Sunday, May 16, 2010
To the majority of Americans, however, the pledge to get out of Iraq is carved in stone, and the only way to erase it is to shatter the tablet on which the President’s electoral mandate is written.
What the Democrats are counting on is the complicity of the “opposition” party, which is not going to make Iraq an election year issue -- except insofar as they see it as a "model" for how to win the war in Afghanistan. The administration is also counting on the silence of the "antiwar" left, in congress and at the grassroots, simply because these forces -- easily bought off, and/or intimidated -- haven't given them any reason to worry in the past.
-- Justin Raimondo's "Iraq: The Endless Occupation" (Antiwar.com)
It was a pretty funny speech, though not in the least self-deprecating, which is traditionally what these occasions are supposed to be about.
George W. Bush understood that. He gamely mocked himself, year after year.
Not Obama, though. He took shots at everyone except himself and, at one point, warning celebrity suitors to stay away from his two daughters, said: "Boys, don't get any ideas. Two words for you: Predator drones. You'll never see it coming."
The line drew a big laugh and the cable news shows (with the exception of the perpetually unimpressed Fox News) fawned all over the president's performance the next morning.
Here's a thought, though: What if George W. Bush had delivered the Predator line?
-- Neil Macdonald, "The media love-in with Barack Obama" (CBC).
Sunday and, amazingly, we're late. Okay, not so amazingly. Typically.
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?
That's all we got. Until next time.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
Elana Kagan is Barack Obama's pick to fill Justice John Paul Stevens' slot on the Supreme Court. Begging the question: What did Justice Stevens ever do to Barack?
Anupam Chander is at the University of California-Davis School of Law; Luis Fuentes-Rohwer is at Indiana University's School of Law; and Angela Onwuachi-Willig is at the University of Iowa College of Law. They are among the writers of "The White House's Kagan talking points are wrong: We questioned Harvard Law's diversity record under Elena Kagan. The White House pushed back. But they got it wrong," which states: "The first woman Dean of Harvard Law School had presided over an unprecedented expansion of the faculty -- growing it by almost a half. She had hired 32 tenured and tenure-track academic faculty members (non-clinical, non-practice). But when we sat down to review the actual record, we were frankly shocked. Not only were there shockingly few people of color, there were very few women. Where were the people of color? Where were the women? Of these 32 tenured and tenure-track academic hires, only one was a minority. Of these 32, only seven were women. All this in the 21st Century.
Where were the people of color?
It's a question you might ask of Barack as well.
He's made damn few appointments of color.
And he's run like crazy from any nominees who've weighed in on the serious matters.
This time last year, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Future of the Court" was pointing out an obvious nominee for the Court.
Barack didn't want to honor courage then and he doesn't want to honor it now. Hence, closeted lesbian Elana Kagan -- so pathetic she won't even come out of the sexual closet. But somehow, someway, this woman who's never stood up for anyone (including herself) a day in her life will do so once she's on the Court?
It all started because Hulu friends are in a panic. They're coming off their best numbers ever but . . . they're really not a content originator, just a provider, and season finales are upon us. Meaning, save a few really bad 'reality' TV shows, there won't be a whole lot to drive people to Hulu until the fall season starts up.
They insist they have plenty to offer and point to the original-for-USA-cable shows they feature prominently each summer and they pointed out that they always offer movies . . . And they listed and they listed for a good ten minutes before we said, "Wait, what?"
Public affairs. They're offering, for example, Charlie Rose's PBS show and assorted other shows and they just posted one with that major lefty. Yeah, that's it. With Amy Goodman? 'Yeah, she's like a left hero.' Oh, our poor deluded Hulu friends.
The show they're referring to is FORA.tv's Politics. (Click here for the Goodman episode and we have no idea how long it will be up.) Never heard of FORA.tv?
Don't feel bad. We're on the road for over 44 weeks each year and we hadn't heard of it. We know premium cable, we know basic cable, we know satellite channels and even a few public access channels. But FORA.tv had escaped us.
FORA.tv boasts that it's "changing the planet" with "people, issues, and ideas" and if you can wade through all that pompous you still haven't reached anything. They interview 'notables' like John Yoo (apparently Miguel Estrada was still out cruising) and Christopher Hitchens. They interview?
Well they tape them. 'Taping' might be overly generous. For example, the episode we're dealing with is actually Amy Goodman before the Commonwealth Club chatting with Big Boned Angie Coiro. Is "Big Boned" hostile?
We'd argue Angie Coiro's presentation is hostile and offensive and we'd further argue that should she ever leave the Bay Area, we loudly encourage egging, pieing and any other food-related hurling in her direction -- not limited to but including rotten tomatoes. Possibly Ang didn't know that the taping meant people all around the country could see her . . . and learn to hate her. For those not of the Bay Area, please take our word for it, we're not all pompous snobs who hate large portions of the country.
For those who don't know Angie Coiro -- approximately 99% of the country, she attempted national prominence as the host of Mother Jones Radio back in June 2005 via Air America Radio. She did not storm the country. She did not become a national obsession. Nor did she even see a two year anniversary. Now she's back on local radio in the Bay Area where she's largely -- and rightly -- ignored.
