Sunday, October 31, 2010

Truest statement of the week

"Well, we have a Status of Forces Agreement and a strategic framework. The Status of Forces Agreement expires at the end of next year, and we are working towards complete fulfillment of that Status of Forces Agreement, which would include the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year. The nature of our partnership beyond next year will have to be negotiated. On the civilian side, we are committed to Iraq over the long term. We will have civilians there continuing to work with the government on a range of areas – economic development, rule of law, civil society, and so forth. But to the extent that Iraq desires to have an ongoing military-to-military relationship with the United States in the future, that would have to be negotiated. And that would be something that I would expect a new government to consider. [. . .] Should Iraq wish to continue the kind of military partnership that we currently have with Iraq, we're open to have that discussion."

-- US State Dept. spokesperson Philip J. Crowley last week during a State Dept. briefing which apparently only C.I. could notice or report on (see Monday's "Iraq snapshot").

Truest statement of the week II

If you took two years to get my car out of the ditch and on the road, I think I'd be pissed off at you. Two years? Guess what? I probably would have gotten a new car already. You think I can wait two years without a car. I'm taking my granddaughter to the doctor, I'm running my all errands, doing my church work, and all the rest and doing it for two years while you, who told me you'd get my car out of the ditch, keeps stalling on when you're going to get around to it? If you can't get my car out of the ditch in one day, you're clearly not up to the job. (Which is more and more clear about Barack Obama.)
-- Trina, "Don't leave my car in a ditch for 2 years."

A note to our readers

Hey --

We're so late. That's the way it goes sometimes.

Thank you to all who worked on this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

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,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

We thank them all. And what did we come up with?

  • Philip J. Crowley was an obvious choice.

  • C.I. campaigned for this by Trina. We had no problem with it -- those of us who needed to be won over -- we just had four other statements we thought were also worthy. In the end, we were all won over and, as Dona pointed out, it's the only thing noting the econonmy.

  • This is the last thing written and just written by Third's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava, C.I. and me (Jim). That's due to the fact that it was a long writing edition. When we took our break and came back, we didn't want to impose on the others. (But Stan did, hold on for that.)

  • Ava and C.I.'s latest. The Whole Truth never got reviewed. It's cancelled. They wanted to cover that show. But real events intruded and they've had to cover a lot more news and public affairs program this fall than they'd planned on. This is probably their strongest one this year. Read it and enjoy.

  • The realities about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell and Barack's so-called 'efforts.'

  • This is our WikiLeaks roundtable.

  • They didn't want to write this but they had to. To help out, Dona, Jess, Ty and I worked with Dallas on crunching the numbers.

  • We promised something on Belinda Carlisle's book this summer. Two efforts at roundtabling failed. So we decided to keep our promise by writing a brief review. It's a good read, pick up the book if you haven't already.

  • Jon Stewart piece. He's becoming an embarrassment. If you wonder why Ava and C.I. didn't cover this instead of the topic they wrote about, you didn't wrote what they wrote -- or more specifically their friend who called to complain about KPFK.

  • We were tired this morning. We'd started early Saturday night in the hopes of being done early. Instead it was ten a.m. and we were wiped out. So we broke still needing highlights and an editorial. We were regrouping tonight when Stan called. He's getting a lot of e-mails about the promised Netflix piece -- my bad, that's all on me -- and he wondered if we could do a piece on a film at Netflix? Tonight. Tonight? Really? Yeah, really. Wally, Ava, C.I., Ty and Jess worked on this with Stan while Dona and I worked on editing and typing pieces. This is a pretty solid feature especially to have been slapped together.

  • Mike and the gang did this and we thank them for it!

  • And that was our note advising you at ten (PST) that we were wiped out and would post our articles later.

So that's what we got. We'll see you next weekend. Peace.

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

Editorial: And that's why the illegal war continues

As we noted two weeks ago ("Editorial: Media bites the people"), the media's been busy blaming everyone else for not talking about Iraq. Why, oh why -- they whine -- don't politicians talk about Iraq?

Because they're not being asked about it.

Last week, various 'campaign pieces' about Barack Obama's endless road trips to turn-out-the-vote began noticing that he either didn't mention Iraq at all in his speeches or reduced it to a brief sentence.

Journalists found that strange.

They didn't find it strange enough to ask about.

Nor did they factor it in to what was said Monday in a US State Department press briefing by spokesperson Philip J. Crowley, "Well, we have a Status of Forces Agreement and a strategic framework. The Status of Forces Agreement expires at the end of next year, and we are working towards complete fulfillment of that Status of Forces Agreement, which would include the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year. The nature of our partnership beyond next year will have to be negotiated. On the civilian side, we are committed to Iraq over the long term. We will have civilians there continuing to work with the government on a range of areas – economic development, rule of law, civil society, and so forth. But to the extent that Iraq desires to have an ongoing military-to-military relationship with the United States in the future, that would have to be negotiated. And that would be something that I would expect a new government to consider. [. . .] Should Iraq wish to continue the kind of military partnership that we currently have with Iraq, we're open to have that discussion."

You would have thought that public statement -- witnessed by dozens of reporters -- would have made it into the news cycle . . . unless you've paid attention and noticed how hard media whores work to avoid anything 'messy.'


Wednesday, the Christian Science Monitor's editorial board declared "many experts predict Iraq will soon ask Mr. Obama to extend the time for US forces to stay, not only to protect the nation's fledgling democracy but to help Iraq survive as a nation in a hostile neighborhood. Iraq is far behind the schedule set in the 2008 security pact with the United States to bolster its military and police. Its ability to defend its borders and its oil fields -- both of which are critical to US interests -- is years away. And there is much doubt in Washington about the US State Department's ability to take over the American military's role in managing key security aspects of Iraq, such as Kurdish-Arab friction or forming new police forces." It went on to state that Barack needs to prepare Congress for this possibility.

But the American people?

They're not mentioned in the editorial.

They and their wishes were ignored in the lead up to the Iraq War and they will apparently also be ignored as whether to continue the Iraq War past 2011 is decided.

And don't count on Beggar Media to sound the alarms. While it's true their echo chamber will be done promoting the elections after Tuesday, they'll still be whoring for the Democratic Party.

Philip J. Crowley, the State Dept. spokesperson, declared last Monday that the White House is prepared to extend the military presence in Iraq past 2011 -- in complete violation of every remark Barack Obama has made as a candidate and as president. And no one felt this was newsworthy?

And that's why the illegal war continues.

TV: Media of the absurd

As two who've experienced not only multiple revivals of Albee's Tiny Alice but the canonization of the Twenty-First Century's two leading dim bulbs Bush and Barack, we thought we had a handle on the theatre of the absurd but, in fact, nothing prepares you.


That point became very clear in last week's coverage of the release of government documents. Friday October 22nd, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to.

How would Panhandle Media handle this? The beggar media, for those who've forgotten, came to new levels of name-recognition (if not fame) and access to the pockets and, more importantly, pocket books of a huge number of Americans as a result of the illegal Iraq War. It was a cash cow, a rainmaker, for Panhandle Media. For the first time in it's 145 year history, The Nation magazine found itself raking in the dough and turning an actual profit, Pacifica Radio found itself flush with so much cash, local stations skimming off the top wasn't really a liability. Those with faces for radio, found a home on TV. It truly was a heady time during which many recast themselves as independent voices of the left when, in fact, they were nothing more than megaphones for the Democratic Party.

Bully Boy Bush's eight-year occupation of the White House was bad for the world but it put a shiny veneer and polish on a number of whores and that was never more clear than last week if you were waiting for WikiLeaks coverage from Panhandle Media.

The Nation magazine offered nothing on WikiLeaks last week. There was a video of Jeremy Schahill appearing on MSNBC talking about WikiLeaks -- that would be MSNBC's content that The Nation magazine reposted. They also reposted Laura Flanders GritTV 'commentary' that managed to buzzword WikiLeak without ever actually discussing it or explaining it. In fact, Laura's 'commentary' was like a trashy website listing porn terms in a desperate attempt to drive up traffic. Which, if you think about it, really does summarize The Nation today.

Yes, the same Laura who once declared it impossible to ignore WikiLeaks (look for her April 2010 column making that claim) ignored it. Despite having a half-hour TV show which airs Monday through Friday. She ignored it over and over. But that's what a whore does and that's all Laura Flanders has become, a cheap, tacky and, yes, ugly media whore.

She's far from alone. In These Times boasts no public access TV 'celebrity' but they couldn't be bothered writing one damn word last week about the documents WikiLeaks released. The Progressive?

Last week, the magazine published 15 online text pieces and not one was about WikiLeaks. That's appalling. In a ridiculous radio commentary last week, Matthew Rothschild opened with, "WikiLeaks has performed a service that our mainstream corporate media has failed to do."

Wow. They've failed! You know, Matt, it's too bad you don't run a magazine. If you did, you could get everyone to cover the WikiLeaks release . . . Oh, wait.

Matthew, you must have forgotten, you are the editor and the CEO of The Progressive magazine. You know what's "really ugly"? Your failure to publish even one article at the website. And you can trash US Senator John Ensign all you want (we have no need to defend Ensign) but if you don't want to look like a hypocrite, you shouldn't attack Ensign for not wanting  a hearing on the revelations when you and your magazine can't even write about it. 'Not at all." [For more on Rothschild, refer to Elaine's "The Whoring of America" from last week.]

All last week, Beggar Media had time for every subject except the WikiLeaks release. An actress phoned us Friday to say of KPFK, "It's offered more 'news' of Obama on The Daily Show than on WikiLeaks." No, she wasn't joking. To listen to KPFK programming last week was to have no idea that WikiLeaks released any documents. During the Bush reign, KPFK had a number of hosts insisting no one cared more about the Iraq War than they did. Today? All quiet on the Democratic Party front.

Take Margret Prescod who wastes everyone's time with KPFK's increasingly useless Sojourner Truth which, despite claiming an international view ("We live in a global world"), refused to cover the WikiLeaks in any of it's broadcast. It's not that she couldn't find Iraq in three hours she offered last week (Thursday's show aired Friday morning, before anyone e-mails insisting that she only did two shows last week), she did manage to mention the death sentence Tariq Aziz has received. Marget's tired act's always good for a laugh, where else can you hear a US state pronounced "Can-tucky"? Marget Prescod, poster child for the illiterate and uneducated. Keep it real . . . stupid, Mags, keep it real stupid. Not that she has any other choice, of course.

"We live in a global world, we are all interrelated," insists Mags on show after show . . . devoted to pimping the Democratic Party in US elections and attacking the Tea Party. As Dorothy Parker observed so many years ago, "You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think."

KPFK and KPFA originate out of California so let's move on over to KPFA. Monday, The Morning Show actually provided a little time (less than eleven minutes) to WikiLeaks. It's called the biggest release of government documents ever and The Morning Show, which offers 10 hours of commercial-free programming each week, couldn't even devote 11 minutes to it?

Time was far from the only problem with their 'coverage' -- as listeners quickly realized when Brian Edwards-Tiekert questioned guest and former CIA agent Ray McGovern. Ray's really never blown any big time secret so how this retired CIA agent became a movement hero on the left is puzzling. But he shows up whenever there's a breaking story and succeeds in misdirecting time and again.

On The Morning Show Monday, Ray McGovern declared, "If the media in this country gives it [WikiLeaks] the appropriate attention and draw the appropriate lessons from it, we should be out of those places within a year. If they don't, then it would be the same kinds of problem where the American people would be deprived of first-hand documentary information they need and are deprived of from the so-called Mainstream media."

Golly, Ray, another misdirection. Ray, in his opening remarks, was already lulling the audience into a fake state as he insisted that it would be Big Media and not Beggar Media that would determine the knowledge base of the country. Big Media ignored -- Wait, we'll come back to it.

We don't know what they teach at the CIA but apparently English isn't big on the list. Ray was in the midst of an endless jag ("I was watching Diane Sawyer and she is one of my favorites when it comes to talking heads"), mixing in terms like "fawning corporate media," when he starts paraphrasing Martha Raddatz's Friday report/commentary on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. Fine, no problem with paraphrasing. But if you say something's a quote, it needs to be a quote. That's a basic.

Ray McGovern: After all of this [Martha's report/commentary], Diane Sawyer says, 'Well this is really awful' -- this is a direct quote, quote Diane: "I know there's a lot of outrage about this and tell me anything new about prosecution" -- and I'm thinking, "Wow, Diane Sawyer and the cable channel, they're finally getting it: Prosecution. These are war crimes. "Anything new, Martha, about prosecuting WikiLeaks and Assange?"

A direct quote needs to be a direct quote.

Last week we covered Big Media's coverage of the WikiLeaks release ("TV: The WikiLeaks reports") and noted Diane's line that Ray's 'quoting':

Diane Saywer: I know there's a lot of outrage about this again tonight, Martha, but tell me anything more about prosecuting the WikiLeaks group?

That's a direct quote. Assange's name doesn't appear in it. A lot of Ray's 'quote' doesn't appear. And, for the record, ABC News? Isn't not cable. It's commercial broadcast. Why in the world Ray McGovern is watching ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and under the mistaken impression that he was watching cable news is beyond us but it doesn't speak well to the abilities of the CIA to accurately capture information. (On KPFK's The Monitor, Ray would repeat the same story with the same mistakes but reveal "I took notes on it" which again speaks to the problems with the intelligence level of the CIA and those it trains. He gets Diane's quote correct but his 'quote' of Martha's reply is bungled. On Flashpoints, he wouldn't know the channel and state, "I don't watch television very much" but insist, "I copied this down.")

Nor does his surprise at Diane's on-air attitude. We're talking about Richard Nixon's "girl," Tricky Dick. We're talking about the woman who demonized the Dixie Chicks in her attempt to publicly shame them. Who's side are you on, Ray?

Ray self-presents as an expert which is always puzzling to say the least. On KPFA, he was insisting that The New York Times only published the articles because papers outside the US were publishing stories. Here's where we drop back to Ray's claim about how Big Media's coverage will determine how much the people are informed.

Both of those claims are false. And it doesn't require detective work or a great analytical ability. It doesn't even require longterm memory. According to Ray, Big Media will inform (or not) and
The New York Times only published it because foreign papers were. How good's your memory? Our memory contains the Downing Street Memos, does yours?

For those who've forgotten, these minutes of a 2002 meeting between the British and the American officials plotting the Iraq War, became public in 2005. Became public? That was despite The New York Times and other US papers ignoring it. It was covered in the foreign press. Being covered by the foreign press, Ray McGovern, did not force The New York Times to cover it. Being covered by the Beggar Media did get the word out, did inform Americans of what Big Media was keeping from them. That's an important moment and important lesson. Strangely, it's one that escapes McGovern.

Everything that falls out Ray McGovern's mouth is questionable and, more and more, seems like an intentional distraction. Maybe his brain has just gone, but whatever the reason, he has nothing to offer the left.

If you doubted it, you only had to catch him Monday night as he carried the tired act over to The Monitor. The Monitor wasted over 30 minutes allegedly on WikiLeaks' revelations. Allegedly? Did you learn about anything in the documents? No, you didn't. You got the hosts and two guests yammering away endlessly but never talking about what was in the documents. One of the yammers was Ray McGovern who managed to -- yet again -- have Bradley Manning guilty of leaking.

Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. This month, the military charged Manning. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has entered no pleas as of yet and has made no public statement. Ray McGovern is -- intentionally or not -- doing the government's work for it by convicting Bradley in the court of public opinion.

Ray was trashing Martha, Diane and NPR, all were "fawning corporate media." Ironically, NPR offered the only coverage worth praising last week. Ray and his cohorts offered nothing worthy of praise. Take KPFK's Uprising where host Sonali Kolhatkar couldn't even get the basic facts right. She repeatedly claimed that WikiLeaks did their release on Saturday, October 23rd. We knew that was a lie because the release was covered in the Friday October 22nd snapshot. We knew it was a lie because at the WikiLeaks Iraq War Log site, it declares: "At 5PM EST Friday 22nd October 2010 WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history."

When someone can't even get the basics right in the intro, you know they've got no idea what they're talking about. Ray repeated his "fawning corporate media" talking point on this show as well but, of course, couldn't bring himself to call out Barack Obama for a clear violation of the law, for clear War Crimes. There just wasn't time, you see. There was time to yet again trot out his Diane Sawyer ("One of my favorite folks there on the TV.") story which really does indict Pacifica Radio for their limited guest scope -- the LA-based station, the Bay Area-based station and the Houston-based station all heard that same anecdote from Ray McGovern. He would even make time to trot out the anecdote yet again on KPFA's Flashpoints Radio. The larger of War Crimes -- established War Crimes? No time for that. No time at all. Time for Ray to brag on Secretary of Defense "my friend Bobby Gates." But no time for what really mattered. It was the pattern whenever someone in the Beggar Media actually offered a little, tiny sliver of coverage.

Last week, at The Common Ills, WikiLeaks was covered in every snapshot. Monday's snapshot was the largest one ever done. The last paragraph led to some complaints to the public e-mail account by visitors. This was the paragraph:

Today Amy Goodman hosted a discussion the WikiLeaks release on Democracy Now! (link has text, audio and video) and the New York Times' At War blog is taking questions about the WikiLeaks release for their reporters who are covering the issue (among those covering the release have been Sabrina Tavernise, James Glanz, Andrew W. Lehren, Michael R. Gordon, etc.).

The entire 112K snapshot addressed WikiLeaks. But Amy Goodman's cult stormed the public account insisting their goddess had been shortchanged. She had, they insisted, provided the best coverage on Monday and there wasn't even an excerpt!

There wasn't an excerpt for a reason. What she offered was pure crap. With the hope that she might improve later in the week, a link was offered. But she was never excerpted in the snapshot because her hour long garbage was pure garbage, pure crap that purposely misinformed.

Nir Rosen, Pratap Chatterjee and David Leigh joined her to talk about . . . Iraq and Bush. With the exception of noting that "the Obama administration has lashed out at WikiLeaks," the program couldn't include Barack in the discussion.

It was the same cowardice that Nicole Colson demonstrated in US Socialist Worker's sole report on WikiLeaks last week. One article on WikiLeaks. They published 23 articles last week. Only one addressed the biggest document release in history. Only one. And even it pulled the punches.

Before last week started, Angus Stickler's "Obama administration handed over detainees despite reports of torture" (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) was already online, though you'd never know it by the way Beggar Media ignored it:

Human rights organisations have expressed outrage at the revelations. Professor Novak, the UN Rapporteur on Torture told the Bureau: "If the United States forces handed over detainees to Iraqi jurisdiction, despite the fact that they were at serious risk of being subjected to torture, that is a violation of Article 3C of the Convention Against Torture of which the US is a signatory."
He said there should be a full and thorough investigation to ascertain whether any of the detainees handed over to the Iraqi authorities by the US have been abused.
"The burden of proof is on the US to prove that they can categorically state that the detainees they are handing over are not at risk of torture.There should be an investigation to look into the fate of those individuals to see whether they have been abused."

This was picked up by human rights groups, by politicians outside the US, the details were covered by TV and radio programs and newspapers around the world. It was just the Beggar Media that couldn't inform you of it.

Friday, during the WBAI pledge drive, Amy Goodman was insisting -- while pitching Jeremy Schahill's Blackwater book ($11.53 at Amazon currently) for $75 -- that, "Jeremy, you were in Afghanistan at the time [WikiLeaks released the documents]. You did do some broadcasts from Afghanistan relating to the Iraq War Logs just because it was that important." But not important to write about, apparently, nor important enough for Amy to talk about breaking the law -- which the Obama administration did.

And that's why we didn't get much coverage at all last week from Beggar Media. To tell the full story, to tell the real story, you were required to talk about the Obama administration turning over prisoners to known torturers in violation of laws and conventions. Those are War Crimes. And Beggar Media -- as evidenced by their coverage -- was only concerned last week with getting people to the polls to vote Democratic. Admitting that the current US president had committed War Crimes?

That's too much for them because they aren't about news and they aren't about reality. They're about whoring and that pretty much tires them out and leaves little time for anything else.

Now last time we were informing you that the Saturday broadcast of NBC Nightly News covered this turnover of prisoners to torturers under Barack. So even Big Media was able to talk about it before last week started. And yet, not a word, not a peep from any in Beggar Media. Ray McGovern had endless time on Pacifica programs to pontificate but never managed to note that, did he? He had time to slam NPR.

Tuesday Diane Rehm devoted the first hour of The Diane Rehm Show (NPR) to the revelations. Among her guests were Pentagon Papers whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg. He made sure this issue was addressed, he made sure that the crime of turning over prisoners to torturers was addressed. Daniel was in a hostile environment -- to put it mildly -- but he got that out there and on the table. By contrast, Ray McGovern was in a warm and welcoming environment on The Morning Show, Uprising, Flashpoints and The Monitor but never found time to discuss it.

The theatre of the absurd goes viral. Friday, October 21st found Barack on the campus of the University of Southern California, yet again speech-ifying. And he made the most ludicrous remarks that really do capture the age of absurd in which we now live. In a desperate bid to turn out the vote, he insisted, "I told you this was going to be hard. I told you power concedes nothing without a fight." The logical way to interpret that is Barack's warning the American people against him, telling them they have to fight him. But that's not what he meant. The president of the United States was whimpering and whining and wallowing in Victim Mentality. The most powerful person in the country -- possibly still the most powerful in the world, was pretending he was on the outside when, in fact, he is The Man, he is the system.

Absurd. And a real independent media would have glommed on that statement. But we don't have independence from Beggar Media. What we have is the likes of Ray McGovern distorting and distracting. It's becoming very obvious where the cover ups begin and it's always been true that they only end with you.

Barack, Pelosi and the other damn, dirty liars

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a policy used to discharge people from the military service in the US. If you're gay or thought to have been gay, you get kicked out. That's not how the 1993 policy is supposed to work, but that has been its pattern.


Barack Obama campaigned for the US presidency promising to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. People familiar with the long struggle are often confused because when Ellen Tauscher was in Congress, she put forward a bill three times that would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Ellen Tauscher left Congress in 2009 and became the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.

Patrick Murphy struggled to take her place in the House on this issue and largely got punked by party elders over and over. But, don't fret, Paddy, America got punked more than you did.

Because Americans wrongly believe that what Ellen Tauscher fought for is what went before the House and would have gone before the Senate if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hadn't screwed up the process.

But that's not what went before the House on May 27th.

Due to the fact that Tauscher worked hard on the issue, a lot of people assumed that it was still the same bill. And those who didn't? We're talking about a 1028 page bill. There ought to be a law against taht. Page 184 is where Section 536 ("Department Of Defense Policy Concerning Homosexuality In The Armed Forces") begins.

If you read over it (PDF format warning, click here), you'll learn some reality.

What the Congress put forward was not the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and outlawing discrimination. All they'd do is overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

But that's what we all want, right?

If you're historically ignorant, you probably think so. If you know the history of how Don't Ask, Don't Tell comes about, you know the courts were advancing LGBT rights -- including for service members -- when the military imposed their ban on gay service members. This was the ban that Bill Clinton wanted to overturn but, as president, he faced open rebellion (it wasn't at all hidden) from the likes of War Criminal Colin Powell and others. So Don't Ask, Don't Tell was the compromise pushed through. It was supposed to prevent the military from asking (witch hunts) and supposed to mean that if service members stayed in the closet, they could continue serving.

Judge Viriginia Phillips ruled on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the White House has appealed her decision. She found that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was unconstitutional. She then went further and issued an injunction barring all discharges under DADT while her ruling was on appeal. The White House also appealed that and won. They can continue to discharge under DADT while they await their chance to appeal Phillips' verdict.

If Barack's enablers weren't such damn liars, we probably wouldn't be writing this piece. But as one lie after another was offered as to why the White House was fighting the verdict, a friend of C.I.'s in the Justice Department got sick of it and passed on what the bill and Congress really said and why the White House was fighting the verdict.

Phillips did what Barack promised on the campaign trail. But Barack and the Congress are not trying to live up to that. What Phillips did was to repeal DADT and to rule it unconstitutional. There were a number of lies about why Barack 'had to' appeal but the one the administration fell back on whispering was that if they didn't appeal, it was a verdict. From a lower court! And they needed to follow their plan to get rid of it because otherwise a future president could again impose it!

That really didn't make sense because Judge Phillips' ruling didn't prevent Congress from passing the bill currently before them.

So it never made sense and that was because it was a lie.

The White House isn't happy with Judge Phillips for doing what Barack promised because that's not what was ever going to be delivered.

Instead, DADT gets repealed and then? Discrimination can continue or not. Congress isn't weighing in on that. With Ellen's bill -- all three times it was introduced -- Congress was weighing in and declaring the discrimination illegal. Not now.

The current bill repeals DADT but allows the Pentagon to decide what should happen.

Should the bill pass in the next two years, the Pentagon may want to go along with Barack (or may not) and might institute a policy to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly.

In other words, it could happen. It's conceivable.

But by watering down Ellen's bill, by refusing to call the discrimination out, what the Congress and Barack are doing is allowing DADT to return in the future.

By not passing a law declaring the discrimination illegal, there's nothing to prevent DADT being reinstated under the next president.

Why was this section stripped from the bill?

Why was the protection stripped away?

It wasn't due to space limitations. When you're bill numbers 1028 pages, you're clearly not concerned about length. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi can answer why she bargained away equality.

But thus far, no one's bothered to even ask her.

Thus far, the Congress and Barack have pulled a big con game on Americans.

Judge Virginia Phillips' ruling is being appealed for the sole reason that she went further than President Barack Obama wanted to go.

[For an interesting discussion of DADT, refer to last week's
Law and Disorder Radio. And, FYI, people should be very concerned with what the House passed in terms of charging service members with insurbordination. If you read the bill, continue past the DADT section and you'll find Congress' efforts to increase punishments for insubordination and to make it even easier to prosecute.]


Jim: Last week, we had a round table with one ground rule : No WikiLeaks. This week, it's the focus. Swiping from C.I., Friday October 22nd, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to. That is the focus of this roundtable. Our e-mail address is Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration.


Jim (Con't): As Ruth noted in Friday's "Chocolate," C.I. is sick of the topic. Not because it's not important but because she has covered it and covered it last week, every day, over and over. I'm going to bring in Kat, Ruth and Wally on this section. First up, Ruth, talk about what you blogged on.

Ruth: Sure. Friday, at Trina's, C.I. spoke to the Iraq Study Group about the WikiLeaks release and it was indepth and covered the information, the media coverage and various reactions. It was really informative and a great presentation. Afterwards, I was talking to her, to C.I., and mentioned that all these elements could be pulled together for a great article and she talked about how tired she was of the topic. That's because so many have lied or ignored key details, that's because she had to keep it on the front burner every day and a number of other reasons. But, the point is, she did the heavy lifting and she is pretty much done with it now. It will be referred to, it will be noted but it will not be the focus.

Jim: Thank you, Ruth. As readers should know, C.I. is participating less and less in roundtables. We want her participation in this one so we're going elsewhere to cover this aspect. Ava, Wally and Kat are on the road with C.I. each week speaking out against the wars. I'm bringing in Kat and Wally to pick up where Ruth left off.

Kat: Well, I mean, I think it was Tuesday or Monday maybe when someone -- Ned Parker? -- at The Los Angeles Times had an important article and there was no time for it all week. C.I. could not make room for it or for a strong and important article by Leila Fadel of The Washington Post. These were not minor stories and they weren't the only ones that were pushed aside. C.I. made real time to cover Don't Ask, Don't Tell but she couldn't make room for those stories -- by Parker and Fadel -- and other similar stories. Now that wasn't the plan going in. Sunday night, I went over to get some help editing "Kat's Korner: Cher and the too far gone 70s" and, while C.I. was reading over what I'd written, I asked about the WikiLeaks story. Her thoughts then were that she would have to cover it in Monday's snapshot, she was asking friends in the MSM to cover it and would have to grab any that did and include their coverage in the snapshot but, otherwise, after Monday, she hoped it would be one of the stories and not the dominant one in the snapshots. That's not how it worked out at all. And I'll let Wally come in here.

Wally: Right. It didn't work out that way at all because there were so many outlets ignoring it. So every day C.I. was strategizing before dictating the snapshot of how to cover this story in a way that drew attention in some way. That included going after John Burns, knowing that would get some attention -- not that he wasn't worth going after, that included going after the paper, The New York Times, for their one-sided lesson plan that would misteach kids about the revelations. I've never seen her work that hard before dictating to figure out a hook that could interest people. Most of the time, she doesn't care and doesn't have the time. But she was very aware that The Nation, The Progressive, etc. were ignoring WikiLeaks.

Trina: If I can jump in, Wally's mother could not reach him Monday. I have no idea what the problem was. She kept getting a message that his cell phone was out of service. She mentioned that to me on the phone wondering if I'd heard from him, C.I., Ava or Kat? I hadn't but I said I'd try to call. I called Wally and got right through -- it must have been a service issue -- and he shared with me about how, on Monday, C.I. was already working on how to attract attention to the story. So I then called Rebecca and asked her what the rest of us could do? And she offered suggestions that we tended to follow at our sites in terms of attempting topics that might garner attention from people who wouldn't normally read our sites so that they would be exposed to the snapshots which were covering the WikiLeaks. We worked really hard at that.

Dona: I'll say. We have Marcia, a lesbian, covering gay porn in "Guest" and how about "Check out the rack on Superman"? I mean those were attention getting.

Marcia: Right and for the reasons that Trina outlined. I mean, I could probably speak on the WikiLeaks revelations for about 20 minutes as a result of C.I.'s coverage in the snapshots. I think I'm now educated on the revelations; however, at the start of the week? All I could have done was rewrite what C.I. had already written. But, yeah, I could cover these other topics -- the new costume for Superman --

Isaiah: Which, by the way, looks like Black Canary's costume.

Marcia: That's so true. I wish I'd thought of that. But, yeah, I could write about those topics and try to draw attention. That's what I did, that's what so many of us did.

Jim: Marcia, talked about the snapshots, anyone else find info elsewhere?

Ann: No. Elsewhere the subject was ignored or you were usually misdirected. There was a huge effort -- Ava and C.I. note this in their piece this week -- to push the blame off on Bush if you covered this story, to pretend that the documents offered nothing on Iraq from the period after Barack was sworn in. It was very damning and telling of what we're supposed to call independent media. I wanted to write something on WikiLeaks last week and never ended up doing it, sorry. I was following C.I.'s coverage -- and could follow it -- but, like Marcia said, if I'd written about it, I would have just been rewriting C.I. Some of us did offer some coverage of it, Trina, Mike, Ruth, Betty, Elaine and I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. But it was very difficult.

Jim: In what way?

Ann: It was too much absorb. Betty and I were talking about that.

Betty: Nearly 400,000 documents released all at once? That was idiotic. If each action report was only two pages -- they weren't -- that would still be 800,000 pages. That's way too much. I really think WikiLeaks made a huge mistake. I don't think they handled the release correctly at all and I'm talking about redactions.

Rebecca: I'll jump in on this because I agree with Betty completely. Last week, here, we did "Editorial: WikiLeaks' document release" and it included this point, "If WikiLeaks made any big mistake in their Friday release of US military documents pertaining to the Iraq War, it was in releasing them on Friday and so late on Friday. The news cycle remains a Monday through Friday cycle. You've never noticed how many times MSNBC runs so many of those bookend programs Crimes Caught on Camera and Caught On Camera?" There was debate about whether or not we were going to include that point and it was really only when Ava and C.I. got on board that everyone agreed -- Ava and C.I. came up with the MSNBC programs ref. The reason there was debate was that we didn't want to undermine the release. And there's still a feeling of that but, reality, the bulk of the coverage has taken place. Anything we say now is not going to effect coverage. So here's some reality: That was a stupid f**king thing for WikiLeaks to do. Both in terms of releasing nearly 400,000 documents and doing so after 5:00 p.m. on a Friday. That was so f**king stupid. They need to get their act together. I don't care about rumors of what Julian Assange did or didn't do. I do care that they learn how to handle a release and a release is not putting out more documents than can be read in a single day. Nor is it doing a release after the news cycle on Friday. It was stupid, it was ignorant and it was strictly amateur hour. I'll let other people play diplomatic, I worked in public relations. I know how you handle a release. This was an embarrassment.

Jim: And, like Betty, you're not talking about redactions?

Rebecca: Yeah, I'm not talking about that. I could care less about that. I'm talking about a release an how you handle it. Here's another thing you don't do, release papers one day and do a press conference the next. That again was stupid.

Jim: You sound angry.

Rebecca: I'm very angry about it and I keep reminding myself, "Don't blame the victim." The victim being WikiLeaks. But for maxium coverage and exposure, everything they did was wrong. And that's embarrassing.

Jim: Betty?

Betty: I agree with what Betty said. The whole thing was like a bad movie and all the worse because you saw some people -- like C.I. -- attempting to draw attention to the revelations despite the fact that WikiLeaks had already ensured that they would attract as little attention as possible. And I am mad at them. And I think they either need to just post documents on their website in the future or get their act together. This was a huge embarrassment and the fact that WikiLeaks was under attack doesn't minimize the humilitation. They need to conduct themselves professionally and there was damn little that was professional.

Jim: Anyone want to offer a counter-opinion on that? Okay, no. Elaine, in "The Whoring of America," you took on Matthew Rothschild, of The Progressive, for his grandstanding -- in brief audio spots -- on the revelations while refusing to write about them at his magazine. Anything you want to grab from that?

Elaine: First off, the title comes from C.I.'s snapshot of that day. I clearly credit C.I. in my writing and the snapshot appears below my writing but Sunny, my assistant, found e-mail after e-mail praising me for coining that phrase. It was C.I.'s phrase. After that, I would point out that I'm not three-years-old. You can't easily trick me. But you can insult me. I am not warn over by grandstanding when you fail to use your own platform to amplify an issue. Matthew Rothschild should have written about it, should have his staff writing about it. Instead they were penning valentines to the lunatic Bob Herbert. Or take Alexander Cockburn who wasted everyone's time with a column Friday on the elections when he should have been writing about WikiLeaks.

Mike: And the story always was the one captured in Angus Stickler's "Obama administration handed over detainees despite reports of torture" (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) but somehow if someone did manage to cover the WikiLeaks release, they couldn't find that aspect. It was forever cover up for Barack, over and over.

Jim: Did that surprise you?

Mike: At this late date and considering their whoring for Barack? Hell no. It was completely in keeping. They can't tell you a damn thing. They won't. They refuse to. Handing over prisoners to people you know are guilty of torture is a War Crime. And search in vain for any 'independent' coverage telling you that.

Stan: And AP did try to cover that last week. Paisley Dodds co-wrote an article on it. Dodds has a new article out on the same topic which opens, "President Barack Obama stepped into the White House pledging to end George W. Bush's gloves-off approach to interrogations and detention ---- but a flood of leaked documents suggests that old habits were hard to break." I'd love to see this take off at last but I doubt that's going to happen.

Cedric: I would agree with you on both counts. Nothing's going to change because they're incapable of changing -- Beggar Media. They whore for Barack, that's all they do. They refuse to do their jobs and they've refused it since 2007 as they've whored repeatedly. Who are we supposed to trust at this late date? How many times can they lie to us? It's like Elaine was saying, we're not three-years-old.

Ava: If I could make a point about 'independent' media, in the piece C.I. and I wrote for this edition, we're talking about Ray McGovern and how he's on four different Pacifica programs offering bad narrative on WikiLeaks. Now not only is it bad information or analysis that he's offering, this goes to the problem with Pacifica. In the pre-internet days, they could pull this crap off and get away with it but today people can catch on. It's the same damn program from station to station masquerading as 'independent' media. Oh, look, so-and-so has a new book, they'll do the Pacifica rounds and everyone will act as if they and they alone are providing this. The sameness to be found from station to station, program to program. Pacifica is nothing but "57 Channels and there's nothing on."

Jess: And that's so true. Laura Flanders, for example, has another bad book out. Bob Somerby on the book:

At the start of that GritTV chat, host Laura Flanders promoted "a new book I had the honor of editing." Here is its title: "At the Tea Party: The Wing Nuts, Whack Jobs and Whitey Whiteness of The New Republican Right." In an electorate which is 74 percent white, this type of casual racial denigration may not be the best political play. But such casual denigration has become amazingly common on ours, the "progressive" side.

Jess (Con't): I'm so sick of that media whore. She's so damn stupid. She wants to insult people from various states in this country but somebody forgot to tell the used-up whore that her faux British accent doesn't really allow her to sneer at people from Oklahoma, for example, and come off looking good. She's is a trashy piece of s**t and this needs to be established because while Ava and C.I. have repeatedly held that s**t accountable, reading the e-mails here, I'm not sure that other people get that we are in agreement with them. But we are. And by the way, if you taped 5 TV shows and only had African-American guests -- two people -- on one of them all week, maybe you shouldn't be tossing "whitey-whitness" unless you're tossing at your own self. Now she's teaming up with Amy Goodman for an election 'special' so you know that means the two whores are going to be scratching each other's backs and probably lower as well. But it's all one big circle jerk and then they whine about that taking place elsewhere. Which makes clear that their real problem with MSM's circle jerk is that they're not invited to pull on Brian Williams' pole. The reality is that the same system in the MSM that they decry has been recreated by them. They're whores and they are liars. That's all they'll ever be.

Ty: And Jess is correct, e-mails to this site repeatedly express confusion as to whether or not the rest of us agree with Ava and C.I. on that issue and that's partly due to the fact that before Laura Flanders began mainlining the crazy, we had praised her repeatedly. She is a trickster. We do not support her. We don't support liars period and we really think Eurotrash needs to return to its own countries.

Jim: Okay, Dona's doing the wind-down motion. C.I., you didn't want to talk about it, anything to add to the conversation?

C.I.: The only thing that wasn't touched on, as far as I can tell, was that for years we've heard the excuses from Pacifica and the rest that they can't cover Iraq more because it's too dangerous for them to have a reporter there. They had reporters in Vietnam but Iraq they can't handle. How interesting. But with the WikiLeaks release? They didn't need to be an Iraq. They couldn't sit on their fat asses like they do every day and go through the documents. That proved to be too much for them and demonstrated the reality that they just never gave a damn about the Iraq War as anything other a fundraising tool.

Jim: And on that note, we will conclude. This is a rush transcript.

The face of sexism (Ava, C.I. and Ann)

Terry Gross

Look, it's the face of sexism herself.

Oh, how we loathe the so-called Fresh Air. A boring hour of radio where Terry Gross plays at vocal dominitrix in her sexualized manner. We hate the show. We've previously tackled Terry Gross' rampant sexism in "Terry Gross Hates Women (Ava, C.I. and Ann)" and "Terry Gross Still Hates Women (Ava, C.I. and Ann)." Last week, one of us (Ann) wrote "Riverdaughter, act like a feminist already" because The Confluence, supposed to be a feminist site, was offering praise for the sexist pig Terry Gross.

Terry Gross is a queen bee. That's all she is, that's all she ever will be. We've documented it at length. But you shouldn't need us to point that out if you listen to Gross' bad show. If you're a feminist, you should quickly grasp how few women Terry finds time for -- you should grasp that all on your own.

In April, Alicia Shephard -- NPR ombudsperson -- wrote a column bemoaning that only 26% of NPR's newsources were women
. Now anything less than 50% would be a horrible number based on US population figures. But, as we shared with Alicia months ago, Terry Gross can even make it to 26%. The response was that Terry's not NPR. Yes, she is. NPR copyrights her show. Do not give us that nonsense ever again, a copyright is a copyright -- something Gertrude Stein would've grasped if NPR's ombudsperson can't. [Two of us addressed the Fresh Air and NPR issue in "Of stupidity and NPR (Ava and C.I.)."]

But Alicia was bothered by 26% for women as new sources. How many women does she think Terry Gross books?

We hadn't done the numbers on Fresh Air since May (Ann covers it at her site daily). We had a lot to cover. Ty passed on feedback regarding the numbers. The big change? You felt that if an interview aired, it aired. You weren't concerned with rebroadcasts or whether the person was alive or dead. We have followed your wishes on that and Ann will follow that at her site starting Monday.

26% was alarming to Alicia.

164 guests were what we counted from June through last Friday. How many were men, how many were women?

28 were women.

136 were men.

Only 20.588235% of Terry's guests were women. (As always, check our math.)

20.58% is less than 26% so where's Alicia's column on this?

Again, NPR copyrights Terry's program. It airs on NPR stations. NPR ombudsperson -- past and present -- have felt free to weigh in on Terry's show -- that includes Alicia. So exactly when can we expect Alicia Shepherd to call out the sexism?

Ann calls out every broadcast. And, thing is, it shouldn't take Ann, it shouldn't take any of us. Just listening, if you're a functioning human being, you should be able to notice when 136 guests out of a total of 164 guests are men. That shouldn't require highlighting or pointing out.

Terry Gross doesn't deserve any praise. She deserves to be called out.

Monthly guests and numbers follow.

June 1st featured one male (Dennis Hopper), June 2nd two women (Samantha Bee and Laura Poitras), June 3rd was John Waters, June 4th was one woman (Ayelet Waldman) and one man (Paul McCartney), June 7th was Gary Rivlin, June 8th was Linda Greenlaw and Michael Hiltzick, June 9th was Joan Rivers, June 10th was Abram Lustgarten and Josh Fox, June 11th was Sean Hayes, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, June 14th was Terry cutting off Jackie DeShannon repeatedly, June 15th a man from Newsweek, June 16th was Marisa Tomei, Debra Granik and Daniel Woodrell, June 17th was Mark Moffett, June 18th was Griffin Dunne, June 21st was James Murphy, June 22nd was Lawrence Wright, June 23rd was S.C. Gwynne (male) and Connie Britton, June 24th was Henry Fountain, June 25th was Michael Chabon and Dan Gottlieb, June 28th was Linda Greenhouse and Robert Byrd, June 29th was Frank Loesser and June 30th was Michael Klare and Doug Inkley. That's 24 men, 10 women.

July 1st was Jeffrey Gettleman, July 2nd was W.S. Merwin (male) and Stephen King, July 5rd omitted (Terry chooses not to archive this episode it's kicked out of our count -- it was a repeat of the March 1st program), July 6th was Billy Collins and Lyndall Gordon, July 7th was Louise C.K., July 8th was Lisa Cholodenko and Joel Achenbach, July 9th was Tom Ford and Colin Firth, July 12th was Robert Wittman, July 13th was Daniel Carlat, July 14th was Phil Shenon, July 15th was Billy West and Peter Laufer, July 16th was Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner, July 19th was Paul Greenberg, July 20th was Sonia Shah and Philip Furia, July 21st was Binyamin Appelbaum, July 22nd was Robert Duvall, July 23rd was Jimmy Webb and Jared Harris, July 26th was Matthew Weiner, July 27th was Mark Mazzetti, July 28th was Richard Cizik, July 29th was Atul Gawande, Jay Roach and Steve Carell and July 30th was Daniel Schorr. That's
27 men 4 women.

August 2nd was Gary Shteyngart, August 3rd was Brian May, August 4th was AC Thompson (male) and Fred Hersch, August 5th was Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and David Mitchell, August 6th was Rafael Yglesias, August 9th was Jonathan Eig, August 10th was Todd S. Purdum, August 11th was Ed Kohn and Tony Judt, August 12th was Michael Capuzzo and Peter Maass, August 13th was Siskel and Ebert, August 16th was Susan R. Barry, August 17th was Sue Diaz and Abbey Lincoln, August 18th was Natasha Tretheway, August 19th was Julia Angwin, August 20th was John Mellencamp, August 23nd was Scott Simon and Jack Clark, August 24th was Matt Richtel, August 25th was Eliza Griswald and Jeff Sharlet, August 26th was trivia queen Jane Mayer, August 27th was Andre Aggassi, August 30th was Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Charlie Haden and August 31st was Merle Haggard and George Jones. That's 26 men, 7 women.

September 1st was Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, September 2nd was John Doe, Ricky Scaggs and Charlie Louvin, September 3rd was Doc Watson and a musical group (2 men, 1 woman), September 6th was Dolly Parton and Charlie Rich, September 7th was Lawrence Wright, September 8th was Michael Potter and Robert Schimmel, September 9th was Jonathan Franzen, September 10th was Timothy Egan and Hal Holbrook, September 13th was Jennifer Ackerman and Isabel Wilkerson, September 14th was Stephen Breyer, September 15th was Scott Spencer and Jeffrey Gordon, September 16th was Jon Hamm and Edwin Newman, September 17th was Theo Bleckmann, September 20th was Jim Gorant, September 21st was David Rakoff, September 22nd was Anthony Shadid, September 23rd was Jeff Sharlet and a male film director, September 24th was Tim Page and Nick Hornby, September 27th was Gary Noesner, September 28th was Terence Winter, September 29th was Robert Reich and Zach Galifianakis and September 30th was Mark Feldstein. That's 33 men, 4 women.

October 1st was Arthur Penn and Tony Curtis, October 2nd was Jon Stewart, October 5th was James Franco, October 6th was Justin Timberlake, October 7th was Peter Stone, Ken Vogel and Lee Fang (all men), October 8th was Paul McCartney, Cynthia Lennon, Ringo Starr and Mark Wiener, October 11th was Eric Foner, October 12th was CJ Chivers (male), October 13th was Sean Wilentz, October 14th was Philip Roth and a male musician, October 15th was David Bianculli, October 18th was a male comic who wrote a book, October 19th was a male director and a male screenwriter, October 20th was Jason Schwartzman, October 21st was Harold McGree, October 22nd was Jon Stewart again (for over 45 minutes), October 25th was Keith Richards, October 26th was Oliver Sacks, October 27th was Gretchen Morgenson, October 28th was Stephen Sondheim and October 29th was Patti Smith (rebroadcast from January). That's
26 men, 3 women.

Belinda's rocking read

But my smile was pretend. As I did press in preparation for my upcoming album, I knew I wasn't telling the truth when reporters focused even more on my looks. Each time they asked about my transformation from the cute, chubby Go-Go to the glamorous pop siren with the chic, skinny body and long, red hair, I felt my skin crawl. I gave them the answer they wanted, but the truth was different. Privately, my eating disorder had a stranglehold on me. I was either a good girl or a bad girl. I would go five days in a row where I was a "good girl," eating lettuce leaves with vinegar, a couple of vegetables and not allowing myself anything else. I was always on a severe diet. It was like holding a ball underwater, because I'm not built to be skinny. Then I would wake up starving, "allow" myself a bite of chocolate chip cookie, and immediately spiral into a deep depression. As far as I was concerned, at that point my day was ruined. I used it as an excuse to go on a disgusting, all day binge.

Awhile back we promised to note Belinda Carlisle's Lips Unsealed: A Memoir. The excerpt above is from the book and it actually didn't work as a roundtable topic. Carlisle's bared her soul to write about eating disorders and drug addictions and the rock and roll life.

Belinda Carlisle

There are albums to record, road romances (INXS's Michael Hutchence: "He was a sexy, sensual man, with great eyes that didn't suck you in as much as they made you want to jump in.") to pursue, performance nightmares ("I couldn't make anything out, not the music or the audience. As I began singing 'Fading Fast,' I lost my hearing altogether. I sang anyway, but I couldn't get my key. My voice was all over the place. Jane glared at me, pissed off that I was that bad."), posing for an Annie Leibovitz cover shoot ("I have an idea," Annie said. "And I want you to hear me out before you say anything."), blowing off the Grammys ("We lost to Sheena Easton as Best New Artist, which didn't bum us out as much as it caused us to lose interest in the rest of the show, and so at the next commercial break we got up and left, which, as we later learned from the network, was a no-no."), touring with Cher, Green Day and many others, encountering out-of-it fellow celebrities (Charline Tilton, for one). Success and its opposite -- mediocrity. Failure will make you famous, will provide you with experiences. A so-so album (Talk Show) does little for your band or your career.

And always, food and drugs. Marilu Henner gets blown off when she calls Belinda out for drinking while pregnant (Belinda: "It took me sixteen years to admit this, but I had a glass of wine every day throughout my pregnancy.") As we write this, Rod Stewart's on the stereo singing "That Old Black Magic" which is rather appropriate. Rod pops up in the book and, right now, singing "I should stay away but what can I do?" sums up the push-pull/ attraction-repulsion Belinda is repeatedly caught in. In Rio for a concert with the Go-Gos, she goes off in search of drugs and encounters a dealer with bricks and bricks of cocaine. With a number one solo hit ("Heaven Is A Place On Earth"), a number two follow up ("I Get Weak") and another top ten hit ("Circle in the Sand," number seven), Belinda's obsessed with her weight: "Do I look fat? Am I fatter today than yesterday? Okay, forget that. Do I look fatter than I did this morning?"

Unflinchingly honest is a good way to describe the book, not embarrassed about the cycles she has to battle to break. Not embarrassed to note that she 'triumphed' many times only to discover there were more struggles to come.

In the darkest times, just coming out alive is a triumph and, in the end, Belinda's true art is the life she's carved out. A well known, around the world, band member and singer who can pick up a performance date anytime she wants, the freedom to pursue her solo recording art, a strong marriage (to Morgan Mason) and a young man (Duke) who truly is his mother's son.

He is what he used to make fun of

In his 1998 book Naked Pictures of Famous People, Jon Stewart mocked Larry King's TV show. Twelve years later, Jon's Daily Show has become just as predictable as Larry King Live. Is he aware of that? Or that he's actually a bigger joke than King?

Those are questions to ponder as Stewart increasingly appears to have bought into the hype surrounding him.


How else to explain I'm-just-a-comic interviewing Barack Obama last week?

There was a time before all the overly generous praise went to his head when Stewart would have turned down the offer and instead focused on being funny.

Instead, he's morphed into the corporation's stumble-bum and it's neither entertaining nor pretty.

Worst stand-up video

"I don't mean to offend you but you look like Janeane Garofalo," offers Garofalo in an example of the type of insults she receives. What used to be a compliment is now a dig and if you doubt why, you haven't seen her latest attempt to eek out an income via If You Will: Live in Seattle. The soon to be co-star in another CBS spin-off crime drama hasn't just hit hard economic times, she's hit the comedy skids as she demonstrates -- not just those present at Moore Theatre but for anyone unfortunate enough to view this non-comedy performance.


The only film Garofalo ever co-carried was the charming Truth About Cats & Dogs whose big name star was Uma Thurman; however, for years and years, Janeane Garofalo has publicly trashed the film as not being very feminist. In the film, her roundish figured character ends up with Ben Chaplin after a Cyrano de Bergerac scheme between her and Uma's character. She ends up with Chaplin's character because he chooses her. Because of who and what she is. But to chip-on-her-shoulder Garofalo, this was anti-feminist.

Has she her own act?

Vaginal farts? That's what she's offering -- while criticizing morning drive dee jays? Endless remarks about how overweight she is and how everything's sagging? About how she watches porn but doesn't want to "do anything"? Her self-described "filthy" thoughts around male fire fighters? Her decision to stop having sex?

Despite the pain that she inflicted on Fiona Apple with her 90s routine -- and her claims that she felt so badly about it -- she's now trashing Jessica Alba in comments that can only be described as "catty." Her rather distrubing -- and apparently she's not noticing it -- desire for the virginal (her lengthy bit on Natalie Portman) may explain her sexual hang ups and certainly reinforces the worst images of women where "purity" is a woman's greatest accomplishment.

It's all about anti-woman stereotypes but because they're coming from her mouth, they're funny?

Here's what's funny, she goes to the effort of wearing Spanx (which she shows off repeatedly during the show) to pull the excess pounds in but is so stupid that she wears a shirt that, due to its shape, makes her look fat.

Here's what's funny, she apparently had something of a comedy tour and she chooses to tape (and release) the performance where her voice is shot and she doesn't even sound like Janeane Garofalo.

Here's what's funny, she wants to launch a holy tear for years against The Truth About Cats & Dogs but she's taking bows and glowing when her mentioning of her fourth-banana role on the torture-promoting 24 gets applause.

Most will check out before the crazy goes political. So they'll fail to note the homophobic undercurrents going through her entire act -- which is 'okay' because she repeatedly makes a pro-lesbian remark after her 'jokes'? She is and will be the teenager who said "no" to life. She finds time to laugh at the death of relatives and to trash her grandmother as racist.

"I don't have sex anymore with my boyfriend and we've been living together for ten years," she shares, repeatedly. If there's anything sadder than a sexually obsessed on the make person, it's a sexually obsessed prude.

Garofalo's peer group includes Ben Stiller and so many others who went on to fame. Janeane? She co-carried one good film (Truth About Cats & Dogs) which she went on to repeatedly trash. That's really it. A bunch of bit parts (Bye-Bye Love, Reality Bites, etc.) which are more infamous for inability to get along with her co-stars and the horrible reputation she earned on every set. Other people have careers. She's stil trying to start one. If any of that's confusing, check out If You Will: Live In Seattle and it will make perfect sense. You'll also grasp that a nasty drunk is nothing compared to a bitter addict who's constantly craving.

If you must check out the disaster, you can stream it online here if you have a Netflix membership.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"I Hate The War" -- Most requested highlight. C.I. talks about errors and John F. Burns.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Wins The Terrible -- Isaiah's latest in which Barack finally wins an award he deserves.

"Kat's Korner: Cher and the too far gone 70s" -- Kat continues her coverage of Cher. There are at least two more in this series.

"Desperate Housewives," "Joy Behar, no friend to anyone, needs to be fired," "No Ordinary Family" and "Chuck, WikiLeaks" -- Betty, Ruth, Stan and Mike cover TV.

"WikiLeaks, elections, Netflix," "movies and the ugh," "The Girl Most Likely To . . ." and
"Netflix" -- Stan and Rebecca cover films.

"He is the new Richard Nixon" & "THIS JUST IN! SOCK IT TO HIM!" -- Cedric and Wally report on Varack's visit to The Daily Show.

"NPR" and "Juan Williams is supposed to defend NPR?" -- Ruth covers radio as does Ann:

"THIS JUST IN! HE NEEDS HIS WHORES!" and "Barry O finds less support" -- Wally and Cedric on Barack's real base.

"Pizzas" -- Trina does a survey piece on pizzas.

"john f. burns drama queen" -- Rebecca on professional media whore John F. burns.

"Check out the rack on Superman" -- Marcia covers Superman's makeover.

"The Whoring of America" -- Elaine calls out the liars.

"Dick of the week" -- Idiot of the week doesn't always cover it so last week Mike came up with a new 'award,' Dick of the week.

"The Swinging Values Candidate Newt Gingrich" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this classic.

"Rice and Bean Salad in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers an easy to fix recipe.

"I'm old (officially)" -- Betty on kids growing up.

"US Super Spies!!!!" -- Kat offers an amusing detail.

"Poor fundraising" and "Make them get real jobs" -- If you're trying to raise money you should probably try offering something that can't be found everywhere else. Law of supply and demand.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }