Sunday, June 05, 2011
-- US House Rep. Gary Ackerman, as reported on PM (Australia's ABC -- link has audio and text).
-- US House Rep Gary Ackerman, as quoted by John T. Bennett (The Hill).
-- US House Rep. Bob Filner, at the June 1st House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.
Another Sunday. And we're almost early for us and would have been early had Blogger not gone crazy with "service error" messages.
First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.
This was a long edition. And we had some problems with features that threatened to make it even longer. At which point, I told everyone that we could work for an additional three to four hours or Ava could write a piece on Scott Brown (which she did) and C.I. and I could do a piece on Bradley Manning (which we did). Elaine made a comment as Ava and C.I. sighed (they did what was needed, they weren't pleased about it) that I thought was sarcasm. When C.I. and I were done, Elaine told me she wasn't. She hadn't been sarcastic when she said she'd write a piece if it meant we could all go to sleep finally. It isn't done. If she wants to work on it and have it here next week, I'm more than fine with it. I loved what she did finish.
So let's talk the content that made it in:
- Gary Ackerman got this one.
- And US House Rep. Gary Ackerman, Democrat from New York, got this one as well.
- US House Rep. Bob Filner, Democrat from California, got this one. It is very rare for any politician to get a "truest." Truest, by its nature, goes against politicians' basic speech. So we're surprised (but happily so) to be able to note three of the truest remarks of last week and note that they're from politicians. (Isaiah did the Bob Filner illustration back in 2010. We thank him for it.)
- What's this like? I have no idea. We all worked on this. But we were all tired and trying to get done. So I honestly remember very little of it and I didn't type it up so I didn't read it then. ("I" being Jim.)
- If anything suffered more than the editorial it was Adam Kokesh's actions. Were Ava and C.I.'s eyes not watering from being so tired, they would have written piece on Adam all by themselves. They'd planned to include his show in their commentary and were only able to work it in at the very end. They were okay with that because we were doing a feature on Adam that everyone was going to work on. But we wrote this after, AFTER, the editorial (which I already told you I'm too tired to even remember).
- Stan, Dona and Ty suggested this and insisted it be a short feature. They were correct on both counts.
- "Oh my --" exclaimed Ava when I told her the headline I was giving her piece. She complained about a number of things including that her copy made it appear that she wasn't even "in on the joke." C.I. grabbed her copy and rewrote Ava's last sentence, handed it back to her and asked, "Does that work?" Ava agreed it did and we were able to finally feel like we were almost done.
- While Ava was writing the Brown piece, I grabbed C.I. to work on this one. This could have been a group piece. But it would have gone all over the place. If I'd thought she wouldn't fall asleep at the keyboard, I would've asked C.I. to write it all by herself. But I knew how tired she was. So I asked her to write it with me. "Okay, but there aren't going to be any jokes. Just get that through your head right now. This isn't a 'jokey' subject." As I was 'getting that through my head,' she nodded off and I had to ask, "Are you awake?" "I am now," came the reply. And we quickly went to work on this. It hit all the notes I had hoped it would and more. If one more person had worked on it with us, I would've insisted it be the editorial and that would have allowed us to have gone to bed a lot sooner. This also has a 2006 illustration. By whom, I have no idea. It could be us, it could be Betty's kids. I don't know. But we were short on illustrations and Dona had the idea to go through the 2006 pieces and look. She found two we used.
- Short feature. And this one was worth posting. Unlike the much longer piece we worked two hours on and could not make it come together. (It was also on Robert Gates. We may try it again next week.)
- The illustration for this is also from 2006. Dona found it and said we should use it in something. This piece didn't have an illustration so it went here.
And that's what we managed to come up with. See you next week.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
The only thing 'successful' about Iraq has been the ability of the US government to install and nurture a Little Saddam. Nouri al-Maliki is not the key to democracy, he is a threat to democracy.
Thursday, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both issued strong statements decrying the government crackdown on protest and free speech in Iraq. Saturday
David Ali (Al Mada) reported that Nouri has issued an order that there will be no protests next Friday in Baghdad's Tahrir Square.
Protests next Friday?
When youth activists began organizing Friday protests in Iraq back in February (protests were taking place in Iraq before then, FYI), Nouri attempted to defocus the Iraqi people by insisting on 100 Days. In 100 Days, they would see their complaints had been addressed. In 100 Days, they would see a new Iraq. In 100 Days, they would see . . .
June 7th, 100 Days ends. And nothing's been accomplished.
Nouri promised and Moqtada al-Sadr went around backing him up on it. It was never going to accomplish anything other than to buy some time.
And two weeks ago, we saw what for. Time was bought to spy on the protesters and begin arresting them. Like the four arrested in Tahrir Square. ." The Great Iraqi Revolution identified the four: "THE 4 YOUNG ACTIVISTS WHO WERE ARRESTED TODAY BY QASSIM ATTA AND TAKEN TO A PLACE UNKNOWN - 27.5.2011 - THEIR NAMES ARE: JIHAD JALEEL, ALI ABDUL KHALIQ, MOUAYED AL TAYEB AND AHMED AL BAGHDADI. We pray God to have them released very soon." That was May 27th. They remain imprisoned.
Yesterday, Aswat al-Iraq reported that Iraqi youth activists had met up in Istanbul. At the meet-up, Aswat al-Iraq also reports, the activists explored "Suing Premier Nouri al-Maliki's government at the International Criminal Court in the Hague for violating human rights, freedom of expression, peaceful demonstrations and the Geneva Convention."
