Sunday, March 28, 2010

Truest statement of the week

Sources in Nassariya and Basra told The Times that protests there were orchestrated by State of Law, which rallied supporters and instructed government employees to attend.

-- Alice Fordham, "Call for recount as secular group gains narrow win in Iraq" (Times of London).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. And, along with Dallas, the following helped put together 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.

Only one truest. We think it's the strongest.

We considered Iraq but decided this has received too little attention all month from various outlets.
Instead of TV, Ava and C.I. tackle radio and this is a lengthy piece with a ton of links and sourcing. They worked their ass off. They had offered Ann the opportunity to jump in on this since she covers Fresh Air at her site but she'd asked them to cover this Thursday (when she heard the show) and she assumed this would be a very lengthy piece (as it was). Ava told me (Jim), don't expect anything else from them. If it's a tough edition, they're not going to have it in them to do one more or two more articles.

Last piece written. Almost didn't include Iraq, believe it or not. For a number of reasons -- none related to Iraq. We'll probably roundtable next week.

ObamaCare sucked all the time and so many important stories never got covered because every one was too busy trying to sell ObamaCare. This is one example.

If it's so great, why did this get said in Congress?

Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker on ObamaCare.

Repost from Mike. Can you tell we're tired. Usually when I type this up, I'm including various comments that are being made as I write the note but this week, everyone's just tired ("And blah," says Dona).

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.
That's it,we're exhausted and we'll see you next week.


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

Editorial: If this is a democracy . . .

Thursday, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declared:

In February, I established a high-level working group to review the issues associated with implementing a repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law and to develop recommendations for implementation should the law change. At the same time, I directed the department to conduct a review of how the militiary implements the current policy, and, within 45 days, present to me recommended changes that would enforce the existing law in a fairer and more appropriate manner. Today I have approved a series of changes to the implementation of the current statute. They were developed with the full participation of the department's senior civilian and military leadership and the changes are unanimously supported by [Joint Chiefs of Staff] Chairman [Mike] Mullen, Vice Chairman [James] Cartwright and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Department's General Counsel, Jeh Johnson, and the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel have also concluded that these changes are consisten with the existent Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. These changes reflect some of the insights we have gained over 17 years of implementing the current law -- including the need for consistency, oversight and clear standards. The changes are as follows. [1] We will raise the level of the officer who is authorized to initiate a fact-finding inquiry or separation proceeding regarding homosexual conduct to a general or flag officer in the service member's chain of command. [2] We will raise the level of the person who is authorized to conduct a fact-finding inquiry to the level of lieutenant colonel, navy commander or above. [3] We will raise the level of the officer who is authorized to begin an inquiry or separation proceeding by, for example, specifying that information provided by third parties should be given under oath and by discouraging the use of overheard statements and hearsay. [4] We will revise what constitutes a "reliable person," upon whose word an inquiry could be initiated with special scrutiny on third parties who may be motivated to harm the service member. Finally, certain categories of confidential information will no longer be used in support of discharges including [a] information provided to lawyers, clergy and psychotherapists, [b] information provided to a medical professional in furtherance of medical treatment or a public-health official in the course of a public-health inquiry, [c] information provided in the course of seeking professional assistance for domestic or physical abuse and [d] information obtained in the course of security-clearing investigations in accordance with existing DoD policies. The services will have 30 days to conform their regulations to these changes. Meanwhile these modifications will take effect immediately and will apply to all open and future cases. In effect this means that all separations from this point forward will take place under the revised regulation. I believe these changes represent an important improvement in the way the current law is put into practice -- above all, by providing a greater measure of common sense and common decency to a process for handling what are difficult and complex issues for all involved. Of course only Congress can repeal the current Don't Ask, Don't Tell statute. It remains the law and we are obligated to enforce it. At the same time, these changes will allow us to execute the law in a fairer and more appropriate manner. The work of the DoD working group chaired by Mr. Johnson and Gen Carter Ham continues. As i told the Congress in February, I am determined that we in the Dept carry out the president's directive on Don't Ask, Don't Tell in a professional and thorough way. I look forward to the continued progress of the working group as they undertake their important task in weeks and months ahead.

Some in the press -- generally the same ones who confused Gates' position with Adm Mike Mullen's public position -- rushed to hail this as breakthrough and more. It wasn't much at all.

US House Representative Loretta Sanchez issued the following statement after Gates' announcement, "Repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' is the right thing to do. We should be recognizing our men and women in uniform for their service, not their sexual orientation. The Pentagon's decision to relax its 'don't ask, don't tell' rules is a step in the right direction, and deserves to be recognized as such. But it's not enough. No individual should have to hide who they are to serve their country, which is why Congress needs to repeal 'don’t ask, don’t tell' once and for all."

Sanchez is correct, it's not enough.

And who's running this country which supposedly is a democracy and not a junta, which supposedly has civilian control of the military?

