Sunday, December 16, 2007

Truest statement of the week

When Barack Obama was a state legislator running for the U.S. Senate in Illinois in 2003 opposition to the war in Iraq was extremely popular in African American communities and among the progressive voters he needed in order to win. Brother Obama was on the case, doing what he had to do to sew up that vote early, showing up at local antiwar meetings and rallies, and making speeches like the one opposing "a dumb war" which is now trotted out as evidence of his fervent and prescient antiwar stand.
Bush invaded Iraq in March 2003, and by late May declared "mission accomplished" and victory in "the battle of Iraq" from the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. With the president riding high in national polls, this reporter checked Obama's campaign web site and noted that all the evidence of and references to candidate Obama's prior opposition to the invasion of Iraq had been deleted. The visionary Barack Obama appeared to be leaning rightward with the prevailing wind, distancing himself from his prior opposition to the war.
After calls to Obama's campaign office yielded no satisfactory answers, we published an
article in the June 5, 2003 issue of Black Commentator effectively calling Barack Obama out. We drew attention to the disappearance of any indication that U.S. Senate candidate Obama opposed the Iraq war at all from his web site and public statements. We noted with consternation that the Democratic Leadership Council, the right wing Trojan Horse inside the Democratic party, had apparently vetted and approved Obama, naming him as one of its "100 to Watch" that season. This is what real journalists are supposed to do --- fact check candidates, investigate the facts, tell the truth to audiences and hold the little clay feet of politicians and corporations to the fire.

-- Bruce Dixon's "Oprah & Obama: Corporate Marketing for a Corporate Campaign" (Black Agenda Report). As Dixon notes, that "is what real journalists are supposed to do".

Truest statement of the week II

Or maybe IVAW can book a 'voice' from the 'left' who pushes nuclear energy because they seem to pop up on all Pacifica stations and they are never questioned, let alone called out, for pushing nuclear energy. They are treated as 'trusted voices' and given the kids glove treatment. Again, that is not one station and I wonder if listeners of just one station grasp just how common this push for nuclear energy is becoming on Pacifica?
Dr. Helen Caldicott is a frequent guest on Pacifica programming. In 2007, I have only heard her on archived broadcasts such as From The Vault and she was to be featured, from an archived broadcast, on the Pacifica Radio Archives day of special programming recently. In a 2005 column entitled "Nuclear Power is the Problem, Not a Solution," Dr. Caldicott opened with this statement, "There is a huge propaganda push by the nuclear industry to justify nuclear power as a panacea for the reduction of global-warming gases." She was not mistaken. Hearing various 'trusted' 'voices' on Pacifica throughout the year present themselves as environmentalists while advocating on behalf of nuclear energy indicates that Pacifica is far from its roots on many issues.

-- Ruth in her latest "Ruth's Report." Noted by community member Brenda Sunday afternoon and added Sunday night.

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. Here's who participated 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

We thank all of them, we thank Dallas for his tremendous help as well. Next week will be the holiday weekend. An edition will post. Confirmed to be working on it will be Jess, Ava and C.I. (who will be steering it), Mike, Elaine, Wally and Cedric. Ruth has already said count her in. Others may work on it as well; however, Ty will be home for Christmas and not working on that edition. Dona and I (Jim) will be celebrating the holiday with Dona's family and also not taking part. No one should worry, Ava and C.I. steered last year's edition and ended up with one of the strongest of the year. They will be revisting at least one topic from that edition next week. They have a number of planned features and, as Dona pointed out, I kept trying to raid their list this weekend.

They are planning a roundtable and or a book discussion. (Both are currently on the list, time will dictate what they get to.)

What did we get to this weekend?

Truest statement of the week -- Bruce Dixon was the clear choice. It's also true that last week wasn't a good one for independent media. (By contrast, ABC News had a great week last week.) Even in a strong week, Dixon would have been the choice.

Truest statement of the week II -- After the note went up, Brenda e-mailed C.I. and asked that we please add this by Ruth which we will gladly do. Brenda is one of the many disturbed by the left and 'left' voices jumping on the nuclear energy bandwagon. She stated that section spoke to her more than anything else all last week and that she was surprised we hadn't noted it. It does deserve noting and there was no offense intended to Ruth. We hadn't read it. Ruth posted that after nine PST and we were already working on the edition. We knew her latest report had gone up but we hadn't yet read it because we were focused on getting this edition out. Mike and the Highlights gang read it when they were hunting down highlights and Rebecca and Mike both noted it was a hard hitting one. Thank you to Brenda for bringing it to C.I.'s attention and for making such a strong case for it being included. Let's add one more thing to the note (under TV).

Editorial: We keep giving them money, they keep funding the illegal war -- This was written by Dona, Kat, Jess, Ty, Ava, C.I. and myself. Another feature was the editorial in the print version.

TV: ABC's Cesspool -- Ava and C.I. tackle 20/20. It's a strong piece and probably one of the two strongest ones this week. They have no idea what they're going to tackle next week. Added: Ty saw Brian's e-mail and Brian thinks Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary got short shift in this note. He thinks this is one of their strongest and can't believe it got "only three, short sentences in Jim's note!" Brian, we were dead tired and the note was rushed to be done finally. It is noted that the two strongest pieces this week are both by Ava and C.I. Brian notes that he laughed out at three points while reading and that it pulled together "things that I didn't know and I watched the show Friday. They are right, the story on the female contractors being assaulted should have been paired up with one on the US service members being assaulted. I knew about Swift but the others were new to me." I'm not adding to that because I think Brian noted everything that needed to be noted.

Mailbag -- As is noted here, everyone wanted to go straight through. That didn't happen. We finished the print edition and told ourselves we could take a thirty minute nap and do a few quick tweaks. We (Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I. and myself) ended up asleep for much longer than 30 minutes. After two hours, C.I. woke up and discovered everyone else was asleep. C.I. woke me and asked, "Do we want to get back up now and wake up everyone?" I said no (but should have said yes, ended up watching TV for two hours by which point everyone else was up). One thing we realized is we wanted a different editorial.

"I love my drug buddy . . ." -- This was the original editorial. It's strong as a feature but it didn't make it as an editorial (even in prior versions, we rewrote it after we decided it wasn't the editorial). The title is from a Lemonheads song.

Best war song you may not have heard -- "I Hate The War" is really a great song. If you haven't heard it, please check it out immediately.

Dope of the week -- This ended up causing a delay. Ginger wrote late and Ty was checking the e-mails this morning when he found it. We had to wait a bit for a 'normal' time for C.I. to call two friends with The Nation and ask them what was up? This issue may come up next week or may wait until the week after. It's 'cute' how Katrina vanden Heuvel uses interns to clean up her Wikipedia entry online, isn't it?

Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature) -- We blew it, as Dona notes in the mailbag. I begged Ava and C.I. for this feature and showed them the e-mail of a reader who was also asking the topic be addressed. After they read the e-mail, they were on board but thought it should be a group piece. I argued that if they'd do it themselves, the rest of us could knock out another feature during the same time. Instead, the rest of us (with a few exceptions -- which doesn't include me) b.s.ed the entire time and produced nothing. This is one of the two strongest pieces this edition, both of them were written by Ava and C.I. only.

Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Betty, Wally, Rebecca, Elaine and Cedric wrote this and selected the highlights unless otherwise noted.

So that's what we've got. To those celebrating now, next week or later, happy holidays. Remember, you're in good hands next week with Jess, Ava and C.I. and they'll probably have the entire edition done early, early in the morning.

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

Editorial: We keep giving them money, they keep funding the illegal war

The Democratic-led Congress authorized more Iraq war spending on Friday, sending President George W. Bush a defense bill requiring no change in strategy after failing again to impose a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawals.

