Sunday, October 30, 2011

Truest statement of the week

Jonathan Steele wrote that the Iraq war was over and the US had learned "that putting western boots on the ground in a foreign war, particularly in a Muslim country, is madness". Yet this madness may continue in a different guise, as there is a huge gap between rhetoric and reality surrounding the US departure from Iraq. In fact, there are a number of avenues by which the US will be able to exert military influence in the country.

-- James Denselow, "The US departure from Iraq is an illusion" (Guardian).

Truest statement of the week II

So, in summary, we will be in Iraq well past 2011, not chancing to neglect our "investment." And, of course, it would be imprudent and unprofitable to neglect its real estate in accommodating the next combat boot to drop in "Freedom's March" across the Middle East.

Listen to and watch Obama very carefully when he speaks. He lacks the Bushian sneer that we relied upon to warn us of presidential duplicity. But it's there. It's there.

-- Rafe Pilgrim, "Obama's Iraq Duplicity" (OpEdNews).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another late Sunday.

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, what don't we have?

A book.

We forgot all about it until we were wrapping up. There are two books we know we will be picking. One was put out by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Wally said let's just do that and I said I thought it was a post that, even if brief, would need more then a few rushed minutes. I then proposed a book we've all agreed on by an actress and Elaine said, "Oh, hell no! We're not rushing through her important book. Let's just not do one this week." So that's what we went with. There will be one next week.

What we offer this week:
James Denselow wrote an important column, make a point to check it out.

Denselow we knew of. This was our first time encountering Rafe Pilgrim.

And if you doubt that assertion, look at the proof. American journalist arrested in Iraq and the US press ignores it. DoD announces 3 deaths in the Iraq War last week and US press ignores it. Over and over, the US press ignores Iraq. The illustration is by Betty's kids.

This was a requested piece. Ava and C.I. aren't sure what they're covering next Sunday. But they encourage you to watch Revenge on ABC Wednesday nights. This week, they take on NPR and the pledge drive that left a lot of listeners feeling like unwanted johns.

We had to bring it back. Read it and see why.

Cindy Sheehan and Chris Floyd talk Iraq realities.

A short feature. We had already started posting and I said that if I had a photo of candy, I'd make this a piece and not something to mention in "A note to our readers." C.I. found the candy picture and this was quickly written.

Oh, he's just so pathetic.
I explain just how pathetic Dumptruck is.

Repost from Workers World.
Important news regarding burn pits.

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


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

Editorial: US press doesn't give a damn about Iraq

"How," wondered reader Todd in an e-mail reaction to "Editorial: The end of what? (aka C.I. was right again," last week, "can the [US] press lie so much about the Iraq War?" Good question. Because they're whores. Because some of them don't follow the war. Because their whore outlets have already decided CIA Barry must have a second term and much, much more.

If you doubt it, you missed last week.

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Saturday, many outlets were buzzing over a news story about 13 US troops dead in Afghanistan. That is news. So is the news of 3 deaths of US soldiers. But did you see a headline about the 3 US troops who the Defense Department announced died last week in the Iraq War? No, you didn't.

It did get covered in "I Hate The War."

Last Tuesday came the shocking news that an American journalist, Daniel Smith, had been arrested (the Friday before) in Iraq for either participating in the Friday Baghdad demonstration or for covering it. And you knew that from which US outlet on Tuesday?


On Wednesday?


On Tuesday, you knew if you read Arabic or if you read Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot." On Wednesday, you could read that Smith had been released at Aswat al-Iraq (which is in English).

Grasp that. Grasp that the Iraq War claimed 3 more US lives and that an American citizen and journalist was arrested in Iraq and the US media was not interested in either story. They didn't give a damn.

Now we're used to their not giving a damn about Iraqi lives, remember John F. Burns' stupid justification for that? About tailoring his coverage for "US tax payers"? But now they don't even give a damn about Iraqis.

Thursday evening twin bombings went off in Baghdad. The final death toll was 36 dead. Do you know which US outlets covered it, treated it as an actual news story? Just the AP and McClatchy Newspapers.

We're all starting to wonder, "The US press in Iraq does what all day?" They cover a circus coming to poverty striken Iraq, where tickets cost $12 a piece. That's news to them -- even if it's not news to most Iraqis who can't afford it and didn't attend.

They ignore Nouri al-Maliki's ongoing crackdown on protesters. They ignore Political Stalemate II. That last one, you've got Iraqiya and the Kurds openly discussing the stalemate and the press ignores it.


Well why do you think Quil Lawrence, the Monday after elections took place (Saturday, March 7, 2010) declared Nouri al-Maliki the winner of the vote?

The votes hadn't been counted. There was nothing to indicate who the winner was but a Nouri paid for poll, what Quil was using but not crediting.

Why would anyone ever make such a stupid announcement?

It was stupid.

First, Nouri wasn't on the national ballots. It was Parliamentary elections. The Iraqi people don't directly elect the prime minister. They elect members of Parliament.

Second, the winner in that election was not Nouri's State Of Law. Iraqiya got the most votes (Ayad Allawi's political slate).

Why would Quil Lawrence lie and declare Nouri the winner?

And why would NPR never issue a correction?

Because the US press isn't a press. It's a public relations firm for whomever is in the White House. It churns out one weak-ass article after another insisting that the distortions of the White House are the way things are.

In terms of Iraq, that means they ignore all the unpleasant news -- especially anything that might paint Nouri al-Maliki as less than a good reason for the US to have gone into an illegal war. You really saw that last week.

Media: NPR, the angry vagrant

When you give to your local NPR, you're asked a question, "Would you like your donation to be noted on air?" You're under the impression that your donation has some confidentiality or you were until NPR's latest pledge drive.

There was NPR's lisping Ira Glass, thinking he was funny, sending NPR listeners into a panic. Possibly they should leave the humor to Alec Baldwin in the future? They did themselves no favors with Glass' running bit about 'thieves.'

Who's stealing from NPR?

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Listeners. According to Ira Glass, listeners who don't donate are stealing.

Does it seem strangely familiar? In 2000, The Simpsons' "Missionary Impossible" episode aired (season eleven, episode fifteen, written by Ron Hauge). Homer just wanted to watch his favorite British sitcom but it kept getting interrupted for a PBS pledge drive hosted by Betty White.

Betty White: If you like great PBS programs like Do Shut Up and Shut Your Gob you'll want to support our pledge drive. If you watch even one second of PBS and don't contribute, you're a thief, a common thief!

Man: Okay, take it easy, Betty.

Betty: Sorry, but these thieves make me so mad. You know who you are, thieves!

That was hilarious. It was also parody. On The Simpsons.

On NPR's recent pledge drives, it was deadly serious.

Vivian Schiller probably could have gotten away with firing Juan Williams if she hadn't cracked jokes about it in public. We're not saying she was right to fire Williams (we opposed the firing and called it out in real time). We are saying that her bad manners and sore winner behavior -- best on display in her public 'joke' that Juan Williams needed therapy -- ensured that that Schiller would be out as CEO of NPR and that Congress would begin to (yet again) question tax money funding NPR. At the start of this month, NPR finally hired a new CEO, Gary Knell. Knell is also president and CEO of Sesame Workshop.

This is part of a new direction for NPR. Keach Hagey (POLITICO) got at some of that in a report earlier this month, "By selecting someone with virtually no newsroom experience but a long history of both defending the federal funding of public media and raising money, NPR signaled that the battle ahead will not be about journalism, but about survival." In terms of fund raising, Gary Knell is outshined by hundreds and hundreds of people (including his own wife Kim Larson).

Hagey noted that efforts to cut funding in the Senate had been stopped by the Democratic majority and that this majority might change after the 2012 elections -- a possibility NPR was preparing for.
But despite having a lengthy (especially by POLITICO standards) article, Hagey missed the point such as in this summary near the end of the article: "During his days at Sesame Workshop, formely the Children's Television Workshop, which he joined in 1989 and has led since 2000, he testified before Congress and made formal appeals for the importance of CPB funding."

Yes, Knell is adequate when appearing before Congress. He's not a super star (possibly because he's smart enough to best way to sway politicians to your side is to make them look good) but he is adequate. Where does he excell? Speaking to friends at the Workshop, we were told he is an "idea person," that he's good with the "big picture," that he has "vision." We're not disputing those claims but we will translate them for you.

The Children's Television Workshop struggled frequently as a non-profit (while producing outstanding program) and attempted to work away from the grant model that it started under. Investments (investments CTW made, not people investing in CTW) helped it in the seventies and eighties but money was always a problem. It's rather amazing how precarious the workshop's financial situation was in the 80s -- a decade known for home entertainment and creating the home entertainment library. Though efforts were made with computer games,somehow the workshop kept missing out when it came to the home video arena.

Knell supported efforts that would make Sesame Workshop independent, efforts which worked less well in the early days, before he was president and CEO. He was a strong advocate for licensing and, with his legal background, very good at structuring contracts so the workshop didn't end up with chump change. That was what repeatedly saw he advance at the workshop. He didn't come up with, for instance, the idea of licensing Elmo for the Mattel doll, but he made damn sure that if the merchandise turned into a windfall, Sesame Workshop saw a large portion of the profits. (Tickle Me Elmo was a best selling toy in 1996 and 1997 and remained a strong seller for many years after.)

By the time he'd advanced up the chain to president and CEO, there were multitudes of toys, videos, games, children's books, snacks, you name it. As a former CTW exec told us, "Not since Gloria Vanderbilt disgraced her family's good name has anyone gone so overboard stamping a brand on everything." And, in the process, Sesame Workshop raked in millions and millions.

We're surprised that POLITICO missed that part of the story because Hagey notes Senator Jim DeMint is an opponent of government funding for public television. But he forgets to note what DeMint is most famous for when it comes to arguing against funding. That would be a column he wrote:

Shows like Sesame Street are thriving, multimillion-dollar enterprises. According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 -- nearly a million dollars -- in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, Sesame Street made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales. Big Bird will be just fine without his federal subsidies.

The link goes to PolitiFact which finds that DeMint's numbers check out but wants to argue that doesn't mean "some services" might not be cut if they lost public funding. That reminds us an awful lot of a scene from Black Widow featuring Debra Winger as Alex, an FBI agent, and Theresa Russell as Catherine, a woman who marries rich men and kills them (script by Ronald Bass, directed by Bob Rafelson).

Alex: You really like those things?

Catherine: (Eating a purple mangosteen) My second husband was addicted.

Alex: Second husband? How many have you had?

Catherine: Lots. That's how I got rich.

Alex: Once wasn't enough to get rich.

Catherine: Rich is hard. You never really figure you're quite there.

Apparently not.

And Gary Knell got the message out to sell hard this pledge drive. But NPR's audience really isn't the same as the core audience for the Home Shopping Network. And someone should have thought to use a light touch.

Not Ira Glass who was smacking his lips in that annoying was to punctuate his lisps and gave NPR listeners shocking insight into what their 'friend' really thinks of them. "Don't chose the wrong side in this war!" barked NPR's own Tony Randall.

The war, Ira wanted you to know, was over whether you support NPR or not. And you could only be a supporter if you were a financial supporter. E-mails poured into The Common Ills all month noting this garbage. His Bully Boy dualism of you're-either-with-us-or-against-us was considered offensive in the best of times but outrageous with the country in the midst of The Great Recession.

And what was especially offensive were the phone calls Ira was making and playing over the airwaves. In one spot, he's told about this guy who said he was going to contribute to NPR and didn't.

He told NPR he was going to contribute? He made a pledge and didn't honor it?

No, he mentioned to one of his friends -- who turned out to be a kiss-ass fan of Ira's -- that he was going to contribute and didn't.

So Ira calls him and hounds him over the phone. Ira wants him to know that it takes money to do shows like This American Life. Actually, NPR could save a lot of money by not carrying those shows (PRI actually distributes This American Life -- on air, Ira refers to it as "NPR" and does the same with Terry Gross and other shows that a former NPR ombudsperson insisted to us should not be called "NPR programs"). That would certainly reduce the huge salaries people like Glass and Terry Gross currently receive. Strange that Ira didn't want to tell the man how much he made -- the man he was demanding money from.

In another spot, Ira was feeling sorry for Scott Simon (NPR reporter) and telling you that Scott needed money and if you didn't contribute Scott would be covering traffic and not news. It was one threat after another. And there's something deeply troubling about a request for money from an enterprise that already gets millions in which they're telling you if you contribute, they'll do the exact same thing they're doing now. In other words, "Give us your money. Or we'll stop working."

But the spot that really ticked off listeners was when Ira accessed a station's donor list, found out that someone hadn't donated since 2002 and called to harass the man. This did not build trust with listeners. As we noted at the top, when you donate to NPR, they ask you if you'd like to be thanked on air or not thereby implying a confidentiality to the relationship. At least until it turned out Ira had access to donor lists and can out whomever he wants on air.

Gary Knell may be smart about many things but this fundraiser demonstrates he's not smart about all things. NPR and its audience are currently in the rockiest relationship in NPR's history. That has to do with the reason the last CEO left, it has to do with the fundraising meeting that was taped by a conservative outlet and made public, it has to do with the nasty way that some on airs have taken to interviewing certain members of Congress, cutting them off in mid-sentence to toss a different question at them than the one they're trying to answer.

All of those were problems for NPR. And many stations just finished (or are finishing) an October pledge drive where NPR came off not needy but damn greedy. Bad enough their nonsense year after year about how you spend more for a cup of coffee each day (we don't drink coffee) and that money could go to NPR. But this go-round they had Ira Glass telling listeners to fork over their money to NPR because "this is a war" and you're either with NPR or you're against it. They had Ira hounding people who told friends they'd pledge but didn't. They had Ira calling up people who once donated to NPR but had not done so in a few years. It wasn't funny and it did not build trust between the listener and NPR. It was the equivalent of standing on the corner waiting for the traffic light to change and being yelled out by an angry vagrant demanding money. For an entity hoping to increase donations, that's bad business.

The Bronze Boob goes to . . .

The Bronze Boob was an award that we thought we'd retired. With a Boob in the White House, how do you top that?

Most week's it's hard. But then, last week, Antiwar Radio posted an interview of Scott Horton talking to Gareth Porter.

Gareth Porter hasn't just carried the water for Team Obama, he's washed their jock straps . . . in his mouth. This happened repeatedly in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, he showed a tiny bit of independence and we then came last week.

The Iraq War hasn't ended
. Negotiations continue for 'trainers' (though Moqtada's called for Nouri not to go to DC in December), the CIA will remain in Iraq, Special-Ops will remain in Iraq, and surrounding areas (especially Kuwait) are becoming staging areas, the massive US Embassy in Baghdad (and its satellites in Iraq) will house thousands including contractors and US military. But there was Gareth babbling away:

Well I know that this marks the end of the fiction that the United States could actually have a longterm presence in Iraq in -in Iraq which was of course the, uh, the aspiration of the Bush administration and then, you know, despite the campaign promise by Barack Obama, the national security state again prevailed on Obama to try to maintain a significant US military presence. Uh, they put a lot of pressue on him to do that. Uh, and in the middle of last year, 2010, it appeared that they had gotten the White House to go along with the scheme . . .

You know what's worse than that? Scott Horton agreeing. Scott Horton rushing to agree.

Gareth returned to mouth washing Barack's jock -- while Barack was wearing it.

It was never, you understand, Barack wanting this ("Really," C.I. asks. "Maybe it's time to note the infamous 2008 interview that the bulk of you assholes ignored? Maybe it's time to quote Barack's own words back toyou?"), he made his campaign promise and planned to keep it -- Gareth wants you to know -- but the national security state was pressuring Barack. That is so much garbage.

And then there's the claim that the US isn't going to be occupying Iraq. If it were only the Embassy in Baghdad, the US would still have a huge presence.

Let's drop back to October 12th, when the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations held a hearing and note part of the Subcommittee Chair's opening statement.

Chair Jason Chaffetz: To fill the void left by the Defense Department, the State Department will hire thousands of private contractors to complete the mission. In all, the State Department's footprint will balloon to approximately 17,000 personnel. And, according to the Government Accountability Office, the GAO, nearly 14,000 will be private contractors. These contractors will perform a wide range of tasks including life support services and logistics. They will also recover downed aircraft and personnel, dispose of ordnance and tranport personnel. State Department will also hire a private army of nearly 7500 security contractors to do everything from guarding the walls and gates to guarding VIP convoys and flying UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles]. While they will have the abilities of sense and warn of incoming ordnance, they will not have the ability to shoot it down. I find this puzzling. I'd like to discuss this further. So as the Defense Department winds down, the State Department is ramping up in what may be more of a political shell game than a drawdown of forces. When President Obama tells the American people that forces will be out of Iraq, I'm not sure the average American understands that the troops will be replaced with a private army of security contractors.

Gareth disgraced himself.

He won the dishonor of the Bronze Boob, he more than earned it.

Bronze Booby Prize

We'd say, "Latch onto a nipple and enjoy, Gareth," but we're sure he already has.

Radio Moment of the Week

We don't have to have a "Radio Moment of the Week." If we do have one, it doesn't have to be something good. Although, thus far, all of our "Radio Moment of the Week"s have highlighted some moment of truth you should catch, we could also be highlighting some embarrassment so bad you had to catch it.

Last week, Gareth Porter went on Antiwar Radio and disgraced himself with some of the worst Cult of St. Barack behavior of the year. For that we're giving him the Boob of the Week award. And we'd assumed we wouldn't have a radio moment.

In part because there was no serious look at the continuing Iraq War and occupation. Even Libertarain radio -- Antiwar Radio -- felt the need to march in step with Barry O. (This despite the strong work on Iraq John Glaser's been doing for It was really depressing as, yet again, we saw no outlet could be counted on. Too many people were feathering their nests or worrying about how to help Barack in 2012 or not paying attention.

And, yet again, another phase of the Iraq War would be sold to the American people, another set of lies.

a radio

So we were happy today to catch Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox where she and guest Chris Floyd laid down some realities about Barack's 'ending' of the Iraq War and 'all' troops coming 'home.' Excerpt.

Cindy Sheehan: And also, Barack Obama had a big speech the other day saying all the troops were coming home from Iraq and that's not even -- that's just a lie. That doesn't have any basis in reality, does it?

Chris Floyd: No, it doesn't have any. It's not even -- You're right. I mean, it's an overt lie. It's not even like some of them where they sort of shift around a little bit. It's like they're leaving thousands and thousands. I saw it just the other day. They admit that they're leaving thousands and thousands of armed men there under the one thing of the State Department security forces and they're also talking about the 'trainers' they're going to leave behind, the advisers they're going to leave behind. They're negotiating to do that. I mean, all of this is open-ended and it doesn't even begin to mention -- Glenn Greenwald wrote about this the other day -- all these Special Forces that we have operating in other countries anyway. You think they're not going to be operating in Iraq? So as I said the other day, at the very least, at the very least you'll have thousands and thousands of and maybe tens of thousands of troops in Iraq at the end of next year -- or let's say "armed men under US control" -- whether they're wearing an actual uniforms and have Pizza Huts in their bases or they're just walking the streets and killing people or they're helping the Iraqi forces kill people. It's just -- it's just as plain as the sun rising and setting. It's remarkable that not only can he say all of that with a straight face -- maybe he went back and laughed about it afterwards, I don't know how straight his face was -- but it's just again you'll have people accept it at face value, you'll have all these earnest debates and these long columns "What does it mean about the pull out of Obama?" and it's just not reality. It's like a hallucination or something.

In addition to the above, you'll get a discussion of Occupy Wall Street, Chris' thoughts on England (where he is currently) in terms of politics and journalism, Libya and much more. And click here to read Chris Floyd's writing about the shell game of Barack's Iraq speech.

The most important day of this week

Monday is Halloween. A few will think that's the most important day this week.

It isn't.

Need a hint?


Yes, that's Halloween candy.

But forget Monday night and remember Tuesday morning.

That's when the Halloween candy will be reduced at pharmacies and grocery stores and mega stores across the country. That will happen after midnight.

And in this economy, you can't wait until 5:00 pm Tuesday to grab that candy. Many stores will see all the good stuff (in other words, everything but Smarties) gone by noon on Tuesday.

Shop early.

Danny Dumptruck gets e-mails

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Last week, Danny Schechter announced that his e-mail account had been attacked. Which may or may not be true. Since 2008 especially, Danny's struggled with the truth. He then wrote a little passage that read like a dig at this site or Marcia or both suggesting that was the culprit.
Marcia called out his bulls**t. And she and many of the people commenting at her post, noted how dreary Danny's e-mails would no doubt be. Which got us thinking . . .

If indeed he was hacked, the hacker probably had to endure a lot of nonsense. We also offer how, if he was hacked (big if), it might have happened.

Dear Danny,
I am a chubby chaser of several decades. Your wide load is like J-Lo booty squared. Possibly even more than that. I think I am ready for your jelly. Are you ready for mine?
Size Triple XXX Big & Tall

Dear Size Triple XXX Big & Tall,
I must confess that I suspected your e-mail was a query for sex as I began reading it. In fact, I thought I had my first boner in years but, as I shifted, I realized that was just the car keys in my pocket, cutting into my leg. And then I got to your point about jelly. I'm a little disappointed, but I do like jelly. Is your jelly grape or strawberry?
Hungry for jelly,

Dear Mr. Schechter,
Your Lithium prescription has set at our store now for over two years. We have not refilled the prescription since you have not bothered to pick up the last one we filled. Please advise us on your plans.
WalGreens Pharmacy

Dear Danny,
You write like a very intelligent and wise man. I wish that I had your wisdom and insight. I wait excitedly to see what you will next cover. You are truly the only voice that matters. You are brave and, honestly, remind me a little of Mel Gibson in Bravehart. You are a gift to your generation and to the world. Greatness such as your own comes but once a lifetime.
Danny Schechter

Dear Mr. Schechter,
Thank you for your kind note. I sometimes worry someone will see these e-mails I send to myself and think I'm crazy. But sometimes I need a little pick me up and these e-mails are a way of making my day a little better. Nothing crazy about that, right?
Hugs and kisses,

Dear sir;
I have been asked to inquire as to your name for my client who is a wealthy Libyan recently injured in the conflict there. In addition, she has lung cancer and will not long last for. My client wishes to leave all his money to you. He has no living relations. If you are interested in $5 billion in US dollars, please contact us post haste. We will need: Your name, phone number, physical address, major credit card, bank name and address, PIN number, Social Security number and your mother's maiden name. Please, let us this transaction quickly conclude.
Buton Badhir, Esquire

Dear Mr. Badhir,
Thank you for your kind e-mail! I'm so thrilled to be receiving $5 billion! It's like winning the lottery! I'm sorry about the injury of the man or woman with lung cancer but I do appreaciate his or her money and will spend it only on necessary items such as a banana split bar for my bathroom. I've provided all the information you requested and attached it to this e-mail. Is there any chance we can conclude this by Wednesday? My ConEd bill's overdue and I've already received the Thursday cut-off notice.
Gratefully yours,
Danny Schechter.

Jim's World


Last Sunday, C.I. pitched a short feature on e-mail, specifically about how Yahoo should have something better than a "SPAM" button. Spam, C.I. argued, could be chain letters and advertising and similar stuff. But these non-stop e-mails attempting to trick you into believing that, for example, Yahoo had e-mailed you and needed your personal information including credit card number, etc., these are not spam e-mails, these are attempts at identity theft and Yahoo should have a way for Yahoo e-mail users to report them.

I agreed it was interesting but had a more ambitious idea and rammed that through, noting that C.I. had already pitched a topic we'd turn into two features ("Roundtable" and "Learning Conflict Resolution in Pre-K"). As the edition finally wound down, I knew I was wrong because my more ambitious piece fell apart and never could be translated into a cohesive piece.

Monday, I knew I was wrong as well. That's when Marcia called me about something an e-mail had given her a heads up on. As she wrote later that night, it appeared that Danny Schechter was blogging that we'd hacked his e-mail. If his e-mail was hacked, BIG IF, no we didn't do it. Marcia explains that at length.

'What an ass,' was my thought as Marcia read what he wrote over the phone to me.

And that's really all he is at this point.

It's a real shame he wasn't able to stand by the ethical code he preaced. Instead, he wants to lash out at others for being "holier-than-thou."

If it's holier-than-thou to live by what you say, then we're guilty. We don't see it as holier-than-thou, we just see it as walking it the way we talk it.

He had an attack in his attack. Declaring someone, apparently us, "animus-driven." I had no clue. I raised that Saturday night when we all got together (either in person here in California or over the phone) and C.I. explained it was Carl Jung and Elaine clarified that if Schecter was using the term correctly -- always a BIG IF -- then he was yet again demonstrating his sexism because he was accusing women of doing the hacking. Elaine exxplained, "It's a common mistake, if he wasn't trying to accuse a woman or women, made by people who want to sound like they know what they're talking about by tossing out the term when, in reality, they lack even basic working knowledge of the term. From what I've read of his [Danny Schechter's] writing, that could easily be him."


What I found especially hilarious is that Danny Schechter was a closed book here until he did that. I'd written a piece here and noted that C.I. wasn't going to help edit it. I'd written it in long hand and it was way too long. C.I. effectively killed the piece since it would require her or Ava to type (due to the fact that we were pressed for time and they are the fastest typists). And that was it. Danny was going to skate away free from his crimes.

Then he goes and does that little nasty slur.

Which means we'll not only explore what a hacker to Danny's account might find but we'll keep his fat ass on our radar and track him for some time to come.

"Unwilling to discuss or debate whatever differences we have," Danny moans in the piece Marcia called out. Let me be clear, Danny doesn't like to discuss or debate.

I have many, many times attempted to engage him over the years. Prior to 2007, Danny wrote this site having a fit over something that was up here and that he was really being a priss about. It had to be 100% praise or he would hit the roof. What had the little bitch so upset?

"Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature)." Ike Turner had passed away and a lot of men -- including Danny Schechter -- were attempting to put a happy face on spousal abuse. He beat Tina Turner over and over. Now, as women, Ava and C.I. were outraged. But also true, and noted here many times before that article was ever written, C.I. has known Tina Turner for years. (Ty's happiest family moment of the last ten years was in 2008 when he got to take his grandmother -- who raised him and was a huge Tina fan going all the way back to the 60s -- to see Tina live and C.I. got them backstage to meet Tina. "It's a moment she still talk about," Ty says of his grandmother.) If you ever thought for one moment that Ava and C.i. weren't going to respond to a column that suggested Tina could or should bury the hatchet with the man who tortured her, you're an idiot.

And Danny is an idiot. They didn't trash him personally in that column, they just explained how wrong he was. And the little bitch hit the roof with a nasty e-mail that I attempted to reply calmly to. And that ws it. he whimpered and whined. Never grasping that a woman who is beaten by a man never owes that man a damn thing.

He was beginning to come unhinged at this point. Things would get worse in his writing. At one point, I would e-mail him in 2008 asking him about the nonsense he was writing (Hillary was supreme evil, he would explain, and Barack was pure goodness) and he had brief bitchy reply. I had written about issues, specific issues, and the little bitch just wanted to be bitchy.

Then there's his e-mails to Ruth which I have read with Ruth's permission.

She was noting that this man who felt Tina owed Ike Turner and that she should have forgiven him, this man who attacked Katie Couric non-stop including calling her "Katey," this man who attacked Hillary and never once noted the sexist attacks against Hillary by the media, etc, Ruth was noting all of that at her blog when Danny showed up to whimper that he wasn't a sexist and why would she say those things about him? And couldn't they discuss this in e-mails instead of at her site?

In other words, as Ruth came to understand, shut up about me at your site.

He didn't want a conversation. He would write these epic e-mails with all these assertions that would take Ruth hours to disprove. When she'd documented it and replied, he would ignore all that and venture into new claims and then he just gave up.

He's a sexist pig.

That's all he's ever been, that's all he'll ever be.

I'd like to thank him for his false accusation. Without it, he'd be just another sorry ass hypocrite that we no longer read. Thanks to his false accusation, we'll now continuing criticizing him.

US really withdrawing from Iraq? (Gene Clancy, WW)

Repost from Workers World:

Is the U.S. really withdrawing from Iraq?

Published Oct 27, 2011 8:29 PM

President Barack Obama has said that all U.S. forces will be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, but this does not mean that the war is over, or that aggression against the Iraqi people has ended.

While it is true that the administration suffered a diplomatic rebuff on Oct. 21 when the Iraqi government refused to grant immunity from Iraqi law to U.S. military forces, the U.S. is working feverishly to continue the war through the use of military contractors, i.e., mercenary soldiers.

