Sunday, August 08, 2010
-- Tom Bowman to Melissa Block, NPR's All Things Considered.
Obama declared in a speech to disabled US veterans in Atlanta that "America's combat mission in Iraq" would end by the end of August, to be replaced by a mission of "supporting and training Iraqi security forces".
That statement was in line with the pledge he had made on February 27, 2009, when he said, "Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end."
In the sentence preceding that pledge, however, he had said, "I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months." Obama said nothing in his speech on Monday about withdrawing "combat brigades" or "combat troops" from Iraq until the end of 2011.
Even the concept of "ending the US combat mission" may be highly misleading, much like the concept of "withdrawing US combat brigades" was in 2009.
-- Gareth Porter's "Obama drops pledge on Iraq" (Asia Times)
Another Sunday and you don't know how we almost gave up this edition. First off, thanks to all who worked on this one:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.
And Dallas. And here's what we came up with:
And that's what we managed. Somehow.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
"Our commitment in Iraq," Barack insisted, "is changing from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats." By diplomats and contractors, the militarization of the State Department (see the 20th snapshot and the 21st snapshot, "Senate Foreign Relations Committee," "Kaufman and Casey," and "Kerry, Lugar and Feingold" for the Congressional hearing discussing what happens after 'drawdown.')
Unable to work themselves into an orgasm, the Cult of St. Barack elected to go silent. Were we not supposed to notice that a speech on Iraq by the president of the United States was suddenly ignored by the Socialist Worker (US), The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, The KPFA Morning Show, Flashpoints, KPFA's Living Room, and oh, so many more?
How pathetic and how telling.
It was an occupant of the US White House who started the illegal war -- a war that saw global protests before it ever started. And it is the illegal war that they all used to fundraise on, to sell their books off of, to gas bag endlessly. But when a new Liar-in-Chief comes along to tell the "new told lies" (nod to Hair), they suddenly go speechless. Poor little rabbits.
BBC News reports yesterday's Basra bombings have now resulted in 43 deaths. Appearing this morning on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour, the top US commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno declared that the bombings were most likely bombs (not a generator exploding as some tried to spin yesterday). He also gave another honest answer . . . if you think about it.
AMANPOUR: Well, General Odierno, in fact, it seems that the political parties in Iraq are not moving forward with the democracy as you describe it. Five months or more after the election, there is still no government. How much does that worry you, and what kind of vacuum is that creating there?
ODIERNO: Well, again, first off, we've seen during this time, this governmental formation timeframe, the Iraqi security forces have acted neutral; they've continued to conduct operations across the broad spectrum of operations that are necessary. In fact, I have found them to be very professional in continuing to execute the security profile. So we have seen no degradation in their ability to execute the security profile. And I think that's actually an extremely positive step forward for them, that they've continued to operate, even though -- or during this time of governmental formation.
They have "acted neutral." Certainly while the Sahwa have been targeted, the police have acted neutral if the opposite is "on the job" or even "helpful." They've been "neutral" to the whole thing. They've also been "neutral" as Iraqiya members have been targeted and killed.
Meanwhile Atul Aneja (The Hindu) refers to the country's "weekend of violence" and observes that "Saturday's carnage" has been following by continued violence including a Ramadi bombing today which has claimed at least 6 lives. It's a "surge" of violence, Aneja explains. And CNN reports a US soldier died in Babil yesterday. Good thing he's not a "combat" soldier, right? Good thing Barack "change"d the terminology. He is the third service member to die in Iraq in the last seven days. Is anyone paying attention?
Tom Hayden? Tom-Tom, remember, was a wasted, used up hack before the Iraq War started. He had the millions he basically extorted and that's all he had. His name was such that he couldn't even get elected mayor of Los Angeles. Tom-Tom had seen the best days long ago pass him by. But he rode the Iraq War to renewed 'fame,' didn't he? Got himself an NYT column during the 2004 conventions. Got himself booked on everything and interviewed as though he were an expert on something. Having read his latest attack on Angelina Jolie (disclosure, C.I. knows Angelina and loves her and does not tolerate attacks on Angelina), we realize Tom-Tom is an expert on one thing: How to be a sexist pig.
He's always been an expert on that.
But Tom-Tom didn't have time to write about Barry O's big speech. He could write that lousy book on the 'pillars' and how you topple them and end the Iraq War. (Of course it would be 'pillars' with Tom-Tom, he's always denied his lust for the male body and the denials have never been convincing.) He just couldn't maintain a focus.
As usual when Tom-Tom fell silent, it was left to a woman to say what he was too cowardly to. Enter Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan:
Now, Obama has taken back a promise to have "Combat Troops" out of Iraq by September 1st of this year and now has pledged to have them out by the end of 2011—but of course, he has again redefined the mission and the troops are now on a “support and train” mission instead of a combat mission, so the Bots will believe that there is a new “Mission Accomplished.” There will be some troops movement and more empty rhetoric about this as the next presidential season is rapidly coming to assault us with more Madison Avenue Trickery. And people on the so-called left and so-called antiwar movement were upset with John McCain when he said that troops would be in Iraq for “100 years?” Well, that is upsetting to me, also, but troops will be in Iraq for 100 years because WE only come out to fight when a Republican is in office and it is apparent that The Empire can tenaciously hang in there until the next cycle when a Democrat takes the “con” of The Empire and neutralizes the “Left” for another four to eight years.
If there's anyone who's taken more s**t for the Iraq War than Cindy Sheehan, we can think of him or her. In fact, despite not being the one who started the Iraq War (George W. Bush) or the one who continues it (Barack Obama), Cindy's certainly been the target of a special kind of hatred.
In the early days, it was from the right-wing. By 2007, it was the left and 'left' joining in. That really wasn't surprising. If Cindy wouldn't be the wind-up puppet who said "War is bad" whenever a Republican was getting media attention, if she'd also call out Democrats for their desires and blood lusts, then Cindy couldn't be trusted to be a good, little soldier in the propaganda that we call "party politics."