Susan Cornwell brought the bad news Friday in "Congress authorizez war funds and sends bill to Bush" (Reuters). Cornwell reports that 90 senators voted in favor and only 3 voted against (it had already passed the House). Ellen Ferguson (Gannet News Service) explains the three to vote against the measure were Russ Feingold, Robert Byrd and Bernie Sanders. If you can handle simple math, you can add it up and discover only 93 senators voted and there are one hundred members of the Senate. Who didn't vote?

Joe Biden didn't vote. Barbara Boxer didn't vote. Hillary Clinton didn't vote. Chris Dodd didn't vote. Daniel Inouye didn't vote. John McCain didn't vote. Barack Obama didn't vote. All but Boxer and Inouye are running for president. Of the two not running for president, it's difficult to determine which is worse, Boxer who has self-presented as opposed to the illegal war or Inouye who has been an illegal war lover for far too long (and has been in the Senate for far too long -- we're not just talking term limits, we're talking the age issue).

It's a close call but we got with coward Inouye. The cowardly legislature refuses to show a backbone, whether it's his membership in the Gang of 14 in 2005 or his refusal to speak out in support of Ehren Watada or any other issue, we think the senator should have left the senate long before he turned 80. Watada?

That any Hawaiian Democratic politician wouldn't support Watada is a huge betrayal since they all benefitted from the work his father Bob Watada did.

Which really gets to an important issue: contributions.

If you're against the illegal war and you're contributing to a candidate who is not, why are you contributing? Because some website told you to and provided you with a link so they could be 'blog fathers' (the web, like many a religious figure, has no mother apparently)?

If you've donated to candidates before, take a moment to add up how much money you've given. If those candidates aren't fighting to end the illegal war, do you feel that was money wasted?

What if, instead of forking over cash to candidates, it went to organizations trying to end the illegal war?

Friday, in a profile on GOP presidential contender Ron Paul, NOW with David Branccacio noted that Paul had raised over four-million-dollars online in one day. [Note, Zephyr Teachout is featured in extra footage online -- which is good because Ava and C.I. were confused by several statements she made that didn't also include explanations -- such as her claim that the race itself didn't matter, it was the movement being created around Paul. To agree or disagree with such a statement, you really need to know what she means by the movement and why she feels it is so important.] Viewers were informed that many were making $100 donations. What if that type of energy that goes into funding candidates (we're not for Paul, but we will note he is against the illegal war) went into funding organizations working to end the illegal war?

Why are we so quick to fund personalities and not organizations?

Now it's true that any peace organization you can think of will probably provide some with a sense of disappointment (sometimes deserved, sometimes not) but what if that kind of energy went into funding efforts to end the illegal war as opposed to efforts to put people who won't even call for an end to the illegal war into office?

Iraq Veterans Against the War are staging an action in March:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

The event will run from March 13th through the 15th and take place in DC. IVAW has had tremendous growth in membership and chapters and done so with very little money.

What if people put the kind of money they give to politician's campaigns into groups like IVAW?

If groups working to end the illegal war (IVAW, Veterans for Peace, CODEPINK, World Can't Wait, A.N.S.W.E.R., United for Peace and Justice and others) were funded with donations the way politicians are, how far along do you think the peace movement would be today?

Paul's donations were based on his own personal appeal. But the young man (who has never even voted before and has never met Paul) who organized the donation drive did so around an event: Guy Fawkes Day (an event made famous to most young Americans today via the film V).

Today, he reportedly broke the previous record ($4.2 million) and brought in $4.3 million and the theme for today's fundraiser was the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.

How could the peace movement work for donations more effectively? That's a question to be pondered.

[For the three who wrote their angry e-mails regarding "Who's killing the peace movement?," we're not shying away from the topic due to your e-mails. You were outnumbered in the thousands and, for the first time ever, the feature prompting the most e-mails in one week wasn't Ava and C.I.'s TV commentaries.]

There are days that can be tied into fundraising -- such as the anniversary of the start of the illegal war -- very easily. What would a fully funded peace movement look like? That's the question to ask as the year ends and the illegal war continues.

TV: ABC's Cesspool

Watching ABC's 20/20 Friday, it hit us all over again why everyone we know working on network's news magazines -- including on 20/20 -- considers it the sewer of news magazines.
After the first story finished (before the half-hour mark), the show promised such 'hard-hitting' features as John Stossel explaining exactly how far you could drive a car on "E" (empty) and "travel myths." Honestly, we weren't up (down?) to it. We saw no value in wallowing in the cesspool that is 20/20 and, besides, worried what we might catch by doing so.

Last week was a strong one for ABC News, which only made the fact that they couldn't produce an hour of news in an alleged news magazine (or even a half-hour) all the more disappointing. The week started with Brian Ross, Maddy Sauer and Justin Rood reporting on 22-year-old Jamie Leigh Jones who went to Iraq to work but ended up getting gang-raped by employees for Halliburton/KBR. Following the rape, she was held in a 'pod' for 24 or so hours, denied food and water and threatened with punishment if she reported what had happened. She only got released when she called her father (a sympathetic KBR employee passed on a cell phone) and he called US House Rep Ted Poe (their representative) who then contacted the State Department. As she explained on 20/20, "I said, 'Dad, I've been raped. I don't know what to do. I'm in this container, and I'm not able to leave."

And what punishment did her attackers receive? That is the big question right now.

US Senator Hillary Clinton wrote the following last week to Secretary of State Condi Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Attorney General Michael Mukasey:

As I hope you are all aware, recent news accounts indicate that Ms. Jones, a Halliburton/KBR employee in Baghdad, alleges she was gang-raped by her fellow employees and then held under guard against her will in a shipping container in order to prevent her from reporting the horrific crime. She states that she was denied food and water during her detention and told that she would be fired if she left Iraq to seek medical attention. More than two years later, news reports state that no U.S. government agency or department has undertaken a proper investigation of the incident. These claims must be taken seriously and the U.S. government must act immediately to investigate Ms. Jones' claims. These allegations implicate all three of your departments. If one of your departments has already launched a private investigation, I urge you to disclose your findings without delay. If no investigation has been started, I urge you to decide the proper course for an inquiry into these claims and to commence your investigation with the utmost urgency.

[To read the PDF format letter, click here.]

Others in Congress reacted as well. This Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on the issue starting at 10:15 a.m. That was announced before 20/20 aired Friday night. They could break that story because they had another assault report to pair it with. Friday morning, they broke the news that they'd be airing Tracy Barker's story.

With her husband seated beside her, Barker explained how the events unfolded beginning with KBR employees waiting outside to evaluate her looks the day she arrived, the camp manager propositioned her repeatedly and Ali Mokhtare (who worked for -- and continues to work for the State Department) resulted to more than words. Barker explained when she went to look at his reportedly troubled air conditioning, "He had poured a glass of Jack Daniels and offered me a drink, and of course, I declined. He jumped up and grabbed me around the neck and tried to get my shirt off me."

Barker fought him off and reported what had taken place to her camp manager who immediately made sexual offers to her and instructed her not to talk to anyone about the assault by Mokhtare. In addition, she was forced to wear the outfit she had been wearing during the assault (khaki pants -- not shorts, a shirt and vest) "to see if I was any kind of temptation to the male species." As was noted on air, that demonstrated how out of touch those in charge were. We'd add, or how much they thought they could get away with.

The State Department 'investigated' and Mokhtare did admit to some things including that he had "made a mistake and it was stupid" -- it was criminal -- and yet he was not fired. He was not disciplined. He kept his security clearance and continues to work for the State Department. He also walks around at a leisurely pace, even while avoiding the ABC News' cameras and refusing to answer questions while speaking into his cell phone.

Barker's husband made it very clear that this was not over and that they will continue to seek justice as long as it takes.

We admired his spirit and wished 20/20 had shown a similar spirit. ABC News broke stories last week while most just rewrote government press releases. What aired showed a lot of time and effort.

Which made the nonsense topics that were to follow all the more disgusting. We asked a friend with 20/20 to explain exactly what they were going for with that lineup and were told "a mix." A mix of news stories might have worked. But "travel myths" and John Stossel driving around on "E" didn't strike us as news stories. The news magazine started out with a hard-hitting, investigative piece of journalism that any daily paper would be lucky to have and then 'rounded' that out with features that wouldn't qualify for those freebie lifestyle magazines on airplanes. What did the 'mix' really say because what it said to us was that 'all things are equal.' It said that sexual harassment and rape were equal weight to diversions and fluff. It said that they were all the same thing which meant that, in the end, none of them were really important.

That's why 20/20 is seen as the cesspool. Even on the rare occasions when it actually does offer news, it surrounds such a report with so much junk that it leaves little impression. It stands out for a moment, like something you might spot on your way into a flea market, but, as you wade through, you forget it as you're submerged in the mundane.

There was a ghost lingering over the first report, an unspoken name. Suzanne Swift. All Swift wanted to do was be a soldier. She went to Iraq to serve. Instead she was repeatedly assaulted and the victim of command rape. Her story includes the fact that, when she reported the abuse, she was sent to a 'training' to 'teach' her how not to 'invite' such assaults. It's a bit like Barker being ordered to 'test' the outfit she had on to determine whether or not it would 'prompt' sexual assaults.

Swift did the only sane thing when the military refused to protect her, she got the hell out. There's not a woman alive who would stay in a situation where she was repeatedly assaulted and her attempts at following the chain of command resulted in no improvement. (Well, some might stay with their weapons loaded to blow the assholes' heads off.) For that, she was arrested. Giving the stateside command the benefit of the doubt that they didn't know the full story might allow you to forgive the arrest. But what followed was a white-wash investigation (that still supported many of Swift's statements about the abuse) and a court-martial. Swift was punished and her attackers weren't.

The 20/20 segment offered that there was an attitude at KBR (and the State Department?) of "Boys will be boys." That appears to be the same mind set as when Swift's sent for 'training' in how not to 'invite' assaults. Or take Amanda Blume who had her fellow (male) soldiers show up at her barracks door screaming, "Why won't you date any of us, b**ch?" before they kicked down the door and began assaulting her. Her outcome? She was charged with assault for striking one of her attackers. She explained to Matthew D. LaPlanet (Salt Lake Tribune), "They told me they knew I had hit one of those guys and that was the only thing they could prove." The only thing they could prove or the only thing they wanted to prove? Certainly the door being kicked in could be verified . . . if they'd bothered to send anyone out to look into it -- but they did not send anyone out. The assaulter she hit? An investigation might wonder how he ended up in her barracks at night when he was "under orders to stay way" from her after he'd already been stalking her. Later, Larnelle Lewis assaulted her. This time she went with civilian justice and Lewis didn't contest the three counts of misdemeanor assault but even then he didn't get punished. Those are far from the only women being assaulted in the military.

Traci Hukill examined the issue (The Progressive, January 2007) and found:

Last year, the Pentagon received reports of 2,374 rapes or attempted rapes from all of its bases worldwide, about 40 percent more than the year before. But that's probably just a fraction of the real number. One reason the crime still goes unreported may lurk in the annual report: Last year, just seventy-nine servicemembers were court-martialed for sexual assault. Why bother reporting if nothing will happen to the perpetrator?

Hukill opens her report relating Kelly Dougherty's disgust with having to to encounter pornography while serving in Iraq and how she and other women serving were instructed not to visit the showers alone because, otherwise, they might be assaulted. (Dougherty is a co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War.) In the same issue of The Progressive, Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg offered Abbie Pickett's experience:

In addition to the usual marks of war -- bombings, death, and tedium -- Abbie says she also had to contend with corrupt leadership and rampant sexual harassment. She was introduced to the military's misogyny as a nineteen-year-old, when she says she was sexually assaulted by an officer on a two-week training. She never reported it.

But in Iraq Abbie did speak out -- and faced the consequences. Her officers punished her by sending her out on unnecessary and dangerous missions, she says. Eventually, her superiors were investigated and relieved of their command, she says.

Jane Hoppen tackled the issue of MST (Military Sexual Trauma) in "Women in the Military: Who's Got Your Back?" (Off Our Backs) and noted:

For women in the military, sexual trauma usually occurs in the very setting in which the victim works and lives -- a setting to which the victim must return. Depending on the circumstances, the woman might actually find herself still working with and taking orders from the man who raped her. Imagine the sense of helplessness and powerlessness, as well as the risk for more victimization. If the perpetrator is in the female soldier's chain-of command, she might even be dependent on him for basic necessities, such as medical or psychological care. The perpetrator might also have control over her career, deciding about evaluation and promotion. Many female soldiers who become victims of MST find themselves in a situation where they must either see the perpetrator every day or sacrifice their career to protect themselves from further trauma.

This isn't unrelated. Dougherty having to face pornography echoes what Barker told 20/20, "On my way into the office, there was pictures of prostitutes and animals having sex pasted in the hallway. Our office was just wallpapered with pornography. There was not one space of wall at all." In fact, though working for civilian contractors, there are many details of Barker and Jones' experiences that echo with those of many women serving in the US military in Iraq.

Ross, Sauer and Rood are to be congratulated on their report; however, with all the time wasted after that report, the question is why it wasn't expanded? Or why wasn't it paired up with a report about women in the military facing these similar assaults?

Though the news magazine had over forty minutes they could have used for news, they instead focused on "travel myths" and what happens when John Stossel is out of gas (a cheat -- we understand he's never out of gas). In doing so, they degraded the strong reporting of the first segment and also degraded the issues that report addressed. In a say-what-you-will note, at least many with 20/20 are aware of that. They don't seem overly concerned by it, but they are aware of it. Possibly, when you live in cesspool you get used to your own stink?

Resources. For female contractors and employees who suffer assault and harassment, Jones has started the Jamie Leigh Foundation. And among the organizations that assist survivors with MST is VETWOW.


We're dipping into the mailbag again. Participating are 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.

True MSM believer Milton e-mails to note that he is "sick of your attacks on Iowa. Iowa has strict controls on voting. If they didn't, the media wouldn't cover Iowa so much." Ty e-mailed Milton to find out (a) if he lived in Iowa or (b) if he'd ever been to Iowa. No and no. But he did write back to say he'd looked for "that New York Times article you always talk about and it doesn't exist."

C.I.: That column ran on A25 of the paper's January 7, 2004 edition. It is entitled "How to Be an Iowan for a Day" and is written by Dan Savage. From Savage's column: "As a citizen and, um, a respectable journalist, I was appalled when I learned that you didn't need a valid voter registration card or proof of residency -- any identification at all -- to take part in Iowa's caucuses. . . . With huge numbers of volunteers and true believers flooding into the state, the potential for mischief seemed huge." Savage participated -- non-Iowan Savage -- in the January 2000 Iowa caucus and got away with it. He only got punished when he wrote about it. I have no idea why you couldn't find it but the article ran in 2004 and we're not going to hunt down a link to spoonfeed you.

Brandy says she's enjoying Ava and C.I.'s news commentaries but longing for when they can return to entertainment.

Ava: Oh, do I hear you, Brandy, oh, do I hear you. We've got one entertainment show in syndication that's our spare. We noted we could review older shows that had long ago ceased production. We're saving that for when we just can't take writing about another alleged 'news' program. It's also true that we may be reviewing Medium in January because it was planned. We'd actually intended to review it last year before the summer repeats started. Jim twice asked us to do something else. We thought we'd cover it over the summer. Then we realized NBC wasn't planning on airing it. Then Patricia Arquette was nominated for Best Actress in this year's Emmys and NBC started airing the program on Saturday nights. We were set to review it and Jim again said something harder-hitting was needed. So we noted, in one of the reviews, that we'd be reviewing it when the season started in January. We hope the strike is over by then. If it's not, we're going to have to determine what to do because we both support that show and that was the one of the very early reviews we did here, possibly with Jim, Dona, Ty and Jess co-writing, so we've always wanted to offer just our take on it. If the strike is still ongoing, we'll be weighing our decision. That's the only one we'd have to decide on and that's because it's a show that needs support -- despite having an audience, it almost wasn't renewed this year -- and we'll be weighing that and other issues next month if the strike is still going on. I don't know what we'll decide.