March 18th, Senator Roland Burris again publicly stated that a moratorium was needed on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. March 3rd, US House Representative Susan Davis declared, "A moratorium on discharges would be an appropriate action to take while the Department decides how to implement repeal." Senators Carl Levin and Mark Udall are also on record supporting a moratorium.


All a moratorium would require is President Barack Obama issuing an executive order. To please some members of Congress, he issued one on Wednesday and in attendance were:

1) Senator Bob Casey
2) Representative Bart Stupak

3) Representative Kathy Dahlkemper
4) Representative Marcy Kaptur
5) Representative Nick Rahall
6) Representative Jerry Costello
7) Representative Chris Carney
8) Representative Steve Driehaus
9) Representative Charlie Wilson
10) Representative Jim Oberstar
11) Representative Alan Mollohan
12) Representative Brad Ellsworth
13) Representative Henry Cuellar
14) Representative Mike Doyle

So is 14 the magic number? Is that how many members of Congress it takes for Obama to issue an executive order?

He was happy to issue one attacking reproductive rights last week.

Why won't he issue one declaring a moratorium on Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

In February, US General George Casey made public that he opposes a moratorium on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Of course, he also opposed the repeal of the policy.

You know what? Some generals opposed integrating the military racially. But then-President Harry Truman didn't let that stop him from doing the right thing. He issued an executive order which integrated the military immediately.

But Barack Obama wants to drag his feet. Who's in charge of the government? If it's the people, they've spoken on this issue. They've done so in polls, they did so in voting for Obama who made repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell one of his campaign promises.

So at what point, if this is a democracy, does the will of the people kick in?

And at what point do organizations supposedly representing the people start issuing demands? Looking around, we just count NOW: "NOW has issued a call for the immediate suspension of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, which has been so destructive to our defense capability and to the careers of thousands of lesbians and gay men. In addition, we ask that the Obama administration, with Congress and the Department of Defense, develop a policy that permits lesbians and gay men to re-apply, without penalty, to resume their military service."

Radio: That not-so Fresh Air

It's not like Terry Gross has much to offer on a good day. This is, after all the woman who tries to turn every interview she can into sex talk and, failing that, falls back on talk about picking your nose or farting. The woman who sees herself as the Lou Reed of talk radio has been called many thing; however, "classy" has never made it onto the rap sheet. These days, she pretends to be a raging liberal and peacenik and that's hilarious to anyone who caught her ambush interview of Ehren Watada (and the 'follow up' with the legal 'expert' after) or to anyone who knows the tired liar. But something really disturbing has been taking place on NPR's Fresh Air as she attempts to recast herself yet again.


No, we're not referring to here over-reliance on male guests or her male posse of guest interviewers and commentators. [Both of which Ann documents in real time so well -- as well as offering a running commentary on the program.] We're talking about her one-sided programming which is riddled with evasions and inaccuracies and which, last Thursday, decided to engage in some major hate speech.

Her guest was noted weirdo Mark Potok who leaves behind a trail of rumors unlike anything in the world of journalism where the points of interest usually come on the page or on the air and not in the bullpen. Potok long ago gave up any pretense of being a journalist or, for that matter, anyone concerned with actual facts and, as such, now is part of the hate making machinery known as Southern Poverty Law Center. As Ken Silverstein (Harper's magazine) observed this month:

[. . .] I feel that the Law Center is essentially a fraud and that it has a habit of casually labeling organizations as "hate groups." (Which doesn't mean that some of the groups it criticizes aren't reprehensible.) In doing so, the SPLC shuts down debate, stifles free speech, and most of all, raises a pile of money, very little of which is used on behalf of poor people.

For hate speech to succeed, it has to go unquestioned and unexplored and it helps if those listening are willing to either suspend disbelief or if they don't know the actual facts. On the broadcast side, all things were in place thanks to Terry Gross' latest attempts to play more-liberal-than-thou (fortunately for her husband, it's only played on the mike).

We rolled our eyes as Potok brought up "Michelle Bachman, the congresswoman from Minnesota, comes out and starts to talk about how Obama in effect is secretly setting up political re-education camps, presumably to turn our children into small Marxist robots, you know, that goes essentially unchallenged." But as he continued on and on about that one topic, we got really offended. This talk, he tells you, comes "from the real fringes," he ties it into the Tea Party, to a right-wing website, to homophobia and racism, to Glenn Beck, to "anti-Semitic groups" and much more. In fact, on that last part, he suddenly is interested in what he calls "history" and wants to drop back to the nineties but the "00"s?

No one's supposed to ever go there. So you know we will. So belief or concern about government detention centers are a sign of racism and homophobia and right-wingery and blah, blah, blah?

Really? This lively thread at Democrats Underground in 2008 begs to differ. You'll note for some temple worshipers in the Cult of St. Barack, these camps will be used to herd them off when those 'evil' Clintons steal the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination for Hillary. The 2008 thread builds around (without really ever crediting) Rachel L. Swarns' "Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers" February 4, 2006 New York Times report. A report that led to Ruth Conniff's "Halliburton's Immigrant Detention Centers" (The Progressive, April, 2006), Nat Perry's "Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs'" (Consotium News, February 21, 2006), Margaret Kimberley's "Halliburton Detention Centers" (ZNet, February 20, 2006), Maureen Farrell's "Detention Camp Jitters" (BuzzFlash), Sheila Musaji's "Why is Halliburton Building Internment Camps?" (American Muslim via IHC), Peter Dale Scott's "Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps," (Pacific News Service, February 8, 2006), then-president of the National Lawyers Guild Marjorie Cohn's "American Prison Camps Are On The Way" (Information Clearing House) Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg's "Rule by fear or rule by law?" (San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2008) . . . And we could go on and on. There are so many more but we've tried to present with a series of links that provide a spectrum of the left. And in doing so we established what Terry Gross should have: Concern over political concentration camps in the US has been a right and a left concern.

Instead of doing that, she used her bemused and sarcastic tone to insist that it's a right-wing notion (only) in which "the true patriots will be rounded up" and Liar Potok rushed in to agree that this is a hallmark "of the radical right." The National Lawyers Guild elected a radical right president? Look, we're not fond of Crazy Cohn these days. She disgraced herself -- and the office and the NLG -- with her bats**t ravings that Hillary was trying to kill or calling for the death of Barack Obama. But even no longer being willing to piss on her if she were on fire (nod to Mama Cass), we wouldn't call Marjorie a member "of the radical right."

We wouldn't call Marjorie a Democrat either (she is of the left). And we make that point because we're so damn sick of all the little liars of the media doing what Terry Gross did Thursday, "President Obama has been called a socialist, a communist. Democrats have been accused of staging a government takeover of our lives with health care reform, and I guess I'm wondering if you think that that kind of rhetoric connects it all with the extremist hate groups that you've been following. " You're called what your followers are. So when John McCain had a homophobic preacher problem (Hagee), he was painted as a homophobe. You will be seen as your supporters are. That's reality in politics. It's why so many Dems go out of their way to avoid the left, it's why Barbara Lee went out of her way, in the 80s, not to be photographed with lesbians -- including one who had just made a large donation and was under the impression that Barbie Lee would pose for a picture with her. So when Communists and Socialists like Leslie Cagan, Carl Davidson, Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan, Howard Zinn, Bill Fletcher, Eve Ensler and assorted others publicly endorse you (many of whom did so in the Democratic primaries -- Morgan and Steinem did not do so then), people watching are going to make assumptions. That's before you get into Carl's lunatic email sent around in 2007 insisting Barack was a Socialist, detailing all of Ann Dunham's supposed Socialist activity. (But omitting her very strange work and very interesting Ford Foundation funding -- in that region of the world, at that time, Ford Foundation funding usually meant what? A whore at a left magazine should be able to answer that question, if the CIA will let her. No, we're not talking about Katrina vanden Heuvel.) Right or wrong, in politics, people do make assumptions and if the Socialists and Communists are endorsing you, they're going to make assumptions. And the assumptions will only become stronger -- not due to a Newsweek cover but due to the fact that the bulk of Socialist and Communist publications in the US refuse to call Barack out thereby implying that he is one of them. (As we've long stated, Barack is a Corporatist War Hawk. We wish he were a Socialist.) And that's before you get into all the Socialists and Communists who have had high level posts in either the campaign or the administration.

Bill Clinton was also called a Socialist and a Communist by the right-wing. (But the Socialist and Communist press in the US did not praise Clinton. To the contrary, Socialist Worker, Workers World, et al, regularly challenged and slammed Clinton.) Potok and Gross ignore that because it doesn't allow them to pretend that bi-racial Barack is being treated unfairly because he's "Black." (We want to once again note how racist, in ten years, this insistence by the race baiters that Barack is "Black" will appear. But it's the last gasp they have so let them claw for breath a few years more and then we'll all cluck together over the vast amount of racism that poured off so many during Obama's presidency.) So you get Potok declaring, "You know, I think that Jimmy Carter said not long ago that behind all of this ruckus, behind all this anger and fear and frustration, stands race, and I think there's a lot of truth to that."

You know, if the simple-minded weren't allowed to scream "race" every ten seconds of the day, they apparently wouldn't have anything to offer at all. Jimmy Carter's actual quote (actual quotes are too much work for the SPLC) was disgusting and shameful and never should have been uttered by a former US president. It's why Carter's removed himself from the public eye. No one needed it. No one needs him. His failed presidency, however, had nothing to do with skin color and it's doubtful that Barack's failed presidency will either.

Terry Gross wanted to share, "The new Harris poll says that 45 percent of Republicans agree with the birthers and their belief that President Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore not eligible to be president. Thirty-eight percent say Obama's doing many of the things that Hitler did. Twenty-four percent say he may be the anti-Christ." Share, not inform.

