Sunday, January 24, 2010

Truest statement of the week

One thing we have learned since 1967 -- wait a second -- there is NOT ONE THING we have learned since 1967.
War is still the most f**ked-up, mentally deficient and morally bankrupt activity that was ever developed by mankind, and most Americans don't even think about that fact for even a few seconds everyday. And if they do, don’t worry --dancing is right around the corner.

-- Cindy Sheehan's (not work safe due to the f-word) "Let the Sunshine In" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox)

Truest statement of the week II

Mr. [Ahmed] Chalabi's absurd charge that the United States wants to return the Baath Party to power is typical of his divisive and destructive brand of politics.

-- New York Times January 22nd editorial "Sunnis and Iraq's Election."

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. And this time a stronger edition. Along with Dallas, the following helped on 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),
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with? We knew we needed some strong this week after last week. (As Ava and C.I. predicted, we got the most disappointed response from longterm readers. About the only thing they approved of was Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary.) And we worked really hard to do just that.

Truest statement of the week -- Cindy Sheehan. This is her first truest for 2010. She received the most in 2009 and, unless Dalia Hashad pops back up regularly on Law & Disorder, she'll probably have the most of anyone. (Dalia was in part why we started this feature. She usually had something to say on the radio program that we'd try to work into an editorial or another feature and didn't always manage to. At which point, we thought up truest.)

Truest statement of the week II -- We've given The New York Times intensely negative criticism (and we've given it positive criticism) so when we saw this refutation of a lie and when we realized that even ZNet had taken to running articles by a Chalabi pushing that lie, we knew we had to include it.

Editorial: Pull all US troops out of Iraq -- For five years now, we've been advocating for troops out now. It's not hard to do. It's not hard to write about. There's always a way to find a new angle for the story. If you care about the issue. Apparently, few outlets do.

TV: Doing the John Edwards -- From a throw away line in their commentary, I found the right title for Ava and C.I.'s commentary. This is really a great one and they've done a great job. This is also one of three pieces they do this week.

Roundtable -- I (Jim) was leery. I'd called for one last week (roundtable) and it was awful and I took the beating on it. So it was a great surprise that this one went a lot better. We cover race, the war, British politics and a few other topics. Betty's kids did the illustration.

Toxic Barry -- The illustration is from the video. We note that on Flickr as well. Why? A Jeffrey Mayes is apparently screaming at various websites that used his photos the Martha Coakley campaign posted. We did not use Mayes' photos, don't come whining to us. (Mayes was not working for the Coakley campaign.)

There is no such thing as rape (Ava and C.I.) -- The illustration is by Betty's kids. This was one of four ideas that Ava and C.I. brought to the edition. They noted they didn't mind working long or late provided the edition had something to say. If you haven't read the article, the point isn't Ava and C.I. don't believe in rape (they do believe in it), the point is NPR did a story on a rape but repeatedly called it sex. As they point out, when you drug a girl, that's your first indication that it was rape.

Iraq -- Our Iraq feature. We cover the Inquiry going on in London in this as well as a few other things.

The war on Social Security -- This was a topic we tried last week but failed at. We did a little better when we tried this week. It's not a great article but it is publishable.

Go Gidget! -- Juan Cole is an idiot and a War Hawk. Kat and Betty's kids worked on the illustration.

The Futility of Norman Solomon (Ava and C.I.) -- This is Ava and C.I.'s third piece. They wrote this at the last minute when Ann reminded them that she'd blogged at her site that they would cover it. In addition to what they wrote, they had two strong ideas that were written (with all of us) but there was enough strong stuff that those two things went into the discard pile. Mike's been pushing for a piece on Howard Zinn. We didn't try it this week. We hope to next week.

The Revolution will be streamed? -- Get the word out.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Wally, Cedric, Ann, Stan, Marcia, Ruth, Betty and Kat wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's what we ended up with. See you next week.

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

Editorial: Pull all US troops out of Iraq

Iraq plans to hold elections in March. These are the elections that, in 2008, they planned to hold December 2009. Then they moved them back to January 2009. Now it's March. Now or for now. As the date looms, a committee with no real power or authority has been allowed to scream "Ba'athist!" at any candidate that might be a threat to Little Nouri who really, really wants to be the new Saddam. Reidar Visser notes of the group conducting the banning:

Previous developments have shown that the accountability and justice board is an

anachronism that lacks a clear legal basis after the passage of the accountability and justice law in 2008, that the formation of a seven-judge appeals court (to which these decisions may be appealed within three days) remedies this situation only in a partial way, that the Iraqi elections commission seems to be in league with the accountability and justice board in this matter, and that even if one accepts the dubious existence of the current de-Baathification board, its application of the relevant laws appears to be both partisan and selective in the extreme.

Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) explains that "the Shiites from Iran are doing everything possible to ensure that only they present themselves to the forthcoming elections, by banning all secular and no Shiites representation i.e. Sunnis. Which of course lead me to remember the ongoing genocide against Arab Sunnis in Iraq, the ongoing genocide led by Iran and its Shia supporters, a genocide within the grander American genocide on the Iraqi people."

Biden in Iraq

US Vice President Joe Biden went to Iraq to try to do what the inept US Ambassador to Iraq (Chris Hill) couldn't manage: Explain that the elections needed to at least have the appearance of being fair and free. Before Biden landed, days before it was even known he would be visiting, Rahma al-Salim (Asharq Alawsat) reported that Nouri's spokesperson had stated that US attempts to stop the purging "will not achieve anything." Thursday evening, Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was stating, "We are an independent country and will not receive orders from anyone, whether it is a brotherly Arab country, a neighboring country or a friend. Mr. Biden made proposals, but we are committed to safeguard and uphold this constitution."

The appropriate response to that is: We hear you! All US troops will be removed immediately.

Repeatedly Nouri's mouthpiece has stated they do not need American interference but the reality is Nouri already has American interference. It is the US that put Nouri in charge (he was not the Parliament's choice for Prime Minister -- the US nixed the Parliament's choice). It is the US military on the ground in Iraq that has allowed Little Nouri to remain in power.

Should the US leave tomorrow, Nouri's 'power' crumbles.

So let's agree: No US interference.

But understand that supporting that means US forces leave immediately.

We believe they should.

For a number of reasons.

But if Little Nouri and his junior thugs are going to grand stand on the backs of American soldiers (the very backs that keep Little Nouri in power), then pull them out. Pull 'em out to Kuwait and then back to the US. It can be done immediately.

For those who have forgotten (or more likely, never knew), Barack broke his promise on ending the Iraq War. He likes to point to elections as one of the 'delaying' factors. So now we're to be told that Americans had to remain on Iraqi soil for elections that didn't even offer a superficial attempt at legitimacy?

Pull the US troops right now.

TV: Doing the John Edwards

Somewhere in the wall-to-wall Haiti 'coverage' last week, we couldn't stop laughing. We'd tried being kind, we'd tried being patient but when Democracy Now! is presenting 'heroic' John Edwards' flight to Haiti -- to avoid having to address his admission that Frances Quinn Hunter was, in fact, his daughter -- we just had to surrender to gales of laughter and remind ourselves that "Tears Are Not Enough."