Leo notes that Mike included a C.I. draft in Saturday's entry at The Common Ills and wants "a slow version of that to be sure I understand."

Mike: C.I., Ava and Kat generally end their week on the road in our area so they can see Rebecca's baby. So they stay at my house Friday night and leave to head home on Saturday morning. They're already up in the air before the last of us post on Saturday.

Betty: That's usually me but I posted Friday night last week to avoid anyone having to wait for me.

Cedric: Right. C.I. likes to include the "The following community sites have posted since Friday morning" and give us all links because that way everyone gets a link at least once a week. And everybody did post on Friday night except Wally and I.

Mike: So I was waiting on that and Wally called me.

Wally: We were hitting a brick wall and I told Mike it would be at least another hour. Cedric and I do our posts together.

Mike: So, on my end, what I do is I log into The Common Ills and C.I.'s usually got an entry in draft that's been worked on that morning. In addition, there are other drafts that C.I. tells me about and says, "I was tired when I did the entry. If you don't think it's got anything to offer, I did two other things and you can pull from them." So Saturday, there was just the statement about how Iraq wasn't in The New York Times that day. And I saw a draft and opened it up and it was a critique from Friday that C.I. didn't post. It was strong and I thought it would add to Saturday's entry. So I plugged that in via copy and paste while waiting on Wally and Cedric. They called and said, "We're about to go up." So I went ahead and posted the entry for C.I. Then Elaine comes in.

Elaine: Gina called me and asked me if I'd read the morning entry at The Common Ills. I hadn't. She asked if C.I. was tired and I said, "Always." I'm pulling it up and thinking it's a major typo that has to be fixed -- as opposed to one that can slide. I'm reading it while I'm on the phone with her and don't see a problem. I ask her what the problem is? She says that was in Friday's paper, what C.I.'s commenting on. So I log in to The Common Ills and find the draft Mike copied and pasted from before Friday's "Iraq snapshot." Mike explained to me that he pulled it from that. So all I did was pull that out of Saturday's entry and make it an entry for Friday. I added a note to Saturday's entry explaining what I'd done so no one who'd already read it looked for it and wondered, "Did I dream that?" My note may not have been clear. The section pulled is now up on Friday and the title is "Whispers and whisperers" and Saturday's entry, with my note, is "Rebellion in the military."

Charles e-mails to complain that we've been pushing KPFK's elections but have dropped mention of WBAI's.

Rebecca: That's because WBAI's election is on hold. I believe the way it was worded on WBAI last week or the week prior was "under court order." I listen with Ruth and that was the last we heard on it.

A visitor who writes "don't use my name" e-mailed to provide us with Jared Bell's website. Bell is a candidate running for the Green Party's nomination and we noted him in "Green Party" last week.

Jim: C.I. mentioned Bell in Wednesday's snapshot and, after I read it, I called Ava and asked, "How pissed was C.I.?" I could tell by reading it that C.I. was ticked off. And I figured it was because no website was being provided due to the fact that Bell, a candidate for the Green Party, doesn't even mention Iraq on his webpage. That ticked me off too. We won't be noting the website here unless he posts something on Iraq. If you've got nothing to say about Iraq, I believe you run for the Democratic Party nomination, not the Green Party.

Jess: I want it noted that in his last sentence Jim just swiped my joke and butchered it.

Jim: No, I improved it, it's funnier that way.

Rebecca: For goodness sake, note that they were both laughing or we'll get some e-mails asking why they're mad at each other.

Ty: Which lets me pull out a surprise topic. Ruth recently noted online that Jim needs to apologize to Jess. That led three people to e-mail here and ask what Jim had done to Jess.

Jess: I love Ruth for working that in. The Jim she's talking about is not participating in this edition and I have never spoken to that Jim. I think for those who follow this site closely or who follow Ruth closely, it was obvious what she was talking about.

Gillian writes that, in 1995, she was 12 and her aunt switched over to CDs. When her aunt made the switch, she gave Gillian her cassette collection and "I fell in love with Heart's Dog & Butterfly. She wants to thank Kat for "Kat's Korner: Ann Wilson sings and stands tall" "because I didn't have any idea that Ann had done a solo CD and would have missed something really special if it weren't for the review."

Kat: Thank you, Gillian. And I agree with you. I've been tossing around my top ten for the year since September. Making lists to prepare for my year end piece. I didn't think any late comer was going to come along and make the list. Now I'm not just trying to figure out who is getting dropped but how high up I'm going to put that CD because it really is something. The title's Hope & Glory and you really need to check it out.

Community member Lawrence wants to know how much of the stuff up here about Dona includes jokes and how much is real. "I mean, is she really tense during the writing?"

Dona: Yes. Yes, I am really tense. We joke about it -- or I think we joke about it -- but I am really tense. Rebecca compares me to Monica on Friends for my organization obsession. And that may be true. But a lot of times, I think my gripes are justified. To give an example from this writing session. Ava and C.I. do their TV commentary, it's already done before we did this piece. Now usually they go off and write it while we're working on other things. They did that this week. In addition, Jim also asked them to tackle the death of Ike Turner. Which they really didn't want to but did do. So they went off for that. Jim sold that in part with, "We'll be working on ___ and we'll have it finished by the time you get back so we'll knock out two features in the time it would take for one." Here's the reality: We didn't knock out a feature. We talked about it a little, we goofed off a lot and the whole time I kept reminding that we needed to get the thing started. We didn't. So stuff like that does make me tense.

Jim: But do you think we would have gotten it done if Ava and C.I. had been working on it with us?

Dona: Honestly yes. Because Ava would have given Jess a look and that would've got him to focus. Instead it was really just Ty, Betty, Elaine and myself saying we needed to get started. If Ava and C.I. had been present, that would have been two more people saying "focus" and Ava's inclusion would have meant Jess focused so we would have focused.

Ty: And just to explain, Dona doesn't want this edition to be one of those where we take a nap and then get up in a few hours and finish the edition.

Jess: Which I understand because it's not a quick thing. And you've got Jim pushing new ideas, not just polish what we've got, but new ideas. And the whole day's blown. Dona's right, by the way, I wasn't focusing.

Dona: Thank you for that, Jess. And let me note also that Rebecca wasn't participating in that because she was getting her child down for the night.

Reginald writes that he was "highly offended" by Cedric and Wally's "The Cokehead Candidate" and "THIS JUST IN! BAMBI WOULD FIT IN THE WHITE HOUSE!...". Reginald: "There's really nothing served by writing about that."

Cedric: Nothing served for who? For the record, I'm the one who came up with that topic and Wally and I debated it. Someone had been fired, from Hillary Clinton's campaign, for noting that Republicans would run with Barack Obama's previous drug use. It was in the news, it was a valid topic for our humor sites.

Wally: Barack Obama, and we make this point in our posts, can't say, "That's off limits!" Not when he's written about it in two books. I also think it's wrong to take the attitude that "Oh, they admitted it so now it's not an issue." That seems to be a way to try to give your candidate a teflon coating and I don't agree with it.

Betty: I loved the posts. Like Wally just pointed out, Barack's included it in his books. The man who was fired didn't "out" Obama as a drug user. Obama had already done that. It's equally true that this is something Republicans will run with. I saw some of the nonsense online where people said, "It's racism!" No, it's a confessed drug users having a past drug problem noted. He did it when he was an adult. He did it while he was in Harvard. I don't see a sympathy vote coming on this topic. He had huge breaks and he's bored so he's doing drugs. I don't see a lot of sympathy coming in for him. Nor should there be. He had a dream slot many never will have a chance at and he decided to do cocaine. I also think, and Rebecca and I were talking about this, that the cocaine is a serious issue.

