Sunday, March 20, 2011

Truest statement of the week

Now the skeptical, old and ignorant Cindy Sheehan would have thought that the US was only concerned with the regime in Libya "killing its own citizens" because Libya has large crude oil reserves, but that was before I reflected on the fact that Barack Obama (D) has told us that offshore drilling and nuclear power is safe! Like my new hero, Barack Obama (D) keeps saying, we do need to "reduce" US dependence on "foreign oil," but not before we kill as many people as we must to get all of that oil. The old me also would have thought that we needed to entirely eliminate our dependence on petroleum and petroleum products all together, but if Barack Obama (D) says it’s safe, that’s good enough for me!

-- Cindy Sheehan, "Barack-a-lujah! I Have Seen the Light!" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox)

Truest statement of the week II

I just want to say again, I understand how well you are all doing your job and the importance of all of you looking for cost efficiencies in what you do as we face a difficult time with the budget deficit and, uh, also where there's a lot of examination of the military budget and looking for places where we can cut. And maybe my first comment is more to my fellow Committee members then to all of you but I might see more places to cut the fat in the military budget than others of my colleagues but I am deeply concerned that we're going after medical care for both our active duty personnel and our retirees when I think there are other places to make more effective cuts. So I know you have to do your job and look for those cuts but almost everything that's before us today, either myself or one of my colleagues has mentioned a concern about, whether it's the changes to TRICARE, how we're going to deal with some of our Sole Community Hospitals I have two in my district, there are four in our state of only 1.2 million people, in a state where we have almost a fifth of our citizens are either active duty or retired military. So there's a very big dependance on this system in our state and I'm worried about that particular program. So for me, many of the efficiencies that you're talking about are going to reduce the level of medical care to people who have served us to whom we have made a huge promise.

-- US House Rep. Chellie Pingree, in last Tuesday's House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcomittee hearing.

A note to our readers

Hey --

We thank all who participated this week 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.

And Betty's kids who we thank for many illustrations.

We'll note them as we get to the articles. The articles?

  • Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan offered up a humor piece with bite this week. Read it and prepare to laugh out loud.

  • Tuesday's hearing, where the cutting of health care for the military was discussed.

  • The two illustrations are done by Isaiah and we thank him for this.

  • Ava and C.I. wrote this epic piece and they asked Betty's kids which illustration should go with it? The illustration was done by Betty's kids.

  • Again, I (Jim) wrote this and had help on the polish and with the phrasing from Ava and C.I. I offered them co-writing credit but they refused. The illustration is by Betty's kids. We had a lot of illustrations and wanted to use them all; however, we didn't have enough new pieces. Oh, the illustration -- flowers -- that's with Cindy Sheehan's truest statement? Done by Betty's kids.

  • We're now starting to notice the advertisements. It may be time to "shut it down" when it comes to this feature.

  • Our music magazine survey piece.

  • The roundtable. We wish we'd had the time to go longer. Betty's kids did the illustration (two years ago?) that we always run with this. In addition, we run Kat and Isaiah's 2009 drawing of Ryan Endicott.

  • Kat and Isaiah and Rebecca worked on the illustration for this short piece.

  • I almost deleted this but, hey, we got done before noon PST or EST! That's an accomplishment!

  • Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

Hope you took part in yesterday's actions. And hope you found something that made you laugh, made you angry or produced some emotion. If not, get thee to a Trekkie convention, you must be a Borg.


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

Editorial: Success in spite of them


Three can become thirty or even more.


When planning a party or an event, success in terms of turn out depends upon getting the word out.

Last week, we saw some do their part (KPFK) and others do little to nothing.

Imagine if The Progressive, The Nation, Democracy Now!, ZNet, KPFA, WBAI and other so-called "allies" and "lefties" had bothered to get the word out? No, KPFA and Democracy Now!, the day before the rally, two to three minutes doesn't count as getting the word out.

But if they got the word out? Well imagine the wars ended.

Imagine if they did a damn thing.

Last week, the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcomittee held a hearing where they met with DoD officials to discuss the White House's proposed health care cuts. If you counted on the Beggar Media to tell you about it, you counted in vain. Cuts in military health care. At a time of war.

A functioning independent media would be covering that, would be informing you of it. Instead, they do their pet causes. They're a niche market because they're niche thinkers. They can't think about things that effect the average American because, honestly, the average American bores them to tears.

Time and again, they fail at the most basic of functions. As Ava and C.I. document this edition, KPFA devoted -- according to the promotion -- two hours to the San Francisco rally yesterday. But in two hours, only one guest, speaking for approximately 3 minutes, discussed the Iraq War. There was time for Libya, there was time for the nuclear industry and Japan, there was time for issues related to Palestine, there was time for Wisconsin, there was time for Dennis Bernstein to have an on-air meltdown, in fact KPFA managed to check off all the basics except for the Iraq War. 3 out of 120 minutes is not covering the Iraq War.

They keep getting away with it. The fact that Panhandle Media has lost readers and listeners and watchers doesn't concern them because they really don't work for a living.

They get these 'jobs for life' -- or that's how they see them. Then, when they're let go, they want the whole country to join them -- in solidarity! -- in protesting this awful thing that's happened to them! You get fired from your job, you go looking for another one. But if you're Bernard White or Brian Edwards-Tiekert or any of the other losers, you start whining and staging protests.

The Nation's current owners know there's a problem. It might be big enough to finally kill the magazine. If so, no great loss. But Pacifica needs to get its act together.

And the way you start with that? Start firing.

We're not joking. These on-airs who think they have jobs for life? In what world? We were shocked to read a WBAI-er whining that she 'lost' her job when she's over 65-years-old. How long did she think her tired ass belonged on the air?

That question needs to be asked of a lot of people. At commercial stations, when you're not doing your job, you're fired. It should be that simple at Pacifica. And if it were that simple, you might find an e-mail and telephone campaign wasn't necessary to force KPFA to do their half-assed protest coverage yesterday.

But these people who think they own their air time don't see to realize it's not their air time. It's the people's air time. And if they're not serving the people, they and their huge egos need to go.

Every victory we seem to garner appears to come in spite of our 'independent' media not because of it.

Media: Iraq as an aside

As the Beatles' "Come Together" faded after the first program break, Kris Welch was back on The Saturday Morning Talkies (KPFA) pompously declaring, "Later on in that song, you get 'Boy, you're going to carry that weight' and that's what's too true about what's happening in Japan." And doesn't that just capture the level of 'journalism' and 'facts' our media's been serving up of late?


For those who aren't up on their Beatles (a category of people which apparently includes Kris Welch), "Come Together" doesn't include the refrain "Boy, you're going to carry that weight." That is from "Carry That Weight" and the two aren't even on the same album -- "Come Together" is on 1968's The Beatles (popularly known as "The White Album" due to the all-white cover) while "Carry That Weight" is part of the sixteen-minute medley on 1969's Abbey Road. It takes a lot of dumb for that mistake to happen with a song you have chosen to play. It takes even more stupidity to declare, as Joan Baez's version of the Malvina Reynolds folk classic winds down, "'What Have They Done To The Land,' Joan Baez, that's this weekend . . ." The land? "What Have They Done To The Rain" -- rain. That stupidity was on display Friday as Flashpoints wound down. A canned interview with Baez was played (second featured on the show last week) and Dennis Bernstein was the moron who could play the tune but couldn't get the title right. If public radio was sending any message last week, it was that facts don't matter and, apparently, neither did Iraq.

Let's stay with Dennis Bernstein who spent Friday's Flashpoints with canned interviews (including re-airing a segment from that day's Democracy Now! -- needed because KPFA only airs Democracy Now! in full twice a day?) and, in his last few minutes brought on A.N.S.W.E.R.'s Richard Becker to note the local action taking place in San Francisco. Becker was given a little less than two-and-a-half minutes to discuss the local action and we sort of picture dedicated KPFA listeners gasping in shock due to the fact that KPFA has had no time to mention the local action nor Iraq all week long. Please note, they had time to repeatedly play "The Arts & Entertainment Calendar" all week long.

Under criticism from many listeners -- and needing to desperately raise money -- KPFA looked nervously at all the e-mails and phone calls they'd received last week and all the comments left on their website -- especially stinging to KPFA management was an Iraqi male who decried Voices of the Middle East and North Africa as an imperialist program since it refused to even note Iraq in their hour long, Wednesday night broadcast.

Why should Iraq have been noted? Well it is the eighth anniversary of the start of the ongoing, illegal war. A war the media sold. A war that Pacifica and others in the beggar media known as "independent" raised a ton of money off of. But, last week, they couldn't be bothered.

Well they couldn't be bothered until the comments at the website and the e-mails and phone calls continued to snow ball and became too much. So, quickly, a 'special broadcast' was pulled together.

How quickly?

The first cart (advertisement on public radio) on the broadcast aired right after Flashpoints ended Friday. It was so quick it caught the middle-aged Davey D by surprise because he'd spent the hour before, on Hard Knocks Radio, promoting just one action, the "Super Moon" that would be visible in the night sky. (A full moon.) But there it was, the self-congratulatory cart, airing right after Flashpoints, "On Saturday, March 19th, the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, tune into KPFA, 94.1, for live coverage from noon to two of the anti-war rally at . . ."

It was a case of putting the cart before the broadcast. Live coverage? That was as laughable as the claim by Dennis Bernstein (on Friday's Flashpoints) that, "if you're there I'm going to see you" and "I will be down there."

Dennis didn't go to the protests, he was in the KPFA studio. Ourselves, we were in Los Angeles. We'd been in DC and had considered attending DC's rally or, if it felt like they were going to have a good turnout, we would fly back here and go to LA's rally. We had a friend speaking who needed support and we also wanted to avoid San Francisco's rally due to allergies that cause us to wheeze and itch whenever we're too long around the spineless (we're referring to some organizers, not to the protesters in general). In other words, we weren't in the mood, in 2011, for a lot of speeches about Bush this and Bush that and silence on the Son of a Bush Barack Obama.

During the LA rally, we kept getting texts about the train wreck in progress back home. Meaning the broadcast of the protest, not the protest itself. How bad was the broadcast? We couldn't find it in the archives and called a KPFA friend who found it here. The texts didn't really capture how awful the thing was.

But let's start with the plus. There was one. Stephanie Tang, with World Can't Wait, was on briefly (a little less than three minutes) and spoke about the Iraq War, the lies that started it, connected it with other events, brought it to current events with a call to protest Stephen Hadley later that day and did more in her brief time than the broadcast did in two hours.

Though other guests were named in full, Tara Dorabji forgot Stephanie's last name "Tang." It was a very 'casual' broadcast, if you're trying hard to be kind.

If you're dealing in reality, you could laugh, as one friend must have, when he texted, "They don't call him prima dennis for nothing!"

No, they don't. Dennis Bernstein was in full blown prima donna mode. He ticked off an Egyptian-American by speaking as though the man couldn't understand English. (How many non-English speakers does Dennis believe attend US colleges?) When Dennis caught on that the man was copying Dennis' patronizing form of speaking and tossing it back to Dennis, the man was quickly sent packing and, OOPS! live broadcast!, we heard the voice in the KPFA tent (set up at the protest) yelling, "Dennis doesn't want him! Dennis wants . . ." What does Dennis want?

We don't know because they went back to the studio just as we were about to find out. In a bad attempt to wash that moment away, Tara quickly asked, "For yourself, Dennis, what are your biggest hopes?" Prima Dennis snarled back that he wanted the broadcast to work.

Considering that at that point the broadcast was nearly half over, we were surprised to learn that Dennis cared at all.

"You're listening to special coverage of . . . uh . . . many things," he declared at one point unable, even himself, to describe what was going out over the airwaves.

It started out weak but not awful. A.N.S.W.E.R.'s Richard Becker showed up and he had brought along his pom-poms to gush about how great it was for KPFA to cover the protests. To which Dennis replied, "Well this is the work we're supposed to be doing." Esta es verdad.

But it took over 30 minutes into the broadcast before Dennis wanted to toss to the tent KPFA set up at United Nations Plaza. The first activist was brought forward to discuss . . .

The Iraq War?

The protest?

How many people were present?



And no.

"I guess you've heard by now," explained Dennis, "that the French have started bombing in Libya . . ."

It would be forty-three minutes into the broadcast before Dennis found time to mention "of course, Iraq" -- in a long list that also included Israel, Libya, Afghanistan and "uh, Pakistan."

Tara might have been better had she been present at the protests. Stuck in the studio with Dennis, she fed on his worst habits, launching into odes to her own greatness or lengthy Platonic dialogues. On the latter, Tara decided she better mention Iraq. Specifically that the Iraq War was sold on WMD. You might be thinking, "Okay, good, now they're getting to Iraq."


"And where -- what is the country that has the most nuclear weapons?" Tara quickly asked. "And where is really the epicenter for research for nuclear weapons? Right here! In the United States. And right now on this eighth anniversary . . . planes flying over Libya, nuclear meltdown in Japan . . ."

Then it was time to go back to the protests and be told by Maya, "I"m here Dennis . . . and here with us to speak on the subject of Libya, the Libyan People's Support and the US Palestinian Community Network is . . ."

Whether you were at the protest, on the phone from outside the Bay Area or in the studio with Dennis and Tara, the main focus was always Libya. Repeatedly, Tara or Dennis would begin with something along the lines of, "First I want to get your thoughts on the latest on Libya."

At one point, while Tara was somewhere in the midst of an ode to self glory ('You know that day, I was organizing on the ground and I and I and I was there I was essentially in charge of running it'), Dennis suddenly remembered the rally and thought that it was time to go back because "it's about to turn into a march."

Back to the protest. Thirty or so minutes left in the broadcast, we would get Iraq . . . right? Wrong. Dennis wanted to instead talk to a screened (male -- almost all were men) protester about Wisconsin, starting off with, "The battle against the governor in your state," continuing with "Is there going to be a general strike in Wisconsin?" and never once getting to the topic of Iraq.

In the last half hour, the train wreck was one unintended laugh after another. "We're going to take it back to the Middle East," Dennis declared, "to where this all started . . . the First Intifada." Or how about Tara declaring, "We're providing special coverage today to mark the 8th anniversary of the war in Iraq. Right now, we're going to the situation in Japan."

Oh, the unintended laughs never ended as they flaunted how little self-awareness they had. A two-hour broadcast about Libya, Japan, Palestine and Wisconsin. Iraq got less than three minutes of coverage, and only via Stephanie Tang, in the entire thing.

