Sunday, January 31, 2010
-- Richard Engel speaking of the Baghdad bombings Monday on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
-- Jonathan Steele, "Iraq inquiry repeats Blair's mistake" (Guardian).
Another Sunday. Another long Sunday. But, as you'll see, we're offering more than usual. 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,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.
What did we come up with?
Truest statement of the week -- Richard Engel's very true words were like a slap in the face to Juan Cole. May many more come soon.
Truest statement of the week II -- Jonathan Steele continues to demonstrate why he is the finest columnist in the UK.
Editorial: Some on the left drive the country to to the right -- Betty and C.I. were exhausted. We'd been working forever and when this was written, everyone was dropping. It was Dona, Ty, Jess, me (Jim), Ava, C.I., Betty, Wally, Trina and Mike. We were the last ones standing. And Dona was pointing out we had another feature that could be an editorial. We could save this topic -- which Betty and C.I. brought to the edition -- until next week and do a bang up job then. But as Betty and C.I. pointed out, anytime that's done, what really ends up happening is the idea from last week is then seen as "old news" and there's not excitement or energy for it. So they'd rather have a badly written editorial on this topic today than to risk that it never get written. Fortunately, it's not a badly written editorial.
TV: Jaw-dropping viewing -- There were yawns when Ava and C.I. came back with their piece. People were tired and ready to pack it in -- in addition to the articles we posted, we worked on six that hit the trash -- but when I read this outloud to everyone, we all had a second wind. A very strong commentary from Ava and C.I. One of their finest.
The Iraq Inquiry embarrassments -- Why so many articles this go round? There's the Iraq Inquiry and there's the State of the Union. There were many other things as well but those required a lot of coverage. We especially didn't want to short change the Iraq Inquiry. This was actually two planned articles but time ran out and Jess and Dona found a way to do an edit, get Ava and C.I. to come up with a wrap around and turn it into one article.
KPFA Silences Women (Ann, Ava and C.I.) -- This article was written by Ann, Ava and C.I. Check the numbers and grasp how few women appear on The Morning Show as guests. Illustration by Betty's kids.
Coward Zinn (1922 -2010) -- Remember how I was talking about pieces carried over to another edition losing their 'heat' and being seen as "old news"? That happens with a lot of proposed articles and could have happened with this one proposed by Mike. This was postponed for four or five weeks. Fortunately for Mike, he had vocal supporters in Betty, Ava, C.I. and Elaine which kept this piece alive and, after I had killed it last week, C.I. told Mike to post at his site (as he did on Monday) that the article would run today and that would really help force the issue. Which it did. Tuesday morning, looking at the e-mails (firstname.lastname@example.org), I knew we were going to have to tackle it due to the high interest level. Then, of course, Zinn died. And a Panhandle Media type e-mails C.I. saying she owes the PM-er and that she better kill the story. Oh really? You really think threats work on us? What are you going to do? Not link to us, not mention us? No one owes you anything because you never gave anything. And you're in no position to threaten. We stand by this piece and only regret that it's this edition because we could have gone much deeper on another week. Illustration by Betty's kids.
Iraq -- Our Iraq piece we do each week. Covering some of the stories and news coming out of Iraq.
The myth of the need for bi-partisanship -- This is the piece that Dona thought could be the editorial when we were all tired and wanting to go to sleep. She pointed out that a quick polish would turn this into the week's editorial. Betty and C.I. rejected that idea.
Senate Committee calls out Secretary of the Navy -- As Trina likes to point out, C.I. does real reporting. In this case, Thursday she was writing about Senator Richard Burr calling out the Secretary of the Navy in a Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.
Pompous Ass in Chief -- Jess, Ty and Dona came up with the idea to take a long article on the State of the Union address that just wasn't fixable and to extract this section from it.
The real deal of the week of the week -- The last thing we wrote for this edition. Wally, Ava and C.I. were adament that the edition couldn't be put to bed until in some way the protesters on Friday were acknowledged.
Scary Ass Stupid -- An NPR friend tipped C.I. off about Grayson's ridiculous remarks. When we listened, we swore that no matter what we'd find a way to work the idiot into this edition.
Freak Show Tony Blair -- Another Iraq Inquiry piece.
'Inspiration' comes from familiar places -- Another State of the Union piece.
Highlights -- Mike, Elain, Wally, Cedric, Betty, Kat, Ruth, Ann, Stan, Rebecca and Marcia wrote this and we thank them for it. Rebecca worked on this and "Pompous Ass in Chief" and nothing else. She's still in England and thinks she'll have to stay through at least Wednesday. She was hoping to come home this weekend. Wally will continue to fill in for her this week.
And that's what we ended up with. We'll see you next week.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
US President Barack Obama gave a State of the Union speech on Wednesday. The speech itself was vacuous and of far greater interest was watching some on the left rush to prop up the Democratic Party member Barack.
It was great, it was wonderful, it was beautiful.
To listen to the garbage passing for critiques, that's what you'd think.
But it was a speech promoting dangerous nuclear energy, it was a speech that never acknowledged women (not unlike his 'reform' plan), it was a speech that fudged facts on Iraq ("combat" troops wasn't the only fudging -- asked last week about a US withdrawal, US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill based his reply on not being a psychic and not being able to predict -- that's not "there will be a withdrawal!"), a speech that ignored the poor, that ignored the government's role in creating jobs (you don't just toss money at the private sector), a speech that laid the ground work for the next round of attacks on Social Security . . .
In short, it was a speech that had nothing in it for the left to applaud.
But various idiots (mainly at The Nation) rushed to assure us that it was remarkable and wonderful and left!
This is how the left is destroyed.
Pay attention, because this is how it happens.
The left spends forever -- when a Republican is in the White House -- calling out this action and that action and trying to put forward left beliefs only to toss them all into the trash can when a Democrat takes the White House.
It wasn't always that way. During Vietnam, for example, the New Left (usually described as the "student left") were way to the left of the LBJ administration and FDR was elected at a time when the bulk of the left was far to the left of him.