Again, for those who think we're being overly harsh, we're being nowhere near as rude to her as she was to the country. In the early minutes of the broadcast, she established just how snotty Jabba The Hut in earrings could be as she whined and sneered that there were people in this country who listened to US House Rep. Michelle Bachman and not President Barack Obama.
Angie all but furiously fingered her crotch as she gasped, ". . . I don't know with what's happened to our education system, particularly in the last two decades, if the average American person has the discretionary thought process to seek out truth and understand it when they find it when you see parallels being drawn between -- This is -- Michelle Bachman is as qualified as say Barack Obama. And they're being compared as equal parties in some cases! There are literally a good number of American people who can not tell you why that's not a fair comparison."
Oh, the horror!
We pictured Angie rolling on the floor and gasping for air if anyone told her there were people who listened to neither Bachman nor Obama. Or if we pointed out that, as an American citizen, Bachman bows to no one nor does any other American citizen. That, as an American citizen, Bachman no knows no King or Queen who rules over her. That, as an American citizen, she is equal to any other American citizen -- be they a leader or not.
And, to be clear, Angie didn't mean "listen" as in "hear what they are saying." She meant follow. It's a good thing Jabba's no longer with Mother Jones Radio because there's nothing of-the-people about this great White whale.
We waited in vain for Goodman to point out the reality: That politicians were public servants and that, instead of forming fan clubs, the people should be making demands. However, as Lou Reed once sang, "Those were different times." And these days, Amy operates under "Exception for the Ruler." It was really cute to listen to her babble on about Barack Obama's 'meaning' and to read between the lines on Barack personally and on health care and get what she was really saying (we've provided the link, view for yourself if you have doubts) which was: Stupid people shouldn't be awakened.
Stupid people need to be fed lies. It was probably a more honest pose for Goodman, certainly in keeping with the real self, but it was a bit of a shock to hear her admit publicly that it was never about telling the people what Obama was actually offering but about gearing them up for something else.
That Goodman finds so much of the public -- including African-Americans -- to be children is only shocking if you've never noticed the way she objectifies them.
Take last week. Monday, it was revealed that singer, activist and actress Lena Horne had passed away. Tuesday on Democracy Now!, Goody decided the thing to do was bring on the author of a trashy book, riddled with rumors and loathed by Lena. This White man was allowed to declare on air that Lena had "a Caucasian singing style, Caucasian in a lot of her manner." As Betty pointed out, Amy Goodman just sat there while her guest called Lena someone attempting to pass for White. It was offensive.
The idiot -- a Kris Welch fave, by the way (Kris was his entree into Pacifica Radio) -- wrote a bad book about Lena and never should have been invited on. He's neither a historian nor a noted writer. And, as evidenced by his statements, he knew nothing about her. Asked about a specific interview Lena gave in 1966, he states that she was trying to get involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Excuse us? She already had many years -- public years -- under her belt in the Civil Rights Movement. She wasn't trying to change her image, she was continuing her work. Repeatedly, he degraded her work and portrayed her as a puppet. This is how we remember a pioneer? This is how we remember a woman who stood up when few would? With lies and attacks?
Now a person -- of any color -- who knew something about, for example, the Civil Rights Movement or jazz or cabaret singing could have discussed Lena. Certainly, many academics could have. There are WBAI personalities who could have discussed Lena at length. Instead Amy Goodman felt the go-to was the 'author' of a bitchy little attack on Lena. And a White man at that.
Near the end of the talk on Hulu, an African-American man stands up and lists the staff of DN! before asking the obvious question: "Where are the Black pundits on Democracy Now?"
A defensive Goody immediately begins insisting that they have guests, they have regular guests, that African-Americans are represented as guests.
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?
Is that what she meant? How very 'progressive' of her. But, more to the point, they're not guests. Lena Horne passes away and the 'expert' -- or guest -- brought on is a White man. A White man who knows nothing about music or acting or activism. He knows a tiny little bit about celebrity. That's all he knows about outside of clubbing and sponging off others and coming on to straight men (including two who happen to be good friends of ours -- reject him and he gets really bitchy). Why was this man brought on? Why not a music scholar, a film scholar or a Civil Rights Movement scholar?
As Goody was asked, where are the African-Americans on her show? A pioneering African-American dies and three people (two hosts) and one guest discuss Lena and not one of them is African-American?
If you didn't know what she actually did on the air, her answer may have caused you to wince. But if you knew how the program actually plays out, you were howling.
At another point, Goody was stating of the lead up to the Iraq War, "But when the media got it wrong. I mean it showed -- People not only lost faith in the White House, but they lost face-faith in the media. And that's why I think they turned away. I mean people care. People care if US soldiers are dying. People care if people -- if Iraqis and Afghans are dying. I do think that's what people care about. That media got it wrong and people started looking elsewhere. You know Democracy Now! went from a couple of dozen stations to 800 public radio and television stations within a matter of years because people were looking for, I really do think, original voices and I'm not talking about partisan voices. But they were looking for independent voices that were telling the truth about their own lives and what they were seeing. And I think that also drove people to the internet because, when they couldn't find it in the establishment media, they looked elsewhere."