Were we surprised?


As one of us wrote at The Common Ills last Tuesday:
The beggar media that depends on donations because they never learned how to earn for their craft? The Progressive can't be bothered. This is the week, by the way, that Matthew Rothschild decides the person he MUST interview is sports rambler Dave Zirin. The week of the eighth anniversary of the Iraq War and that's what he offers. At the (beggar) Nation magazine, we find Libya, nuclear, NFL, Vermont, food stamps, everything but Iraq. Remember Katrina vanden Heuvel's grand standing on the Iraq War? Maybe you remember the cover featuring her editorial asserting that the magazine would support no candidate who didn't work for an end to the Iraq War? How much you wanna guess she really, really hopes you've forgotten that cover? At Democracy Now? The Iraq War was nothing but a big p.r. for Amy Goodman. She pretended to give a damn, set herself up as the voice of the left against the Iraq War (she's still booked in some MSM outlets as that) and then she moved on -- as she forever does -- to other stories. Even though the Iraq War didn't end. She's grand standed on the illegal war how many times now? Don't worry, if pattern holds, she will do a tiny, brief story on Friday about the protests.
On Friday.

Because that is the UPFJ way since Democrats came into power. Prior to that, UPFJ wanted a central demonstration in DC. After Dems came into power, no more DC, it might embarrass the Democratic Party. So on Friday, Goody'll show up with a pathetic little insulting segment that will not inform or educate. People who might have gone to DC for the protest? It'll be too late for the majority of Americans. Friday is too late for most to plan to be in DC on Saturday.

And, indeed, on Friday's hour long broadcast of Democracy Now!, suddenly it was time to note the protests. For two minutes and five seconds.

Yes, that is pathetic. Let's put in the entire transcript of that exchange.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Daniel Ellsberg, I'd like to bring in Ralph Nader again. Both of you are participating in a protest on the eighth anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Ralph Nader, in the American consciousness, because of the lack of media coverage, most people have almost forgotten, certainly Iraq, if not Afghanistan, as well. It receives little attention. The importance of this protest?

RALPH NADER: It's important because the Veterans for Peace, which start with World War II veterans all the way to the present Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, are making a powerful statement for the rule of law, for advocating peace, for getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq. If you took a poll of the soldiers in Afghanistan, as a poll was taken in Iraq in January 2005, the majority would say, "Let's get out of here. It's a quagmire. All we're doing are creating new enemies, slaughtering innocents, spending huge amounts of money that can be spent back home to create jobs, and violating our constitutional processes." You know, let's be very forthright, though, Juan. George W. Bush and Cheney committed war crimes. They had surveillance of Americans illegally. They unconstitutionally pursued wars in Asia. They slaughtered innocents. And they were considered war criminals by many people, including Republican former judge Andrew Napolitano, author of four books on the Constitution, and Republican Bruce Fein. Now, Barack Obama is committing the same crimes -- in fact, worse ones in Afghanistan. And innocents are being slaughtered. We're creating more enemies. He's violating international law. He is not constitutionally authorized to do what he's doing. He's using state secrets. He's engaging in illegal surveillance. The CIA is running wild without any kind of circumscribed legal standards or disclosure.

JUAN GONZALEZ: We have just a few seconds.

RALPH NADER: And so, why don't we -- why don't we -- yes, why don't we say what's on the minds of many legal experts? That the Obama administration is committing war crimes. And if Bush should have been impeached, Obama should be impeached.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Ralph, we're going to have to cut it there, but we will continue the interview with both of you and post the rest of it on our website. Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Ralph Nader, longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic and a former presidential candidate.

That was it. And some will say, "Yes, but it continued online!" But Democracy Now! is now carried on over 900 US radio stations and public access TV channels around the country and, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pointing out to the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month, most people around the world continue to get their information from TV and radio.

Were we surprised? Again, not at all. That has been the pattern.

And maybe the answer was proposed by Elaine? Don't donate a dime in next month's two-day special fundraiser for Pacifica?

Only one of the five Pacifica-owned radio stations promoted the event in the lead up to it and did so without pressure: Los Angeles' KPFK. (We especially applaud Jim Lafferty's The Lawyer's Guild which airs and streams live each Thursday at 7:00 pm PST.) Why was that? As even Dennis Bernstein admitted on air yesterday, "Well this is the work we're supposed to be doing." So why weren't they doing it at WBAI, at KPFT, at WPFW or at, yes, KPFA?

While you ponder that, we'll conclude by quoting ourselves, "Don't worry, there's always time for the Bay Area Entertainment Calendar, just not time for peace news despite the fact that peace issues were the sole reason Pacifica Radio was created. KPFA and WBAI are about as far from their roots these days as a bottled blond."

The Left-Forum lots and lots of hot air (Jim)

The Socialist conference that is the Left-Forum takes place this year at Pace University which was a temporary triage in the immediate aftermath of 9-11 but, as evidenced Saturday, they should have considered making that a permanent feature. There were strong divisions among many participants.

An elderly woman from Brooklyn stopped glaring at an old man across the walkway long enough to explain to me that she'd been at every forum since the days when the forum was more honestly called The Socialist Scholars Conference and that "each year there's hostility between one camp of Socialists and one camp of Communists. I may not be the best to speak to because I am a Socialist but it always seems to me that they show up for planned and announced events expecting to hijack them and then they get very bitter when they can't." Had I not feared either or both might break a hip, I might have suggested the three of us launch into the song and dance number "Jet" from West Side Story.


The events kicked off Friday and four attendees swore that Socialist Barbara Ehrenreich scored the festival's highpoint with her remarks during the opening plenary. None could remember what she'd said but all agreed she exhibited tremendous enthusiasm. Enthusiasm aside, might that indicate the festival's biggest weakness when less than 24-hours later, no one can remember what an "outstanding" speaker had to say?

The crowd was largely of the AARP generation with some middle-aged participants sprinkled in. Time and again, when I encountered someone in their twenties or late teens, I would discover they were a student of Pace University and were present either for extra credit or as a class assignment. (More students might have been present as attendees had the festival not been scheduled during spring break.) The crowd was majority White with a few African-Americans. So few, in fact, that when I spoke to a person of color, almost without fail, I would discover they were from another country.

The speakers? They practically out numbered the participants. Though this was not a press-intensive event, there were a few outlets present (most notably, WBAI) and the most optimistic crowd estimate was given at 1,000. That was contrasted with an estimated 650 speakers meaning the speakers might have been more effective had they each paired off one-on-one with one attendee.

Sasha Lilley, fresh from her very public spanking at KPFA which found her removed from management and pushed back to a minor three-day-a-week program, was present and that might have been a surprise if you hadn't wandered through the tables of books PM Press carted to the festival (in the hopes of selling those books). (Lilley is married to PM Press founder Ramsey Kanaan who was also present and very friendly. In fact, you'd have more fun -- and get more information -- shooting the breeze with Kanaan outside the sessions. None of Kanaan's observations appear in this article, to be clear.) Lilley qualified as "the youth vote" at this conference -- among attendees or among speakers.

I was repeatedly told by those working the conference that the whole point of this year's "solidarity" conference was to pass the reigns on to the next generation of "community organizers" ("activist" is an apparently verboten term at the festival). But I repeatedly saw leaders over the age of 65 passing the baton to speakers well over the age of 55. Apparently, the Left Forum 2041 festival is when the young leaders of today will really get a seat at the table.