"Tears Are Not Enough" was one of the many the charity singles for Ethiopia in the mid-eighties. The bandwagon on that started out with the mega-hit (and very pompous) Band-Aid single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" ("We know, do they know?") in 1984. 1985 found "We Are The World" (also pompous) by USA for Africa. Then came "Tears Are Not Enough" from Northern Lights and the Canadian effort was the least well known. Possibly due to the blunt truth in the chorus that "Tears Are Not Enough."

But tears were all you needed to judge by the coverage. Certainly not common sense. Anderson Cooper was crying on camera again and, like many a closeted celebrity gay man, CNN also got a bit of footage of him staging a dramatic rescue.

The horror! Oh the horror!

Listening to the various anchors and reporters intone and shudder, we were back in Woody Allen's Hannah & Her Sisters. Where, commenting on the state of TV, Frederick (Max von Sydow) offers, "Third-rate con men telling the suckers that they speak for Jesus and to please send in money. Money, money. If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name he'd throw up. "

Indeed. It works both as a comment on the 'news' coverage and on the telethons -- Hope For Haiti Now and for KPFA which turned over the Bay Area station to raising funds on Wednesday ("136,000 raised in 13 hours by KFPA," Philip Maldari would later inform on Thursday but on Saturday, Kris Welch would claim "140,000" "on that day" was raised). Hope For Haiti Now? After two hours we wondered if we could get some disaster relief just for watching?

The latest work definitely demanded that Madonna's face be declared a disaster area. Possibly even more puzzling was her decision to perform "Like A Prayer." Why was she dipping into the eighties? Over 20 years later? And why her oral sex song ("when I'm down on my knees")? We had no idea. But we were confused in the first fifteen minutes when Bruce Springsteen decided the song to perform was the Civil Rights Movement anthem "We Shall Overcome." For the record, the Civil Rights Movement? Not really about earthquakes or earthquake relief.

Truth be told, the long, long, overly long 'special' had very few moments that passed for special. We counted only three performances by established (in US markets) artists that were special: Mary J. Blige's "Hard Times Come Again," Sting and the Roots' "Driven To Tears" (the old Police classic) and Jennifer Hudson performing "Let It Be."

The rest all seemed in a heavy race for the title of Most Ridiculous.

Justin Timberlake pretending he's Jeff Buckley and performing "Hallelujah" may seem the natural winner but we think the soon-to-be 33-year-old Chris Martin made a fool out of himself wearing clothes 15-years-too-young for himself and whining on in that faux whisper vocal he resorts to more and more. Of course, there was also the hilarity of non-singers Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock joining Keith Urban to sing (or in the first two's case, 'sing') "Lean On Me." Yes, Haiti, lean on Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock. Don't you feel better already?

We mentioned Chris Martin's ridiculous outfit but we must not forget Anderson Cooper who obviously dressed in a homage to Jacqueline Bisset's pioneering wet t-shirt work in The Deep. Watching Anderson in that too-tight t-shirt, we had to wonder if the real reason Dan Rather was run off from the anchor desk was his refusal to sport nipples?

There was Anderson, live, shoving a microphone into the mouth of a little girl just rescued from beneath rubble. It wasn't news and you could write it off as just the sort of mawkish thing that would happen on a telethon were it not for the fact that it was repeated over and over with different survivors on CNN and other outlets.

There was no respect for the victims of the earth quake. Not on any outlet.

Doubt it? Let's go to NPR's Morning Edition on Thursday. But before we get there, ask yourself what rights the victims have? Do they have the right to the same medical confidentiality as anyone else or not? From the transcript:

JOANNE SILBERNER: In the operating room before the surgery begins, Nurse Roberta Dee tells me Bazile has been a great patient.

Ms. ROBERTA DEE (Nurse): If this were in the United States, man, and we had two broken legs, they would be screaming. They're so grateful to any little thing.

JOANNE SILBERNER: With [Denise] Bazile lying there quietly, Dee shows me the X-rays.

Ms. DEE: Her fractures, as you can see, this - she went to see a local doctor first and they did X-rays. But you can see, look at the bone, these are her legs. See the breaks?

JOANNE SILBERNER: The bones aren't just broken. They're out of alignment. Orthopedic surgeon Christopher Born is going to stabilize Bazile's legs using something called an external fixator. It's done sometimes to stabilize a bad fracture for a few days or weeks until an internal metal rod can be inserted.

That segment above is insulting. Denise Bazile does not give up the right to the privacy of her medical records just because she is a victim. Nor does she need nurse Roberta Dee making insulting remarks (the remarks about 'gratitude' are insulting to Haitians and to Americans). The above was passed off as news but it wasn't news.


Like Anderson Cooper's telethon moment or Anderson Cooper on CNN 'covering' the story or any of the news outlets 'reporting,' it's not about reality, it's not about news. Like the over-inflated egos of those participating in Hope For Haiti (implying that without the concert there would be no hope?), the whole tragedy is about Look-How-Great-We-Are!

Doubt us?

"Well, I was in Haiti about a year ago and was really touched by both the people here and the plight that they are going through. And when the earthquake hit and I saw these images on television that you and people like you brought back to America, it was just heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking. And so, we started organizing, trying to figure out what we could do to help, and there is a group of us who are here, twenty-five to thirty. We've got supplies, medicine, brought doctors with us. So we’re just here to help in whatever way we can."

Who said that?

Trashy John Edwards (here for audio, text and video from Friday's Democracy Now!).

Trashy John Edwards who cheated on his wife (Elizabeth Edwards) while she was suffering from terminal breast cancer and he had a long-term affair (that continued throughout 2008 -- yes, kids, it did) only to show up on Nightline when the press finally paid attention to a story they should have covered in 2007 and Trashy John declared it was a short affair (lie), ended before his wife knew she had terminal cancer (lie), that he didn't know that the child was his (lie), and so much more.

Last week [see Ruth's "Sleazy John," Mike's "Health 'reform' and the happy Edwards couple," and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! THEY REALLY DID DESERVE EACH OTHER!" and Cedric's
"Those lying Edwards!"] John Edwards finally got honest.

Sort of.

You mean he's still not telling the full truth?

Yes, we mean that.

But mainly what we mean is that to get honest, you have to declare something. Now John Edwards is happy to go on TV and talk about Haiti. But when it was time to get honest about his daughter? He released a statement. Regretting his 'errors' and hoping his daughter would forgive him someday. His sincerity was suspect not only by his refusal to face the cameras but also by his need to send out a surrogate.

Elizabeth used surrogates last week as well -- we're not in the mood. John Edwards had multiple affairs. When he wants to get honest and stop acting like 'bad' Rielle Hunter tempted him into straying, we'll believe his sincerity. And Elizabeth? She knew about many of the affairs.

They're not telling the truth, either of them.

But John's headed to Haiti. To try to rebuild his rep. Someone needs to tell him that a reputation is not like silver. Yes, both tarnish but only one can be easily wiped clean.

To one degree or another, all the media's doing the John Edwards. They're certainly not doing reporting. But they are using Haitians as props in their attempts to prove how compassionate they themselves are, how caring, how feeling. "Tears Are Not Enough." No, they aren't. And reporters aren't supposed to make like Sally Struthers in a Save The Children ad.


