Sunday, April 01, 2012

Truest statement of the week

The struggle over the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare) is facilely cast as a battle between Left and Right. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A tussle between the dominant factions of the Democratic and Republican Parties it certainly is in a superficial and temporary way, until the kabuki politics of the presidential campaign is over. But a battle between Left and Right, it most assuredly is not. Obamacare is opposed by the Left, which has long sought Single-Payer (Medicare for All) as a proven way to universal and egalitarian coverage. But many Leftists have been too cowed by Democratic operatives or by Obama loyalists in their midst to speak their convictions. Now that silence has been shattered. Recently 50 physicians, all strong supporters of Single-Payer, along with the Left wing non-profits, Single Payer Action and It’s Our Economy, have joined conservative and libertarian opposition to Obamacare. They have submitted to the Supreme Court an amicus brief which is a dagger aimed at the noxious heart of Obamacare, the individual mandate which codifies in law the domination of the health care system by the insurance companies.

-- John V. Walsh, "Left Takes ObamaCare To Court -- Supreme Court" (Dissident Voice).

Truest statement of the week II

And, sadly partisan confusion dominates our airwaves as well. Of course, the right wing radio continues to attack Obama and confusingly calls a market-based, insurance-dominated health law socialism. But, sadly the “liberal” media sends out equal partisan confusion. We were able to go into Radio Row, where all the liberal radio outlets were interviewing “experts” on health care. The talking points, like in the conversation, were repeated and repeated. When one radio host wanted to interview me, really debate me since he was a Democratic apologist, I sat down. An organizer in the room asked the host to speak with her. She came back and told me I had to leave. This was private property and only people allowed to be here were allowed to be here. I explained I was invited by a station to be interviewed. She explained: “I tell them who to interview. The stations have slots and we fill them.” I asked: “Do you mean only people who support Obama can be interviewed.” She explained “The Republicans do it to.”

So, partisan confusion reigns and it permeates the airwaves leaving many people confused. We need to clear the FOG (Forces Of Greed) and get the truth on the air.

Despite all this supermajorities of Americans have consistently supported single payer, whether inaccurately called socialism or correctly described as “Medicare for all” 60% or more support it. Why? For the same reason that the great salesman President Obama and his superb marketing team have been unable to sell forced purchase of health insurance: Every family, business whether large or small; and every doctor or other health care provider have suffered insurance abuse. Two thirds of those who go bankrupt from a health problem have health insurance. The American experience is that health insurance is expensive, provides inadequate coverage and tries to avoid paying for health care. We all know this. So, no matter what the politicians say – Americans do not trust the health insurance industry.

-- Kevin Zeese, "Partisan Confusion: Outside the Supreme Court While the Health Insurance Mandate is Debated" (Dissident Voice).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another 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),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
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?

John V. Walsh gets another (this may be his first this year).
Kevin Zeese gets his first truest ever.

A very important editorial. The summit was a failure for Iraq on every level. We walk you through. We have to because so many chose to whore.

Ava and C.I.'s epic piece on the state of cable nation. We begged for this piece starting last Sunday. They again say thank you to Wally's grandfather for getting the 9-11 call records and faxing them. This is one of those pieces that really goes to why this site exists.

Why are Amy's Kitchen products always higher in calories than other vegetarian and vegan dishes?

It appears another war is again upon us.

On the big screen TV, Jess and Ty had just started Scenes of the Crime and were laughing at the director having the woman engaged in sex grab the bed post to imply orgasm. Ava and C.I. were transcribing the interview Hillary gave ABC News and had paused it online. Jess and Ty happened to look over at the laptop screen, where Hillary was paused, and couldn't stop laughing. That's how we got this short feature.

George Galloway won. And we agree with Dianne Abbott as to why.

Law and Disorder Radio explained a secret trial is taking place in the United States.

A short feature because so many of us have become fans of The Firm.

A Congressional moment that you may have missed.

Press release from the Michigan Green Party.

A repost from Workers World.

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

And that's what we came up with.


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

Editorial: Successful summit for Iraq?

Oh how the whores turned out to spin and lie on Friday, insisting that Iraq's hosting of the Arab League summit was a success. By what standards?

arab league summit

They offered no standards for success because they had none. Whores don't have standards, they just have infections and communicable diseases.

The aim of the summit, as far as the US and other western governments were concerned, was to get cover for war on Syria. Success? Nope, they didn't get it. In fact, Hannah Allam and Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) observed, "Arab leaders who gathered Thursday in Baghdad broke no new ground on Syria or other regional crises [. . .]"

Well at least the leaders of Arab countries all came together in Baghdad, right? Woops. There are 22 members of the Arab League. Hamza Hendawi and Lara Jakes (AP) reported that the number of Arab League leaders who attended at 10. That's not even half. No, that's not a success. Yussef Hamza (The National) offers, "Iraq has looked to the summit, the first it has hosted in a generation, to signal its emergence from years of turmoil, American occupation and isolation. It wanted the summit to herald its return to the Arab fold. But the large number of absentees told a different story." And Al Mada reported Thursday morning that the Iraqi public and Parliament would be judging the summit a success or not based upon whether the leaders turned out for the summit. So, no, not a success.

Among those leaders not attending was the Prime Minister of Qatar. Patrick Martin (Globe & Mail) reported that the Prime Minister, Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani, declared on television that Qatar's "low level of representation" was meant to send "a 'message' to Iraq' majority Shiites to stop what he called the marginalization of its minority Sunnis."

As was usual for any gathering, the Iraq government pressed to be removed from the United Nations Security Council's Chapter XII. As was usual for any such request, nothing happened. No, that's not a success.

Okay, well Nouri al-Maliki, he's the prime minister of Iraq. At least he came off like a statesman, right? No. As explained in Thursday's "Iraq snapshot:"

Today, Dr. Nabil El Araby, the Arab League Secretary-General, opened the summit with an address where he thanked Iraq and the Iraqi people for their warm welcome and congratulated Iraqi President Jalal Talabani for hosting and presiding over the 23rd Arab League Summit and congratulated the government on their preparation work for the summit. He also thanked the officials from Libya for their hard work on the 22nd summit. He discussed how he assumed his office last July and how his vision for the Arab League was one of reform and development. It was a positive speech, emphasizing the accomplishments within the Arab world and fostering a sense of common purpose, a sense of higher purpose. It was the perfect speech to kick off a summit. (PDF format warning -- Click here for the speech in full.) And it is exactly the sort of speech Nouri al-Maliki should hav given on Wednesday but couldn't because he knows only one note: ominous in B flat.

Well maybe Iraq (and others) used the summit to welcome the 21st century? Nope, McClatchy Newspapers' Hannah Allam Tweeted on the absence of women:

Hannah Allam
HannahAllam @samdagher Yes, saw her, too. And one other. But don't think we've heard a single woman's voice this whole mtg, no? Obviously wldnt today.
Hannah Allam
HannahAllam Very, very, very few women in that huge hall of Arab leaders. #ALIraq

Well it was safe! Baghdad was safe and free of violence. Liz Sly, Aziz Alwan and Asaad Majeed (Washington Post) report, "The blast at the Iranian Embassy undermined the government’s boasts that it had managed to pull off the summit without incident, although it would have gone unheard in the conference room deep inside the vast palace. Zebari and Elaraby both seemed surprised when asked about it by a journalist." In addition, they shut down traffic, closed Baghdad International Airport, declared a week long holiday, outlawed protests and gatherings, put up barricades, added 100,000 additional security forces and took down cell phone service. Gulf News pbserved, "In addition, the idea that fortified areas such as the Green Zone can exist is also not the solution. As a matter of fact, the very existence of such isolated and protected enclaves proves that there is much to be done to ensure stability and peace."

And then there were the Iraqi people. Watching as their government which wouldn't provide basic services to them finally found a ton of cash to spruce up Baghdad and put on the dog for foreigners. Sam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) explains, "It spent almost $1 billion on preparations that included unprecedented security measures -- jamming cellphone networks and mobilizing 100,000 security-force members -- and rolling out a catered menu for dignitaries that featured a dessert of 24-carat-gold-laced dates." And the people suffered. In the days ahead of the summit, central markets saw food prices soar as people stocked up in advance already dealing with two hour and four hour delays in getting around Baghdad due to the additional security checkpoints.

CNN's Arwa Damon Tweeted on the reactions of Baghdad dwellers to the summit:

arwaCNN "We wasted lot of $$, it was inconvenient...but i guess its good 4 politics, maybe something will come of it" #baghdad resident on #ALiraq
arwaCNN "Shame on #iraq government, they have been preparing plan 2 secure arab leaders leaving iraqis w/no protection" #baghdad resident on #ALiraq
arwaCNN "Is this the time for this? spending all this money? when people R living in misery & poverty & with no power?" #iraq resident on #ALiraq
And the obvious was pointed out. "Had this money gone to the people in need for housing or other needs, it would have at least raised the living standard of people from the lower class to at least the middle class," declared Iraqi Abul Assal in Kelly McEvers report for All Things Considered (NPR).

Calling the Arab League summit a success for Iraq required a lot of whoring. And a lot of silence. So Jane Arraf and the other Western journalists looked the other way as Nouri al-Maliki targeted Iraq's Communist Party. From Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot:"

We'll close by noting the disturbing news of the day and news that wasn't picked up and front paged but should have been. Nouri al-Maliki is now going after Iraq's Communist Party. Al Mada reports that Nouri's security forces stormed the political party's headquarters and arrested 12 people who were arrested and questioned about protests. Ali Hussein (Al Mada) notes the Communist Party has a long history of fighting for Iraq, not against it. Hussein reports that Nouri's tanks have been sent to surround the homes of Communist Party members in Baghdad. Those who paid attention in December will remember that Nouri ordered tanks to circle the homes of Iraqiya members right before he demanded that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his posts and ordered the arrest of Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges of terrorism. Both al-Mutlaq and al-Hashemi are members of Iraqiya as well as Sunnis. Ali Hussein notes that Nouri also ordered tanks to circle the homes of Communist Party members last year.

The Iraq Communist Party Tweeted, "Iraqi Communist Party condemns raid of its newspaper headquarters by security forces." They state that the raid took place late in the evening Monday and that their headquarters were ransacked by federal police who entered claiming that they were doing a sweep of the area for the Arab League Summit. An old weapon ("piece of junk") was on the roof and they used this as a pretext to arrest 12 of the people who were held overnight and only released after they signed documents -- documents they were forced to sign while blindfolded. While they were held, the federal police returned to the now empty headquarters and ransacked the place. The Community Party condemns the attack and notes that the 78th anniversary of the Iraq Communist Party is approaching.

But Jane Arraf didn't report it in The Christian Science Monitor, nor did Lara Jakes put it out on the AP wire, Reuters didn't touch it, The Washington Post wasn't interested, McClatchy Newspapers was AWOL on the story, all down the food chaing, the western media didn't give a damn.

And yet so many of them then wanted to hail the summit as a success for Iraq?

As Winona Ryder says in Reality Bites, "You're bravado is embarrassing."

TV: Cable Nation's New Model

Keith Olbermann has burned another bridge. On Friday came news that Current TV had fired him. Charges were tossed back and forth over the last few days and a big lawsuit is currently expected. Several friends assumed we'd be rejoicing and were surprised when their phone calls were met with yawns on our part.

new tv

Keith Olbermann is a sexist pig and we've spent years calling him -- and those who enable him -- out. We last wrote of the diva in June of 2011 ("TV: The Fawning") and like any rational person covering TV, we knew he would be off Current TV in less than a year. But it's hard to do a jig or dance of joy when his departures no longer matter -- not when the spawn of his seed carry on his work across the cable nation.

Never a widely popular brand but always an immensely copied one, Olbermann and all he spawned can be seen as driving the 'genteel' (by comparison) Larry King and others off the airwaves. Though Keith Olbermann would prefer to be seen as an original, he's a copy himself, a negative photo copy of Bill O'Reilly of Fox News.

We don't clutch the pearls, so Keith adopting Bill's shrill tone never bothered us one bit. His inability to stick to the facts did. At first he rivaled Bill in the fact-free department but he quickly surpassed O'Reilly and the Fox News host was left looking like a fact checker by comparison.

There was a time in the late 90s, after Hillary Clinton had accurately spoken of "the vast right-wing conspiracy," that a lot of talk and space were turned over to the need for the left to develop their own media to get the facts out.

Looking back, it's so obvious that was never going to happen.

It was at this time that right-wing hitman David Brock was in the midst of his conversion phase. He would go on to lead Media Matters which would morph into something other than a fact checker, something far removed from facts. When he would tell his story, we hoped people would respond to the horror of it, the lying about people, the lying to people, the never-ending deception.

Then along came Air America Radio. Centrist at the start but at least Lizz Winstead was listened to and the point was to inform and entertain. Following Al Franken's departure for the Senate, the goal of Air America Radio became to indoctrinate. Information and entertainment were out the window and never ending screeds were broadcast near constantly.

"You wanna know what I think?" is what a news producer at NBC, a friend, called that programming. And maybe for a week or two you do. For about that long, you may be interested. But after two weeks, unless you're sleeping with the person, do you really care that much what they think?

With the Lizz Winstead model, the hope was that by providing information and entertainment, press lies could be combatted and overcome. That Air America really was about a smarter listener. The never ending rants were about indoctrination and, let's be honest, on airs' huge egos.

At that point, MSNBC and Air America Radio were hand-in-hand. Hand-in-hand? Hell, they were two identical twins dry humping one another to the shock of all around them.

Air America Radio ran off listeners at an alarming rate. (They can delude themselves that, having indoctrinated a listener, they then lost him or her as he ran out into the streets to indoctrinate the masses.) And then it went belly up. Several friends with NBC News feel the same fate awaits MSNBC with its current evening and nightly line up.

MSNBC became a mirror copy of Fox News. Gone were the notions of getting the truth out, up went the need to silence debate and facts. (Most recently, Kat's BFF Kevin Zeese reported he was kicked off radio row in DC because he wasn't going to parrot the Democratic Party message. When he stated he had been invited by a radio host who wanted to interview him, the Democratic Party operative told him he was leaving and that, "I tell them who to interview.") They are not about news, they are not about information. They are the James Carville War Room, 24 hours, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, year after year. Campaign spin passed off as news. Issues picked up or tossed aside depending solely on whether they think their candidate will benefit from America noticing whatever event.

Monday, this went up at The Common Ills:

One visitor has been lobbying in the public e-mail account repeatedly since Saturday morning for us to include the death of Shaima Alawadi. No, thank you. In this morning's four e-mails, the visitor argues that surely the Iraqi press must be covering the woman's death. They are. Here for Al Mada. They're also covering that Omar Sharif's grandson "admits" he's gay and half-Jewish. We're not going to be devoting space to that story either. For those who don't know, the woman is an Iraqi-American who came to the US in the early 90s. She was beaten and she's died. That's what's known. The coverage is a bunch of items that are speculation. And inflated outrage. It allows people to pretend they care about an issue, these momentary topics that flare up every few months. But they don't really have much to do with news. To be clear, her death is tragic, unfortunate and all too common for women in the US and around the world. However, nothing is known. When we covered the Iraqi woman run down in the US, killed by her own father, there were eye witnesses and that was a story the media didn't want to touch. This isn't any such story. The media has portrayed it as 'killed by an outsider who hates foreigners' and that is easy to cover, no real risk to anyone and allows everyone to mount their soapboxes. I'm sure there's already a Facebook outrage page for the woman, there are not, however, any real facts about who killed her or why.

When facts are in short supply, the likes of Fox News and MSNBC don't hesitate to 'create' facts, to 'improve' on them and to render real facts invisible. Cable 'news' is nothing but severe indigestion -- in other words, lots and lots of gas.

And, oh, how quickly the gas baggery turns into modern day vigilantes.

For weeks now, they've avoided real stories that effect people's lives to do the cheapest broadcast possible: Gas bag, gas bag, gas bag.

If you missed it, March news and 'news' has been all about the February 26th shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by 28-year-old George Zimmerman. African-American Martin was on an evening candy run, Hispanic Zimmerman was doing a neighborhood watch.

Other than that that, there's been never ending speculation.

One of the few voices of reason in the whole coverage has been Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler. He's noted problems in the coverage and problems with the claims.

In doing so, he's frequently asked about Zimmerman's calls to 9-11 since that's a detail that changes constantly and supposedly a telling one. Last Tuesday, Somerby noted the following claims on numbers:

* Lizette Alvarez reported for The New York Times that Zimmerman called 9-11 46 times "in the last 14 months"
The Orlando Sentinel said he called 46 "in the past 15 months"
* CNN said 46 "since 2001"

* AP said 46 "since 2004"
Washington Post said 46 times "since 2004"

Who's right, who's wrong? First, thank you to Wally's grandfather who went to the police department for us, got the record of the 9-11 calls and faxed them to us. We count 46 calls. The New York Times and The Orlando Sentinel are wrong. CNN is 'kind of' right and AP and The Washington Post are exactly right. There are 46 calls and the first call documented is in 2004. Since there's no record of any calls prior to 2004, presumably none were made which would make CNN right. But why they would go with 2001 when the records show the first call was August 12, 2004, we have no idea.

Somerby notes the NAACP's Ben Jealous told Meet The Press (NBC) that the police should have known Zimmerman should be behind bars because he was "somebody who they had talked to 46 times in 56 days. I mean, they should have known something was off with this guy, when he called the cops 46 times just this year." Ben Jealous is wrong and helps no one by repeating 'facts' that are not, in fact, facts. Somerby noted Goldie Taylor told CNN's Don Lemon that Zimmerman had called 911 46 times since the start of this year. She apparently thought she could lie easily. Lemon 'corrected' her that it was 46 times in 1 year (again, it was 46 times from 2004 to last month) and she insisted, "In any jurisdiction, even 46 times in a year, two years, make that five years, that person would have been named a nuisance caller."

Goldie Taylor may have made the mistake of reading Frances Robles' report for The Miami Herald where that claim is made -- and despite being published on March 17th, the claim has never been corrected in the article.

Goldie Taylor's wrong all on her own about X number of calls to 9-11 leading to you being ruled "a nuisance caller."

Where does these people live? All these experts?

One of the things we did last week, in the surrounding areas of DC, was ask people (including police officers) about neighborhood watches. If you're doing a neighborhood watch and see something, the police want you to call.

If you're going to say someone's a nuisance caller -- wrongly say that, then you should probably know what they were calling about. In the calls, we see loose dogs (a pit bull), we see fire alarms going off, pool and club house use (often loud) after both are apparently supposed to be closed, etc. (We also see that sometimes Zimmerman didn't give his name.) Race doesn't figure into most of the reports.

Race pops up the first time in a June 24, 2007 call when three males are attempting to open a car with a slim jim -- 2 Hispanics, 1 White is how the report reads. In 2011, it pops up again with
two 9-11 calls -- one on 2 Black men, one on 1 Black man. In 2012, there are two calls where the person that's concerned Zimmerman is Black. So that's five calls where race was noted. One of the 2012 calls is Zimmerman's call about Trayvon Martin and, as we all should know after NBC edited that 9-11 call, the 9-11 operator asked Zimmerman about race. Presumably, such a question was asked in the other four calls. And presumably, it was asked throughout and not noted in the report when it was only a White person or two or more only White people. Asking about the race isn't racism, the operator is attempting to get a description to supply the officer(s) dispatched with. However, the police not including race identification in the bulk of the reports may indicate some sort of bias (or may not).

In the 9-11 call on Martin, the police tell Zimmerman that they don't "need" him to follow Martin. They don't say, "Don't do that" -- despite cable claims that he was told to stop. In the bad Miami Herald article we noted earlier, Wendy Dorival pops up, the "police volunteer program coordiantor," who insists that, in a September 2011 presentation that Zimmerman was one of the attendees of, "I said, 'If it's someone you don't recognize call us. We'll figure it out.'" That's not telling someone, "Don't follow." She also states she said, "Observe from a safe location." Again, that's not telling someone, "Don't Follow." "There's even a slide," she insists, "about not being vigilante police. I don't know how many more times I can repeat it."

She can't repeat it because she hasn't once said it.

There are a number of ways this could play out in court. Two possibilities are that Zimmerman is found guilty or that Zimmerman is found not guilty. (A hung jury is another possibility.) If it's either of the first two, Martin's parents should consider suing the police.

They never told Zimmerman not to follow Martin. Wendy Dorival and her little slide show didn't tell Zimmerman not to follow.

Most importantly, Wendy Dorival may have been criminally negligent. As the police volunteer program coordinator -- especially as one who insists that you don't follow a suspect (that "you don't recognize") -- she should have been getting points across. Her little teach-in of September 2011 doesn't cut it.

It especially doesn't cut it as we read over the record of the 9-11 call Zimmerman made April 22, 2011. As it's recorded, it appears Zimmerman is following someone he finds suspicious while the police are on the line. Hopefully, the 9-11 operator told him not to. But that the record exists should have meant that Wendy Dorival was aware of it. And it should have meant -- if indeed there is a no-follow policy -- that Dorival was immediately meeting with Zimmerman -- one-on-one, not some slide show seminar -- to discuss what happened and explain why it shouldn't.

Again, the Martins could have a case for criminal negligence because it appears the police -- which wants to insist that you don't follow if you're neighborhood watch -- had a record suggesting Zimmerman did just that and yet there was no follow up done by the "police volunteer program coordinator."

There were a lot of details in the 9-11 call logs. Others might interpret them differently or find other elements key. That's fine. We're offering our take on them. But we had to wonder, reading over them and thinking of all the claims put forward on TV about Zimmerman and the 9-11 calls, had most bothered with reading them? Judging by their statements on air, they hadn't.

Tuesday, Bob Somerby was noting MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell's on air claim that, "I feel like a prosecutor tonight. I better dress like a prosecutor. And -- and you know, that's the way I'm feeling about it." Somerby rightly felt O'Donnell was departing from journalism as evidence by that statement. While we agree that O'Donnell's a lousy TV host, we'd go further, he's a lousy pretend prosecutor. A good prosecutor -- real or pretend -- would have familiarized him or herself with the evidence and, yes, that would include the 9-11 calls.

More ridiculous than O'Donnell (yes, it is possible) would be Al Shaprton. As an NBC reporter asked us last week, "How does the network justify Sharpton leading protests demanding Zimmerman be arrested and convicted while at the same time hosting and covering a program each night that explores the Martin killing?"

That's a damn good question.

Anyone who caught clips of Sharpton yelling into the microphone at a rally, demanding Zimmerman be put away, suffers no delusions that Al Sharpton is impartial and why MSNBC is allowing him to use his nightly hour to cover this case is one for a journalistic ethics committee.

In fairness to Sharpton, he's got no training in journalism.

These are the children of Keith Olbermann.

And before you say, "Well Current TV was right to drop him," you might consider that Current TV is no better than MSNBC. For all of Al Gore's lofty claims (and journalistic background -- he actually is a trained journalist) and talk of the need for facts, Current TV is a cesspool overflowing with ignorance.

We watched the programming. The typical original 'news' programming last week, from Current TV stressed the Martin shooting. And the March 28th episode of The Young Turks was fairly typical of what the network offered all week.

There was Cenk Uygur -- a joyous Cenk -- fanning the flames of racism with the highly uninformed law professor Jody David Armour.

Cenk Uygur: So are you saying that race could be part of the defense?

Jody David Armour: No question.

Cenk Uygur: So -- so [Laughter] Oh, this is beautiful. So Zimmerman can say since he was Black I had a reasonable expectation that he might do me harm.

Jody David Armour: He wouldn't have to say that explicitly but he will subtly get that in. He will have -- He can just point out to the jury, "Look at the person who was approaching me, look at the hood over his head, where have you seen hoods like that before? In grainy film where people are holding up stores and the like." So when an ordinary person -- that's the reasonable person test -- an ordinary person in my situation would have feared for his life when he looked at this Black, young person -- you'll consider gender, you'll consider age, you'll consdier race. "Somebody dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit you're going to treat differently than somebody in a hoodie," is what he's going to say.

Really, is that what's he's going to say?

Strange because there's yet to be charges filed, let alone a court date set but Jody David Armour
already 'knows' that Zimmerman will represent himself.

As any educated law professor knows, Zimmerman -- or anyone -- would have to self-represent to speak to the jury during a trial. The defendant is not allowed to address the jury. Even if he takes the stand, a witness is not allowed to address the jury. A witness responds to the judge and the attorneys. Only the judge can address the jury throughout the trial. Opposing counsels get to address the jury twice -- in opening statements and in summations.

Believe it or not, even Jody David Armour knows that. However, you can't demonize Zimmerman for something his attorney does and demonization is all this cable trial has been about. A witch hunt.

It's so very telling that the cable nation decries Zimmerman for vigilantism but they're practicing it themselves.

They have made themselves judge and jury. They know what happened (Martin murdered in cold blood) and they know why (racism) and they can't understand not just why Zimmerman's not been charged but also that you don't start calling for a conviction. You are not the law.

And it's really sad to see the crazy on display. To see the frothing at the mouth and, especially with Cenk, the enjoyment. If you don't know, there's nothing more fun and emotionally elevating than to call someone else a racist. Doesn't matter if it's true or not, you'll still catch the same giddy high.

And that's all the cable nation has offered us: cries of racism presented as fact when they may or may not be. Zimmerman presented as guilty in the same way Wen Ho Lee was wrongly presented or Richard Jewell was wrongly presented or . . . You get the idea.

No, Lawrence O'Donnell, journalists aren't supposed to be prosecutors. But hour long blocks of speculation aren't supposed to be billed as "news" or "public affairs programming."

What they are is gossip. The gossip mavens of today, these children of Olbermann, picked that up from their Deadbeat Daddy as well. Whenever time permitted (very often, actually), Olbermann would break away from news to attack Paris Hilton or a beauty queen. As the cable nation chases its own tail, how fitting that Keith Olbermann flames out again. It's as if the Idiot Box is saying, "After Cenk Uygur disgraced himself and Current TV with the monologue praising Al Sharpton for covering the case on TV (that coverage is filled with multiple errors including the false claim by Sharpton that the police didn't take Zimmerman's gun) and leading the rallies, we have reached the point where we have surpassed Olbermann and rendered him obsolete."

And facts are rendered obsolete. At this point, it is not known why Martin was shot. Zimmerman may have shot him out of racism, out of hatred for teenagers or any other malice. Or Zimmerman may have a reason -- maybe even a solid reason -- for the shooting. We don't know. But conjecture and speculation reign supreme in Cable Nation. This morning on NPR's Weekend Edition, Eric Deggans offered a very mild critique of the coverage but even he had to note:

Unfortunately, what's also happened is that people have a lot of other discussions they want to have. They want to talk about the demonization of young black men, undue suspicion cast on people of color when they're in certain neighborhoods. They want to talk about how the police investigate crimes involving people of color and they're sort of piling all of these issues on top of a very specific incident that people are trying to get to the truth of. And I think sometimes that clouds the issue and makes it hard for us to figure out exactly what's going on.

From The TESR Test Kitchen

Does food have to be fattening to taste good?

Most of us would say, "Yes! And the more fattening, the better tasting." But then there's our Jess, raised vegan. He's never tasted meat.

So he eats healthy foods. Or does he?

Amy's Kitchen is organic and all the things that are supposed to be so good for you.

But what's up with the calories, Amy?

Veggie burgers were the plan to celebrate spring.

And we grabbed Amy's Kitchen's California Veggie Burger only to wonder about the 150 calories?

amys kitchen

Gardenburger's Veggie Medley offered up only 100 calorie per patty.

Upon cooking them, we learned that Gardenburger also tasted better.

And we then looked at the calories for other Amy's Kitchen products. Whether it was pizza or soup, Amy's Kitchen always had more calories than any other vegetarian competitor. And, as Dona pointed out, on at least one item, even non-vegetarian Banquet beats it.

A Banquet Turkey Pot Pie is 410 calories -- that is a lot. But Amy's Kitchen's Vegetable Pot Pie is 420 calories and the Broccoli With Cheddar Cheese Sauce has 460 calories.

We're more than a little confused as to how 'healthy' food can have more calories than its meat equivalent from Banquet.

Choose your bed partners wisely

funding terrorism

Yes, it appears to be time for war on Syria.

President Barack Obama is in his fourth year of office and has damn little to show for it. The nightmare that is ObamaCare is before the Supreme Court. It may be overturned and it's what he's repeatedly pointed to as an accomplishment. The other thing he can't shut up about, being the Mouser President, is the death of bin Laden.

For those who've forgotten, Barack Obama did not capture bin Laden nor did he kill bin Laden. Barack was in DC watching (or not, depending upon the source) it on closed circuit TV.

mouser and glory hog

But damned if he didn't then and continue to now pretend like he had accomplished something with his own bare, well tended hands.

And where's the glory in that kill? If bin Laden was still a threat (hiding out in Pakistan for over a decade calls that into question), then he had information. Even if he wasn't a threat, he had information. Why wasn't he captured and interrogated? Why wasn't he put on trial?

As Amnesty International noted:

US officials have said that five people were killed and two women were injured – one of whom was identified as bin Laden’s wife – and that at the end of the operation the injured women were left at the compound along with at least six children.
CIA Director Leon Panetta said on 3 May that US forces had full authority to kill Osama bin Laden but that they were to capture him if he had surrendered.
The White House has said that Osama Bin Laden was unarmed but resisted capture.
"Given that he was not armed, it is not clear how he resisted arrest and whether an attempt was made to capture him rather than kill him,” said Claudio Cordone.
"Amnesty International believes that US forces should have attempted to capture Osama bin Laden alive in order to bring him to trial if he was unarmed and posing no immediate threat."

The alleged professor of Constitutional Law showed no respect for the rule of law. He acted like a mafia don, even. And now he thinks this is something to be proud of? And his sycophants act like he did something amazing.

The same way they pretend the unconstitutional Libyan War was actually legal.

With nothing else left, he appears to think the answer to increase his popularity is war. How very Bully Boy Bush of him. Over the last months, the only question has been would Iran or Syria be his Mystery Date?

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told ABC News today
, "We think [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad must go. The sooner the better for everyone concerned. [. . .] There has to be a timeline. It can't go indefinitely. And we're not standing still as you saw coming out of the meeting here in Istanbul."

Clinton spoke of providing assistance -- including "technical" to the so-called Free Syrian Army. This morning David Ignatius spoke with Rachel Martin (NPR's Weekend Edition -- link is text and audio) about this group:

This Free Syrian Army, as it calls itself, really is a pretty motley group and the Syrian opposition has tended to be localized, city by city, not organized in a national fashion. So, if you were going to proceed with ideas for a military solution, the first thing you'd have to do is give these people some training. Where would you do that? Would you pull them out of the country, would you create a zone inside the country where they can be trained? If you did that, you'd have to take out the Syrian air defenses. And then you get into the whole series of complicated questions in the United States about whether we want to get into another war in this part of the world. Clearly, the answer today is no, but the U.S. is being pushed in that direction.

And, as The Institute for the Study of War pointed out, "The emergence of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist cells working against the regime poses risks to the United States and a challenge to those calling for material support of the armed opposition." RT reported in February:
The US spy chief has told the Congress President Bashar Al-Assad is fighting against Al-Qaeda of Iraq. James Clapper is the first top US official to acknowledge US might indirectly support insurgents. ­Since December there have been Bombings in Damascus and Aleppo that "had all the earmarks of an Al-Qaeda like attack," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. He added that Syrian opposition groups, fighting against the existing regime of President al-Assad may have been infiltrated by Al-Qaida. “However likely without their knowledge”, he said. Clapper said the lack of a unified opposition group could leave a power vacuum that extremists could fill if the Syrian government falls, a potential development he called "troubling."

And now Barack, in a desperate attempt to win re-election, is ready to get in bed with al Qaeda in Iraq.

Illustrations are Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts' "Funding Terrorists" and "The Mouser and Glory Hog."

We won't have what she's having

Hillary Clinton

Speaking to ABC News this morning about war on Syria, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to have an orgasm or orgasms as she contemplated death and destruction.

Surprise victory of the week

George Galloway Tweeted, "Nick Cohen, David Aaronovitch . . . EAT your treacherous hearts out. I WON! #bradfordwest."

george galloway

He had every reason to be thrilled. While Tony Blair was facing more Iraq War revelations, Galloway, the man Labour kicked out, had a triumph. Eddie Buckle and Robert Hutton (Bloomberg News) noted that he won 56% of the vote and was re-elected despite predictions that he would lose. Anindya Bhattacharyya (Great Britian's Socialist Worker) added, "George Galloway has pulled off a spectacular political comeback by winning Thursday's Bradford West parliamentary by-election by a landslide." Nicholas Watt (Guardian) reports:

Ed Miliband was facing renewed criticism of his leadership of the Labour party after George Galloway swept back into parliament, achieving one of the greatest byelection upsets in recent history.
As Miliband said he would learn the lessons from the defeat in Bradford West, the shadow public health minister, Diane Abbott, said Labour had underestimated the popularity of Galloway and the Iraq war remained "unforgotten and unforgiven".

The US government's secret trial

Law and Disorder Radio

Last week on Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights), Michael Ratner explained how the US government is conducting a secret trial.

Michael Smith: I want to ask you about Bradley Manning. I know you've been down in Fort Mead observing the proceedings -- the legal proceedings that the US military is using against him. Give us an update on that.

Michael Ratner: Last week, I again went to some of the hearings regarding Bradley Manning. There's been no trial scheduled yet. They're thinking of a trial in August. I think it will much more likely be in the fall. As our listeners know, Bradley has been indicted on 22 charges or charged in the military on 22 charges including aiding with the enemy. I did my usual trying to get to Fort Mead. But of course it was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Thursday. I had to get on a train that night, then get on a car to get to Fort Mead. And when you get to Fort Mead, of course, they practically tear your car apart looking for who knows what? Explosives or something else. You get in, they then make you wait for about an hour before you go through a trailer where you go through one of those metal detectors. You're not allowed to bring into the courtroom any cell phones, any way of communicating other than a pencil and a paper. The court room is small. There's only about 20 of us in the court room. The media is in a separate media room where they can have their computers -- nothing with the internet, but they can at least use a computer. So in any case, I went to Bradley Manning's hearing. It was Thursday and Friday. It was quite extraordinary. Michael and I have always talked about the expression "Military justice is to justice as military music is to music." Well it's even worse than that. I mean, this was ridiculous. I mean, that they are trying probably the most well known case in the country on aiding the enemy or really what amounts to -- according to the government -- a sort of espionage case, in this two-bit little court room with military prosecutors that the defense runs circles around. David Coombs is actually doing a very good job. It's amazing. I'll just relate a couple of stories. The first thing that happens is the defense counsel asks for what's called a bill of particulars. In criminal cases, that's "Please tell the defense counsel more about the charges you have against my client Bradley Manning. Give a few specifications." And the first one they asked about is: What do you mean by aiding the enemy? He says to the prosecutor -- of course, it's all done on paper but he says it in court as well. And the prosecutor then says, "Well, aiding the enemy? The enemy is al Qaeda and al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula." Well that just sounds ridiculous. Bradley Manning -- who supposedly, allegedly, uploaded various documents regarding the killing of Retuers journalists, 15,000 Iraqi civilians who were killed which the US hadn't recorded, many, many War Crimes like that -- is accused somehow of aiding al Qaeda or al Qaeda on the Peninsula. Well you think, what is it? Is it because it embarrassed the United States that we're aiding them? What is going on here? So then the defense counsel continues, "Well aiding al Qaeda and al Qaeda on the Peninsula, how did he aid them?" And then the prosecutor gave one of the shallowest, stupidest answers you want to hear: "Well he aided them by uploading the documents onto the WikiLeaks website." I mean, it's not the trial yet so the defense counsel just says, "Okay," and we move on from there. But you're sitting there in the audiences saying, "This is crazy. This 22-year-old, now 24-year-old, kid has supposedly aided al Qaeda by giving documents about War Crimes to WikiLeaks?" That's nonsensical. It'll never stand up. Most commentators think that charge in particular, which is the most serious charge -- it's life imprisonment, death penalty possibly, prosecutors said they won't ask for a death penalty but llife in prison, and I think the judge could even give the death penalty -- that charge I don't think will hold up. But the interesting part then happens next. Three weeks ago, when I was at the court, the prosecutor complains that he is not getting any of the e-mails sent by defense counsel or by the judge. And those are obviously important e-mails. The defense counsel is responding to motions and arguments, sending briefs. The court is sending scheduling orders, etc. And the prosecutor three weeks ago says, "Well I haven't gotten anything so I can't respond to those." Sounds pretty bad. Fishy. But then the prosecutor says, "We will fix it in three weeks from now." And that's when I was there last week. And the prosecutor gets up and says, "Well up until March 10, we didn't figure it out." Just a few days before the Bradley Manning hearing. "And we found it out, here's the answer: Many of the e-mails from the court and the defense counsel are going to the prosecutor but they're going to the spam section of the computer. They're being filtered out as spam." Let me just say, this is the most important single military courts-martial case they've had probably in the last 50 years, maybe 100 years. And the e-mails from the court and the defense counsel are going into the spam of the prosecutor? I mean, this is just Mickey Mouse or worse. So they said, "What we're doing now," the prosecutor says, "is, because they're going into spam, every morning at 10:00 a.m., I'm checking my spam folder to see what e-mails have come in." So I'm sitting there in the audience saying, "Why are they checking their spam filter? Why aren't they just fixing the problem?" And then, a half an hour later, the defense counsel gets up and, in speaking about many issues, he addresses why the e-mails haven't gone to the prosecutor. And he said they didn't go to the prosecutor because any e-mail with the word "WikiLeaks" in it anywhere -- subject matter, in the substance [body of the e-mail], anywhere in an e-mail from the defense counsel or the court that says "WikiLeaks" is automatically spammed by the prosecutor's filter on his computer so he doesn't see them. And you say to yourself, "Wait a second, this entire case is about Bradley Manning allegedly uploading documents to WikiLeaks. If the prosecutor, government computers, are using that as spam, this is ridiculous. This is not a trial, this is just a charade." And then you realize, taking another step back, that most likely every government computer in the United States and in the world spams anything to do with WikiLeaks because the fact that many of our listeners out there, you and I, Michael, the New York Times, and everybody in the world looks at WikiLeaks documents and the government still considers them to be stolen documents, still classified and no one in the government should ever be allowed to see them. So here they go, they're doing this entire investigation of WikiLeaks and everything is treated as spam. So that's just one of the oddities of what they're calling a trial, etc. Two other points -- and we'll be talking about this as I continue to monitor that trial for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, the Center for Constitutional Rights represents them, both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange for purposes of monitoring the Bradley Manning case -- two other interesting things came out. One is the access to documents. Now this is supposedly a public trial, by law it's a public trial, the First Amedment requires it to be a public trial. You and I, the press, the spectators, are all allowed to go in the court room to watch the trial unless there's some section that's classified. And normally in a trial -- as you know, Michael, being a lawyer -- that when you file papers, they go into a court docket and you can get access to those papers whether they be motions or briefs or whatever you file. And, of course, that's what happens in this case, at least the first part, you file papers or the prosecution files papers, defense counsel files papers, decisions are made -- but nobody has access to those papers [in the Bradley Manning court-martial] except for the counsel. I can't get those papers as a lawyer. The press can't get those paper, No one can see the motions or anything else. So you're sitting in the court room and they're arguing about various documents which have been filed and you feel like you're going in completely blind. You don't understand half of what's going on because you can't read the papers. It's like being in Plato's cave where you only see the shadows on the wall and not the actual substance so we've been making an effort over the last few weeks, how do we get these papers? And we know that ultimately we'll get them. We'll have to have a system set up with the clerk where they give press and WikiLeaks and Julian Assange and the public access to public motions that were filed but we're probably going to have to wind up going to federal court to get them. I mean, it's horrendous. This is ridiculous.

Michael Smith: It's like state secrets.

Michael Ratner: It's like state secrets except they haven't claimed state secrets.

Saturday Guilty Pleasure

The Firm

The Firm started off too convoluted and eager not to resolve anything. It did have a stunning performance from Juliette Lewis. Weeks later, she's still stunning.

But the thing is, now the show is as well. That includes Josh Lucas who has grown considerably in the role over 13 episodes.

All the disparate strands are coming together to form a lean and taunt thriller.

NBC has moved to the show to Saturdays because they don't believe it but that's actually a gift to those who've long wished that the networks would return to programming Saturdays.

Those who can't catch it on Saturdays for whatever reason should remember you can stream The Firm online at NBC.

Asking the Pentagon about rape

Senator Richard Blumenthal

US Senator Richard Blumenthal (above surveying Hurricane Irene damage in Connecticut) had an important exchange in Wednesday's Senate Armed Services Committee with the Pentagon's Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jo Ann Rooney.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: [. . .] I want to focus on one though that may not be directly related to the budget, I know the budget consumes a lot of time, but you've discussed in your testimony, Secretary Rooney, the issue of sexual assault which I know troubles you and the Secretary greatly, a great concern to you and there's a zero tolerance policy, it's a leadership issue. You say in your testimony that the estimates now are about 19,000 sexual assaults a year which is down from the estimate of 34,000 in 2006. Are you suggesting that the rates are numbers of sexual assaults has been reduced over the last six years.

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: Sir, the way we get to that number is that we look at the number of reported sexual assaults as a percentage of the overall force and then actually multiply it. The number appears to come down but quite frankly, as you indicated, our concern is that there are any. And 19,000 is 19,000 too many or whatever the exact number is because, again, that was extrapolated from actual reported numbers. So while we believe that the attention being focused, the programs being put in place and, frankly, the leadership taking this on as such a critical area to be able to address because it goes right to the heart of what our military believes in terms of their work and their respect for each other, that that number will come down but we realize we have a lot of work to do.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: But it may not have come down in the last six years. Obviously, you're objective is to make it come down. But I'm just asking whether you have confidence in that number because, quite honestly, I'm not sure that I do.

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: I believe that number indicates that we have a substantial problem yet. But, again, it's not a specific number. It's extrapolated from those reports we have.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: Of the defendants who reported and in those incidents 3,192 in FY '11, what percentage faced court-martial?

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: Sir, I'll take that question for the record and get back to you on the specific.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: The information I have is fewer than 21% and I was going to ask you --

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: That percentage is correct.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: What is the reason that they are not brought to court-martial?

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: Often, sir, it's many of the same challenges that we see on the civilian side which is, in order to go through the court-martial, obviously we need to be able to get the evidence and make sure that our folks are trained to be able to prosecute those particular cases. Those are specific areas we are working on now -- to make sure people are trained in the specific areas of how to be able to not only get that evidence but be able to present that forward. And that's often the road block.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: So you're upgrading the procedures for collection of evidence. And what about retention of evidence?

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: Uh, yes, sir. We actually are retaining the evidence at this point -- if it's an unrestricted report, for fifty years.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: And are you making efforts to speed the process? In one instance that has been reported to me -- and I can get you the name and perhaps you can give me more details -- there was a three year gap -- and, by the way, I'm very familiar with the defense in the civilian area since I was -- [Attorney General of the state of Connecticut from 1990 through 2010]

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: I know you are, sir.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: -- involved in it so this is by no means to say you should use it as a model necessarily. But I know the military sets its own standards for what excellence is and you have your own goals. But that three year gap, as you know, makes evidence, even if it's collected -- that is the eye witness testimony that, if provided, may prove more difficult to get [three years after when memories are less fresh] and I just wonder what steps are being taken to make sure that these cases are brought to court-martial -- brought, in effect, to trial -- more quickly?

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: Actually, we're working directly with the services on this and the Joint Chiefs [of Staff] have been actively involved in looking at how do we not only streamline the actual court process but also streamline from the point of reporting to -- we have such things in place now, as you know, as expedited transfers -- so all through the process making sure that we are able to protect due process, if you will, for the accused. But move that through the system from the first report through. So that's something that we're actually engaged right now with the services to do.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: Do you have numbers as to the median or average length of time it's taken and what percentage involves eventual findings of guilt, culpability? And also what the eventual penalities are in those cases?

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: Sir, we do have those numbers but if I could take that for the record and give them to you as opposed to trying to get them from memory. But we do have them. I have seen them, sir.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: I would appreciate that.

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: We will.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: And do you also -- Can you also provide percentages as to what numbers -- in what rate you give defendants the option of a discharge or a resignation in lieu of court-martial?

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: I can get the information as to what the eventual resolution was. As to whether that was a negotiated plea or something in that regard, that will be a little harder. But I can certainly tell you Article 15 and various section penalties.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: And finally on this subject, can you tell me when [Defense] Secretary [Leon] Panetta is going to be releasing the recommendations? He's going to be having both administrative and legislative. Do you know?

Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: Actually, we've been working on the possible legislative proposals as recently as today. So I'm expecting those to be coming up soon and then, within the next three to six months, we'll also have some additional ways forward on specific recommendations coming out from the services as well as follow-up on the ones we mentioned -- the expedited transfer and the document retention.

Senator Richard Blumenthal: Thank you. On the issue, and you raise it in your testimony, concerning suicides, can you talk a little bit about what steps are being taken to address this issue?
Secretary Jo Ann Rooney: Absolutely. And you're right that the numbers right now -- despite many of our efforts -- have not shown a significant decrease. But what we have done in fact is -- taken the task force that had their report forward, one of their recommendations was to create a specific suicide office which we have done in the last few months. And the purpose of that office is not to create yet another layer but it's to look across all the services and actually be the conduit for what are our best practices, where are we missing some opportunities, getting rid of some of the redundancies. So that has, at this point, a temporary staff. But in the fiscal '13 budget, we have the full appropriations we're requesting on that to have that staff stand up. In addition to that, we're working directly with the services in each of their component areas to see what practices they have in place. The next thing, and I think you've seen it also from the medical side, we're embedding behavioral health not only within the units but also making it available to the families through a number of our family programs. And, again, we're continuing to monitor what has been the outreach and where have we seen some successes or not, as it were. So those are the steps at this point with many more coming forward. And, also, collecting data has been a big challenge that we've had. Contemporaneous data. So we're working closely with the VA, in particular, at this point to share information not only from the DoD side but also what the VA is getting. We're doing a lot of joint work with them. So we're getting data that is between thirty and sixty days old as opposed to a year or two -- which is what we had been getting because that's the way states are gathering it -- and sharing that information and trying to trend directly with the VA. So those are some of the ideas.

Michigan Green Party comments on the race

From the Michigan Green Party:

Ecological Wisdom • Social Justice • Grassroots Democracy • Non-Violence
Green Party of Michigan

News Release
March 29, 2012

For More Information, Contact:
Green Party Elections Coordinator, John Anthony La Pietra (269)781-9478
Media Coordinator: Jennifer La Pietra (508)280-1360

Green Party Candidates Vie Without Vitriol

While the Republican candidates’ now infamous tv ads spew gossip, hatred and downright lies towards each other, candidates for the Green Party’s nomination are not shy in their respect for one another.

When a voter financially supports a political campaign, what does their money actually buy? In a recent article by ProPublica, candidates’ spending is clearly outlined in an easy-to-understand graph. Companies employed by the various candidates, as well as by Superpacs, are listed in order of how much the candidates spent on them.
Just as an example, how about a quick look over the facts. Four of the top five companies employed by the Romney Campaign are dedicated to advertisement in one form or another for a total of $31,995,768 of the total $55,824,004 which they have spent so far.

The Santorum campaign, while funded much more modestly, still spends a better portion of their spending on advertisements: three (maybe four - one of the top companies has little public information available) of the top five. Out of $10,021,936 spent thusfar, $6,437,978 has gone to these three companies alone.

The Democratic party is no stranger to vice. It has been well-documented that President Obama has many times the financial support of any on the Republican side. However, since Obama has few rivals for the Democratic nomination, he can save a better portion of his negative ad money for the home stretch of the race to the White House. Of $60,814,484 Only three of Obama’s top five companies have been advertising companies, though his ads are far from kind to his Republican rivals.

A voter is done a disservice if they’ve never heard of a candidate or don’t know whether they embody the ideals that voter would like to see in a president. However, the public is best informed by what a candidate will try to achieve in office, not by what one dislike about another candidate. If the advertisement was solely used to inform, supporters’ finances would be well-spent. However, as the candidates sweep the nation through primary season, these ads are overwhelmingly negative. Ken Walsh highlighted this trend as it continued in Chicago last week: “Romney and his allied political action committee have outspent his closest rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, by 7-to-1 in Illinois, according to a survey by Politico . . . [t]he overwhelming majority of that money went to TV ads, largely negative commercials against Santorum.” This is where both Republicans and Democrats differ greatly from the Green Party candidates.

Jill Stein

As of the latest official report, the leading Green Presidential hopeful -- Dr. Jill Stein of Massachusetts -- has not yet taken a single donation over $1,000. In fact, she’s made a campaign commitment to only take money from people, not corporate sponsors. Right now, she is seeking to raise $5,000 each from at least 20 states, in individual donations of $250 or less, in order to qualify for matching government funding. As of the time this article was written, she has achieved this benchmark in five states, with several others well on their way. This kind of self-imposed restriction have been a hallmark of Green candidates running for offices at all levels of government.

Because of Dr. Stein’s modest funding goals, she hadn’t garnered the funding which would require her to report her spending to the FEC at the end of the last quarterly reporting period in January. Even without the official report to turn to, one can clearly see what the Green candidates are not spending their money on: negative ads. The main focus of Green campaigns is the open, honest and fair government the people of the United States have shown a clear desire to obtain.

Instead of spending millions on tearing down the competition, Roseanne Barr who is also vying for the spot on the Green ticket, had only the very highest opinion of her opponent. As the Washington Post wrote:

“Does the sitcom queen really expect to be nominated? Not so much. She wrote on Twitter, ‘I run in support of The Green Party & probably of Jill Stein—hopefully I can be of service by speaking on media about a viable choice 4 voters.’ A Vice President Barr also doesn’t seem to be in the cards: ‘jill has already named a vice. i'm just in it to support the greens and their fine american message.’” (errors in original)

A campaign run for the good of the voters? As Jill Stein observed while in Ohio in early February: “It is great to have Roseanne Barr on the Green Party team. Let’s bring down the house!” Unlike the divided Republican party, the Green Party remains unified in their goal making government what it should be: the voice of the people.

# # #
FEC financial disclosure from the Jill Stein campaign:

Published comment about Roseanne Barr from Jill Stein, February 7th

Washington Post article where Roseanne Barr voiced support for Jill Stein:

ProPublica’s graph of campaign spending by Democrats, Republicans and Super Pacs:

Ken Walsh Article in campaign spending in Chicago:

created/distributed using donated labor

Green Party of Michigan * 548 South Main Street * Ann Arbor, MI 48104 * 734-663-3555
GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

Ecological Wisdom Grassroots Democracy Social Justice Non-Violence
Community Economics Decentralization Feminism
Respect for Diversity Personal/Global Responsibility Future Focus/Sustainability

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