When that happens, you see pushing in the immediate time and you see movement building in the long term.
The alternative is what exists under Barack. It's the same thing that existed under Bill Clinton and under Jimmy Carter.
While The Nation and assorted idiots (frequently heard on KPFA) are happy to trash Bill Clinton and claim he destroyed the left, they never cut off a slice of the blame pie for themselves. They should, they've earned it.
Day after day, The Nation obsesses on how to push Barack's centrist or right-leaning agenda and it's a waste of time for everyone.
For the left, it's a waste of time because when the left is trying to sell non-left programs, they are pushing the conversation to the right. When the left is pushing non-left programs, they are wasting time they could use for actual movement building and conscience raising.
A left writer (of books) noted Saturday that The Nation would do the entire country a service if it would stop cheer leading Barack -- let him rise or fall all on his own -- and instead spend the next three years writing about issues, writing about them from a left perspective and doing as much as possible to enlarge understanding of actual left positions instead of whoring out whatever remains of the magazine's once mighty reputation (and circulation) to pimp corporate programs advanced by a corporatist War Hawk.
The left can't get beyond personalities. Or the chattering class of the left can't. And they wrongly see their survival as tied into Barack Obama. Barack Obama will be out of the White House after 2012 or 2016. The world will continue. The country will go on. How left the country will be will depend upon how well the left articulates what they stand for and what they believe in.
If the left repeatedly and continually promotes centrist and center-right programs, they repeatedly and continually shift the national conversation to the right.
Left positions -- when presented as positions and not as left or right -- repeatedly poll high. The American people are not afraid of positions that happen to be left. But many times, they just don't know what is left anymore. You can be loony Katrina vanden Heuvel and blame Bill Clinton for the rest of time, or you can wake up and realize that every piece of s**t Katrina (or her assistant) churns out promoting these bad programs from the White House do more to destroy the left than a Bill Clinton or a Barack Obama ever could.
In Barack's defense, he is supposed to be president of all the people.
In Barack's defense, he may mistakenly believe the country is right-wing.
If the left wants to change that, it's time to stop cheer leading him and stop making his efforts our own.
We are not on the same side. He is the president of the United States. He is attacking Pakistan. He is continuing the Iraq War. He is continuing the Afghanistan War. He is preparing to cut social programs and further destroy the safety net.
We are not on the same side.
His job is to serve the people, all of the people.
Our job is supposed to be to advance the left.
We will never do that by whoring whatever's left of our principles and beliefs out for a president.
Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Wheel of Misfortune."
As always, the most craven rushed forward after Wednesday night's State of the Union address, elbows out, in a frantic attempt to prove that they could whore biggest and bestest. The clear winner, no surprise, was Sojourners rushing out their embarrassing "Mr. President, we're ready" less than a half hour after Barack finished delivering the State of the Union.
Ready for what?
Oh cookie, when a Whore sniffs money, "what" doesn't matter, just "how much."
Which is how Sojourners could declare "Mr. President, we're ready" in an e-mail on, get this, 'immigration reform.' They were going to 'stand with' Barry . . . and do . . . what? Neither Sojourners nor Barry seemed clear.
As The San Diego Union-Tribune's Ruben Navarrette Jr. (at CNN) explained, "Thirty-seven words. In this week's State of the Union address -- which was more than 7,000 words long and lasted longer than an hour -- all President Obama devoted to the issue of immigration reform was 37 measly words." Matt O'Brien (Contra Costa Times) also noted the obvious of the speech, "President Barack Obama made little mention of immigration during his State of the Union address on Wednesday, leading some analysts to believe he might back off on his pursuit of a 'pathway to citizenship' for illegal immigrants who pay a fine and learn English. " But what others heard as disgraceful silence, Sojourner's saw as a dropped call and attempted to sketch in what they knew Barry meant to say.
Yes, folks, this far into the Obama presidency, there are still a large number of people who refuse to hear what he says and instead serve up fan fiction of what they wished he'd said.
But there was so little j.o. material in the speech that the fanatics were forced to create their own Dear Penthouse letters.
Those dealing in realities found little to work themselves into a sexual frenzy over. For some needed realities on the economics of the White House, let's note this from Doug Henwood's commentary at the opening of last week's Behind The News:
The politics of it all are rather confused and confusing. On the one hand, the White House has been assuring us -- and the pundits have been amplifying the message -- that after the Republican victory in the Massachusetts senate election, Obama is making a hard pivot towards jobs. Sounds not so bad. But how does he go about this? With a dose of austerity to start with. Early in the week we learned that Obama will propose a three year freeze in domestic, civilian, discretionary spending. The Pentagon will of course be allowed to flourish. For the moment, entitlement programs -- which are mandatory according to current law the opposite in budget speak of discretionary, which has to be appropriated every year by Congress; these programs like Medicare and Social Security will be spared. But much of the good stuff that the government does -- nutrition, environment, education -- will be squeezed. Though it's impossible to find any details on the White House website, administration officials bragged to the press that this will bring down this category of spending to its lowest share of GDP in fifty years.
But for every Doug Henwood offering reality, there were fifty Melissa Harris-Lacewells, struggling to sound educated by utilizing a term they'd just discovered (in Missy's case "Rorschach Test") and misusing it badly. [Missy, a Rorschach Test is deliberately vague to call for interpretation and, no, that's not the argument you were making about Barack's speech. You were not arguing that Barack provided an abstract symbol that people then interpreted due to their own meanings and beliefs, you were arguing that he offered concrete proposals and people only heard what they liked or disliked -- it is not the same thing.] It allowed them to pretend that they and the president were deep and meaningful but it only exposed themselves and the president as shallow.
Thursday morning, many were coming down hard as they listened to NPR provide the fact check that the media refused to do the night of the speech. For example, explain to us, please, what Bob Schieffer and Jeffrey Goldberg provided on CBS after the State of the Union address because we watched as the two offered 'analysis' that struggled to rise even to the level of trite. Those looking for genuine commentary and analysis found none on Wednesday night -- whether they were watching CBS, NBC, ABC or MSNBC. We don't watch Fox and we didn't have time to go over all of CNN's post-SotU coverage Wednesday night, so they're exempted from our discussion. We did, however, catch the crap offered by Pacifica Radio (carried on -- at least -- KPFK and KPFK).