What happens when the destiny of human will meets the iron fist of dictatorship?
When activists attempt to take to the streets this Friday, the world may find out.
Luna: Miles, Erno's going to lead the revolution and head the new government.
Miles: Look, don't you understand? In six months, we'll be stealing Erno's nose. Political solutions don't work. I told you that.
In the first half of the last decade, maybe well up to 2006, there was a sense that the left -- however it was defined (and when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, seems like a lot of the right started pushing over to the left) -- was going to grab power and change things. A new crew of voices were coming alive, mainly online. Media Whores Online is no longer with us but, while it was active, it called out pretty much everyone who whored for the administration. And their attitude was echoed across the left spectrum -- or what passed for and posed as the left.
But early on, one of us made the infamous remark online that proved prophetic, about how we may cut off the head of Cokie Roberts only to discover a hundred new Cokies sprouting to take her place. Before the decade ended, by 2008, in fact, there was no denying that the left was either seriously screwed up or had been taken in.
The same crowd online that never forgot the way the vote was stolen in Florida in 2000 suddenly was a-okay with refusing to count Florida and Michigan's votes in the 2008 primaries. Not only that, they were a-okay with Barack -- whose name wasn't on the Michigan ballot -- getting votes given to him by the so-called Rules Committee of the Democratic Party. They were fine with a rigged system that rewarded Barack with the nomination as a result of his getting less votes than the winner of the primaries (Hillary Clinton). Long before the infamous May meeting of the so-called Rules Committee took place, we'd already seen the crazy as various people supposedly on the left began repeating the falsehoods and lies about the Clintons that the right-wingers did in the 80s -- taking the same disproved lies and running with them in an attempt to destroy Hillary Clinton.
We saw that lies get rewarded, over and over. One example, Melissa Harris-Lacewell (yes, she's married again since 2008) went on Democracy Now! as a 'professor' who took some students to New Hampshire and was just speaking as an independent analyst. Her analysis raved over Barack Obama (and completely ignored Hillary who went on to win New Hampshire) and that was surprising only if you didn't know that Lieface Melissa began working for the Barack Obama campaign in 2007 (and had already traveled across the US for him before 2008 rolled around).
But, thing is, Lieface Harris didn't think you had a right to know that. Some of you may be familiar with FAIR. It used to have a fairly good name. Used to. And one of the lessons it liked to impart was that disclosure needed to be followed by the media. That means, if you're working on a campaign, and you go on a TV show or radio program, you need to disclose that fact. Lieface didn't. Amy Goodman turned to whoring in 2008 because she didn't think her audience needed to know that Melissa Harris-Lacewell was working for one of the campaigns. Amy did know. She'd taken part in a discussion about just that subject weeks before booking Melissa for her show -- when she and Melissa were both guests on Rev. Jesse Jackson's radio show.
A week later, Melissa was back on Democracy Now! and spitting mad -- so mad that, oops, she disclosed on air that she was part of the Obama campaign.
She didn't do that in subsequent media appearances. In March, for example, she appeared on Charlie Rose's PBS program and neither she nor Rose disclosed that she was working for the Obama campaign. She participated in a roundtable with journalists (Mark Halperin, Time magazine; Errol Louis, The New York Daily News; Melissa Harris-Lacewell, "professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University": and Connie Schultz, The Cleveland Plain Dealer). Certainly, no other Democratic Party campaign had a participant in the roundtable. While failing to disclose that she was working for Barack, Melissa also mentioned her campaign against Tavis Smiley that began with her blog post "Who died and made Tavis Smiley king?" -- except Melissa forgot to mention that she started the campaign against Tavis or that she was even part of it.
Lieface Melissa Harris-Lacewell broke every ethical rule in the book. Yet she was rewarded by The Nation magazine with a spot to do a column in. "Do"? No one who's read her gibberish would accuse her of "writing." And that tells you how there are no ethics at The Nation magazine and how lying, trickery and deceit are rewarded.
Sadly, Miles appears correct about how the opposition becomes as crooked as what they were opposing once they get into power.
We decided to pursue the issue by checking out Liberal Oasis due to a large number of complaints we got over the podcast. The complaints usually began with "I'm told . . ." And it appeared the actual show had been missed. Bill Scher started the website Liberal Oasis, he's also written at least one book (Wait! Don't Move To Canada) and he's with the Campaign for America's Future. We know of him via The Majority Report where he was a regular guest. We know of him from the airwaves and of him from friends then with Air America Radio. We've never met him. But, for the most part, he seemed like one of the better and more insightful pundits on the left.
So we really couldn't believe what we were hearing. We didn't call friends liars but we pointed out that they themselves hadn't listened to the show so maybe something was lost when news of it was passed around.
And then we listened.
Traci Olson was Scher's co-host -- although that term may grant her more maturity than she deserves.
She had a "Stabby Five" segment. For people she'd like to stab in the face.
She lists five people she'd like to stab in the face. And this is weekly segment.
Is it going to take someone she names being stabbed for this tasteless segment to be dropped? It's not funny. Someone being stabbed -- in the face or body -- isn't funny.
Nor is her 'analysis.' Example: "I know! 'Cause Tim Pawlenty is an ass!"
That's the level of her 'keen' 'analysis' or maybe mind reading since she -- so very Cokie Roberts -- thinks she can peer into a person's head and tell you why they Tweeted something, what they thought when they were tweeting and what they hoped would come about from their Tweeting.
But what we'd heard complaints on was the 'news' of Peter Fonda.
Traci Olsen: So the Cannes film festival, Peter Fonda who was in Easy Rider and my grandmother was horrified to find out that Peter Fonda would make such a movie -- "I can't believe Peter Fonda would make a movie like that" -- anyway --
Bill Scher: That he would make a movie about hippies?
Traci Olsen: I guess. I don't know. Drug use. I don't know. I don't know. I think she thought it was Henry Fonda. Anyway. Apparently he's gone completely bananas crazy. He says out loud in an interview at the Cannes film festival "I'm training my grandchildren to use long range rifles. For what purpose? Well I'm not going to say the words 'Barack Obama' but . . .".
Bill Scher: Hmm?
Traci Olsen: Right?
Bill Scher: Hmm.
Traci Olsen: I'm pretty sure you just threatened the president of the United States. I believe that is a little bit illegal.
Bill Scher: I mean that is enough to at least get the Secret Service to at least pay a visit.
Traci Olsen: Yeah-yeah, you're getting super searched on the way back. Because what?
Bill Scher: I mean has he gone Tea Party? What's the --
Traci Olsen: He's, he's, uhm, a super environmentalist and he thinks --
Bill Scher: They're the worst!
Traci Olsen: I know! I hate them! So, he, uhm [loudly smacks her lips] thinks that the president sold us out on the whole BP deal. Which the penalty for that apparently is assassination.
We'll end it there sparing you more air head nonsense from Traci who would benefit from seeing a speech therapist. We'll note that Bill Scher then launched into an attack of Peter's views. Peter's views which were never offered.
The assassination was done by Traci Olsen.
Facts got assassinated when Traci kept insisting that remarks made at a press conference were made in an interview. Facts, Traci, cannot be distorted and still be facts.
Then there's the fact that they attacked Peter for his views without presenting them to their audience. Third covered it here on May 22nd with "Attacking Captain America" and "Truest statement of the week." We'll recommend Deborah Dupre's National Examiner article.
Peter's problem with Barack Obama over BP was that he turned the crisis over to them, he let them bully and order the residents, the press and the Coast Guard around -- you know what, let's go to the video.
That's for the documentary The Big Fix which, Traci couldn't make time to tell you, is executive produced by Peter Fonda and what he was in Cannes promoting. Who appears in that film? Among others, a name Bill Scher knows very well: Greg Palast. Is Bill today pretending he's more aware than investigative reporter Palast? Well then goodness how the times have changed.
Traci couldn't quote Peter on the environment or why he considered Barack Obama a traitor. But she could show her ignorance, she could flaunt her ass.
Peter Fonda didn't threaten Barack Obama. And his remarks were in keeping with remarks he made when Reagan was in the White House. Peter is not saying he is training his grandchildren to kill Barack Obama. He is saying he is training his grandchildren to learn to defend themselves. Because?
He feels that Barack Obama (as he did with Reagan and others) is taking away more freedoms and the US is becoming more of a police state and that, at some point, people will have to defend themselves.
One of us (C.I.) has known Peter Fonda for years and years. Possibly longer than Bill Scher's been walking. Peter is a patriot. He's a super patriot. In school, he absorbed the notions of what America was supposed to be and he takes that very seriously and has always taken that seriously. He made similar comments when Richard Nixon was in office. This is the man who ripped up his draft card and sent it, with a cursing letter, to JFK.
Bill Scher and Traci Olsen apparently grew up believing that a president is God and that no one must speak against him. (Or at least a president who's a Democrat.) Peter Fonda knows damn well that, in the United States, the people are the final say.
Traci Olsen's either a liar or her grandmother is as stupid as she is. Peter Fonda had already made motorcycle films and drug films (both of which made a lot of money) before he did Easy Rider. Long before he did Easy Rider, he was already becoming a counter-culture hero. If she wasn't aware of that, maybe she is as stupid as her granddaughter. More likely, Traci was getting a little 'creative' with her 'facts' yet again.
As annoying as the walk-away from the truth, so was their non-stop laughter at each other's remarks (or half-remarks). Do they think their loud laughter makes for good radio? Bill used to appear on The Majority Report every week. Sometimes he was a guest-host when Janeane Garofalo was out. On that show, Janeane and co-host Sam Seder didn't guffaw repeatedly into the microphones -- and they were both actual comedians who did stand up. When people make a show of laughing at one another's remarks, it's generally not funny.
Cartoonist Ted Rall was the interview. It was not interesting. We're all for hard questions -- even if Bill Scher didn't use to be (we will get back to that) -- but we're not for hostile interviews. A host who's rude really doesn't deserve to have guests. When you're the host, it's your job to set the guest at ease. If that is beyond your ability, you shouldn't be a host.
"I'm actually very familiar with this issue," he interrupted when Ted Rall began speaking of the public option and Barack promising it in his 2008 campaign. He was "very familiar with this issue," he insisted. Scher also insisted that it was not a campaign promise.
It took us less than ten minutes to pull out Barack's 2008 campaign literature with this statement: "The exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and meet the same standards for quality and efficiency." It's on the campaign literature, it states that it will be required. That's a campaign promise, Bill Scher. Get the plunger, try to rescue your ethics out of the toilet and quit kidding yourself that "will require" does not count as a campaign promise.
Ted Rall spoke of David Rees' decision to end his comic as Bush left and Barack entered the White House. Bill wanted everyone to know that he knew David Rees, he went to school with David Rees, he was David Rees' roommate -- We got the feeling that he would have said he'd sniffed David Rees' jock every morning if he thought it would have further confused the issue. And, Bill finally wanted you to know, that is not why David Rees ended his Get Your War On strip. From Mama Pop's"Obama Begins, Get Your War On Ends."