Jim: This is a news and e-mail roundtable. We're grabbing a number of topics and hoping to do so quickly. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, 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); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. This is a rush transcript. Ty, first topic?


Ty: Jorge e-mails to ask, in reference to Harry Reid's remarks, why it's racist to discuss skin tones among African-Americans?

Stan: Clarification, Ty. He's asking why some other people have made this claim?

Ty: No, he's stating we made this claim.

Betty: Jorge needs to e-mail someone who's made that assertion. We have never asserted that. We have long -- Cedric, Marcia, Stan and myself -- discussed here the issues and benefits some skin tones receive within the Black community. I list us and leave out Ann not to be rude to her or to ignore her own contributions but to note that this has been a long, long process here and at our own sites. Cedric and I have been doing it here since 2005. Ann created her site last year. She has certainly addressed it at her site and here. But I'm emphasizing that this issue is not new and it is certainly not new to this site or to this community. If Jorge's confused, that's on him. I won't play like, "Oh, I'm sorry you misunderstood . . ." because I'm not. You haven't listened if you misunderstood. We've addressed this topic repeatedly for years and years. As a very dark skinned Black woman, you better believe I'm aware of it.

Cedric: As Betty points out, we all address it and she and I have been addressing it here and at our own sites as far back as 2005. I have no idea why Jorge is confused. The articles that appeared here on Reid were "No, Harry, we don't forgive you" and "Roundtable." That was January 10th, we didn't cover the subject last Sunday. I know Betty, Marcia, Stan and Ann have all moved away from it at their sites to cover other things but you can check their sites and you're not going to find, "Oh, no! Skin tone was mentioned!" There were people who were offended by Reid's talk of skin tones -- including a number of White people on MSNBC -- but it was not an issue to us.

Stan: I'm going to ask that we insert the portion I'm about to read from the roundtable Cedric just mentioned:

Ty: What Betty and I are talking about, a White man, supposedly a liberal, using the term "Negro" in 2008. When I heard the story, and I heard it on radio, it was about "light skinned" -- Barack being "light skinned" and they didn't really go into the entire story or mention that Harry Reid had used the N-word.

Cedric: I heard it on the radio as well, different station, different area of the country. And I figured it would be touched on here. Maybe in a silly article, something written to get a laugh. And I was tossing around a few ideas for that. Then Betty is just furious and I'm not getting why and Ann's explaining to me what's going on.

Ann: Right. Same radio station, Cedric and I listen to the same radio stations. But I heard an early report and had heard of the word "Negro." Once Barack decided it was okay -- a decision he can't make -- our local radio station dropped the word "Negro" from their report.

Stan: I was different. I saw it online first. And it didn't really register. I think I was just disgusted by Reid's entire remarks. However, around the second or third story I read, I started asking myself, "Why aren't they making an issue of Harry Reid using 'Negro' to refer to Black people?"

Marcia: And that's when my cousin called me. Stan calls me and asks me about it and I've missed the story because it's Saturday and I'm doing my weekend stuff. So I do like a lot of us, I pull up three to five different articles on the same story. And I'm flipping from one to the next and at the end of the five, no one's raised the issue of Reid using "Negro." Hate to break it to White America, but somewhere around the dawn of the seventies, that term stopped being used.
And I do find it insulting.

Stan (Con't): Now you can look at the other remarks, that's only a sampling, and you'll see we weren't saying a word about skin tone. I didn't quote Betty. I'm going to note the first thing she wrote on this at her site, so important that she did a Sunday post and we're all so tired from this that none of us get online Sunday after we finish at Third --

Ann: Except C.I.

Stan: Except C.I. Sorry. Thanks, Ann. So here's Betty writing about the press fixation on the skin tones while they ignore the real insult:

Barack Obama was not the target of the insult in Reid's remarks. The point of Reid's remarks was that America could accept "light skinned" Barack in a way that they wouldn't someone else. I'd say, "The way that they wouldn't accept a real Black politician." (I'm no bi-racial. Unlike Barack, I can't pass nor can my children.) If that were the only comment, I'd be rolling my eyes. I really don't care if the two boyfriends Harry and Barry have a lover's spat. I have other things to focus on. But that's not where it ended. Harry Reid went on to praise Barry as a "light skinned" person who has "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." That's offensive and that's aimed at Blacks, it's not aimed at Airy-fairy Barry, it's aimed at me, it's aimed my children, it's aimed at my family, it's aimed at my church and I take it very personally. I will give Colbert King some credit for this Washington Post post. At least he's aware that the use of "Negro" is offensive. But he goes on to talk about slave dialects and really doesn't get it. That's not what Harry Reid was talking about.

Stan (Con't): Now she wrote about it again and again and again. She rejected the claims that it was like Trent Lott's remarks noting that Lott took the issue to BET and took accountability while the Monday after the news broke on the weekend, Harry Reid announces he is done discussing the subject. At another post, she's explaining, "He was talking to two White man, in 2008, and the way to refer to Black people or African-Americans was with the term 'Negro'." Now I could go on and on with this topic but I'll note that Jorge is confused or intentionally misleading.

Marcia: Betty may want to jump in but I'm leaping over her because, while she hit hard on this subject, I really think the more she wrote, the better she got. The thing Stan quoted at the end was really her last post on the subject and she is so right: It's what Reid and two White men use to refer to African-Americans or Blacks when no person of color is present: "Negro."

Jim: I agree with Betty's writings and think she nailed it, like Marcia said, but to anticipate e-mails -- -- from anyone claiming, "Well it's on the census!" -- that's been the big talking point -- "So what's wrong with it?"

C.I.: Excuse me but that line of 'logic' was always bulls**t and if anyone wants to argue it's not, then let's see Harry Reid address a group of African-Americans with the opening of, "Hello, Negroes, thank you for coming."

Betty: Amen! I really hadn't thought much of the issue Jim's bringing up now. I'd heard it but I hadn't thought of it and I'm not sure if anyone else had because there was a pause -- lengthy -- before C.I. responded to Jim's question. I think we were all trying to choose our words because, where we go, is to elders. Before that issue is raised, I want to say C.I. is exactly right. If there's nothing wrong with Harry Reid's use of "Negro," then let's seem him address Black communities with that term.

Ty: Agreed. I'll pick up on the issue of elders. My grandmother identifies as Black. I don't know anyone of her age or older who identifies as "Negro." I'm sure some do. But that nonsense -- "well it's on the Census" -- immediately shut down the dialogue because a lot of us wanted to choose our words carefully due to not wanting to insult elders who might use the term.

Ann: Ty's talking about how we held off in our own conversations and in whatever passes for "Black media" these days. He's right about that and we just had a really good example because when Jim played devil's advocate there we all fell silent. We were jumping in before, couldn't wait to be the next to weigh in, but then that issue, the census, was raised and we all go silent. I really don't care, I'll speak frankly, I really don't care that some African-Americans or Blacks may be comfortable with the term "Negro." If you're Black, you're fully aware that some Blacks use the other n-word. Does that mean it should be on the census? Does it mean Harry Reid, speaking with two other White men, should be using that term to refer to my race? No.

Cedric: I'll back my wife. We both do work with our church, with older members, and Three Cool Old Guys -- who write a column for the gina & krista round-robin, are old enough to remember the days before the Civil Rights Movement. And they don't refer to one another as "Negro." But if they did, it doesn't matter. The majority of African-Americans or Blacks do not use that term to self-refer or self-identify and there's no excuse for Harry Reid to use it.

Betty: I would agree with everything's that been said and Ann brought up the other n-word so let me comment there. My father, to this day, would be grossly disappointed in me if I ever used that word. We were taught, rightly, my sisters, my brother and me, that we can't expect respect for our race if we're tearing our race down by tossing around the n-word, but, boy, have I been tempted from time to time when posting. And I know Marcia has as well.

Marcia: I have a post where I let it rip and I say I'm not going to hold back, and I just let it rip and hold everyone accountable -- men and women, so-called feminists, you name it -- for what they did to Hillary's campaign. And before I wrote it and before I published it, I called C.I. C.I.'s first words of advice were, "Marcia, you're so upsetting your voice is shaking. Whether you publish it or not, you need to write about this topic. If you don't, you're bottling it up and it's going to stress you out and harm you." So I wrote it and I had one self-edit. Then I called C.I. and read it word for word. C.I. said, "You're angry. It's very clear you are furious. You are offering your opinions and you're not prettying it up. If you want to publish it, publish it. I will stand by you if you get any heat -- from within the community or outside -- but I don't think you'll get any heat." And I really didn't. I did publish it and even the ones who hate my site weren't bothered by that post. I've considered, many months later, taking it down because I'm not that angry now. And "anger"? I was enraged. But I won't take it down. That captures where I was at on that day and it wasn't a pretty place and I don't want to forget it. I don't want to erase it. But I mentioned I had one self-edit. That was that n-word. I was so close to using it throughout as I wrote. But I thought, I don't use it, I've never used it, I won't start now. But that's the only term I didn't use.

Betty: Marcia, if I can ask, what was the reason? You said you'd never used it and I'm just wondering the reason. If I can back up, a lot of us do. A lot of us in the Black community use that term. I wish we didn't. But we do. And for me, I don't use it because of the message my father imparted. My mother didn't make an issue out of it, she let him make an issue out of it. She made an issue out of swearing. But that's why I've never used it in conversation.

Marcia: I was bused. I think I'm probably the only one participating who was. Busing was an experiment in the seventies towards integration. White students and African-American students were frequently bused out of the schools in their own district into another district in an attempt to achieve better racial standards and relations for all. That's when I heard the n-word for the first time. And it wasn't said sweetly or in a rap way. It was hurled as an insult.

Ann: That really makes me want to cry. I'm sorry to jump in. But it's an ugly word used to hurt and I think most of us, most who are Black, have probably heard it at one time or another, but to hear it when you're away from home and your family's not there. When you're at a school you don't know. It just makes me very sad.

Marcia: Well I did feel very alone. I was in the classroom and it was a mean kid, a White boy, in the seat ahead of me and then the guy in the seat behind me joined in. I really didn't know what the word was other than it had something to do with my skin color and that it was being said as an insult. But thats why I don't use the term. I do return to that. And that was a very scary moment because, as Ann points out, my parents aren't around and I'm not in my neighborhood. I'm trapped at a school. My parents really can't come and get me. They'll have to leave work and it will be a long drive. I'm stuck and these two bullies are picking on me and no one, not even the teacher pretending not to hear it, is defending me.

Jess: If it's okay to ask, did it stop? How did it stop?

Marcia: They got louder and louder, the two boys, and then one of them reached for me. At that point, I grabbed my text book and hit him across the face with it. I was sent to the principal's office. He was a White man and that does matter in terms of my life because, unlike the teacher, he didn't ignore what had happened. He punished the boys, made them apologize to me, called their parents in and then put me in another class and introduced me to the class as his "friend" saying he knew no one was going to be mean or pick on his friend. And he did check on me regularly and also began going through the classrooms at random. My parents always thought he was just shocked that this would be okay in his school and horrified that it would be considered okay in front of a teacher. My mother liked him a lot. When I told my folks at dinner what had happened, my mother made plans to meet with the principal the next day and did. She liked him. And she and my father felt that the issue was now being dealt with but they also made it clear that I could go into private school if I wanted.

Ruth: Did you?

Marcia: No. I made friends -- White ones and Black ones. And the principal had scared the two bullies so badly that they never messed with me again. But my own feelings on busing are that I'm opposed to it. I think it was an effort by adults to improve race relations and academic access and all that. But I don't think they ever grasped what it would be like to be a kid riding one of those buses. I'm not even talking about the racial component right now, I'm talking about the "I live here but I go to school all the way over there."

Ty: Okay. I'll move on to another e-mail. Betty -- not our Betty -- e-mails to ask if we're aware that Naomi Wolf who "can't stop slamming and sliming Republicans" has "a long history of applauding them in the past? One example is 'Finally, Action! Ron Paul Introduces Bill to Defend Constitution!' I'll assume her drug use has effected her memory but that column was from 2007." Anyone?

Rebecca: I find it hilarious that Naomi wants to play the abortion card in 2008 and 2009 but in 2007 is praising Ron Paul who most abortion rights supporters do not see as a friend -- to put it mildly.

Jim: That's Rebecca participating from London. Rebecca, you're in England and I was wondering if you had anything to say on that.

Rebecca: Nothing! I can't talk about it. I'm helping a friend working for the Labour Party. I can say thank you to Wally for blogging for me at my blog last week and I can say thank you to C.I. for watching my little girl. I hope to be back next weekend. That will depend on how much damage Tony Blair's testimony does or doesn't do when he appears before the Iraq Inquiry later this week. I can tell you this, Blair's not communicating with Labour leadership ahead of his appearance, at least not so far. And, for those who don't know, England will be holding Parliamentary elections -- think Congress in the US -- shortly.

Jim: Gordon Brown, the current prime minister, the one replaced Tony Blair as prime minister, will be testifying before the elections as well. Do you have anything to say on that?

Rebecca: I don't. But I will say C.I. has good sources -- I'm not one of C.I.'s sources -- and if you're trying to follow what goes on behind the scenes, read her. She is correct that I was asked to come to London because it was thought Brown would be testifying. She was also correct in a number of things on Friday that even I wasn't aware of it. I read that as I was getting ready to go to sleep and had to pick up the phone and start asking, "Is this true?" And then gripe that we need to know all of this and I shouldn't be reading about it online.

Jim: To be clear, the person you were asking "Is this true?" was not C.I.

Rebecca: No. As she has noted, as C.I. has noted, my calls to her are usually "Hey, how are you?" quick and then she hands the phone to my daughter. I always plan to talk to C.I. after that but I usually have to get off the phone in about five minutes because something's come up. So I'm usually saying bye-bye to my daughter and off the phone.

Dona: Rebecca, there were e-mails, when C.I. noted she was watching your daughter, there were e-mails to the public account at TCI wondering why that was? Why you didn't take your daughter with you?

