Sunday, July 20, 2008
-- Adolph Reed Jr.'s "Where Obamaism Seems to be Going" (Black Agenda Report) -- and that's Glen Greenwald and Nation publisher and editor Katty-van-van Heuvel.
Did we "win" by going to war in Korea? The result was a stalemate, leaving things as they were before with a dictatorship in South Korea and a dictatorship in North Korea. Still, more than 2 million people - mostly civilians -- died, the United States dropped napalm on children, and 50,000 American soldiers lost their lives.
Did we "win" in Vietnam? We were forced to withdraw, but only after 2 million Vietnamese died, again mostly civilians, again leaving children burned or armless or legless, and 58,000 American soldiers dead.
-- Howard Zinn, "Memo to Obama, McCain: No one wins in a war" (Boston Globe).
Another Sunday. Along with Dallas, the following helped with this edition:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
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,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ.
We thank everyone. So what do we got?
Truest statement of the week -- We could probably grab five truests from Adolph Reed Jr.'s column alone. We came up with eight different passages and this is the one that won the majority of votes. The entire column is a truest as far as we're concerned and one of the highlights in independent media (real or pretend) last week.
Truest statement of the week II -- Howard Zinn speaks, the country would be better off listening.
Editorial: Faux outrage drowns out actual news -- This delayed us somewhat. Isaiah had decided to not take the day off he was supposed to when Ava and C.I. passed on news. We waited for him to finish his comic -- which turned out to be three -- before writing this editorial because we wanted to include his comments (comics are commentary) and to weigh in as well.
TV: Gossip Girls and Barack's Bitches -- I don't know if we're just too depressed or what. But these editions are going so slow and we're so tired. Actually, the editions go fast because we're talking about everything else. C.I. brought one idea to the table for an article here and we were all on board with it. And we had nothing else. I asked Ava and C.I. to write their TV commentary (and asked them to go as long as possible) intending to really brainstorm with everyone else while Ava and C.I. wrote their commentary. Ava and C.I. did their job. They spent three hours on this. A record for them and one they do not plan to repeat. I read it outloud and we were all jazzed. It's their usual blend of insight, humor and hard hitting criticism.
But we still had nothing but the article C.I. had suggested. We finally broke for everyone to get some sleep and regrouped.
Extradition passed off as 'deportation' -- This is about Robin Long and we toyed with making war resisters our editorial. Rebecca was the one who suggested we do a story on Robin and on James Burmeister. Kat was the one who said, "Let's do one article for each of them." Thankfully, that gave the edition some traction.
Punishing the wounded whistle-blower -- This is the James Burmeister article. He was court-martialed Wednesday.
No, you're not safe -- C.I. brought this to the table. Mike was all for it immediately and started reminding us about when Ava and C.I. covered food safety back in 2006 for the gina & krista round-robin. With no other idea that interested us (even people pitching ideas), this was the only one we could agree to. We think it came out really strong.
Mailbag -- Dona said, "We need one more feature. Something short." Ty had been on me about a mailbag. This is the second to last piece we did.
Robin Long and James Burmeister coverage -- We rightly take people to task for their silence on war resisters last week. Elaine suggested we highlight some of the coverage. Wally pointed out that some coverage we could highlight in full.
Nader-Gonzalez goes for 15 states -- We wanted a Nader feature. We couldn't think of one. Credit to Betty who suggested -- after much discussion -- that we just post a press release. We'd still be debating it otherwise.
Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Rebecca, Betty, Ruth, Marcia, Cedric, Wally and Elaine wrote this and picked the highlights except where noted. This differes from their usual article in that Elaine has a big commentary in this. When I saw it, I begged her to let me break it off into its own piece. She said if that happened, she was pulling her comments. She also stated she didn't realize she had spoken at such length but she was speaking for Highlights ("and I prefer it be a surprise to those who read 'Highlights' instead of people being steered to my so-called commentary").
So that's what we have. Ava and C.I. say no more on the long commentaries. C.I.'s so tired that there's talk (it's 4:49 p.m. right now) that "And the war drags on" might go up on Monday. We're all tired. It was a long edition.
If you're late to the party, I would identify the current issues as (a) the heat which has everyone distracted; (b) Hillary and (c) war resisters. A explains itself. Hillary? I think there is a lot of depression there over the supension of her race. What we've done is focus on the Nader campaign (all except C.I. are on record as to who they will be voting for in the fall and it's Nader -- C.I. is on record stating no vote on Barack or McCain so most of us assume C.I.'s voting for Nader and Rebecca says if Elaine's voting for Ralph, C.I.'s voting for Nader). And that's great and it's needed. But Betty was talk about how she still is so upset about the way that nonsense went. So maybe next week or sometime soon we'll address that. (C) Wally is convinced (and Cedric agrees) that the piece of crap, abusive e-mail expressing ignorance has soured everyone. I think that's very likely. You'll remember we almost didn't do an edition that week. Kat told me (and I believe she blogged this at her site as well) that if C.I. ended up so mad that The Common Ills stopped (there was a chance of that), she'd be able to stop blogging and "have some fun again." Dona is at work on ways to make an edition fun (her own assigned task) and next week, we'll all be together physically so that should make it easier as well. Almost forgot, thank you to Isaiah for allowing us to use his comics here.
See you next week,
-- Jim, Dona, Jess, Ava and C.I.
Aileen Alfandary and Amy Goodman did their part to stir up the s**t on Monday both treating a magazine cover like earth shattering news (while ignoring a Barack Obama campaign event that had just featured sexism and Barack making a joke of it).
The New Yorker cover.
Did we even want to address it? We weren't planning on it. We think more than enough time was wasted. However, while getting ready for their TV commentary, Ava and C.I. came across something. Ms.' Feminist Wire noted, "The National Organization for Women (NOW) is encouraging its membership to e-mail letters to the New Yorker urging that the cover be removed" ("Feminists Express Outrage over New Yorker"). Here's NOW foaming at the mouth:
You don't even need to open the latest edition of the New Yorker to see racism in the media and the presidential race. All you need to do is look at the cover!
The July 21 issue of the New Yorker magazine features a caricature of Senator Barack and Michelle Obama in the Oval Office. Michelle is clad in guerrilla warfare garb, a machine gun over her shoulder. A portrait of Osama bin Laden is over the fireplace, and Barack (dressed like bin Laden) is giving Michelle a fist bump while a U.S. flag merrily burns in the fireplace. In this context, we're guessing the fist bump is the one Fox News described as a "terrorist fist jab."
New Yorker editor David Remnick says it is satire, so that makes it okay?
Sorry, we're not buying it. This cover will appear on newsstands across the country, possibly the world, and will likely do more to fuel racist stereotypes than to skewer them.
Take action NOW by sending a message to David Remnick.
Your message to the New Yorker? Tell them, "If your cover cartoon about the Obamas is a satire, we aren't laughing. Stop peddling racism and religious intolerance in your magazine!"
No, NOW, it's not racism. (Rebecca says, "Girls, calm the f**k down before you give the rest of us feminists a bad name.") But where in that is the call for the magazine to be removed as Feminist Wire stated? It's in the message they ask you to send.
In the words of Carly Simon, "Get a grip, girl." That's what Carly sings in "Born to Break My Heart" (Letters Never Sent) and certainly last week was one heartbreaking moment after another as psychos and cultists emerged to scream "racism!" over a cartoon that wasn't and use that to suck all the time that could have gone to actual news.
Ava and C.I.: "Feminist Wire and NOW have shamed themselves by refusing to call out not only Bernie Mac' sexist 'comedy' routine but Barack's turning it into a joke with his 'just kidding' remark after pretending to call Mac out. Bitches*, your push-up bras must be too tight. You're betraying feminism and we're not going to stand for it. Monday morning the talk should not have been about a cartoon on the cover of The New Yorker that sent up the Obama. It should have been about Barack Obama's event. This is the man who called out rappers for their use of 'ho' but didn't call it out at his own campaign event the Friday before. The man who called out Don Imus for the same. He seems to think there's a different standard when it comes to his own official campaign events that he's present for and leave it to the useless dumb asses passing themselves off as feminists to provide him with cover. Barack Obama, as The New York Times reported, will not address sexism. He thinks he's addressed it in his talk of 'injustice' and he farms the topic out to a dithering fool from Florida who is idiot enough to run interference for him. Repeating for the dumb bitches who can't grasp reality: When a presidential candidate has an event and presents a comedian who does a routine about what whores women are and then the candidate pretends to call it out before making his own 'joke' of the whole thing, real feminists stand up and call it out. They do not provide cover for him, they do not provide silence. You're betraying feminism and the Feminist Wire better get its act together. You have abused your tax status and deserve to lose it. We're not calling for a boycott of Ms. but, when asked if money should be donated to Ms. or the Feminist Majority Foundation or NOW, we'll say no and explain why."
[*"Bitches" used here intentionally and referring directly to the e-mail circutlated by Ms. staffers which included such comments added by them about a forwarded article on Hillary Clinton -- such as: "Screw the bitch."]
It's the same silence that Ms., the Feminist Wire, NOW, and all of Panhandle Media except for The Progressive maintained when Barack used homophobia as a campaign strategy.
You're desire to betray women and run interference for Barack Obama makes you useless. As Ava and C.I. note this week, you never could take to the wire to warn women about Barack's use of right-wing talking points to attack abortion rights. Shame on you.
And shame on KPFA which decided to do a segment exploring whether the cover was racist and anti-Arab Wednesday. The same KPFA that, along with the rest of Pacifica, was mourning the death of boundary pushing George Carlin not all that long ago and bragging about how WBAI was the radio station that broadcast Carlin's infamous monologue.
So KPFA decided the way to go was to let Aimee Allison moderate a discussion, Allison who revealed on air that she found the cartoon offensive. Good to know there was no concern about objectivity.
There was no concern about representation either. To discuss whether the cartoon was racist and anti-Arab, they brought on two African-American males.
Arab-Americans, as usual on KPFA, would be left in the cold.
The cartoon was not news. The only 'news' value was it let people know that even though Pauline Kael died, The New Yorker didn't die with her. (Who knew?)
NOW's idiotic call for censorship of the cover is what pissed Ava and C.I. off and they immediately called Isaiah (The Common Ills community cartoonist) to get his input. Furious doesn't begin to describe how he was. He was supposed to take this Sunday off. Instead, he drew three cartoons commenting on the faux outrage.
First up, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Take Two"
Next up, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Take Three"
And finally, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The approved cover"
Cedric: "I'm getting pretty sick of this notion that bi-racial Barack can call himself Black but anytime someone else notes he's Black, it's racism. As an African-American man, I don't find my race something to be ashamed of and don't scream 'racism' if someone notes I'm Black."
It was faux outrage, stirred up by a lot of s**t stirrers and White Mommas who don't know the first thing about racism, say Ty, Betty and Marcia. They further point out that this nonsense of screaming 'racism' falsely every five seconds makes it that much harder when actual racism needs to be combatted.
Has racism, like art, become something in the eye of the beholder? Or is that all of us writing this editorial can grasp that if you self-present as Black and the media accepts that narrative, they're going to portray you as such.
Should Barack be elected president (it doesn't appear likely at this point) is the whole nation supposed to ignore that he identifies himself as Black?
Is that how we start that supposedly sought after conversation on race?
The reality is that a real conversation on race in the US goes well beyond Black and White but that a bunch of left overs from the 60s can't stop fighting the same tired battles. (In that regard, Barack was correct.) A cartoon that portrays Barack and Michelle -- at worst -- as terrorists is not racism nor is it sexism. And nothing in the comic can be pointed out that would be seen as such by any rational person who wasn't a partisan.
It's past time for America to grow the hell up and that includes all the people treating a person's race as something shameful. That's the people who are admitted racists as well as the 'left' helpers who think race -- like illegitimacy? -- must never be mentioned.
The Civil Rights struggle was not won (Barack's wrong on that) and there's much work to be done. Wasting everyone's time over a cartoon and mock outrage (or idiotic outrage for those stupid enough to be offended by a cartoon that sent up Barack and Michelle in non-racist and non-sexist terms) isn't accomplishing a damn thing.
It did, however, prevent coverage of real stories. Coverage of US war resisters Robin Long and James Burmeister. Coverage of Barack's campaign event which goes to a now established pattern of sexism. When the Feminist Wire decides to stop schilling for Barack, maybe they can get around to addressing that? Because calling women "hos" at a campaign event? Not allowed. Making jokes about it after the booing? Not allowed. Being silent on what happened? Making yourself useless.
"Gossip, gossip!" Kristen Bell all but cries at regular intervals throughout each broadcast. It can get very annoying. Like when it's a scene that you actually give a damn about -- meaning a scene between Dan and Serena or between Serena and Blair. But you can also appreciate those narrations that generally serve as bumper noise leading into the commercials when you're faced with yet another scene featuring Rufus (Matthew Settle), Nate (Chace Crawford) or Eleanor(Margaret Colin). Everything seems to stop when those three time-suckers appear.
Gossip Girl is the name of the CW show and, when it can ditch the trio of losers, it's a fast-paced show where, typical of all the bodywash operettas, the actresses do all the heavy lifting. Topping the list of power lifters are Blake Lively (Serena) and Leighton Meester (Blair). On a good bodywash operetta, you're lucky to get one actress who commands your attention from the start (often, other actresses emerge) but with this show, from the start, Meester and Lively have had it all. Everything but the writing, you might say since the two started out at odds -- former best friends -- and quickly had a sappy scene where all was forgiven and forgotten. It was totally unbelievable if you thought about it but both women managed to hold their heads up and walk away after the "cut" with no spots of shame littering their wardrobe. Season two may become where Blair and Serena turn on each other and, though it may not say anything about empowerment, with two strong actresses like Lively and Meester, you've got to offer more between them than air kisses.
Kelly Rutherford plays Serena's mother and brings more to the part than most may realize unless they really notice how hard she has to work as Lily to provide some semblance of connection with the non-actor Matthew Settle's Rufus. And if you think really hard, you might grasp that this show, geared to teens, has a very small male hottie factor.
Penn Badgley has a deviated septum and that may be the first thing you notice but the second will be that he does have a magnetism that elevates him to hotness. It may also confuse some into thinking he's acting in the role of Dan when he's so bad that he appears to have studied at The James Van Der Beek Schools For Ten Second Thespians. Somewhere deep inside, an actor may be waiting to emerge. If so, Badgley's charisma should buy him the time needed to dig deep.
Chace Crawford can't act and he has no magnetism. While Badgley seems to be showing you what he thinks Dan might feel (as opposed to immersing into Dan), Crawford's got no handle on a character and appears to think memorizing his lines and picking an emotion (one) for various scenes is all the work required. Should Bagdley develop as an actor (and we think he will), Crawford can watch from the sidelines, years from now, and grasp that he should have studied his craft while he still had a chance at a career.
Ed Westwick is the only actor among the mix. He zestfully plays the wicked Chuck and is always entertaining. He's also always fey -- it's like watching Ryan Philippe in Cruel Intentions (and that's not a compliment). When last fall's big talk was about the upcoming gay outing, many assumed it would be Chuck. It would have given Westwick something to do. Instead, he serves his time as eye candy (tasty eye candy), grabbing the occasional good moment the writers gift Chuck with and nailing it.
Gossip Girl knows it's fluff and indicates such in its title. We'll come back to it, but what's the excuse for the rest of them?
If you've missed it, Panhandle Media isn't news. It's gossip.
Nothing but gossip and damned if they didn't pull out all stops last week to demonstrate that.
As always, the cesspool trickles out from Democracy Now! whose host Amy Goodman lives to play-act Last Journalist Standing and warn of the evils of media consolidation. Goody can't shut up about the topic. Pages 302 to 309 of her first 'book' (written with her brother David) offers the sort of rudimentary understanding of the issue she possesses and concludes:
When people get information, they are empowered. We have to ensure that the airwaves are open for more of that. Our motto at Democracy No! is to break the sound barrier. We call ourselves the exceptions to the rulers. We believe all media should be.
She certainly considers herself one of the exception to the rules.
And she's far from alone in that but, having schilled herself as Last Journalist Standing and Queen Of All Indymedia, she really leaves a mark. We're told club soda might take it out.
Last week, US war resisters were in the news. Robin Long and James Burmeister specifically. But you don't get 'news' from Panhandle Media which explains how they could ignore the two war resisters. On Monday, a hearing was held in Canada to determine whether or not Robin Long would be deported. The lead-up to that hearing brought attention to the subject of war resisters with even The New York Times and The Los Angeles Time offering copy or editorials. Where was Goody?
The hearing took place after Democracy Now! taped Monday (they tape from eight to nine a.m. EST), one hour before KPFA, WBAI and KPFK carry the program. (In the cases of KPFA and KPFK, one hour before the program's carried for the first time that day.) Goody offered no segment on war resisters. Despite the fact that The New York Times -- her bible -- had done a lengthy feature article the day before. And she offered nothing on the upcoming hearing in that day's headlines -- despite offering 17 headlines. Long would lose the hearing and be extradited to the United States on Tuesday. He would become the first war resister of the Iraq War to be kicked out of Canada by the country's government. It was news. Unless you wasted time 'consuming' Democracy Now! Tuesday. Goody would offer 13 headlines and somehow manage to miss the news on Long. She would then turn the rest of the hour long program over to Naomi Klein whom she'd ask about presidential elections (we'll come back to that crap topic), fuel costs, offshore drilling, Iraq and, pretty much everything you could think of except, "Are you wearing clean underwear?" But, strangely, she'd never ask Naomi Klein her thoughts on the court's decision to deport war resister Robin Long.
If you don't get how screwed up that was, you don't know much about Klein. Klein's a Canadian citizen. So, right there, you'd think Goody was rush to ask her thoughts on the subject. Klein's also an American citizen and the reasons for that go to exactly why Goody should have asked.
Klein's father is a US war resister who went to Canada during Vietnam.
Judge Anne Mctavish decides to kick Robin Long out and that's not a question to ask Naomi Klein about? In what world? Forget Klein's own support for today's US war resisters in Canada, forget her opposition to the illegal war, just the fact that her own father went to Canada as a US war resister -- the very fact that gives her dual citizenship today -- requires that she be asked about the decision.
On Wednesday, Amy Goodman could finally note Robin Long. In headlines. In the smallest amount of words she devoted to any headline that day. And she saved him for last. The first war resister kicked out of Canada since the start of the illegal war and other 'news' was more important. Such as? Well, quote, "A new Washington Post poll shows Obama with an eight-point lead over McCain nationwide." It really called for a "gossip, gossip" voice over from Kristen Bell to end the segment.
We didn't get the voice over, but we did get gossip. And not only did she bury the news of Robin Long, not only did she reduce it as much as possible, she couldn't even get it right. "He's expected to be returned to his unit at Fort Knox, Kentucky."
Robin Long's unit was at Fort Carson, Colorado -- which is where he's headed (and may be now).
But that's Goody for you, tossing out scraps and they're undercooked and burned simultaneously. That was Wednesday and US war resister James Burmeister was also in the news last week. His court-martial took place on Wednesday. You might think, if nothing else, Trashy Amy could have added to her tiny item on Robin Long, "And at Fort Knox today, James Burmeister is scheduled to be court-martialed." But she didn't. And she gave no segment to Burmeister on her show Wednesday. With her sorry-ass headline on Long, she was now done with him for the week, but Burmeister never even got that.
Burmeister was court-martialed Wednesday. To back up for those who think Amy Goodman provides them 'news,' Burmeister went public, was the first to go public, about the US kill teams in Iraq who left out US property with the hopes that Iraqis would touch it and they could then be shot dead for touching US government property. It was a big story. It was news. So naturally, Amy Goodman has never found time to say the name "James Burmeister" on her show. Burmeister first told his story to Canada's CBC. In the United States, Mark Larabee's "Soldiers still go over the hill even in an all-volunteer Army" (The Oregonian) would break the news on July 16, 2007.
Exactly one year later, on July 16, 2008, he was court-martialed. In between, he went to Canada and publicly decried the illegal war. (NOW on PBS would speak to him in September of 2007.) He would return to the US and turn himself in March 4, 2008. He would wait and wait to find out whether the military intended to court-martial him. And in all that time, Amy Goodman would never mention his name, let alone tell his story.
Kind of hard to do that and preach the 'evils' of Big Media (aka Real Media) but Goody and her Pravda on the Hudson crew considers themselves, in her own words, "the exceptions".
Which no doubt explains why Chris Kenning's "Soldier pleads guilty to leaving unit in Iraq: Left Iraq to protest tactic, fled to Canada" (Courier-Journal) could report Thursday: "Yesterday, four months after turning himself in, Burmeister pleaded guilty to being AWOL at a court-martial at Fort Knox where a military judge sentenced him to six months in jail, a loss of pay, reduction to private and a bad-conduct discharge that will deny him Army benefits." Which no doubt explains why, despite offering 12 'news' headlines, Goody couldn't make time to note TBI and PTSD suffering Iraq War veteran Burmeister. What did she have time for?
An entire segment (not a headline) on a Broadway musical that's closing. (We're reminded of Daniel Okrent's criticism of The New York Times' efforts to treat Broadway like front page news.) It's 'news' because Spike Lee's going to direct it. Which, no doubt, means more sexist stereotypes of women are coming to the big screen in yet another Lee film that ends before the credits roll -- translation, the film will end about ten minutes before the credits roll -- when the audience walks out. In a year or so, you can purchase a ticket to it at your local multi-plex and that's 'news you can use,' in Goody's book. She also provided another 'hard-hitting segment' on that broadcast, the big news . . . of birthdays. "Nelson Mandela Turns 90." Apparently, with Willard Scott having retired from the Today show, Goody feels it's her job to note the birthdays of the elderly. Mandela's been honest news before but, no, the fact that he turned 90 is not news. It was all a bit like the inflated drama on Gossip Girl where someone may be expelled for a pool party -- lot of attention to a minor detail that left viewers wondering who thought this was a story?
Birthdays and Broadway musicals, what a great day for Democracy Now! and democracy. Finger-point again at big media, Goody, everyone's finding it very amusing.
Friday rolled around and Goody again avoided the words "James Burmeister." She did find time for 11 'news' headlines. Barack's leaving on a trip! "Leaves today"! And, wouldn't you know, Nelson Mandela "celebrates 90th birthday." That was actually the longest headline and, apparently, included to make sure that no one get the wrong impression from yesterday's segment on Mandela turning 90: He turned 90 and he partied down. Thanks for clearing that up, Amy Goodman.
If you made it through the crap-fest, you could really appreciate what Bell does on Gossip Girl as narrator, ending those saggy segments a lot sooner. And, like us, you might be wishing Panhandle Media would hire Bell to help trim their own considerable fluff.
Politics. Presidential politics. We said we'd get to it. Here it is.
As we noted last Sunday, the Green Party USA held their political convention (in Chicago) and nominated Cynthia McKinney to be their candidate for president. The convention started the Friday before. For any wondering, the four-day convention finally got a 'shout-out' on Monday's Democracy Now! As a headline. Not a segment. A political party of the left holds a national convention, has many speakers -- many of whom are running for offices -- and it's reduced to a headline.
McKinney and the Green Party will not be mentioned the rest of the week. (We won't even find out if McKinney "celebrates" her nomination a day later.)
This is where we bring in other outlets. Aileen Alfandary reads other people's news on KPFA. During The Morning Show, Monday through Friday, she does that four times. The Nation magazine kids itself that it's offered "Unconventional wisdom Since 1865." The Progressive magazine boast of "Peace and social justice since 1909." We'll use those three, Goody and more during this but feel free to pick your own "independent" outlet. Maybe it's a radio program, a TV ('Free Speech' TV) or another print magazine.
What did they offer? Fluff.
Gossip Girl doesn't pretend to be anything else but this other group, which a CW exec dubs "Barack's Bitches"? They kid themselves (and you) that they're offering you news and information. It's a lie, like the lie of broadcast and cable stations which claim they offer 24-hour programming but farm out three to six hours each 24-hour cycle to infomericals.
Barack's Bitches. Chief among them, Aileen Alfandary. There was no Barack news last Monday. But there was gossip. "News" reader Aileen made like Miss Rona in her four 'news' segments offering up The New Yorker cover endlessly, so much so that her "news" break gave over 12 seconds more to a cartoon illustration of Barack than to Cynthia McKinney winning the Green Party presidential nomination.
McKinney would not be mentioned the rest of the week in Alfandary's "news" breaks. Nor would Amy Goodman mention her after offering Monday's 'headlines.' The Nation would offer one blog post/column (what do they publish, seven blog posts a day?) and leave it at that while The Progressive would never even note that a political party convention was held and a presidential nominee selected.
All the above outlets would ignore Ralph Nader all week as well.
Naomi Klein would supply Ralph a shout-out on Democracy Now! when she noted, "And, I think, you know, this is part of the problem of the this two-party system. And, you know, I saw Ralph Nader recently, and he said, 'You know, progressives and liberals don't know how to play poker. There has to be somewhere to go.' And, you know, I think that's part of it." That would be Democracy Now!'s entire Nader coverage last week and had Klein chosen to offer a different recollection, he wouldn't have even received that.
"Independent" media. That is what they claim they are. But they're nothing but gossip with marketing thrown in. They're selling you on the two-party system. That's why they note Barack and John McCain over and over and ignore McKinney and Nader.
Nader made news last week with his fundraising and his ballot access. He also called upon Barack and McCain to join him in supporting The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof's call for a Truth Commission. All three of those things are news.
As Goody and others (mis)explain the Fairness Doctrine, it provided equal time. And they maintain we need it today. While we agree it is needed (and disagree that it actually provided equal time), we find it very strange that they choose to gas bag over the presidential elections non-stop (while ignoring real news like Robin Long and James Burmeister) and don't provide that "equal time" they say is needed -- they don't provide it in their own coverage. To consume Panhandle Media is to believe that only two people are running for president.
Laughably, neither of the two they emphasize has yet to secure their party's nomination (that would happen at the DNC and GOP conventions next month). There are three presidential candidates currently. Not 'presumptive' candidates. They are Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader. And they are blocked out of all coverage from so-called 'independent' media.
Three strange things happened last week on The Morning Show. Thursday's broadcast was supposed to start with a segment on James Burmeister's court-martial. The segment was mentioned on air and promoted online. (In fact, the archive broadcast for that day's program still maintains the show started off with it.) But listeners never got that. Explain that to us. Explain how actual news got canned after being promoted?
The second strange thing involved Davey D and Rosa Clemente so it's not a suprise that it was 'strange.' Davey D is the 'journalist' that always needs a fact checker. Lamenting about War Hawk Samantha Power going down during the primaries, Davey D couldn't even get her name correct, no matter how many times he mentioned it. Rosa Clemente is the woman whom Latinos are, at best, estranged from. That has to do with what Alfandary billed as 'the Puerto Rican' Clemente making insulting remarks about Latinos and Hispanics while insisting that she was "Black." (Indigenous people apparently side-stepped Clemente's DNA.)
The Morning Show aired a taped interview with Clemente after she spoke at the Green Party. It was the usual shakey voice Clemente. Our Hip-Hop sista by way of Cornell University (the Big Red is the bomb?). The so-called Hip-Hop Nation (which replaced earlier 'political' movements like Beatle-mania and the Bobby Soxers so mad for Frankie) resides mainly in NYC and that's really all that Clemente is familiar with. So when she offers some cracked theory, we generally just roll our eyes.
But Clemente -- who denies Latino roots and does so in such a way that she has PISSED OFF a good portion of Latinos -- felt the need to speak for Latinos. You can't have it both ways. You cannot deny that part of yourself, ridicule what it means for so many, and then try to speak for Latinos. Clemente was supposed to speaking about what the Green Party vice presidential nomination meant to her and what she had to offer. She decided to compare and contrast herself with the other nominees. So naturally she had to drag Senator Hillary Clinton through the mud.
No, it was not natural and just one more sign of how out of touch Clemente is with anyone outside of NYC's Pravda on the Hudson. (Go Big Red!) Clinton suspended her campaign in June. Speaking in July, Clemente had to smear Clinton and assert that Latinos didn't like Hillary.
Because she was being interviewed by Davey D (who so often makes up his own facts), there was no question of, "What do you base that on?"
Clemente told her little lie. Davey D found it cute. And days later KPFA decided it was worth broadcasting on The Morning Show. Puerto Rico, the territory Clemente disowns, voted overwhelmingly for Hillary, as did Latinos in Florida, in Texas and in California. The Black-Brown divide is largely exaggerated but it is people like Clemente -- with her Evita-like refrain of "Don't call me a Latina! The truth is I only claim Black! All through my wild days! My mad existence! I give you insults! That is my promise!" -- who make sure that it does exist.
Having decided that she's Black, Clemente has no claim on the Latino population and we would suggest she butt the hell out of the Latino community which did not elect her to any office. (The predominately White and Anglo Green Party did elect her to the v.p. slot.) We would further advise her to stop lying about Latinos. That interview outraged many in the Bay Area and outside of it. Lastly, we would advise KPFA that you don't have ANY credibility when you let old friend and partner Davey D 'interview' Clemente. But if credibility was a concern at KPFA, Davey D would have been sent packing long, long ago instead of commanding a one hour slot of prime radio time each Monday through Friday.
That smear was really amazing because it only drove home that, outside of the guests David Bacon bring on for his Morning Show Tuesday segments, Latino voices are NOT represented on KPFA. They get a ghetto slot on the schedule and that's it (Monday nights at 7:00 p.m.). So no one needs to hear Black Clemente speaking for Latinos. No one wants to hear it, no one needs to hear it. Latinos are far from the only huge population segment in the Bay Area ghettoized by KPFA (and dependent upon the White and African-American program hosts to throw them crumbs). Asian-Americans (Aisan, Pacifica Islanders) get their ghetto slot at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays while "MidEast" (a huge cross-section) get their ghetto slot at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. In terms of non-musical programming, that's all they get. Those three categories make up a huge number of people in the Bay Area but KPFA's more interested in Black and White, in case you missed it. (Native Americans are ghettoized at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesdays.)
On rare occasions, they can be guests on the White and Black dominated programs. And are supposed to be grateful for the crumbs tossed. It's especially appalling with regard to Asian-Americans because that's not a newly emerging segment. Their huge population segment in the Bay Area predates the creation of KPFA.
If you're aware or Latino, you got how insulting it was that Clemente was allowed to (mis)speak for the Latino community on Tuesday, on a program that rarely finds a Latino guest worthy. (Again, Bacon -- a guest -- brings in his own guests for the Tuesday segments and we're not going to credit The Morning Show with that. We will give credit and thanks to Bacon.)
But maybe it took Wednesday morning to really drive home how 'free speech' isn't free for all and doesn't include all. Aimee Allison hosted a segment on the non-news of The New Yorker cover. The cover, not an article. The same cover Aileen Alfandary had noted over and over in 'news' breaks on Monday's show. 'Don't judge a book by it's cover' flew out the window as they decided to do just that. Allison confessed on air that she found the cover offensive when she saw it -- good to know we had an independent observer moderating the discussion. The discussion was supposed to address whether the cartoon was insulting to Arabs, Arab-Americans or African-Americans.
To address that, they brought on two African-Americans. If you already see the problem, you're a hell of a lot smarter than the bulk of people begging for money on KPFA.
For KPFA, we'll make it really clear. Do you know what's insulting? Bringing on non-Arabs to speak of whether or not Arabs and Arab-Americans should be insulted. Yeah, it's the same problem when Clemente thought she had any right to 'voice' her lies about the Latino community (on their behalf!).
We could have had a discussion (Wednesday) on James Burmeister's upcoming court-martial to be held later that day or on Robin Long being kicked out of Canada Tuesday (The Morning Show did not broadcast on Tuesday, it was interrupted for Congressional programming). But instead, it's time to gas bag about a cartoon.
The United States is not Denmark but damned if it didn't feel that way last week as various rejects and idiots voiced outrage and condemnation over a cartoon. The cartoon depicted Michelle and Barack Obama in the White House. Michelle had an afro and appeared to be heavy into Black Power. Barack was in Muslim garb and a portrait of Osama bin Laden hung on the wall.
This was worthy of a segment? This was worthy of a discussion?
It was a cartoon and this nonsense that it was a discussion on race is bulls**t. It's more whining from "Barack Bitches" -- as our CW friend calls them. To buy that it was anything other than whining, KPFA would have to be able to point to the segment The Morning Show did on sexism at any point during the Democratic primaries. Not only did they not offer that, they offered sexist accounts of Hillary passed off as 'news.' That went far beyond Laura Flanders saying Hillary cackled on the post-debate 'analysis' that offered up only pundits who had already endorsed Barack.
CNN felt they could discuss whether or not Hillary was a "bitch." MSNBC had to suspend one on air over his sexist remarks. Neither resulted in a segment. The anti-Hillary magazine covers (which were anti-woman) never resulted in a segment.
But a cartoon made fun of Barack and that was the end of the world and time to grab the torches and gather the villagers.
Michelle's college thesis and her remark about being proud of America for the first time in her adult life are behind her caricature. The fact that Barack's father was Muslim and that he was raised in Indonesia are behind his. It's not a racist cartoon. It wasn't racism when similar treatment was vetted out to Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter or any other Democrat.
You don't have to like it. You don't have to find it funny. But you do should possess common sense. Cartoonists will caricature. The cartoon was far less appalling than The Simpsons featuring "Bill Clinton" coming on to Marge and bragging about how he had sex with pigs. For the record, KPFA never did a segment 'exploring' that.
Barack's bi-racial and self-presents as Black.
He can't run for president and say he's off limits to caricatures. For the home of 'free speech radio' to spend a half-hour (minus 'news' break) condemning a cartoon was pretty pathetic. The only thing racial about the cartoon was the subjects.
Michelle is Black. Barack self-presents Black. The country needs to grow the hell up.
What the segment really demonstrated was that KPFA has no sense of humor and looks at Panther Power as a bad thing. (That would certainly explain all the valid complaints about how little attention the Black Panthers receive from the radio station.)
While Barack things the '60s' were a bad time, KPFA should know better. Michelle Obama as Angela Davis? We'd say Michelle should feel complimented. If there's a stronger or better well- known Black woman Michelle could be 'elevated' to, we can't think of her.
The segment tried to turn on how 'others' would see it. What a bunch of garbage.
What a waste of time.
You had two guests and Allison and they had to go to 'others'? Mythical 'others' because they couldn't speak of their own reactions? Why were they on air then?
The Obama campaign did their usual stunt. Scream foul, hint (or say directly) that racism had taken place and then, days later, trot out Barack to act above it all. He controls his campaign. He's not controlled by his staff. It's the same m.o. we've seen over and over and it's gotten a bit old. He chooses to identify as Black. He wants to be the first Black president of the United States. When he says it, it's a good thing. When his supporters say it, it's a good thing. When he goes after African-Americans fathers, we're supposed to believe that's a good thing too. Barack's not running to be the president of Black America -- we're told over and over and he demonstrates in attack after attack -- so he and his supporters need to lighten the hell up.
Has the cartoon features Michelle and Barack's daughters, there might have been cause to object. Before Barack turned them over to a gossip show (maybe like Panhandle Media, he's confused as to what qualifies for news?), they were out of the spotlight. Had the cover featured the daughters in any form, we would have called it out. "Turned them over to a gossip show" is our first and hopefully last comment on them in any way. But someone running for president of the United States better get used to taking barbs. And his Cult following better damn well grasp that everything's not racism.
The campaign played it up (as one bragged to us) to kill off what they feared would be the big story on Monday. Two Fridays ago, Barack had a fundraiser. Bernie Mac 'joked' about how women are 'hos' and offended a number in the audience. Barack came out and spoke (after booing) and pretended he was offended. He declared, "We can't afford to be divided by race. We can't afford to be divided by religion, or by region or class. Or by gender. That means, by the way, Bernie, you got to clean up your act. This is a family affair."
Had he stopped there, it would have been cause for applause. The man who used sexism throughout the primary, who brused off a question from a female reporter by calling her "sweetie," who makes alarming right-wing talking points about abortion, who refused to give a speech, or even a remark, on the sexism that Hillary was targeted with was finally saying something.
Then he undercut everything he'd said by adding, "I'm just messing with you."
The New Yorker cartoon was not racist. If you doubt it, check out the features of Michelle and Barack in it. But what Barack did, what he said, and his turing sexism into a joke was actually news. It would have been news without any comment from him. Bernie Mac did a sexist routine that offended some present (who booed) and that alone made it news. Add in that it was a Barack event and he has trouble connecting to some women due to the sexist nature of his campaign.
But we never heard about that on KPFA's The Morning Show. Not on a segment, not on a 'news' break. Amy Goodman devoted twice as much time in Monday's headlines to The New Yorker cover as she would to Robin Long on Wednesday. Which was the real news? On Monday, she would call out McCain (and pretend she was offering 'news') over a remark by Phil Gramm who had used the term "whiners." But she'd never find the time to mention Bernie Mac's sexist routine or Barack's turning it into a bigger sexist 'joke.'
It goes to what you value and what society values. Women are not valued. The message has been received. Latinos, Asian-Americans, Arab-Americans? Not valued. Message received.
Ms. magazine decided to embrace their own self-hatred this year and did so amazingly well. We're sure someone can write it up and Michele Kort can piece it together and slap her name on another 'book.'
At a campaign event, a presidential campaign event, a comedian calls women 'hos' and the candidate then gets laughs out of it. Where the hell is Ms. magazine? Checking its Feminist Wire will demonstrate that -- yet again -- it was nowhere to be found.
On Monday, when they should have been calling the event and Barack out, they stayed silent.
Instead it was time to WHORE themselves out for Barack. Barack's Bitches. And, note, this time we don't put quotes around and attribute it to a friend.
In an embarrassing item entitled "Feminists Express Outrage over New Yorker" you get a wealth of embarrassments. Barack and Michelle (like many their age who grew up on the film Heathers) do the "punch-in" on the cover that they do in real life. That's somehow racism? Barack's Bitches explain it for you, "The two caricatures are doing a fist bump that Fox News has previously described as a terrorist fist jab." Did The New Yorker describe it in that way? No. But they have to inflate because otherwise it's really obvious how lame they're being. Eleanor Smeal (whom many are beginning to blame for the current sorry state of the magazine and wish that Ms. would be sold off from the Feminist Majority Foundation -- we haven't made up our minds on that ourselves) embarrasses herself calling the cartoon "a vicious attack". Again, this is the United States, it is not Denmark. If you don't like the cartoon, you don't like it. It's not the end the world. It's funny that calling Bill Clinton a pig f**ker, having his cartoon image self-describe that on The Simpsons outraged no one -- but this cover did.
Now that wasn't the only thing they 'covered' while ignoring the sexism at the Barack campaign event. Also on Monday, they offered up that The Washington Times -- a Moonie periodical that no one should take seriously -- was sexist for calling an event Michelle was at a "girlie show" and "estrogen-fest." Oh, the horror. Next they'll accuse her of pimping out her daughter or debate on air whether or not she's a "bitch," right?
The article is linked too incorrectly by Feminist Wire (you get an error page) and they fail to tell you either the title of the article or the name of the reporter. It was written by a woman. Women can be sexists as well. The article's title, "Girl talk wins fans for Mrs. Obama." Including that, or a working link, might undercut the outrage they're trying to create. It's a chatty, breezy article of the sort that Lillian Roxon would have written on the music scene at the start of the seventies. From the article (and unlike Ms., we don't link to Moonie publications):
In Democratic circles, at least, the forthright and fashion-forward Mrs. Obama is winning fans and earning plaudits as a formidable speaker on behalf of her husband and as a style setter comparable to iconic first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Said veteran Democratic political strategist Robert Shrum, who advised Al Gore in 2000 and the Kerry-Edwards campaign in 2004: "In her own right, she´s one of the better speakers that I´ve heard. She has the capacity to capture people´s imaginations in a way that very few potential first ladies have. She´s an incredibly warm and charismatic person and she has lots of empathy with people and she projects that empathy. People are quite curious about her."
Back to the Feminsit Wire which just can't stop LYING. Fox 'News' did a title across the screen calling Michelle Barack's "Baby Momma" and we called that nonsense out some time ago. When Michelle refers to Barack as her "Baby Daddy," people can't get offended that a term that is no longer racist or sexist is used to refer to her. But that doesn't stop them from quoting (and not questioning) Lee Walker's assertion that "These are personal attacks. They cannot reach [Barack Obama], so the person they believe they can hurt the most is his wife. Never in history has a candidate's wife been attacked like this." Never in our life did we think we'd see Ms. print such a lie. Go back to the 1992 campaign and read the 'reporting' on Hillary Clinton. And read the above excerpt we provided from The Washington Times and you'll grasp that Lee Walker needs to take a shower and a Valium.
What a bunch of lies, what a bunch of liars.
The Washington Times has a very small circulation (and Moonie money props it up, otherwise it would have gone under long ago). Rush Limbaugh, by contrast, is said to be the most popular radio host in the nation -- or at least the most listened to. When he called Hillary "the women with the testicle lockbox" where was the Feminist Wire?
No where to be found.
And two things on attacks on Michelle. She might become First Lady. Big woop. Ms. could have actively campaigned against the sexist attacks on Hillary who was running for PRESIDENT. But they had other things to do. They filed two pieces. And, in both cases, only after the networks had commented. (They didn't wait for or pursue a comment from The Washington Times.)
The US had a chance at having the first woman president and where was Ms? (The bulk were passing back and forth e-mails of sexist quotes about Hillary and, yes, cartoons of her. They were laughing about it. They were agreeing with it. So when they now try to play like they're offended by the cartoon cover of The New Yorker, they look like hypocrites and we may be publishing some of those e-mails here; however, readers of Polly's Brew should check their inboxes this morning because four are republished in that today.)
Second, it's not our job as women to defend every woman. We'll defend women who can't defend themselves. We'll also defend women under attack. Provided they didn't stay silent while their husband and brother attacked another woman which, for the record, Michelle Obama did. We have no ill will towards her but if she couldn't stand up for another woman, there's no reason other women should stand up for her. In the words of Mama Cass Elliot, "I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire."
The Washington Times piece is written by a woman. That doesn't mean it can't be sexist. By the same token, a woman being female doesn't make her part of the sisterhood. We're real sick of defending women who do nothing to defend other women. Michelle Obama's not a feminist. She's never claimed to be. Are the attacks on her attacks on all women?
All women who are the wives of some man (and thanks to the likes of Ms. magazine, we can say "man" -- since they helped destroy Hillary's campaign) who wants to be president get attacked. From our side (the left), Laura Bush was attacked. She was joshed. She was ridiculed. Some of it may have been fair and in good humor but let's not pretend that it all was. Rosaylnn Carter was attacked. If the number done on Hillary in 1992 hadn't taken place, Rosaylnn would be the standard. And Rosaylnn Carter, like Hillary, is a feminist. We have no problem rushing in to defend a feminist. We have no problem rushing in to defend a pro-woman non-feminist. But, outside of the 'girlie show' The Washington Times is writing about, Michelle's not associated with other women. It's one of the reason for the poll results the paper cites (an AP poll). She's the wife of, that's all she is, that's all she chooses to present.
No one's fault but her own. Howard Dean never got his party's nomination but Judy Dean took more crap from the press than Michelle Obama has. In fact, forget all the ridiculing columns, in one Diane Sawyer interview, Dr. Judy Dean took more crap than Michelle has about her gender and 'expectations' deriving from it than Michelle has taken since Barack declared in January 2007.
Michelle Obama is not under attack. If she were, we'd mount some sort of half-hearted defense of her. If she was under a severe attack, we could probably offer a strong defense.
But this isn't about reality. This isn't about news. And it's not about anything that actually matters. It's gossip passed off as news and, like a great deal of gossip, the teller is hoping to push a response in you. Consider Matthew Rothschild, the Feminist Wire, The Nation, Amy Goodman and all the rest that person who calls you to say they saw your spouse the other night . . . with someone else. In other words, they're Ethel Mertz pretending to be a journalist.
If you doubt it, consider the Feminist Wire's "McCain Holds 'Women Only' Town Hall Meeting" exhibit A. In that 'brief,' they do something they generally don't: try to fact check. For John McCain, his remarks aren't just repeated, they're checked against his record. Possibly that doesn't happen with Barack because he has no record?
They take McCain to task for not voting on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to Consider H.R. 2831. One other person didn't vote: Chuck Hagel. That would be the same Hagel Barack is currently traveling with and the one who is being mentioned as potential vice-president. But that's no cause for alarm?
Just like the Feminist Wire didn't find Barack's insulting and ignorant about abortion to be news? For the record, they never told their readers about that. "Feeling blue"? Remember that? What your allegedly 'feminist' 'news' source couldn't bother to cover, Marie Cocco did. From her "Obama's Abortion Stance When 'Feeling Blue'" (Washington Post Writers Group): "One thing is certain: Obama has backhandedly given credibility to the right-wing narrative that women who have abortions -- even those who go through the physically and mentally wrenching experience of a late-term abortion -- are frivolous and selfish creatures who might perhaps undergo this ordeal because they are 'feeling blue'."
You are not getting 'news' from Panhandle Media. You're not even just getting fluff. You're getting gossip. Gossip designed to evoke an emotion (rage).
Panhandle Media doesn't trust you. Doesn't treat you like an adult.
We were on the phone Friday morning with an old friend, a feminist name of many years. She doesn't know how she's voting in November. She is appalled by the sexism used against Hillary. She's not sure how much she wants to blame Barack for that but she has no problem calling out the media. She's not anti-Barack but is troubled by his remarks on abortion. Then she pointed out the thing that bothers her the most, "We're not Karl Rove. We're not supposed to want to be him. I can't understand how so many of us have given up our humanity and our principles for an election?" It is indeed confusing.
A presidential term runs four years. Most people in the world (though not all) will be alive beyond that. We're not crazy about the word "bitch" and go out of our way to avoid using it. But when so many people of character and integrity sell themselves out (in 'coverage,' we're not talking about who they vote for), what are they but Barack's Bitches?
The bulk of Panhandle Media operates under some form of tax status that imposes limitations. Many can't endorse candidates. But that's what they do with their coverage. They elimiate third-party candidates from their coverage so that, day after day, you hear about two men who don't even have their party's nomination yet. Every time they talk about the presidential race, they mention those two men. And they ignore Barr, McKinney and Nader. It's marketing, it's not coverage. It's gossip, it's not news.
And the gossip is supposed to make you 'cling' (to use Barack's term) to Barack and be repelled by McCain. You're not supposed to be aware that Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader or Bob Barr is even in the race. They'll do one item on McKinney if they're shamed into it and that's all they'll offer. A case can be made for eliminating McKinney from the coverage (and the debates) because she has defined "victory" in a presidential race as 5% of the vote. That means she's not running for the presidency. If that's the reason for denying her coverage, people need to say so. But Bob Barr and Ralph Nader have not stated that. And when all you hear, day after day, is "McCain" and "Obama" they are, yes, "Manufacturing Consent." They're not 'independent,' they're not about 'news,' they're about controlling you.
You're not smart enough on your own, in their eyes, to make a judgment. They will steer you, they will pull you by the ring in your nose, in whatever direction they want. Which is why they resort to gossip passed off as news.
The direction they want you to go is Barack. If you doubt that, you had the perfect example of it last week. The Democratic primary is over. Hillary has suspended her campaign. Barack is the "presumed" nominee. So Amy Goodman can back off her non-stop attacks on Hillary and her slanted and biased coverage.
Last week, speaking with Naomi Klein, Amy Goodman got off this howler regarding Barack and his ties to Wal-Mart (and Naomi didn't even mention Michelle's big-money ties to Wal-Mart), "This is very interesting, because, of course, he really slammed Hillary Clinton when it came to her tenure on the board of Wal-Mart."
He slammed her?
Why, yes, he did, but he wasn't the only one.
For example, we're remembering the slam The Nation magazine did, on the cover, of Hillary over that and we're surprised Goody doesn't remember it.
Goody: "Ari Berman, can you talk about Hillary Rodham Clinton and Wal-Mart?" (May 31, 2007, Democracy Now!).
Introducing a videotape that was over sixteen years old, Goody said: "On the campaign trail, Senator Hillary Clinton’s ties to the retail giant Wal-Mart are coming under new scrutiny today following the release of videotape during her time as a company board member. Clinton sat on Wal-Mart’s board between 1986 and 1992" (April 10, 2008, Democracy Now!).
Goody declared, "In other campaign news, ABC News is reporting Hillary Clinton did not once speak up to oppose Wal-Mart’s intensive campaign against unionization during her six years on the company’s board of directors. ABC reviewed videotapes of at least four public Wal-Mart board meetings between 1986 and 1992" (February 1, 2008, Democracy Now!).
That's not all of it.
We could offer many, many more examples (Kristen, give us a voice over and get us to commercial!). Who really slammed Hillary on Wal-Mart? We find more at Democracy Now! than we do in Barack's own speeches.
Goody was hiding her own handiwork throughout the interview with Klein. The talk turned NAFTA and Goody wanted to say that it was strange ("That he supports NAFTA and freed trade") because she referred to NAFTA-gate as "a sort of little scandal" during the primary. Barack was talking big in his speeches about repealing NAFTA. While he was doing that, his campaign was telling the Canadian government to ignore what he was saying, he didn't mean it.
Amy Goodman wants to pretend her own hands are clean on NAFTA-gate? In what world? Talk about the criminal returning to the scene of her crime. From our March 9th "TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past:"
That's a cute little way to 'cover' someone running for the office of president getting caught in a very public lie. Yes, AP did publish the memo. Click here The New York Times story on it that provides you with a link to the PDF format memo. And note the lede to Michael Lou's article:"The denials were sweeping when Senator Barack Obama's campaign mobilized last week to refute a report that a senior official had given back-channel reassurances to Canada soft-pedaling Mr. Obama's tough talk on Nafta." Yes, the denials from the Bambi campaign "were sweeping" prior to the publication of the memo. What's the oft repeated bromide? It's not the deed, it's the cover-up. But 'journalist' Goody left that out because she uses her show to campaign for Barack Obama. She never told her audience about the denials. In fact, while the controversy swirled, she never said a word on any broadcast. Had the AP not published the memo, she wouldn't have even been forced to finally acknowledge it. Two days later, she was pleased as punch to try to rip apart the story of Bambi being caught in a lie with this fourth item in her reading of headlines (March 6th):
In other campaign news, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has launched an internal security investigation after a memo was leaked to the press discussing a meeting between an adviser to Barack Obama and Canadian officials. The leaked memo alleged that Obama's senior economic adviser assured the Canadians that Obama's public critique of NAFTA was more political positioning than a clear articulation of his policy plans. On Wednesday, Harper said the leak of the memo was blatantly unfair to Obama. The leak came days before the primary vote in Ohio. CBC and other Canadian news outlets report Harper's own chief of staff, Ian Brodie, was the source of what is now being dubbed NAFTA-gate.
[. . .]
Despite the fact that the AP had to publish not just the stories of NAFTA-gate but also the memo before Goody could get off her tired ass and note NAFTA-Gate, on Friday, she was eager to set John Nichols up so he could turn an unsourced whisper into a "revelation." It was nothing and not worth repeating. It certainly wasn't journalism but, hey, consider the two goons we were watching.
John Nichols whisper-campaign? Unsourced, undocumented (and never written up by him in an article), unfounded charges that it was actually Hillary talking to the Canadian government! It was disgusting and it was embarrassing. It certainly wasn't 'news.' But it was try to save Barack from embarrassment by smearing Hillary with lies.
It was, to return to our Friday conversation with a friend, Karl Rove-ian.
Instead of holding Barack accountable for what he had done, smear the opponent to distract from reality. And while you might expect that from the right-wing, you don't expect from programs billing themselves as 'independent,' 'news' or 'public affairs.'
You're not getting 'news' or 'information.' It's why Panhandle Media ignored Barack using homophobia as a campaign strategy in South Carolina. They didn't trust you enough to tell you about that. It was more important that they cover for Barack than that they cover what was going on.
We don't make a point to highlight American Prospect. There's a reason for that. It's a Democratic Party organ and really doesn't try to hide it. There's nothing wrong with being that and we both have and will continue to read it. But we don't confuse with 'independent' or with 'news.' And we're unaware of it ever billing itself as "independent." It is what it is and there's a place for it in the spectrum. But there's no place for liars. There's no place for people passing off gossip as news.
There's no place for Panhandle Media -- which exists on your dime directly and also through your tax dollars -- claiming it is independent, claiming it is not in violation with its tax code while pushing one candidate. How much fluff is in your diet? A great deal if you haven't already caught on that gossip now passes for news, that it's fluff gossip when they want to recruit you on board with a candidate or an issue and it's negative gossip when they want to steer you away from something. It's really appalling that they don't trust the audience that funds them enough to tell the damn truth. We think everyone has revoked their tax status and, if the IRS was to seriously investigate anyone, they'd conclude the same thing as well. If that happened and some outlets folded, all it would mean was there was less gossip being passed off as news.