Crap? You knew it was crap the minute you saw the line up of 'experts': Mitch Jeserich, Aileen Alfandary and Davey D. That's a groupie, an AP reader (who forgets to attribute) and a middle-aged man still attempting to pass for twenty who never knows the facts.
Case in point, Davey D, Barack spoke to "both parts of the House when he was trying to pass health care"? What the hell were you talking about? Did you mean the Congress? Did you mean the upper and lower houses of Congress? Why don't you try getting an education before speaking again? It will certainly allow you to avoid matching "don't" with "everybody" which, for the record, has no subject and verb agreement. These are the standards of 'expertise' when it comes to Pacifica Radio? And it still wants to hold onto that broadcasting license under the laughable guise of 'educational radio'? Really?
It's worth noting that KPFA 'forgot' to include the Republican response after broadcasting the State of the Union address. Somwhere, Lew Hill rolls over in his grave.
As we were saying, NPR provided you with realities Thursday morning. Steve Inskeep (Morning Edition, link has transcript and audio) spoke with David Welna, Julie Rovner, John Ydstie, Christopher Joyce, Jackie Northam and Mary Louise Kelly about specific claims presented by Barack in his fact-free speech. For example, Barack claimed his BigBusinessGiveAway passed off as "health care" "reform" would save a trillion dollars. Reality?
Julie Rovner: Well, now, the 12 of you who actually out there know how the CBO does its work will say, Wait a minute, CBO doesn't estimate things over two decades. They only estimate things over 10 years. Actually, in looking at these health care bills the CBO has been asked to look out over a second ten years, although they have warned - and I am reading from the CBO document - the range of uncertainty surrounding these assessments -meaning that second 10 years - is quite wide. On the other hand, the other thing the CBO said about those second 10 years -and were only talking about the Senate bill here, not the House bill - is that the way - the reason that there would be savings over that second 10 years is because of these provisions that would cut Medicare much more dramatically than it would be cut over the first year. There would be a commission. And the CBO and others have suggested that Congress might not actually have the stomach for some of the cuts that might be called for by this commission. So there's some doubt as to whether those cuts would happen and whether that money would actually be saved.
INSKEEP: I want to make sure I understand this. The -- what the Congressional Budget Office actually says is that in the first 10 years after this bill is passed it might save a little money. In the second ten years it might save a bunch or it might not save very much at all.
ROVNER: That's right. Or it might save a lot, but it might do it in ways that Congress and the public really night not like, so Congress might end up reversing.
While NPR worked, Amy Goodman jerked off. Last week, Goody took Pravda on the Hudson to the Sundance Film Festival which allowed her to yet again avoid the Iraq Inquiry in London. Friday, Tony Blair was the witness as the Inquiry completed three months of public hearings and yet Goody and her so-called "war and peace report" have never gone to London to cover the hearings or even devoted a single segment to the hearings via phone-in guests. For three months. Yet she could give the hour to Robert Redford on Monday.
One of us knows Redford (C.I.) and we'd normally let it pass but we have to state the obvious, there was nothing of value in that interview and, Ruth is mistaken, Redford does not dye his hair. That was a toupee. At 73, as Ruth pointed out, your hair is not naturally blond. Equally true, it's not that thick. It was a wig and the fact that Redford refuses to comb it doesn't make it any less of a vanity trip. Between the wig and the lighting so low you could barely make out Redford, it was as if he was attempting a disguise, as thought he actor who once played Bob Woodward was now attempting to pass for Deep Throat.
That was Monday, what about Thursday? How did Goody handle Barack's State of the Union?
Before we get to that, for reference, let's recall how she handled some of Bully Boy Bush's State of the Union speeches. January 29, 2008 she covered Bush's speech the night before in headlines, yes, and then devoted the entire remainder of the show ("For the hour!") to the speech with one segment after another refuting Bush's claims. January 24, 2007, she did the same with Bush's speech the night before. And we could continue, but that is the pattern. Put the speech under a microscope and reveal all the lies, tell all the ugly truths.
So that's what Goody did on Thursday and . . . Wait. No, that's not what she did on Thursday. On Thursday, she briefly noted the speech in headlines and then did one segment allegedly on the speech. Allegedly? The segment was thirteen minutes long and three minutes were about or quoting Howard Zinn.
Howard Zinn on Obama's speech?
No, Coward Zinn was quoted -- at length -- from May 2009.
So less than ten minutes of the program was devoted to Barack's speech. And the only ugly truths that emerged? Naomi Klein continues to pack on the pounds and someone needs to tell her to stop drawing on eye brows. It looks grotesque -- only more so as she continues to thicken.
The State of the Union speech -- a pack of lies -- is usually deconstructed by Goody and all things Pacifica at length. But not this go round. This go round, the State of the Union got basically ten superficial minutes from Goody (and Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein) while Zinn's death got around forty minutes (add up the three minutes he takes away from the State of the Union segment and his time in headlines). Coward Zinn died and ate up all the attention. Doubt us?
Focusing just on KPFA, listeners got 80 minutes on Zinn and his death as a result of the fact that Democracy Now! is aired twice each day. But that wasn't all the Zinn coverage they got on Thursday. In addition to that one hour and twenty minutes coverage from Goody, they got 30 minutes of the two hour The Morning Show devoted to Zinn, they got at least 20 minutes of Zinn from an old interview on Letters To Washington, the full hour of Living Room, two minutes and thirty-four seconds on the half hour Free Speech Radio News, Flashpoints Radio gave Zinn over 13 minutes on Thursday -- despite having spent 20 minutes on his passing the evening before. At some point the question needs to be asked: Did listeners really need all of that?
Of course, it wasn't about the listeners -- as Free Speech Radio News made clear Thursday at their website: "You can remember Howard Zinn's legacy with a donation to FSRN. For your contribution of $50 or more, we'll send you a DVD of Howard Zinn and friends reading from Voices of a People's History of the United States, recorded in 2005."