Rebecca: England's not a pool of malaria or anything like that, however, I did call my child's doctor and was told that we should consider a few shots and that's when I decided if it happened -- if I was needed here -- I wouldn't bring my daughter. At that point, I considered who and it was a short list -- who I could entrust her too. Trina was on my list but she's already taking care of her grandchild, Ruth was on my list and X-ed for the same reason as Trina. That left my sisters, Elaine and C.I. I called Elaine to get her input and she was of the opinion it should be C.I. Elaine said she'd herself would do it gladly but that it would be better to go with C.I. because C.I. would be on the road, the scenery would change constantly and my daughter wouldn't be bored. My sisters were on the list and X-ed themselves off when they made it a competition of who do I trust more? So that left C.I. Who really wasn't give a choice or a vote in it. I kept meaning to talk about it with her but really didn't. Then Sunday, while she was partying after the Globes, I called her and said, "I have to leave tomorrow. Can you watch my child?" That meant she and Wally flew out Monday and we met at the Boston airport as Flyboy and I left for England and handed off the baby.

Jim: Before you left, you had already voted absentee, correct?

Rebecca: In Tuesday's election? Yes. I took Scott Brown for the block.

Jim: So did Mike. I'm not sure about Trina. But let's turn to those two and the topic of the election in Massachusetts. Trina?

Trina: Who I voted for? I wanted to see a woman in the office. But I did not want the country to suffer from ObamaCare. I was torn but then my family, including my parents, moved to Brown so I did as well. It was a strategic vote. I don't mean to imply that I think Scott Brown is evil or a bad person. But I would have preferred to have voted for Martha Coakley. She made that impossible by going from the outsider primary challenge to in bed with Barack.

Mike: I'd agree with my mother. I actually didn't know who she voted for until right now. I knew she was torn in the last day's leading up and we all tried to back off from asking her. There, in the family, there really was excitement -- like the kind Betty wrote about on her blog -- the minute we tipped. At first it was just my two uncles and then it was my grandfather and then it just snowballed and we were all going to be voting for Brown. At that point, it was all we talked about and we did talk about the election with Mom but we knew she was torn on whom to vote for and we made a decision not to pressure her -- either to vote for Brown or tell us who she voted for.

Jess: Trina and Mike, since you were on the ground election day, what do you think the coverage then or since has missed?

Trina: I think Mike wrote about this before the election, the day of the election and after but I would agree and say that it was the number of Democrats that went for Brown.

Betty: I'm in California and I'm excited by the race -- I'm a Democrat -- so I don't understand how it would be possible that some Democrats wouldn't be excited in your state as well. But I don't see that in the coverage.

Trina: Right. The coverage maintains that Republicans got out their base and independents broke for Brown. It doesn't add up for me. We heard a similar argument when Romney won the governor's race awhile back -- Mitt Romney -- and when you checked the breakdown, these were Democratic strongholds that also went for Romney. Without at least some Democrats, Romney wouldn't have won. The same with Brown. That's because we're not a state that has an equal number of registered Republicans and Democrats. We are overwhelmingly Democrat. So much so that the suggestion that a significant number stayed home and that's why Brown won makes no sense. Brown won Democratic votes. He won them in my family -- as well as Socialist votes -- he won them in my church. He won them on our block. We didn't put up a Brown sign. We had a Coakley sign up during the primary. We didn't put up a Brown sign but there were Brown signs all over our block.

Jim: Mike?

Mike: Well . . . I've written about this and I agree with my mother but C.I. has an interesting take. Each week, C.I., Ava, Kat and Wally end their road trip in our area and we see them Friday until they fly out early Saturday. And we have the Iraq study group on Friday and they all share various things in that like they did reports on the Congressional hearings they attended this week and C.I. did a report on the Iraq Inquiry. After the study group broke up, which means maybe half the people left, and we were all mingling, I walked over to a group C.I. was in and she was talking about anger.

C.I.: The question, which I won't be able to remember exactly, was about the media portrayal of the anger and the Dems portrayal of it and how it was a new development and how dealing with this or that would make it go away. I was asked that -- better worded than I just summarized it -- and I said that was nonsense. I wondered if Pat Caddell was polling on this because, if so, he should certainly grasp that it is not a new development. And I went on with explanations of that and Pat's work in the early seventies, chiefly for the McGovern campaign, but I think Mike really wanted was my stating it's not just the economy. I haven't heard James Carville say, "It's the economy, stupid." But he doesn't need to in a world of a myna birds. It's not just the economy. We've had economic downturns before -- and had them with out of touch presidents in office. It's the mood. The mood is a combination of many things including, yes, the economy but also including the wars. In fact, the wars -- and I think Pat Caddell could poll on this and pinpoint it -- are the source of the unrest. The economy comes on top of that. It's like during Vietnam, the wars -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- are out there, buried by the press or not -- and they weigh on the country's psyche. And when you think about the economy for any length of time, you will usually come to the point of the economic costs of the Iraq War, for example. It is the wars, it is the economy and it is the failed politicians who do not live up to their words. Those are the three most significant factors in the mood of the country. As long as the wars continue to drag on the country will be 'restless' at best. That will be the case even if unemployment goes down in March.

Elaine: I agree completely and "out of sight, out of mind" does not apply. The media can -- and apparently has -- decided to hide the wars. What they wouldn't do for Bush, they will for Barack. But they can hide all they want, the reality is the wars continue and a person can hide from reality, can try to block it out and deny it, but it's still going to leave an impression on the psyche and the wars are leaving an impression on the national psyche. I also agree with C.I. regarding the anger being similar to the Vietnam era. What people may not remember is that Kennedy-LBJ started the war and Nixon campaigned on a 'secret plan' to end it but continued it. He was re-elected, Nixon, to a second term still claiming a 'secret plan' to end it. It was having both major political parties continue the war and having both lie about ending it that bred the anger which stemmed from the frustration over the war.

Jim: Okay. Interesting. Dona's slid me a note which says Wally, Kat, Isaiah and Ava haven't spoken at all and that Ruth has barely spoken. We're getting close to the wind down so let's turn to the four who haven't spoken. I'll start with Isaiah so we can deal with one topic. Isaiah, no comic last Sunday. Why?

Isaiah: I'm laughing at that question. Last week was not a productive writing edition here and Ava and C.I. made it very clear that were not pleased by that. They had a hard deadline for when they needed to be done because they were going to the Golden Globes that evening. They didn't get to leave then and they were very upset and very vocal about that. And, as a result, after I woke up Sunday afternoon, I decided I wouldn't do a comic and I e-mailed C.I. to let her know that late Sunday night.

Jim: That was a very kind way of putting it. Mike was kind in "John V. Walsh, Lance Selfa" as well. Ava, you want to try to take the gloves off?

Ava: Sure. It was four a.m. here and we were going off to do our TV piece, C.I. and I. The last thing I said to you, to you Jim, was, "You better get something workable written and stop bullsh**ting." We came back and nothing was done while we were gone. From ten a.m. our time -- PST -- until four a.m. PST, the only thing that was written was the editorial. Things were started. They weren't finished. They didn't appear workable but maybe they were, I don't know. So C.I. and I go off to write our article and come back and there's still nothing there. A roundtable is quickly called hoping that will provide an easy article. C.I. was adament that a roundtable whose topic was this site seemed vain in a strong edition and would seem incredibly deluded with a weak edition. We had a weak edition and, ask Ty, the response was not pleasant from our readers.

