Sunday, February 13, 2011
-- Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan interviewed by Abby Martin (Media Roots Radio) and you can stream it here.
Another Sunday. It was a long one. We'll probably have a few more like that in the coming weeks, just FYI. We thank everyone who worked on this edition. The credit goes to 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,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.
What did we come up with?
That's what we ended up with. Hopefully something in the mix appealed to (or enraged) you.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan camped out in Crawford, Texas. That's where George W. Bush was vacationing. He had said that the deaths in the Iraq War were for "a noble cause." Cindy wanted to know "what noble cause" her son Casey died for?
So she started Camp Casey and kick started the peace movement. But, as she explained to Abby Martin (Media Roots Radio) last week, even then there were 'peace' groups endorsing fake 'answers' to 'end' the Iraq War that really existed to increase the electibility of Democrats. She refused to sign on with those lies, but they continued. And, as she explained, that's why United For Peace & Justice -- a supposed peace organization dedicated to ending the Iraq War -- refused to hold a fifth anniversary demonstration in DC because "they didn't want to embarrass the Democrats." (To be clear, Cindy was drawing a line between the national leadership and the local and had much praise for local peace groups.)
So even then, even when the peace movement was at its highest wave, it turns out that some weren't in it for peace. Leslie Cagan was in it to elect Democrats. As she made clear in that laughable note she posted at UPFJ's website three days after the 2008 elections: "For more than six years, United For Peace and Justice and the antiwar movment have stood firm in our opposition to the war in Iraq. Our consistent work played a major role in turning public sentiment against the war, and that sentiment helped lay the foundation for the Obama campaign's success." Hilarious. And pathetic. (We first called it out here.)
But what can you expect? Leslie Cagan has no real talent of any kind and a woman with no talents and her looks rarely garners attention. By pretending to be pro-peace and against war, Cagan was able to receiving fawning profiles in The New York Times and elsewhere. Again, untalented, unattractive women aren't valued in this society. But Leslie managed to ride to fame by whoring out the peace movement.
She was far from alone.
And then, after Barack's election, she declared herself "tired" and "worn out" and retreated (in order to avoid calling War Hawk Barack out). You think Cindy Sheehan wasn't tired? How many times has Cindy broken down from exhaustion? How many times has Cindy been attacked from all sides?
Cindy didn't walk away. Cindy didn't excuse a War Hawk president.
But Cindy's the minority. The majority were Leslie Cagans.
Think back to the summer of 2005. Think of all the fire and brimstone Leslie Cagan, Tom Hayden, Danny Schechter and assorted others were serving up on Iraq. Yeah, they all lost interest long ago; however, that's not our point right now.
In the summer of 2005, if Bully Boy Bush had announced, "In three years, the Iraq War will be over," do you think everyone would have packed up and gone home?
We doubt it.
The slogan was "OUT OF IRAQ NOW!" It was not, "Out of Iraq in a few months or years."
But how the same 'outraged' 'leaders' did fall silent once Barack was in office. Many of them lied repeatedly claiming that the Status Of Forces the Bush Administration rammed through meant the Iraq War ended at the end of 2011. Three years from after the election -- if not the beatification -- of Barack.
Pretend for a moment that the SOFA did mean the end of the Iraq War. In December 2008, one month after the eleciton, alleged peace movement 'leaders' were happy with an Iraq War that would continue for three more years and saw no reason to call that out and to organize and demonstrate against it.
The term for those leaders is "WHORES."
And the tambourine
It's playing for free
It's telling me trust in the Lord
Sing Hare Krishna or Jesus or Mithra
It doesn't matter anymore
They say got relieves
If I'd only believe
But I just can't whore
Honey, I'm trying
To deal with the dying
And I can't score
-- "Bigger Than Real," written by Janis Ian, first appears on her album Restless Eyes
Now the SOFA never meant the Iraq War ended. If you tried to tell the truth on that (C.I.'s told the truth on that since Thanksgiving Day 2008 when it passed the Iraqi Parliament), you were attacked and savaged. It's 2011 now. And what do we know?
We know that the plan is to either extend the SOFA or to move US soldiers out from under the Defense Department and place them under the State Department to allow the continued occupation of Iraq.
This is not a secret. These options were covered in opening hearings this month. For the Senate Armed Services hearing, you can refer to C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot," Ava's "In appreciation of Lindsey Graham (Ava)," Wally's "It's a bi-partisan hole (Wally)" and Kat's "John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Jim Webb." For the Senate Foreign Relations hearing, you can refer to C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot," Ava's "The forgotten covert wars on Latin America (Ava)," Wally's "It's a boom economy!" and Kat's "Senate Foreign Relations Committee." And last week, we offered a discussion on both hearings in "Face The Press."
Yesterday, translating Arab-language media outlets, C.I. reported, "Al Mada notes the secret talks taking place to extend the Status Of Forces Agreement and cites Qassim Mohammed Jalal as the source for the extension meetings currently taking place between Nouri's reps and the US inside the Green Zone. Qassam Mohammed Jalal is part of the National Coalition. He is a member of Parliament's Commission on Security and Defense."
Will the Iraq government go along with either option? That's guess-work. But that is what the US government is shooting for, an extended SOFA (or new agreement) or switching the soldiers under the umbrella of the State Department. That's continued war and continued occupation.
You can say "NO!" Even while our 'leaders' are silent, you can say "NO!" Next month,
March 19 is the 8th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Iraq today remains occupied by 50,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries.
The war in Afghanistan is raging. The U.S. is invading and bombing Pakistan. The U.S. is financing endless atrocities against the people of Palestine, relentlessly threatening Iran and bringing Korea to the brink of a new war.
While the United States will spend $1 trillion for war, occupation and weapons in 2011, 30 million people in the United States remain unemployed or severely underemployed, and cuts in education, housing and healthcare are imposing a huge toll on the people.
Actions of civil resistance are spreading.
On Dec. 16, 2010, a veterans-led civil resistance at the White House played an important role in bringing the anti-war movement from protest to resistance. Enduring hours of heavy snow, 131 veterans and other anti-war activists lined the White House fence and were arrested. Some of those arrested will be going to trial, which will be scheduled soon in Washington, D.C.
Saturday, March 19, 2011, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, will be an international day of action against the war machine.
Protest and resistance actions will take place in cities and towns across the United States. Scores of organizations are coming together. Demonstrations are scheduled for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and more.
When we watched the first episode we were dismayed by how awful it was and wondered why they didn't go out of order and open with the strongest episode? Having watched three additional episodes, we can see they did go with the strongest one.
Everything about this show is wrong -- including that Perry co-created it. It's probably a good idea to leave funny to people who know funny. For example, Perry's character Ben works at an areana. Are you hearing it? The sound of half-wits insisting, "This'll be great! New plotlines every week! New vistas! New characters!" From Shirley's World to Jake In Progress, when the hell has that ever worked?
In sitcoms, you either ignore the job or give the audience a job they can relate to. Those are your choices. On Friends, Chandler's job was so bland and unimportant that (repeatedly) friends pulled a blank on what it was he did. That's one way to go. Courtney Cox was a chef on Friends and is a real estate agent on Cougar Town. They may not be high glam jobs, but they are relatable. That's the other way to go. Instead, the 'creative' team behind Mr. Sunshine wants to fool themselves that audiences are going to relate to someone who would go home at the end of the work day complaining about the hoops a second-tier Justin Bieber (guest star Nick Jonas) put him through culminating with scoring a teenage girl's number.
But it's doubtful anyone would relate to Ben if he were a cop, waiter or delivery man. Chandler was sarcastic and, yes, bitchy. But his cutting humor was, as he himself explained, a defense mechanism developed in childhood (as was his smoking habit). Ben? No back story. So what you're left with is sarcastic and bitchy but before you think "Joan Collins," know that Joan would never be filmed with those bulging bags under her eyes the way Perry was.
Watching him bully and bitchy a Latino janitor (Jorge Garcia), you switch between noticing Ben is not charming or endearing and registering all the physical flaws the camera cannot hide. If you have an extra moment, you may notice the bad body wave perm he's sporting. These are not the blocks with which a successful sitcom is built. And were Chandler to walk up to Ben, we believe he'd take one look at the hair and say, "This way to the green room, Miss Rossellini. I loved you in Blue Velvet."
For the debut, the 'laughs' came from a boss (Allison Janney) terrified of clowns -- and, get this, the boss is also racist! (ha-ha-ha!) -- and the fact that a circus elephant was loose. Amidst all of that, Ben's friend with benefits (Andrea Anders) dumps him for his friend (James Lesure) -- with whom he, presumably, had no benefits.
Perry walks through the pages of the script offering nothing. Filmed in front of a live audience, he'd never get away with it and, other than chemical enhancement, a live audience has always been the only thing that gave Perry's performances spark. (If you doubt us, check out his films -- but do so at your own risk.) A live audience might also reign in some of Janney's beyond-over-the-top moments.
The whole show's beyond-over-the-top if you stop to think about it. Janney's character owns and runs the arena (which most likely was built with tax payer money) and she's in the midst of a scandal, garnering negative press over a dog track she invested in where a dog just bit a person. Drugged out on various pills, her character has a photo-op with kids in an attempt to pick up some good press and change the story. However, spooked by circus clowns, she picks up a child, apparently to hide behind, and then, as the clowns approach, hurls the young boy to the floor, screams and runs off as camera flashbulbs go off repeatedly.
What you may not follow is that the press decides not to run the story. Why? Ben offers them the kind of laughable bribes that only a mid-size venue manager can. In other words, we're supposed to believe that a few tickets and substandard swag convinced a room full of press not to go with what is surely the local story of the day, something that will be picked up by networks and that, yes, could make a career. Something especially true in already media-concentrated region which San Diego (the show's setting) is.
We shared our concerns with two acquaintances working on the show and were told (repeatedly) that Janney is not playing a racist. No, she's playing someone who "stumbles over racial issues" and who "is racially insensitive." That is funny. Not the character they're describing but the fact that they think there's really such a difference. Here's a funny sitcom premise: Producers and bad writers convince themselves they can do racist jokes as long as they hide behind the claim that she's not really racist.
Want to laugh some more? They were unaware that Perry's character refers to Crystal (Janney) as "borderline racist" in the first episode. And that's when Ben is speaking to Crystal's son.
At the end of the first episode, Ben stops an underling who remembered his birthday to ask the underling's name and then mutters, "Already forgot it." We wouldn't be at all surprised if, in a few weeks, people feel the same way about this show.
January 17th, JPMorgan Chase breathlessly announced, "JPMORGAN CHASE REPORTS FOURTH-QUARTER 2010 NET INCOME OF $4.8 BILLION, UP 47% OVER PRIOR YEAR, ON REVENUE OF $26.7 BILLION; $1.12 EARNINGS PER SHARE. FULL-YEAR 2010 NET INCOME OF $17.4 BILLION, UP 48% OVER PRIOR YEAR, ON REVENUE OF $104.8 BILLION; $3.96 EARNINGS PER SHARE." They make a lot of money and, as the House Veterans Affairs Committee learned last Wednesday, they break a lot of laws.
Calling borrowers (whose loans you have assumed, JPMorgan Chase did not originally make the loans themselves) at three and four in the morning is against the law. As the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Jeff Miller noted in his opening remarks, they also broke the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act which has been around "in various forms since the war of 1812." They did so by harassing active duty service members and their families and by overcharing them.
And if you couldn't make those overcharged payments? They foreclosed. Foreclosure took place on at least eighteen homes.
But, JPMorgan Chase, in the form of Stephanie Mudick, wanted to insist the foreclosure wasn't really like foreclosure because JPMorgan Chase didn't sell the homes to an outside buyer, JPMorgan Chase just took over the ownership of the homes and kicked the veterans and veterans families over.
Oh, the family lost their home but a Century 21 sign didn't go up in the front yard so it's no harm, no foul?
Julia and Captain Jonathan Rowles offered testimony about their five year battle with JPMorgan Chase where they were repeatedly harassed with phone calls, repeatedly threatened, repeatedly forced to prove that he was active duty (forced to prove that every 90 days), overcharged and received no help at all. At one point, the family traveled from South Carolina to Colorado just because one JPMorgan Chase employee said he could fix the whole thing. They arrived there, on their own dime, spent a few days speaking to the man and he couldn't help them. Nor could any of the 'experts' they were told to phone or that phoned them.
US House Rep. Timothy Walz was curious about these tele-'experts' and wondered what the chance was that a number of the Rowles' phone calls were 'addressed' by employees at a JPMorgan Chase call center in the Philippines. As with so many questions put to her, Mudick couldn't provide a "yes" or a "no" but she did admit that was a possiblity. If that took place, Mudick explained, it would have been the Rowles' fault because the customer should always make sure they are speaking to an expert on the phone.
JPMorgan Chase is the one paying and allegedly training their phone staff. Seems like that responsibility would fall on the ones answering the phones, not the customers. And we fail to see how this reconciles with the corporation's claim, "At JPMorgan Chase, corporate responsibility is about what we do every day in our businesses and how we do it."
Next go round, maybe JPMorgan Chase will blame their overcharging on the customers as well?
In her opening statements, Mudick told the Committee that JPMorgan Chase had identifed $1.8 million in overcharges the corporation had made, $1.8 million they overcharged military families. That's their audit, who knows what numbers an outside audit would produce.
But, Mudick wanted the Committee, the Rowles and the press to know, not to worry because they were going to repay the overpayments and they would even tack on 7.5% interest.
US House Rep. Michael Michaud wasn't impressed with that meager amount, "You heard the Rowles went through a lot. And you mentioned errors. And originally when I heard about it, I figured, yeah, it was for people to make errors but what the Rowles went through -- five years of harassing phone calls, three or four o'clock in the morning is just beyond errors. And you heard some of my colleagues talk about arrogance, greed within JPMorgan and, actually, Mr. [US House Rep Cliff] Stearns mentioned the fact that JPMorgan received -- I know they paid it back -- $25 billion of the TARP funding [US government bail out of the bank industry at the end of 2008]. Mr. Diamond, the CEO for JPMorgan, received a bonus in 2007 of $28 million. Last year, almost $16 million bonus. And you're paying these individuals seven-and-a-half percent interest? I think there is a disconnect when you look at the bonuses received to the CEOs and what you have done to individuals who have served this country very well. I'm sure that the CEO for JPMorgan has a very nice home he probably can cater Christmas parties, Thanksgiving parties at his very elegant home and he can probably sleep very well at night."
Stephanie Mudick felt that 7.5% was ample (that averaged out to a $70 payment for each overcharged customer) because "[. . .] most of the, uh, service members who were impacted by this, uh, are-are not even aware that they overpaid. And in part, that's because the amount they overpaid was not-not material to them." You swipe money from most people's pockets, its "material to them." Whether its five dollars, fifty dollars or five hundred dollars. And you swipe money from someone's pocket? That's theft. And it's against the law which makes JPMorgan Chase's behavior very "material."
The Committee appeared largely unimpressed with the statements from JPMorgan Chase's Vice President of Customer Service (Mudick). They were even less impressed when US House Rep. and Ranking Member Bob Filner attempted to determine Mudick's role at JPMorgan Chase and the power she had or did not have to fix anything.
Stephanie Mudick: I don't have the answer to that question, sir, I'm sorry.
Stephanie Mudick: I will indeed.
Ranking Member Bob Filner: Could you fix things if we need to ask? I mean, you're here on behalf of Chase so I assume that means you can fix things. Can you fix things? I mean, you said you weren't aware of that hotline number [a JPMorgan Chase number to deal with SCRA problems which Julia Rowles testified was just an answering machine passed off as a hotline and one that has now been disconnected for months]. Can you find it out right away? Can you call someone and say, "What's going on there?"
Stephanie Mudick: We are trying to fix --
Ranking Member Bob Filner: I don't want a "we." You? Can you fix that?
Stephanie Mudick: I can, together with my colleagues causes changes to be made in our organization. Uh -- and with respect to the Rowleses -- Uh, uhm, you know,,we are trying to figure out how we can come to an agreement --
Stephanie Mudick: The-the median payment is $70 and-and let me explain to you how-how we get to that number.
Stephanie Mudick: Congressman, most of the, uh, service members who were impacted by this, uh, are-are not even aware that they overpaid. And in part that's because the amount they overpaid was not-not material to them.
Ranking Member Bob Filner: I can't believe that there's nobody else going through what the Rowles did. But, you know, I mean, you can't make the changes, you're not making them whole. Why should -- You broke the law. Your bank broke the law. Shouldn't someone go to jail for that?
Stephanie Mudick: -- figure out --
Ranking Member Bob Filner: -- who's responsible?
Stephanie Mudick: -- who's responsible for what happened.
Stephanie Mudick: Well we will certainly hold those folks who are resposible for this accountable.
C.I., Ava, Wally and Kat attended the hearing last week and we utilized C.I.'s notes, their memories and the reporting the four had already done last week. You can read their reporting in the following:
"The crooks get away with it (Ava)"
"JP Morgan Chase's song and dance"
"Grading the new Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee"
Q wants to figure out the best 250 albums from 1986 to 2011. Why? Because it was a slow music month and they had to fill an issue somehow. (Short version? Radiohead's OK Computer is the best album EVUH!!!!) It's a pedestrian issue which should chant "We will, we will, bore you!" when you open the cover.
Smash Hits is gone from publishing on US shores. It existed as a glossy pin up magazine in the 80s featuring cute pics of Madonna and fold outs of sexy, squinted eyed Corey Hart and his curly black chest hairs. In many US outlets, you can find a new Smash Hits as an import. It's "64-PAGE SPECIAL EDITION" dedicated to and covering Lady Gaga. Fans of LG should rush to grab this, it's an instant collector item.
MOJO features Neil Young on the cover and a CD of various artists covering Neil. PJ Harvey's new album gets a rave review from Peter Paphides: "Of all her many guises -- doomed blues siren; righteous rock vixen; tormented Victorian ghost -- this may be her most powerful. A broken Britannia for a broken Britain. It turns out that, more than ever, Polly Harvey was made for these times." Let England Shake drops Tuesday. (Kat reviews the album here.) And Neil? Not present. Phil Sutcliffe speaks to various musicians who played on the classic album Harvest. But it's not a complete loss, the tired story features some amazing photos of Neil by Henry Diltz.
A complete waste is the latest Spin. It's now bi-monthly. So possibly they should stop 'end of the year' issue. "The Best of 2010" was tired for a January issue. It's especially tired for a "JAN/FEB 2011" issue. While it's audience wants the new, Spin's serving up 2010 for the first sixty or so days of 2011. Along with being tired, the 'articles' are little more than extended photo captions.
M Music & Musicians features Keith Urban on the cover and swears it will help you with "Getting closer to the heart of the matter." We didn't really see that in the brief article by Chris Neal which failed even on technical issues. Jeff Tamarkin's two page feature on Annie Lennox offers much more and how can you not like an interview whose opening question is: "Why make a holiday album?" Annie offers this on awards, "It's a huge compliment, obviously, and very nice, but I don't consider myself that person. How do you grade a voice? It's like a dog show. How do you grade a dog? It's not about that. Bob Dylan is probably not the best singer in the world, but he's Bob Dylan."
Her former band mate, Dave Stewart, gets a mention in the strongest article in the latest Rolling Stone -- page 18, Patrick Doyle's article on Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart's arena tour notes Dave's produced Stevie's In Your Dreams due out May 3rd. Those fearing Rod will be cracking out 'the great American songbook' for the tour can breathe easy, he says he'll be doing the hits and "deep [album] tracks." He wants to duet with Stevie on "Leather & Lace" and she'd like them to sing "The First Cut Is The Deepest" and "Reason To Believe." The cover story is The Rolling Stone Interview with Elton John and the sad thing there is that Elton's ready and willing to talk about anything but Austin Scaggs offers the most mundane and obvious questions.
No magazine this round up scores a worth-buying. At best, a few offer 15 minutes worth of scanning. At worst, less than a minute. We'll hope it was just a slow month and the winter lethargy because otherwise the state of rock writing is on life support.
When examing political magazines, Mother Jones is always a good starting point because, issue after issue, few aim lower. The February issue boasts "Weedmart" on the cover -- the sort of 'we're such cool yuppies' attitude that's sent so many one-time readers fleeing the political equivalent of In Style. Mini-features within the cover story like "Hard Times, High Times" and "Stoned in 90 Seconds" will do little to dispel the image of MJ as the lightest of the political lightweights.
But FAIR's Extra! seems determined to challenge MJ for that title. The February 2011 'issue' exists only to demonstrate that there are publications with less pages than your local super market circular. In fact, there are slices of Kraft cheese singles that are thicker than this 'magazine.' Our friend Jim Naureckas goes for stand up comedy in the cover story as he insists, "The job of journalists is to inform the public, not to protect secrets . . ." Oh, Jim, you're such a card. Hey, remember 2008? Remember how FAIR's CounterSpin existed solely to protect Barack's secrets? Including where he got his money? Few did more to promote Barack or the myth of his small donors than did CounterSpin. Check your fly, Naureckas, your hypocrisy is showing. The issue is tired with 'reflections' (looking back) being all they have to offer. That and an attack on Alex Jones. We don't listen to Jones but we also don't attack him. We also don't whine about the attacks and 'attacks' on other people (see page 5) while rushing to beat up on Alex Jones. Again, Naureckas, zip up that fly.
In 2009, Ms. magazine tired of it's staid image and went after the market The Onion cornered with instant high-larious (maybe they shopped at WeedMart!) classics like the cover featuring Barack and proclaiming, "This is what feminism looks like!" The Winter 2011 issue features another drop-to-the-floor-and-roll-around-laughing cover. Nancy Pelosi's -- whose colors have been played with via computer programs and whose lines have been removed by the computer -- is shown doing her Jack Nicholson's Joker grin as the type proclaims, "NANCY PELOSI. BEST. SPEAKER. EVER." That is so hilarious. In the 2006 mid-terms, the Democrats won back control of the House and Nancy became Speaker of the House. That win took place for one reason only, Nancy and her buddies promised to end the Iraq War. In 2010, she was tossed out of the speaker post and still the Iraq War continues. Ms. magazine's latest incarnation is obviously that of Jokes For The John. The humor never lives up to that high point but they do try, oh, how they try.
Dissent's Winter 2011 issue is out and, for ten bucks, you can take it home. Or, you can save that ten bucks, skip flipping through and, unlike us, not feel as though Michael Walzer and company robbed you of your time and seriously harmed the quality of your life.
ISR -- International Socialist Review -- is always the magazine to save for last because if any left magazine is going to be worth reading, it's usually this one. Skip the nonsense editorial and instead dive right into the interview with Fatima Bhutto ("Pakistan's balancing act") by Anthony Arnove. Excerpt.
AA: THE WASHINGTON Post reports that, "The United States has renewed pressure on Pakistan to expand the areas where CIA drones can operate inside the country." Can you comment on the areas they are seeking to target and what the impact of a broader drone strike campaign might be? FB: THE IMPACT will be more deaths, more civilian deaths. It is absurd that, after nine years, the Americans are still using the same tactics in the "war on terror." Tactics that promise swift solutions to universal terror, huge military interventions that haven't been swift in any sense, given that we're nine years into the failure of this war. Baluchistan, if it is attacked, will not yield any more results for the conclusion of this war on terror. America's huge military actions have failed for the last nine years. Pakistan's military intervention in Baluchistan have failed for the last 60 years.
From there, rush righ over to Stuart Easterling's "Mexico's revoultion 1910 - 1920." This is the only political magazine you need to buy this month.
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. You are reading a rush transcript.
Jim (Con't): Betty, let's kick it off with you because everyone wants to know: What the hell's going on with your site?
Betty: As we do this roundtable, there's no new post up there. I've written one. I'm just not sure. Thursday night, I asked C.I. to announce something at The Common Ills Friday morning and then Friday morning I called her and said, "Abort! Abort!" It's just so difficult. Not to write. I've got my post written. It's just --
Rebecca: Difficult. Here's the deal, Betty's readers miss Betinna and she's been getting non-stop e-mails about that.
Betty: Thanks, Rebecca. I would have been like a needle stuck on a record without that. As Rebecca's pointed out, the readers miss her and then I read the e-mails and I miss her. If you're just tuning in, my site started as a comic, online novel revolving around Betinna. She was married to Thomas Friedman and she wore cotton sheets wrapped around herself because Thomas Friedman was so cheap and said that's all she would have worn in her country as well. She slowly learned that Thomas Friedman was not so great -- that's why the title of my blog is "Thomas Friedman is a Great Man." That's what he indoctrinated Betinna into saying. And he did that by drugging her, among other things. During the first half of the year, this novel went on and on, but during the first half of the year -- this would be 2005, Betinna slowly awakens to reality about him. By year two, drug free, she's starting to remember things and she's not from an island. Turns out, she's from New Jersey. Turns out Thomas Friedman was using her. For the novel to end as planned, Betinna had to die. And that's one of the reasons I ended up chucking it to the side. The other was the sexism against Hillary and the need for me to make a strong statement there. I was already having Betinna campaign for Hillary, but I just wanted to say more.
Ava: And that's the problem Betty's facing now.
Betty: Right, I've been talking to C.I., using her as a soundboard, and I've come up with a way to do Betinna and spin her into a different or larger adventure -- I'm sick of Thomas Friedman, Nicky K and Gail Collins, all of whom were regular characters in the novel -- but if I do it, and this is why it's been so hard to post, if I do it, I do it. How do I go back to doing a blog entry like I've been doing since the middle of 2008? And I remember how hard the chapters could be. And do I really want to go back to that? But C.I. pointed out that I can put "NOT A CHAPTER" in a post title and everyone will know I'm just doing a blog post that night, if I need to do that or want to do that. I miss Betinna. There are nights, I'm sure this sounds crazy, but there are nights when I dream about her. I feel like Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, he falls in love with Dorothy Michaels and then misses her. And I love Betinna and I miss her so much. And most of the time I don't dwell on that but with all the e-mails coming in lately . . .
Jim: Do you know what started it.
Betty: A new community member, Tonja J, was going through my archives and reading old things and she started e-mailing to a number of other community members, who'd been members longer than her, to ask if they'd read it and if they'd liked it. And then that just blossomed into basically a discussion group about Betinna. And people like Tonja, or Kayla or Brenda or Kendrick weren't trying to get me to start Betinna back up, but they'd e-mail and they'd talk about this or that and they'd sometimes wonder what Betinna was doing and goodness know I do too. I miss her. She's like flesh and blood to me. She's a friend. I picture myself at the end of my life, lost nearly all my senses and in an old folk's home, not visited by anyone but, in my head, Betinna's with me. It's her and me until the bitter end. And I'm sure my attachment to her makes no sense, but she's very real to me.
Jim: So what's going on? You're posting the chapter today?
Betty: If C.I. will read over it, then yes. It's my sixth draft and it's as much a mess as the other five before were.
Jim: Let the record show that C.I.'s nodding that she will read it. C.I. and Ava take the notes for this transcript piece. Okay, so it's the return of Betinna and I can tell you, Betty, that's going to make a lot of Third readers happy as well.
Betty: Maybe, maybe not. It may be darker. I don't know. The first week of posts will probably be tying up ends and Stan and C.I. deserve huge thanks because they were sound boards for ideas I had and they were also kind enough to pitch in ideas as well.
Stan: And I've read the sixth draft. I think people will love it.
Jim: Alright, well I look forward to reading that. Can we talk about Dandelion Salad because that's not something that's working as a feature this edition and we've postponed and postponed it.
Dona: For reference, Rebecca's "dandelion salad pimps abortion lies and islamophobia" and Marcia's "Dandelion Salad pushes abortion lies" are the first two pieces to read and follow that with Rebecca's "the lying website dandelion salad" and Marcia's "Dandelion Salad defends abortion lies."
Jim: C.I. wrote about it as well but we're sticking with Marcia and Rebecca's for a reason. Who's going to explain what Dandelion Salad did?
Marcia: I'll go. They 'celebrated' Roe v. Wade's anniversary at Dandelion Salad by posting an attack on abortion. It was a piece filled with right wing lies by some man. And, at Dandelion Salad, a few people tried to call it out. Some got their comments deleted, some got their comments edited -- like community member Vanessa. But Dandelion Salad's owner jumps into the comments to insist that the article is well sourced. The sources are right wing links -- falsely claiming that abortion rights groups get their money from racists.
Jim: Okay, I'm going to stay with Marcia for a second. You wrote two pieces. Your first piece went up and got a number of comments including from Dandelion Salad's owner. Talk about that.
Marcia: Oh, yeah, that twit left a comment. As I said, he or she wants to claim that he or she did not endorse or oppose the opinions of the anti-abortion piece. That's a lie. When people are questioning the 'sourcing' and you rush in to say that it is well sourced -- and all the sources are right-wing -- you've endorsed the article. Now, as I pointed out, he or she edited Vanessa's comment. Including a link she gave to my site. He edited that out. I'm just going to say "he" -- I'm sick of doing he or she. So he comes over to my site and gets to spew his thoughts and I let him. I wasn't a little s**t like he was. I didn't alter his comments and, in fact, copied them and pasted them into my second entry to respond to them. While all he did was delete comments at his site that he didn't like and edit and alter other ones.
Jim: And what did he want you to do in his comments?
Marcia: Stupid little prick wanted me to change my post, delete it, and instead go to his website and leave a comment. So the prick could edit my words, alter what I was saying, the way he did Vanessa's? Kiss my ass.
Jim: Rebecca, why don't you pick up there?
Rebecca: Marcia and I were both blogging about this at the same time because we were both outraged by it. While she heard from DS, I heard from the prick who wrote the article. Blah, blah, whine, whine. And, as always with chicken s**t men, they didn't contact me directly, it went through C.I. I didn't post his nonsense at my site. I noted his disagreement but he can kiss my ass. He had a whole article with which to slander abortion, I believe he's had his say and then some.
Jim: Elaine, you and C.I. also weighed in so let me open it to you. What were your thoughts?
Elaine: C.I. said it best, this is paraphrase, "Stay out of my examination room and I'll stay out of yours." And where does it end? Where do the efforts of these so-called leftists end, these efforts to curtail the rights of women? Since 2008, it's been open season on women and let's not pretend otherwise or pretend that Barack Obama didn't waive it all through with his sexist and homophobic campaigns. The article had a wealth of misinformation about organizations -- apparently NARAL and Planned Parenthood -- getting money from KKK-type groups. In addition, it wanted to argue against abortion based upon what some women in the 19th and early 20th century might have thought. These are women who were campaigning for the right to vote. As a general rule, any class subordinate and dependent upon a larger class to be granted rights may self-present and present the rights they wants as the best option for continued good behavior. I'm not slamming them for it. I'm just saying, you put on your best clothes and smile you warmest when you're the subordinate class desparately attempting to convince someone else to grant you rights.
C.I.: I'm living in the 21st century. I have no desire to take medical advice from non-professionals about medical procedures which didn't exist when they were alive. It's stupid, it's beyond stupid. First off, there were many feminists who supported abortion. The mid-wives were run out of business and demonized as was abortion. This was part of the 'professionalization' of medicine. The wave the right-winger male was writing of is honestly a backlash wave. And to Elaine's point, let's note that not only were they seeking the vote, they were also living in a time when birth control -- birth control, not abortion -- was a topic you could be arrested for discussing in public. I'm not interested in Elizabeth Cady Stanton's version of the Bible. Sorry. A lot of that stuff has no application to my life and never did. Times change, progress comes marching through, that's life. I try to be advanced but in 20 years, I'll seem middle-of-the-road and in 50 or 100, I'll seem conservative.
Jim: In what way do you see that happening?
C.I.: I'm not big on predictions. But it is likely that the country might be vegetarian in 50 years. Excuse me, vegan. I'm not saying that "will" happen, I'm saying it's likely. A major upheaval could stop that, but it could happen. And I love fried chicken and I love seafood. I could see there being repulsion in the future over the brutality of eating animals.
Jim: Jess, you're a vegetarian. What do you think?
Jess: I grew up that way and what seemed weird to people I knew growing up doesn't seem weird to people I know today so it is possible. I'd guess 100 years though, not fifty. And I agree that some major upheaval -- especially to do with climate -- could alter that.
Jim: Mike, your thoughts on the Dandelion Salad issue?
Mike: I agree with Marcia. Once you wade into the comments and start arguing that right wing, fanatically anti-choice 'sources' are valid sources, then you're taking a stand. To then try to walk it back is just cowardly. In fact, it's even more offensive because now you're not just promoting attacks on abortion, you're also lying about it. I have no idea why Dandelion Salad would even post that article. Don't give me any s**t about "Presenting all voices." You know for damn sure, they wouldn't post a column by Bill O'Reilly or anyone like that. What's the difference between that and the crap they posted? Dandelion Salad's too stupid to look at the 'works cited' at the end of the article and not notice they're all right-wing sites? No. Dandelion Salad knew what it was doing and deliberately posted that article. Why? I don't know. To get some attention, most likely. And the easiest way to get attention these days? Attack women's rights. I have no interest in that site anymore. It's as bad as all the ones launching sexist attacks on Hillary and, for all I know, Dandelion Salad was one of those because I wasn't reading it then. But that idiot Kimberly Wilder loves her some Dandelioon Salad and the suppsed Green Party website On The Wilder Side did little to promote the Green Party presidential candidate in 2008 but did make time for non-stop Barack whoring and for never ending Hillary trashing.
Wally: Let's remember this is the website, On The Wilder Side, that claimed to link to all the canidates on their candidate page and yet it didn't link to Hillary. And it was only after the Democratic Party primary was over that Kimberly Wilder provided an active link to Hillary's campaign. That page went up in the summer of 2007 and linked to everyone running for the Democratic Party nomination, to every candidate for other parties' nominations as they announced their candidacy and yet couldn't link to Hillary. We're talking about a site that linked to Bob Barr as a candidate and to the Constitutional Party and on and on and maintained it was about open elections and free elections but Wilder couldn't get over her own loathing for Hillary enough to practice what she preached. And I agree with Mike that there probably isn't a great deal of difference between On The Wilder Side in 2008 and Dandelion Salad today.
Jim: And you word it that way because?
Wally: As everyone knows 'Green' Kimberly Wilder waited until after the 2008 election to come out as a non-Green with her announcement that she'd left the party --
Cedric: Already obvious by all her mad love for Barack. That woman was sick.
Wally: Yeah. And also because the site is really Ian Wilder now.
Jim: Jess and Ann, let me bring you in. We're moving to Green issues, your thoughts?
Ann: Jess, can I jump in and go first?
Ann: I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, 2004 and 2008. I bring that up because a Nader supporter in 2000 who ended up voting for Barack is nothing but a fool or a whore or both in my opinion. I also bring it up because I didn't have a blog in the summer of 2008 or the fall. And I found a lot of things from Nader supporters disgusting. I seriously considered not voting for him and switching to Cynthia McKinney due to his supporter and Nader and third party candidates need to pay attention to this. At the Nader website, in the comments, you would find people trashing Hillary -- and praising Barack -- in the summer and fall of 2008. I ended up telling myself that a lot of them were intentionally trying to destroy his support. But here's reality. If Lucy and Charlie Brown run for a nomination and Charlie gets it while you're supporting Linus' run, your job is not to insult Lucy. Lucy is (a) now out of the race so you look like a stupid Kimmy Wilder attacking Lucy to being with but (b) Lucy's supporters are considering who to vote for. Some will vote for Charlie. But some may move over to Linus' camp. But they're never going to come over to Linus' camp if Linus' supporters are running around trashing Lucy. It wasn't just sexist and immature, it was dumb politics and it never needs to happen again. Ralph could have easily picked up a number of Hillary supporters if his fan base could have just stopped the attacks on a woman who was not even in the race.
Jess: I agree with that. And. let's be honest, it was those Nader supporters' way of trying to maintain their 'cred' by slamming 'the Democratic Party.' They were too chicken s**t to call out Barack, so they went after Hillary who, as Ann points out, wasn't even in the race. It was chicken s**t from a bunch of chicken s**ts. And that's what's so awful about the Green Party today. They're just chicken s**t. Barack's drone bombing Pakistan and the Green's can't call it out. He's continued the Iraq War and they can't call it out. He's continued the Afghanistan War and they can't call it out. He gives that awful State of the Union Address. The Libetarian Party, for goodness sake, is calling him out on Iraq, their president issues a statement. The Green Party plays dumb. It claims it is an alternative to the two major parties but all it is a whore for the Democratic Party. I'm sick of it. I vote Green state wide but I will not be voting Green nationwide. That's why I voted Nader in 2004 -- I wasn't old enough to vote in 2000 -- and why I voted for Nader in 2008 and that's among the reasons Nader doesn't run on the national Green Party ticket. They're a joke. They're not a real party.
Jim: Okay, thank you both. Dona's passed a note that Stan, Ty, Isaiah, Kat, Trina and Ruth still haven't spoken. Who do we start with? How about we move over to the Patriot Act? Last week, here, we were noting, as Marcia had, that a renewal of the Patriot Act was being pushed and that no one was paying attention to that. Isaiah, last Sunday, you made that one of the focal points of your comic and how it was being ignored due to the soap opera that was the Egyptian coverage.
Isaiah: Right. We'd discussed that here and C.I. had written similar thoughts, so I used it as the basis for a comic and, I know Marcia felt this way too because I spoke to her, it was like being Paul Revere when no one was listening. The vote came up and no one was alerting about it. No one could even pay attention to it. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is what Ann, C.I. and Elaine ended up noting because that was one of the few with an eye on the ball. But most ignored it and were caught napping.
Kat: And they were some real whores and here's how you spot them, after the vote went down in the House, the day after, they showed up praising Dennis Kucinich and playing the Cowardly Lion's little speech where he was supposedly appealing to Tea Pariters. Point of fact, Tea Pariters were not going to support the Patriot Act to begin with. The idea that they were swayed by Dennis is stupid and whores like Amy Goodman were able to pretend that Dennis had effect only because they've refused to report on what the Tea Party actually stands for.
Jim: Why was that? The Tea Party wasn't reported accurately. Any reasons or theories?
Stan: Yeah, let me jump in here. Because the Kimmy Wilders -- White Mommas and Daddies -- who get all wet in their drawers at the thought of bi-racial Barack needed an enemy. But they can't handle a real enemy. They couldn't take on the policies that the Tea Party favors. They had to demonize them and declare them a racist organization and all this other stuff. So, yes, it's hilarious that Amy Goodman, the whore of all media whores, wants to show up the day after the House votes on the Patriot Act and pretend like Dennis Kucinich's useless words meant a damn thing and somehow rallied support.
Jim: Let's pretend I'm just reading Third for the first time, okay? Ruth, I'm a lefty and I'm hearing this on Dennis Kucinich and thinking, "I thought they were a lefty site. What kind of site is this?" Explain that.
Ruth: We do not like pretends. We do not like fakes. We do not like spineless. In 2007, a number of us were supporting Dennis Kucinich's announcement that he was running for the Democratic Party nomination. Ava and C.I. did not take a stand. But a number of us, including me, did. Trina, Kat, Dona, go down the list. What changed? Dennis is a fake, a fraud, a huckster. Barack did not 'win' Iowa. It is so hilarious today to read the 'big win' Barack had in Iowa. That 'win' resulted from Dennis and others sending their delegates over to Barack. Dennis claimed he was running a real campaign and running to win. And a number of us believed him and supported his run. But when you are running a real campaign, you do not give away your supporters, you do not tell your supporters to go over to another campaign. Later on the networks would get trashed for cutting Dennis out of the debates. Why not? In fact, that should be the rule for who gets invited to the Democratic Party debate. If you give your supporters away, you are not a real candidate and not invited to the debate. Now why the hell was Dennis giving them away to begin with? Then answer why he was giving them away to a War Hawk? Though Iraq may surprise some, everyone knew Barack was going to increase the war on Afghanistan. Why was 'peace man' Dennis helping out a War Hawk. So that is when we walked away from Dennis. And, in the ObamaCare battle, Dennis swore he was not voting for it as stands. He was going to stand up to that corporate give-away. Then he takes a plane ride with Barack Obama and, next day, announces he is breaking his promise. Dennis is a joke. We do not support Mr. Spineless. He is a typical politician, full of promises, short on results.
Jim: Thank you, Ruth. That leaves Ty and Trina and Ty's passed me a note saying to let it go to Trina so we can wrap up. Trina, can you pull this last topic together in any way?
Trina: I can sure try. The Patriot Act is something that those of us on the left are supposed to be opposed to which would mean being opposed to the extension of. But now that Barack's in the White House, I guess it just doesn't matter judging by the fact that Democracy Now! couldn't even do one segment on the Patriot Act in the lead up to the House vote -- it failed to pass in the House. It will be up for another vote before the end of the month. The day after, instead of an analysis or discussion of the vote, Goodman reduces it to a headline and a "Praise Dennis" one at that. I'm not in the mood for that whoring. I supported Dennis once and you can only play me for a fool once. I gave to his campaign, I donated money and I donated time. He can kiss my damn ass and were some of his supporters to decided to sue him to return their contributions, I might join in on that because I only put the time and money in because I thought he was a real candidate. Then came Iowa and his giving his supporters away so Barack could be put over the top. All but Hillary, John Edwards and Mike Gravel's campaign ended up giving over their supporters. That's why Barack 'won' Iowa. Iowa 'votes' in a series of rounds. You 'vote' -- gather -- over and over and, as the front runners know how much they need to win, they begin making deals and fake candidates go along with the deals and send their supporters over in later rounds so that who ever's waiving the most pork in front of them gets their supporters. The most democratic thing that could be done primary wise would be to endthe Iowa caucus. In the general election, no onevotes 'caucus style.' And it's a corrupt system. To infer, as Goody did, that Dennis helped 'awaken' the Tea Party is just nonsense. But it's the sort of nonsense she pulls all the time.
Jim: Okay, and that's the wrap for this roundtable.
Timorese call on the UN Security Council to ensure accountability for crimes against humanity
Sisto dos Santos: +670-726-6564 (Dili)
Jose Pereira: +670-736-7518 (Dili)
John M. Miller +1-718-596-7668 (New York)
A coalition of groups in Timor-Leste is urging the United Nations Security Council "to take concrete, effective actions to end impunity for those who directed and committed crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste" during Indonesia's invasion and occupation. [see http://www.etan.org/news/2011/02anti.htm for the text of the letter and a complete list of signers.]
"Accountability for crimes against humanity must not be further delayed" the Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI) told the UN Security Council in a letter delivered this week.
ANTI criticized UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon for failing "to mention the consequences of ongoing impunity for the serious international crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation" in his latest report to the Council.
The letter was endorsed by more than 30 other organizations from outside of Timor-Leste.
"We are still not yet free of the shadow of serious crimes committed during the 24 years of Indonesian occupation. We have suffered a lot during that period; physically and psychologically, because of torture from various types of violations, including sexual violence against women, and the loss of 180,000 human lives because of the brutal, illegal Indonesian military occupation," wrote ANTI.
The coaltion added "If impunity continues to prevail in Timor-Leste, it will have a negative impact on the stability and security of our country; undercutting the efforts of the United Nations to establish rule of law and strength security institutions. In addition, the perpetrators are continuing to commit similar crimes in Indonesia."
The Security Council is scheduled to meet on February 22 to discuss the future of the UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). The mission's current mandate expires February 26.
The Security Council should "discuss the recommendations of the  Commission of Experts regarding the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal when national mechanisms fail." They also urged the Council to enlarge the mandate of the Serious Crimes Investigation Team (SCIT) to allow the investigation and support the prosecution "of the principal perpetrators of serious crimes and crimes against humanity throughout the Indonesian occupation from 1975-1999." The SCIT current mandate only allows investigations of murders committed during 1999, when the UN sponsored the referendum which led to Timor-Leste's independence.
ANTI argues that such prosecutions are "the only solution to end impunity in Timor-Leste and Indonesia, so that democracy and human rights that we yearn for can be achieved in Timor-Leste and other countries."
Endorsing groups include the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (U.S.); KontraS, the Indonesian human rights organization; Japan East Timor Coalition; International Federation for East Timor; Australian Coalition for Justice for East Timor; and the regional Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition.
Support in 2011. Make a contribution here http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm
Thank you for your support.
John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
Phone: +1-718-596-7668 Mobile phone:
Email: Skype: john.m.miller
Send a blank e-mail message to to find out how to learn more about East Timor and Indonesia on the Internet
"Xenophobia and EZ coverage" -- If Ty hadn't checked Sunday's e-mails, this wouldn't be the most requested highlight. It went up Saturday and quickly became the most popular posting of the week.
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Unnatural Obsession" -- Isaiah calls out the ignorance of US matters by so called 'newsies.'
"Iraq snapshot," "The crooks get away with it (Ava)," "JP Morgan Chase's song and dance" and
"Grading the new Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee" -- C.I., Ava, Wally and Kat report on the House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing they attended last week.
"JP Morgan Chase broke the law" and "JP Morgan Chase the crooks with money" -- Marcia and Trina register their objection to what JP Morgan Chase did and wonder why the story isn't all over the news?
"Bradley" -- Ann weighs in on Bradley Manning.
"Sick of Julie and his women who whore for him," "What we value" and "Take another bong hit, Greg Mitchell" -- Betty, Ann and Kat take on the little boyz and galz who whore for Little Julie.
"No surprise at all" and "THIS JUST IN! HE'S SURPRISED NO ONE!" -- When you barely won our election and have since pissed off veterans as you attacked benefits for the victims of Agent Orange, your decision not to run for re-election, as Cedric and Wally point out, was already known.
"No Ordinary Family," "No Ordinary Family second take," "The Cape," "Chuck" and "Isaiah, Fringe, Third" -- Stan and Mike cover TV.
"Naomi Wolf, grave digger but no feminist," "that idiot naomi wolf" and "the book on naomi"
-- Betty and Rebecca take on the big drip Naomi.
"Tips for Ms. Winograd's campaign" -- Ruth offers some thoughts on a House race.
"Grading Barack's speech" -- Trina critiques Barack's speech to the Chamber of Commerce.
"The Patriot Act vote goes down tomorrow," "The Patriot Act vote is tomorrow" and
"Stop the Patriot Act renewal" -- Ann, Marcia and Ann get the word out on the Patriot Act.
"Nicole Colson can't stop lying," "Coleen Rowley needs to buy a clue," "Nicole Colson, always whoring to cover for a man" and "poor nicole trickster colson"-- Elaine, Ann and Rebecca laying it out there.
"Peas and Corn in the Kitchen" -- Trina serves up a recipe.
"Spyware and other problems" -- Ann on computer issues.
"Shame on the ACLU and Redford" -- Ruth calls out those giving lip service.
"You Are Staying" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.
"Music mags," "PJ Harvey, Joni Mitchell," "Beatles" and "Friday and the Mamas and the Papas" -- some music posts in the community.
"THIS JUST IN! CLASSIC BARRY!" and "It's all so familiar" -- Wally and Cedric weigh in on wee willy winkle.
"Elektra" -- Stan goes to the movies.