While they forgot the listeners, everyone forgot the people.
On Pacifica's 'special' broadcast, Leigh Ann Caldwell explained before Barack's speech what 'everyone' would be looking for and she may have alienated many listeners as she referred to "Republicans" and "Democrats" (certainly, in the Bay Area, those two categories fail to describe the entire population) but it was even more alienating to grasp that she wasn't speaking of the people, she was speaking of members of Congress.
Somewhere along the line, everyone seems to have forgotten what the State of the Union is. Barack clearly forgot it (if he ever knew -- we're talking about a man who thinks there are 57 states in the United States) and attempted to turn it into a stand up performance.
Barack declared he is willing to listen -- and Americans may have perked up for a minute before he continued -- to any Democrat or Republican. At which point, independents and Greens and Communists and Libertarians and Socialists and swing-voters and others should have felt left out. But Barack managed to dis-empower all. Those Democrats and Republicans he was willing to listen to? They're in Congress.
People of the United States, Barack has no interest in what you are saying or doing. He doesn't care. He doesn't want to hear from you on health care but if a Republican or a Democrat in Congress has a health care idea, he'll listen. (Bernie Sanders, the Socialist Senator from Vermont, apparently is invisible to Barack.) He appeared a little ticked off -- as evidenced by his repeated yelling (and he was yelling into a microphone) -- with the American people and declared that it was his problem his 'reform' has failed because he just didn't explain it right. In other words, "I went over and over it but you are too stupid to get what I'm saying."
Never did Barack acknowledge the fact that maybe, just maybe, the people did grasp what he was trying to do for Big Business and against them (by forcing all Americans to buy health insurance) and didn't want it. For all the talk of his allegedly taking accountability, the clear message from Barack was: There's a problem and it's your inability to grasp what I'm saying.
Does no one get how disrespectful that was? How disrespectful the entire speech was?
None of the gas bags bothered to comment though many were delighted to point to Barack's 'jokes.' The State of the Union is a Constitutionally mandated speech. Whomever is president has to give that speech. The speech is not for Congress. It is not for the Supreme Court. It is for the people -- or supposed to be. It is supposed to be the president of the United States explaining the current health of the country to the people.
How that somehow became Barack stands up in front of the country, during the worst economic crisis the bulk of the population has ever experienced, and tells jokes is beyond us. It was disrespectful of the people, it was disrespectful of the office.
Yet again, Barack demonstrated he has neither the experience nor the character to hold the office. It's all about him, always. He goes overseas and criticizes past policies of the US while exempting himself from the criticism (by insisting he either wasn't born or was a young boy at the time and by insisting that his becoming president is a historic moment), he stays home and still makes it all about himself.
Repeatedly, in one form or another, he would hurl a cheap shot at some political opponent and then insist (immediately after) that "I'm not interested in re-litigating the past." It's as though he just called your mother "ugly" and then follows with, "But let's not get into all of that." His cheap and smarmy sucker punches degrade the office and disrespect the people.
And the people were the one thing left out in the bulk of the gas baggery. Over and over, gas bags talked pro and con about the Pentagon or Supreme Court decisions and, always, the conversations removed the people from the focus. In commentary after commentary, the dollars were zoomed in on, the people were abstracted. Rather amazing when you consider that they offered this gas baggery as so many also pretended to salute Howard Zinn whose chief claim to fame is A People's History of the United States. It was a jaw dropping week.
So Friday, Rob Gifford (NPR's Morning Edition -- link has audio and transcript) told you, "I think generally, though, a lot of people have moved on. Many of them opposed it, but I think they want to hear this and draw a line under it." Really? Gee, Sunday Harriet Harm, Leader of the House of Commons and Minister for Women and Equality, told the BBC's Sophie Raworth (link has text and video) that the Iraq War remained "a divisive issue." Maybe it was Rob Gifford and NPR that "moved on" and that are rushing to "draw a line under it"?
As Friday's "Iraq snapshot" observed, the Iraq Inquiry was a topic far beyond any of the guests on the second hour of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show. Asked, by Diane Rehm, "what's the purpose of the Chilcot Inquiry," Tom Gjelten, Susan Glasser and James Fallow were unable to respond. Excuse us, they were unable to respond to the question.
They did respond. Gjelten mumbled a bunch of words that made no sense on their own and certainly not as a reply to Diane's question. Susan Glasser tried to bulls**t her way through a response by citing 9-11. And James Fallow kept wanting to talk about a movie and old Washington Post cartoon.
It was very embarrassing and Diane Rhem quickly moved onto another topic.
Then there was D.D. Guttenplan of The Nation who blogged Friday:
When I first went down to the Chilcot Inquiry investigating Britain's involvement in the Iraq War on Wednesday morning most press attention was elsewhere--perhaps on Gordon Brown's ill-fated Afghanistan summit, where the big news was a plan to buy off the [. . .]
Wait. Friday, D.D., you're finally writing about the Iraq Inquiry -- the first time The Nation's bothered to note it -- and you're telling us that you were there on Wednesday? Where's that blog post, D.D.?
And since you've never written about it before, who are you to finger point that "press attention was elsewhere"?
But was press attention elsewhere?
In the US, yes, but not in England. Does D.D. have trouble reading?
Wednesday the Inquiry heard from former Attorney General Peter Goldsmith. Coverage in England included, but was not limited to, Jason Beattie (Daily Mirror), Michael Savage (The Independent), Samira Shackle (The New Statesman), Andy Beckett (Guardian), Ruth Barnett and Andy Jack (Sky News), and Christopher Hope (Telegraph of London). While Nico Hines live blogged the hearing forThe Times of London, Andrew Sparrow live blogged the hearing for The Guardian, Channel 4 News' Iraq Inquiry Blogger live blogged at Twitter and Chris Ames blogged and fact check at Iraq Inquiry Digest.
That's not a full list. It is more of a list than a fool like D.D. could provide.