Jim: No, it wasn't. And I'll take the fall for it. I pushed for it. I was warned against it. Now part of the reason nothing was accomplished was because we were sharing a lot of memories. Last week, for those who don't know, was this site's fifth anniversary. And reflections took up a lot of time. I thought, when we were trying to get a strong piece, that we could bring in some of the stories we'd already shared -- bring them into a roundtable. It really didn't work out that way. And the roundtable really didn't work. Again, I'll take the fall. I pushed for it. I was warned against it and I chose not to listen. Wally and Kat and Ruth, you can weigh in on this or another topic, up to you.

Kat: I think we'll cover this in another article but I want to bring it up here. For background, see C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and my "Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity." A subcomittee hearing heard from the VA about what they were doing regarding getting benefit checks to veterans. We're talking about the GI Bill. And we heard the same excuses from the VA that we always here and, worse, we heard the same "Please, let us know when there are problems. Please, don't surprise us anymore." The VA walks over veterans and Congress just says "please." It's disgusting. There should have been real hearings and the VA should have been held accountable.

Wally: I agree with Kat. We were all, Kat, Ava, C.I. and myself, talking to three veterans after that hearing and those three were not pleased and do not feel Congress is providing oversight or addressing the problem. I agree with that.

Jim: Ruth? You get the last word.

Ruth: Hmm. I do agree that the VA should have heard hearings. Are we only concerned when it is life or death? Walter Reed only concerns us because that is medical abuse? We are not concerned when the issue is veterans waiting months and months for checks? As C.I. explained in the snapshot, approximately 1,000 veterans are still waiting for their benefit checks for the 2009 fall sememster. Right now, they continue waiting. That is not acceptable and the Congress needs to be demanding answers and accountability.

Jim: Thank you, Ruth. And on that note, we wrap up. This is a rush transcript.

Toxic Barry

Last Sunday, he thought he still had power.

Barack speaking at Coakley rally

That's when he breezed through Massachusetts knowing -- just knowing -- he could pull out a win for Martha Coakley. (Coakley's problems started when she got too close to Barack.)

Like everything else he does, it was half-assed and too late.

And Scott Brown ended up winning shocking a media that had long ago become the Cult of St. Barack.

Now his 'health care' plan (BigBusinessGiveAway) is dead. And it's so dead that Norman Solomon could actually speak out against it last week.

Now he's having to work really, really hard on his upcoming State of the Union speech.

He's toxic.

He's already cost two governorships in the last few months and now a US Senate seat.

He's so toxic that everyone is laughing at a certain in-the-tank for Barry blogger who is now e-mailing people she banned two years ago asking them to please consider posting comments at her site again.

That little blogger dumped Hillary the minute she realized there was money to be made in the Cult of St. Barack. How very telling that now she realizes she can't make anymore money singing "Loving You" to Barry.

The ground didn't shift when Scott Brown won. It had already shifted. In fact, that's partly why he won.

The change -- the real change you can believe in -- was that the media saw a sucker draining them and decided they'd work less hard to hype him.

There is no such thing as rape (Ava and C.I.)

There is no such thing as rape.

Now before you rush to dash off an angry e-mail to us (Ava and C.I.), take a breath and grasp we're not making that argument, NPR did.


We firmly believe that rape and rape victims exist. We know they exist. We know women and men who have been raped. We also know that rape isn't "sex."

So we were appalled to learn that rape really doesn't exist as we listened to Morning Edition on NPR Friday -- specifically to this segment (link has audio and transcript).

The story was about what punishment film director Roman Polanski might or might not face for criminal actions in the seventies while in the United States. Criminal actions?

Renee Montagne introduced the segment explaining "a ruling [. . .] may put an end to the long-running sex case." Karen Grigsby Bates did a little better (not much) by explaining in her report that Polanski is "guilty to having had sex with an underage girl" over thirty-three years ago.

Grigsby Bates then brought on Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. If Levenson said rape during her interview, it was edited out before broadcast. Grigsby Bates then noted that Polanski's attorneys portray "him as a victim." Robin Sax was then brought on as a legal expert but she also wasn't broadcast using the term "rape."

For over three minutes and thirty seconds, NPR repeatedly took a rape and turned it into "sex."

At Women's Web, Linda Lin explains the basics:

Rape has nothing to do with sex. Rape is purely an act of violence and control. Plain and simple, violence and control are the key goals of most rapists. The criminal wishes to control the victim and, most times, the criminal exerts that control through violence or threats or both at once. Only once one realizes that rape has nothing to do with sex can one finally come to understand what rape really is. Rape has never been about sex. When you hear a rapist claim that the act of rape was sex or consensual sex, right off the bat, you can pretty much guess that the criminal is fabricating a story. Rape is not about sex. Rape is not sex. There is nothing sexy at all about rape, and anyone can fall victim to it. Rape does not discriminate on the basis of physical appearance, clothing, nationality, age, religion, ability, status, class, or nationality. Rapists are criminals and they will rape anyone that they want to rape. However, there are things that you can do to lessen your chances of being that next victim. There are no guarantees -- just preparations and warnings.

Those are the basics but the basics repeatedly prove to be beyond the media. Over two years ago, Jennifer L. Pozner (Huffington Post) was decrying the media's refusal to grasp the difference between rape and sex:

On Thursday, in response to an unfortunately-headlined crime story, I wrote a blog post at WIMN's Voices titled,
"Seriously, editors, how have you not gotten this yet? "Rape" is not "sex":

I am seriously tired of writing articles, op-eds and blog posts -- and arguing with reporters, editors, and cable news hosts -- about the journalistic responsibility to not describe non-consensual, criminal sexual assault as "rape" or "sexual assault," not simply "having sex."

And now it's our turn to point it out. Now we're not following the Polanski coverage, we skip it in the paper. If this hadn't aired on NPR, we'd probably be unfamiliar with it. But there it was Friday on NPR: Rape is sex.

After three hours and thirty seconds -- which included making the time to play a movie clip, Grigsby Bates finally ended her report with this, "A public outrage that a man who plied a 13-year-old girl with alcohol and drugs and then raped her might get off with only a few days served. It could all be decided today. Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News."

It is rape. If you don't get that it's about power and not about sex, grasp that a young girl was given both booze and other drugs. Grasp that even after being drugged, she still said "no" -- repeatedly. It was rape.

And people will continue to confuse rape with sex until the news media makes real efforts to stop minimizing one (rape) by pretending it was the other.



Last week, the Iraq Inquiry continued in London and, for a change, NPR actually included it in their top of the hour news headlines.

Monday, Jonathan Powell (Tony Blair's Chief of Staff) told the committee that it was shocking that there were no WMDs in Iraq. And if that wasn't the most embarrassing moment, it was only because Sec of Defence (2001-2005) Geoffrey Hoon testified Tuesday and explained really, it was the US' fault -- that whole war thingie -- because, you know, 9-11, it was just so big in the US and there was just this huge support for war as a result.

Iraq was not responsible for 9-11 and there was not huge support for going to war with Iraq. Hoon was a complete liar.

