX -- a minor Tyler station, not on the level of KTVT -- the ABC affiliate -- or KETK -- the NBC one -- both of which are broadcast and cable stations).

The 'joke' from the start was that a woman could do news. When pressed, those working on the show prefer to insist that the 'joke' was a "beautiful woman" could do the news. Take that, Diane Sawyer, apparently.

The reality is that plain and ugly woman do not get anchor jobs on TV and the 'joke' was always "Ha! Ha! Look at the chic who doesn't know her place!" If, as a result of the miserable show, Jones' career is over, that's nothing to lose sleep over.

While the offers were never pouring in for Jones, she elected to attempt fame via a reality show and the reality is that in doing so, she stabbed a lot of women in the back. For those who've missed it, Katie Couric became the first female solo anchor of the evening news (CBS Evening News) on any network's weekday broadcast last fall. If those in charge of the show thought that was something to send up, they might have looked closer and they'd have grasped that Couric was slammed repeatedly before she ever even did her first evening news broadcast and the slams just kept on coming.
For some reason, the analysts at FAIR felt the thing their weekly show CounterSpin needed to comment on were Couric's ratings. How this applies to content -- what FAIR is supposed to critique -- is anyone's guess but, it should be noted, FAIR (in any format) has never made ratings an issue in the past. But such is the 'equality' of FAIR and others that they can open the barricades up to 'ratings' as a critique. A lot of barricades were being opened up as people obsessed over Couric's legs, her outfits, her hair . . . . Anything you could think of, in fact, except the quality of the news.

Non-feminist Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, took to blog to decree that Danny Boy Rather saying Couric was "tarting up the news" wasn't sexism. No, it was valid criticism, proclaimed Our Lady of Peace Resistance. So eager to defend the man who assisted Richard Nixon, the evening he resigned, with a white wash report (only one of his many questionable moments in broadcast), she failed to note that the 'tarted up' news did what no one else could or would: it provided 11 minutes Iraq coverage to ABC's two minutes. The peace resister's a joke with the print set and the broadcast set -- not just women, with males as well.

Moments like rushing to assure that Dan Rather (whose conflicts with Connie Chung were legendary) wasn't making a sexist remark only help her maintain her status as "dabbling joke". And no amount of (limited) money will allow her to buy her way out of that status.

Couric's moment as a first didn't lead to praise and "Isn't it great to have a first!" moments. (Possibly, she should have instead run for president -- apparently doing that this year gets you unconditional praise from NOW). It just underscored how hated women still are in this supposedly advanced society (and under the hatred, yes, remains fear).

So the last thing anyone needed was Jones playing, presenting or being an airhead painting her toenails pink while driving down the road. The last thing anyone needed was "Ha! Ha! Look at a chic trying to do the news!"

Philip Hurley is the manager of KYTX and wants some sort of credit for refusing to let Jones anchor the news in a bathing suit. Any credit he feels is deserved for that is washed away by the fact that he wanted to be 'in on the joke' by hiring Jones (to anchor on KYTX) in the first place.

Women in the area asked that we note Judy Jordan. Jordan was part of the p.r. advance team for Anchorwoman and does news at KYTX.

She's in Tyler at KYTX because, frankly, no one else would have her. An e-mail that was noted by a local critic (and intended to be public) was quoted by women in the state repeatedly as we did what The New York Times calls "research" (phone calls): "Advice! I'll probably be the one following her around saying, 'I'll have what she's having' . . . in my 'I'm with pretty woman' T-shirt." That was Jordan's public response to whether or not she'd impart advice to James.

Nice of her to hop on the bandwagon. For those not in the know, Jordan, in the seventies and early eighties, was something of a regional powerhouse as an anchor of the evening and nightly newscast (co-anchor) at the CBS affiliate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She was promoted to the news from the position of secretary (and it probably helped that her brother sat on the Dallas City Council). As part of a wave of firsts, you might think Jordan, instead of shaking the KYTX pom-poms, would call out the nonsense for what it was. That she didn't has offended many women in the state of Texas and she probably shouldn't hope for any industry awards any time soon.

That Anchorwoman was so hugely rejected by viewers is a sign of progress. We'd also argue that the ratings for this advertised 'laugh-fest' (2.7 million but it only scored a 1.0 in the 18-49 demographic) should give us hope for the future of women in TV news. A premise where the joke is "Woman Does News!" didn't grab the funny bones of viewers and we think that's a good thing.

While Anchorwoman tried to turn attractive women doing news into a ha-ha last week, Maria Hinojosa did some real work on PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio. Hinojosa, who is very attractive, honed her chops at CNN, CBS This Morning, CBS Radio and NPR (where she remains the host of Latino USA). Lucky for her, judging by the lawsuits against Barker, she was never on The Price Is Right.
For the first half of the thirty minute broadcast, she profiled war resisters Agustin Aguayo and James Burmeister. Both men served in Iraq, are the fathers of daughters (Aguayo has twins, Burmeister has one daughter, two-years-old). Both men self-checked out while in Germany.
Aguayo's is the more well known of the two tales (a relative judgement since, let's face it, most independent media chooses to ignore the stories of war resisters). Aguayo enlisted as a medic. After enlisting, he was bothered by many things in training. Upon arrival to Iraq, he was told that, medic or not, he would be expected to kill. Aguayo refused to load his weapon while serving in Iraq. He also attempted CO status. After his first tour, he was stationed in Germany. The US military decided to send him back. In an attempt to convince of how serious he was (the civilian court lawsuit should have done that), he self-checked out and quickly returned. When that didn't work, he then self-checked out for less than thirty days, came back to the US via Mexico, and turned himself in. This year, the US military court-martialed him for desertion. In the next two weeks, Aguayo will make the decision as to whether or not continuing fighting legally via an appeal to the Supreme Court. That's for the civilian court aspect of his story. He and his wife Helga Aguayo have been speaking out and raising awareness on war resistance despite the fact that Aguayo remains in the US military (while the military appeals are exhausted).