She wants to deal with 'impressions' and that requires skipping things like methodology so let's talk about a few impressions. Did you ever think a man who would legally be described at the time of his birth as "illegitimate" would become president? Or that if he did, the press wouldn't find that an interesting event? Hey, Farrah Fawcett was one of our friends and we damn well remember that the attacks on her decision to have a child out of wedlock did not end even in the final years of her life. But the president of the United States being "illegitimate" isn't a press topic? Has never been one? A lot of what the right-wing is doing today, it has done before. For example, saying Barack wasn't born in the US is not vastly different from the right-wing rumors that Bill Clinton was really a Rockefeller. If you've never heard that rumor, click here for Google results. It's also true that some of his extended family in Kenya have made remarks to the press which have muddied the waters. We have always stated here that Barack was born in the US as based upon our own research that began in 2007 when we began encountering people who said, "You've got to talk to ___" and we'd be paired up with some friend of Ann Dunham's or some friend of Barack Obama Sr.'s.

The press has refused to document the historic aspect of a child born out of wedlock occupying the White House. For those who insist Barack's parents were married, Barack Sr. married in Kenya before traveling to the US for college. He returned to his wife after he finished his education. In the US, bigamy is not recognized and all children were considered illegitimate. That's reality. And when the press can't cover reality, you create an atmosphere that breeds distrust. So it goes from "Barack's illegitimate" to "he wasn't even born in the US!" These things do not happen in a vacuum. A rumor isn't necessarily true, but it usually takes hold due to perception.

As for the anti-Christ aspect, has any president ever not been compared or likened to that? Ronald Reagan supposedly had "the mark of the Beast." 666. Because. Ronald = 6 letters. Wilson = 6 letters. Reagan = 6 letters. Not a president but an occupant of the White House, George W. Bush had to lay low during the days immediately after the 2000 election due to the large boil that suddenly appeared on his face. The band-aid he wore over it led to many jokes but when he removed it briefly and was photographed, a number of evangelicals began referring to it as "the mark of the Beast" on their AM radio programs.

As for the poll itself, it is best refuted by James Taranto (Wall St. Journal) who explains it was an online poll and one that started with a question that would lead a number of people to think "This poll is nuts!" and close their browser. He also makes the point that Terry Gross 'missed,' "The central finding--that Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to offer assent to truculent statements about Obama--is not exactly stop-the-presses material." And we'll add to that the point that you always answer the worst about your opponent in those type of polls.

Potok insisted that what he dubbed hate groups (everyone in the country not kissing Barack's ass, apparently) are on the rise and increasing. And, golly, Terry never asked him if he had access to membership rolls or exactly how he made that judgment? We checked with the FBI and their conclusions weren't the same as SPLC but then, outside of a padded cell, few would ever have the same conclusions as SPLC.

Potok needs his martyr which is the only reason he goes into Barack's "safety." Here's reality about Barack's safety: The Secret Service is working very hard and Barack is not receiving more death threats than any other recent president. We say Potok needs a martyr and we've made that point about others but it was only his interview that we saw another dimension to it. He smugly insisted, "You know, we just had someone arrested and charged who wrote a particular poem that suggested the president should be killed."


We're arresting poets now? We're arresting people for literary 'crimes'? And if we are ("if" always being key whenever Potok's telling 'truths'), that's something to be happy about?

Here's reality about people like Potok. They can't have a rational conversation, they lack the critical ability to do so and they're unable to win an argument so instead they scream insults at people, try to tar and feather them, try to make them toxic and then declare themselves the winner. And to 'win,' they have to lie and distort and pretend things matter sometimes but don't at other times.

So he is outraged and shocked and upset that a brick was hurled through the office window of a Congress member. That's not a death threat, that's not a death attempt. It's an act of vandalism and if vandalism such as that is appalling to you, we refer you again to the press. The same press that can't tell you Barack is illegitimate is the one that wanted to act like a president being friends with Bill Ayers was normal. Bill Ayers blew up buildings and now SPLC wants to get outraged that a window was broken?

The corporate media built up Barack and did so because he would put a new face on the empire, he would rebrand it, restore confidence in a corrupt system and privatize everything in sight (your health care was only the first step, next up attempts to do the same with education, followed by the real prize: Social Security). And to sell him to the American people, it was necessary to insist that any detail about his life that was unusual or unique be either ignored or declared completely normal. Sorry, but once you've declared Bill Ayers' actions no big deal, you're going to have a real hard time working up outrage over a broken window.

And maybe people laughed at Potok's whining the way we laughed as he insisted 'new developments' were a foot such as targeting people for murder because of their beliefs or actions. New? Uh, tell it to anyone trying to guarantee reproductive rights. Welcome to the world the rest of us have been living in for decades now, where doctors are targeted and their home addresses given out. This didn't just begin this decade but history's never a strong suit for SLPC. Potok insists, "So that is a kind of in-your-face call for violence that we really hadn't seen much 10, 15 years ago." Those late to the party can refer to Gloria Steinem's Outrageous Acts & Everyday Rebellions from 1983 for these acts that Potok claims weren't really seen a decade or a decade and a half ago. If ignorance is bliss, Potok's ejaculating non-stop.