Rebecca: Right because it's not pot. Not everyone in the country has done pot. Pot was used a lot during the '60s' and there's a huge number of people who have done it, but it's not universal. And cocaine is even less so. So the fact that he's done cocaine repeatedly and it is a 'hard' drug isn't going to play too well. The pot would be a question mark for some voters -- and remember, his whole campaign is built around the premise that he can cross party lines and appeal to non-Democrats -- but when you bring in cocaine, it's even more of an issue.

Elaine: And Republicans will run with this. In their 2004 convention, they wore bandaids with little purple hearts drawn on to mock John Kerry having been awarded while serving in Vietnam. After that, you have to be insane to not realize how the GOP will run with the cocaine issue. I also agree with Wally that this "I'll dump it on the people and then they can't ask me about it" tactic is nonsense. Regardless of whom it comes from.

Cedric: I'm going to repeat what I said last time: It's a humor site. If it doesn't make you laugh, don't visit it. We won't lose any sleep.

Ty: And Cedric's going to have the last reply for this mailbag.

"I love my drug buddy . . ."

It's educational watching the Democratic gas bags go into convulsions. You've got the Katrina vanden Heuvel faction who never met a lie they couldn't wrap their bodies around pushing Barack Obama as if he's running for class president and not president of the United States.


"He was president of the Harvard Law Review!" pants Patti Williams on an especially moist day.

Patti hoped to be known as a law professor and a thoughtful commentator -- all up in smoke when she made like a bimbo Larry dragged into The Regal Beagle.

She's far from the only one trashing themselves in public.

Most interesting may be watching the ones who spent the last seven years insisting Bill Clinton was an irreproachable saint. They ignored welfare 'reform,' they ignored Clinton's own contributions to the Iraq War, they ignored a lot. They repeated phrases like "The Big Dog" and at the end of their spit and polish jobs, the boys had left at least as much moisture in their y-fronts as Patti.

But Bill Clinton speaks a few truths about Bambi and suddenly the world collapses.

On the most recent Charlie Rose Show, the former president noted the obvious fact that Obama has no record. That's sent some of the left-posers online into a tizzy and, as Ava and C.I. point out, it's interesting that, for these assholes, qualifications are much more flexible for the office of president than they are for network news anchor. Yes, some of the Obama groupies are the same ones who attacked Katie Couric as unqualified.

If you think about it, you'll note that Hillary Clinton would be the first female president. The spin is that Barack Obama would be the first "Black" president. Bambi's not "Black," he's bi-racial. They are not the same thing. Years of lip service about diversity are revealed as hollow lies as various 'lefties' rush to pronounce Bambi "Black."

But you have to 'shape' and 'shade' the truth to build up Bambi.

Last week, the co-chair of Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire campaign announced he was leaving over a flap. The flap? As CNN notes:

Shaheen told a Washington Post reporter Wednesday that Republicans would exploit Obama's admission of past drug use should he win the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and might even suggest Obama once dealt drugs.
"The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight ... and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is his drug use," Shaheen said. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?' There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."

Bambi groupies rushed in to scream and holler that Shaheen had been out of line! It was 'dirty politics'! It was 'racism'! It was pure evil!

It was reality.

A sure sign of a weak candidate is when noting things in the public record gets labeled "dirty politics." Barack Obama outed himself, in two books, on his drug use. He made a joke of it on national TV to Jay Leno.

But for someone else to note the public record is "out of bounds!" You damn well better believe the right's not going to back down in the face of the 'left' web. They'll snicker and note that it's public record -- and they will be right.

Obama's campaign is not about exciting the base. He's built his entire campaign on leaning right and building himself as someone who can bring 'everyone' into the voting booths. If you think the average center or right-wing voter is going to pull the lever for Bambia without wondering about his cocaine use, you are living in a very sad mental state (and say hello to your neighbors Patti and Katrina -- they're the ones in those smashing straight jackets).

Led by Katrina vanden Heuvel, a non-stop campaign of spin has surrounded Bambi preventing reality from breaking through. (Why did she climb on board Bambi? One of her friends reply to that question was too laughable and we honestly hope not true. But vanden Heuvel is nothing if not politically immature.) On the latest edition of PBS' Washington Week, John Harwood (reporter for The Wall Street Journal and CNBC) explained that Bambi hasn't been tested by the press but, if he wins Iowa, that will change.

As Ava and C.I. long ago pointed out, Bambi shouldn't drop out, he's providing the only real laughs of the campaign. And, should he win Iowa, we look forward to many belly laughs as the truth so many have ignored gets shoved in their faces repeatedly.

On blogs last week, the idiots were attacking the Clinton campaign and offering that Bambi wasn't bringing up Vince Foster thereby demonstrating how STUPID Bambi's groupies are. Vince Foster's death was investigated. Hillary was not found to be involved with it. Lies that she was involved are right-wing smears not based in fact. Comparing that nonsense to Bambi's admitted drug use is a huge stretch that indicates how tough logic is for the Bambi crowd. Repeating unfounded rumors might be dirty politics. Noting the public record is not dirty politics.

Corporate huckster Oprah Winfrey took to the stage for Bambi and lied as only a War Hawk who allowed her television show to be used to spread lies in the leadup to the illegal war could. Oprah declared that there was nothing wrong with going for what you wanted and if she'd listened to people who told her to wait, where would she be?

Oprah's not all that bright or else she's deliberately distorting. Obama does lack experience, no question. But the issue of his timing is not "he should have waited" because he's not ready. The issue is he campaigned in 2004 promising to representing citizens of Illinois. He was sworn in January of 2005. He is now running for president. This isn't about "waiting" because Barack, unlike Oprah, wasn't in the world of commerce. He is a public servant who pledged he would serve his constituents. Now he's not just missing votes (and he's missing a lot of votes), he's also running for president before he's represented the state of Illinois in the Senate for three years. He pledged to represent them (and floated no rumors that he'd be running for president in his first Senate term) and he's not done that.

Oprah can confuse it all she wants, she can lie about his record on the war -- as Bruce Dixon noted on KPFK's Uprising Radio early this week, no one fact checks Oprah -- but that doesn't change reality.

And his groupies can hope and pray that no one ever brings up his drug past but the reality is he put it out there and did so in a calculated manner. His 'youth'? The illegal war he refuses to end kills many people far younger than he was in his alleged 'youth' each day. He was an adult. He's responsible for his actions. People will bring up the issue.

Best war song you may not have heard

Last Monday on WBAI's Out-FM, the song "I Hate The War" by The Ballet was featured. Ruth, Rebecca and Kat have already weighed in at their sites to register their strong love for this song. It really is an amazing song.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes

Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh

I'm sick of the news, it's the same every day
But I can't turn it off
So I'm trying to choose every word that I say
But it's never enough and I'm lost
So I go

Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh

What I'm trying to say is
It's time to get in the way
It's crazy that thing is still going on
I can't believe this thing is still going on
And it goes

Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war

Hopefully, reading the lyrics will convey part of the song to you. If you're able to listen, you really need to hear it. From the band's official site page: "Mattachine! is our first CD. We're currently on the third edition. The CDs are for sale exclusively at shows and through our site: click here to order a hard copy. Or here to download it from iTunes." On that page, they also offer "I Hate The War" as a free download.

frock 'n' roll evaluates the recording: "I Hate The War isn't a complex song, it's pretty much summed up by the title: our protagonist hates the war. Instead of delving deep into the ins and outs, the why-to and where-for and ladling out blame and criticism; it deals instead with the helplessness and the inability to do anything that the average Joe on the street feels. We're not naïve enough to believe that a pop song can change the world and The Ballet know this, all we can do is sit and watch the same news being reported day in, day out. We've made our point over and over again that war is not the answer, there is no point in repeating it again and all that is left for the anti-war front to say is 'Na na na na na na na na na, I hate the war'." Jeff Klingman writes, ""I Hate the War," the finest song on the album (which features members of Aislers Set, Baskervilles and Voxtrot), proves that the members of the Ballet have more on their minds than boys. Rather than lecture on the finer points of the current political situation, the band focuses on relatable feelings of inarticulate helplessness. "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na/ I hate the war" goes the infectious chorus. Instead of coming across as shallow, it sums things up nicely, hitting the inclusive note of a classic such as "Give Peace a Chance." Now that we've been stripped of the baby boomers' naive belief in the power of a pop song to legitimately change hearts, what else is there to say?" Three Imaginary Girls weigh in with: " For a simple song about war-hatin', this peppy tune with it's oh so slightly discordant strings will infect your brain, and have your activist posse marchin' to City Hall singing 'I hate the war, na na na na na na na na na!' Over and over and over again.... "

The Ballet is Greg, Craig, Marina and Michael.

Mike Conklin speaks with the band's front man Greg Goldberg for a lively interview in The L Magazine (sample, Conklin notes how "forthcoming" Goldberg's been "about the band members' sexuality" and poses two possible reasons for that, Goldberg responds, "Hey, I'm just trying to find us dates!"). And the interview Jeff conducted for Merry Swankster is also a strong read:

JK: How do you feel about straight bands like Franz Ferdinand feigning gay in their lyrics, for some sort of a "hip" factor?
GG: It's totally wrong and unethical. Just kidding -- it's fine as long as they're willing to suck a little cock from time to time. Also, if you're fat and have a beard, then you're a cub/bear in my book, and that makes you fair game.

So na, na, na, na, na, na, na, I hate the war.

Dope of the week

Last week this feature debuted and was extremely popular in the e-mails. There were a number of suggestions for this week's edition and, as we read over excerpts, we saw the points people were making; however, we also didn't feel anything rose to the level of "Dope of the week." Think of it as the Golden Raspberries for the faux left.

Then Ginger e-mailed late Saturday to note the faux left version of Bo Derek, The Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel. Ginger: "This is what the idiot Vanden Heuvel just posted at her blog. It's from 'No Taxes for War':"

The social democrat in me has always been uncomfortable with tax resistance, despite my admiration for the War Resisters League. As progressives, we want to enlarge the public sphere, and elevate the primacy of politics, engaged in collectively, as the means for solving social problems. Taxes are obviously a crucial element of meeting our common goals. In that respect, opting out of the collective decision making of the polity about how to spend the nation's money is problematic.

If you don't immediately laugh, you may not be aware, Ginger is, that vanden Heuvel's family turned themselves into money grubbers in their efforts to avoid paying taxes on the estate of her late grandfather. That is reality and Ginger noted it's reality that's vanished from Crapapedia. Ginger can't figure out why.

It disappeared because a coffee fetcher fetches coffee. The facts of Katrina vanden Heuvel's family's efforts to avoid paying estate taxes and the court battle that ensued were deleted by a Nation intern who loves, loves her some Katrina. If you're really interested, Ginger, e-mail us and we'll provide you with ____'s personal webpage which has everyone at The Nation who knows about it laughing. (What, you thought common sense was required to be an intern for The Nation?) It took two phone calls to C.I.'s friends at The Nation to determine who ___ was and why she was going around scrubbing Crapapedia entries on her boss. She's a suck-up. She's a suck-up and a mouse. They told C.I. that ___ did the deletion on 'work hours' and after "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," and "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis." went up. (___ removed the information on the court cases eight days after that feature posted.) Supposedly Katrina vanden Heuvel gave orders to all coffee fetchers to scrub her clean online.

Here's what the little vegan ___ removed:

Vanden Heuvel has been criticized for her commentary against an effort in the U.S. Senate to abolish the Federal Estate Tax. Opponents point to her own family background as contradiction of her pro-tax position on the matter. In his book Do As I Say (Not As I Do), Peter Schweizer notes that her grandfather was Jules Stein, founder of the mega-entertainment conglomerate MCA. Schweizer alleges that after Stein's passing Vanden Heuvel inherited numerous trust funds, mostly sheltered from the Federal Estate Tax, which her grandfather had established with the help of legendary tax attorney John Wright. Schweizer writes of one investment of $9 million that was ruled not to be tax exempt. When the IRS ruled the investment subject to a $2 million tax, Stein's family challenged the IRS and fought the case all the way to the Supreme Court, but lost.

So Katrina vanden Heuvel decided to write Saturday about tax resistance and wants to explain that her inner "social democrat" is troubled by the concept of tax resistance. Greed, apparently, is another issue.

We may be outing the intern next edition. We will be revisiting The Nation next week regardless.

Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature)

A piece of trash died last week and wasn't it cute to see the boys come out and try to defend one of their own?

Ike Turner was born scum and died scum. B-b-but, he was an artist! That's the cry from the Ike Defenders. In between birth and death, he robbed others of songwriting credit, tormented musicians, broke all union rules by levying 'fines' on backup singers that were only designed to enrich his own pockets, recorded a ton of crap and never 'discovered' anything he wasn't led to. That's 'artistic' Ike. They know they can't make a case for the person, so the boys come out swinging and insisting that, as a musician, Ike was really something.

They've had to inflate the record to make that claim.

Danny Schechter (News Dissector), whom we like, felt the need to offer this last week:

Ike Turner was the man who discovered Tina who was born in Nutbush Tennesee. He married her and together they had one of the most innovative R & B acts in the history of rock.

That's cute. It's not reality, but it's cute. First off, Ike and Tina, if they ever did marry, married long after he 'discovered' her. Tina Turner has always claimed they were married in Mexico, Ike stated they never got married and that he was married to another woman before he met Tina and remained married to her until two years before Tina escaped his slavery. Slavery? We'll get to that.

But let's deal with this nonsense that Ike 'discovered' Tina. That's a bit like Columbus 'discovering' a populated country, isn't it? Here's reality, Tina's sister (Alline) dated a member of The Kings of Rhythm (Ike's group). Ike let many women sing onstage at Club Manhattan in St. Louis. Tina wanted to sing onstage, Alline's boyfriend passed that onto Ike who ignored it. Many nights later, Alline's boyfriend held a microphone up to the table the two sisters were sitting at, held it up for Alline to sing, Alline didn't want to but Tina grabbed her chance and began singing the lyrics to the song Ike was playing onstage: "You Know I Love You." Tina was brought on stage and was a huge, huge hit with the club audience.

Nothing in those facts demonstrates that Ike "discovered" Tina. That's why Tina got into the band to begin with. The audience reaction to her made Ike suspect she might be a pathway to success. He wasn't convinced. So when "A Fool For Love" was brought to him (no, he didn't write the song, he appropriated writing credit as he would often do), he had her sing on the demo. But, here's the thing, even then he doubted what she could do. And how she got to sing on the demo was usually told by Ike (and Tina's own version was in agreement) as he kept losing his male singers (Tina was just one more singer who happened to be very popular with audiences), the studio time was booked already and, by default, he had to use her. (The singer who he planned to use but had just left Ike was Art Lassiter.) After the recording, the alleged 'discoverer' still didn't grasp what he had and -- as he, Tina and others have noted over the years (during their time together and after) -- he intended to recut the song with a male vocal. It was the owner of Sue Records (the only label interested in "A Fool In Love") who convinced Ike that his 'discovery' had nailed the vocal and no male vocalist was needed for another take.

Though it would be a little while later before Tina found out, this is where she becomes Tina. Like a slave owner, Ike thought he could give her whatever name he wanted and the name he wanted was "Tina." (A name Tina originally didn't care for.) The single came out and sailed up the charts and Tina was hospitalized with jaundice. The 'caring' Ike wanted her out of the hospital in spite of doctor's orders (she was also pregnant at the time), so Tina snuck out.