But you can't talk embarrassing without talking Tony Blair. He testified about 9-11 and got it wrong and that was his starting point. It was just downhill from there. He claimed he was serious about a second UN resolution and yet he bullied and browbeat everyone who told him the Iraq War would be illegal without a second resolution. He claimed he was serious about a second UN resolution and yet the Inquiry had already heard that the US not only did not want one but feared that second resolution would call their war 'right' into power. (The Bush administration maintained that the first resolution, 1441, allowing inspectors into Iraq meant that if WMD were found then a war could start. But the inspectors were never allowed to finish their inspections and, of course, WMD were never found.)
If Tony Blair had gone for a second resolution -- really pressed on it -- what could have happened?
One thing, the UN Security Council could have taken a vote and shot him down. In which case the Bush administration can't pretend that 1441 gave them the right to go to war. Another possibility is that some fall in line for Blair but with conditions so the second resolution provides more if . . . thens and that means, at the very least, that the start date of the Iraq War is pushed back.
Either way, it's not just a case of the US government not wanting a second resolution, it's a case of a second resolution establishing -- for the world to see -- that 1441 did not grant anyone the right to declare war.
Blair was never serious about a second resolution -- despite all of his public grandstanding. He wanted war and he was going to bully and browbeat everyone until they agreed that he didn't need a second resolution. That's the real truth emerging from the Inquiry.
If "left" means "equality" and KPFA is the home of "free speech," one could expect that the network's longest show -- two hours daily, Monday through Friday -- The Morning Show would demonstrate that "equality" and "free speech" by booking guests that represented the population of the United States (or even just of the Bay Area). But that doesn't happen.
Women make up a little over half of the population in the United States.
If KPFA were concerned about representation, women would make up half the guests. Since women are regularly under-represented in corporate media (see the Sunday chat & chews for one example), you could argue that KPFA has an obligation to actually book more women than men as guests in an attempt to correct the imbalance created by Real Media.
What KPFA instead chooses to do on The Morning Show is to embrace the imbalance and further it.
For the month of January, The Morning Show's guests were tracked at Ann Mega's Dub.
January 1st: (omitted, all segments were 'encore broadcasts' -- all were male guests by the way)
January 4th: 5 male guests, 1 female
January 5th: 5 male guests, 1 female
January 6th: 5 male guests, 2 female
January 7th: 3 male guests, 3 female
January 8th: 5 male guests, 3 female
January 11th: 3 male guests, 4 female
January 12th: 6 male guests, 1 female
January 13th: 3 male guests, 4 female
January 14th: 6 male guests (no women)
January 15th: 7 male guests, 2 female
January 18th: 2 male guests (last two half-hours were devoted to playing MLK speeches, which we're not factoring in)
January 19th: 5 male guests, 3 female
January 20th: 4 male guests, 1 female
January 21st: 2 male guests, 3 female
January 22nd: 5 male guests, 3 female
January 25th: 5 male guests, 1 female
January 26th: 5 male guests (no women)
January 27th: 5 male guests, 1 female
January 28th: 3 male guests, 1 female
January 29th: 5 male guests (no female guests)
That brings a total of 89 male guests and only 34 female ones.
Despite being slightly over half the population, women composed only one-third of the guests. (A little over a third.) The term for that imbalance is sexism.
It should be noted that The Morning Show addressed sexism this month. In a segment. One. Once and only once (January 21st). Sexism is a social ill and something the left supposedly and/or allegedly wants to do away with. And The Morning Show leads the way! If you think the best guest to address sexism is a man. Is a man who is a Catholic priest.
That's right, America, once and only once sexism was judged important enough to be a topic of a segment and KPFA thought the 'expert' to hear from was a Catholic priest. Next up, Aimee Allison sits down with two nuns to discuss sex!
For those wondering, race was a topic repeatedly, both a scheduled topic and something to be repeatedly referred to in segments as a baseline. Sexism came up once and only once, in the segment with the 'expert' priest.
The Morning Show's attitude towards the struggle of women towards full equality was probably best represented by one guest. As Ruth observed, January 12th, 'progressive' David Swanson laid down the Party line on feminism: ". . . end slavery, give women the right to vote, to win . . ." There were battles fought, David Swanson wanted the world to know, and, oh, along the way, men GAVE women the right to vote.
Women fought for the right to vote. They fought and they won.
There's not a damn MLK day that goes by when the 'progressive' gasbags don't insist that MLK adopted from Ghandi civil disobedience. Where did Ghandi first observe civil disobedience? From the suffragette movement. No one ever wants to tell you that on KPFA.
But why would they if women were "given" the right to vote. When a 144-year movement, battle, to be able to vote can be turned into a 'gift' to women from those wise and generous men, you're getting a good look at just how much 'progressives' and The Morning Show devalues women and their accomplishments.
Remember these numbers: 123 guests, 89 of the men, only 34 of them women. The numbers paint a picture, a very ugly one.
If Howard Zinn had died in March of 2008, he would have gone out on a better note but to call it a "high note" would still require a great deal of self-deception.
For example, Coward Zinn had, by that point, already spent a year demonstrating how democracy and free and fair elections meant zilch to him. He did that by taking part in the shameful "Ralph, Don't Run" campaign of 2004. Like most of the (public) participants in that campaign to target Ralph Nader in an attempt to hector him into not running for president, Coward had supported Nader in 2000.
The 2000 election was decided not by the voters and not even by the electoral college. It was decided by the Supreme Court which refused to allow the votes in Florida to be counted. The results of the 2000 election had nothing to do with Ralph Nader and it's amazing that so many were willing to disgrace themselves with a 2004 campaign targeting Nader but none of them bothered to offer a "Supreme Court: Stay Out Of Our Election" in 2004.
When a 'historian' can't tell you the truth, that's rather sad but the truth is that Ralph Nader didn't steal any votes. Votes belong only to the voters. The people decide how they will vote. Ralph 'stole' no votes from Al Gore or George W. Bush or anyone. People who voted for Ralph in 2000 did so because that is who they wanted to vote for. That decision was disrespected and mocked by Howard Zinn (and others) in 2004 and it was shameful.
Howard Zinn was incapable of learning from his errors. To Elaine and C.I., he agreed (in 2005) that the "Ralph, Don't Run" campaign was "an embarrassment" (his term, Elaine and C.I. were more vocal -- and for the record, Elaine and C.I. supported Al Gore in 2000 yet never felt the need to take part in a "Ralph, Don't Run" in 2004). But then came 2008 and he was embarrassing himself all over again.
After having counseled early in the year against 'election madness,' there was 'independent' (Socialist) Coward Zinn endorsing Barack Obama. It was appalling. It was disgusting. Between being called out all over the net and being confronted by people he knew, Coward realized he needed to walk it back and quickly 'retracted' (pretended to) his endorsement of War Hawk Corporatist Barack Obama and endorsed Ralph Nader (independent presidential candidate).
It was a pretend endorsement and you grasped that if you caught any of his interviews or speeches after the 'endorsement' of Ralph -- speeches and interviews where he raved over Barack and 'forgot' to mention Ralph.
It was a pretend endorsement as he allowed his name to be used to raise money via an inauguration ball for Barack. When we called that out here, Anthony Arnove e-mailed to insist that he and Howard were not attending the ball. He further insisted that they could not remove their name from the list with implications that they had attempted to do so. As C.I. pointed out, Zinn and Arnove knew the organizers very well (Bus Boys & Poets) and could have easily removed their names from the list with one phone call. (Amy Goodman would hawk tickets to this ball for $1,000 as a fundraiser for Democracy Now! -- and you want to still pretend she was ever impartial?)
As personal, peer-to-peer criticism continued to mount throughout 2009, Howard Zinn weakly and meekly began to call out Barack. The manner in which he did only underscored an ugly reality: Howard had his own racism to deal with.
And you should have caught that on Thursday when Pacifica couldn't stop playing clips of interviews with Coward. The take-away of all those interviews? How many times Coward faulted Barack Obama for not living up to MLK.
We're not Barack supporters or boosters here. (This site endorsed Ralph Nader except for Ava and C.I. who endorsed no one for president but voted for either Ralph or Cynthia McKinney, they're not saying who.) So it's really strange that we're the ones who have to defend Barack on this point but we will.
Barack isn't MLK, Barack never claimed to be MLK, Barack is not related by blood or marriage to MLK, Barack Obama is the president of the United States.
MLK never was the president, never wanted to be the president, resisted calls to run for president.
There is no logical reason to compare Barack and MLK or to hold MLK up as a standard for Barack.
When George W. Bush occupied the White House, no one went around bemoaning that Bully Boy wasn't MLK. Nor did they do it with Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon . . .
Why is Barack expected to be MLK? Why is Barack graded with MLK as the standard score?
Barack is bi-racial and MLK was Black. Therefore, in the minds of some, the two men are one and the same. It's racism. (See Ruth on this topic.)
And Pacifica thought they were doing something grand in their 'remember Howard' coverage but all they really demonstrated was how out of touch the White Spelman professor was with people of color.
Some listening to that coverage, or Howard in real time, wrongly may have believed he gave a damn about feminism. Feminism is the longest lasting movement in the US and, in fact, in the world. So for 'movement' historian Zinn, it was important that he feign interest in it. He'd give it lip service but he was never really interested in it and that becomes achingly clear in his writing. Multiple examples can be offered but the best example is to steer you to The Zinn Reader (edited by Arnove) which attempts to offer a 'best of' Zinn by breaking his work down into the 'big categories.' Just glance at the table of contents. You'll see "Racism" and think, "Good." Then you'll move on to "Classicism," and think good. But at some point you'll notice that there's no section on feminism. There can't be. Zinn rarely and barely wrote of it. A significant omission for an overly applauded historian and activist.
"We will all miss our friend who spoke for the people," insisted Dennis Bernstein on Wednesday's Flashpoints (KPFA); however, he didn't speak for women.
"He spoke for everyone!" we can hear someone snarl.
Well, Zinn specifically spoke for certain groups of people but women were never among those groups, now were they?
Pick up Passionate Declarations: Essays On War and Justice and you should be able to immediately notice that justice may or may not (depending on his mood) include African-American women, but it always included African-American men and never included non-African-American women. Which is how the book comes to offer chapter nine ("Representative Government: The Black Experience") but has nothing to say about the centuries of misogyny women have lived under and fought against.
Howard Zinn passed away on Wednesday. He was a historian. Some wrongly attempted to turn him into a god. Many had long criticized Pacifica's non-stop reliance on Zinn (and others) at the expense of hearing from women of all races and males of color. Reflecting his age (and his politics), he had a patronizing view of African-Americans and he had no real respect for women.
He was no hero yet, had he passed away in March of 2008, he still had a legacy of some sort that could be pointed to with a degree of pride. He blew that as well.
As noted at the start, in 2008, he endorsed Corporatist War Hawk Barack Obama. When the outcry and the hypocrisy got to be too much, he gave a faux endorsement of Ralph Nader and then never did a damn thing to help Ralph get votes or attention.
By the time 2009 rolled around, he 'forgot' his 'endorsement' of Barack and was telling Liliana Segura:
Yes -- I endorsed Obama, I wanted him to win. I wanted Bush and Cheney out of there. I wanted change -- and the truth is I didn't have much choice. It was Bush or Obama. I chose Obama. And, in fact, I was hopeful. Not too hopeful, because I know something about American history.
He knew something about American history? In the end, he demonstrated he knew a great deal about fakery and fraud. Some of his writing -- with limitations due to his racism and sexism -- holds up but the man exposed himself and he was no hero, role model or activist to emulate.
The 'independents' like Howard Zinn may never realize how self-defeating it is for them to jump on the popular bandwagon -- the same bandwagon that rolled over them -- but the people will and have already started to do so.
At The NewsHour (PBS) blog (audio link), The New York Times' Anthony Shadid explained the bombings to Gwen Ifill:
There were 3 bombings today in Baghdad. They were detonated about 9 minutes apart. And they struck landmark hotels in the capital. It's part of the campaign that's been going on basically since last August, aimed at undermining the sense of government control in Baghdad. In the past, they've struck ministries, government offiices, a courthouse, a bank, colleges and this seemed to open up a new front in that campaign in some sense by striking landmark hotels that pretty much everyone knows in Baghdad and that also cater to foreigners -- foregin reporters businessmen and, in time, election observers for the vote on March 7th for a new parliament.
On the spot reports and reflections were filed by NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro and Quil Lawrence, an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy at Inside Iraq, Leila Fadel (Washington Post), Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times), the Times of London's Oliver August, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (NPR's Morning Edition. link has text and transcript), and James Hider (Times of London), an Iraqi correspondent with McClatchy Newspapers.
As Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) and Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reported, the US military blames the bombings on al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.
The Baghdad bombings -- the high profile ones -- are increasing in frequency with less of a lapse between them. Nouri al-Maliki's 'law and order' re-election campaign appears in jeopardy. Little Nouri has set himself up as the New Saddam and, therefore, he is attempting to force his opponents out of the elections planned for March 7th.
Aiding him is Ahmed Chalabi who denies all rumors that he was caught either giving or recieving oral sex from boy pal Ali al-Lami. Whenever the two stop doing whatever it is that they are doing privately (they deny any and all sexual contact and relations with one another), they use the extra-legal Accountability and Justice Committee to ban candidates from the elections.
Saturday AP reported that "Awakening" ("Sons Of Iraq," Sahwa) leader Ahmed Abu Risha is floating the notion of a Sunni boycott for the intended elections and he tells AP that Sunnis "will not care about the eleciton, they will ignore it, maybe, if these decisions [bannings] stand."
The elections may or may not take place, but the violence never ends. Sunday 12 Iraqis were reported dead and 5 were reported wounded; Monday 36 dead and 71 wounded; Tuesday 28 were reported dead (five of those the increase in the death toll from Monday's Baghdad bombings) and 94 wounded; Wednesday 6 people were reported dead and 8 wounded (not including 1 US soldier who was also wounded on Wednesday); Thursday 2 were reported dead and 11 were reported wounded; Friday 6 were reported wounded; and Saturday 4 were reported dead and 31 wounded.
Friday, the US military announced: "A United States Division-South Soldier died Jan. 28 of noncombat related injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. 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." (There may have been a second announced death.)
"We cannot wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about their opponent -- a belief that if you lose, I win," declared the finger pointer in chief Barack Obama Wednesday night. "Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can. The confirmation of well-qualified public servants should not be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators."
Reality check: (A) Sometimes people say "no" to Barack's nominees because they are clearly unqualified. And (B) there's nothing wrong with "NO."
If the Democrats could ever get their s**t together, we'd applaud them. If they would have used The Power Of No when they were in the minority, there would be NO Iraq War, there wouldd be NO No Child Left Behind, there would be none of the hideous programs and wars Bully Boy Bush wanted.
Bully Boy got them because Democrats helped him.
We're not going to trash the Republican Party for using The Power Of No. Shame on the Democrats for never having the spine to stand up.
Barack tossed around 'bi-partisanship' repeatedly in his State of the Union speech and if you don't get what a trap that is, think for a moment about which president first pushed it.
Or maybe you don't know who first pushed it? If so, drop back with us to Saturday's All Things Considered (NPR -- link has audio and text):
[Guy] RAZ: Now it turns out the whole idea of appealing to bipartisanship isn't really rooted in American political tradition.
Dr. SAM HASELBY (Historian, Harvard University): It started in the early '70s.
RAZ: That's Harvard historian Sam Haselby.
Dr. HASELBY: It was conservative Southern Democrats under the Nixon administration who were pro-Vietnam War and anti-Civil Rights, and they were looking for a way to represent those positions which were very unpopular in their party - in the Democratic Party at the time. And they started talking a lot about bipartisanship.
RAZ: And Richard Nixon adopted the idea. In his 1972 State of the Union address, Nixon used the word four times when he called on Congress to pass his agenda.
President RICHARD NIXON: ...which should and must be the subject of bipartisan action by this Congress, in the interest of the country in 1972.
Richard Nixon. The concept has no historical background in the Congress. It's a conceit pushed by Tricky Dick and Barry O wants to pimp it.
If you're not getting it, this is how we get attacks on Social Security. One group wants to do something (cut funds) and the other group, instead of standing strong, says 'bi-partisanship!' and that's how the country loses -- over and over.
That's Ray Mabus. He's the US Secretary of the Navy and he's having some problems with the job President Barack Obama appointed him to, the job he assumed June 18, 2009.
Thursday in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee markup hearing, Ranking Member Richard Burr explained:
Today as we sit here getting ready for this markup, even though under US Code 42, statutorily the Secretary of the Navy is obligated to pay for the studies required to understand the health and mortality effects of this exposure, the Secretary of the Navy refuses to fund the CDC's arm at ASTDR that is obligated entity to go out and share with the country their scientific conclusion. Let me say that again: The Secretary of the Navy has refused to fund -- even though the law says he has to. So for me in good conscience to turn this over to the Dept of Defense to determine the scope of coverage for these individuals is insane. If the outcome of this vote is pre-determined, then so be it. I would hate for members to leave the markup today and believe that they will not revisit this issue. It will be revisited time and time and time again until the Congress recognizes that maybe the Dept of Defense, maybe the Secretary of the Navy can hide but the Congress can't hide from these people. These are people we represent. These are people that have asked us to come here and represent their interests, their health concerns, their future and I can't hide from them.
Why is Mabus not following the law?
At the end of the hearing, it was agreed to refer the matter to the Senate Armed Services Committee (specifically to Chair Carl Levin and Ranking Member John McCain).
When Mabus is circumventing the law and being called out for it publicly by a Senate Committee, why is it that the press fails to report on it?
The Committee joins US House Reps Brad Miller, John Dingell and Bart Stupak in calling for the Secretary of the Navy to follow the law. The issue involves the polluted water at Camp Lejeune which has effected many people including newborns whose parents were exposed to chemicals.