James Burmeister (above) also self-checked out while in Germany. He was lifted out of Iraq and taken there after he was injured. He enlisted to do humanitarian work (e.g. rebuilding in Iraq) and, of course, that didn't end up being the case. ("Of course" is not a judgement of Burmeister's intelligence, it is noting that we are probably far more cynical than he is.) "Humanitarian work" for the US military translated as leaving US military items out in public so that when an Iraqi touched them, he or she could be shot for touching US property. Your tax dollars at work in the illegal war. Following the third bombing he was the victim of, Brumeister was sent to Germany to recover. At that point, he and his family made the decision to go to Canada.

Like war resister Ross Spears, Burmeister has settled in Ottawa. Information on war resisters in Canada can be found at War Resisters Support Campaign. Those enlisted who can no longer take part in the illegal war can refer to The G.I. Rights Hotline. Courage to Resist offers many resources including information on war resistance and war resisters. Iraq Veterans Against the War is an organization opposed to the illegal war.

NOW with David Brancaccio will hopefully offer some form of transcript at some point. However, community member Eddie, who e-mailed us the screen snap of Jason from NOW with David Brancaccio, reports nothing is currently up. We've also heard from community members who have left comments on the show but none are currently displayed. And we heard from one member who wanted to make it very clear that if PBS wants to offer online video to the public, she feels (and we agree) it's really not meeting the government mandate for public television to only do so for those with broadband.

Though The New York Times announced (June 21, 2006, Ken Belson) "Dial-Up Internet Going the way of Rotary Phones" they were jumping the gun (big surprise) and what has been termed "the digital divide" still exists and for a number of reasons including some people cannot afford broadband and some computer users do not have broadband access in their areas. In April of this year, The Free Press noted that only "44.6 percent of U.S. households subscribe to broadband service" (and that the US ranks 15th for percentage of broadband users in the thirty nations making up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Public television and public website do not need to take part in discriminating and adding to the "digital divide."

The program gets high marks for what it aired on television (for most PBS markets) Friday. Also aired on TV last week (and on radio and online) was an interview Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) did with war resister Camilo Mejia:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And one of the things, it seems to me, that has happened, talking to quite a few veterans who have returned maybe or on leave, that those who go AWOL, it's not as if the military publicizes it or actively goes after them, unless they become public, like in your case, right?

CAMILO MEJIA: Exactly, although that also has changed. We have cases of people who have not yet gone public and yet had been seized in their home. For instance, we have the case of Suzanne Swift, who was, you know, apprehended by police without even a search warrant at her mother's house, and she had not gone public at that time. And she had refused to go back to the war, because she had been subject to military sexual assault and command rape from her leadership and being forced to go back to the war with the same unit and with the same people who had attacked her.

Mejia, author of Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia and the new chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, shared many important truths. The exchange above was only one; however, since the myth repeats (especially every time AP or The New York Times files a story mentioning AWOL or desertion rates), that's a broadcast moment worth noting: the US military does actively pursue those who check out despite the myths put forward. They attempt to track them and, when they believe they have located them, they call the police and let them handle it. The myth of "We're too busy to worry about them" needs to be challenged the next time the US military spins it.

And, for the record, neither Amy Goodman nor Juan Gonzalez ever were nor wanted to be in the "Barker's Beauties" stable. Somethings only happen on Fox TV.
Ty 9-27-07 note to Ava and C.I.'s commentary. NOW with David Brancaccio advises that comments are now up at their discussion page. Their process of moderating comments means that any comments left when the show airs Friday (or over the weekend) do not go up until Monday. And another note, a Texas journalist who spoke with Ava and C.I. for this feature Sunday morning (but did not mention Judy Jordan) called to say that the e-mail Jordan sent out can be read via this link.

Thoughts on GreenStone Media and the real lesson

That was the end of Grogan,the man who killed my father, raped and murdered my sister, burned my ranch, shot my dog and stole my Bible. But if there was one law of the West, bastards had brothers . . .

-- Diane Thomas, Romancing the Stone

And if there's one 'law' of 'modern times,' it's that while 'success' has one father, failure has multiple mothers. Or that's what some would have you believe.

"Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem's Radio Network Fails!" scream some headlines while others include Rosie O'Donnell in the text. GreenStone Media, first of all, wasn't a "radio network" or a "radio station." We realize that's hard for some to grasp. Stab felt the best place to slam GreenStone Media was at a gala (during wartime -- oh, if Bette Davis were alive today) for FAIR and, all things considered, she may have chosen aptly.

On September 19, 2006, the Idiot Bellafante ran her attack in The New York Times. At the time GreenStone Media programs were only broadcast over the airwaves in Jackson, Miss., and Hartford, Conn. So it only made sense (in what world?) for Stab to attend the October 20th FAIR gala and, in a speech noting problems with The New York Times' coverage of women, rely on the same paper to attack GreenStone Media, Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem:

And then, you know here's a real stab. We get Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda coming along and starting a radio station for women which won't have arguments on it, won't have debate on it. Because they . . . are saying as they start this new station that women don't like to argue and debate. We're too sweet, too nice. Gloria and Jane, have you heard of Katha Pollitt!

Stab, unless the government has started issuing ear plugs, we'll guess that everyone's heard Pollitt. But probably not a good idea to utilize The Times for facts because that explains your trouble with 'facts'. GreenStone Media was not "a radio station." Nor did Fonda or Steinem ever say women were "too sweet, too nice".

But there was Stab, offering a fact-free attack on Fonda and Steinem at a FAIR gala and apparently that was going to serve as the left's 'support' for GreenStone Media. Now please note, many were happy to take to GreenStone to flog their wares. But who offered anything back? Who among the left even explored why GreenStone came into being?

Certainly not FAIR's CounterSpin which is allegedly concerned with media outlets and the coverage offered. There's not enough diversity, CounterSpin tells you once a week in a show hosted by two White males and one African-American woman. Had they wanted to address that topic, they could have interviewed Steinem, Fonda or any of the other founders or even, shocker, some of the radio hosts of GreenStone Media programs. In fact, we'd argue the perfect time for that would have been in any of their broadcasts from February 16, 2007 through March 9, 2007, four weeks when not one woman was among their guests.

An interesting contrast can be made with Air America Radio and GreenStone Media's reception. Air America Radio was kicked off with massive coverage, the cover of the Sunday magazine for The New York Times (Baby Cries A Lot solo, War Hawk then and War Hawk now), The Nation would both do a cover story before Air America Radio celebrated its first year. [Ty note: Others would later follow including The Progressive. C.I. notes The Progressive put Baby Cries A Lot on the cover in 2005, not 2004, as this previously stated.] GreenStone Media? Apparently not even worthy of a blog mention at The Nation. (Possibly Katrina vanden Heuvel's many male co-authors weren't interested in listening in to GreenStone Media?)

On July 6th, CounterSpin would begin airing a program on the lack of diversity in radio but, strangely, even then had no interest in speaking to anyone with GreenStone Media.

It's really amazing that so many left outlets, supposedly concerned with diversity, had nothing to say about GreenStone Media. (Maybe The Huffington Post believes their gleeful 'GreenStone Is Dead!' recent coverage makes up for it?).

For those who can remember the start of Air America Radio, promoted (falsely) as the great left hope, it debuted with six programs that aired Monday through Friday and five of those programs had female hosts or co-hosts (So What Else Is News? had one host, male) with one show (Unfiltered) having two female hosts. Twelve hosts in all, six males, six females. Today? Eight hosts (all but one program is solo hosted) and the figures are six men and two women. [The Air Americans, hosted by a male, goes off the air next month.] Women have dropped from six to two. And, of course, the network's strongest weekend show, RadioNation with Laura Flanders, has dropped from six hours of live radio, covering a wide range of topics, to one pre-taped hour a week. Along with Flanders' reduced presence, the number of women have been reduced as well on the weekends: eleven males, three women.

And that's the alleged left. Forget right-wing, commercial radio, you don't even have to go there to demonstrate the need for programs hosted by women.

In death, GreenStone Media has gotten more concentrated attention than it did during its broadcasting life. Gleeful little jabs as short on facts as anything Stab could have offered.

GreenStone Media failed. There's no denying that. As a syndicator of original content, it failed. Why it failed might offer some lessons for the next go round.

We would suggest that the next enterprise accept that you will not be broadcast over the airwaves. Start from that premise. Radio's hostility towards women is obvious. So instead focus on online streaming.

In its early months, GreenStone Media had a problem with online streaming. At one point, one of us (Dona) tried all over campus to stream to make sure it wasn't just a problem with her computer. The stream was not working. It was fixed. That's the only problem we would pin on GreenStone Media (and they did fix it).

One of the most widely broadcast (over traditional airwaves) programs is Democracy Now! and that show should be seen as the model for any broadcasters. It started in 1995 and was a Pacifica Radio program. It is no longer (that's a whole backstory we won't go into great detail on). Amy Goodman (who hosts with Juan Gonzalez) fought for the show when it was banned from the WBAI studios in an attempt by some to turn Pacifica into NPR. Breaking away from Pacifica ownership was a smart move. It wasn't the last smart move.

The Democracy Now! website offers podcasts, live streaming, streaming and downloads. It also moved from audio only into TV as well. In addition to video, the site offers Goodman's weekly column, excerpts from her two books written with her brother David Goodman (Exception to the Rulers and Static) as well as links to a variety of articles and columns including Juan Gonzalez' New York Daily News columns. Someone just discovering Democracy Now! has a number of reasons to repeatedly visit the website. That's not to suggest those familiar with it have no reason to visit -- it's to note if you're starting up new broadcast content, you should provide multiple reasons for people to visit your website and do so from the start.

It is true that Democracy Now! built up their website as they went along (and it's also true that their archived broadcasts are available) but anyone coming after has a model and there is no excuse for not starting out of the gate with a variety of offerings to encourage visitors and repeat visitors.

DN! notes:

Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 450 stations in North America. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, NPR, community, and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television (DISH network: Free Speech TV ch. 9415 and Link TV ch. 9410; DIRECTV: Link TV ch. 375); as a "podcast," and on the internet.

In addition it is broadcast throughout the world. It offers its headlines in both English and Spanish (and those are also carried by many radio stations).

It didn't build up overnight. It used traditional and (then) non-traditional means to become the force it is today and, again, should be used as the model for anyone attempting to start up a program or several programs.

By building an online audience across the nation, it had an audience that could advocate for local radio stations and TV stations to carry the program.

The reverse model is Air America Radio which started up with online streaming, archived broadcasts and blogs. The Majority Report quickly had to move its blog off of the AAR site. (Sensitivities were offended at The New York Times, primarily with regards to comments about Adam Nagourney and Jodi Wilgoren.) Then everything fell apart to the point that even Air America Place (not affiliated with Air America Radio) had to pull their own archives. Though allegedly a 24 hour, 7 day a week network, they toyed with limiting the amount of time online listeners could listen (three hours) and that also chapped their base. As did their streaming change which prevented stand alone Real Player or Windows Media Players and instead offered up an AAR player with non-stop visual ads which often cause the audio stream to drop out.

The lesson there, as Air America Radio continues to flounder, is that you don't go backwards. You don't offer various content and then begin reducing it. (AAR's reduced listenership also results from the loss of or reduction in hours of popular hosts such as Janeane Garofalo, Laura Flanders, Mike Malloy, Sam Seder, Lizz Winstead, Marc Maron and pushing non-left hosts -- Lionel Hampton, Bob Kerrey -- on what was supposed to be a left outlet.)

In focusing on the online aspect to build up listenership and presence, a number of things could and should be done. GreenStone Media could have partnered with Feminist Wire Daily (a part of Ms. magazine) to provide an audio version of FWD. Anyone coming after should seriously consider doing that. Ms. magazine itself should have done a thirty minute weekly segment that, even if it was available only online, would have provided GreenStone Media with new content and allowed for the presence of the magazine to be raised. Others should have also seen GreenStone Media as a resource. Kim Gandy, for instance, could have done an audio version of her bi-weekly column Below the Belt. This and other features would have been in addition to the four programs that GreenStone Media produced. "Check out our website," you hear often over the airwaves. You do and often wonder why you even bothered?