We agree completely with that and have made similar comments many times ourselves. And we don't believe that the Iraq War stopped in 2003. Sometimes we have to wonder if Amy Goodman does believe that it did? We also are fully aware that Barack Obama does not represent the left and is not of the left and the failure of left outlets to tell that truth has driven huge numbers away, demoralized many. Amy Goodman likes to claim that Barack can be held accountable. By whom? Who is left for her to reach at this late date? As she wastes one program after another defending Barack Obama when does she ever plan to hold him accountable? And should she decide to this week, wouldn't she first have to spend a lengthy amount of time explaining to her audience who he really is since she's never bothered to do that?
War was on Amy's mind during the talk. She declared at another point:
Because I really do think . . . if for one week in this country, every newspaper, every surviving newspaper, every newscast in this country had, at the top of their cast or above the fold in the newspapers, the photographs and the articles, the stories about war, showed the images, the babies dead on the ground, the women with their legs blown off by cluster bombs, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan, the soldiers dead and dying, for just one week, Americans are a compassionate people and they would say, "No, war is not the answer to conflict in the 21st century." But we have to show the images. That's our job.
And that's the talk but again our minds went to the walk. Goody's got an hour long, five day a week program -- one she says airs on over 800 outlets. So when has she spent the week doing that? Doing what she recommends others do?
If you don't actually expect Amy Goodman to live up to her prattle, you're a lot less likely to be disappointed. For example, she declared:
You mention WikiLeaks and that's a story that we have been really focusing on in the last week. It's this watchdog website. And I write a column every week distributed by King Features -- you can ask The San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers to run the column, scores of newspapers do around the country. It's called "Breaking The Sound Barrier." The same title as my book. And this week's column, uh, is on WikiLeaks, uh, and it's this non-profit, watchdog website that is dedicated to releasing classified documents. And several years ago, in July of 2007, two Reuters employees in Iraq were killed when an Apache helicopter opened fire on a group of people in New Baghdad -- a community in Baghdad. Uh, Reuters asked for the videotape and they were denied under a Freedom Of Information Act request. Well someone in the military, we believe, posted the video only last week of this attack. It's absolutely chilling. You can go to Democracy.org and see it or go to WikiLeaks and see it. It shows the targets and it has the radio transmissions of the soldiers in the planes talking to each other in these helicopters. They're laughing, they're swearing, they're talking about getting these people on the ground. And they do it right up the chain of command. They're constantly asking for authority to attack which they get. And you see these individuals on the ground blown to pieces. Uh, the Reuters photographer was 22. Uhm, Noor -- The reporter -- The photographer was 22. Saeed Chmagh was the driver. He had four kids. He didn't die in the initial attack. Uhm, you see him crawling away. Uhm, and they then blow him up when a van comes to save him. And they blow up the van. In the van were two children who were critically injured. And, uhm, they show you in this videotape -- they circle the faces of the children. They also, uhm, uh transcribe the radio transmissions so you can clearly hear and read what the soldiers are saying. This is a huge story. We will continue to follow it. And this shows the power of actually having the videotape. Showing the pictures.
For the record, the two Reuters' journalists were Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.
"This is a huge story" she insisted. She'd devoted how much time to it? Not much at all. When she gave that speech, she'd made it one of four daily segments on April 6th and April 8th. After she spoke ("We will continue to follow it") she made it one of four daily segments for the 12th. She never devoted a full week to it (so much for showing the pictures) or even a full day to it.
In the same month, four days would be devoted to Bolivia's Climate Crisis (four days where the entire program -- except for headlines -- would be about the Climate Crisis). She would feature Bolivian president Evo Morales repeatedly. She'd note him constantly. She'd forget to include his homophobic remarks. Truth to power? Non-partisan?
"This is a huge story," she'd insisted of WikiLeaks. But she gave it very little play.
And she had footage. Footage of the killings. But she had other things to focus on. Such as Patti Smith yet again rewriting history, Alice Walker promoting another book that didn't sell, etc.
"Look at the Tea Party actions," she declared, savaging the media at another point. "You can get a couple of hundred people an you have massive coverage. Look at the anniversary of Iraq recently, there were thousands of people in Washington. It didn't get anything near the coverage of fewer people who were there for the Tea Party gatherings."
We agree and we especially agree it didn't get anything near the coverage from Democracy Now! In fact, this was Amy Goodman's entire coverage of the protests on the 7th anniversary of the Iraq War:
Amy Goodman: The immigration rally came one day after antiwar activists held a protest to mark the seven-year anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. Organizers say around 10,000 people took part, making it the largest antiwar protest since President Obama's decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan last year.
Protester: "This is a disgrace that this country, seven years after the invasion of Iraq, is still in that country and is upping things in Afghanistan. It is wrong. Innocent people die."
Amy Goodman: At least eight people were arrested after laying coffins at a White House fence. Among them was the peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose group Peace of the Action helped organize the march. Rallies were also held in several other cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles.
That was all Goodman had to offer. She wants to whine about others (The Washington Post covered the protests and the lead up to them) but the reality is she's not doing her job.
That was especially clear during this talk in San Francisco when a man asked her about gay rights and so surprised was she by the topic -- in San Francisco? -- she had to ask him what he'd said and he'd have to repeat "gay rights."
Stalling by addressing other aspects of his question, she finally declared, "And on the issue of gay rights, I think the gay and lesbian movement in this country has demonstrated the power of organizing and the effect it can have. It is a movement that doesn't get the kind of coverage in the corporate media that it deserves."
Blame the corporate media again?
Repeating, if you just listen to the talk, if you don't expect her to do the walk, it's so easy to be impressed with Amy Goodman. But where has she been on LGBT issues?
Repeatedly. March and April saw huge work done by GetEQUAL and by Lt Dan Choi. Where was Goodman? She chatted up a bunch of tired people. When Dan was chaining himself to the White House fence, she was spending her entire broadcast excusing and justifying US House Rep. Dennis Kucinich's latest sell out. Providing an hour defense for a sack of s**t who couldn't find his spine was more important than Dan Choi's brave stand.
But that's how it usually goes with Amy Goodman. In a pinch, she'll do one or two LGBT adjacent stories a year. So it's hilarious to listen to her tell a San Francisco audience, "I think the gay and lesbian movement in this country has demonstrated the power of organizing and the effect it can have. It is a movement that doesn't get the kind of coverage in the corporate media that it deserves."
Were it not for Hulu, we might have missed those moments of high comedy and tragic reality. But, to be honest, they weren't worth paying for. In fact, nothing on Hulu is worth paying for -- the bulk of it coming from broadcast TV. And that will only become more painfully obvious as May draws to a close.
Because summer repeats won't encourage much streaming? Well, there is that, yes. But more importantly is a move Hulu intends to push through. It's their paid programming plan.
No, no Susan Powter screaming at you, no Christie Brinkley pretending to relate to Chuck Norris or QVC hawking. This paid programming will work the other way: You'll pay Hulu.
The fee will be a few pennies less than ten dollars a month and will allow you to watch, for example, the first ten episodes of this season of 24 -- as opposed to the last five that aired (currently Hulu can post the five most recent aired episodes of a series -- if the network's part of the Hulu arrangement). As two who, last year, loudly called out online and at ABC the decision to deny Hulu V for a week after it's initial broadcast, we have to admit we did that in part because we felt sorry for Hulu and felt it was serving everyone. Now as it moves to paid subscriptions that will change.
The first step is simple enough but we think people will balk at steps two and three for example. (They're not yet reported and we're not allowed to reveal them.) We tried to convince Hulu friends that they could destroy the website but they insist (a) they know what they're doing and (b) they've put a lot of time and thought into their business model.
Some may agree with that. Others would, no doubt, argue only a fool attempts to get payments during summer re-runs.
C.I.: It's a comic. It's not a sketch. Isaiah was kind enough to do illustrations for two features and threw in a third sketch. He can do "The World Today Just Nuts" above it and have his comic for the week.
Ava: And I agree with C.I. As soon as I saw that sketch, even as I heard Jim hollering that it gave him an idea for an editorial, I could already see it as one of Isaiah's comics. We do not need to take Isaiah's comics here. He's got to do one for The Common Ills, this one that C.I. nixed is perfect for The Common Ills and will save Isaiah having to rack his brain all day to think of another idea for a comic.
Jim: Okay, but Isaiah could have come up with another idea. I mean, am I wrong Isaiah?
Isaiah: No, I usually do. I usually either have an idea by the time The Simpsons comes on Sunday night or else I spend that half-hour madly going through the news, doing various news searches to find something to draw.
Jess: Which is a polite way of saying, "Yes, Jim, I could have used up my entire evening coming up with another idea." This is settled matter, it's already been decided, can we move on to another topic.
Jim: Alright, we can. We will. Last week, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "To Clarify Any Confusion" was posted. The thing's gone viral. People who don't even know I know Isaiah bring it up to me. Premise is that Isaiah's explaining the difference between entertainer Nathan Lane and Supreme Court nominee Elana Kagan. Bess e-mailed this site, email@example.com, Thursday asking what the inspiration for it was?
Isaiah: I was tired. I went to Yahoo News, Alta Vista and Google News. On one of them, there was a photo and I thought, "Did Nathan Lane die?" I couldn't understand why he had such a prominent photo. Then I rubbed my eyes and looked closer. It was Elana Kagan.
Jim: And it went up Sunday and Monday she was nominated. Did that surprise you?
Isaiah: Honestly, yes. I thought he was going to nominate someone else. But it ended up being very timely. And I did a lot of research for that comic and could have extended the comparisons and contrasts with Nathan Lane and Kagan. For example, both are one of three children their parents had.
Jim: Do you think she'll make a good Supreme Court judge?
Marcia: Should the question include "if confirmed"?
Jim: Probably. But I don't think anyone here doubts she will be. Anyone? Marcia?
Marcia: No, sadly, I think she'll be confirmed.
Jim: Were you surprised, Marcia, that Kagan was the nominee?
Marcia: Yes and no. In my heart, I hoped for someone better but, in my head, I knew we were dealing with Barack. I agree with an earlier comic Isaiah did, where he advocated, in Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Future of the Court", for Anna Diggs Taylor.
Ty: And to provide the background there, Anna Diggs Taylor is a federal judge. As a judge, in 2006, she ruled, in ACLU v. NSA, that the warrantless spying the white House was doing was illegal. She stood up and was counted. It would have been great if Barack had the good sense to honor someone who did that. However, he's never shown appreciation for anyone who's demonstrated bravery. But, yeah, Anna Diggs Taylor would be a great Supreme Court Judge.
Jim: She would have been the first African-American woman to become a Supreme Court Judge had Barack nominated her. Marcia, you said you weren't surprised, that "I knew we were dealing with Barack." Did that mean that you knew he wouldn't nominate an African-American?
Marcia: Absolutely. He never does. He does nothing for the African-American community. Ever. He's basically a bastard. He's the guy who dates someone and treats them like dirt instead of honoring them because he knows he can get away with it. That explains everything about him.
Betty: I honestly think if any White person had been elected president in 2008, Black America would be better off. I do not know, and this is point Tavis Smiley's made, how we come back in 2012 or 2016 and say, "We have demands, we need to be listened to," when we've gone all this time refusing to call out Barack, refusing to make demands on him.
Ty: How honest do we want to get here?
Jim: Full blown's fine with me?
Ty: Well we can all talk strongly, no question. But Cedric and Ann are off this weekend and, as such, I feel like I need to step it up some in this conversation.
Betty: Go for it, Ty. I've got your back.
Ty: I'm sure you do and I'm sure you know where I'm going to go. You know what, I'm so damn sick of the Barack groupies and I'm so damn sick of so many people. There's an e-mail, and I was talking to Betty about it Friday, whining that we never include the Black Agenda Report in truests anymore. And my attitude is they're are damn lucky that they haven't been pulled from the links. We've discussed it repeatedly -- Betty, Marcia, Cedric, Stan and myself -- and always said, in the end, we'd leave them. But they are the main reason Ann only links to community sites. She was very clear that she was not linking to them. And they are becoming a problem. I am not afraid to make that assertion.
Stan: Nor I. I am so sick of their "racism!" every five seconds on every issue in the world. They have never understood the Tea Party movement and they have embarrassed themselves on it. That's before you even include all those demented commentaries by Paul Street. But they're insane. It's become a sickness for them, their desire, their need to see racism in everything. The facts don't back them up but they can't let it go. It's disgusting. I'm embarrassed for them. That's why we don't highlight them at our sites. Marcia's regularly asking us to ditch them.
Marcia: Because I don't need it. I don't need them. F**k Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon is my attitude. They're supposedly addressing African-American issues. Where are LGBT African-Americans represented at BAR? We're not. I'm sick of their homophobia. And a weekly that can't address LGBT rights is one suffering homophobia. And there was the thing with the Cambridge cop, who was White, and Henry Louise Gates, and they had to scream "RACISM!" on that. And act like Gates was our greatest voice. Last week? They're tearing Gates apart because they don't like his take on reparations.
Betty: Marcia, thank you for bringing up the LGBT issue because I, honestly, hadn't even thought about it until you brought it up. I agree with you on that and I'm so sorry that I didn't notice it on my own. In terms of Gates? I don't think racism was the reason for the altercation. With reparations, Gates has done what he always does, presume to speak for everyone. That's what he did with the cop, most likely, and it pissed the officer off -- the same way his speech on reparations pissed people off. Gates loves to provoke. That said, I'm honestly where he is on that issue. I was thinking Ty was going to bring that up. Ty and I working with a people of color peace group here in the Bay Area and we've actually been addressing the issue of reparations in a number of circumstances.
Ty: And letting go. For example, the US government owes Iraq money for the damage done to the country of Iraq. Palestinians would argue Israel does the same and, forty or fifty years ago, Israel would argue the same of others in the region. I'm for immediate reparations but I think things have a time limit.
Betty: We're all talking, in the group, how sick we are of the refusal of peace in that region and of all the Hatfield and the McCoys politics. And how when you say that, one side wants to scream they were persecuted by the world and the other wants to scream they have no big weapons and blah, blah, blah. Reality, if we hold onto everything we'll never grasp anything in the present. We've got two hands, people, each of us has two hands. At some point you grab onto the present or you drown. Really. That's what happens. You go under. And we're focusing on those issues internationally but, on the way back, Ty and I are always applying it to other issues as well. We think Israel needs to grow the hell up, for example, and offer Palestinians half the region now occupied so that there can be a two-state solution. We're aware of the dangers of that for both sides. If people can't let go of grudges and the past, no one progresses. Palestine and Israel could sign an agreement tomorrow but warring would continue unless the two sides were willing to stop bringing up 1968 and this and that and everything else. It's the same with a segment of Cubans who come to America and want to use Florida as a place to launch war on Cuba. Let it go. You have to be willing to live in today. This attitude that they're going to overturn Castro and go back to pre-Castro days, over fifty years ago, is just ridiculous. We have to learn to move on. Take the genocide of Armenians. That needs to be recognized worldwide with a proclamation and included in our history books. But that's so long ago that I'm not going to advocate for money to change hands. And with that in mind, and those conversations we're having, I just currently no longer advocate for reparations. A part of me cringes at that statement as I make it; however, I cannot call out the right-wing Cubans, for example, and their refusal to live in today if I'm advocating for reparations for slavery. I think the ship sailed on that. Slavery is a stain on the nation. Hopefully, we will always remember it and learn from it. But this idea that we're going to do something financially for a practice that was ended approximately 150 years ago? I'm sorry. I don't want to be a Sunni or a Shi'ite who's forever battling the other and explaining how I was wronged and demanding this or that. I don't want to be on that seesaw.
Stan: Interesting. I need to think about it. I understand what Betty and Ty are saying, I can follow their points. I can even agree with their points. I'm not sure I'm willing to follow them to the conclusion, however. That doesn't mean they're wrong. It may mean, if I'm unable to follow them to the same conclusion, that I'm a petty person who holds a grudge. But I need to think about it before I comment on where I'm at.
Marcia: I'm actually with them. I know Ann would be as well because Ann and Ty have talked about this. I don't know where Cedric would be but my guess would be he would either be echoing Stan or maintaining that reparations were needed. And I can respect those points of view. For me, the change was Gates' remarks on this topic and, most importantly, the attack that followed. An attack that was led, please note, by White people like Paul Street and I believe Dave Zirin. Gates is not a genius. I think he flew off the handle with the police officer and deliberately provoked an incident. I think the fact that he made all these public charges about the police officer supposedly breaking this law and that law and never turned around and sued him, but did have a beer with him, demonstrates that Gates over reacted. So don't lump me in with the groupies he has. But he is an older man who has seen a lot. So when he speaks about issues, I do think we listen. We don't have to agree but we do need to listen because he's speaking from a long life of experiences. And what I heard -- and what Ann heard -- from his column was more than what was on the page. We may have read more into it or not. But what we took from it was that there can be a long, long battle to convince the country that reparations are necessary. And at the end of that, decades from now, something may or may not take place. Or we can work on some issues that are really effecting our communities right now.
Ty: And, as Marcia pointed out, I was talking to Ann about this as well and her comment to me was that this is probably why Gates and Barack are friends -- because Gates attitude is similar to Barack's on this issue. Meaning that the re fighting of the same battles may be counter-productive. For Betty and I, as she so aptly explained, it was seeing the conflict going on in so many regions and how it has so many historical roots, so many historical grievances and how no one ever wants to budge an inch. And that's not, "Let's cave and give in and do so on every issue!" That is acknowledging that we have many current issues effecting the Black community and this push for reparations takes up a lot of space. As Marcia was noting, ZNet carried several commentaries on it -- slamming Gates. Which was probably the busiest "Black week" for ZNet. We have real issues to address. Foreclosures have hit the Black community at a higher rate as has unemployment. To offer only two examples. We have real issues that need to be addressed right now. Betty and I aren't going to condemn anyone who continues the fight for reparations. That includes Stan even if he changes his site to "Reparations Now!" But, as we're talking about and learning about conflicts and conflict resolution, it just doesn't make sense to us personally that we advocate for this.
Stan: And, to be clear, I understand what you are both saying, what all of you are saying, even Ann who is not here, but I don't know. I need to think about it some more. And I'm not sure, even when I do think about it more, that I'll be on the same side of this issue. However, I will always be personally on your side Ty, Betty and, of course, my cousin Marcia.
Betty: And we don't have to all agree on this issue. I mention that because some people will be worried, "Oh, no, a disagreement in the midst!" It's not going to effect us. We will still get along very well. We do disagree on things, all of us. But we always have each other's back. And this is a complex issue and, a month from now, having explored this, I might swing back to my earlier position. I have no notion that "I am right and you are wrong!" I only know that, for now, this feels like the right position to me.
Stan: And I don't want to be coming off like I'm rigid. For example, I just went to Black Agenda Report and see a piece by the idiot Tim Wise trashing Gates. And that's enough to make me want to jump on board with Gates. It's like, White Ass Tim Wise, shut the hell up. This isn't your issue. And just that he thinks he can speak for Black America and, in the process, trash Gates, is enough to make me want to jump on board the other ship. I'm not rigid and I'm open to discussion but I do not know where I stand on this issue at this time.
Ruth: And what is really great is that Stan is comfortable saying that. That there is not this "I must have an opinion and I must express it now."
Ty: Right. If we were people on a Sunday chat & chew, we'd all have to have our opinions and have fixed opinions and be experts on every topic -- experts who knew nothing. And Stan's willingness to say he's going to have to think about it is brave and refreshing. New topic, Emily H. e-mails to say she just found us a month ago and that she's glad for that but worried because other websites she enjoyed refused to drink the Kool-Aid only to either shut down or begin sipping it. Comments?
Rebecca: We don't sip the Kool-Aid. In fairness to those who shut down, you have no idea how ugly it was in 2008. At C.I.'s request, we avoided that topic in 2008. C.I.'s belief was that if we wrote about it, we'd be (a) navel gazing and (b) encouraging the attacks. So we just ignored them as best we could but we got awful e-mails. From people we'd never heard from claiming to be readers. For example, I don't get 50 e-mails a day. So mid-January 2008, I start getting 50 e-mails a day, angry ones, from so-called readers, slamming me and telling me they hate me and accusing me of everything and just really ugly and mean and threatening e-mails. And we all go them. But it was really easy to get depressed by those. And if someone felt they couldn't take it anymore, I fully understand that. I am glad for those who were brave. But that's one group. The other group? I know what Emily's writing about. There are a large number of 'brave' types who have, bit by bit, inched over into Camp Obama and they think no one would notice. But you do notice and you don't respect them. Taylor Marsh was the most obvious about it so I calling it "Pulling a Taylor Marsh" in 'honor' of her. For those who don't know, Taylor was a Hillary supporter. She blogged about how she couldn't support Barack, wouldn't do it. She was a lunch bucket whatever. And she blogged she supported Reagan in the 80s and blah blah blah. Before the DNC convention, the tired porn worker was screaming at anyone who wouldn't vote for Barack. She flipped in one day. I think others were and are more subtle.
Jim: Betty mentioned Iraq and I wanted to pick up on a conversation from the last week's "Iraq roundtable" -- specifically the Jewish archives that were found submerged in water by US forces. Hidden away, trashed. And the US rescued them and restored them. Last week, it was learned the US would be turning them back over to Iraq's government. Trina wrote about it in "Outrage" on Friday. Trina?
Trina: Well I do find it outrageous. It would be akin to turning over Armenian records to Turkey. Iraq doesn't want the Jewish population, they've made that clear. So they have no right to records on Jews. It's not difficult to determine. This is the same country, please remember, that now insists it can't and shouldn't have to pay off its debt to Kuwait for attacking Kuwait. They want their payments lessened and their excuse is, "It happened under the old regime so we're not responsible!" And yet they're demanding these records, collected under the old regime, and saying, "They are ours!"
Ruth: Talk about an incongruity.
Jim: Ruth, any additional thoughts? I'm getting a wrap-it-up from Dona.
Ruth: I really loved what Trina wrote and appreciated that she wrote it. It makes me very angry and I was glad to discover just how angry it made Trina. Jews were treated like crap under Saddam Hussein and even worse after the US-invasion in 2003. Saying the Iraqi government deserves the historical Jewish archives is like saying a man who beat a woman repeatedly deserves half her income.
Jim: Alright and, as I noted, Dona gave me the wrap it up so I'm doing so. This is a rush transcript.
First up, closeted lesbian Elana Kagan was vouched for (as not-a-lesbian) by Eliot Spitzer. That would be the same Eliot Spitzer who was driven out of office when it was learned he hired hookers while governor of New York. Eliot, you have no credibility in this area.
Then there was the latest scandal involving Roman Polanski. A woman emerged last week to charge that the director -- already wanted for a 1970s rape which caused him to flee the US -- had sexually assaulted her when she was only 16. Showing up to vouch for her? Noted pedophile Woody Allen. "It's something that happened many years ago... he has suffered, he has not been allowed to go to the United States. He was embarrassed by the whole thing," insisted Allen -- supposedly speaking on behalf of Polanski but really just projecting about himself.
Angie Coiro and Amy Goodman decided to discuss ObamaCare and, in doing so, explained why the country's in such a sorry state. See if you can catch it on your own.
In disbelief, Angie went on about some woman she'd seen on TV who'd stood up, pointed to a man standing next to her and exclaimed, "Why should I pay his health care?
Angie Coiro: And I guess what I'm thinking in terms of how America came together in the face of adversity before, that's a whole different spirit. And it seems to have come into our society, creeping in on the feet of pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, you can do it, the system is in place for you to be a better person, a self-reliant person, that's the American way.
Amy Goodman: I mean it's just like saying: "Keep the government out of my Medicare." [Laughter.] Right? But you know, we learn from what the media teaches us. And I don't think that's actually the American way -- that everyone's in it for themselves. I don't think that. When you see for example the mining disaster in West Virginia, the whole country cares. The whole country cares about what's happening to people. I think people do care about protecting each other. I do think that's the best of America. And the media doesn't focus on those best of America principals. It really caters to the worst in us and not the best. I think if people saw two children on television -- one born to a wealthy family, one born to a poorer family. I think very few people would say that child who is born to the poor family should not get health care and the person born to the wealthy family deserves it. And if it's put that simply, that we should all start with a level playing field, I think we'd probably have a pretty good consensus in this country. Did you catch it?
A woman on TV is against ObamaCare and she feels it means she has to pay for another person's health care. This means, to Angie and Amy, it's time to express amazement and puzzlement and, for Angie especially, it's time to lie.
This didn't happen, Angie insists, during the Great Depression meaning with Social Security and other programs that came about, there wasn't objection.
Angie's a real idiot. And a liar. But this really takes the cake. Social Security does serve all. ObamaCare?
ObamaCare is not universal health care.
We don't know what the woman -- the mythical woman -- was saying because we didn't see her (and, outside of Angie's head, no one may have) but she might have been noting the fact that taxes would go up (they will) and that this money would be used to cover the extreme poor (it will).
Has our left really gotten that stupid? It apparently has because you heard moanings similar to Angie's as they tried to sell ObamaCare. Why or why did they only care about themselves!!!!
People don't just care about themselves. But there's a world of difference -- and the left should pay attention to this -- to a universal program and what's been offered. What's been offered is dismissed as "hand outs" and the dismissal comes about because it is not universal, it does not serve all. For the working poor and above, you will be forced to buy insurance or pay a legal fine. The extreme poor will get subsidies of some form that will allow for insurance.
So, yes, that woman or 'woman' is paying for 'his' health care. ObamaCare doesn't pay for her expenses. (Nor does it have any cost controls built into it.) So it is not about lifting all of our boats.
Now you can express horror for any number of reasons, but try getting your facts right. That woman's objection may appall you because she does not (or may not) want to pay for the health care for the extreme poor but don't pretend that she's rejecting universal health care or any universal good. She's objecting on the grounds that she doesn't feel she should have to pay for her own expenses and someone else's as well. To her, and to many, when one group foots the bill and sees no direct rewards, it is a problem and if some on the left can't grasp that, we better get used to every social program being referred to as "mooching" since we're failing in advocating for what we believe in (although we excell at spitting on those who disagree with us!).
Again, you can disagree with her (or 'her') opinion but don't be so dishonest to distort what she's saying in order to mock her. The only fool you expose is yourself.
[For more on the conversation, see Ava and C.I.'s "TV: They get paid for this?" this edition.]
The big Iraq news this week may end up being the Wachowskis rumored new film which would be set in Iraq and have a gay theme. Jeff Leins (News in Film) explains, "According to Deadline's Mike Fleming, the concept is a cinema verite style treatment that begins in the near future before spanning back over the current war in Iraq. Though the Wachowskis have tackled futuristic concepts before with The Matrix trilogy and homosexual relationships with 1996's Bound, this is an original concept written by Andy and Lana Wachowski -- formerly Larry before transitioning from male to female -- and will become their next film if they're able to find financing."
Whether this is rumor or fact, two things are known:
1) Movieline needs to explain to writer Andrew Bailey that Afghanistan is not in Iraq.
2) Movieline needs to explain to writer Andrew Baily that gay does not mean someone's a cross-dresser.
In a really bad article, Bailey struggles repeatedly for the facts. First up, he's telling readers about "recent viral videos of military men stationed in Afghanistan blowing off steam with Lady Gaga and Ke$sha impersonations" -- the latter video was shot by US service members in Iraq.
Bailey then writes, "But instead of Corky and Violet, the doomed homo love interests at the heart of The Hard Locker (come on, how can you not call it that?) are a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi civilian. We can already see the art-imitating-life plot point involving the soldier dressing up his lover as Lady Gaga as they surreptitiously gallivant around Afghani war zones, dodging artillery fire in the name of the love that dare not speak its name." A US soldier and an Iraqi civilian have an affair and Bailey sees this taking place in . . . Afghani war zones? Does he even know where Afghanistan is? Could he find Iraq on a globe?
Then there is the issue of the US "soldier dressing up his lover as Lady Gaga". Uh, why? Lady Gaga would draw the wrong kind of attention in either Iraq or Afghanistan. And why does a gay love story mean someone's got to be in drag? He can't let it go, revisiting the topic again with, "Nicolas Cage is too old to play an enlisted soldier but you know he'd kill in the role of the American G.I., who, in the throes of courtship, steals his Iraqi lover's wigs and gowns to wear around the barracks for all that dancin' time with his buddies. We know Jimmy Franco digs the drag -- and he's very gay-friendly, not to mention Oscar worthy." One paragraph, he's seeing the Iraqi man cross-dressing, now he's seeing the US soldier cross-dressing. Does Bailey know any gay men? If so, could they please enlighten him to the fact that cross-dressing isn't a requirement for being gay.
We get it. Bailey wants to be in drag. That's fairly obvious. But does Movieline really need to flirt with homophobia and stupidity?
"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight of the week.
"Continued persecution of Iraqi journalists and Christians," "Rainmondo tells the truth, Swanson offers more bitchy," "C.I. socks it to David Swanson," "The idiot David Swanson," "THIS JUST IN! SWANSON'S SPINE COLLAPSES!" and "The tragically pathetic David Swanson" -- are additional pieces by C.I., Ann, Betty, Wally and Cedric on a similar theme.
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "To Clarify Any Confusion"
"The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Canceled?," "Chuck, 24," "The Good Wife, V," "BP owns the White House," "The Good Wife, V," "Chuck, 24" and "Fringe" -- Betty, Ruth, Stan and Mike cover TV for the week.
"Who will stand for Lynne and for the Constitution?" and "Queer Voices, Dan Choi" -- Ruth and Mike cover radio as does Ann:
- How Terry likes its
- Worse than Terry Gross? Alicia Shepard
- Terry Gross & Company justify spousal abuse
- Thanks for nothing
- No returns! All sales are final!
"Reflections In A Golden Eye" -- Stan's Friday night movie post.
"Bob Dylan and his cry babies" & "When The Mighty Zionist Gets Here . . ." -- Kat and Elaine on the ultimate gas bag.
"Elana Kagan, Lena Horne," "Isaiah, Lena Horne" and "It figures and, while mourning, celebrate Diana Ross" -- Betty, Marcia and Stan on the passing of Lena Horne.
"Iraqi Christians," "Iraq's children" and "Outrage" -- Ruth and Trina cover Iraq.
"And that's why I hate Democracy Now!" -- Betty explains the basics.
"Mike Hendricks is a dumb ass, Elana's a liar" and "Back then, we were 'shy'" -- Marcia on closeted Kagan.
"How Walzer knows Kagan is straight!" & "THIS JUST IN! WOULD BE FLAME OUTS KAGAN AS STRAIGHTY!" -- Cedric and Wally on the woman 'vouching' for Kagan.
"thank you and goodbye" and "gordo killed the labour streak" -- Rebecca on Gordo's bye-bye.
"Bully Boy's tired little number" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this one.