His plan to "cover the uninsured" was not a plan. His way of doing that was to pass a law making it mandatory for every US citizen to PURCHASE insurance and, if they didn't, they would face a steep fine.
That is not a plan to provide insurance. (It is a plan to perpetuate a corrupt system.)
Barack Obama better grasp really quickly his problem is not the Republican Party; his problem is the fact that the American people (left, right, center and apathetic) did not take a shine to his lousy plan to funnel billions of their dollars into Big Pharma and the out-of-control Insurance Industry.
Friday, as the Iraq Inquiry heard from Tony Blair, the people gathered outside calling out the War Criminal and his illegal war.
England has technically pulled out of Iraq (they're still going to be 'advisers') but that didn't prevent the real activists, the real change makers, from showing up to decry an ongoing and illegal war. (Photo from UK's Stop The War.)
Not surprising for a man of his carriage, Grayson hauls around a lot of stupid. And he's never shied from pulling it out and wagging it in the public's face.
Such as Saturday on All Things Considered (NPR -- link has audio and text) when journalist Guy Raz attempted to speak to him:
RAZ: I mean, you say that there's no other way to solve the problems, but I mean - but what if the result is gridlock? I mean, how do you expect the voters in the United States to accept that? And surely, they would blame the Democrats for that.
Rep. GRAYSON: What do you mean "surely"? Are you a Republican?
"What do you mean 'surely'? Are you a Republican?"
This is what you get when MSNBC is seen as the standard for the left, crap like this.
In a functioning political system, Grayson would be laughed off the public stage for responding to questions he doesn't like by accusing the reporter of being a Republican. But we don't have a functioning political system and Ass Stupid Grayson will probably be allowed to self- and party-embarrass for many years to come.
When the attack took place, Tony Blair was Prime Minister of England. Despite that, he was woefully unaware of the facts and we recommend he be sent to an isolation room at Guantanamo and locked in there with Rudy Giuliani as a tutor until he can grasp that 2,973 people were killed in the attacks (not the "over 3,000" he repeatedly mentioned -- possibly Tony counts the hijackers as 'victims') and where the attacks took place (Tony repeatedly and falsely identified them as attacks on New York when, in fact, two planes hit NYC; one plane hit the Pentagon and one plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania).
If you're going to try to hide your criminal activity behind a tragic event, it's probably a good idea to know the actual facts and figures, Tony Blair.
For example, Wednesday's State of the Union ripped off multiple sources but to focus on only one passage, we'll note the following section:
But I wake up every day knowing that they are nothing compared to the setbacks that families all across this country have faced this year. And what keeps me going -- what keeps me fighting -- is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism -- that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people -- lives on. It lives on in the struggling small business owner who wrote to me of his company, "None of us," he said, "are willing to consider, even slightly, that we might fail."
It lives on in the woman who said that even though she and her neighbors have felt the pain of recession, "We are strong. We are resilient. We are American."
It lives on in the 8-year-old boy in Louisiana, who just sent me his allowance and asked if I would give it to the people of Haiti. And it lives on in all the Americans who've dropped everything to go some place they've never been and pull people they've never known from rubble, prompting chants of "USA! USA! USA!" when another life was saved.
The spirit that has sustained this nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people.
Sound familiar? It should.
We're honestly surprised he didn't toss out, "Ingonyama nengw' enamabala."
That garbage, boys and girls, is what you get when speech writers stay up too late waiting for inspiration, find none and pop in DVDs of The Lion King II Simba's Pride (see "He Lives In You") and Death Becomes Her, specifically the funeral scene. Here's a sample of the latter:
And it's here, among us, in the hearts of his friends. And the secret of eternal youth right here in the lives of his children and his grandchildren. It is my opinion that our beloved Ernest is one man who will indeed live forever.
Those assembled Wednesday night should have followed Meryl Streep's lead and uttered her line of reply, "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."
"I Hate The War" -- Most requested highlight of the week, C.I. on Blair's phony 'interest' in a second resolution from the UN.
"Iraq snapshot," "Senator Wally" and "Jon Tester gets bitchy" -- C.I., Wally and Kat report on a Congressional hearing they attended.
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Wheel of Misfortune" -- Isaiah takes on the State of the Union speech.
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Commander of the Groin" -- But wait, Isaiah did two new comics last week. This one is about Barry and his fan base.
"Social Security and other issues" -- Betty on what to watch for.
"Bernanke and American Dad (Wally)" -- Dick Durbin is a joke, Wally explains why.
"Out-FM" and "Connect the Lies with Lila Garrett" -- Ruth and Elaine offer media criticism. As does Ann and, at Trina's request, we're noting all of Ann's posts from last week:
- KPFA The Morning Show
- More men on The Morning Show
- Iraq discussed on The Morning Show
- KPFA's fear of the vagina
- Brian Edwards-Tiekert debuts as co-host
"Our airwaves ourselves" -- Elaine's very popular post.
"The joke that never ends," "From his mouth" and "THIS JUST IN! HE THINKS HE'S GETTING A 2ND TERM?" -- Mike, Cedric and Wally explain Barry O.
"OM..." and "Chuck, health scare, Hooverism" -- Wally and Mike cover TV (Heroes and Chuck).
"17.3% of the workforce can't find full time employment," "Barack points the finger and lies" and "White House's muddled messages," -- Trina, Ruth and Marcia on health care.
"Congress disgraces themselves" and "No, it wasn't presidential" and "That's presidential?" &
"THIS JUST IN! HE'S A FUNNY BOY?" -- Betty, Stan, Cedric and Wally tackle the State of the Union speech.
"Our needy lover Barack" -- Trina on how Barack isn't just a selfish lover, he's a needy one.
"Joni" -- Kat talks music.
"John Edwards: Forever Scum" -- Marcia on the dreaded Edwardses.
"Life Inside the Oval Palace" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this 2006 flashback.
"Love At First Bite" -- Stan's Friday night movie night.
"Barry & Blair" -- Betty on the boy liars: Blair and Barry.