Obama’s announcement was greeted with joy on the streets of Baghdad, where people want nothing more than to be out from under the repressive U.S. occupation. But many have expressed a deep skepticism about U.S. intentions. “I believe that the full withdrawal will be only in the media but there must be secret deals with the Americans to keep some American forces or members of the American intelligence,” said Raja Jaidr, a resident of eastern Baghdad. “They won’t leave.” (Associated Press, Oct. 22)

These suspicions are well-founded. Despite assertions by the U.S. government that its military mission is complete, the fact is that their “mission” has been an almost complete disaster.

Since the invasion in 2003, 1 million members of the U.S. military have been deployed to Iraq, of whom 4,482 have been killed and 32,200 wounded. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been expended while former President George Bush’s promise to the ruling elites that Iraqi oil would more than pay for the war has gone unrealized.

For the Iraqi people the war has meant the almost total destruction of what was once one of the most progressive and prosperous countries of the Middle East. The war — and the economic sanctions which preceded it — killed millions, devastated the infrastructure and pushed back gains which had previously been made in the areas of women’s rights and religious tolerance.

A mercenary war

The U.S. is attempting to salvage some measure of success from its adventure by militarizing the State Department through the use of private contractors.

Under the new plan, about 16,000 personnel will be assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, about 1,700 of them diplomats, experts in fields such as business and agriculture and law enforcement officers, while around 5,000 will be security contractors to guard personnel and facilities including consulates, according to State Department figures.

The newly established Office of Security Cooperation in the Embassy will have a core staff of 160 civilians and uniformed military alongside 750 civilian contractors overseeing Pentagon assistance programs, including military training. They will be guarded, fed and housed by 3,500 additional contract personnel.

The Security Cooperation office will also operate out of 10 offices around the country, half of them shared with other Embassy personnel. The Embassy will have consulates in Basra, Irbil and Kirkuk. The State Department will provide Iraqi police training with its own personnel.

“What’s unusual is the scale and the militarization of the foreign service” as it oversees the thousands of security personnel, said David Newton, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 1984 to 1988. The agency will even run its own airline to shuttle staff around the country. “This is not the kind of thing that diplomats do,” he said. (Bloomberg Business Week, Oct. 22)

Spencer Ackerman of Wired Magazine has studied the State Department and concluded: “The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security does not have a promising record when it comes to managing its mercenaries. The 2007 Nisour Square shootings by State’s security contractors, in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed, marked one of the low points of the war. Now, State will be commanding a much larger security presence, the equivalent of a heavy combat brigade. In July, Danger Room exclusively reported that the State Department blocked the congressionally appointed watchdog for Iraq from acquiring basic information about contractor security operations, such as the contractors’ rules of engagement.” (Talking Points Memo, Oct. 21)

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the U.S. intends to use the State Department and its contractors as a means of continuing its aggression in Iraq. It may also be a means of making sure that U.S. personnel get immunity from Iraqi law for any crimes they may commit in the future.

Burn Pits

Burn pits have resulted in many service members and contractors being exposed to chemicals and toxins that have seriously harmed their bodies. The Senate Democratic Policy Committee held hearings on this issue when Byron Dorgan was the Chair of the DPC. Click here to go to the hearing archives page. A registry is something that Leroy and Rosita Lopez-Torres are now working on. It should be noted that were it not for US Senator Jim Webb, the nation would already have such a registery. In October 21, 2009, then-Senator Evan Bayh appeared before the US Senate Veterans Affairs Committee explaining the bill for a registry he was sponsoring, advocating for it.

I am here today to testify about a tragedy that took place in 2003 on the outskirts of Basra in Iraq. I am here on behalf of Lt Col James Gentry and the brave men and women who served under his command in the First Battalion, 152nd Infantry of the Indiana National Guard. I spoke with Lt Col Gentry by phone just this last week. Unfortunately, he is at home with his wife, Luanne, waging a vliant fight against terminal cancer. The Lt Col was a healthy man when he left for Iraq. Today, he is fighting for his life. Tragically, many of his men are facing their own bleak prognosis as a result of their exposure to sodium dichromate, one of the most lethal carcinogens in existence. The chemical is used as an anti-corrosive for pipes. It was strewn all over the water treatment facility guarded by the 152nd Infantry. More than 600 soldiers from Indiana, Oregon, West Virginia and South Carolina were exposed. One Indiana Guardsman has already died from lung disease and the Army has classified it as a service-related death. Dozens of the others have come forward with a range of serious-respiratory symptoms. [. . .] Mr. Chairman, today I would like to tell this Committee about S1779. It is legislation that I have written to ensure that we provide full and timely medical care to soldiers exposed to hazardous chemicals during wartime military service like those on the outskirts of Basra. The Health Care for Veterans Exposed to Chemical Hazards Act of 2009 is bipartisan legislation that has already been co-sponsored by Senators Lugar, Dorgan, Rockefeller, Byrd, Wyden and Merkley. With a CBO score of just $10 million, it is a bill with a modest cost but a critical objective: To enusre that we do right by America's soldiers exposed to toxic chemicals while defending our country. This bill is modeled after similar legislation that Congress approved in 1978 following the Agent Orange exposure in the Vietnam conflict.

An important bill but one that never got out of Committee. Iraq War veteran Leroy Torres and his wife Rosie Torres have continued to battle on behalf of veterans exposed to burn pits and contiuned to educate the nation on the issue. The Torres have a website entitled BURNPITS 360. They are also on Facebook. It's a personal issue, Capt Leroy Torres was exposed to the burn pit on Balad Airbase. They note that a member of Congress is working on the issue.

From: The Honorable W. Todd Akin
Dear Colleague;
Please sign on to be an original cosponsor to legislation that is important to our veterans.  Numerous veterans have suffered serious health problems after exposure to open burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. This legislation will establish a registry, similar to the Agent Orange Registry and the Gulf War Syndrome Registry.  This is the first step toward providing better care for veterans who have been affected by open burn pits.
This legislation is already supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Veterans (AMVETS) and the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).  And the issue of burn pits was recently reported on in the October 24th edition of USA Today (which can be found here)
This bill will also be introduced in a bipartisan/bicameral fashion with companion legislation being introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
This bill is scheduled to be introduced on November 3rd, so please contact my office soon to become an original cosponsor.
W. Todd Akin
Member of Congress


Rep. W. Todd Akin

Open Burn Pit Registry Act of 2011

Department of Veterans Affairs

Based on recent accounts of health maladies of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and a possible link to toxic fumes released in open burn pits it has become necessary to voluntarily track and account for these individuals. 
This registry will ensure that members of the Armed Forces who may have been exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes while serving overseas can be better informed regarding exposure and possible effects. This legislation
is modeled after legislation that created the Agent Orange Registry and the Gulf War Syndrome Registry.
As drafted, the purpose of the
Burn Pit Registry  (bill text found here) is to:
• Establish and maintain an open burn pit registry for those individuals who
may have been exposed during their military service;
• Include information in this registry that the Secretary of the VA determines applicable to possible health effects of this exposure;
• Develop a public information campaign to inform individuals about the
• Periodically notify members of the registry of significant developments associated with burn pit exposure.
In order to ensure that the Veterans Administration conducts the registry in the most effective manner, the legislation:
• Requires an assessment and report to Congress by an independent
scientific organization;
• This report contains an assessment of the effectiveness of the Secretary
of the VA to collect and maintain information as well as recommendations
to improve the collection and maintenance of this information;
• The report will also include recommendations regarding the most effective
means of addressing medical needs due to exposure;
• This report will be due to Congress no later than 18 months after the date
which the registry is established.
• CBO states that this registry would cost $2 million over 5 years
We learned from this country's issues with Agent Orange that the need to get
ahead of this issue is of paramount importance. 
The establishment of a burn pit registry will help the VA determine not only to what extent the ramifications of burn pits may have on service members but can also be of great use in information dissemination. 
If you have any questions please contact Rep. Akin's office at 5-2561 and speak
Visit the e-Dear Colleague Service to manage your subscription to the available
Issue and Party list(s).


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.

"Iraq snapshot" and "I Hate The War"-- most requested highlights by readers of this site.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Lovable?" -- Isaiah captured it perfectly: He campaigned as the anti-Bush but he keeps trying to out-Bush Bush.

"4 men and Psycho,""Brian De Palma," "Horror of Dracula," "empire of the ants," "The Haunting," "Mothra vs. Godzilla," "The Bad Seed," "Aliens," "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Omen" -- Rebecca, Betty, Ann, Trina, Ruth, Kat, Marcia, Stan, Elaine and Mike weigh in on horror movies.

"Dickless Alter's in love" and "THIS JUST IN! DICKLESS ALTER!" -- you don't get to the White House because you're a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout. So it's more than a little embarrassing that Jonathan Alter wanted to brag last week "no scandal" when (a) the White House has already had scandals in this term and (b) his gushing is an indictment of a media that's been unwilling to do its job.

"Chuck," "Another great episode of Whitney," "community," "Whitney" "4 Men, 2 Women," "Body of Proof," "Desperate Housewives," "community," "The Good Wife" and "Fringe" -- Betty, Rebecca, Marcia, Ann, Stan and Mike cover TV.

"Danny Schechter's latest drama," "Drama Queen Danny" and "THIS JUST IN! FATTY'S DRAMA!" -- Marcia, Cedric and Wally take on Fatty's Piss Pants Drama. What a loser.

"The Edwards Cess pool" -- Ruth continues her coverage of disgraced liar John Edwards.

""NO" on McGovern" -- Kat on a disappointment.

"Guantanamo" -- Elaine on the no-change Barack.

"Captain America" -- Stan goes to the movies.

"The Unity Campaign" -- Isaiah digs into the archives to remind us of 'uniter' Barack.

"Frittata in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a quick recipe for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinenr.

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