Now that the sun has finally set on the Bush presidency, Rees has decided to retire the strip. I’m sure he does not do so out of the belief that War Is Over If Obama Wants It or that we will no longer experience the baffling clusterf**ks inherent in American politics, but perhaps that beautifully simple image of an empty desk represents a slight but hugely significant reduction in frustration and hopelessness.
That is the takeaway. Yes, Rees did announce he'd be ending it when Bush left the White House. (And, with one exception, he did.) How does this contradict the points Ted Rall was making? The ones Bill Scher cut him off in order to insist that Rall was wrong.
And for someone who supposedly wanted to stick to facts, Bill Scher wanted a lot of conjecture, demanding that Ted Rall explain "what do you think is his [Barack's] overall view," etc.?
What most upset Bill Scher was when Ted Rall noted of his own publishing prospects, "It's worse now because the publications that would have given you time under the Bush administration like The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones -- you know, all those kind of lefty rages, they-they don't have any space for you anymore if you're going to criticze Obama from the left."
Bill Scher made it clear he didn't agree with the notion of a blacklist.
Long before Ted published his column ("Rise of the Obamabots") that so enraged Bill Scher and Traci Olsen, we were already writing here about the blacklist, about the fear of the blacklist and about it at The Nation magazine. On the latter, that information came from friends at The Nation magazine. The blacklist exists. It's not a myth, it's not a lie. (And away from The Nation, elsewhere, a very well known columnist on the left disappeared -- with little attention paid -- after the 2008 election because the columnist was a lefty and the outlet stated the columnist was not pro-Obama. We know the columnist and have never written about this in any way before. But we think it's rather strange that this columnist who appeared in print, online and on the cable shows disappears and no one even notices.)
Bill Scher insisted that The Nation published pieces that were critical of Barack. He also wanted listeners to know that Paul Krugman was critical in pieces as well. Paul Krugman writes for The New York Times. Could Bill stay on one issue? Or is that just too much for him? Is scattershot necessary in order to attempt to berate your interview subject?
The Nation doesn't do real criticism of Barack. What it offers is weak-ass statements, what a friend with The New York Review of Books calls, "The equivalent of Howard Fineman's 'criticisms' of [George] W. [Bush] in his first term." How true.
And how we all did howl, back then, over the kid gloves criticism that the mainstream media types gave Bush.
About Ted's column, Scher insisted, "And, two, I have a problem with criticizing those like myself who are more sympathetic to Obama as having checked their brains at the door." We don't know about brains, but he's certainly flushed his ethics down the toilet.
At the end of the interview, it was time to return to the foul mouthed Traci who snarked, "He seems lovely" and added "Maybe the cartoons he's submitting just aren't good."
Has Traci examined her own work? Or that of her co-host?
Bill Scher wasted time whining about criticism of Barack having a beer. They wasted a ton of time proving what little suck-ups they could be. (Traci on Michelle Obama, "She looked f**king bad ass!" Bill lying that it's "national protocol" and "no big deal" for Barack to have bowed to foreign leaders. It is against protocol for a president to bow to any foreign leader. ) Bill was drooling over polling and his hopes that the American people had finally seen that "your president has a backbone of steel" as a result of the assassination of Osama bin Laden. It was as disgraceful as Bob Woodward on The Today Show insisting Bush was showing "calcium of the backbone" by going to war with Iraq -- only there was no Katie Couric present to cut Bill off.
Bill and Traci's remarsk are as embarrassing of the crap Peggy Noonan churned out regularly when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.
It's so embarrassing, it's kind of like if Bill Scher, liberal, brought on a DLC-member and refused to question him. Some pro-War Hawk and Bill Scher didn't say "Boo!" even.
That would be awful, that would be horrible, that would be . . .
December 10, 2004.
That's when War Hawk, DLC-er who moved on to the New Democrats (successor to the DLC), Simon Rosenberg, appeared on The Majority Report and was interviewed by Bill Scher and Sam Seder. That's when Bill kept his mouth shut and never questioned and never objected. (Nor did Sam Seder who had a meltdown on air due to the criticism he got on the show's blog and he snarled, "If you didn't like what you heard, I guess you got your answer" about where Simon stood.)
Air America Radio wasn't even a year old but it was already caving. The New York Times doubted, for example, that ad buys would help the paper with subscribers. But they knew it would give them some say in the cash-strapped 'network.' So they spent money on some ads and then informed AAR they were pulling the ads if (a) Sam didn't drop his AdNags blog -- a blog in which Sam wrote as if he were the paper's Adam Nagourney and a blog that existed to make a fool out of AdNags and (b) if the network didn't lay off their criticism of all things New York Times.
And, guess what, it worked. And Sam didn't just stop blogging AdNags, he deleted the whole blog. (For a taste of what is no longer online, you can refer to this Wonkette interview with "AdNags.")
So maybe it shouldn't be all that surprising that they who decried the DLC would have nothing to say against it or its policies when Simon Rosenberg presented them anew. In fairness, Rachel Maddow did stand up to Simon on air a few weeks later -- calling out homophobia, among other things -- but that was a few weeks after the outcry over The Majority Report interview still wouldn't go away.
We can't stand Traci Olsen and we won't pretend otherwise. But we did feel awful listening to Bill Scher. He had seemed to be sane and so ethical and so concerned about fairness in the past. The good guy who married "the Snow White of the left" (as Janeane dubbed his wife). But it's 2011 and he's doing a radio program which exists to distort reality and excuse away Barack's actions.
Maybe wanting the Iraq War ended in 2004 was just a good talking point? A good way to self-promote? We have no idea. But anyone who seriously wanted the Iraq War over would still be working to end that war. Especially now that these two Cassandra (we mean us) have been proven right about the SOFA and the US is engaged in negotiations to extend the US military presence in Iraq beyond 2011.
But if Ted Rall had brought that up, we're sure Bill Scher would have managed to excuse that away as well. Ourselves, we share Lillian Hellman's view, "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions." Fortunately, we're not the only ones. Today Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox airs its hundredth episode and it's not been in the business of minimizing the actions of Barack Obama. Nor has the new RT show Adam vs. The Man hosted by Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh. But those are the exceptions. The reality is that, as sad as it may be to admit it, Miles was correct in Sleeper.
Adam Kokesh (above) already won Rebel Of The Week from Young Americans for Liberty. He was awarded that for refusing to 'stand down' while liberties were trampled. Memorial Day weekend, Iraq War veteran Adam and others participated in a silent dance at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the DC Park Police went nuts.
Maybe they were strict Baptists (who frown on all dancing). Maybe they were just tired and cranky. Whatever the reasons, their actions were police brutality. A police officer grabbed Adam from behind, lifted him into the air and then threw him down on the marble floor of the monument. That wasn't the end of it. The police officer than put Adam in a choke hold.
And, of course, they arrested him.
If it had been you, what would you have done?
We think a lot of people would have been scared (rightly so) and might have chosen to just say nothing, drop the whole thing, cut the losses.
Adam didn't do that.
He used his Adam vs. The Man (RT) program to address what happened and to address what was going to happen: he was going back to the monument and he was dancing.
He did just that yesterday. And many others joined him. No one was arrested. No one was the victim of police brutality.
Granted, the DC Park Police was fully aware that the world was watching. But he stood up to bullies and, if you're lucky, when you stand up to a bully they back down.
Russia TV reported on yesterday's Dance Party at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
Here Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass pool talents with Joseph E. Levine, Harvey Kurtzman, Len Korobkin and, on microphones, Boris Karloff, Phyllis Diller, Gale Garnett and Allen Swift. The plot revolves around Dr. Frankenstein's decision to retire and leave his work and island to his nephew. The Mad Monster Party brings those two together as well as Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein (called "Monster's Mate" here), the Invisible Man, Dracula, the Wolf Man, The Mummy and more. And things take a menacing turn when Dr. Frankenstein's assistant Francesca makes a deal with Dracula to team up and take the nephew out so that they will have all Dr. Frankenstein's secrets to themselves.
What you'll mainly learn is how messed up Rankin and Bass were.
Francesca ends up following in love with Felix, Dr. Frankenstein's nephew. How? While plotting to kill him, she explodes verbally at him and he slaps her. "Oh, Felix!" she coos. He slaps her again and she's soon singing "Never Was A Torch Like Mine" ("for you"). Or earlier, when Dracula and Frankenstein get into a fight and Francesca and the Monster's Mate are fighting, the women pull off each other's clothes (the men don't) and you hear the hissing and snarls of cats as the women fight (not when the men do).
It's a very curious artifact and it's streaming online now at Netflix (Netflix membership required to view).
The article Jim slid over to me was Richard Weir's "Dems gang up on Brown" (Boston Herald) and, as I read it, I thought, "What a load of filth." Not Weir's writing but the people he was reporting on with the exception of Felix Browne. (Browne refused to join in the group attacks on Scott Brown noting, "Senator Brown spent the day in Western Massachusetts helping tornado victims recover from their loss. This is not the time for politics."). Especially disgusting was Bob Massie because he's more than fine with closed door, hidden from the people, meetings between elected officials "and lobbyists."
I don't live in Massachusetts, I won't be voting in the election. But I'll share what little I do know and, if it helps, great.
In December 2009, Brown was elected to the US Senate. February 4, 2010, he was sworn in. We (Kat, Wally, C.I. and myself) attend hearings in DC and we always try to catch the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearings. We also try to catch the House and Senate Armed Services Committee hearings. Brown serves on both the Senate Veterans Affairs Commitee and the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Our hearing coverage works like this. If it's a minor hearing (in terms of developments), C.I. reports on it in an "Iraq snapshot" and then one of us does a little more on it for the gina & krista round-robin -- unless it's a Friday hearing in which case it gets covered in Hilda's Mix (the gina & krista round-robin published Friday morning). If it's a major hearing, C.I. reports on it in an "Iraq snapshot" and then Kat covers an aspect of it at her site (Kat generally does an overview of impressions unless she's reporting on Senator Richard Burr) and Wally covers the hearing at Rebecca's site (Wally's emphasis is usually on the finances and money). I go over to Trina's site. In 2009, for Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearings, I reported on Senator Roland Burris comments, questions and actions in the hearings. C.I. and I had advocated for him to be seated (there was an effort not to seat him, if you've forgotten) and so, once he was seated, he became my focus.
Scott Brown eased into the focus in 2010. In part because he often agreed with Senator Burris. He has this head duck, affirmative nod that he does when he agrees with something being said. It's a quick nod. I wasn't really sure he was agreeing until the hearing on Don't Ask, Don't Tell when Senator Burris was speaking of the need for the military to adapt and end racial discrimination earlier. The sharp, quick nods came much too often to be anything but agreement.
Senator Burris was always treated courtesouly (in public) on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. That was not, however, the case on the Senate Armed Services Committee where there were two Democrats who made a point to display their disdain for Senator Burris whenever he spoke. So I did find it interesting that Brown, who is Republican, would make a point to show any support for Democratic Burris. Interesting and possibly enlightening. Was it to send a message of bi-partisanship? Was it to show support for an elder (in terms of age) or for another freshman (in terms of Senate term)?
So Scott Brown started entering my reports at Trina's website and when Senator Burris left the Senate (2010), Brown became the sole focus. I know very little about Scott Brown's voting record. You can click here for Project Smart's catalog of his votes. The one vote I know of resulted in remarks he made during a hearing. I had the impression that he was going to vote to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the next day he publicly noted his intention to vote for repeal. (He did make that vote.)
While his voting record should reveal some insight, his proposed legislation probably won't. He's a freshman senator, in only his second year, and he's introduced eight bills.
So the way he conducts himself in hearings may be one of the better indicators of the job he's doing.
The negatives? In the last hearing I attended, I wrote about his 'fix it!' and 'get it done!' attitude. While I share his impatience and frustration over the foot dragging of the VA, I didn't hear any solutions from him. On the plus side, his performance (which I rated poorly) stood out to me so strongly because that's not his usual style.
Generally speaking, he's a bit ahead of the government witnesses on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. That's because VA and DoD send in witnesses to talk around the issues and, unless firm questions are asked, no information is imparted. Brown serves in his state's Army National Guard (his rank is Lt Col). That's knowledge he brings to the table. And when someone's giving a generic response to a senator with rosy tints, Brown generally can be counted on to follow up by pointing out what happens in the non-best-case scenarios, or, more to the point, what the actual experience is for the average person.
More than any other senator on the Committee, Brown needs the mike. He's rather soft-spoken, almost a Brando-like mumble at times. He also tends to lean back far in his seat unless he's agitated with a witness, at which point, his face is thrust forward. If someone continues to spin, Brown generally gets a little louder with his voice and, if the spin continues, Brown usually does a quick head shake (of "no"), gestures with his right hand while offering some words of wrap up to indicate he's done with the witness.
So that's the style, what's the substance. Remember his truck? People made fun of him all over the country -- some people made fun of him -- for his campaign advertisements with him and his truck. I think there may have been some truth in that (successful) advertising. On the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, he's really a truck.
He's not a fancy sports car. He's not zipping here and there or making a lot of noise that's going to have every head turning. Instead, he's the dependable, lived in truck.
In his 2009 ad, he declared, "This is my truck. I put a lot of miles on it during this campaign. ... I love this old truck. It's brought me closer to the people of this state." And Barack Obama felt the need to inject himself into the race. He mocked, "Forget the truck, everybody can buy a truck." But, no, every one cannot afford to buy a truck. That's especially true after three years of Barack Obama's anti-worker bailouts and programs.
Don't forget that truck. That truck is Scott Brown. It's not so jazzy and it's kind of basic. And on the Commitee, that's what he's focused on. The average service member who cannot get needed treatment or who is being forced to jump through hoops to get what the government long ago promised. It's not fancy or flashy but, nine times of ten, when he opens his mouth on that Committee, it's going to be something of value and something that needs to be said.
Does that make him the right vote for you if you live in Massachusetts? It may not. I'm not endorsing him and I don't endorse any candidate I can't vote for (my residence is in California). Where he stands on the issues is probably your best indicator of whether to vote for him or not. And in the article that inspired this piece? The candidates vying for the Democratic Party nomination to run against him? They're not addressing his record or his stances. They're invoking some GOP Bogey Man out to destroy, destroy! and completely lacking in any humanity.
That may be a way to win but that doesn't reflect the Scott Brown I've seen in Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committee hearings. If you're voting in that election, you deserve better than a bunch of misinformation and propaganda. I am sure there are many arguments that can be made against Brown's re-election (and many for his re-election) but his would-be opponents have yet to do the work required for that. As a Democrat, I'd be especially disturbed by a Democratic Party candidate who couldn't take on a Republican in a realistic manner. It would, for me, say something about character or, more importantly, the lack of it. And, in such a contest, that just might tilt my vote because the dirty secret on Senator Scott Brown thus far is that he plays fair.
Elaine's article falls apart here: "A former Marine took off his taxi job to attend, in his first political action, saying that Manning has captured his support just for 'telling the truth'."
What truth did he tell, Elaine?
We're getting damn sick of this s**t.
It's not helping anyone and damn well needs to stop.
Has Bradley Manning entered a guilty plea?
No, he has not. He's accused by the government of leaking 'secrets.'
Are you defending Bradley?
We'd hope everyone would be. We hope everyone would agree that you do not hold someone -- accused of a non-violent crime -- for over a year behind bars. We hope everyone would agree that he has been mistreated. Most of all, we hope all Americans would agree "INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY." That is, after all, the supposed bedrock of the US legal system.
Innocent until proven guilty.
The US government did what they always do in legal cases, they started leaking claims to the media. They tried to make Bradley look unstable and, yes, guilty. Why did they do that? To contaminate public opinion and to contaminate any jury.
So it's really offensive when we hear people who identify themselves as Bradley supporters making statements that indicate Bradley did what he's accused of doing.
Try to step off the soapbox for just one damn minute and think about what your actions say to people not following the case. Here's Samantha Andersen. She gets home, she turns on the news, "Hmm. Who is this Bradley Manning? Those people supporting him seem really energized. Maybe he's innocent -- Oops, no. They're saying he did a great thing by leaking. They're saying he did it!"
If Bradley enters a guilty plea, we'll be happy to argue that the actions aren't criminal.
But unless and until he does such a thing, it's not our place to convict him. It's not our place to do the prosecution job for it.
There are many ways we can defend Bradley Manning without convicting him. Our collective refusal to abide by that goes to our own wants and desires. Guess what? We're not the ones accused, we're not the ones going on trial. We're not risking a damn thing for ourselves if we call Bradley guilty.
But we are risking his chance at a fair trial if he is going to enter a plea of not guilty. We're doing that by being his public supporters . . . who repeatedly insist he did what the government's charged him with despite the fact that he has entered no plea and made no statement to that effect.
And part of the lack of responsiveness on the part of the current US government has to do with the inability of those in power to grasp reality: Robert Gates, like every other member of the administration including the president, serves the American people.
He is currently serving under Barack Obama and Barack is the eight president he has served under.
This is not a minor point nor are we new to making it. Back in September of 2005, Ava and C.I. were correcting Worldwide Liar Colin Powell who was claiming that being Secretary of State meant he served George W. Bush:
Liar's the way many will remember Colin Powell. Belief in your country doesn't allow you to lie to your country. Belief in your Bully Boy does. That's something this adminstration fails to grasp. They all think they're working for the Bully Boy. Powell makes statements to that effect. He's full of many things including his "service" to the Bully Boy. The administration is supposed to be working for the country. Presidents come and go. The nation is what is supposed to matter. Belief in your country would mean you tell the people the truth.
When laws are broken -- take Watergate -- "I was serving my president" is not an excuse or -- ask G. Gordon Liddy -- a get-out-of-jail card. That's because your oath of office isn't to a president.
Do most Americans realize that Cabinet Secretaries are sworn in?
"I, Robert Gates, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."
You are allowed to substitute "affirm" for "swear." (Gates didn't.) That's the oath he took December 18, 2006, as administered by president of vice Dick Cheney.
Where in any of that does he swear to serve Bully Boy Bush? He doesn't. Nor does the oath even mention the office of president.
There's a reason for that. We don't have kings (or queens) in America. Our highest elected official is the president and even he or she serves the American people.
It's shameful and embarrassing that those responsible for the Pentagon website -- which robs so much of the tax payer monies -- thinks so little of the American people that they 'forget' them in their rush to build a junta.
After each month ends, for some stupid reason, various outlets run with the 'number' dead for the month . . . as supplied by the Iraqi government ministries. The same ministries responsible for telling people that things are better in Iraq, do business there, come home to it.
It makes no sense at all. Some of the outlets, such as Reuters, report on the violence daily. Why are they unable to compile that data at the end of the month?
Throughout the early years of the Iraq War, the press (and indeed George W. Bush) used the figures provided by the Iraq Body Count. The press doesn't use those numbers anymore . . . now that they are higher than the tabulations of the Iraqi government.
What kind of 'independent' press is one that refuses to keep a count on their own and also refuses to use an independent body's count?
This is an issue that was raised in Thursday's "Iraq snapshot" and we thought it deserved underlining here:
Xinhua announces that "May's death toll was the lowest since December 2010, when the authorities announced the death of 151 Iraqis." That might be true . . . if the figures Xinhua uses were accurate. They announce, using figures by the Ministry of Interior, Defense and Health, only 171 deaths in Iraq (excluding US soldiers -- we didn't count them yet either). That would be a lie. LIE. Reuters runs with the same FALSE figures because, despite reporting daily deaths and injuries, it's just too hard for the little guys and gals to keep track of what they report -- or, more honestly, they're as sick of their reporting as so many others are.
Did violence decrease in May? No. Drop back to the May 2nd snapshot and you'll see we counted 262 deaths and 598 injured for the month of April. 284 deaths for the month of May would be an increase. And Iraqi Body Count (refer to the snapshot) found 283 were killed in April and they find 353 for the month of May.
It's a two syllable word and that may be more than many US reporters can manage but it is, indeed, an "increase" from the month of April. And just because three government ministries tell you otherwise doesn't make a lie true. In fact, it's past time for the press that refuses to keep their own count to stop repeating what they know each month is a lie. Each month they run with the lies. It's not a mistake, it's not an error. It's deliberate and it should have stopped long ago.
John Drake's Twitter feed May 9th:
That was not a complete count (and he didn't pretend it was) but his totals? 228 dead and 722 injured. Supposedly reputable news outlets are really going to pretend that the Iraqi government figure of 171 deaths for the month of May is accurate? Really?
Or we're going to pretend the numbers Prashant Rao put into a computer graph program mean a damn thing? Seriously? All they mean is Prashant wasted his time and now wants to waste ours. You're better than that, all of you, and your readers deserve better.
Nuclear power dealt blow by protest power
The disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant in March has led to an unprecedented climb down in one of the world’s biggest economies.
Germany says it will close all its nuclear reactors by 2022, following mass protests.
This has massive implications for the nuclear industry. Nuclear power currently provides a quarter of Germany’s electricity.
Germany will become the biggest capitalist power to completely reject nuclear power.
This shows that major capitalist countries will ditch nuclear power if we put enough pressure on them. We should demand that David Cameron does the same here.
But there’s a problem. Germany now plans to open new coal-fired power stations instead.
Europe’s energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger said, “There will be more coal power, with consequences for CO2 emissions.”
Carbon emissions are rising at a terrifying rate. The International Energy Agency estimates that emissions increased by a record amount last year and that we now have the highest level of carbon emissions in history.
This makes the goal of limiting global temperature rises to below two degrees Celsius more remote. Ordinary people around the world will be more likely to suffer the effects of disastrous climate change.
Increasing coal use will make this even worse. But nuclear isn’t green—carbon is emitted at every stage of its production.
The full impact of Fukushima is still being revealed. But it’s already clear that it was a bigger disaster than originally thought.
Tepco, the company that owns the Fukushima plant, now admits that there were meltdowns at three reactors at the site. The radiation emitted will have an impact on the environment for years to come.
The real solution to climate change is a massive investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
But this would challenge the entrenched big business interests at the heart of capitalism.
Germany’s decision shows that pressure from below can force change—but it also shows the limits of the changes that capitalism will concede.
We need to fight for a world run by ordinary people if we are to have any chance of stopping climate change.
© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.
The police & rapeBy Monica Moorehead
Consider these horrific facts provided by the National Organization for Women: Every year approximately 132,000 women report they have been violently violated by rape or attempted rape. More than half of that number knew their attackers. It’s estimated that two to six times that many women are raped, but do not report it. Every year 1.2 million women are raped by their current or former male partners, some more than once.
The United States has the highest rape rate among countries that report such statistics. It is four times higher than that of Germany, 13 times higher than that of Great Britain, and 20 times higher than that of Japan.
Does the sexual assault of women by male police officers factor anywhere into these statistics? Putting aside individual cases here and there, the answer is “no.” So it is within this general context that the egregious May 26 acquittal of two New York Police Department officers on rape charges should be viewed.
Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata were called to help an intoxicated woman out of a taxi and escort her safely to her apartment. They were videotaped entering the East Village apartment of the woman, not once, not twice, but three times on Dec. 7, 2008. Moreno was charged with actually sexually assaulting the woman as Mata stood guard while this violence took place.
Both officers were found guilty of three counts of “official misconduct” — all misdemeanors — followed by termination of their jobs. In other words, they only got a slap on the wrist. The officers face up to one year on each charge of misconduct and will be sentenced in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on June 28.
People throughout the city became outraged with the verdict. A protest organized by women’s groups was held on May 27 in front of the courthouse where the trial took place.
Cops are no heroes
This latest incident holds important lessons. From the earliest days of childhood, it is drummed into our heads that the “policeman” is our “friend” and “protector.” This indoctrination continues throughout adulthood with an endless, nauseating parade of TV dramas and Hollywood movies, all glorifying the dangerous “job” of being a police officer. But this is not the reality.
Under capitalist society, the police are a deadly force of men and women trained to keep “order” for the small class of multimillionaires and billionaires whose corporations and banks control all the wealth created by the global working class. This “order” has created entrenched poverty, massive unemployment, slave wages, racial profiling, the incarceration of millions, and unprecedented objectification of women.
Bourgeois laws that are enforced with such harshness, degradation and insensitivity by the courts exist not only to protect the interest of the haves versus the have-nots, but also to protect the repressive force — the police. In fact, the police are above any laws that are meant to keep the masses in check. When has anyone ever heard of a police officer receiving a death sentence for killing an unarmed African American, Latino/a or working-class youth? Yet these senseless killings are almost an everyday occurrence, especially in large urban areas where there are no jobs and dire poverty.
If a woman dares to try to bring an accused rapist to justice, in many instances her character is actually put on trial by defense attorneys and their witnesses, who try to blame her for the violence brought upon her. Women in numerous rape cases are accused of “asking for it” based on how they are dressed or for being intoxicated.
Women should have the right to feel safe and be safe. Period. The police are not the answer. It will take a socialist revolution to usher in a humane, cooperative society to guarantee full equality for all women and ensure women’s rights and safety.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
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"Protesting in Iraq" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site.
"Kat's Korner: The Master of the Teen Drama" -- Kat reviews three albums.
"Memorial Day" -- Mike offers a Memorial Day post.
"Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. offers reporting on Congressional hearings.
"Asparagus in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a recipe and some talk about the economy.
"That old boys network," "Indicted" and "Melanie Sloane loves John Edwards" -- John Edwards was indicted Friday, Betty, Ruth and Marcia weigh in.
"Milk Money" -- Stan goes to the movies while Ann covers radio . . .
. . . and Rebecca covers TV
The Event" -- and Marcia weighs in on the season finale (series finale?) of The Event.
"Saturday's Thomas Jefferson Memorial Dance Party," "Saturday Dance Off," "Kris Welch and the awful Living Room," "Dance off," "Why a Dance Off?," "Thomas Jefferson Memorial Dance Party," "Put on your boogie shoes," "Adam Kokesh's Dance Party," "Sly said 'Dance to the music!,'" "Adam Kokesh's Dance Party," "Do you wanna dance?" and "THIS JUST IN! DO YOU WANT TO DANCE?" -- some of the community efforts to get the word out on Adam Kokesh's dance party.
"Bad films, bad self-parody" -- Kat on decay.
"Look who's rescuing him again" -- Ruth notes the press rescuing you-know-who yet again.
"Shame on the reporters" -- Kat calls out faking news photos.
"Netflix questions" -- Stan dips into the e-mails.
"Unfortunate" -- Elaine shows how a quick post is done.
"The bi-partisan scam" -- Mike calls out the nonsense of playing shirts & skins and rooting on any team that wants to cut your benefits.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall" and "THIS JUST IN! NOT SO BELOVED!" -- Cedric and Wally weigh in on the American Princess.