For now, Howie Hawkins was, swear to God, touted as a "new star" of the left. The 58-year-old male, who has repeatedly run for public office and repeatedly not been elected, made a beeline for every member of the press he could spot. The "new stars" were best summed up by a Pace University student working at the festival who told me she felt like she was spending the day with her grandparents "and hoping they go down for a nap soon."

She shared that observation with me a few minutes after I arrived and right before she was approached by an attendee. The 68-year-old White male was confused as he pointed to his schedule. To "show support," he wasn't sure whether he should attend "Being a Black Lesbian in America, A Discussion of How The Life Has Changed" or "Black Liberation Theory: Towards Praxis & Solidarity" or catch"the great Bill Fletcher" who would be part of "Forbidden Fruit: The Role of Sprituality in the Left." All three sessions started at 3:00 pm. The student suggested he instead attend "Puerto Rico: Colonialism & the Struggle Against the Privatization of Education" which only confused him more. He finally decided to go with "Identities, Multiculturalism, and Solidarity" which started at the same time and, he hoped, would cover "all the issues."

The session no one wanted to miss was "Full On Crazy: Grudge F**kin' Our Way Into History" but they called it "The Tea Party and The Media." The panelists were Richard Kim, Laura Flanders, Glen Ford and Adele M. Stan. And the moderator, who couldn't even get her introductions correct, was Socialist "It Girl" Frances Fox Piven, wig hat almost firmly in place.

"The role of propaganda in contemporary American politics," snarled Frances, sounding a lot like Cloris Leachman's Nurse Diesel in High Anxiety (the session played like High Anxiety as well), "I think that this kind of media [right-wing media] has been important in the rise of the Tea Party because it has created what I consider a lunatic, paranoid story about particular" and here Francy was ranting and yelling and misusing the microphone. But she saved her nastiest faces for when spitting out "the mainstream media" repeatedly -- a group which she apparently loathes even more than, in her words, "the station called 'Fox News'." She climbed on the cross about how she and the forum weren't getting the coverage and backing they needed from "the mainstream media."

Louder than you'd expect someone of her size or age to get, she yelled, "IT WOULD BE MUCH BETTER IF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA COVERED US AS WELL!"

There you have it, the greatest crime in America today is that Frances Fox Piven doesn't get enough attention from the press.

She kept going on about "last summer" when she meant the summer of 2009 which may have been even sadder than when she was, for example, talking about radio programs and a radio network apparently unaware that they were no longer around. (Laura Flanders would gently correct her.)

"Last summer," Frances insisted yet again when she meant the summer of 2009, "hysterical tea party people screaming 'Don't let the government get their hands on my medicare!' I mean you laugh but --"

But no one was laughing, Francie.

Was she hearing laughter in her head?

At a certain age, maybe people need to step away from public speaking even if they are a Socialist "It Girl."

I was mainly there because it had been passed onto C.I. that Laura Flanders would be delivering a more modulated and nuanced take on the Tea Party than she'd offered in what were nightmare appearances (for anyone who ever respected her once clear and consistent voice) on MSNBC.

I'm sure Laura and her crew think she made a huge step but she didn't. She came off like a damn fool. "There is no question," she insisted, "of the role of racism in all of this."

But it's not just racism, she would go on to say.

It's not racism at all.

The Tea Party was created because of Laura Flanders and her ilk.

She quoted herself saying that it was surprising there was a right-wing revolution (Tea Party) when there wasn't a left wing one.

As she talked, and as she drug her eighty-one-year-old uncle (and his twin brother) through the mud for cheap laughs, it became clear that she still doesn't get it and she probably never will.

The left created the Tea Party. It wasn't big money funds or big money people. It wasn't Glen Beck. It wasn't Fox News.

Laura's confused because her uncle Carl used to listen to her show. A lot of us used to, Laura. Some of us wrote you off in time not to be antagonized by your screeching. Maybe your uncle wasn't one of them?

Laura Flanders created the climate for the Tea Party. She did so by repeatedly playing the race card. She and other fools on the left (Bob Somerby has documented this repeatedly at The Daily Howler; Ava and C.I. have done so here) thought they could steamroll Barack into the nomination and then into the White House by screaming "racism" at anyone who ever criticized the bi-racial politician.

They continue to demonize their opponents with that false charge. Francis Fox Piven ridiculously complained about those opposed to ObamaCare. What kind of Socialist is that stupid woman? ObamaCare isn't single-payer. The left should have been screaming their heads off (and some of us were). But for Francy Pantsy it's all about skin color. And that's true of so many whether they're David Lindorff or John Kerry. Race, when it was brought up in regards to Barack's run, was repeatedly cited as a plus or something that evil people would use to prevent him from becoming president.

Is everyone missing Chris Hedges repeated criticism of "identity politics"?

Laura Flanders was. Her 'racist' uncle Carl is against unions and thinks big union bosses rip him off. And he's against this and he's against that and goodness.

Carl doesn't really seem out of touch. Laura Flanders does.

I see unions as an overall plus. But someone who belongs to a union -- as Laura's uncle does -- is no doubt aware of the actual day-to-day realities. And it's not always going to be pretty. And, yes, union bosses do profit. But Laura is pie-in-the-sky and can't understand why any union member might not love unions. She can't understand her uncle or anyone who is not just like her.

When diagnosing 'the other,' she automatically assumes the worst because they're 'not like her.' So she goes for the 'opposite.'

She has no clue.

And it was this attitude that helped create the Tea Party.

It was the attitude that elevated Barack Obama to God (reality has brought him down to earth) that created the backlash.

That is how it works and it's a damn shame Laura Flanders can't grasp it.

It was people like her and their inability to remain ethical and consistent in their ways that created the backlash. Instead of remaining functioning political analysts, too many on the left acted as if they were hormone-crazed Justin Bieber fans and it was repulsive to see.

If you weren't left, it probably came off more than repulsive, it probably came off as insane.

And that's what started the Tea Party movement. And the non-stop publicity that Laura, The Nation, The Progressive, et al have given the Tea Party (ensuring that the MSM would be interested as well) is what allowed it to take off.

For eight years, Americans on the right and left and in the center and apoliticial had seen left 'leaders' rail against the Iraq War (less so the Afghanistan War; however, Laura Flanders was one of the few to publicly take on that war as well), against Guantanamo Bay, against illegal wire tapping and much, much more. Immediately after the end of the Democratic Party primaries, Barack Obama gave a speech indicating ending the Iraq War might have to wait (Tom Hayden had a 24-hour outburst on July 4, 2008 and then shut his mouth like a good little lap dog), that (as he told CNN's Money) NAFTA was a good thing and that he would vote for immunity (and did) for the telecoms in the illegal wiretapping. All that before he was president.

And to the non-left, that was pretty damn confusing because people like Laura Flanders still pranced around saying, "Vote for Obama! Change we can believe in! We are the ones we have been finger banging!" They have no idea how whorish they came off. The same people who were disgusted with the press slobbering over Bush (and I well remember Laura's ranting about the second inauguration on The Laura Flanders Show in January 2005) were acting as bad as -- if not worse than -- the Republicans under Bush. Peggy Noonan at her most lunatic and frenzied in 2003 had nothing on the Cult of St. Barack.

On the left, you embarrassed me. To the right? You scared the hell out of them. They thought Jonestown was spreading across the USA.

What I learned from it was that when a Republican's back in power, I won't be so driven by fear. (Yes, after reading Matthew Rothschild's conspiracy 'reporting,' I did believe in 2006 that Bush was about to round us all up on the left and put us into detention centers.) There are many things I will loudly oppose but there are many other things I will easily dismiss.

I learned that because the 2008 election was a gift for those of us who don't whore. It allowed us to see that our own side could be as crazy as the right. And in teaching us that, it not only held up a mirror to our own past actions, it freed us to speak the truth and to leave the mental prisons.

I had a plane to catch so I left just as Glen Ford began speaking. I don't think I missed anything and, had the session started on time (instead of how many hours late?), I would have caught the whole thing. Between Francy and Laura, I'd gotten the Deluxe-Package on crazy already. If you missed the festival, which concludes today, I don't think you missed anything either.

But if you are planning to attend, the only really interesting panel takes place this evening. Today at 5:00 pm the session to attend is "From the Bush Regime's 'War on Terror' to Obama's 'Overseas Contingency Operation' -- Why We Resist" featuring World Can't Wait's Debra Sweet, Iraq War resister Mathis Chiroux and others.

Otherwise, the festival largely appears to exist just so a bunch of old people who don't feel they get enough attention (poor, Frances) can get up in front of a small number of people and pontificate at length.


Notes: A big thank you to Ava and C.I. who helped with editing this piece and also with a major polish and a turn of a phrase on more than one occasion. They rejected co-writing credit so I'm thanking them in this note. ADDED: They really need a co-writing credit. This went up an hour ago and a friend called to say he enjoyed it but didn't I go to any session? Uh-huh. Well it's not up here. We'd already cleaned up our mess (which would include rough drafts in long hand) and had no idea what trash bag it was in. Ava and C.I. basically co-wrote with me the sections involving Piven. (As I'm sure longterm readers will notice.) I've again offered them a byline but they say the note of thanks was more than enough. And my apologies if you read this earlier today before we knew that half the article wasn't up with what we posted.

Those wacky political rags


The Progressive
continues to offer the worst covers. That's what stands out the most as we begin our latest survey of the printed political rags. The March issue features art by Zachary Pullen and the art makes Republican Paul Ryan look as cuddly as a smurf. A few will note that he's setting off a dynamite detonator (though no explosion) but most will miss that for two reasons. First, it's not obvious in the art. Second, on newstands the bottom half of the cover is not visible so even those who might notice the dynamite detonator can't see it. The takeaway for many will be, "Oh, that Paul Ryan. He's so cuddly. Even The Progressive thinks so!"

No, we don't think that's the message it was going for. But does it even bother with messaging these days? This is the 8th anniversary of the Iraq War and The Progressive wants to . . . 'remember' -- kind of. Amitabh Paul contributes the two-page feature "The Arab Revolution" which makes a tiny sliver of room for Iraq:

A nonviolent resistance movement also formed in Iraq against the U.S. occupation. This coalition was made up of a loose network of civil society organizations, unions in the oil sector, women's groups, and students. Despite being severely outgunned, such entities persisted in their peaceful resistance to the U.S. presence in Iraq.

If you're underwhelmed -- we are as well -- you might be interested in "Enjoy A Bath Again . . . Safely and Affordably." Huh?

Full page ad for "Walk-in tub." Yes, the advertisers are hitting The Progressive's key demographic.

The whole issue's a joke from Dave Zirin's sudden love for Arizona to David Simon's proclaiming he's a Socialist. (When Simon admits he's also a bad writer, we'll hail him as a truth teller.)

What if Uncle Sam were one of us, asks the cover of Joan Osborne wanna be Mother Jones but just to continue their dualistic covers. (Uncle Sam's a woman whose neck is bitten by Bela's Dracula). While the covers may toy with the madonna/whore dichotomy, Clara Jeffery and Monika Bauerlein reduce it down to just "whore." America scratches it's head and collectively asks, "Did those two idiots use their editor's note to praise neoliberal, DLC-er Cory Booker?" Yes, they did!

Between that and cheesy pecs & nips photos of males explaining why they think they are masculine (no one offers either conditioning or biology -- take that Social Darwinists!), the erratic publication should be running sex classifieds. Page 62 offers up a full page ad for sex videos -- on DVD or VHS!!!! The ad promises "100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED!" Mind blowing orgasms implied.

Over at The Nation, ugly covers must indicate ugly writers. Momma Wasn't A Rolling Stone's Melissa Harris-Perry shows up with yet another incoherent column, poorly written from the first sentence. We need a stronger term than "incoherent" for John Nichols' four page article. Reading it, you grasp The Nation hates their readers just as much as they loathe good writing.

Washington Monthly has the best cover of the month. Natalie Wood, Robert Culp and Dyan Cannon (as well as a sliver of Elliott Gould) are in bed with Dan Savage. Like many visuals, it falls apart if you think too hard. Exactly why would Dan Savage hop in bed for sex with Wood (who is dead) or Cannon? But Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice is a classic film.

Marshall Allen has the strongest article in the issue ("First Do No Harm") but every one is readable and you sense that writers and editors took the time to do their jobs.

The libertarian magazine Reason's strongest feature -- which would be a strong article in any political magazine, right, left or center -- is Matt Welch's "Against 'Incitement'." And, for fun, read it while picturing Bush still in the White House. That exercise will expose how hollow so many on our side (left) were following the Tucson tragedy.

Pour some wine, put on Vanessa Williams' Greatest Hits, yes, we saved the best for last, ISR. For Egypt coverage, no one does it better. It's amazing that many of the same people put out the US Socialist Worker which is so frequently a nightmare to endure while ISR issues are ones that you can flip to any article at random and settle in for a true reading experience. Best article? There's not a bad or even "just okay" one this issue. But we'd probably pick Stuart Easterling's "Mexico's Revolution 1910-1920" as the best of the best while noting we're very sad his three-part series is concluding.

The month in music


FADER's latest features Wiz Khalifa on the cover and inside proclaiming, "When I'm high I can interact with anybody." That's as deep as the text gets because FADER is a music magzine which treats musicians as if they were models. Sometimes it works; often times, it doesn't.

Filter attempts to mine what it hopes is the "hipster groove." In other words, they fawn over the likes of James Franco. Translation, it still reads like a cheap Bikini knock-off. The issue ends with a drawing done by PJ Harvey and, even in print, you can smell the magazine's editors preening.

Spin features a review of PJ Harvey's new album Let England Shake by Amanda Petrusich who argues of the songs, "They're as bloody and forceful as the battles Harvey references." The album earns nine-out-of-ten DOTS and we wish other music mags would utilize a rating system based on sugary candies.

Then again, we just wish Rolling Stone would do something, anything, to indicate what decade it is. Decade? Scratch that. What century! The March 31st issue features "cover boy" Howard Stern indicating the dream of the nineties is alive in Portland and on the pages of Rolling Stone.

In the spring music preview, Stevie Nicks says of recording In Your Dreams (release date May 3rd) with Dave Stewart producing, "This has been the best musical year of my life, honestly. And I've done lots of albums with Fleetwood Mac and solo records that have been fantastic."

That's the high point of the issue. Paul Simon, whose new album So Beautiful Or So What is released April 12th, gets a meager paragraph in RS but the cover of Uncut and a wide ranging interview conducted by Allan Jones that may be the finest interview Simon's ever done. Also be sure to check out the five page feature article on the sixties underground press.

And, yes, if you buy one music magazine this month, Uncut would be the one.


Jim: It's roundtable time. We're all in DC and we'll be talking about war and other topics. 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. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): As I said, we are all in DC right now. It's rare that we're all face-to-face. However, we weren't all in DC for the protest Saturday. I went to NYC to catch a panel at the Left Forum. I was there absorbing a feel for the festival and then I went to take part in the NYC protest -- the one Joan Wile, founder of Grandmothers Against the War and author of
Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace was getting the word out on and was one of the organizers of -- then I rushed back to the Left Forum for the session -- which I shouldn't have rushed for, it did not start on time. In addition, a group went to Los Angeles. I'll start with Rebecca because she planned to attend the one in DC but didn't.

Rebecca: I woke up to Flyboy telling me he was going to Los Angeles. C.I. was charting a flight at the last minute -- and could have -- at two or three in the morning Saturday. Flyboy was still up -- we're all at C.I.'s DC house right now -- and eating when he heard C.I. on the phone and he said he'd take her. He has his own plane, that's how most of us on the East Coast got to DC. So he made the flight plan and all of that while I was sleeping. I woke up the next morning or I guess that would be later Saturday morning, sun still not up, and he tells me he's going to LA.

Jim: He had a reason for that. Are you comfortable discussing it?

Rebecca: Sure. There was talk of arrests and that did bother him in terms of our daughter. If it had been just me, she would have gone along to DC. But I was also curious about the LA turnout as well so I said sure. His concern, to be clear, was how out of control the DC police might be and our daughter being around that when she's just a little girl.

Jim: So Rebecca, Flyboy, their daughter, Jess, Ava and C.I.went to LA. Jess?

Jess: Why? I went because Ava did. Ava, C.I., Wally and Kat spend at least 44 weeks a year on the road talking about the wars. C.I.'s been doing that schedule since Feb. 2003. Kat and Ava join her in 2006. Wally does it off and on starting then but does it full time beginning in 2008. A lot of us join them for a week here or there. But the point is, Ava and I have been a couple for some time now, shortly after this site started. And we don't get to spend a lot of time together. So we ended up making last week our week. She and C.I. had a friend speaking at the LA event who was nervous -- a little nervous about that -- so they were providing support throughout the week and had said that if it looked like DC was going to have a solid turnout, they would go to the LA event.

Dona: And everyone knows this so I'll toss it out. I was there for the start of the DC rally but ended up grabbing a taxi and heading back here. Sorry. I was sweating like crazy and sick to my stomach. Probably because I was pampered all last week. Due to Japan's failing nuclear facilities and my mother's fear of the clouds coming along the West Coast, I left the Bay Area Monday and spent the week with my mother until Friday. I didn't do a thing. I didn't log on to a computer. Other than walking around the house, I walked no where. And the good thing was I wasn't throwing up the whole time. Usually, because of the pregnancy, I've got morning sickness pretty much all day. So that was a nice change. But at the rally, I started sweating. And feeling sick. And Betty came over and told me I didn't look good and said we needed to leave. I told her I would but I'd feel awful if she did too. So she followed me out until I got into the cab and then rejoined the protest. Again, I'm sorry. If there was a head counter, I was present for it. But I didn't stay for the whole thing.

Jim: We're not big on talking about personal issues -- or others aren't -- here which is why Dona waited until last week to announce her pregnancy but since she's talked about it, Betty might want to add something.

Betty: I went back to the rally, flagged Wally who came over and asked him if he could round up my kids. As soon as he did, and the rally was ending at this point so Dona had been present for most of it, I told my kids they could stay with Wally and Ann -- Ann had walked over to see what was going on -- or they could go with me but I was going back to C.I.'s. They decided to stay but I went on back because I've had three pregnancies and I know how rough they can be. And I wasn't comfortable with Dona leaving on her own but I could tell she was getting more upset by my saying I would go with her. I didn't want her to be upset, she looked pretty bad. I also didn't want her to be alone. So I didn't take part in the march and was not present for it. I was there for the rally and left.

Jim: Wally. The march.

Wally: A march began around the White House. The police called for everyone to disperse. Most of us dispersed, those who didn't were arrested. Those arrested included Daniel Ellsberg and I believe all were aware that they would be arrested and made the decision to be continue practicing civil disobedience.

Jim: No one was arrested in this group?

Ann: No. Betty's youngest son wanted to and I was torn because Wally and I were watching her kids. So do I say, "No, you can't, young man. Your mother would kill me!" Or would Betty want me to say, "Good for you, go do it."? I didn't know. I was spared the decision because his older brother grabbed him and said, "Yeah, just what we need, another Black kid arrested in this country."

Betty: I want to note on the record that I am laughing. I had not heard this story. That is my oldest son. That's really him in a nutshell. More and more he's like the Boondocks. Which is more than fine. And, for the record, if my youngest son had decided to be arrested, that would been between him and me. I probably would have applauded him. But I wouldn't have blamed Ann or Wally for that regardless.

Jim: Elaine and Mike, impressions of the DC protest?

Elaine: I would say it was a much larger crowd than I was expecting all last week. In fact, I don't think anyone was expecting that turnout. It's great but I don't think it was expected. We were there at what I thought was the half-way point in terms of people gathering -- I'm talking before the rally or anything had started. Then twice as many people were there and I thought, "Hmmm. Nice size." Then even more showed up. Then even more. Again, great. I just hadn't expected. If I'd known the turnout was going to be that big, I might have flown to LA with the others.

Jim: Mike, before you speak, we had US House Rep. Charlie Rangal at our protest in NYC. Did any speaker stand out to you in DC?

Mike: Hmm. I'll name one and then let Elaine name one because there were two that we both liked. I thought Ryan Endicott, with March Forward!, did a great job. And if you don't know him, my mother did a post about him, and we noted him here in "Winter Soldier Southwest" which included drawings by Kat and Isaiah so could we drop the drawing of Ryan in?

Ryan Endicott

Jim: Sure. It will be there when we type it up.

Elaine: At that Winter Soldier Pasadena event, Ryan Endicott concluded his testimony with, "I know today that I cannot mend the things that I have broken. Or fix the lives that I have destroyed. But maybe with my testimony today, I can help one person, they might help two people who can eventually help four. And they'd be all of us together, standing united in preventing these atrocities from ever happening again." The other speaker that really impressed us was A.N.S.W.E.R.'s Brian Becker.

Jim: I'm glad you mentioned A.N.S.W.E.R. because we have some e-mails to work into this. Ty, before we do, I was passed a note by your boyfriend who says you should have spoken up about the arrest portion in DC. What's he talking about?

Ty: He's laughing right now. I did wonder about getting arrested but this afternoon we're having lunch with his parents and he could read my face and tell what I was thinking. So he quickly reminded me that if I got arrested I better pray that I was able to get out on bail before noon Sunday. Okay, Douglas e-mailed to inform us that, "I don't really read your site but every now and then I'll check it for TV stuff. But I see you keep promoting this event by a radical organization. If you knew what ANSWER Coalition was, you wouldn't promote them. Just trying to help you out." And . . . I'm assigning that one to . . . Ruth!

Ruth: Okay. Well, Douglas, thank you for writing. Good to know you were worried and brought something to our attention. I believe we all know about A.N.S.W.E.R. I believe we have no problems with them and are happy to note and promote them. I am sorry that they are not your cup of tea but, speaking for myself only, in a country where the left acts more and more like pod-people, I am damn grateful for the work A.N.S.W.E.R. does.

Jim: Thank you, Ruth. Ty, do you have another to work in right now?

Ty: There's one from a guy who e-mails regularly and I think he wants his to be public. I'll show it to you after the roundtable. If we note it here, I think it should be its own article. But we'll discuss that after the roundtable. Here's one from Belinda R. who writes, "While reading your review of Traffic Light" Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Another failed sitcom from Fox," "I saw the advertisement for the march this weekend. No offense to any of you but I marched in 2007 and the war didn't end. I've now realized that President Obama is overseeing things for the protection of the Iraqi people. That is why the US cannot leave. If we leave, they will kill one another because that is how those people are. So I think you are wrong when you try to end the war and I think you are wrong when you say Traffic Light isn't a good show." I'm assigning that one to . . . Stan!

Stan: Oh good, I like TV. Well, Brenda --

Ty: Belinda.

Stan: Sorry, Brenda. Well, Brenda, Traffic Light is a really bad show and needs to go. That's true of the Iraq War too. And that's practicaly a haiku.

Jim: And who knew we'd be including poetry this edition. Okay, let's hear about Los Angeles. Ava?

Ava: Loved it. So glad we went. No offense to DC but I was much more comfortable there. There was a large Latino turnout. Was that true of DC?

Marcia: Not really.

Ava: I didn't think it would be. But there were so many high schoolers and a few that were younger. There was a cross-section of age, race, ethnicity. It really was a multicultural crowd.

Jim: Ava, on the West Coast Latinos are hugely integrated into left movements. Can you comment on that?

Ava: Well that's true but it's not just here. We're on the road and I see Latinos participating in large numbers in Florida, in the city of Chicago and many, many other places. Now in an area where Latinos aren't a significant part of the population, I'm not gong to expect them to be a significant part of a demonstration. I think we do make that mistake, by the way. But I do feel that in certain areas, Latinos are treated as window dressing -- and we can tell when that's happening -- and in other areas we are treated as full partners.

Jim: In DC, which is it?

Ava: In DC I don't believe we have that much of a presence compared to the West Coast. If you're looking for me to talk about an area, to diss one, I'll be happy to note NYC is one that happily treats Latinos as window dressing. That turns people off.

Jim: C.I., best speaker at the event?

C.I.: I thought everyone participating was wonderful. Of course, I thought my friend did the best. Setting that aisde for personal bias, I'll applaud Ron Kovic --

Jim: You know Ron Kovic.

C.I.: Yes, I do. As does Elaine and Rebecca and anyone who's spent anytime working on peace. Ron Kovic is one of the great lions of the peace movement who never gives up. He's a legend. And he spoke about the wars and about how change was taking place in other countries. This is from memory but to give a sample, he said that people wanted change, "not 'change that you can believe in,' that's not a real change. but real change. We want real change in this country. We want an end to this foreign policy." That may not be a direct quote, that's from memory. I didn't take notes and I didn't pay attention enough to have it word for word. But after he said that or something similar, he then led everyone in singing a few lines of "Give Peace A Chance."

Jim: Why do you think Ron Kovic is so effective?

C.I.: I am really glad you asked that question and, for a change when I say that to you, I'm not being sarcastic. Ron Kovic is an effective speaker because he's a natural speaker. He knows how to be true to himself and, for him, that's to introduce his issue and then drive it home. That's his speaking style. I don't know if I'm being clear. Let's say he's speaking about apples. He gets in front of the microphone and says it's great to be here and, a few years ago, he was eating an apple when he realized . . . And then his next paragraphs are about green apples and granny smith and red delicious, etc. That's the style that works for him. You could compare to charging. he's always charging in his speaking. And that's who he is naturally so it works for him. If it's not who you are, it won't work for you. But his style and his charisma make him so effective. On another level, the fact that he's wounded makes him very effective. What Ava was talking about a second ago, about how presented with the choice of LA or DC, she chose LA knowing there would be more Latinos? Time and again, you put Ron on the forum and you get a wider cross-section of attendees. You get veterans, a lot of whom aren't yet in a place where they can talk about physical or mental -- visible or invisible -- wounds and you get disabled and challenged veterans and civilians. Ron's presence, what he's become a symbol of, is "Everyone's welcome." And that's very powerful and the movement's been damn lucky to have Ron for the last forty years.

Jim: Okay. And before an e-mail comes in, when C.I. said earlier that she wasn't "paying attention enough" to quote, she didn't mean she wasn't paying attention, she meant she wasn't in "record" mode. Dona passed me a note saying someone was going to e-mail about that, asking about that. So I hope that explains that. Ty, I'm coming back to you for another e-mail.

Ty: Well, actually, Jim, I'm tossing back to you to ask what Rangel spoke of since you mentioned him.

Jim: I guess the main take away was he expressed his concern over US partipation in the action against Libya and how he felt the US Congress should have been consulted first.

Ty: Alright, thank you. Darlene e-mails to say, "I was born in 1993. I was 10 years old when the Iraq War started. Last month, I turned 18. I wonder if most people get how long this war has lasted and, if they do, why aren't they out in the streets? And why did the press stop reporting on Iraq?" I'm assigning that one to . . . Trina!

Trina: Okay. Well, Darlene, first off congratulations on your birthday and on turning 18 because that's a milestone all by itself. I hope the Iraq War doesn't reach that milestone, but I'm glad you did. You make an important point and it's one that gets lost on a lot of people, I have no idea why. For me, it's not lost because my youngest son and daughter were still in high school when the war started. Mike's my youngest, son by the way. And now neither lives at home. My oldest son is back with his daughter -- and I'm assuming that unless he meets a woman wants to marry he's going to be there for many years to come. I'm saying that because it's fine with me and it's fine with his father. He's welcome and we're glad to be around our granddaughter. So my two youngest have moved out and started their lives and I've become a grandmother. The war that never should have started has gone on way too long. It's heartbreaking and, Darlene, it makes me very sad to think that you had to spend your childhood with the US government sending a message that perpetural war is normal, natural and to be embraced.

Ty: Okay. On Darlene's last part, the media, I'll toss to Cedric!

Cedric: Okay, good. Well I think what Trina's talking about and what Darlene wrote about are really important and that the media sees their job in hiding just how long the illegal war has been going on. Since 2009, C.I.'s made the point that the Iraq War didn't end, just the coverage of it, that US troops didn't withdraw, just the US press corps. And it's no big surprise that the corporate press works to ignore many stories that might embarrass the White House. And the so-called left press? If a Democrat is in office, they don't give a damn what really happens, they're too busy spinning and lying to make their hero look good. And I want to echo Trina's point to Darlene, it is really appalling that Darlene and others have had to grow up in a society that treats never-ending war as normal. Think about the future implications of that.

Jim: Indeed. Dona's passed a note saying Kat, Marcia and Isaiah have not spoken at all. I've got a question for Isaiah. Yesterday, The World Today Just Nuts "The Hot Topics Dumpster", Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Grim Peace Resister" and Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Ego Tripper's Workout" went up at The Common Ills. Three comics. And you've got another one that'll go up shortly. How come?

Isaiah: A number of reasons. Friday -- and Mike wrote about this at his site -- a few of us went around with C.I. getting the word out on the DC action. That was an all-day plus thing to do. And most of us bailed before C.I. was done. Her last starting time was a group she was meeting with at midnight. I'd already stopped. But we were there all daylight time. And so we saw the schedule and the grind and, like Mike said, talk about feeling put to shame. I hope it's okay to mention this -- Mike did -- but at seven, I think it was, seven at night, she's so exhausted, tired and all the rest that she's throwing up in the parking lot. At which point, she grabs a water to rinse out her mouth, pops a mint and goes on in to speak again. I mean, it was like watching the Terminator. You keep expecting her to fall down or something but no. So when I got back, I thought, "Damn." You know? I mean what have I done? I couldn't even keep up Friday to go to all the events with her. So, I grabbed my pad and my pen and my pencils and told Mike, "I'm doing two." I think I said at two at first. I did the Amy one first. Then the Danny one. Then I thought, "I really need to do a Katrina vanden Heuvel." So I did that one too. And then I did a fourth just because I was in the mood at that point. That's how I usually do my comics for the newsletters by the way. Wednesday night, I set aside some drawing time and do it for the gina & krista round-robin, Polly's Brew, and El Spirito. When it's one after the other, it's usually easier that way. So the first three focus on people who don't do their part. Who aren't working to end the illegal war -- despite the fact that when Bully Boy Bush was in the White House they all pretended to care.

Jim: And, I should note, we've got plans for a piece still not written that will use two of Isaiah's drawings -- drawings that he's done for this site. And Kat and Betty's kids and Isaiah have worked on some other art work as well. Kat and Marcia, it's Sunday, the protests were yesterday. Reflections?

Marcia: I really didn't want to go first but Kat's pointing at me. I feel like the student who just got a pop test. I think it was something. I think it sets a new bar. I would've loved it if it had been the level of the Bush reign, when protests had large turnouts every time. But we've had to rebuild and I am impressed with the turnout. I'm referring to DC, sorry. I was at the DC protest. And I'm impressed with the turnout. I think it was a large enough group to send the message that we haven't forgotten the wars, that we're not going away and you ignore us at your own peril. Kat?

Kat: I think Marcia did very well and I only pointed to her because I was trying to be kind. I didn't mean to put her on the spot. I was actually going to say some thing similar to what she did. I, too, was at the DC protest. But I'll take a different angle. Why is it that we have to beg for coverage? Why the hell did the Left Forum schedule their event on this weekend to begin with? Uh, didn't know the Iraq War anniversary was this weekend? If so, how stupid are you. Same thing with Amy Goodman. Democracy Now! did nothing in my opinion. C.I. had said they'd give it a few minutes at the end of Friday's show -- she wrote that Tuesday -- and that's what ended up happening.

Jim: Kat, can I interrupt? It's so funny that you say that because at the Left Forum, the session I made a point to attend was all this whining about how the media covers the Tea Party but it won't cover antiwar protests. They give all this time to the Tea Party but they won't cover antiwar protests. And they think they're exempt from criticism.

Kat: Thank you for interrupting. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. They think they're immune. If the left media -- The Nation, Democracy Now, et al -- covered the peace movement even half as much as they cover the Tea Party, then the MSM would cover it as well. But when the left ignores their own actions, doesn't make protests against the war a priority to cover, then why the hell do you think the MSM should? And if you're obsessing over the Tea Party -- and goodness knows The Nation magazine has -- then the MSM is seeing that. You're actually encouraging the MSM to cover the Tea Party. The crowd in DC was a good size. My guess? 4,000? I don't know. But it was a good size. And it could have been even bigger and maybe would have been if Democracy Now! could have found time before Friday to note that the next day a major protest would be taking place in DC.

Jim: Thank you, Kat. And on that note, we'll conclude this roundtable.

Oh, Diane

Last week on the second hour of The Diane Rehm Show (NPR), Rehm continue her pattern of ignoring Iraq and added a new trick: Getting names wrong.

diane rehm

Diane Rehm knew she'd be talking about Lara Logan. But for some reason, even though she planned to bring her up, Rehm couldn't get the CBS reporter's name right, calling her "Laura" instead. Abderrahim Foukara called her "Laura Logan" and "Sarah Logan."

At a time when NPR is trying to convince Congress it has a lot of value to offer, you really think they'd work harder at getting the basic facts correct.

Quick note.

C.I. said, "Let's not be a Nouri al-Maliki." Meaning, if we don't have everything ready now but have a bit of it ready, let's at least post highlights and the roundtable.

So we will. We're typing up other features now. Ava and C.I. have written one media feature and may do a second. We've got two magazine survey pieces (politics and music). I (Jim) report on the Left Forum (with help from Ava and C.I. who really polished the piece for me). We've still got to write the editorial and we'd like to edit two more pieces so that they can run. Unless we fall off our caffeine high, expect everything to be up before noon EST.

After everything's up, I'll move the roundtable higher up by changing the time stamp on it, FYI.

-- Jim


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, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight by readers of this site.

The World Today Just Nuts "The Hot Topics Dumpster", Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Grim Peace Resister" and Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Ego Tripper's Workout" -- Isaiah serves up three comics (one more to come later today).

"Iraq snapshot," "Thoughts on the Congressional flip," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. and Kat offer Congressional reporting on hearings they attended last week.

"Nuclear energy is not cheap" -- Trina shares some realities.

"Someone needs to retire" -- Ann thinks John Conyers, at 81, needs to collect that pension.

"Yearbook photo" -- Betty explains why Barack ran for president.

"defund npr?," "NPR cannot put down the razor," "On The Media (NPR) crossed the line,"
"NPR ought to be ashamed," "NPR: The pity party that never ends," "NPR, I don't need that" and "The Morning Mix and its mixed up guest" -- some public radio coverage in the community.

"Oh, Nicole Colson, really?" -- Elaine calls out the sexist.

"Worst episode ever," "The Event," "The Cape," "Archer," "tv," "The Cape" and "Chuck" -- Mike, Marcia, Stan, Ann and Rebecca cover TV.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" -- Kat weighs in on the R&R Hall of Shame.

"Garlic Bakes Sliced Potatoes in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers another recipe.

"Five Films," "5 movies" and "Don't Meet The Morgans" -- Ann and Stan talk movies

"Bully Boy Meets Jenna's Fiance" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this one.

"KPFT doesn't support peace" -- Elaine calls out anti-peace KPFT.

"Every day people" and "THIS JUST IN! IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR!" -- Barry O's silliness continues to be documented by Cedric and Wally.

"Garlic Bakes Sliced Potatoes in the Kitchen" -- Trina serves up a recipe.

"Worst performance of a classic song ever" -- Kat finds it.

"Another gay bashing" -- Marcia on how common the bashings are.

"THIS JUST IN! TOO STUPID TO FIGURE HIM OUT!" and "Call the hair dresser, his roots are showing" -- Some are so deluded. Wally and Cedric attempt to straighten them out.

"will you take a stand?" -- Rebecca asks the question of the week.
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