Which isn't to say that sugar-coated entertainment that knows it's nothing more has no problems of its own. In a stronger world creatively, there would be no reason to figure out ways to get Gossip Girl's Serena and Blair at odds to provide strong scenes for both strong actresses. In such a world, a realization would have long ago sunk in that Chuck can provide the villainy. We don't live in that world. We live in a world where each 'new' show can only repeat what the previous shows did but with a 'twist' that's really not much of one. You can see that in every animated primetime show after The Simpsons -- a long, long line of copycats (King of the Hill is the sole exception). And you can see it in Gossip Girl. Watching Westwick relegated to the sidelines is like seeing what would have happened if Joan Collins had been cast as Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas.
Dallas. The only real template for a male villain in a soap opera, apparently. No offense to Larry Hagman, but he wasn't sexy as J.R. Ewing. Joan Collins, Morgan Fairchild, Donna Mills, Ana-Alicia and a host of other women had to play villains on other prime time soap operas and they also had to be sexy. Hagman could show up bloated, overweight, baggy-eyed and it was never a concern. So along comes Westwick, who is good looking and talented, and Gossip Girl doesn't know what to do with him. He spends a lot of time spinning his wheels in little scenes that never go anywhere. If Chuck were a woman, he'd be dubbed "bitchy." Which is why we were really hoping he'd end up getting the gay storyline (it went to Serena's brother Eric). Gay could have 'liberated' the writers enough to actually let Chuck soar. But give them a straight male character with so much to offer and he just spins his wheels in the mud. Episode after episode.
The storylines don't matter, largely because you've seen them too many times before but also due to the fact that the writers and the bulk of the performers seem to forget them from scene to scene. It's fluff pure and simple and the only reason to watch is the entertainment factor which largely comes from Lively and Meester's heroic acting, with an assist from Rutherford. That's about all you'll be left with after an episode ends. Maybe you'll remember the intense magnetism of Badgley? Maybe you'll remember how wonderfully Westwick pulled off "bitchy" one-liners while wearing a bathing suit that we believe we last saw on Clara Bow.
That sexy image of Westwick neither propagandized or pro-longed the illegal war. That's the real difference between gossip entertainment and gossip 'news.' At worst, you've just wasted your time with the former, with the latter, you've been played for a sap. Or to put it in the simplest of terms: Gossip Girl provides its young audience with images to fuel many a teen (male and female) fantasy (during and after the show), Panhandle Media just wants to give you marching orders and, as with the US military, better not question those orders.
Robin enlisted in the military and was disturbed by what he heard from service members returning to the United States. He noted that they showed off photos of their 'first kills' and spoke deliriously of the illegal war. Not able to participate in an illegal war, Robin self-checked out. He went underground in the US. Then, in June he visited Canada with friends and decided to stay. He spoke with the CBC October 2nd and explained how he reached his decision to say "no" to the Iraq War:
Because I feel the war in Iraq is an illegal war of aggression and it's an indiscriminate killing of the Arab people and I believe it's all for lies and the wrong reasons so I couldn't with good conscience take part in that conflict. . . . When I joined the army, I thought that the war in Iraq was a good thing. I was lied to by my president. The reasons that were given, I thought they were valid. But just because I joined the army didn't mean I abdicated my ability to evolve intellectually and morally and what I saw in the independent media and even in mainstream media changed my view of what was going on over there and based on what I had learned I made a decision to desert. . . . When people coming back from Iraq were proud of what they had done, bragging about killing people and showing me pictures of their first kill with big smiles on their faces and that just didn't sit right in my stomach. So I made the decision then. That was probably the turning point right there.
Robin was arrested last year in Nelson. The reason? He was "couch-surfing" while looking for work and the Canadian Board of Immigration and Refugees had mailed him something that did not reach him. For that, he was arrested. (The unofficial explanation includes implications that the US military was beyond the arrest.) He was released -- after public outcry. But he was on notice and watched closely. Though they now knew how to contact him, they kept Robin out of the loop on the status of his case.
Before we get to that, let's drop back to Robin's life in Canada. Petti Fong (Toronto Star) spoke with War Resisters Support Campaign - Vancouver's Bjorknas who explained, "In Ontario, where he lived for a time, Long was engaged to be married and had a child, according to Sarah Bjorknas, one of his supporters. About 50 American deserters are currently making refugee claims to stay in Canada, said Bjorknas, and a couple of hundred are presumed to be living quietly underground." Robin and Renee had a child (the child and Renee are Canadian). We're staying on that point and there's a reason why. Last week, two other reports also noted the child. Heath Druzin (Idaho Statesman) reported, "Long, who has a child with a Canadian woman, has been considered absent without leave since he fled the U.S." Monique James (KTVB) noted, "He's been living in British Columbia for the past three years and has a two-year-old son there. Long's sister, Christine, says she fears for her brother now that he's back in the U.S. 'When I heard what was going on I'm kind of freaked out because he's my brother, I don't want anything to happen to him,' said Christine Long."
While in Canada, Long spoke often of his child to the press. It's not a minor issue. On Monday, a 'judicial' hearing was presided over by Judge Anne Mctavish who should have known the law and Robin's personal history. In deciding to expel Robin from Canada, she broke up a family. As appalling as that is, it's also against the code and regulations from immigrants. As the father of a young child, Robin should not have been expelled.
But Judge Mctavish loves making her up own laws. She's never bothered by what's actually on the books and creates a policy wily-nily.
Which explains what happened.
It is not an offense in Canada to desert the US military. No US treaty with Canada covers extraditing deserters. The general consensus is that Robin was "deported." He was extradited. Mctavish calls it deported because if she'd termed it extradition, it would have opened up more legal avenues for Robin and, most likely, resulted in a stay of any decision she might reach because extradition is a very serious matter.
Long before the hearing took place, Mctavish ordered Robin imprisoned. Mctavish's 'reasons' for doing so was that she'd determined Robin to be a "flight risk." A flight risk?
In a deportation case, a flight risk isn't a bad thing. A flight risk that follows through means the government saves time and money on legal matters because the issue is resolved by the person leaving the country. Her labeling Robin a "flight risk" was the first tip-off that she was attempting something other than deportation.
Deportation? US citizen Alice goes to Greece. Alice decides she wants to stay there. The government decides they don't want her to stay there. They can deport her. For any number of reasons, they can deport her. Deportation does not mean that Alice is returned to the US. She's being deported and all that means is she has to leave Greece. She can choose to go to Italy from Greece, to Japan, to Mexico, to anywhere she wants because deportation is not about a crime committed, it's stating, "We don't want you and you have to leave."
Robin was kept away from friends, family and attorneys while he was imprisoned. If he gave the call (a big if) that he wanted to go back to the US, he did so without having access to counsel. We're told he didn't make that call and was led to believe that was the only option. It wasn't. Sarah Bjorknas explained to Cook that "they have him and we don't know precisely where he is. They don't have to tell us where and when they move him anywhere including across the border."
Robin wasn't merely taken the border or airport and released. He was turned over to the US military. That's extradition.
And it's illegal extradition because (repeating) it is not a crime in Canada to desert the US military and no treaty between Canada and the US calls for Canada to turn over deserters.
Judge Mctavish spit on the law and spit on Canadian sovereignty.
She ignored Canadian Judge Robert Barnes decision regarding Joshua Key's claims for refugee status issued on the Fourth of July as well as the motion the House of Commons passed June 3rd. She ignored the Canadian parliament. She and Stephen Harper's Conservative Party ignored it when Canada's New Democratic Party issued the following immediately after her decision:
NDP MP Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) is calling on the Conservative government to stop the deportation of American Iraq war resister Robin Long, scheduled for today.
"Stockwell Day, Diane Finley and Stephen Harper should respect the will of Parliament and the Canadian people and stop this deportation immediately," said Siksay. "The House of Commons has passed a motion supporting a special programme that would allow conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the war in Iraq to remain in Canada. The government must respect this action by the House and stop deportation action against Robin Long and other Iraq war resisters.
"The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration reported to the House of Commons about the need for such a programme, and on a motion moved by MPs Olivia Chow and Siksay, the House concurred in that report.
"The Canadian government and the Canadian people do not support George Bush's illegal war in Iraq. We must have the courage of those convictions and back them up by ensuring that Americans who take a stand against that war receive a welcome in Canada," noted Siksay."Robin Long must be allowed to stay," Siksay concluded.
While Robin was denied the right to consult with or visit friends, family, supporters or attorneys, Mctavish was overseeing contact with the US military. She knew what was going on and she okayed it. She also should have known that she was now presiding over an extradition and not a deportation.
She should have advised Long's attorneys of that fact but to call it extradition would have meant higher checks on her decision would have kicked in and Mctavish couldn't have that and also rush to extradite Robin.
So she called it a deportation. After her 'sentence,' Robin was still denied contact. No one could know when he was 'leaving' Canada -- no one except the US military he was turned over to.
Robin became the first US war resister of the Iraq War to be 'deported' from Canada. It was big news. Ian Austen covered it for The New York Times, Greg Quinn (Bloomberg News), CBC, Dan Slater (Wall St. Journal), Candace Heckman (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and AP were among the outlets covering it. Panhandle Media had other things to do. Though KPFA's The Morning Show announced they would be covering on Thursday's broadcast, they never did. Amy Goodman reduced it to an insultingly brief 'headline' -- less time than she gives to any number of her vote-for-Barack nonsense she tries to pass off as 'news.' It allowed Mctavish and others to hide behind the secrecy they began and the US military carried out. Long was going back to Fort Carson, he was physically turned over to the US on Tuesday. All week long, reporters would attempt to figure out whether he'd arrived at Fort Carson or not. Late Friday afternoon, OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) reported: "A U.S. Army deserter who was expelled from Canada earlier this week is being escorted back to his post under police guard Friday." Breaking the silences, Amy Goodman? Try imposing them.
Courage to Resist explains, "Courage to Resist has made civilian legal representation available to Robin and will be doing everything possible to provide him our full support. We plan to collaborate with many other groups in our efforts to help Robin in the coming weeks. Refusing to fight in an illegal war is not a crime--except under the Uniform Code of Military (In) Justice."
There's more to it as well. As C.I. and Dee Knight pointed out, this was the court-martialing of a whistle-blower. Burmeister went public with what he observed while serving in Iraq: the kill teams. June 29, 2007, Burmesiter was explaining to Canada's CBC that teams of US soldiers were being ordered to leave US property laying around (property such as cameras) so that an Iraqi would pick it up (maybe just out of curiosity), at which point they could be shot because, as Burmeister explained, "If the Iraqis would go and touch it they [the soldiers] could shoot 'em because if anyone messes with the U.S. government property, they're allowed to fire at 'em." Burmeister would also share the details with Mark Larabee (The Oregonian) who would break the story in the US on July 16, 2007: "But once in Iraq, he was assigned to a 'small kill' team that set traps for insurgents. They'd place a fake camera on a pole with a sign labeling it as US property, giving the team the right to shoot anyone who messed with it."
James Burmeister was on 'leave' (getting medical attention after suffering his third road-side bombing in Iraq) in Germany. August 24th Maria Hinojosa spoke with James Burmeister for NOW on PBS:
BURMEISTER: We were in a five humvee set. Rolling down a--down a main street in Baghdad in our sector. I'm the gunner on top of this humvee... Just a big bomb goes off. And it's so fast, you don't--you don't see the bomb. You're scared. You're checking your body parts to see if you're missing anything. A few days after that, I had actually passed out in my room. Passed out, just hit the floor.
HINOJOSA: James says that was the first sign of his post traumatic stress disorder. He says doctors thought he also may have sustained a traumatic brain injury, so he was sent to Germany on medical leave. Two months later, while still on medication, he was ordered back to Iraq.
BURMEISTER: They were desperate for people to get back there. They just needed people in Baghdad. They just need bodies to man the guns and the equipment.
Instead, Burmeister decided to self-checkout and go to Canada, having decided that he could no longer participate in the illegal war. For half of 2007 and the start of 2008, he attempted to work through the 'process' to receive immigrant status. Then James Burmeister decided to return to the United States and he turned himself in at Fort Knox on March 4th.
His father Erich Burmeister immediately attempted to raise attention for his son's cause. Burmeister suffers from PTSD and, most likely, TBI. [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.] In an audio interview with Courage to Resist, Erich explained his son's reasons for turning against the illegal war:
It was more what he was involved in there. Particularly what really bothered him was the bait and kill thing which now is a pretty infamous subject which has come up in some of the trials of some of the soldiers that have been put on trial for murder. This sniper, you know, putting out pieces of equipment and waiting for someone to touch it and they shoot him. And that really, really bothered him. Plus the fact that when they would go through these neighborhoods and, you know, kick in people's doors and raid their houses and just loot their houses, and the terror that he saw on people's faces. He told me these things had really bothered him. And the devastation he saw around him. It was -- it was really hard for him to deal with that. He told me times that he would see people digging through garbage, women digging through garbage, and he couldn't believe the conditions that the Iraqis were forced to live under and he felt like he was somewhat responsible for this.
You can bet the military was paying attention to every word. The press? One of the few paying attention was Camilla Mortensen (Eugene Weekly) who interviewed Erich Burmeister and reported: "His father fears the Army wants to keep Burmeister quiet about the 'bait-and-kill' teams the he alleges have been used to kill Iraqi civilians. While James Burmeister awaits the Army's decision, his father [Erich Burmeister] is fighting to bring him home. . . . Burmeister was also disturbed by the 'small kill teams' for which he was asked to provide cover. On Sept. 24, 2007, the Washington Post investigated the story of the classified program of using 'bait and kill' tactics in which sniper teams would scatter 'bait' such as ammunition and detonation cords to attract Iraqi insurgents who would then be shot by snipers. But Burmeister, who had deserted from the Army five months before the story broke, had been telling that story to the media for months. In a July 2007 article in The Oregonian, Burmeister said he had participated in a team that placed fake cameras on poles and labeled them U.S. property to give the team the rights to shoot anyone who to tried to move or takes the equipment."
James' mother was also speaking out. In June, at a rally outside Fort Hood, she explained:
I'm Helen Burmeister and I'm here today to support my son Prviate 1st Class James Burmeister. My son is an Iraq War veteran and I'm very proud of him today. He fought bravely in Iraq. He followed orders. He was wounded in a roadside bomb and he's been diagnosed with PTSD and a possible brain injury. Our request today is that the army release James. We want James to be able to put this traumatic experience behind him so he can begin to heal -- both emotionally and physically. I believe my son has done his part. Now it's time for him to be given the recognition he deserves. Short of that, we are requesting that he be allowed to go home to Oregon. And thank you. Thank you to everyone for all your support today.
Helen Burmeister was not alone at that rally. Another speaker addressed what James was facing.
Carol Rawert Trainer: I am a Vietnam Era veteran and my husband is a retired USAF officer and Vietnam Veteran. We belong to Lousiville Peace Action Community and Vietnam Veterans Against the War, two great organizations that work for peace and justice. I learned of PFC James Burmeister through my involvement with the GI Rights Hotline. We are disgusted at the way the government treats our returning war heroes and we will not sit by and watch it happen. You hear the slogan 'Support Our Troops.' Well that is why we have come here today. I have personally heard too many horror stories of veterans in the Louisville area who return from war and do not receive proper medical care or benefits or counseling for PTSD which is all too prevalent in this war. The Army seems to care more about their retention at any cost to the soldier and family than they do about the care of the soldiers affected by this war. Too many soldiers are battling their physical and emotional problems alone. The suicide rates have risen dramatically. This is obscene. We are here today to demand that the army grant James a discharge in lieu of court-martial. We are watching what the army is doing. James served honorably in Iraq and carried out his duties as commanded. He received head injuries and shrapnel in his face in the 3rd attack on his convoy. He also has PTSD and seizures and is on many medications as a result of his experience. When he was recuperating in the hospital in Germany he realized that what he was commanded to do -- killing innocent people, sometimes in bait-and-switch schemes, was immoral. The army trains these troops from basic to kill, kill, kill and does not differentiate between innocent Iraqis or insurgents. James could not, would not, do it any longer. He had to live with himself and his actions for the rest of his life. The army does not care about the lifelong problems these honorable soldiers face. In fact they were going to send James back to Iraq even though he was on medications for high blood pressure, depression, sleep problems and more. At least James is one of the lucky ones who realized he needed help before it was too late. Going back to Iraq would be dangerous to his life as well as to those who served with him. We are here today to support James and his family in their struggle for justice! James' family has suffered through other family circumstances that dictate that James be home to help them. We hope the army will grant James an immediate discharge not only for his own personal needs but for his families' needs. Even though he would not receive medical benefits which he needs, he would be home in a safe and loving environment. This is what is fair. This is what is just. James was there when the army needed him. Now the army must be there for James and the countless other heroes who need assistance and support as they cope with their war-induced problems.
He turned himself in on March 4th. He was court-martialed one year later, to the day, that Mark Larabee of The Oregonian broke the story of the kill-teams for US audiences. July 4th, Kelsey Sparks, of Louisville's WHAS11, reported (text and video) on James Burmeister and introduced her segment with the following, "23-year-old James Burmeister is being held at Fort Knox for five months now. He is charged with deserting his army unit while on leave from Iraq. Yesterday he got a court-martial date but his friends and family say because he suffers from head injuries Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after surviving a roadside bomb attack in Iraq, they're hoping some of those charges can be dismissed."
That was the hope, but as Chris Kenning (Courier-Journal) reported last Thursday morning (the only reporter to report the court-martial -- AP and everyone else was echoing Kenning's report) that the court-martial found James sentenced to jail (six months), reduced in rank (busted down to private), dishonorably discharged (bad conduct) and he received "a loss of pay" while quoting Burmeister's military attorney, Captain Tyson McDonald, stating of the military, "They're not happy that dirty laundry was getting aired."
That means James' health care will not be paid for by the US government. The US government that sent him to Iraq for an illegal war in which he was wounded is now off the hook for the bill. Everyone should be appalled.
Courage to Resist notes that you can contact the PFC James Burmeister Support campaign via firstname.lastname@example.org and that you can write him via snail mail: James Burmeister, Box A, Fort Knox, KY 40121.