Here's the reality on Ike. He didn't have a lot of respect for women. If that shocked you, you are truly naive. He wanted a male singer. He invested in them. But they wouldn't take his crap. They would and did leave. Suddenly, Tina has announced herself to the world (he didn't discover her) and he's got a huge hit. Whether he married her or not, he immediately began controlling her and abusing her because he thought that was his right.

Now reading some of the boys last week, it appeared that the film What's Love Got To Do With It confused them. Or possibly it was Angela Bassett's fighting figure that confused them? Her deltoids are world class and could qualify her for a bodybuilding competition, no question. While she gave an amazing performance, it was too strong to capture Tina (offstage) in the days before she left Ike. The body type was wrong as well which is why it's so very jarring when Tina takes over the performance during the last minutes of the film's final scene. It's equally true that Ike was softened by the actor performing him who also had the benefit of being attractive.

Somehow, the film's timeline?, some people seem to have the idea that he beat her up real bad in a limo in Dallas in 1976 and Tina up and left. Wrong. He beat her repeatedly. He beat her through the sixties, he beat through the seventies until she left. And when she left, this 'kind' man threatened to kill her and did a little more than threaten.

That wasn't about 'love.' What's love got to do with it? Not a damn thing.

Tina was a meal ticket and long before Ike moved into his 'open' relationship ('open' for him only, of course), Tina was well aware of his many girlfriends, mistresses and one-night-stands. When she would try to leave, he would beat her. When she did leave, he would pull her off a bus and beat her. When the song didn't sail up the charts, he'd beat her. When he was having a bad day, he'd beat her. When he thought she was getting too much credit (she was the act), he'd beat her. He'd beat her for any reason whenever he damn well felt like it. It was a non-stop abusive relationship.

And, sad to say, many of the rock press knew about it when they were together and many of them sided with Ike. That was the attitude in the rock press. It was especially the attitude at Rolling Stone and, for those who doubt it, you can comb the archives and find that attitude displayed everywhere -- even in an article on Sonny & Cher's then-new TV show, where it was 'shared': "Many of my friends favor the belief that after work Sonny beats the sh*t out of her with a tire iron." (For those too lazy to do their own research, the pig 'sharing' that bit of 'amusement' was Chris Hodenfield.)

That was the Rolling Stone attitude. It didn't disappear. In 1981, editor Brant Mewborn was screaming loudly for the magazine to feature Tina (who just done two multiple night engagements of SRO business at the Ritz and been brought on Saturday Night Live by Rod Stewart to sing a duet of "Hot Legs") and the reaction was one of indifference, one of 'she walked out on Ike.' The abuse was well known by then. Didn't matter. That was the 'feel' and 'mood' at Rolling Stone: Tina walked out on the man who beat her, she didn't matter.

Rolling Stone was long aware of what actually went on in The Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Some of the truth leaked out in Ben Fong-Torres' hard hitting piece in the magazine's October 14, 1971 issue. Rolling Stone was made even more aware after the publication of the article when the police nabbed a man who had been hired by Ike to break the legs of Ben Fong-Torres and publisher Jann Wenner. The article noted his 'flirtations' with other women and his heavy coke use.

Tina was the one who got them to update their sound when their music was dying in the sixties. So the idea that "even Tina has to" feel anything is beyond belief.

She was enslaved. She wasn't allowed to live her life. She wasn't allowed to practice her religion. She wasn't allowed to be just an artist in the revue. She would try to bargain her way out of the relationship with that and Ike would just beat her.

He beat her because he was damn lucky she presented herself in his life. He beat her because he couldn't beat men and he couldn't make the male singers stay. He beat her because she was his ticket to big money and big fame. Even with all her talents provided him with, he still beat her and that was because he really couldn't take the fact that no one really considered it "Ike and Tina," it was just Tina. Which is why the Who wanted Tina for their film (Tommy) and not Ike. Which is why Phil Spector wanted Tina (and not Ike) for "River Deep Mountain High." By the end of the act, he couldn't even keep it together in the studio.

He beat her over and over for their entire relationship. He beat her with his fists, he beat her with wire hangers, he beat her with whatever was handy. An electrical cord could and would do. He threatened her with death (repeatedly) if she left him.

After her long climb back to the top (and to a height higher than she'd ever been before), Ike would sometimes begrudgingly admit that maybe he did hit her a few times, minimizing his behavior, justifying it. A lot like some of the men did last week as they sang his praises.

If Tina had died, she nearly did several times, at the hands of Ike, if he had killed her, would it have been different? Would murder shock them the way longterm abuse didn't?

Ike was a sleazy little ass -- to his own children -- the ones with Tina and the ones by other women as well. Ike was pure gutter.

Elijah Wald shared at CounterPunch:

Most modern pop fans probably wouldn't know Ike's name if he hadn't discovered, developed and showcased Tina, so his treatment of her is necessarily part of his story. But by the same token, the reason we care so much about that treatment is that Tina is a superstar -- that is, in a world where other abusive male stars treated women as groupies and playthings, Ike also had the vision to recognize and musically nurture one of rock's few true female icons.

No, Elijah, Ike Turned did not "discover" Tina. And comparing the serial physical abuse Tina endured for over sixteen years to a sex act ("groupies and playthings") reveals a lot of stupid. The choice of the word "treatment" as opposed to "abuse" ("his treatment of her") is also sadly revealing. (Wald does use abuse elsewhere. But we don't think abuse is "treatment." Even "mistreatment" would be an improvement over "treatment.") As for Wald's claim in the article that a White musician's death wouldn't result in the same kind of obituary attention to his violence, give us an example? We can provide one who would get the same treatment: Phil Spector.

And that would have been true if he'd died long before Lana Clarkson was murdered. He was another control freak and he was abusive to Ronnie Spector. Not on an Ike scale but few people in the world will reach that kind of scale while in the spotlight.

Jim asked us to write about this and showed an e-mail explaining why this topic needed to be addressed. A reader of two years had been on the AOL message boards and saw Ike's abuse minimized by guys with man-crushes on Ike who repeatedly down-played the physical abuse of Tina Turner, the beatings, the crimes. The reader said it brought back for her the denial she was met with when she brought charges against her then husband for abuse.

Boys, it's sad when your heroes have feet of clay, we understand. It must be even sadder when your hero turns out to be an abusive crook. But that is the reality of Ike Turner. And he didn't 'just beat Tina once,' he did so repeatedly. And the message that the reader copied and pasted into her e-mail, where a man was saying that all that happened, all that caused Tina to leave, was Ike was in a bad mood and just slapped her, is a nice little fantasy for those who need their daily dose of denial. But it's not reality.

In I, Tina, Tina describes that last beating:

The plane arrived at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, and we were walking out the gates and Ike was just staring at me -- one of these real evil looks, trying to work on my mind. There was a car and driver waiting there to take us to the Hilton, and as soon as we got in, Ike hit me again -- whap! Another one of those backhand licks. And then I started fighting back. He kept hitting me, but I didn't cry once. I was cursing him out: He was going, "F**k you," and all of that, and I'd keep talking right back to him. He was amazed! He was punching me and saying, 'You son of a b**ch, you never talked to me like this!" I said, "That's right -- but I am now!" And then pow, he'd hit me again. And then he reached down and got his shoe off his foot and pow, pow, pow! But I kept fighting him. I didn't care what he did, because I was flying -- I knew I was gone.
By the time we got to the Hilton, the left side of my face was swollen out past my ear and blood was everywhere -- running out of my mouth, splattered all over my suit. Ike used his usual story: said we'd had an accident. The people at the Hilton looked at me and I could tell they were wondering how I'd ever get onstage that night looking the way I did, all beat-up and battered, with my one eye swollen almost shut. I think Ike knew, too, that this was really the end.

Long before that, Tina had been beaten over and over and, like many women in physically abusive relationships, was a regular at her local hospital (Daniel Freeman Hospital, in Tina's case).

Bob Dylan is widely credited with saying trust the art, not the artist. While we see no 'art' produced by Ike Turner, we're more than willing to allow that others may differ in their taste and see him as a musical genius (we'll assume that they are overlooking the many songs he stole over the years and put his own name to). But we're not willing to allow that Tina, who announced herself at Club Manhattan, was 'discovered' by Ike. Nor are we willing to allow that Ike got a bum deal because his abuses, his crimes, were noted in his obits. He was an abuser who regularly beat Tina, made her live in fear (to the point that she once tried to take her own life just to be free of him -- a detail that got left out by the Ike Defenders) and really only controlled her because she was a woman. He thought it was his 'right' and when men defend him, they, intentionally or not, further that message. The reader who wrote saw her then-husband convicted of violent abuse (some of which he admitted to in court but tried to justify it with the 'pressure' he was under) and yet, even with that, nearly a decade later, she still encounters people who feel the 'need' to sing his praises to her and say they hope someday she can put her 'issues' behind her. Her 'issues.' Had she been assaulted by a stranger would the same 'caring' people stop to wonder when she and the criminal could be in the same room together? No.

Here's the thing, if Ike had beat a woman he wasn't involved with even once the way he regularly beat Tina, his ass would have been hauled off to jail and it's doubtful that people would be writing "Poor Ike" pieces today. But because it was his wife (or 'wife'), we're supposed to allow for something. What, we're not sure. But there's a lot of minimizing going on about the fact that he 'only' beat his wife. (And for the record, he also beat many of his mistresses. Ann Thomas is only one of the many women who've gone on record explaining how Ike also beat them.) As if it's somehow 'different' if the woman you physically attack is your wife. Almost as if they're saying, she probably asked for it.

The American Bar Association's Commission on Domestic Violence notes that 1.3 million women "are physically assaulted by an intimate partner" each year in the US. That's nothing to minimize. We heard from a reader about what the "Poor Ike" commentary made her feel like. The flip-side of the coin is how the "Poor Ike" commentary could be received by an abuser. Maybe he reads it and thinks, "Yeah, they get me. They understand what I'm going through." Maybe he thinks of it the next time he beats a woman?


For the record, men are the victims of domestic violence as well -- at the hands of women and at the hands of men. We're not addressing that because our focus for this piece is the way a man who regularly abused his partner is getting glossy treatment. Also for the record, we don't link to trash. We've noted our disappointment with Danny Schechter and Elijah Wald joining the chorus but we don't consider them trash. We do think they missed the point.

Added December 23rd from "Roundtable:"

C.I.: Last week's "Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature)" dealt with the wave of justifications for torture stemming from the death of serial torturer Ike Turner who beat Tina Turner and many other women and created, for the children in his orbit as well as the women, a constant sense of violence about to emerge. It was unhealthy, it was disgusting and it was criminal. It was torture.

Ava: Out of all the ones taking part in that wave, we noted only two writers because we felt the rest were trash. The two we exceptions were Danny Schechter and Elijah Wald. Five journalists wrote to complain and Elijah Wald also e-mailed.

C.I.: Ty read us points from Wald's e-mails and we replied via Ty. Elijah Wald's piece at CounterPunch originally appeard in The Los Angeles Times where it was meant to represent one take and rock critic Ann Powers was intended to represent another view. In addition, Wald is a musical historian. He's identified as a "musican" and a "journalist" at CounterPunch but really what he is a musical historian. He is going to be grappling with Ike Turner's death, Turner's place in history and other examples of torture in music history for some time.

Ava: Wald, as Ty told us over the phone, appeared to be attempting a genuine dialogue so we were more than happy to reply. Our time is very limited and we don't read the e-mails at this site unless Ty's on vacation. Jess, Dona, community members Martha, Eli, Shirley, C.I. and myself are attempting to deal with the huge number of e-mails coming into The Common Ills when we're in inboxes. Inboxes are not C.I. and my first priority, we're on the road every week speaking with various groups about Iraq and how to end the illegal war. Wald didn't ask that anything be noted but C.I. and I were talking about throughout last week and both agreed that, putting aside the fact that he was commissioned to write one point of view piece that was to compliment another writer's point of view piece, he is a historian and he's going to be evaluating and re-evaluating Ike Turner and others throughout his career so we thought that was very different from the multitude of men weighing in with the Ike wave.

C.I.: Wald and Danny Schechter made public statements and we weighed with our own take. We noted in the piece that they weren't trash. We try very hard not to link trash. Once, we linked to Rush Limbaugh in a review and only did that because we knew Ty, Dona and Jim would face a slew of e-mails of saying, "That's not true!" We, Ava and I, went back and forth over linking to that piece of trash but we don't hit the e-mails and we didn't want the right-wing pouring in with their "That's not true!" nonsense and taking up all of Ty, Dona and Jim's time. On the piece last week, there was a wave of nonsense and we could have linked to many. We went with those two and noted they weren't trash and noted how saddened we were they were part of the wave.

Ava: We regularly link to Danny Schechter here, we have used his book for a book discussion, we have regularly mentioned his film WMD and many other things. In addition, C.I. does know Danny Schechter and, at The Common Ills, Danny has been linked to and defended repeatedly. With Elijah Wald, we're not aware of any links or mentions at this site or The Common Ills prior so we wanted to note that he was a historian and that he will be addressing the topic repeatedly over the years. Especially as a historian, that is his role. We disagree with his evaluation strongly but it needs to be noted that he will have to address this topic repeatedly due to his role. Hopefully that will include a re-evaluation.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Ruth's Report" -- Another hard hitting report from Ruth. Here she's tackling the lack of Iraq War coverage as well as the push for nuclear energy from the 'left.'

"Potato, Onions and Carrots in the Kitchen" -- Trina supplies the developments on Dennis Kucinich, candidate for the Democratic presidnetial nomination.

"Psghetti with Pollitt" -- wanting to weigh in on Brian De Palma's Redacted took Betty off her outline. She says the next chapter will pick up where it should have last the week she had Betinna see Redacted. She notes that's why she sticks to her outline, to avoid "weeks of getting back to that same spot." We think she's too critical of her own writing and we loved this chapter.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "I Don't Heart Huckabee" -- Isaiah covering the non-likeable Mike Huckabee.

"The Ballet stands up when others get lost" -- our favorite post by Kat all week and it includes music in the discussion.

"Whispers and whisperers" -- C.I. unplugged! This was a draft of an entry C.I. did that wasn't intended to go up. Mike misunderstood and posted. It's a very strong entry.

"Law and Disorder" -- Mike discusses the latest offering from the attorneys on Law and Disorder.

"NOW, Isaiah, Sharon Smith, veterans" -- Elaine's not forgotten a 'non-partisan' that carried Bully Boy's water in 2004. As a result, they have the blood of many on their hands.

"It's a dog's life" & "THIS JUST IN! AMERICA'S DUMBEST HOME VIDEOS!" -- when Cedric & Wally grabbed this, they figured it was a way to do a few Bully Boy jokes and also didn't think it would be covered by many news outlets. The surprise was how many covered the topic in daily papers. Cedric: "We were making a joke. I have no idea how a professional reporter could have written about this seriously and not been ashamed of themselves."

"pelosi ruins the season" -- Rebecca explains that Scrooge is really Nancy Pelosi!

"Scott Horton, Chuck" -- Mike covers last week's edition of Third, Chuck, James Bond and more. Jim picked this as his favorite piece by Mike last week.

"Out-FM and Ballet's "The War Song"" -- Ruth explains how the song just grabbed her.

"And the war drags on . . ." -- C.I.'s toying with how to vary the Thursday "And the war drags on" entry. Next Thursday should show one change. But already it should be obvious that it'll be opening with more comment than the Sunday version does.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }