Sunday, August 14, 2011

Truest statement of the week

What I observe in the U.S. is the financial chickens coming home to roost after decades’ long foreign expansion and wars. I firmly believe that Barack Obama was (s)elected to put a minority face on this expansion to help quell rising protests against the aggressive wars abroad and the war against the poor here at home. Everything he has done during his disastrous first term in office has been done to shore up the economic defenses of the economic elite: expand wars, TARP, health care "reform" bill, bankster bailouts, and the recent debt ceiling debacle.

-- Cindy Sheehan, "The People vs The Machine" (Cindy Sheehan's Soap Box).

Truest statement of the week II

More and more people are fed up. Press releases and email alerts are reaching absurd extremes. With Congress reduced to a 12-member committee that will set our budgetary priorities for years to come, organizations are politely asking that the committee include one or two humane individuals, or that the committee's meetings be live-streamed or its decisions be posted publicly for 72 hours prior to being rammed down our throats. These absurd proposals come out of a divided left, one side of which is not ready to admit that nonviolent resistance is required or that Democrats ought to be held to the same standards as Republicans.

-- David Swanson, "The Divided Left" (War Is A Crime).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. And we're late again.

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

And what did we come up with?

First of all, a theme issue. This is an issue about the media. Including you because you are the media in your life. You highlight things to your friends, impart information and much, much more.

And that's what we came up with.

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

Editorial: It started out illegal, it remains illegal

Last Monday, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released [PDF format warning] "2010 Report on Human Rights in Iraq." It follows on the heels of SIGIR Stuart Bowen's report which found Iraq is more dangerous today than it was a year ago with violence on the rise.

This in spite of the fact that every time he opens his mouth, Barack Obama's signing the "Progress In Iraq" song -- the same one Bully Boy Bush used to sing. It was meaningless then and it's meaningless now.


And yet the US government is in negotiations with the Iraqi government to keep US forces on the ground in Iraq beyond 2011.

For what?

For how long?

Nothing has been accomplished with this illegal war, nothing good.

March 2012? If the US military is still in Iraq, it will have been in Iraq for nine years.

And there's no democracy. And there's no improved lives for Iraqis.

There's no stability. In fact, the whole reason for the US military staying would be to prop up the thug Nouri al-Maliki. The thug the US installed embraces torture and secret prisons and corruption and theft and you name it. And that's who the US wants to keep in power.

He orders attacks on peaceful protesters, he orders attacks on journalists. He looks the other ways as Iraqi Christians are attacked, he looks the other way as Iraq's LGBT community is attacked.

This is who the US government installed, this is the puppet they continue to protect. So stop pretending it's about democracy or liberation or anything noble. It's an illegal war. Changing the guard at the White House didn't change the illegal war.

This is especially clear in the United Nations report and especially in the section on Iraqi prisons:

Through various visits to detention centres and prisons, UNAMI found evidence that detainees and prisoners had been threatened with beatings if they raised concerns with UN staff. Overcrowding was seen to be a major problem in many facilities. UNAMI obtained information that some prisoners would be removed from their cells before the arrival of UNAMI in order to prevent them from being seen, in particular detainees who had visible marks of torture or abuse. Furthermore, UNAMI obtained evidence that torture and ill treatment routinely takes place at the time of arrest and while in detention. UNAMI staff seeing marks on some prisoners and detainees were threated with the death or rape of their female family members if they refused to sign confessions. Evidence gathered by UNAMI indicated that some detainees had been held for long periods of time -- some up to two years -- without being told of the charges against them and without access to family members, lawyers, or the courts. Conditions within facilities were often observed to be cramped, with no natural light, and no ventilation. Often there are no toilets in the cells, prisoners being let out intermittently to relieve themselves -- adding to the unhygienic condition of the facilities.
UNAMI had information that on some visits prisoners would be removed from cells and concealed by the authorities to give the impression that over-crowding had been resolved but also to remove from view prisoners who had signs of physical injury. It was observed that prisoners and detainees were often not provided with adequate food, sometimes only being fed a handful of dates on some days, and many showed skin disorders caused from unhygienic conditions. More significantly, there was substantial evidence that prisoners and detainees had been physically mistreated and beaten following previous visits by UNAMI in order to comple them to disclose the nature and substance of their discussions with UNAMI. Further visits to detention centres in Baghdad, were suspended from mid December 2010 until unfettered, private access is permited by the authorities to the inmates, and satisfactory guarantees have been given by the Government of Iraq that prisoners will not be harmed as a result of such visits which UNAMI is able to verify. Visits had not resumed by the end of the year.

The response from US outlets to the report was to ignore it (most outlets) or to pretty it up by ignoring the report and going with spin from a spokesperson instead (IPS -- click here for a critique of that bad coverage).

The reality of press coverage of Iraq is that they can never say Nouri is a thug -- not even when a US senator states that in an open hearing -- and they can never talk about the way Iraqis are treated in their own country now ruled by exiles.

The reality is that if the US press ever told the truth about the Iraq War, it would be highly embarrassing for many, many members of the press -- the ones who've lied or 'shaved the truth' repeatedly. But if they ever did get the guts to tell the truth, the complete truth, Barack Obama would never be able to blather on about 'progress' in Iraq without being loudly boo-ed. Press coverage of the Iraq War has never been about the Iraqi people. It really hasn't been about the American soldier. Instead, it's repeatedly been about protecting the politicians who lied us into this war.

TV: The PBS FluffHour

"I'm out here in the heartland!" Gwen Ifill laughed Friday, mocking Iowa and making sure PBS viewers knew just how above it all Gwen was. It wasn't Washington Week, sadly, it was The NewsHour. "News." "Hour."


It's getting more and more difficult for PBS to pretend The NewsHour is about news. Which is really too bad because we were among those -- until recently -- advocating for PBS to expand The NewsHour to Saturdays and Sundays. But these days, we're scratching our heads.

We never saw The NewsHour as "the people's news"or all that expansive. It has narrow point A and narrow point B that it will note in each story. That will pass for 'balance.' That has been the case throughout the program's long history and it remains the case today. But you could pretend it was news and about the news.

These days, the show's gone to the dogs and Gwen's usually the one leading the trot to the kennels. Friday, she demonstrated that yet again.

The year, for any confused, is 2011 and, no, it is not a presidential election year. 15 months from now, Americans who elect to vote will have to determine who they will support.

But there was Gwen, on The NewsHour, in Iowa, yacking away, offering nothing of value, nothing of insight, nothing that qualified as news to anyone not submitting to a middle school newspaper. "As political spectacles go, it was hard to look away," Gwen insisted and apparently NewsHour producers shared her fascination with train wrecks because they let her go on and on. Her segment lasted 11 minutes and 24 seconds. [A NewsHour friend insists to us that it was two segments. No, it wasn't. It was Gwen's segment of an intro to her canned piece and then her wrap while 'joshing' with Margaret Warner.]

Eleven minutes and 24 seconds? Of the network broadcast news programs, CBS Evening News is the most likely to air a lengthy segment but almost nine minutes qualifies as long for that program. Gwen was given 11 minutes and 24 seconds of air time and what was the takeaway?

Apparently that she had eaten a fried Twinkie at the Iowa State Fair because that's pretty much the only fact she provided in her entire segment.

It's really amazing and, yes, appalling, that you could have watched the entire segment, all eleven-plus minutes of it, and know not one issue the candidate believed in or was opposed to. Instead you had Rick Santorum's soundbyte where he said, "You need leaders. You need people who are good at leadership, not showmanship." And you got the soundbyte with Herman Cain stating, "America -- America has got to learn how to take a joke."

Eating up eleven minutes of time, the segment didn't tell viewers one thing about the candidates. To be really clear, we'd rather watch anything -- how about actual news -- than gas baggery about an election that won't event take place this year. As for the silly Iowa State Fair straw poll, it's only taken place since 1999. Saturday was only the sixth time the straw poll's been done. And out of the five previous times, it's 'winner' has ended up the GOP presidential nominee only twice (1995 with Bob Dole and 1999 with Bully Boy Bush). Gwen didn't share with viewers any of those actual facts but then, if she had, it would have only made wasting eleven minutes on the 'story' all the more obviously stupid. Norah O'Donnell did manage to share the statistics on CBS Evening News. And she did that in a report that lasted 3 minutes -- that includes her exchange with anchor Scott Pelley at the end of her segment.

Gwen gave Ron Paul a token mention, at the very end. (Paul: "I do know that you can make the difference. And one vote in a straw vote in a situation like this is very, very valuable. It gets national attention. So, what happens on Saturday can really give us a boost.") For those who mistake that as progress, let's note reality. Judy Woodruff interviewed Ron Paul for The NewsHour last month. For over a week, that interview was the most popular feature at The NewsHour website each day. They have never seen numbers like that before. So, yes, they will give Ron Paul his token mention now.

People learned about Ron Paul's political stands and beliefs in Judy's segment. They didn't learn a damn thing from Gwen's so-called 'report.' To have that kind of time and tell nothing about a candidate's position is not news. It's infotainment, it's garbage, it's crap and a lot stronger words which we can't use at this site. But it is not and it is never news.

Let's break away from Gwen and company for a moment to explain to you some key events (not all) that were in the news cycle on Friday.

* Protests continued in Syria on Friday with over 10,000 people taking to the streets.

* Protests took place outside the United Nations Headquarters (Thursday) with cries to shut down the Indian Point nuclear plant.

* At Arizona's San Francisco Peaks, Native Americans are protesting efforts to turn the land sacred to them into a ski resort.

* The United States Postal Service wants to cut 120,000 jobs.

* The United States Postal Service wants to stop providing federal health and retirement programs.

* The Iraq War continued.

* The Afghanistan War continued.

* The Libyan War continued.

* The government of Italy agreed to austerity measures

* On Saturday, Fidel Castro would turn 85.

We've left out the big story of Friday. We'll come back to it. But of the news above, The NewsHour covered Syria in a headline, the US Postal Service in a report and that was it. (We're being very kind and avoiding what The NewsHour so crassly called an "honor role.") You missed out on a hell of a lot Friday if you watched The NewsHour for news but you did learn Gwen Ifill ate a fried Twinkie.

After wasting everyone's time with 11 minutes and 24 seconds of saying nothing about the GOP field for next year's presidential nomination, they were back to the topic with the bizarro version of Shields and Yarnell -- Shields and Lowry. While Shields and Yarnell never spoke, Mark Shields and whatever partner he's with (Friday it was Rich Lowry) can't stop yacking. And for nine minutes and 27 seconds they yacked about the GOP field -- repeating the same bromides Gwen did. 20 minutes and 50 seconds were wasted out of the 'hour' (it was actually 54 minutes -- they have their commercials to show even on 'non-commercial' PBS). 33 minutes and 10 seconds of the program, minus opening theme and end credits, were left for news out of the so-called NewsHour.

The big story Friday was a court verdict on ObamaCare. Let's review the way these verdicts have been reported this year on The NewsHour.

January 31st, Judge Roger Vinson of the Federal District Court in Pensacola, Florida issued a ruling and this is how The NewsHour reported it:

A federal judge in Florida has declared the national health-care reform law unconstitutional. The decision today came in a lawsuit by 26 states. They challenged the mandate that most Americans must buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. So far two federal courts have ruled against the mandate. Two others have upheld it. The issue is expected to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

June 29th, a verdict was rendered on ObamaCare by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. This is how The NewsHour reported it:

President Obama won an important legal victory today on his health care overhaul. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled the government does have the right to mandate that Americans buy health insurance. A number of other legal challenges to the mandate are still working their way through the federal court system. The issue is expected to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday, ObamaCare didn't sail through. Here's how The NewsHour reported it:

A federal appeals court today ruled Americans do not have to buy health insurance. That mandate is a central provision of the president's health care overhaul. The three-judge panel in Atlanta voted 2-1 against it. But the judges ruled the rest of the law may go forward. In a statement, White House Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter criticized the court's conclusion on the individual mandate. She said, "We strongly disagree with this decision, and we are confident it will not stand."

Wow. When ObamaCare loses, when judges say "NO," The NewsHour needs to quote another opinion. But when it wins, The NewsHour feels no such need to 'round out' the story. And when it loses at the start of the year, The NewsHour felt the need to tell you it had won two verdicts as well. But when it loses, Friday, they don't feel the need to tell you this is the third court verdict against ObamaCare.

The 11 Circuit's verdict Friday was news as was their finding that Commerce Clause of the Constitution does not give Congress the power to "mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die." That should have resulted in a news segment.

We grasp that the CPB has allowed 'reporters' for both NPR and PBS to 'invest' themselves in Obama and to 'divest' themselves of objectivity. That was very clear Friday on All Things Considered (NPR) when Nina Totenberg 'reported' (commented) on the verdict, "Federal Judge Roger Vinson of Florida ruled that the mandate could not be separated from the rest of this bill, which has other provisions lots of Americans like and that the mandate was to help pay for it."

Can someone tell Nina Totenberg that she doesn't work for the White House? What the hell was that garbage she was offering. "Lots of Americans"? March 23rd, the Affordable Health Care Act celebrated the one year anniversary of its passage. At that time, Marjorie Connelly reported on the polls for The New York Times and she noted that Kaiser found approximately half ("less than 47% percent") didn't have "enough information about the law to know how it would affect them." Connelly noted that there was an even split among respondents in the Gallup poll as to whether ObamaCare was "good" or "bad." Presuming for a moment that indeed "lots of Americans like . . . the rest of the bill," if Nina Totenberg's mentioning that she might need to mention how hugely unpopular ("lots and lots and lots of Americans"?) ObamaCare remains.

And we're back to narrow point A and narrow point B. We're back to the echo machine for those in power to convey the message to the people. It's not really news but it can be news-like. In fact, more and more we think the program needs a new slogan: "PBS' The NewsHour! So slick you won't believe it's not news!" And who knows, maybe future history text books actually will focus on what Gwen Ifill ate at the fair.

The state of comics

In a world that needs super heroes, what do you do when you can think of no new ones? Relaunch characters and dip into the archives.

new comic

Batgirl was retooled recently. Barbara Gordon is no longer paralyzed. It's a younger Barbara Gordon than readers of Birds of Prey may recognize. This one is modeled after the most famous Batgirl, the one portrayed by Yvonne Craig on the sixties' Batman TV show.

Batgirl issue 23 finds our super heroine dealing with the guilt over the death of a source and then being joined by Supergirl, Miss Martian, Stargirl and Bombshell to face villains Jabberwocky and Miranda. Along the way, Batgirl steers a police office towards dating Barbara Gordon (Batgirl's secret identity). Reading the issue its sadly obvious that the title isn't long for this world. The villains aren't threatening and instead of serious issues, they keep it light -- way too light.

And that also describes issue 26 of Power Girl, the comic focusing on the character from Krypton created in the 70s. Now she's back. And at a convention no less. Of Power Girl fans. All dressed up like her. It's just too-cute-for-this-world, like an episode of Saved By The Bell.

How does that happen, by the way?

Even in the real world, comic book conventions revolve around multiple comics. But before you contemplate that, you're forced to ask yourself if 101 Power Girls can save the world?

The answer is: Yes, but in a really cheesy way.

Daredevil issue number one finds Mark Waid and company offering a promising new beginning for the hero. The set up and framework speaks of a potentially rich future. Now if only they could do something about Matt's hair.

When not reviving Daredevil, Marvel dips into the vaults for a limited Power Man and Iron Fist reprint. No, not to remind you how sad seventies clothes were -- after all, that's why the world has Madonna -- but to ride the Iron Man gravy train.

DC dips into its archives as well and maybe because they thought a TV pilot would be picked up. Instead, Wonder Woman is not returning to broadcast TV this fall and they're left with their one shot issue of The Retroactive 1970s. In this one, they explore when Wonder Woman was no longer Wonder Woman but Diana Prince, trained in martial arts but with no super powers.

It was not the high point of the series and, in fact, it pretty much killed the series. But that's what you do when you no longer have anything new to offer, just serve up leftovers and hit the re-set button on popular characters. Call it the death of comics or at least the death of Marvel and D.C.


Jim: This is a media roundtable. We're basically making this a theme edition and the theme is media. Our e-mail address is Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration.


Jim (Con't): Alright, Saturday night, C.I. offered media criticism in "Tell the whore likability is not legality" and Rebecca put that down as a topic. Why?

Rebecca: There's so much in that essay but one section stood out, near the end, "But this is the last time we'll do that. If it's not about a war, I'm not interested. I am so especially not interested -- soooooooooooooooo not interested -- in columns about religion or, even more importantly, what's wrong with someone's religion. I don't make that judgment, I don't concern myself -- stick my nose into -- people's worship." When that went up, my friend T called me and she said, "I was wondering what C.I. thought about Michele Bachmann being asked Thursday night in the debate about 'submitting' to her husband." And T didn't believe me when I first explained to her that C.I. had no idea about that question.

Jim: Good point. I found that interesting as well. Ava and C.I. didn't know about it until they were doing research early Sunday morning for the piece they were writing. That was phone calls -- including to someone with The NewsHour -- and it was a ton of watching the news. I declared Saturday morning that I really wanted us to do a media theme edition.

Wally: Declared that to C.I.

Jim: Right. Wally and Mike were running with C.I. -- running, right?

Mike: No jogging, it was running.

Jim: They were running with C.I. and I was on the phone with her explaining why I thought a media edition theme might work. And she said she and Ava had caught The NewsHour Friday and could probably swing that. And The NewsHour is the focus. But they also watched Friday's CBS Evening News, Friday's NBC Nightly News and Friday's ABC's World News -- watched all of that early this morning as part of their research. And they didn't know until after that about the Bachmann issue.

Ava: Right. It wasn't covered on The NewsHour. It was covered on ABC World News Tonight. That's where we first saw it this morning when we were playing catch up. And that statement stands for C.I. after learning that Bachmann was asked about her religion.

Jim: Ava, what stood out that's not covered in the report you and C.I. wrote?

Ava: A great deal. But I guess chief among the points that stands out, and this is noted in our piece, but not stressed, in 3 minutes Norah O'Donnell covered the unimportant Iowa Straw Poll better than Gwen Ifill did in over eleven minutes.

Jim: Last week, we did an e-mail roundtable. A professor e-mailed furious that I hadn't included his comments. So let me note here that he teaches journalism and he praised Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Diane Sawyer, giving anchors a bad name" which he included in his second summer session and plans to include in classes this fall. He wrote, the second time, "How does the media get it wrong? They start out a little wrong and then they get a lot wrong and then they're so wrong they won't even bother with a correction. Diane Sawyer was wrong one night, she 'improved' on being wrong the second night by lying and by the third her lie was even bigger. I use it to point out why it is so important to nail down even the smallest of facts." So thank you, professor, for attempting to teach standards at a time when it increasingly seems that there are no standards for journalism anymore. Betty, I want to go to you now. Two weeks ago, you offered a critique of Steve Inskeep's interview of US House Rep. Emanuel Cleaver. Talk about that.

Betty: Well Inskeep repeatedly interrupted Cleaver. Cleaver's Black and I've never heard Inskeep interrupt any member of Congress before except at the end of the segment. Why did he treat Cleaver that way? I say it was racism. I say no White member of Congress would have been treated that way. NPR's original response to that awful interview was to bury it and make it difficult to find online. They avoided doing a transcript for a bit and now that they have one, it is incorrect and does not accurately capture what was said. I think Steve Inskeep's actions were racist. In addition, I think NPR's response has demonstrated that they think the interview was racist as well. And Inskeep is often rude to left members of Congress. C.I. documented how condescending Inskeep was to US House Rep. Barney Frank last Tuesday but this went beyond that.

C.I.: And to add to what Betty's saying, NPR's new ombudsperson, Edward Schumacher-Matos, did comment on Inskeep's interview with Barney Frank; however, he has avoided the issue of the way Cleaver was treated.

Jim: There's a lot of avoiding going on in our so-called responsible media. Elaine, you're attempting to cover the Libyan War at your site.

Elaine: Right. Mike, C.I. and I are all trying to cover it. C.I.'s actually doing much more than I am. But I'll talk about the problems all three of us face. As everyone knows, Dennis Bernstein returned from his vacation and is back to hosting Flashpoints. Shortly after returning, he killed the coverage Kevin Pina and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya had been providing three times a week on Flashpoints. So we don't have that. That really was the only independent broadcast coverage of the Libyan War. Now we don't have that. We have WSWS for text and Mahdi's outlet the Centre for Global Research. Then it's whatever else you can string together because so much of the MSM can't be trusted, it's inaccurate and slanted and that includes Al Jazeera reporting -- especially their reporting due to the deals that are being made with the so-called 'rebels' by the government of Qatar which also runs the state-owned Al Jazeera network. It's very difficult and the silence from so many outlets is appalling.

Marcia: Right and Elaine's been very clear about the refusal of Amy Goodman to cover the Libyan War. And it's just amazing. During the Bush era, she was all over wars. But her baby boi Barack got into office and she ended up whoring by selling inauguration ball tickets to raise money for her crap ass show. That's one whore I'll never forgive. I am so glad that she outed herself as corrupt and a liar.

Dona: As bad as some of the MSM coverage -- maybe the bulk of it -- is on the Libyan War, it is getting covered. That's certainly not true of the Iraq War. Let's stay with independent media -- or so-called 'independent' media -- what stands out as one of the biggest oversights today?

Trina: I would argue the protests. It's really easy for Amy Goodman to -- and she has done this repeatedly -- attack the MSM for not covering the protests of recent years when they've done much, much more than she has. If there's an anti-war protest in DC, it may or may not get mentioned in headlines. She doesn't cover real protests against her beloved Barack The War Hawk.

Ruth: I agree and I will point out something else, she does not want Barack Obama critics on her show. The most she will allow are the recently turned. If you were a big supporter of Barack Obama and are now critical of him -- like Cornel West -- you can be a guest. If you were someone critical of him before the 2008 election -- Doug Henwood, for example -- you can forget it. And Mr. Henwood is an economist, on the left. How do you manage, over and over, not to book him in this economy?

Cedric: I look at her little cult and wonder how the hell they avoid seeing the truth about how manipulative and dishonest she is but then I realize Rachel Maddow pulls the same crap on MSNBC and there are idiots who praise Maddow as well.

Wally: Agreed but is there a better example of media failure right now then The Nation's 'sports issue'? They won't cover the wars. They won't cover anything of value. We've got multiple wars going on right now and they're doing a 'sports issue.' Talk about distractions.

Cedric: And cheerleaded on by the idiot Dave Zirin. He's hokey Cracker s**t is all the rage in Jewish circles, I'm sure. But he's a joke in the Black community. Here's the how-to-do-Dave: Fine 1 Black athlete, find problem in present or past of athlete, insist it's racism. Stroke yourself and spew.

Mike: You nailed him, Cedric. His act is tired. But that's so true of so many in independent media.

Jim: Mike, can you think of another example of where independent media's not doing it's job?

Mike: Yeah. And C.I. notes it in "Tell the whore likability is not legality." Scott Horton has decided Antiwar Radio is the MEK Terrorism Watch. What the hell? If there's a reason to listen to the program it's because he's covering the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War and the Libyan War and the drone war in Pakistan. I'm on the left. Most of Scott Horton's opinions are not my own. But I would listen for coverage of the wars. What was that he offered? Five discussions last week on Antiwar Radio about the MEK?

Ann: Support! If you're not going to put the ongoing wars front and center, don't call your program Antiwar Radio. I don't have time for the uselessness. I've seen enough of it from the so-called left that turned out to be nothing but Yellow Dog Democrats. I want coverage of the wars. I'm not really interested in Scott Horton's personal drama.

Jim: Kat, any thoughts?

Kat: I agree with what Mike and Ann are saying. And I don't cover the Libyan War. I'm not into blogging as I've noted lately. I'll write about music and whatever else strikes my fancy. But I am on the road with Wally, Ava and C.I. and I do know how covering the Libyan War means C.I. has to spend an hour to two hours more each day on the snapshot. So the idea that Scott Horton can just use the radio program to work out his own issues is not something I support.

Jim: That's come up a lot. Wally said the same thing to me this week. And I think Elaine's comments earlier went to how difficult it is to find worthwhile coverage of the Libyan War. But someone, Stan, you and Isaiah haven't spoken, explain to me where the war coverage is?

Isaiah: There's a lot of talk about how the people can't handle this or that. I can remember in 2003 or 2004, the New York Times had a wounded or dead US soldier on the front page. Or maybe it was the Blackwater contractors killed in Falluja. Regardless, I was picking the paper up and I go to check out and the woman behind the counter is all, "How can they put this on the front page, people shouldn't have to look at it" wah wah wah. But that seems to be the attitude of much of the media. "The people can't take it." Actually we can. But admitting that would be admitting that you were not doing your job. And they're not going to own up to that.

Stan: Yeah, reporters and editors and producers got bored. And they went elsewhere. There's nothinglike it, I can't imagine this media silence would happen during Vietnam. And that's why it's really sad to hear Scott Horton ignore current and ongoing wars to focus on the MEK. I'm sure he would argue that there could be a war because of the MEK. Well there are tons of could be wars. How about we focus on the many already taking place?

Jim: Okay, that'll be our last thought. This is a rush transcript.

Situational Outrage at The Progressive

morning clouds

Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States in January 2009. And a funny thing happened. Matthew Rothschild (CEO of The Progressive) continued his "McCarthyism Watch," but it just seemed like he didn't hit as hard as he once did.

Were we remembering wrong? Maybe Matty was always a rather prissy, dainty thing who skirted the issue and refused to call out Bully Boy Bush for the actions of his administration?

But then we picked up our old copies of The Progressive and, golly gee, Matt could really launch a tear back then.

Back then.

Okay, maybe he mellowed. Maybe he had a life altering experience. It's possible. Although he'd probably need to have a life first before it could be altered.

We couldn't compare apples and organes so what was there to say?

But then fate dealt us a lucky card. Bully Boy Bush was back in the news and back in the McCarthyism Watch.

Go to McCarthyism Watch and notice, as you stroll through the archives, how the administration hasn't been called out since Barack was sworn in. They call out certain aspects of it.

Yet let a CIA agent we've never heard of show up and claim that a half-wit posing as a professor was almost or nearly or maybe spied upon by the CIA when Bush occupied the White House and Matthew's running to scream "Bush is spying!"

People are denied entry to the country, for example, under Barack, but Matthew never connects it back to the White House. There's never any calling out of the White House. But on what was verys flimsy evidence, as June wound down, Matthew's running to town screaming about Bush spying.

Did the Bush White House spy on American citizens in retaliation for the citizens' views (which were in no way linked to terrorism)?

We don't know but we wouldn't be surprised to find out that happened and happened often.

Is the Barack White House spying on American citizens in retaliation for the citizens' views (which were in now ay linked to terrorism)?

We have no idea but wouldn't be surprised to find out that happens and happens often. But we know that any time he's caught, Matthew Rothschild will work overtime to avoid pinning the blame on Barack.

Flash In The Pan Points Radio

once upon a time

Take a good look above. Study it.

KPFA's Flashpoints was regularly covering the Libyan War. The program had even increased their coverage and, since June 21st, were speaking regularly to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya who is on the ground in Tripoli.

While Kevin Pina spent weeks and weeks filling in for Dennis Bernstein, you could catch Mahdi's reporting Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Then Dennis returned and quickly that was the end of any coverage of the Libyan War on Flashpoints. August 12th was Friday and Flashpoints hasn't provided Libyan War coverage since August 3rd.

The day before the last Libyan War report aired, Dennis Bernstein was crowing over the airwaves about the coverage of the war that Flashpoints Radio had been offering, "I am hoping that people who have heard our coverage on Libya, another Obama war that is a war of aggression, a war of oil, if you are proud to be a part of Flashpoints and the kind of reporting that you get on KPFA and on Flashpoints, won't you please call . . ."

The drum-beat coverage quickly ended when Dennis returned which begs the question: Did Dennis accidentally sit his fat ass down on the drum and break it? Is that what ended the "drum-beat coverage" of the Libyan War?

We don't know.

We just know it was cooking while Dennis was on vacation. He returns and quickly shuts down the coverage.

Smile, you are the medium

Take no prisoner, leave no trace, make no wave
Freedom's illusion, home of the rich and the slave
Cynics and critics, making the news, creating a scene

Destiny lies in the fools who refuse to give up on a dream

And I love people who smile

If everybody smiles, we'll have a hometown all over the world

I love people who smile

If everybody smiles, we'll have a hometown all over the world

-- "Smile," written by Melanie and Beau Jarred Schekeryk and appears on many albums including Melanie's latest Ever Since You Never Heard of Me.

Never forget that you are also the media. Or that the mystic Melanie is often onto something years ahead of anyone else.

jane fonda prime time

We were reminded of that while reading Jane Fonda's latest, just released book Prime Time, specifically a section Jane kicks off on page 143:

Guess what else you can do to develop new neural pathways that will lead you out of sourpussness? Smile! That's right. By smiling you actually change the pattern of information going from the muscles in your body -- in this case, the muscles around your mouth and eyes -- to your brain. This has a big impact on health and well-being, both short-term and long-term. Dr. Norman Cousins believed he cured himself of bone cancer and other diseases by watching funny movies and laughing and smiling, which mobilized his endorphins and the healing keys of his immune system, like T cells, lymphocytes, leucocytes, and phagocytes into action to fight the disease.

You can curse the medium without ever changing it. Realizing your own power as a communicator is part of changing the world around you.

Wear it well and it could appear in your heart
Indelibly printed on someone a world apart

Lights in the window all through our darkest day

Human kindness outdistances being afraid

I love people who smile

If everybody smiles, we’ll have a hometown all over the world

I love people who smile

If everybody smiles, we’ll have a hometown all over the world

-- "Smile."

Take a front seat in your own life

Ever heard an author discuss a book? It can provide an entirely new way of reading it. There are a lot of good authors. How about hearing an activist speak? That would be pretty incredible, right? And what about a film producer? Or an actress, an award winning actress? This month, in the Bay Area, you can hear all of those people . . . in one person.

Actress, activist, author Jane Fonda may have been too hot for QVC. But people who value free exchanges and Jane's body of work and activism can see and hear her August 17th, 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley ($15 per ticket in advance, $18 at the door -- tickets are going fast and, when they're gone, there will be none to purchase at the event, you've been given a heads up). The topic of the evening will be life and the living of it for real value and meaning, the same as the topic of her incredible new book Prime Time, Making the Most of Your Life.

jane fonda prime time

The Wednesday, August 17th event is a KPFA benefit and Kris Welch is the host. It will no doubt be a very memorable event.

If you live in the Bay Area, you can always read about it after. But maybe the media will capture the moment and maybe they won't. Maybe you should be your own reporter and attend the event for yourself.

Or maybe you can attend a book signing in Los Angeles or Pasadena? This week's events include:

Libya: 'Rebels' fissures (GBSW)

Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

This article should be read after: Mubarak’s trial will boost Egypt revolt

Libya: Splits at the top show deep crisis

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Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) is in crisis after its leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sacked the entire executive body.

The splits come as the NTC is accused of being behind the murder of prominent rebel commander, General Abdel Fatah Yunis.

The NTC signed a warrant for his arrest. The movement against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime has stalled because of Western intervention.

The rebels deferred to the US and its allies, expecting the air strikes to remove Gaddafi.

But this strategy has predictably failed.

The US is now talking of a truce with the dictator, which will divide Libya and leave Gaddafi in control of part of the country.

The following should be read alongside this article:

Mubarak’s trial will boost Egypt revolt

Syria: Intervention won’t help to defeat al-Assad

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

No war on Libya! (Workers World)

Repost from Workers World:

Boston crowd says, ‘No war on Libya!’

A multinational audience packed the hall of St. Katherine Drexel Church in the heart of Boston’s African-American community in Grove Hall on Aug. 6 to rally against the U.S./NATO war on Libya. Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney had recently returned from a fact-finding delegation to Libya to report the truth on the devastation there. The 200 people in attendance welcomed McKinney to the podium with a five-minute standing ovation.

McKinney described how the Libyan people defied U.S./NATO bombs to gather at a memorial site where U.S. bombs had killed Col. Gadhafi’s daughter in 1986. She called the aggression “a war on Africa” and “a war on poor and working people and African people” around the globe, including in the U.S.

Minister Don Mohammad of Mosque 11, Nation of Islam, opened the program, which was co-chaired by Bishop Felipe Teixeira, OFSJC, Diocese of St. Francis of Assisi, CCA and Myia X of the Women’s Fightback Network and SistaCipher. Other speakers included Libyan graduate student Khalifa Elderbak and Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center. Organizational solidarity statements were contributed by Marilyn Levin, national co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Committee; Carole Helas, of Fanmi Lavalas of Boston; and Andre Francois, of the Boston School Bus Union.

Askia Toure, activist and pioneer of the Black Arts Movement; African drumming by Doumafis and Alex; Ti’Ella G of SistaCipher; and Op from hip-hop group The Foundation Movement contributed cultural solidarity.


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 entry by readers of this site.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Failed Match Up" -- Isaiah takes on the incredible shrinking president.

"Kat's Korner: Middle-Aged Men, not boys" -- Kat notes the Beastie Boys have not aged well.

"Green Beans in the Kitchen" and "Baked Sweet Potatoes" -- Trina and Betty both serve up Friday recipes.

"cry baby rick perry" -- Rebecca on the man who declared he's running Saturday.

"Princess plans his re-election" and "THIS JUST IN! BITCHY LITTLE GIRL!" -- Barack really is a bitchy little girl.

"The wars, the waking up" -- Betty hopes that people are at last waking up.

"the hits taken" -- Rebecca notes the costs of the long slumber thus far.

"Like attracts like" -- Ruth breaks down the basics.

"Cops of the world" -- Kat talks Phil Ochs and imperialism.

"Meanwhile in London . . .," "London calling" and "London and Acorn" -- Marcia and Mike weigh in on the London demonstrations.

"The Libyan War," "Libyan War," "They Just Don't Care" and "The Libyan War" -- Elaine and Mike on the Libyan War.

"David Axelrod: Been Caught Lying" -- Ruth pulls some Jane's Addiction on Axelrod.

"Good for Michele Bachmann" -- Kat on Bachmann's Iowa Straw Poll win.

"Out of the closet?" -- Marcia on yet another homophobic politician who turns out to be gay.

"Just Go With It" and "White Chicks" -- Stan goes to the movies and Ann covers radio:

"The Vulture Rudy G" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this on the political campaigns.

"Idiot of the week" -- And the award goes to . . .

"Robert Reich" -- Trina cites Reich.

"does he get how he looks?" -- Rebecca wonders about the strategy of it all.

And we recommend:

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