GreenStone Media offered a blog, offered archives, streaming and podcasts. This isn't a slam GreenStone Media piece. We think they did a strong job. But we think it was a mistake to assume that a radio market unfriendly (at best) to women was going to welcome them. We think anyone coming after should be aware of the cards stacked against you and realize you need a very strong web presence and you need to offer content in multiple forms.

In this community, Hilda's Mix was started by Hilda to highlight the issues of disabled community members. We e-mailed Hilda for her thoughts on GreenStone last Wednesday. She responded that the blog (which she wrote about in Hilda's Mix) was a big improvement "but as a deaf feminist, GreenStone Media didn't offer me much else. I could hit the website and see that some wonderful women were going to appear on various programs or that a topic would be covered but I never knew anything about what was said. My suggestion for anyone trying this again would be to realize that people such as myself may not be able to 'listen' via audio but we are interested in what is happening and it's really a door shut on us when there's no attempt made to reach out to us. Though we will never be listeners, obviously not by our own choice, we can give you web traffic. We can give you support. But for that to happen, we need to be included. Besides the blog, GreenStone Media largely did not include us. It did allow for the inclusion of the blind and the sight impaired which is wonderful. But I would strongly urge anyone trying something similar to remember that various people are served, or not served, by various means. Your example of Democracy Now! is the best example. That show provides text, audio and video. The addition of the headlines in Spanish is another way of reaching out and welcoming."

Along with opening doors to various communities, a variety of new content also will encourage people to re-visit websites. As Ava and C.I. noted in their radio column for Hilda's Mix, Law and Disorder is among the radio programs with websites that is beefing up their online content. In her e-mail, Hilda noted the positive response to that and that for those who do not do that "who just provide an archived broadcast with a date and possibly a brief synopsis, they are missing out on reaching a portion of a potential audience. No, the deaf and hearing impaired aren't going to help programs in the Arbitron ratings but a program like Law and Disorder is about covering issues, not ratings, and a lot of broadcasters are passionate about issues so it boggles my mind that they aren't attempting to reach out as they try to raise awareness. One of the biggest surprises to me in reading Ava and C.I.'s weekly radio reports is how much is discussed over the airwaves, topics and points of view, that do not make it into newspapers or magazines. Those columns are funny and well received for their writing but also because it brings those of us who can't hear the programs into the discussion. Their review of Uprising, to offer just one example, resulted in a great deal of e-mails wondering why there is no print equivalent?"

In terms of longevity, GreenStone Media failed in and of itself. We wish that weren't the case (and several wince as we write that it did). But that is reality. Reality is also that you never succeed if you don't try and GreenStone Media deserves tremendous credit for seeing a very real issue (the under-representation of women on the airwaves) and attempting to address it. Its success in the long term, as a stepping stone for others to build upon, depends upon the take-away.

The popular take-away is: "Ha! It failed! Women won't listen!" The reality is that it had listeners (over the airwaves and online), male and female. The reality is that radio isn't interested in women. You can see that in the dominance of males over the airwaves. You can see that in Air America Radio's decision to promote Baby Cries A Lot at the expense of proven radio hit (before AAR ever started airing) Randi Rhodes. Or in that hideous article The Nation ran (with Baby Cries A Lot on the cover, naturally) where men were funny but "OH MY GOD! JANEANE GAROFALO IS NOT!" The author was bothered by a bit about 'ass babies.' He must have missed Baby Cries A Lot asking an elderly, African-American woman if her (White) father and her (underage, African-American) mother (who was a servant in the household) got it on in the garden or kitchen? Garofalo was funny. And treated guests with respect. Baby Cries A Lot just wanted to leer even when dealing with what was a case of sexual harassment and, most likely, rape or coerced sex since inter-racial relations weren't all the rage in 1925's South Carolina. The man -- yes, it was a man, Nicholas von Hoffman -- was obsessed with her "mouth" which, considering why CBS canned Hoffman's ass, is rather surprising -- until you grasp that when a man says something it's "universal." If Nation readers were hoping to find support for Garofalo, Flanders or Rhodes among the women, they were hoping in vain. No coverage to show. But our always 'helpful' Katha Pollitt couldn't be counted on (sorry, Stab) to write about Baby Cries A Lot (August, 2004) and not any of the women. See a pattern?

Though many were featured by Garofalo (included Pollitt who seemed irritated that her first name was mispronounced -- CATH-ah or KAY-tha, which will it be? -- the most important thing on election night 2004 to be sure), the payback was scorn and silence. She did get a shout out in an editorial that listed her with Baby Cries A Lot (first billed, of course), Randi Rhodes "and others." And, of course, prior to the von Hoffman article, Katrina vanden Heuvel was a regular, weekly guest on the show. Somehow Garofalo never made the "cut" for Editor's Cut (though AlterPunk did whine about her and others in what was supposed to be a piece on Roseanne Cash in 2003 -- AlterPunk was upset that people like Garofalo were getting press attention for opposing the illegal war while he wasn't).

Now for any who missed it, Janeane Garofalo has long done (for free) an advertisement in the magazine for . . . the magazine. So, for the record, has Gloria Steinem. But the magazine can't embrace female broadcasters. (Amy Goodman has never been a cover though Baby Cries A Lot, a War Hawk has, someone explain that.) The next attempt to rectify women's low representation in any media better grasp that there's not going to be any assistance or promotion from the bulk of the left including from women with positions to offer a boost (such as Pollitt and vanden Heuvel).

GreenStone Media got some mainstream media attention (largely negative and mocking) and that was really all it got.

That's the world we live in. Stab may have said more about GreenStone than any other voice on the left (male or female). So much for the 'sisterhood' at the mid-level.

When there is no support from the left outlets, we don't think it's fair to say GreenStone Media failed due to what it provided. Most didn't know what it provided because so many other outlets avoided even noting its existance.

But it presented four programs, Monday through Friday. and one weekend program. The programs were entertaining and informative. By those standards it succeeded. It came into being to give women's voices a forum and in that regard it also succeeded.

The Radio Ritas was easily our favorite program. Humorous, topical and, yes, Stab, the hosts (three originally, then two) could and did disagree. They didn't, however, scream at each other.

Maureen Langan and Cory Kahaney, with the show from start to finish, were (are) radio naturals. If NPR had any sense, they'd find a spot on their network (which has time for car talk) and hand it over to them.

Lisa Birnbach did the most political show. She had her fan base but not among this crowd. It only took her calling for war on Sudan (whether she grasped that or not) to have Jim screaming to turn that off. We are not part of Our Modern Day Carrie Nations.

Rolonda -- Did you know an African-American woman was hosting a live call-in show on commercial radio? Probably not. And that's your loss.

Women Aloud -- Mo Gaffney and Shana Wride were the hosts and Gaffney doing radio alone should have resulted in huge press attention. The second-half of Kathy & Mo is a legendary comic. (For the record, Baby Cries A Lot is not and was not a legendary comic. He was a comedic writer who failed as performer -- repeatedly and in all formats.) But women don't get get the attention men do. If you doubt that, go to any store that sales CDs and flip through the comedy section. Along with a host of names you've (rightly) never heard of, you'll notice that women are barely, if at all, represented. If you're lucky, you'll find a 'millenium' collection of Lily Tomlin's. If you're really, really lucky, Gilda Radner and Whoopi Goldberg's Broadway performances may be included. Even Nichols and May (Mike Nichols and Elaine May -- comedic pioneers and huge sellers) lose out due to what we'll dub the 'rack jobbers trouble with women'. Gaffney could have blown most people out of the water and it's a testament to Wride that she held her own as a co-host and not a sidekick.

The World According to Giles & Moriarty -- A late entry to GreenStone Media but possibly the most heard over the airwaves due to production partnership with CBS News. Nancy Giles and Erin Moriaty hosted. The two women previously hosted Giles and Moriarty and Philadelphia and won two Gracies for their work. The Gracies are awards presented by the American Women in Radio and Television, Inc. If you're not aware of them, take that up with your media.

In June, they held the 32nd presentation of the awards. If you're wondering why so many females have outlets in independent media but have never noted these awards, take it up with them and be sure not to let the males off the hook either. Among the winners in June were Wanda Sykes and Susan Stamberg.

On AWRT, it should be noted they issued a press release June 13th expressing their "deep disappointment" with Dan Rather's sexist remarks. Possibly you don't hear about them because when Rather elects to spout sexism, Katrina vanden Heuvel elects to ignore and justify it? As Ava and C.I. noted June 17th:

The most damaging of the voices defending Dan Rather last week was Katrina vanden Heuvel because, to too many not paying attention, she is a woman of power who is concerned about women. So if this woman was saying, "It's not sexism" (as she did), then, surely, it wasn't sexism.
It was sexism. Those not paying attention shouldn't take vouching from a woman who, as editor and publisher of the weekly Nation magazine, has seen fit to print approximately four male writers for every one woman. Those not paying attention shouldn't take vouching from a woman who is attempting to grab on to some big bucks via the fund raiser/pyramid scheme that is The Nation Cruise -- which, this summer, includes the 'honor' of speaking to Mary Mapes, Dan Rather's former producer. In her defense of Dan Rather, vanden Heuvel failed to note either her own record of publishing women or her magazine's financial gain from her defense of Dan Rather.
That's a bit like saying you're for economic justice and then attempting to weasel out of paying taxes by taking your case as high as the Supreme Court (where you still lose) and . . . Oh, wait.

The reality of GreenStone Media's failure is that it didn't fail because it couldn't deliver solid programming. It delivered strong and amazing program. It was hurt by not grasping the need for a strong online presence and that's a lesson to be learned for the next go round. But most importantly, it was hurt by the lack of support from what should have been allies.

Any new venture needs word of mouth and attention, so that's a really important point. Women who are considering attempting a similar venture need to be very aware that a lot of the female 'names' aren't going to do a thing to support you or use their own outlets to even note you. To the contrary, they will allow men to slam you and stay silent. When Dan Rather accuses Katie Couric of "tarting up" news, the same women, who will not do one damn thing to promote women broadcasters, will rush in to assure you that Rather's sexist remarks weren't sexism.

That may be the most important lesson in this because none of the women involved (and men were involved as founders as well) expected the attacks. They expected the right-wing to attack. That's no surprise to feminists at this late date. Feminism has been maligned and smeared by the right-wing for years. The surprise came from the lack of support and attention from those who should have been 'friends.' What was done to Janeane Garofalo in The Nation article (whose only positive benefit was that listeners no longer had to hear Katrina vanden Heuvel pontificate and struggle for words on air each week) should have been a serious signal to the way feminists would be treated by the 'left' and should have telegraphed that women being at the top of 'left' didn't mean feminists were at the top.

Again, Democracy Now! is the model for the future. The show was built via its online site, Amy Goodman's non-stop speaking engagements and word of mouth. Attention from "big" little media? If you think Democracy Now! crossing over to TV was a story, you didn't work for The Nation. Goodman co-wrote two successful bestselling books with no help from The Nation (and search their archives if you doubt it) -- no reviews, no shout outs on from Editor's Cut blog. In other words, the key lesson can be summed up via quote from Tori Amos' "Taxi Ride" (Scarlet's Walk):

I guess on days
like this
you know who your
friends are

It's a lesson that all should heed.

Bully Boy lies about Vietnam -- who calls him out?


Wednesday, August 22nd, Bully Boy went to Kansas City to speak to the VFW convention. He was all smiles. Why wouldn't he be? He was about to attempt a major rewriting of history as he pushed revisionary lies about Vietnam.

The online revolution is upon us -- or so we've been told repeatedly. So it was surprising (or maybe not really) who called out the lies and who didn't. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted the speech before it was given. Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) noted the "rewriting of history" the day of the speech. Ron Fullwood (OpEdNews) also came out strong day of.

Okay, well maybe (no surprise) the net really hasn't taken us into the 'real time' world. But who else, day of or later, took Bully Boy and/or his lies about Vietnam to task? Anne Zook (Peevish . . . I'm Just Saying) did, Amy Goodman, with Juan Gonzales, returned to the issue on Thursday's Democracy Now! for an indepth discussion with Gareth Porter, Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) called it for the lies it was, Robert Parry (Consortium News) refused to let the lies slide by without challenge, Rosa Brooks (Los Angeles Times) challenged the lies and Marjorie Cohn (at Common Dreams) refused to be silent while another attack on history was launched. There are a few more and, despite including Zook, our concern here really isn't with independent bloggers. Our concern is with the independent press.

What of 'the leading magazine of the left'? It might interest you to note that John Nichols weighed in on Wednesday. Cpl. John Nichols Klinger.


Bully Boy was telling repeated lies about Vietnam so The Nation's Nichols suited up (possibly with the scarf pictured above) and cried, "Gather round kiddies while I tell you about Korea." Yes, that is right: Korea. In over 100 lines, over 1500 words, John Nichols elected to weigh in on Korea.

Wow, we told ourselves, we must have missed something. Maybe we just thought Vietnam and Iraq were the focus. So we checked the transcript. It did provide laughter such as here:

In other words, we agree the veterans deserve the full support of our government and that's what you're going to get as George W. Bush as your President. (Applause.)

Laughter both because the decay in veterans' services has happened repeatedly under Bully Boy's watch and for the mangled "that's what you're going to get as George W. Bush as your President." (That is the official White House transcript.) We're eyeballing "Korea" used 16 times. "Indochina," "Vietnam," "Cambodia" and "Laos"? 21 times.

The word count for the Korean section? 517 words spoken by the Bully Boy.

The word count for the Vietnam section? 882.

And never once did Bully Boy refer to the "Korean specter" -- yet, for some reason, Korea is what John Nichols elects to go on about for over 1500 words.

Were we missing something?

On Wednesday, a number of groups were spoken to/with by C.I., Kat, Ava, Dona and Jess. As the speech began to get news coverage, it became a focal point in four different discussions with students who wanted to know about Vietnam. Was Bully Boy being honest? Was this a rewriting? What really happened?

On that day, on Thursday and on Friday, not one student ever asked about Korea. Clearly, the concern among young adults who heard the speech that the five encountered was with Vietnam.

Bully Boy, in his speech, elected to give a questionable "vocabulary lesson" and, as Kat noted Thursday, Wednesday, C.I. presented students with vocabulary "gained" from the war on Vietnam. At Kat's urging, a few of the terms made it into Thursday's snapshot:

Bully Boy made ridiculous comments about how US withdrawl from Vietnam led to a host of things when the realities are that the illegal war itself led to that. Bully Boy felt the need to speak of new vocabulary the withdrawal created (it didn't create it) and while it's nice to know he is attempting to increase his Word Power, let's explore some of the actual vocabulary that illegal war did create. "Double veteran" was someone who killed a woman after he'd had sex with her. "Expactants" was a 'cute' term for those who were 'expected' to die. "Glad bags" were body bags and "litters" were what the dead and wounded were carried on. "Willie Peter" which was white phosphorus added to napalm to prevent water from stopping the burning of skin. "Fragging" which was when those serving under an officer elected to kill him often with a grenade. "Dust offs" were when service members were medically evacuated by helicopter. Those are only some of the words that illegal war added to the vocabulary.

The Nation offered nothing else on the topic (until the weekend when a kind of note appeared). Why was that? Why was Nichols' falling all over himself to address Korea?

Who knows? But on Thursday, noting the Vietnam revisions, The New York Times Jim Rutenberg, Sheryl Gay Stolber, Mark Mazzetti, Damien Cave and Erich Schmitt observed: "With his comments Mr. Bush was doing something few major politicians of either party have done in a generation: rearguing a conflict that ended more than three decades ago but has remained an emotional touch point." Something few attempt? Certainly that's worthy of comment from 'the leading magazine of the left'?

While Nichols was off in Korea, 2008 Democratic presidential nominee hopeful Bill Richardson was calling the Vietnam revisionary nonsense out:

The correct conclusion to draw from our experience in Vietnam is that dragging out the process of withdrawal will be tragically worse in terms of U.S. lives lost and worse for the Iraqi's themselves in terms of the ultimate instability we will create by staying longer.

In 1968 Nixon ran on a platform of ending the war with honor. It took 7 years to get the last American soldier out of Vietnam. In the meantime, tens of thousands more Americans died. The costs in terms of tragedy in Southeast Asia itself are a matter of historical record. Millions of civilians ultimately died in Vietnam, in Cambodia and the killing fields and millions more ultimately had to flee their homes.

We have now been in Iraq longer than it took to win World War II. My plan for Iraq is designed to end this war with the least possible number of U.S. casualties and with the least damaging effects of Iraqi's reconciliation process. This means getting all of our troops out as quickly and safely as possible. Leaving residual troops in Iraq as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have suggested will only drag out the process to the detriment of all involved. Reconciliation can only occur when the U.S. has completely withdrawn. Everyday, more and more experts are coming to the same conclusion I drew seven months ago. My position has been consistent and unwavering. A fast, safe withdrawal with no residual troops.

I am pleased that Senator Clinton, today, recognizes that the surge has produced no progress of any long term significance to the Iraq debacle. That is different from what she said yesterday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. But, it is that audience, who has sacrificed more than any of us, who deserves to hear a clear statement that our sons and daughters and mothers and fathers are not going to be sacrificed because of an irrational commitment to a failed strategy.

The President is asking the country to wait for next month's progress report from General Petraeus. The chances are that report will be just another White House spin job and attempt to justify this war. This has been the bloodiest summer yet -- our troops have done an admirable job at trying to make a bad idea work, but the surge has failed, the war has failed, Bush has failed. It is time to end this war and bring all of our troops home as soon as possible. I'm glad Hillary Clinton has retracted her comments yesterday and has declared the surge a failure today -- but I still haven't gotten an answer to my question -- a peace in Iraq will fail as long as we leave troops behind -- how many would you leave behind? Every other major candidate would leave thousands of US troops in Iraq for an indefinite. I will leave no U.S. forces there. Zero.

The only way out of the Iraq mess is to remove all U.S. troops, and to use that leverage to get the warring parties to resolve their differences, and surrounding Muslim nations to help stabilize the country. Any residual U.S. force reduces the chances for success, and exposes our troops as targets. Our brave troops, and the American people, deserve better.

Here's reality. The revisions on Vietnam didn't just happen. You had a lot of left and 'left' refusing to address reality. Some because they thought it wasn't 'nice manners,' some because they were scared off by the attacks. So the lies have taken hold. And every time they are pushed forward again, they need to be called out.

As Jane Fonda explained in the amazing Sir! No Sir!, "You know, people say, 'Well you keep going back, why are you going back to Vietnam?' We keep going back to Vietnam because I'll tell you what, the other side does. They're always going back. And they have to go back -- the Hawks, you know, the patriarchs. They have to go back because, and they have to revise the going back, because they can't allow us to know what the back there really was."

Yeah, the right-wing always does. And the battle for truth will be lost as long as so many elect to sit it out. Good news for The Nation, however, former US Senator Max Cleland delivered yesterday's Democratic radio response to the Bully Boy's radio address and Cleland called out Bully Boy's revisionary history. In other words, the Democratic Party has given the Green Light. Now all the little Nation writers who can't have a thought without permission from the DNC can prepare their "You know, I've been thinking about that speech Bully Boy gave last week where he lied about Vietnam and . . . "

Thank the ones noted above (and any others not noted) who bothered to call out Bully Boy's lies about Vietnam. But grasp that the majority of our left media opted to sit it out 'led' by . . . The Nation.

For any wondering, in this community it was called out in C.I.'s Wednesday "Iraq snapshot,"
in C.I.'s Thursday "Iraq snapshot," in C.I.'s "When the left plays dumb, Bully Boy advances,"
in Rebecca's "robert parry, vietnam," in Kat's "Glen Ford, Iraq, Vietnam," in Elaine's"Matthew Rothschild, John Nichols, Katha Pollitt," in Mike's "Ron Fullwood, William S. Lind," in Cedric's
"Professor Bully Boy," in Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY GIVES ANOTHER HISTORY LESSON!," in Kat's "Music, Ron Jacobs," in C.I.'s "And the war drags on . . .," in Rebecca's "robert parry, a.a.r.," in Elaine's "Grace Paley and other items" and in C.I.'s Friday "Iraq snapshot." For the record, accuracy watchdog FAIR has issued no action alert on made no comment on the speech.

FAIR late to the party and a little lost

At 5:59 EST on Friday, FAIR was suddenly interested in what The New York Times did Tuesday and sent out an action alert entitled "NYT Smears Peace Movement, Again." If it all seems familiar, it should. Last week, in real time, the smear (labeled as such) was called out in joint-posts written by Wally, Cedric and C.I. (C.I. is not participating in the writing of this feature). See: "NYT Slimes the peace movement (Cedric & Wally)'), "New York Times lies again!" and "THIS JUST IN! NEW YORK TIMES LIES ABOUT PEACE MOVEMENT!" -- all of which went up Tuesday evening.

No need for our truth squad-ers to wait until Friday evening.

Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot" included this:

And finally, in media news, Jeff Zeleny and the New York Times have smeared the peace movement with a big-old-fat lie. Yesterday, Senator Barack Obama (and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful) delivered a speech to the VFW where he declared, "The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground. When men and women who die in service to this country are laid to rest, there must be no protests near the funerals. Its' wrong and it needs to stop." Obama was referring to the 'vangical fringe that is the gay hating Fred Phelps crowd. The extreme right wing set. As Cedric's "New York Times lies again!" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! NEW YORK TIMES LIES ABOUT PEACE MOVEMENT!" noted yesterday, somehow New York Times' Jeff Zeleny heard that and decided Obama was talking about the peace movement: "He also said it was wrong for anti-war activists to protest at military funerals, declaring: 'It needs to stop'." The print version of the story ran in this morning's paper on A11 and does not contain the error/lie; however, the story is still up online at the paper's website and has not been corrected. How many times is the Times going to smear the peace movement during this illegal war?

FAIR notes, "In an August 21 New York Times story about Democratic presidential candidate Barrack Obama's talk to a veterans group the day before, reporter Jeff Zeleny attributed to Obama a dig at the anti-war movement that the Democratic candidate did not make." Readers of the alert may not be aware that the print version never contained the erroneous paragraph. (FAIR may not be aware, in fact.)

FAIR asks that its people contact the ombudsperson of the paper and ask for an explanation.

They requested that at 5:59 p.m. EST Friday. We weren't waiting around like FAIR. Friday, at 11:34 a.m. EST, this site contacted the DC editorial staff via e-mail:

On August 21, 2007, The New York Times website published Jeff Zeleny's "Obama Tells Veterans Iraq Plan Is Failing" online. The article has a glaring error:

He also said it was wrong for anti-war activists to protest at military funerals, declaring: "It needs to stop."

Barack Obama was speaking of the Fred Phelps groups (right-wing) who protest gays and lesbians by picketing military funerals. His speech does not mention "anti-war activists." Apparently the paper grasped the error since they didn't include the passage in the August 22nd print article by Zeleny on the same speech. When does the website intend to correct the online article?

Thank you,

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

There was no response to the e-mail and we didn't assume there would be after learning that at least seventy-three complaints had gone into The New York Times last week from community members about the error. (There may have been more. 73 community members elected to e-mail that they had complained as early as Tuesday night and that there had been no response nor had the paper corrected the error online.)

For the record, the paper has still not corrected the error in their online article. Those contacting the paper (via letter, phone or e-mail) should be advised (and FAIR should have told people this) that the problem is with an online article. The problem is not with a printed article. Whether the ombudsperson covers online matters or not, we're not sure. We knew the DC editorial staff was responsible so we contacted them. We'd also suggest the site's webmaster.

But, and this is important because the paper's already chuckling about FAIR's outraged e-mailers who are angry about a story that ran in the paper, the story only ran online. Do not, as some have already written, type: "I just opened my paper and this Obama story . . ." It was passed on to C.I. that those e-mails have provided much laughter.

Obama sucks up again


And our sacred trust does not end when a service-member dies. The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground. When men and women who die in service to this country are laid to rest, there must be no protests near the funerals. It's wrong and it needs to stop.

So declared Senator Barack Obama who wants to be the Democratic Presidential nominee for 2008. From a speech he gave Tuesday, August 21st, to the VFW.

Read the above quote again. While pandering in speaking appearances is nothing new, ask yourself about what he's saying.

Fred Phelps' right-wing wackos have been protesting gays and lesbians by picketing military funerals for some time. They are wackos. But are they doing something unconstitutional?

No, not at all. They've got the right to protest any event they want.

Who, we wondered, would we protest? Whose funeral would we stage a protest outside? The only name we could all agree on was Henry Kissinger (though, under some apparent deal with the devil, he appears unstoppable).

Henry Kissinger's actions are responsible for a number of deaths around the world. In addition, his encouragement (to put it mildly) of the overthrowing of Chile's democratically elected government in 1973 led to torture (to murder as well, but we're focusing on torture survivors). A victim who was tortured under Pinochet's regime (and thousands of them are still alive) might want to protest at the funeral of War Criminal Henry Kissinger. His complicity in the overthrow of Salvador Allende's democratically elected government led to the murders and torture that followed. Since he's learned to avoid certain countries (due to extradition treaties) and thereby avoid extradition, the closest approximate of justice his victims may see is protesting at his funeral.

Some might argue, Obama's not saying they can't.

They may be right and that's the more troubling aspect of the quoted of Obama's speech.

We live in a democracy and, presumably, Obama's campaigning for as many votes as he can rake in. So why does it appear he's setting up a two-tier system? Military service members have hallowed graves? And what of the rest of Americans? We thought "hallowed grave" (and "hallowed ground" were terms used by poets throughout the centuries to apply to all and that, of course, the Catholic Church used the terms to refer to consecrated grounds. In fact, if Obama is suggesting that only military graves are "hallowed," he's going to run into a great deal of trouble with various religions (many of which, including the Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, demand that their followers be buried on hallowed ground).

More likely, he was brown nosing again. Sucking up.

It needs to stop. In fact, we wondered if Obama had a stance on the pledge? For those who've forgotten, and Obama appears to have forgotten, it goes:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

"With liberty and justice for all." Nothing in there (admittedly, it came into existence well after the Declaration of Peace and the Constitution) about "with liberty and justice for all in the military." This two-tiered system Obama and others seem to be promoting needs to stop. In a democracy all are equal.

So, from a political standpoint, if he believes that any graves are hallowed, all are. (From a religious standpoint, he can think whatever he wants.)


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, 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 and all highlights selected by us unless otherwise noted.

"NYT Slimes the peace movement (Cedric & Wally)," "New York Times lies again!," "THIS JUST IN! NEW YORK TIMES LIES ABOUT PEACE MOVEMENT!," "Other Items," "Iraq snapshot," "Sunsara Taylor, Cat Radio Cafe," "white house ignores congress again" and "Wally, Cedric; David Bacon; Walter C. Uhler" -- C.I., Wally, Cedric, Rebecca, Elaine and Mike calling out The New York Times' smear of the peace movement beginning Tuesday evening. In real time. No waiting until late Friday here. Wally and Cedric want it noted that C.I. did not just listen to their original post (which never posted). In the original post, they were going to town on Barack Obama for attacking the peace movement. Wally read that to C.I. who said, "I don't think that happened." C.I. called a friend with the Obama campaign and it DID NOT happen. Wally and Cedric rewrote their post ("with help from C.I.," Cedric notes and Wally agrees) and then immediately posted it. So Wally, Cedric and C.I. on the job and on the ball in real time while other 'critics' floundered badly.

"on the relative term 'fair'" -- Rebecca explaining more on the above.

"robert parry, a.a.r." -- Rebecca addresses the realities of the 'left' Air America Radio.

"Black Bean Dip in the Kitchen" -- Trina notes the importance of snacks at gatherings and addresses the Kucinich campaign.

"Questions" -- Betty's latest chapter where Betinna gets a strange phone call.

"Music, Ron Jacobs" -- Yes, Kat says, she will write the review. In the gina & krista round-robin she riffed on a new CD and Mike encouraged her to do a review of it. She planned to do so on Saturday. She didn't. We (including Ruth) all ended up working on one feature (the main one for this edition) and there wasn't time. But that will be her next review.

"Grace Paley and other items" -- Kat, Betty and Rebecca's pick for Elaine's finest from last week. (Rebecca notes that she would have picked it "even if it didn't say so many kind things about me!")

"Vanishing 'coalition'" -- Mike talks the strained relationship between the British and US government over Iraq, music, The Nation and more.

"Professor Bully Boy" and "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY GIVES ANOTHER HISTORY LESSON!" -- This will probably a running theme for Cedric and Wally since the Bully Boy has taken to delivering history lessons.

"THIS JUST IN! DNC TO FLORIDA :'DROP DEAD!'" & "DNC tries to screw over Florida voters" -- Every now and then, events dictate that Wally and Cedric don't do a humorous post. This was one of those times. Wally resides in Florida, Cedric is African-American. So the two of them are furious with the DNC for threatening to disenfranchise all voters. (African-Americans were disenfranchised in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.)

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bully Boy Meets Jenna's Fiance" -- Isaiah's comic where Bully Boy tries to figure out why anyone would want to marry into his family?

"2nd governor of a southern province assassinated" -- Kayla asked that this be noted and pointed out that the set up was there "for community members last week so the second assassination didn't mean 'Let's explain from square one'." Good point.

Supermarket check out?

Which US supermarket chain is rumored to be up for sale and, in fact, about to close the sale? The same one that had British and Indian business people touring its company last year. The same one whose companies meetings begin with a denominational prayer. That's denominational, not non-denominational. The same one that just saw the loss of a large number of higher ups.

Got your attention? Good. We are posting this week and putting the finishing touches on our pieces. They will go up shortly. [For the record, the rumors come from the press and not people with the company -- noted so we aren't accused of insider trading at some later date -- we own no stock and wouldn't buy any due to the company's confusing employment with a right to push religion down employees' throats.[
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