In the US, most are aware of the various lies that Bully Boy Bush used to sell the illegal war. In England, Tony Blair was fond of declaring that Iraq had WMD which they could launch on England in 45 minutes. (The Inquiry has already established that this assertion was known to be false prior to the start of the Iraq War and that Tony Blair should have been informed of that if information followed the chain of communication. Whether it did or not is a question the committee should ask Blair when he appears this week.) So when the Permanent Secretary Security and Intelligence Coordinator (2002 to 2005) testified, this was probably the most interesting exchange.

David Omand: I would interpret that as meaning people saying there isn't enough intelligence in substance, but this isn't going to look very convincing if we are not allowed to show more of it. That's my personal expression -- explanation of why, as it were, people fell on the 45 minutes. At least that was something the Secret Service would allow to be used. With hindsight, one can see that adding a bit of local colour like that is asking for trouble. But we didn't really spot that at the time.

Ormand declares of the 45 minute lie, it was "a bit of local colour."

Thursday the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (2001-2006) Jack Straw testified. It was a I-can't-believe-he's-saying-this-in-front-of-people moment. He claimed UN weapons inspectors had finished their inspections before the Iraq War started (they hadn't, they were forced out when Bush announced the war would start), he claimed "WMD" really didn't mean "Weapons of Mass Destruction." It just meant "missiles" and it was used by mistake. (Repeatedly used but no one challenged Straw.) Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry Digest) attempted to fact check Straw's fact free testimony. Straw was so comfortable lying, he even cited a reference who could vouch for him -- one who couldn't. As Channel 4 News' Iraq Inquiry Blogger explained, "Odd too when Straw appeared to suggest that the panel take evidence from the late Robin Cook to confirm how he -- Straw -- had always insisted the war only proceed after parliamentary debate."

The Liberal Democrats issued the following after Straw testified:
"Given his central role and all we know about Blair's support for Bush's regime change plans, Straw's claim seems implausible," said the Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary.
Commenting on Jack Straw's appearance at the Iraq Inquiry, Edward Davey said:
"Jack Straw's insistence that he used his 'judgement' rather than solid proof of the existence of WMD is a weak defence of his role in this disastrous war.
"Given his central role and all we know about Blair's support for Bush's regime change plans, Straw's claim seems implausible.
"It is clear that he is desperate to distance himself from Tony Blair's unrepentant belief that he would have got rid of Saddam whatever it took.
"Jack Straw's testimony today also shows that there is no problem with serving Cabinet ministers appearing before the Iraq Inquiry. There is no obstacle to Gordon Brown appearing before the General Election to talk about his role as Chancellor in the run up to and during the Iraq War."

Shortly after that was issued, Gordon Brown leaked that he would be appearing before the committee before England held elections. Friday's hearing began with the following statement from the chair.

Chair John Chilcott: Before I begin, I should like to make a short statement. The Iraq Inquiry that sits before you is an independent committee, dedicated to establishing an account of the UK's involvement in Iraq between 2001 and 2009 and learning lessons for governments facing similar circumstances in the future. Now, from the outset, we have made it clear that we wish to stay outside party politics. Ours is a serious task and we wish to collect our evidence in a way in which our witnesses will be open about what happened and give their evidence fully without the hearings beging used as a platform for political advantage by any party. It was for this reason that my colleagues and I made a decision announced before Christmas, that we would not call ministers currently serving in posts relevant to Iraq until after the election. The Prime Minister wrote to me earlier this week to say that he was preapred to give evidence whenever we saw fit. In my reply to the Prime Minister yesterday evening, I said that, as a matter of fairness, the committee concluded we should offer the Prime Minister, if he wished to take it up, the opportunity for him, for David Miliband, as Foreign Secretary, and Douglas Alexander, Development Secretary, to attend hearings before the general election. The Prime Minister replied to me this morning to say that he will be happy to agree dates from a range we have proposed over the next two months and this correspondece is now being published on our website. Thank you.

Chilcot apparently intended to break the news and he and the committee were not pleased that Brown had leaked the news the night before. Graeme Wilson (The Sun) explained, "The inquiry is believed to be furious that the move was revealed by No 10 sources before a planned announcement today." David Brown (Times of London) also noted the anger, "An exact date for the Prime Minister's appearance is yet to be set and sources said that members of the inquiry were absolutely furious that the information was released by No 10 before its planned announcement today. They complain that Downing Street is turning the invitation, which was extended by the inquiry in a letter last night, into a political issue."

The banning of candidates continued in Iraq but that's the topic of an editorial so we'll turn to last week's violence. Sunday 4 Iraqis were reported dead and four injured; Monday 11 were reported dead and 10 wounded; Tuesday no one reported dead or wounded; Wednesday 6 were reported dead and 11 were reported wounded; Thursday no one was reported dead or wounded; Friday 1 person was reported dead and 6 were reported wounded; and Saturday 3 were reported dead and 6 wounded. That's 24 reported dead and 39 reported wounded.

Thursday, the US military announced: "CAMP VICTORY, Iraq -- A U.S. Soldier assigned to United States Forces - Iraq died of non-combat related injuries as a result of a vehicle accident, Jan. 20. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website [. . .] The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brought the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4374.

The war on Social Security


Last week's "Editorial: The Haiti Distraction," included this: "The slashing of Social Security is being proposed (here for NPR's audio and transcript) and the left slept through that as they continued their drum beats for Haiti."

Did you use the link?

Did you find out about Senators Judd Gregg and Kent Conrad? The love slaves of Peter Peterson who drools at the prospect of finally doing away with Social Security. With Peterson pulling the strings, Conrad and Gregg want to set up the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action.

December 15th, CNN reported, "CNN has learned President Obama is seriously considering an executive order to create a bipartisan commission that could weigh sweeping tax increases and spending cuts to popular programs like Social Security and Medicare in order to try slash the soaring federal deficit." Yesterday, Jackie Calmes (New York Times) reported US President Barack Obama publicly gave his support to the creation of a commmission and a Congressional vote is expected as early as Tuesday.

Where was Panhandle Media last week when they should have been alerting you, when they should have been sounding the trumpets?

Same place they were January 16, 2009: Nowhere. They ignored Barack's statements then as well. From that day's "Iraq snapshot:"
Turning to US politics, President-elect Barack Obama met with the Washington Post editorial board yesterday. Here for Michael D Shear's text article, here for the sixty-one minute audio. Warning for those listening to the audio, Barack's speaking abilities have not magically improved. Sample: "Uh, obviously military service is uh something we uh honor as a country [. . .] That's going to be something that we uh uh . . ." And four minutes, for those wondering, he takes his first swipe at African-American fathers. Yes, it's Barack singing all his well known tunes. And mixing in a few new ones such as, "It's not something I've said publicly . . . but spending money wisely is not easy." Mostly, the interivew will be remembered as the one where Barack declared War on Social Security. Barack's replied to questions and made vague statements. But, his Love Cult insists, that's just the Nice Guy Barry trying to make nice and get along. He doesn't want to say, "Stupid crooks, Social Security is not going to be chipped away!" Well, actually he does want to say that and he did say that. [. . .] He begins talking about his big "Fiscal Responsibility Summit" that will be held in February and include a motley crew that will "talk about waste." He then segues into Social Security during this response (at approximately 16:14) and states the following:
We're also going to have a discussion about entitlements and how we get a grasp on those. Uh and uh, you know, like i think everybody here is familiar enough with the budget problems to know that as bad as these deficits that we're running up over the next -- that have already been run up -- have been and despite the cost of both TARP and the stimulus, the real problem in our long term deficit actually has to do with our entitlement obligation and the fact that historically uh if our revenues ranged between 18 and 20% of GDP they're now at 16. It's just not sustainable so we're going to have to uh craft a uh what George Stephanopoulos called a grand bargain and I-I try not to use the word grand in anything that I say but uh but we're going to have to shape a baragain. This, by the way, is where there are going to be some very difficult choices and issues of sacrifices and responsibilty and duty are going to come in because what we have done is kick this can down the road. We're now at the end of the road and uh we are not in a position to kick it any further.
Those are right-wing talking points and only the most historically ignorant of Barack's Love Cult will fail to grasp the declaration of war.