You will be controlled, you understand. There is no bottom-up approach allowed by the left and 'left' leaders. (Did you miss the attack on Pacifica listeners that Matthew LazyR and Doug Henwood launched not all that long ago?)
And apparently the 'leaders' have decided Iraq isn't an issue.
Funny thing though. Iraq's always been Happy Talked. Operation Happy Talk has always failed. And everytime some lying whore came along to insist things were going well, reality came along to pimp-slap the liar in the face.
It's Iraq, stupid. It's still Iraq.
The Gates is a gated community. And those so afraid of the world? Vampires, werewolves and witches, oh my. Once upon a time, the three could take care of themselves (well, at least outside of Salem) but these days they're just one more member of the Cult of Victimhood.
Your tour guides through The Gates are the Monohan family who have just moved in so that Nick (Frank Grillo) can be the new police chief. Sarah (Marisol Nichols) doesn't seem to do much even when her husband confesses that the suspect he killed at his old job? He killed him in cold blood. He lied to everyone including her. It was no big deal, apparently. Frank and Sarah have two teenage children, Charlie and Dana. Thus far, this passes for 'normal.'
You've got werewolf and high school football player Brett who loses Andie to Charlie. No great loss since, it turns out, Andie is, like her mother, a succubus and, no, kiddies, that doesn't mean she gives good head, just that she drains their essence.
A trip to Doctor Peg (Victoria Platt) leads to the discovery that Andie is a succubus. And like many a suburbian doctor, she's also running a day spa from which she and her partner Devon (Chandra West) dispense potions and various charms. Yes, Dr. Peg is a witch.
Devon's got a hatred for Claire Radcliff (Rhona Mitra) who is the mother of young Emily and also a vampire as is her husband Dylan (Luke Mably). Are you following all of that?
We're not even done with the primary characters. In six episodes, they've already got a cast nearly as large as The Simpsons.
The left and the 'left' have a large cast as well so imagine our shock over how few bothered to weigh in on Barack Obama's Monday event: War Is Over Cause I Say So.
Barack flew to Atlanta, Georgia last Monday to declare that major combat operations were ended. Instead of using "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" as a prop, Obama used veterans. And service members. Turns out that before Barack gave his speech, something messy happened.
A bombing took place in Baghdad. Nothing surprising about that. However, this one claimed the lives of 2 US service members and left a third injured.
What to do? What to do?
Barry had a wave of Operation Happy Talk to ride to shore. So it was decided the thing to do was to just not announce the deaths. So there was no announcement on Monday. There was no accouncement on Tuesday. There was no announcement on Wednesday. Finally, Thursday night USF announced the deaths.
And we once thought Bully Boy Bush was the most deceitful person to occupy the Oval Office.
Helping Bush with all the lies were the MSM and conservative outlets. Remember those days? And how we on the left could take comfort that, no matter what, our side would never lie and whore for any politician. That's because we believe in truth and justice and the liberal way and --
Yeah, that was a long time ago. Like Nick who just discovered he lives among vampires and werewolves, we had to discover we live among liars and whores. Last week just demonstrated how true that was.
Do you listen to KPFA?
Barack's speech was given on Monday. Tuesday on KPFA's The Morning Show, they were so desperate for filler they brought on a nun for positive motivation. The two hour show had time for affirmations but no time for Iraq. Aileen Alfandary, a legendary whore if ever there was one, didn't even mention the speech in her half hour 'news' breaks.
Strange, wasn't it?
Barack claimed (lied) that violence was down in Iraq. It was not down. Well you just know Dennis Bernstein was all up in Barry's grill on this, right? Wrong. A week's worth of Flashpoints was a week's worth of nothing. At one point, maybe when mispronouncing Lebanon, he would quickly note it was time to discuss the Gulf and quickly clarify he meant the Gulf of Mexico.
Flashpoints never addressed the speech. Kris Welch wastes three hours of KPFA air time each week. She ignored the speech Thursday, Friday and on her Saturday Talkies. As Pacifica Radio continues to teeter and risk going under, it is hilarious to watch them slit their own wrists by refusing to cover Iraq which, pay attention, was what saved Pacifica last decade. It's how they made their name to a new generation of listeners and how they achieved record highs in fundraising. Silly little whores, they were in such a hurry to indoctrinate that they forgot they were supposed to be a news outlet.
They were far from alone. Even with Elizabeth Dinovella picking up some slack at The Progressive (a move we applaud), there was nothing on Iraq all week, this despite offering six "prognosis" during the week.
And at The Nation, with all of it's multiple blogs, it was certainly strange that they couldn't find the time to post anything on the big speech.
Or was it? The magazine's Richard Kim, Katha Pollitt, Ari Berman, Ari Melber and Chris Hayes were all part of Journolist, remember? And remember how Chris counseled journalists about saving Barack from unpleasant news? (Jeremiah Wright in that case.) Chris advised, 'Just don't say anything.' That certainly does explain The Nation's silence.
Barack Obama spewed a ton of lies last Monday about Iraq. And The Nation magazine ignored it, day after damn day?
For a critique of The Nation, don't miss this piece by Stephen Lendham. Meanwhile The Nation's Jeremy Scahill went on Democracy Now! Tuesday to . . . Rave like a lunatic?
Amy Goodman asks that he "respond" to Barry's lunatic Monday speech and watch Jerry Scahill go nuts rather quickly:
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, first of all, what President Obama is doing is implementing the policy that was on the desk of George W. Bush when he left the White House. This is essentially the Petraeus-Bush Iraq plan. So, the idea that Obama is making good on a campaign pledge to end the war is sort of playing with words, because the reality is he just implemented what was current US policy when he came into the White House.
What I think is more important for people to understand is, when President Obama talks about how the war is going to be shifted over to the diplomats, that doesn't just mean that all of a sudden there’s going to be negotiations by pencil pushers. The fact is that Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, last month submitted a request to the Pentagon for an incredible beefing up of the State Department's own paramilitary force. And what the State Department is saying is, when you take out all these combat troops, we want to have a replacement for that capacity. So Clinton, who as a candidate for president said she would ban Blackwater and other mercenary firms, is now presiding over what is going to be a radical expansion of the use of these companies and private soldiers in Iraq. The US embassy is the size of eighty football fields; you know, it’s the size of Vatican City. The Vatican has embassies around the world. Our embassy is the size of the Vatican, in Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: Is it the largest US embassy in the world?
JEREMY SCAHILL: It's the largest embassy of any country in the history of civilization. I mean, it's a city unto itself. And it necessitates, Hillary Clinton believes, between 6,000 and 7,000 private security operatives. Just to put this in perspective, there are 4,000 special forces operators deployed in seventy-five countries around the world. That is the US special forces deployment under Obama. Hillary Clinton wants 7,000 of these guys just in Baghdad alone to protect the US embassy.
The fact is, Jerry, last month? No, Jerry, you reported that last month. And when you reported it last month you correctly noted that the April letter was not from Hillary Clinton, it was from Patrick Kennedy.
But you went crazy on air. You hissed and snarled about Hillary and forgot to include Barack in those snarls, didn't you?
Hillary's not president. (She's also not over Iraq. It was pulled from the State Dept before she was ever appointed Secretary of the State Dept.) Jeremy Scahill was happy to trash her for saying, if she became president, she'd outlaw contractors. But Hillary didn't become president. That's in part due to the fact that when she said she'd do away with contractors, she was then trashed for saying that by . . . Jerry Scahill.
Hillary can't win with Jerry. He's like two other used up, empty sacks: Robert Scheer and Marc Cooper. And like those two crazies, he's got nothing to offer but hatred. (Scheer and Cooper thought the height of journalism last week would be to trash a young woman's wedding. It was the height of stupidity and for all their whining about 'gluttony,' please note, they've yet to take on Michelle Obama's trip to Spain.)
Barack Obama is the President of the United States. He is implementing the policies that Samantha Power and the Carr Center dreamed up; however, he's making the choice to do so and that puts it on him. It doesn't even put the blame on Samatha Power. Dreadful though she is, she is not president. He is.
But Jerry Scahill's all about attacking women. Mommy must have pulled the nipple out of his mouth too soon because he's got a real grudge against women. And he especially fears any strong woman. Awhile back he was trash-talking Amy Goodman but his career hasn't turned out so well so it was not at all surprising to see him back on her show last week.
A lot of people used 2007 and 2008 to work on their hatred of women. That included some women. Sharon Smith was awfully clear that she thought Hillary was trying to act like a man. That was 2007. Now that her loverboy Barack isn't all she thought him to be, where is Sharon? Like everyone else at Socialist Worker, she's silent about Barack's Iraq War speech.
Sharon Smith was far from the only woman whoring it for Barack while attacking Hillary. For example, it takes a real whore to write: "Is Hillary's heaven for whites only?" It not only insults Hillary, it insults the faith she grew up in. Possibly if she had a foul mouthed preacher spewing hatred and homophobia publicly as late as 2008, Missy Comley Beattie could've gotten on board with Hillary's faith instead of attacking it and likening it to racism? We honestly wonder if Missy Comley Beattie ever looks back on all those columns attacking Hillary and wonders "What if?"
President Hillary Clinton would mean a still active peace movement, one that would have forgone e-'ativisim' for street actions. Instead we've got the Cult of St. Barack which has now replaced the peace movement. In "The Politics of Exploitation," the one time Barry O cheerleader offered one of the two most insightful written criticisms of Barack's pretty lies that appeared last week. And while it's true that she had little competition from others in the ranks of 'independent' media, it probably would have stood for something even if there'd been a crowded filed of analysts. (The other? Click here for Cindy Sheehan's analysis.)
If you gave up waiting for 'independent' media to cover the speech and the realities, you could find it elsewhere. For instance, Monday evening on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
Chip Reid: When he came into office, there were 144,000 US troops in Iraq. Today there are 81,000 and, by the end of this month, there will be 50,000. Officially, they'll be designated as non-combat forces but that may be misleading because the troops will still be in harm's way and continue to support Iraqi combat forces. They also can engage in 'targeted counterrorism operations.'
Or Monday on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
Richard Engel: Many people here don't share the same kind of optimism that was expressed not only by the President but also by analysts across the United States today. Life in Baghdad right now is very difficult. This is not what you could consider a normal or stable city. Just coming in from the airport this morning and driving to our bureau -- it's about a twelve mile journey along a short stretch of road -- we had to pass through six different checkpoints, there is a curfew in place tonight as there is every single night. And that gives you an idea of how much stability there is here -- not very much at all. Also, Iraqis only have about three hours of power every single day. They had 24 hours of power here in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein. While the United States might want to 'close the door' and 'turn off the lights' on this conflict, many Iraqis are not even able to turn the lights on in their own homes. Many couldn't even watch the speech today because they didn't have power.
PBS' The NewsHour did such a s**t poor job of coverage, you'd think they were The Nation magazine (or that Gwen's worried her Barry Adoration book is destined only for landfills) but NPR did solid work. Kelly McEvers regularly filed reports last week from Iraq. PRI's The Takeaway spent the entire week exploring Iraq. Tuesday, Steve Inskeep (NPR's Morning Edition -- link has text and audio) spoke with the Commission on Wartime Contracting's Grant Green who explained that the shift just meant an increase in the number of "contractors who are doing military or quasi-military functions." And especially noteworthy was Melissa Block's interview with NPR's Tom Bowman on All Things Considered Tuesday, when Block asked about the SOFA and Bowman replied, "You know, many people I talk with say it's not realistic. That deadline is part of a deal signed two years ago by the U.S. and Iraq, and we may see that agreement renegotiated. That's because the Iraqis will still need these trainers, logistics help, maybe even security help at the end of 2011. So the sense is some number of soldiers will end up remaining, not to mention American contractors."
It was in all the above moments that the MSM demonstrated they were not crazy-eyed zealots but actual journalists. Meanwhile 'independent' media largely waited for the whistle to blow signaling the end of their work days in The Nut Factory.
The Nut Factory is where the show runner for The Gates toils. Which is why the show can't figure out what it is. Forget the attempts to pass the program off as a crime drama. We're talking about the teen fix that leaves everyone feeling icky. It's as though they can't figure out who they're going for demographically. If they think they're going after all (despite the ratings), they are sadly mistaken. The high school angst lacks the punch to reach most adult viewers and the marital antics will probably not grab any of the tween audience. Since the program airs in the last hour of prime time, it would be smart for it to stop attempting to be a Twilight rip-off and ditch the kids. Tonight for example, Sarah's adult pool party is so much more interesting than another round of does Andie really love Charlie or does she really love Brett?
Smart would be ABC and the producers grasping that programs focusing on teens need to air much earlier in the night. Smart would also be ABC standing by this show which, even in its weakest moments, has added a great deal to summer viewing and should be brought back. That's the real secret about The Gates. For all the macho posturing of Nick, the show really comes alive when it's all about Sarah, Claire, Dr. Peg, Devon and the other adult women.
Our e-mail address is email@example.com and that's where you can send your whines about your hurt feelings over what I'm writing in this. Do I sound unsympathetic?
I am. Ty had a great idea and wrote a great "Ty's Corner" last month. All it took was one ridiculous e-mail to sour him on the idea (which I'll be using from time to time in Jim's World and which he can grab back at any time). See he wrote about peace and the state of the anti-war movement culminating with this point:
One of the most depressing things in my inbox may be "Seeds of Peace." Excuse me, "Highlights: Seeds of Peace." And why is that depressing? Because it comes not from an anti-war or peace organization but from the US State Department.
Did Ty attack "Seeds of Peace"? No, he just noted it was a State Department e-mail title. Turns out the e-mail, which Ty didn't read and didn't pass as though he had read, was about an organization entitled Seeds of Peace. And they're actually Seeds of Conspiracy.
Seeds of Conspiracy?
I don't know what else to call the whack jobs after reading their e-mail to Ty where they accused him of implying that they were this and they were that and how dare he and he might need to know that although they receive government funding they get other funding too and they are not a puppet of the government and how dare Ty . . .
On and on it went.
Ty never even noted the organization. Didn't even know there was an organization. He made the point that 'peace' groups were everywhere but working on peace and that it was the US State Dept. that was concerned with peace and using peace in an e-mail title.
For that, he got this crank e-mail from the organization whining and griping and bitching and moaning and acting like they'd gone off their meds.
I'm not Ty. I don't give a damn if you want to act the fool. For example, some idiot won't stop e-mailing about "On boycotts and tea" from May. He misses that aspects of that article were tongue-in-cheek. That's fine. If you want to take it literally, do so. But he thinks he can bully me (he's written repeatedly) into endorsing Arizona Tea and slamming Peace Tea. And he forever thinks he's found some new article that will convince me. For example, it's a corporation product! Uh-huh. Our article noted Peace Tea on Facebook and Peace Tea on Twitter. Doesn't that tell you there's a big business marketing plan? Or are you really that stupid?
Stupid? More and more that's become CODESTINK. But checking the inbox, for a change they do have something worth saying:
I am the mother of an Iraq vet who endured two horrific and lengthy tours in Iraq. I have just written a letter of support to Pvt. Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old intelligence analyst suspected of passing videos and documents to Wikileaks. Manning is now in pre-trial confinement in Quantico, VA, facing decades in prison and, if Congressman Mike Rogers has his way, the death penalty. I encourage you to write a letter to this brave young man and CODEPINK will deliver it to him during a rally on Sunday in Quantico, near Washington DC. To submit a letter to be delivered please email it to us!
In the midst of all the grief my family has endured and the sorrow I feel for the Afghans and Iraqis who have died, I am grateful that someone out there was courageous enough to bring the powerful and dreadful truths about these wars into the light.
Admiral Mullen said that those responsible for the leaks have blood on their hands. But no one could possibly have more blood on their hands than the Bush/Cheney regime and now the Obama administration--the blood of our troops, the tears of their families, the legacy of the innocents killed and maimed in these immoral wars.
With these Wikileaks horrors revealed, it will not be so easy for politicians to convince us that these wars are just, that they are worth bankrupting our nation, or that we can achieve peace by more killing. My hope is that the national discussion that has emerged from the videos and documents will hasten the day when our troops come home. For that, the whistleblowers deserve our deepest thanks.
That e-mail was written by Cynthia Benjamin who appears to have the sort of common sense the group used to have in abundance. (Notice how she notes Bradley Manning is "alleged" and doesn't do the prosecution's job and attempt to convict him.) MoveOn, by contrast, appears still eager to wallow in a permanent state of uselessness. They're latest 'action' was done better by the Free Press and are we really supposed to ignore the fact that the 'mighty' WalkOn.org couldn't even keep Fox News out of the front row at White House press briefings? (Strangely, they sent out no "We lost" e-mail on that campaign.)
True Majority ranks somewhere on my list of The Useless next to WalkOn.org. However, in their latest e-mail they call out Harry Reid in the first sentence. Which I applaud. Harry Reid, for those not following the latest nonsense from the Senate Majority Leader, has been staging one faux 'action' after another and then blaming Republicans. He's all about the spin. True Majority calls him out and, for that reason, we'll note part of their e-mail:
Wednesday, we announced a new campaign to end tax giveaways to oil companies. We're ready to take the fight all the way to the doors of Congress if need be. Donations are rolling in and we're on our way to meeting our goal.
Can you help keep up the momentum? Chip in $30 to help us meet our goal!
Your donations will enable us to:
- Hire a new organizer to target various districts of members of Congress
- Show how much money YOUR member of Congress took from BP and other dirty energy companies this election year
- Take the campaign all the way from your town to the steps of the White House and Capitol Hill
We can't afford to give up.
If you have money and True Majority seems like a cause for you, great. But I'm not pressuring anyone. I'm not digging in anybody's pockets. If you feel the need, it's on you. The Democratic Party deserves nothing but scorn, by contrast. Last week, there was a major equality victory (see "Judge Vaughn Walker," "Not a dream," "Marriage equality," and "A huge step forward"). Proposition 8 was found to be in conflict with the Constitution and tossed aside. We should now have marriage equality in California thanks to Judge Vaughn Walker's historic ruling. So when Friday rolls around and the Democratic Party wants to send this site their dopey e-mail claiming they'd done so much for equality and discrimination and mentioning Selma (do they really think people don't realize Republicans led on the issue of Civil Rights as well?) but not mentioning the historic verdict this week, they're a joke. They're a joke and they need to stop whoring for money. My party disgusts me. And the most laughable line in the whole damn e-mail is this one: "Two years ago, this movement -- led by Barack Obama -- brought millions of people into the political process for the first time." The Democratic Party is not a movement, it is a political party. Either it's incredibly stupid or it thinks we are.
DGA just needs to pack it in. That's not only because their e-mails are always tired (most recently, they obsessed over Karl Rove -- what year do they think this is?) but also because of their 'chair.' For perspective, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -- working to elect Democrats to the Senate -- is run by Senator Robert Menendez. Whether you like Menendez or not (I like him), it makes sense. The DSCC's choice of chair makes sense. Now let's turn to the DGA. That's the Democratic Governor's Association. They supposedly work to get Democrats elected governors of state. So who runs it?
Nathan Daschle. If you're raking your brain trying to figure out what state Nate's governor of, stop. He's not a governor. He's never held elected office. How did he get his job? How did Christine Pelosi pass for a 'pundit'? Nepotisim.
The always sour-noted 'commentator' Christine Pelosi is the daughter of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while Nate is the son of disgraceful money man and one-time US Senator Tom Daschle. (You can't blame greedy lobbyist Linda Daschle on Nate. Nate's mother Laurie, by all accounts a wonderful person, was kicked to the curb when Tom set eyes on Linda.)
It's really amazing that the Democratic Party wants you to believe they're there for you but the same party is forever staffing top positions with their own relatives. Maybe we need to put it in the Party plank: Nepotisim is not a Democratic Party value?
Jim (Con't): First up, Jonas e-mails to say that The Huffington Post was very fair to Hillary in 2008 and that we should highlight them more.
C.I.: In their political coverage? Jonas needs to wake the hell up. Their political coverage -- not their columns -- was overseen by notorious and public Clinton-hater Marc Cooper. He's one of the radical leftists who turned, bit by bit, ever rightward. The political coverage was slanted in the same way that Cooper slanted when he was at KPFK. And it's no wonder they got rid of him.
Ava: And Arianna was well aware of Cooper's hatred of the Clintons. Cooper's one of the people she befriended after she cashed out on her Republican, gay husband.
Betty: And Jim's pointed to me. I'll be asking questions throughout based on e-mails and observations. First up, Rebecca, what is the purpose of your blog? James wants to know if everyone could do that, describe the purpose.
Rebecca: Well I'm covering any number of topics. The Gulf Disaster quite often. It depends. I've got a toddler to raise and it just depends on what I'm in the mood for.
Marcia: Leave out the toddler and substitute LGBT rights for "Gulf Disaster" and you have my site. One of the things I think about is how I weaken other women with my site. Meaning, there's this image of women as lacking focus and along comes my blog. By contrast, C.I.'s always covering Iraq and Elaine's posts are always related to peace. So for me, it's just something I worry over. Ann, I should add, is covering sexism re: Fresh Air. So she's on that select list. And Trina's covering the economy.
Rebecca: I know what you're talking about Marcia and it bothers me as well sometimes. In the early days of 2005, there were times when I'd say, "Okay, Becky, you're going to be more like C.I. this week!" And I'd try to have a single focus but it just didn't work for me. I do think we need more women online who do have that because of the image issue. But I also think that we have to be who we are. And, me, I'm just not that focused.
Kat: I'd apply that to myself as well.
Ty: But you do Congressional reporting.
Kat: That is true. Not as much as C.I., but I do it from time to time. You can see my blog as that, Congressional reporting with a lot of filler in between.
Jim: Alright, the Gulf Disaster continues. True or false?
Rebecca: Of course true. The problems remain. That's the oil that's in the water and in the habitats. That's the chemicals used to disperse the oil. The true damages and effects are still not known. That press conference at the White House Wednesday should have resulted in calls that Robert Gibbs be fired.
Jim: Robert Gibbs is the White House spokesperson.
Ruth: And he is just such a liar. I thought Ari was bad under Bush. But they keep lying and they expect us to forget that. As much as the White House has lied throughout the Disaster, they really cannot be trusted. How many times can you continue to fall for their lies?
Jess: I agree with Ruth. At this point, they have the credibility problem Bush had after Katrina. And I didn't believe Bush before Katrina and I didn't believe Barack before the Gulf Disaster.
Betty: And Jim's pointing to me. Okay, C.I., Gene e-mails wondering if you're "just an apologist for Hillary or someone who constantly defends her or what?"
C.I.: This is in relation to what?
Betty: Jerry Scahill.
C.I.: Hillary can be criticized the same way as any other cabinet secretary in the administration can. She cannot, however, be called out and snarled about while you refuse to do the same with Barack Obama. I'm dam sick of it. Quit attacking Hillary and refusing to call out her boss. And, in terms of Iraq, Hillary's not over Iraq. Barack's farmed Iraq -- including what would be the State Dept role -- out of Hillary's range. He did that before she was ever appointed Secretary of State. I've criticized Hillary before. I will again. But I will criticize her for what she does. I will not use her as a punching bag when I'm frustrated with Barack Obama. You call out the leader or you admit you're nothing but a coward and useless piece of s**t. That's what Jerry Schahill is.
Ava: It should be remembered that C.I. and I have called Hillary out many times. This is not, "No one must say anything bad about Hillary!" This is very much, quit hiding behind her to protect Obama. Barack's the president, start aiming your criticism at him. And Jeremy Scahill is both ugly and stupid and one more White man America doesn't need to hear from. Go away, Jerry, go far, far away. The revolutionary Communists must have some sort of a relocation program for Jerry.
Jim: One hopes. Mike, Wally, Cedric, Isaiah, Stan, Elaine and Ann, Barack's speech on Monday. Start with Cedric?
Cedric: It was like Bush. The same slogans, the same everything. Bush could have given that speech. There is not even a sliver of difference between Barack and Bush and that speech demonstrated it.
Wally: I agree with what Cedric said. To me, I'm amazed that C.I. is the only one who expressed outrage over the fact that 2 US service members were dead in Baghdad before the speech began and the White House worked overtime to hush those deaths up until Thursday night. They got as much press mileage as they could out of Barack's speech. And again that's a lot like Bush. That's a Bush thing to do. It's very telling.
Ann: What I took out of the speech was (a) Barack's lying and saying he met his campaign promise and (b) that's all he's meeting. He was laying the groundwork for the continued occupation and plans to insist, should he run for re-election in 2012, that he kept his promise and the fact that American troops remain in Iraq doesn't matter because he promised so-called "combat troops" out and they're out.
Jim: That's really interesting. Mike, what do you think?
Mike: I hadn't put it together like that but I agree with Ann's assessment. I think Barack's a proven liar. I hope we see someone like Russ Feingold challenge Barack in 2012 but doubt we will. I also hope Hillary refuses to bail out Barack's wilted star power by becoming his running mate. Joe Biden will really be too old to continue as vice president for another term, so they'll need to replace him but I hope Hillary isn't willing to get on the ticket.
Jim: You think Barack can be elected to a second term?
Mike: Right now? No. But I think he'll run for it. And, like Ann pointed out, he'll offer his whiney ass excuse of "I promised combat troops out and they're out," and he'll hedge like crazy and blame like crazy to explain away all his other broken promises.
Stan: I don't see how he could win. I also think that if the pollsters used more people of color, they'd get an honest reflection of the opinion of Barack in the Black community. My uncle was polled recently -- I think ABC News - Washington Post -- and he went ahead and gave positive marks to Barack on some things just because the pollster was, his words, "some White guy." If it had been a person of color asking him, he would have been more likely to be honest. But having a White man ask him made his defenses go up. But the Black community -- a small portion of the electorate -- is thought to be his strongest ally and probably is. Despite the fact that he's a lousy ally to the Black community. But he's lost Republicans who crossed over and he's lost independents. I think we're looking at one term.
Jim: Which brings me to Elaine. In 2007, you said if he got the nomination and made it to the White House, he would be a one term president and you compared him to Jimmy Carter. Now we can all you see you as the visionary you are!
Elaine: I'm laughing at that. But he gave off the Carter vibe. He gave off the "I'll promise everything! Now vote for me!" And he had the same load of crazies pushing him -- from Jann Wenner to Robert Scheer. Whoever these people support for president is a mistake. Like Carter, Barack had no natural ability to lead. He's crankier than Carter but that's about it. More vain too. I never saw Jimmy Carter as vain, whatever other faults he might have had.
Jim: Isaiah, what's the big difference you notice visually?
Isaiah: On Barack Obama. The hair dye or shoe polish or whatever used from time to time to knock out the gray. The return of the lip gloss for some key events. For TV he wears a lot more make up these days. And he's always on TV.
Jim: And Dona's giving me the wind down signal so I'm going right to Trina.
Trina: Yeah, I wanted to point out something. In November 2008, the Status Of Foces Agreement was rammed through the Iraqi Parliament. Our own Congress wasn't allowed to vote on it. C.I. offered a lengthy analysis that Thanksgiving evening. She was right. Last week, more and more people -- journalists and the Brookings Institute among others -- began to point out that the SOFA would be renewed or another agreement would be reached. Elaine was right about Barack looking like Carter and she deserves credit for that. But C.I. got nothing but s**t over her accurate legal analysis of that agreement. We know it because she included that analysis in many, many snapshots that we would reposts at our sites and then get these e-mails trashing us for what C.I. said. She never backed down and she was right. A lot of people in the last two years have lied to you about what the SOFA said and what it meant. Anyone who didn't tell you what C.I. was telling you was lying. You need to remember that and you need to treat everything they say as immediately suspect.
Jim: And on that note, we'll close.
We don't highlight AlterNet and we don't highlight it for a reason. Outlets that are hostile to free speech receive no linkage love from us. Outlets that harass and attack their own readers, piss us off. Outlets that attack non-adult readers in e-mails alarm and distrub us. We've just described AlterNet.
Rebecca and C.I. were brought into its strange world July 14, 2005. Up until that point, the only connection they had with AlterNet was that PEEK (AlterNet's blog) had The Common Ills on its blogroll and linked to entries C.I. wrote (such as this one on Ann Coulter). British TCI community members found PEEK interesting as an insight into American thoughts and, at their request, PEEK was added to the TCI permalinks/blogroll.
July 14, 2005, Rebecca and C.I. were two of five people to receive an e-mail about what was going on re: PEEK. A young boy (not yet an adult) wrote the e-mail which opened with, "Dear Armando, Bill, C.I. and Rebecca, I offer apologies to all four of you." Why the apology?
Evan Derkacz, an adult, ran PEEK. And that day, Evan felt the 'left' thing to do was to praise right-winger Michelle Malkin in "Best of Blogs." The child (now a TCI community member, and now an adult, known as "West") had pointed out that AlterNet really didn't need to be praising Malkin's who supported illegal detentions, warrantless spying and a host of other xenophobic issues. He offered links to four web sites (The Common Ills and Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude were two of them). For daring to disagree with the almighty Evan Derkacz, West got a nasty note. It informed him his post was being deleted. It informed him he "owed" a public apology to Evan (Derkacz wrote this e-mail). It informed him that if he didn't publicly apologize to Evan Derkacz, C.I., Rebecca, Daily Kos and Liberal Oasis (those were the other two sites West had praised at PEEK) would never be linked to again by PEEK. (Rebecca notes she was never linked to by PEEK to begin with.) "The ball," Derkacz informed West, "is in your court."
What followed was, in West's words today, "groveling" on West's part. As he repeatedly apologized and "groveled," Derkacz made one demand and one threat after another. By this point, not only had Derkacz issued e-mails to everyone posting at PEEK (requesting any "dirt" they had on West -- community members Martha, Colin and KeShawn were among the many who received such e-mails), but he had learned from West that West was just a teenager. Still he persisted in attacking West, in threatening him and in bullying in him. In fact, a bald, pudgy editor at AlterNet quickly joined in the 'fun' of issuing threats to West.
As one attempt after "groveling" after another failed and the day wore on, West finally wrote the four ("Armando, Bill, C.I. and Rebecca") to apologize to them for the fact that PEEK was no longer going to link to them as a result of a comment West had left at PEEK.
The e-mail was also sent to Derkacz who was the first to reply to West. The briefest e-mail Derkacz had written all day read: "I wish you hadn't done that." No s**t, Evan, no s**t.
Rebecca's reaction was to e-mail West for his phone number so she could call him and understand what was going on. Which she did and she also posted "on bullying assholes and don't ever be bullied on my account" that night. C.I. wrote about it that night as well and delinked from AlterNet. (Which delinked from The Common Ills the following day.) And that embarrassing and shameful attack on a teenager demonstrated the 'ethics' of AlterNet probably more than anything else could ever do.
But that's hardly AlterNet's only ethical problem. Many a writer have strongly complained about AlterNet syndicating their writing to weekly newspapers without the writer's permission and without paying the writer any of the monies AlterNet received for the syndication deal. In "Ethics Problems at Alternet" (Narco News), Al Giordano reported:
Narco News has obtained internal documents authored by Alternet director Don Hazen and other Alternet staff members that reveal serious violations of the most basic ethical standards for journalists.
Those violations include:
-- The collection of what Alternet calls "bounty" fees for each story it sells on drug policy issues.
-- Alternet's refusal, when asked, to disclose the nature of those reprint fees.
-- Alternet's hiding the existence of those "bounty" fees from the writers of those articles, when Alternet claims to pay the writers 50 percent of all reprint fees.
-- Alternet's consequent non-payment of funds that, according to its own website, rightfully belong to the writers.
-- Alternet's blacklisting of writers (similar to the NY Times blacklist banning work by leaders of the National Writers Union), including when Hazen fantasizes, inaccurately, that a writer has been the source of information leading to a legitimate labor complaint by another writer.
-- Alternet's cavalier theft, on two occasions, of stories from our own publication, and Alternet's dishonesty in having later claimed that it did not offer one of those stories for sale, when, in fact, it did.
-- Alternet's request to staff members that they use false identities to post "positive reviews" of an Alternet product that is for sale on Amazon.com
By violating these ethical standards, Alternet has abused the trust of readers, writers, funders, client newspapers and the public at large.
Don Hazen has also had run-ins with many other people on the left over differences of opinions. To be clear on that aspect, we have no problem with that. In some instances, we agree with Hazen's taken partially or in full, in other instances we disagree completely; however, we have no problem with his offering a leftist critique of the left and would encourage him to do so more often.
But that probably won't happen. And last week drove home just how useless AlterNet had become. The conversation went something as follows.
Professional Writer: What are you doing?
Jim: I'm online, why?
Professional Writer: Go to AlterNet right now.
Jim: I don't give that site traffic.
Professional Writer: You have to go. They've embarrassed themselves even more than usual. Check it out!
At which point, Jim did and did the following screen snap.
It's a fundraising letter from Hazen which popped up when anyone visited AlterNet. Check out the second paragraph: "Time is running out. We need to raise another $15,000 by this Friday in order to continue this level of coverage through the Fall mid-term elections. Much is at stake. And we want to do our part."
Is that journalism?
It doesn't read like a fundraising letter for journalism? Mid-term elections, much is at stake, we want to do our part.
That's why AlterNet is so damn useless today. Any hopes that it might deliver actual news vanished long, long ago. It doesn't exist to strengthen a left, it exists to put Democrats into office.
The PC article goes to that. You read it and, if you're like us, you wonder what's the point? Digg, a social-site where members rank stories, is being 'manipulated'?
Journolist, involving journalists, was a scandal. Digg?
In the summer of 2004, one of the ideas C.I. either came up with or co-authored was how to control Yahoo News. Using multiple identities, approximately 100 people on the left (probably being seen as at least 600 due to their multiple Yahoo log ins) ranked stories and photos on Yahoo News. Bush with pit stains and looking crazier than usual? Get it to the top of the charts by ranking it a 10. An embarrassing story on the administration? Do the same! That was private citizens coordinating how they could influence what users (of Yahoo News) saw. Private citizens can do that. It's very similar to what PC describes right-wingers now doing at Digg. The scandal aspect of Journolist was always the journalist factor.
AlterNet exists to pump the left's blood, to be a hand-clapping, foot-stomping pep rally -- "We will trounce the Republicans in Friday's game!" It offers about as many facts as a pep rally -- translation, none. It exists not to provide actual news or information but to steer to you towards the voting booth and to steer you towards voting Democratic. Those are two great objectives . . . for the Democratic Party. But don't confuse them with journalism.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA AND CONGRESSMAN PAYNE SPEARHEAD EFFORT IN U.S. CONGRESS CALLING UPON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO MAKE WEST PAPUA ONE OF ITS HIGHEST PRIORITIES
of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, , and Chairman Donald M. Payne of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health have spearheaded an effort in Congress calling upon President Obama to "make one of the highest priorities of the Administration."
As a result of their efforts, 50 Members of the U.S. Congress signed a stating that there is strong indication that the Indonesian government has committed genocide against the Papuans. West Papua is the half of New Guinea that was invaded by in 1962.
While Papuan leaders have repeatedly tried to engage in dialogue with the Indonesian government, dialogues have failed to produce concrete results and Papuan leaders are now calling for an International Dialog. In this context, signatories of the letter have asked President Obama to meet with the people of West Papua during his upcoming trip to Indonesia in November.
Many Members who signed the letter are members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The signatories include men and women who fought for in the 1960s. Younger politicians have also joined this initiative to support the people of West Papua who have suffered long enough.
In addition to the Congressional Black Caucus, many other American leaders who are long-time advocates of human rights joined this request to the , including members of the Hispanic Caucus. The last remaining member of the Kennedy family in Congress, from Rhode Island, also signed the letter to President Obama.
The letter to the President suggests that slow motion genocide has been taking place in West Papua and reviews findings by human rights organizations and scholars who have conducted extensive research about crimes against humanity and genocide by Indonesian security forces. "Genocide is usually difficult to document since leaders are often reluctant to state their intention to destroy another nation, race, or ethnic group," Members of Congress wrote. "Even still, in 2007 Col. Burhanuddin Siagian, who was then the local regional commander (DANREM) said, 'If I encounter elements that use government facilities, but still are betraying the nation, I will destroy them.'"
According to international agreements, other nations are legally obligated to intervene when a genocide is in process and remain hopeful that President Obama and the U.S. State Department will hold Indonesia accountable. Members concluded their letter by encouraging the President to meet with the Team of 100 from West Papua during his upcoming visit, noting that President Obama has the opportunity to bring lasting change to this part of the world.
We originally chose not to highlight it because it did not include Taking Aim. It now includes Taking Aim so we will highlight it.
The full force of the U.S. criminal "justice" system came down on innocent political prisoner, 30-year veteran human rights attorney and radical political activist Lynne Stewart on July 15, 2010. Listen to WBAI news coverage (July 15th, 14 min.): Free Speech Radio News covered this on July 19th. Building Bridges also covered it on the 19th (first segment) and on their national edition too. On Guns and Butter, Bonnie Faulkner devoted an hour to interviewing Lynne Stewart on July 23rd. Law and Disorder aired a segment on Lynne Stewart on July 26th in which they interviewed Vinie Burrows, author of Lynne Stewart Heard A Death Sentence Today. On Taking Aim Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone have ongoing, weekly updates on the case. They even created a web page with links to their Lynne Stewart programs and articles.
Use the links while you can. WBAI does not keep their programs archived forever. Law and Disorder is on our blogroll and they do keep their programs archived at their own site. Bonnie Faulkner, as far as we know, still doesn't hasn't gotten a new site for Guns & Butter (a great show). Taking Aim provides archives at its own site. (We don't link to TA on our blogroll, we will at some point before the week's over.) Free Speech Radio News, which we do link to, archives its programs at its website.
Lynne Stewart is a resource for news on Lynne and you can write her (currently) at:
Lynne Stewart 53504-054 MCC-NY 2-S 150 Park Row New York, NY 10007
Currently? At some point, it appears she'll be moved to another prison. Despite the fact that her family lives in the north east, one of the prisons being considered is in Fort Worth, Texas.
"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight by readers of this site. Read and see why.
"Realities including the WikiLeak leaker's identity is not known" -- second most popular highlight. And one that Jim wishes hadn't been written, he'd hoped to cover this in an article here.
"Iraq snapshot," "The strategy of Scott Brown," "The cutting Senate hearing" -- C.I., Ava and Kat report on a Congressional mark-up hearing they attended.
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Happy Birthday, Barack!" -- She Hulk's shoulders are scary.
"Ezra Klein's a moron" -- We agree with Stan.
"Barry's Turn To Cry," "The Cult of St. Barack (and Judy!)" and "THIS JUST IN! HE'S LIKE JUDY!" --Mike, Cedric and Wally never tire of commenting on the vanity of Barry O.
"Judge Vaughn Walker," "Not a dream," "Marriage equality," and "A huge step forward" -- some of the community coverage of the Judge Vaughn Walker's decision that marriage equality is a right.
"Lt. Dan Choi" -- Trina's very popular post which surprised many. Go Trina!
"What's worse than Arianna as an enemy!" -- Betty grows philosophical. :D
"The War Hawk" -- Trina on Barack.
"Who Done It?" -- Stan goes to the movies. While Ann returns to the horror of listening to Terry Gross:
"stephen lendman socks it to the nation" -- Rebecca highlights a post you should read.
"Mr. Dave Lindorff is not pleased" -- Ruth weighs in.
"Is there a worse show on NPR?" -- Kat doesn't think so.
"Their silences" -- Elaine notes 'independent' media's silence on Barack's assertion that he's ending the Iraq War.
"They were serious, Nancy" -- Mike takes a moment to laugh at the increasingly absurd Nancy Pelosi.
"Getting older" and "THIS JUST IN! THE MATURATION OF A SEX KITTEN!" -- Cedric and Wally take on the vanity of Barry O.
"I support Maxine" -- Betty stands with Maxine Waters.
"My husband's birthday" -- Ann points out how strange you know who is.
"Early ancestors ate what?" -- Trina zooms in on food.
"that awful speech," "The speech," "Christine Pelosi (Idiot)," "Tuesday," "The tales the press tells" and "THIS JUST IN! WHITE HOUSE SEWING CIRCLE!" -- coverage of the awful speech.
"Sally McMillan, the Commissioner says you're on the job" -- Kat's very popular Sally McMillan post.