We'll note this section.

GROSS: Now, there is a demonstration scheduled for April 19th in Washington. It's a Second Amendment march. What is this march about?

Mr. POTOK: Well, just what it says. I mean it is a kind of hardline dont-mess-with-our-guns march. It's an odd thing in the sense that the Obama administration has really never threatened to pass gun control and it seems very clear that there's no interest at all in trying to do that. You know, but what's remarkable about the - so it's a bit remarkable in the first place that the demonstration is happening at all.

We're not a gun site here. If you want our opinion, the people have the right to bear arms. We don't want to be around it, but we're not looking to overturn the law. But as Potok goes on and on, he portrays these people as loons and we had to look up the march to discover who these people were?

We found Terri Stocke whose bio informs that, in addition to corporate work in the last decade plus, she's also a PTL board member. We found Nichole Ridner who is in banking, Liz Foley whose formerly worked with the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and others. There are men on the same page, it's women's history month and we're women, so we're highlighting some of the women on the page, for any who wonder. (And by even noting it's Women's History Month, we're far an ahead of gender traitor Terry Gross.) Are the women stark raving mad? They don't sound it. They don't look it in the photos. But here's Potok talking about them:

You know, I'm not suggesting that this is a militia event, but certainly those people will be there, I think in very large numbers. It seems to me the final thing to say about this is, of course, the organizers say we are doing this on April 19th because that is the day that the first shots were fired in Lexington in the Revolutionary War, which is true. At the same time, I think it's very worth remembering that that is also the day that Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, leaving 168 people dead. You know, so I think the organizers would angrily reject the idea that somehow they're celebrating what McVeigh did - the murder of those people - and I'm sure they're not. But the reality is, is that, you know, it serves as a reminder of where some of these kinds of angry, angry ideas can lead.

That's what SPLC and Potok do so very well -- they smear and they play Smear By Association. There's no reason to bring up Timothy McVeigh. Timothy McVeigh's actions were not to participate in a march or a rally. These are people in this country who feel that their right to bear arms is under assault and want to protest. We have the right, under the Constitution, to protest. That is a basic right and a basic function of democracy. But to Potok it's flat out crazy and he's got to compare it to bombing a federal building. Who's the real crazy here? The people taking part in a peaceful march or Potok?

Or how about Terry Gross? Again, we didn't know about the march. The march is April 19th in DC. To find out about it, we had to look it up. Why is that?

Because National Public Radio repeatedly allows Terry Gross to go off the reservation. Despite the fact that NPR is supposed to be balanced and not tilt to any side, Terry Gross is allowed to violate that repeatedly. It happened all during November and December where Gross made it clear that she loathes Republicans and thinks they're crazy and did so in one celebrity interview after another. Then she wanted to do some 'work' on the Tea Party which required her speaking to left wingers who did not support the Tea Party movement. Time and again, over and over, Terry's listeners get to hear one side and one side only.

And maybe that's okay with you because Terry's now playing for "our side." But the reality is, Terry's whoring the way she always does. You don't muscle your way onto a show which already has a host and take it over the way Terry did without being a real whore. And part of her refusal to allow women on the show (as guests or as her posse -- her all male critics cover TV, rock, film, et al and she has one woman who shows up once every two or three weeks to offer a book review) is the fact that she ousted the woman who made Fresh Air. (For a comical look at Terry, refer to the episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show where Linda Kelsey attempts to take over The Happy Homemaker from Betty White's Sue Ann Nivens. Sue Ann wins out but, in fiction, that can happen.) Terry dances for whomever tosses the coins her way. Which is how, when Ehren Watada could have really used some support, Terry attacked him in an interview and then, after the interview, provided the military 'expert' to tell you how wrong Ehren was. (Ehren wasn't wrong on legal grounds.)

Terry Gross does not inform you. In the midst of an interview with an actress, do you really need to hear Terry ask what it was like to take the actor's penis into her mouth? No, you don't. It's smut and that's all she offers. But her listeners think they've been informed. The same woman who couldn't offer the details that mattered, that caused Lt Ehren Watada to refuse to deploy to Iraq, is the woman who today presents one-sided attacks on Republicans. You can be thrilled about it if you like, but the fact of the matter is, she's not informing you of reality currently anymore than she has in the past.

If you're not grasping how much of a liar she is, note this ridiculous 'information' Potok spewed:

Well, the patriot groups basically disappeared during the Bush administration. You know, there were a few out there, over 100, but they were quite quiescent. They said very little, and what was not said was, you know, Bush is destroying the nation via the Patriot Act and so on. It's funny how much protest we hear now about things like the Patriot Act from the radical right. You know, that was said in certain quarters of the radical right. Certain thinkers, certain intellectuals on the extreme right, you know, certainly were critical of the loss of various kinds of civil freedoms, but by and large these groups kept their mouths shut during the Bush administration and did almost nothing.

You know what's really funny? How little protest we hear from the left over the Patriot Act. And Terry didn't raise that or any other uncomfortable issue. She just let it go out over the air and agreed with it when what it demands is noting (a) the Patriot Act's been renewed under Obama and (b) there's very little left opposition to it these days.

Potok wants to slam a segment of the right for staying silent about the Patriot Act in the past but we're not supposed to notice the huge silence on the left? Ourselves, we're wondering if Naomi Wolf's developed an addiction to sleeping pills because it was a rare week during Bush's reign that we couldn't catch her on Pacifica Radio or at Huffington Post telling us democracy had ended. And yet all these programs she protested continue and she doesn't utter a peep. Again, maybe she's developed a drug addiction which has sidelined her 'activism.'

We were reminded of that sort of hypocrisy -- of staying silent when you know something is wrong -- by a report on NPR's Morning Edition Friday. We heard then-dean of Yale Law School, Harold Koh, declare in 2004, "The extent to which this administration has let the Geneva Conventions be flouted, has let the Torture Convention be undermined, and then hasn't really gotten to the heart of why that happened, I think will be the epitaph for this administration's human rights policy in the years ahead." And then Ari Shapiro explained to us Kol's new stance now that he works for the State Dept, "The U.S. is in armed conflict with al-Qaida as well as the Taliban and associated forces in response to the horrific acts of 9/11 and may use force consistent with its right to self-defense under international law." That's his opinion today. In complete conflict with his on the record comments when Bush occupied the Oval Office.

Were we Terry Gross, we'd just nod our head and ask him if he's ever farted in public, picked his nose that day or had an actor's penis in his mouth? And we'd pretend that somehow informed our listeners. If Gross' actions haven't made the case for NPR imposing term limits on hosts, nothing ever will.

Iraq elections

Iraq held elections March 7th. March 8th, Quil Lawrence (NPR) reported that Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, was the winner. No votes had been counted. But, hey, Quil says so, right? Quil says so and he called some friends who said so which means it must be true.

Friday, the world found out otherwise. According to the electoral commission's count (which still needs certifcation by the country's Supreme Court), Ayad Allawi's political party was the big winner. No sooner were the results declared than, Rod Nordland and Timothy Williams (New York Times) reported, drama queen Nouri went on "national television" and decreed, "No way we will accept these results." Little Nouri who fancied himself the new Saddam is not taking the news that he might not be prime minister well. In fact, outside of the evil queen in Snow White, we're having a difficult time thinking of anyone who's ever behaved in this manner. Jason Ditz ( reported yesterday:

Yet the Maliki government is being even more brazen than this, it would seem, as reports have emerged out of Diyala Province that four Sunni MP-elects from Allawi’s bloc are being targeted by security forces. One has already been captured and is being held incommunicado by the Maliki government, two others have gone into hiding, and the fourth is nowhere to be found.
What's going to happen next?

We have no idea and have no problem stating that.

If Quil Lawrence and his cohorts could learn that phrase, we'd probably have a stronger media system than we currently do. For three weeks, they gas-bagged that Nouri was the winner. And the votes revealed, woops, not so. There's a lesson there for them if they'll pay attention to it.


A number of very important stories got steamrolled due to the repeated attempts by the press to sell ObamaCare. Morning Edition (NPR -- link has text and audio) covered one such story March 17th:

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is supposed to protect American's rights when the government engages in a range of counterterrorism activities. At least the board would that if it had any members. The board was created under President Bush at the recommendation of the 9/11 commission, but if fell apart a few years ago. Now, privacy advocates want President Obama to revive the board. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

Earlier this month, Senator Patrick Leahy's office issued the following press release:

Leahy Urges President To Make Privacy Board Nominations

March 9, 2010

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) yesterday sent a letter to the White House, urging President Obama to make nominations to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

Leahy first wrote to the President about reconstituting the Board in April 2009. The Board, which was established by Congress at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, is charged with ensuring that privacy and civil liberties concerns are considered in the development of national security and counterterrorism policies.

“Having a fully functional Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is a key step in protecting the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans,” Leahy wrote. “Given the many pressing privacy and civil liberties issues facing our Nation, including timely issues related to counterterrorism and cybersecurity policies, this vital Board has remained vacant for far too long.”

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was first constituted in 2005 and is comprised of five members. The terms of the Board’s first members lapsed in January 2008, and the Bush administration delayed in announcing new nominations to the Board. Last year, Leahy worked to secure funding in the omnibus appropriations bill to reconstitute the Board. In 2007, Leahy championed reforms to the Board, including the establishment of annual reporting requirements, and a requirement that all Board members be confirmed by the Senate.

The full text of Leahy’s letter to President Obama follows. A PDF is available online. A PDF of the letter Leahy sent with Senator Arlen Specter in April 2009 is also available online.

# # # # #

March 8, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

In April, Senator Specter and I wrote to urge you to promptly reconstitute the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (“Board”). I write again to encourage you to nominate qualified individuals to the Board at the earliest opportunity.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is an integral component of our counterterrorism policies established by Congress to ensure that privacy and civil liberties concerns are appropriately considered in developing and implementing these measures. At the recommendation of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission), Congress created the Board as an agency within the Executive Office of the President in 2004. During the 110th Congress, I worked with many others in the Senate to reform and reconstitute the Board, to give it more independence.

Having a fully functional Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is a key step in protecting the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans. Given the many pressing privacy and civil liberties issues facing our Nation, including timely issues related to counterterrorism and cybersecurity policies, this vital Board has remained vacant for far too long.

I look forward to working with you on this important issue.



About that 'amazing' ObamaCare

ObamaCare was rammed through last week. It's a miracle and historic . . . to hear and read all the government propaganda passed off as reporting.

But help us out, if it's so wonderful and amazing, why was one group of the population so worried that they needed assurances in writing?

You probably think we mean Bart Stupak and the other anti-choice Democrats. We don't. Little noted but last week the House Veterans Affairs' Subcommittee on Disability had a hearing and, in his opening remarks, Subcommittee Chair John Hall declared:

In a rare Sunday session, Congress passed and the President signed the sweeping health care reform package and I'm pleased that [VA] Secretary Eric Schinseki as well as the Chairman of the full VA Committee (US House Rep Bob Filner] and the full Armed Services Committee [US House Rep Ike Skelton] have signed a letter and sent it to the VSOs stating unequivocally that Tri-Care and VA care will not be effected by the health care legislation.

Tri-Care and VA won't be effected. And that needed to be put in writing. But ObamaCare's cause for celebration?

only if you weren't paying attention.



From Great Britain's Socialist Worker:


US needs more than Obama’s health changes

Barack Obama’s health bill is the biggest welfare reform in the US since the 1960s. Another 32 million people will have health insurance.

This is a step forward – and it’s good to see the Republicans defeated – but what is really shocking is how modest the changes are.

The Medicare scheme which offers health care to retired people was introduced in 1965 on the back of a wave of social discontent. But Obama’s reforms are a compromise designed to avoid upsetting the medical insurance companies.

About 23 million Americans will still have no health cover. Ordinary people will continue to pay crippling insurance premiums.

Insurers will no longer be allowed to exclude people for pre-existing medical conditions, but care will depend on what you can afford.

The scheme will subsidise insurance premiums for people who can’t pay. When they come in during 2014 the reforms will cost $940 billion (£624 billion).

So the government will fund the profits of the profiteering insurance companies, and the Republicans will blame reform for the increased costs.

The reforms will not set up any publicly run health scheme – even one that competes with the private companies. Any talk of change that would make the system efficient is dismissed as extremism.

Its frightening that the political consensus in Britain is to make our system ever more like the US.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

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Laura Lying Flanders

Mike's Friday post is one we felt had to be reposted in full.

Laura Lying Flanders

Friday and the topic tonight is Laura Lying Flanders.

There's no one uglier than Laura the self-loathing lesbian who's apparently back in the closet. Laura has a need to hide a lot of things. She can never stop lying. All through 2004 and election night and the day after, she said on air that she was supporting John Kerry. But, in 2008, we learned she didn't vote for him. Despite doing the overnight Air America 2004 coverage and telling people that they would get through it together and they were all disappointed.

She always lies. She can't help herself. If she's telling you what happened, she's got to lie to make it 'better.' You can't trust her.

She proves that today at CounterPunch
-- and that's my last link to that piece of trash outlet ever.

Whora Flanders (who 'joked' about Hillary's "cackle" even after Chris Matthews had stopped) writes:

So, the New York Times finally ran a correction. But after six weeks of "considering" the errors in its own reporting, the Times’ correction of its misleading ACORN story, came way, way, WAY to late.

The correction ran the same day that the anti-poverty group ACORN called it quits, after a year under attack -- and a day after the paper's public editor wrote that yes indeed, the paper has "mistakenly reinforced falsehoods" from right wing activists against the group.

The Dirty Whore notes the 'costumes' and then launches into other things. Here are the next three paragraphs included under fair use and as a warning to the general public:

When right-wing journo-hucksters released videos appearing to show ACORN workers offering advice to people posing as a pimp and a prostitute, the Times fell for an editing trick. The videos gave the impression that two hucksters were dressed in outlandish costumes when they visited ACORN offices. They weren't.

Video transcripts also contradicted what the video makers claimed, namely that ACORN staffers appeared to endorse talk of using underage girls as prostitutes. The Times also fell for that. In fact, the transcript reveals that ACORN staffers believed they were discussing a plan to protect two girls.

Responding to a complaint from the media critics at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Hoyt said Sunday that the paper's editors were "considering issuing a correction."

What did the Times issue a correction on? From the above (and the rest of the article), they issued a huge number of corrections. But Laura's lying. Laura Flanders is always lying. She's a whore, just like her uncles and the rest of her crazy ass family. Here is the entire correction from the New York Times:

Several articles since September about the troubles of the community organizing group Acorn referred incorrectly or imprecisely to one aspect of videotaped encounters between Acorn workers and two conservative activists that contributed to the group’s problems.

In the encounters, the activists posed as a prostitute and a pimp and discussed prostitution with the workers. But while footage shot away from the offices shows one activist, James O’Keefe, in a flamboyant pimp costume, there is no indication that he was wearing the costume while talking to the Acorn workers.

The errors occurred in articles on Sept. 16 and Sept. 19, 2009, and on Jan. 31 of this year. Because of an editing error, the mistake was repeated in an article in some copies on Saturday. (Go to Article)

Get it? They only retracted that James O'Keefe was wearing a pimp costume. All the other stuff Lying Laura's going on about? More lies from her trashy ass mouth. We don't need her on the left. She's lying and people are going to believe her. She hurts the cause. She either learns to tell the truth or she goes over to the right-wing where her trashy ass belongs anyway.

Laura lies. She can't stop lying. Even her claim that the paper said the two didn't wear costumes is a lie. They only say O'Keefe didn't wear a pimp costume.

Laura also claims that Clark Hoyt (public editor of NYT) finally got honest but he's saying what the correction says: Only that the pimp costume was not worn. From Hoyt's article:

Acorn’s supporters appear to hope that the whole story will fall apart over the issue of what O’Keefe wore: if that was wrong, everything else must be wrong. The record does not support them. If O’Keefe did not dress as a pimp, he clearly presented himself as one: a fellow trying to set up a woman — sometimes along with under-age girls — in a house where they would work as prostitutes. In Washington, he said the prostitution was to finance his future in politics. A worker for Acorn Housing, an allied group, warned him to stay away from the brothel lest someone “get wind that you got a house and that your girlfriend is over there running a house of women of the night. You will not have a career.”

FAIR said that in Brooklyn, O’Keefe and Giles seemed to be telling Acorn staffers that “they are attempting to buy a house to protect child prostitutes from an abusive pimp.” That’s right, but FAIR left out the part about their clear intention to operate a brothel, which the Acorn workers seemed to take in stride, with one warning: “Don’t get caught, ’cause it is against the law.”

The videos were heavily edited. The sequence of some conversations was changed. Some workers seemed concerned for Giles, one advising her to get legal help. In two cities, Acorn workers called the police. But the most damning words match the transcripts and the audio, and do not seem out of context. Harshbarger’s report to Acorn found no “pattern of illegal conduct” by its employees. But, he told me: “They said what they said. There’s no way to make this look good.”

"FAIR left out the part . . ." Don't you love that. We know FAIR as the liar supreme. Ava and C.I. deconstructed that trashy group in 2008. They lie all the damn time. They once had ethics but they whored that out too. Now they're almost as big a whore as Laura Flanders.

This doesn't help the left and anyone who applauds Laura Flanders is as much a liar as she is.
It's time we took back the left from these liars. It's time those of us with ethics, those who didn't whore themselves out, make it clear that Laura Flanders and her ilk are nothing but the faux left. We can win it because we have truth on our side.


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 popular highlight of the week. Many of you guessed that Ava and C.I. would be doing a radio program this week and you were right.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The nail biter" -- The backstory? You've got a painted in wording for part of the comic. Isaiah did the comic last week and was convinced ObamaCare would fail. It didn't. He had already left DC when the vote was taken and C.I. and Wally worked up a new line (just one sentence) to add to the comic and make it work.

"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on Congressional hearings.

"You Keep Me Hangin' On," "Silly," "Silly," "american pie," "Venus," "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)," "Erotic City," "Wishes," "What Have They Done To The Rain?"and
"What's my age again?" -- Theme post on music.

"THIS JUST IN! THE PRIVATE DANCER!" and "Let me loosen up your collar . . ." -- Wally and Cedric on Barry's Stupak lap dance.

"Freudian Slip wht World's Waiting On" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Gumbo in the Kitchen" -- Trina covers cooking and the economy.

"Robert Mitchum" -- Ann on acting.

"Excuse me?" -- Betty asks the questions.

"book 'em friday" and "Oscar Micheaux" -- Rebecca and Marcia's book posts.

"Who is he working for?" -- We don't know.

"Surprises" -- Kat's musing post.

"Ever After" -- Stan's Friday night movie post.

"Alex Cockburn the Global Warming Denier" & "Laura Lying Flanders" -- Elaine and Mike take on the Crazy Cockburn family.

"Gearing up for Iowa" and "THIS JUST IN! ROAD SHOW!" -- Cedric and Wally on the never ending campaign.
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