But they refused to call it out then and they were awfully silent last week as well.

Go Gidget!

Juan Uninformed Cole

Uninformed Boob Juan Cole -- a War Cheerleader at the start who has been repeatedly allowed to revise his own 'historical' record -- declared last week that the Iraq War was over and that Barack Obama had won it.

Who knew the Princess from Hawaii had won a war?

There's been a change
Down by the sea

Since the Gidget went

To Waikiki
Cause when the Gidget goes Hawaiian
She goes Hawaiian all the way.

-- written by Stanley Styne and Fred Karger, performed by James Darren on the soundtrack of Gidget Goes Hawaiian

Well let's hear for Barack and his manboobs.

Juan Cole says he's ended the Iraq War.

But, thing is, Barack's not done s**t.

Even if you believe that, at the end of 2011, the SOFA (as presently written) will not be replaced with another agreement and that US troops will leave Iraq, there's still the fact that the SOFA . . . not Barack's plan.

George W. Bush is responsible for the SOFA. Barack wasn't president when the SOFA was rammed through the Iraqi Parliament.

Barack's done nothing.

He hasn't even kept his campaign promises. (Anyone remember his promise to withdraw one brigade a month as soon as he was sworn in? Twelve brigades should have come home. Despite Juan Cole's whoring ass, that hasn't happened.)

Juan Cole is uninformed boob whose position on the illegal war has shifted here, there and everywhere.

Our favorite Juanie moment will always be when, on CounterSpin (back when it was worth listening to), Steve Rendall nailed Juan on his revisionary tactics re: Iraq.

The Futility of Norman Solomon (Ava and C.I.)

Last week, Norman Solomon showed up on KPFA (Thursday's The Morning Show) and he was almost rational. He didn't spit on people and he wasn't hyping Barry O.

If you only half-listened, you might think he could be welcomed back into the house. But if you really paid attention, you grasped that he's still not house broken.

When a caller floated the idea that, with the most recent round of all the broken promises from the Democrats, maybe it was time to focus on building a new political party, Norman immediately dismissed it. To his credit, he didn't promote his organization (PDA) in the heavy-handed manner he usually does, but he did insist that the answer was to elect "progressives."

He insisted that the idea of a new party just wasn't feasible and that it had been kicked around forever. Instead, what needed to be done, Norman explained, was to "change the party from within."

And Philip Maldari didn't object (and the caller was off the line).

Normy shot down a new party saying that idea had been kicked around forever and wasn't feasible. But he wants to work on changing the party from within?

Though many may not know this, that's been the plan forever and a day. Back in FDR's time, he big tented and many Communists and Socialists hopped on board (not all) with the plan that they would change the Democratic Party from within. During Vietnam, the "New Left" was convinced that they could, yes, change the Democratic Party from within. People tried in the eighties, in the nineties and today.

It's actually been tried continuously, seriously and repeatedly for at least seventy years.

By contrast, a viable third party or new party has not had the same efforts or imagination applied.

We're not saying anything Norman doesn't already know.

And there's a lot more Normy's not saying.

For example, seniority rules in Congress. What does that mean?

Let's say that, over the next five election cycles, PDA managed to get 20 "progressives" into the House. Those are newbies. They won't be put in charge of committees.

But they can vote!

Uh, we saw that health care vote. Just like we saw the appropriations votes for funding the Iraq War.


We hear the big talk, see the press releases issued, watch people chew the fat with Amy Goodman and then?

And then watch them slink in for the vote and . . . do . . . exactly what Nancy Pelosi tells them to.

Want us to get on board with putting more PDAs in Congress, Norman? Then encourage the ones that are in Congress to give us a reason to send in reinforcements.

Until then, Norman can keep hopping his high horse but, reality, the caller was right and Norman's response was less than honest.

The Revolution will be streamed?


Revolution magazine ("Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA"), is attempting a viral effort:

The REVOLUTION is real. Watch it. Spread it.,

In the video, Bob Avakian covers a multitude of topics including police brutality, sexism, rape, history, imperialism, etc.

If you're a Communist, you'll probably enjoy the talk. If you're not a Communist? You need to hear the talk. You need to hear it to get another take on the issues. You may find yourself nodding along in agreement with many things (we did) or you may find yourself in disagreement. If it's the latter, good. It's good to know what you don't believe in and not just what you do.

And regardless of where you are on the political system, it is good to hear from an unapologetic Communist, from one who refuses to hide in a political closet. The US is only as vibrant as its people. When we all try to be the same (or to pretend we are) we do get conformity but we lose out on innovation.


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, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"I Hate The War" -- Most requested highlight of the week, C.I. on the demise of Air America Radio.

"Iraq snapshot," "Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Ft. Hood," "Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity," "Iraq snapshot," "Armed Services Committee Hearing on Fort Hood" and "US House Armed Services Committee" -- C.I., Kat and Wally report on Congressional hearings they attended. As Trina likes to point out, there is real reporting going on.

"Know the facts, Philip Maldari," "Out-FM, Joy of Resistance," "Social Security's attacked but news stays on Haiti," "Saturation destroys compassion," "Lila and Medea: Two old whores in love with war," "The constant sexism of Terry Gross," "Paul Krugman may do something maybe possibly," "Morning Show," "Philip Maldari leaves The Morning Show" and "KPFA doesn't like American People,"
"Homophobic KPFA," "Ron Jacobs, please, please" -- Media criticism from the community.

"Ego Mania vs. the United States" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"In Massachusetts, the view's far different than in... ," "Suck on it, Barry," "Toxic." "Scott Brown is the winner!," "Bad news served over Kool-Aid," "THIS JUST IN! BARRY O SOBS IN HIS KOOL-AID!" "Still buzzing,""The Democrats have a spine!,""Congress needs to get to work,""Health 'reform' and the happy Edwards couple" and "Brown's victory" -- Community coverage of the Senate race last week.

"John V. Walsh, Lance Selfa" and "Heroes (Wally)"-- Mike tackles Chuck and Wally, filling in for Rebecca, tackles Heroes.

"How does it smell down there, Jon Meacheam?" and "THIS JUST IN! THE ASS KISSERS!" -- Cedric and Wally on where Jon Meacheam stands.

"Gamer" -- Stan offers Friday night at the movies.

"THIS JUST IN! THEY REALLY DID DESERVE EACH OTHER!" and "Those lying Edwards!" -- Because some people are such a joke, Wally and Cedric don't have to work that hard.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }