Sunday, October 07, 2012

Truest statement of the week

The next question was about “reducing the deficit” and this is also an easy one for me. Trillions of dollars have been spent on the US War OF Terror against the world since 9/11/2001 and the Military Industrial Complex is sucking the economy dry with its murderous greed. The wars should come to a speedy end and the bases that the Empire maintains around the world should be closed and our military should be reduced to the size where it can be “drowned in a bathtub.” Our platform also calls for the end to the CIA and other alphabet agencies that wreak havoc at home and abroad. And this leads to the next question. There are PLENTY of wealth and resources in this nation but the national priorities are way out of whack…a re-prioritization of programs would render the next question unnecessary.

-- Cindy Sheehan, "A Socialist Response to The Greatest American Scoundrel Show (Debate)" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox).

Truest statement of the week II

I've been reasoning that we are faced again with the lesser of two evils, and my thinking has returned many times this week to Goodman, her Baltimore talk, the tribute to Barack Obama. And to Democracy Now!, purportedly an alternative to mainstream news. But how much of an alternative is this news if the reportage is just the lesser of two evils? There, I've said it. Goodman's words in support of Barack Obama demand I say it.

-- Missy Beattie, "Democracy How?" (CounterPunch, Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox).

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?

Cindy Sheehan earned another. 
Last time we gave one to Missy Beattie, she was Missey Comley Beattie.  

This was the idea last week.  Elaine, Ava, C.I., Wally, Isaiah and I believe Rebecca were strongly in favor of this as an editorial.  They felt doing it that way would make a point.  As it became clear we needed to try it this week, Dona and Kat began hunting for illustrations we'd used on Iraq before that we could pair with this.
Ava and C.I. wrote this wonderful piece of reporting.  They not only analyze the debates, they also report on a Harvard seminar.  I grabbed the title from what they wrote and Woody Allen's joke in Annie Hall about politicians being a "notch below child molesters."
Ava and C.I. had agreed to do a visual piece of some form just because Dona felt it was needed (last Sunday).  We had no idea what they'd do.  They didn't either until the debate started.
Our never ending roundtables thrill so many but are a pain for us.
CNN should be highlighting Labott's questioning every hour on the hour.
Ava and C.I. did three original articles this edition.
A repost from Thursday morning. 
A repost from Workers World.
A repost from Senator Patty Murray's office.

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

See you next week.

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

Editorial: Sending US troops back into Iraq?

Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."


Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

Door Breach

Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."


Over a week ago,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

TV: Jim Lehrer, notch below child molester

Jim Lehrer found a way to self-disgrace and disgrace his profession last week.   A lot of people miss the point.  Bob Somerby (Daily Howler) has been carrying on a multi-day freak-fest over Lehrer not fact checking in the midst of last week's debate while Seth Meyers used SNL's Weekend Update to hail Lehrer as a "loser" and for not making the candidates stick to a two-minute limit.  As long as you have those kind of idiotic critiques, don't expect the average intelligence of the nation to increase any.


Who is Jim Lehrer?  A 78-year-old personality in the infotainment biz.  PBS explains Lehrer was briefly a reporter (seven years, 1959 to 1966) and then became a columnist and then left the newspaper biz for public television -- where he's remained for over forty years.  With at least 20 bad novels to his name, he's also been a big producer for landfills across the nation.  If Jackie Collins lacked talent and drive, she'd be Jim Lehrer.   In 1975, he began co-hosting The MacNeil - Lehrer Report which eventually morphed into The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and then The NewsHour (which is what it's known as today).

On The NewsHour, he doesn't report.  Again, he was only a reporter for seven years in his  fifty-years-plus career.  In fact, reporter was his first job after college and military service.  He used it as a stepping stone.  "A stepping stone," you understand, is something you use to get to where you really want to be.  It's become the employment equivalent of  a social climber's first marriage.  And that should make clear exactly what value Jim Lehrer assigns to reporting.

"My real concern, frankly, is less with the candidates than with the moderators," declared Aaron Sorkin at an event last week put on by Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center.  " Uh, because, uh, I-I-I don't think it should just be Professor [Kathleen Hall] Jamieson and her team, uh-uh, hulled away in a  hotel room, who are doing the fact checking.  We are being -- as a country -- We are being asphyxiated by an epidemic of simply bad information.  And I don't know who is to blame for it."

You don't know who is to blame for the state of debates?

Really, professional blowhard, you're that stupid.

We're no fans of Pig Sorkin but even we didn't realize he was that stupid.

He wasn't the only idiot.  Chuck Todd was on the same panel discussion and even this NBC reporter couldn't or wouldn't tell the truth.  Instead he offered this lie,  "I don't know why moderators don't fact check."

Chuck Todd knows exactly why. And would, in fact, reveal that shortly.

Wednesday, Democracy Now! featured Open Debates' George Farah. Excerpt.

GEORGE FARAH: The Commission on Presidential debates sounds like a government agency, it sounds like a nonpartisan entity, which is by design, is intended to deceive the American people. But, in reality, it is a private corporation financed by Anheuser-Busch and other major companies, that was created by the Republican and Democratic parties to seize control of the presidential debates from The League of Women Voters in 1987. Precisely as you said, Amy, every four years, this commission allows the major party campaigns to meet behind closed doors and draft a secret contract, a memorandum of understanding that dictates many of the terms. The reason for the commission’s creation is that the previous sponsor, The League of Women voters, was a genuine non-partisan entity, our voice, the voice of the American people in the negotiation room, and time and time again, The League had the courage to stand up to the Republican and Democratic campaigns to insist on challenging creative formats, to insist on the inclusion of independent candidates that the vast majority of American people wanted to see, and most importantly, to insist on transparency, so that any attempts by the Republican and Democratic parties to manipulate the presidential debates would result in and of enormous political price. And it’s precisely because the League... 

AMY GOODMAN: George, you have a lot of time here, so I really want you to lay out how this happened. Explain the moment when this was taken out of the hands of The League of Women Voters and this commission was formed. How was this justified? 

GEORGE FARAH: The best part of the history starts in 1980. In 1980, John B. Anderson, an independent candidate for president, runs against Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. President Jimmy Carter absolutely opposed independent candidate John Anderson’s participation in the presidential debates, and The League had a choice; do they support the independent candidate’s participation and defy the wishes of the President of the United States or do they capitulate to the demands of President Jimmy Carter? The league did the right thing, it stood to the President of the United States, invited John B. Anderson. The President refused to show up. The League went forward anyway and had a presidential debate that was watched by 55 million Americans. You fast forward four years later, Amy, and the Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan campaigns vetoed 80 of the moderators that The League of Women Voters had proposed for the debates. The were simply trying to get rid of... 


GEORGE FARAH: Eighty. They were trying to get rid of difficult questions. 

AMY GOODMAN: Eight-zero? 

GEORGE FARAH: Eight-zero. Eighty. And The League didn’t just say, OK that’s fine we’ll allow you to select a moderator that’s going to ask softball questions, The League held a press conference and lambasted the campaigns for trying to get rid of the difficult questions. Of course there was a public outcry. So The League marshaled public support to criticize when they attempted to defy our democratic process and the result was fantastic. For the next debate, the campaigns were required to accept The League’s proposed moderators for fear of an additional public outcry. And you fast forward four more years later and you have the Michael Dukakis and the George Bush campaign’s drafting the first ever 12-page secret debate contract. They gave it to The League of Women Voters and said please implement this. The League said, are you kidding me? We are not going to implement a secret contract that dictates the terms of the format. Instead, they release the contract to the public and they held a press conference accusing the candidates of "perpetrating a fraud on the American people" and refusing to be "an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American people." 

Do you understand the above or are you such an immature adult that you want to continue to play dumb?

Now this is not breaking news.  A visit to Open Debate's website  will quickly demonstrate that in 2008, Farah explained this history on Washington Journal and Democracy Now!; in 2004, on CNN, Fox and Friends, MSNBC's Lester Holt Live, ABC's 20/20, CNNfn, MSNBC's Countdown, ABC's Nightline, CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Washington Journal, ABC World News Tonight and NOW with Bill Moyers.  And Farah isn't the only who's addressed this issue.

So why the hell do we keep lying to ourselves every four years?

It is determined -- and written into legal contract -- what type of questions, who is invited and so much more.  Why is anyone surprised?

Because it's a lie a lot of people help along, year after year.   At the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy event last week, while Aaron Sorkin and Chuck Todd played dumb, Alex Jones stayed silent. 

Alex Jones knows better.  Doubt us?  This is from AP:

This format is more of an issue than Lehrer's approach, said Alex Jones, director of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
Jones praised Lehrer as a "superb" and responsible journalist who’s willing to take a tough stand: “Jim Lehrer was the most outspoken voice in television denouncing the networks’ decision not to carry the conventions more fully.”
He said the debates themselves scarcely deserve the name, given the lack of give-and-take, scripted responses and moderator’s weak role.
"The way they have stripped the role of the ability to challenge, follow or engage beyond simply asking questions, I think the moderator’s role is almost one you could phone in," he said.

 And should we take a moment to add the AP article is from . . . 2004.

It was hilarious to grasp that Aaron Sorkin was whining about politicians making false statements that a moderator didn't correct as Sorkin made false statements on a panel that moderator Alex Jones refused to correct. 

It is not that, as the always one-of-the-boys mannish Kathleen Hall Jamieson declared, it is expecting too much of one person to do all the fact checking, to be an expert on all the topics that might arise during the debate.

Her answer was a non-answer.  A distraction.  A lie.

And it's the lies that allow the deception to continue.  

But it's such garbage that even the liars get bored with the lies.  Chuck Todd did last week on the panel.  (We were bored too.  Aaron Sorkin never knows when to stop talking.)

Aaron Sorkin:  I agree with you there but we do have a campaign commission.  And they can compel candidates to -- that you have to 

Chuck Todd: Campaigns control the debate commission but we can have --  that's a whole separate issue.  We can have that discus --

Aaron Sorkin: That's probably that -- That's probably the problem.    Here's all I'm saying.  In Utopia, you wouldn't be able to run a false or misleading [. . .]

He continues to babble on about campaign commercials.  What an idiot.

Even when the truth came up, please note, even when Chuck Todd had reached his limit on Sorkin's uninformed never-ending babble, Aaron just steamrolls over him and does so because Sorkin is submerged in ignorance -- willfully and wantonly.

And the fact check.  Always to the fact check.  As if that's all that matters.  Here's a little clue, it's a debate.  If you are not able to hold your opponent accountable, you shouldn't get help from the moderator.  If you can't convincingly take on a lie, that says a great deal about what you lack as a candidate.

The Harvard panel was a joke.  Aaron Sorkin proved his DLC status yet again (Democratic Leadership Council which morphed into New Democrats in an attempt to escape their bad image).  There he was agreeing that the Simpson-Bowles Commission recommendations should be implemented.  Fawning over "awesome" Simpson, swearing that there needed to be multiple Simpsons so that he could be in the House and in the Senate and in the White House.  Maybe the two men bonded over the fact that they're both sexist pigs?  (Here for NOW on Simpson.)

It was so comical to watch the panel as, moments after Kathleen Hall Jamieson was blathering away about things that were "blatantly deceptive," Alan Simpson 'explained' that the Presidential Debate Commission -- which he sits on, "It's been there 25 years because the League of Women Voters decided to step out of the group.  So in came a bipartisan group. A very fine group.  Democrats and Republicans."

Not one person corrected Simpson, not one person questioned him.  Kathleen Hall Jamieson pretended to be studying her hands as if she'd discovered a new liver spot.

Which brings us back to TV personality Jim Lehrer.

Jim Lehrer wants desperately to be a novelist.  So desperately that he publishes one bad book after another.  If we were a TV personality with so few accomplishments, we'd wish we had another career too.

But Jim's worse than a TV personality famous solely for being on TV.

Jim's as damaging as pedophile.  He does that sort of damage on a national level every time he moderates a presidential 'debate.'  Please note, Lehrer  is infamous for being the 'dean of moderators.'  He is hailed as that.  And when did Lehrer start that career?

In 1988.  When the League of Women Voters controlled the debates and chose moderators, they had no interest in the likes of Jim Lehrer.  They wanted feisty, informed journalists who would ask tough questions -- not pre-screened ones, not ones given in advance -- and who could fact check during the debate.  In 1980, they had five moderators for the Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan debate.  (The candidates had a hissy fit and only debated once.)  Repeating, they had no interest in the likes of Jim Lehrer.

 Now that the two major political parties control the debates, there's no journalism being done.  Candidates are asked what they know they'll be asked.  (In fact, Simpson was revealing, on the panel, the topics and how many questions on each topic -- such as the economy, before even the first debate had taken place.  Simpson could do that because, as a member of the commission, he's familiar with the contract the two parties iron out and insist the 'moderator' follow.)

It's a lie and it's a deception.

And when a Jim Lehrer (or Bob Schieffer or Martha Raddatz or Candy Crowley) provides cover to these shams by posing as a journalist, they're doing incredible damage to democracy and, again, they're as damaging as child molesters.  If they don't have any self-respect, their peers should at least hold them accountable.  Until that happens, nothing is going to change.

Media 2012 (Ava and C.I.)

An estimated 70 million people watched Barack Obama and Mitt Romney debate one another Wednesday night.  A large number -- including some devoted members of the Cult of St. Barack -- probably wish ABC had just stuck with Modern Family instead.

One did stick with regular programming.  CBS and Warner Bros.' CW aired Oh, Sit! -- a title phrase highly similar to one members of the Cult of St. Barack were exclaiming during the debate --  and the season debut of Big Beefy Beefcake Boiz aka Supernatural.   Supernatural went up against the debate and got 1.8 million viewers which, for the CW, is more than respectable.  PBS isn't included in the ratings but the other broadcast networks were.  ABC brought in the most viewers for the first hour of the debate with 10.3 million, CBS followed with 10.2 million, then NBC with 9.9 million and Fox with 6.9 million.  All dropped approximately 3 million as the debate went beyond sixty minutes

70 million may seem like a huge number.  It's really not (Jimmy Carter debating Ronald Reagan in 1980 got ten million more viewers).  The debate largely played out like it was the 90s and are choices were ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and Fox plus cable news plus NPR.  The 70 million didn't include streaming online.


Fox News' website did a good job of streaming.  You went to the website, the stream was easy to access and you were on board.  That was not the case with Fox (Entertainment) where you had a link that you could click on -- or try.  The link that was supposed to launch the live stream wouldn't work.  They hadn't made it hyper-text, just text.


Hulu carried the ABC debate feed but might have carried the Fox feed if they weren't afraid Fox would make them embargo it for 7 days before non-Dish subscribers could view it.  What Hulu and Fox did share in common was both required you to watch a commercial before you could go to the debate.  While Fox News' extreme capitalism may make that understandable, we were confused with regards to Hulu.


When you're going to a website and there's a live stream available, that needs to be very clear.  We thought ABC lost a few streamers as a result of their inability to promote the stream better.


NBC should have lost even more.  Visiting NBC News' homepage during the debate, a surfer would find various stories about the debate being filed in real time, however, he or she would have difficulty finding a live stream.  (Yes, NBC had one.)


CBS News did the best job.  As soon as you pulled up their website, the debate was playing.

Like all but CBS, CNN required you to click on an element to start the live streaming.   Possibly they felt they were already peeking interest with the photo that appeared to make it look as though Barack and Mitt were about to kiss?


CNN would go on to claim that 1.2 million streamers (worldwide) during the debate.  Unlike CNN, YouTube would refuse to release numbers on its streaming. 


It's doubtful they had many.  For example, parents watching with their kids might have stopped the stream immediately due to YouTube's decision to run a Twitter feed next to their screen -- an obscenity laced Twitter feed.

Unlike Brian Stelter (New York Times), we can tell you how many streamed the first hour of the debate as it aired on The NewsHour homepage on PBS' website.  That is because we screen snapped numerous times including when it reached its highest number.


27,863 was the most streamers PBS had at any given time during the first hour of the debate.  You can see that number underneath Mitt Romney.


Democracy Now! never broke 13,000 at any given time.  That might have been due to the fact that, of all the streams, it had the most problems.  It went in and out, dropping or just delaying.  One thing that the Democracy Now! live event did was provide Jill Stein (Green Party presidential candidate) and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party candidate) the ability to add their voices to the debate (the program would play a segment of the debate and then allow Stein and Anderson to weigh in.)

In terms of including the audience, only CBS News acted as if it was 2012.  They naturally (and rightly) assumed that people hitting their website during a presidential debate would be doing so for the presidential debate and they made sure that the stream started as soon as the page loaded.  You weren't required to watch a commercial first, you weren't required to click on anything on the CBS page.  It loaded, there the debate was.  Only CBS News appeared to grasp that the event was supposed to be a public service.


Jim: Iraq, the elections, Libya, TV and so much more.  It's roundtable time.   Our e-mail address is Participating our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Let's kick things off with the presidential election.   Last week, we did various roundtables and Dona moderated "Campaign roundtable" and noted they'd run out of time before they could really discuss Jill Stein's campaign.  Jill Stein is the Green Party presidential candidate.  So let's start with Dr. Jill and then move to the debate last Wednesday.  Ann and Jess are Greens, they're supporting Jill Stein.  Everyone participating in this roundtable is except for Ava and C.I. who have announced that they don't intend to vote in the presidential election.  If they change their mind, they say they'll note it.  But Ann and Jess, why don't you kick things off on Dr. Stein.

Ann: It's October 7th and the Stein campaign hasn't updated their website since October 3rd.  I find that disturbing.  Jess and I were talking earlier and both agreed we'd note disturbances.  You're a third party candidate and the election is about four weeks away.  You need to be updating daily and you certainly cannot afford to go four days without  updating.  Gary Johnson is also a third party candidate, the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.  If you go to his website, not only do you find out he's raised a half-million dollars, you also see that he last updated Friday, October 5th.  It's one thing to take the weekend off -- which I don't think is ever smart for a third party candidate -- it's another to allow four days to pass with nothing new from your campaign.  I also notice that the campaign no longer allows people to leave comments like they did last month.  So there's nothing new and there's not even new comments you can read.  I'd say that's ridiculous.

Jess: Yeah and on the disturbing and ridiculous, they've got something on the main page that shouldn't have made it there to begin with.  Maybe if they'd updated throughout the week it would be gone.

Jim: It is?

Jess: About a bunch of stupid little bitches who took part in a protest against Mitt Romney in Boston.  They dressed up as chickens.  Their point was that Romney was too scared to debate.  Let's work in Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The So-Called Presidential Debate" right now. 

the so-called debates3

Jess (Con't):   You'll note that Isaiah makes fun of Mitt Romney for being scared also.  But, hey, look, he also makes fun of Barack for the same thing.    Yeah, it's both of them.

C.I.: Actually, it is Barack.  But go on.

Jess: I'd agree with that too.  But the point is if you're going to protest, for example, the NFL tomorrow, you don't go stalk the New England Patriots.  They are number two, as of last year's superbowl.  You go with the biggest and the baddest, the New York Giants, who won the Superbowl last year.  If you only protest the Patriots to protest the NFL, you look like a little bitch.  If you're stupid enough to wear costumes nd your men and you  have women in cheesecake poses, the only real word for you is one we can't use here so I'll just repeat: bitches.  You don't look strong, you look incredibly pathetic.  And by posting that crap, Jill Stein's campaign looks incredibly pathetic.

Ann: I would agree.

Jim: C.I., you don't usually jump in but you did on that.  You want to expand on it?

C.I.:  Jill Stein and Gary Johnson and all other candidates are barred from the debate per the contract drawn up by the Democrats and the Republicans.  Whether Mitt Romney has the power to break the contract or not can be debated.  While he is his party's presidential nomination, if he declared his intent to break it, they might just toss aside the debates or ignore the call.  Barack Obama is the President of the United States, not just a nominee, a sitting president.  If he publicly called for the debates to be open, Democratic Party officials and Republican officials would have no choice but to go along with him.

 Jim: That's a very good point.  For those who don't know this, the last time the Democrats and Republicans were not in charge of the debate was the eighties.  The League of Women Voters no longer put on the debates.  It's Democrats and Republicans and that's how they keep third party candidates out -- except for the mega rich Ross Perot -- and both parties demand a certain list of conditions for these corporate sponsored debates.  Which would include Wednesday night's fiasco.

Betty: Fiasco and "bitches" describe the joke that is FAIR -- so-called Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.  Not only did the cowardly bastards refuse to demand an open debate, they rushed in to carry water for Barack.  Jim Naureckas isn't just a gossipy bastard, he's a piece of trash.  The left really needs to grasp that FAIR isn't about fairness or accuracy.  It's also not about being left.  It's a bunch of cheap whores -- basically one White man, his Black wife and their White friend -- who can't get real jobs so they whore for the Democratic Party so that they can fund raise.  They're whores.  Stop giving them money, make them find a real profession.  Make them find a job where they have to work.  I understand they're unskilled.  That's not my problem.

Isaiah: I think the world would be a lot better off if trash like FAIR shut down.  I am really amazed to see the truth about them because in 2004 and 2005 my favorite radio program is CounterSpin/  I thought they were so brave and so real.  I thought that they were truth tellers and assumed, wrongly, that they'd be doing the exact same thing if there had been a Democrat in the Oval Office.

Jim: And now?

Isaiah: They are Susan Sarandons.  Ridiculous freaks.  Bug-eyed Sarandon became one of those whores for the Democratic Party and probably to save her sagging career after endorsing Ralph Nader in 2000.  I would have had more respect for her if she had endorsed Ralph in 2004 and 2008.  Instead, she looks like a cheap and tacky whore, a very used whore.  I have no respect for her.

Ty: And lost respect is all over.  There are so many who spent the last four years bathed in public hypocrisy.  And it's really amazing to watch their bastard asses.  What it finally boils down to is that so-called 'independent' media is nothing but anti-Clinton Democrats.  FAIR only whines for debates to be open when Hillary Clinton's running for office.  They're a joke.  I would be embarrassed if I were 17 and acted like them but these are grown adults.  There's no excuse for their garbage.

Jim: And the debate on Wednesday.  Any thoughts?

Ruth: Is there really much to say?  President Barack Obama looked foolish.  Governor Mitt Romney won the debate.  I am aware that many have tried to spin it but that is what has gone on and what is going on.

Jim: Okay, well, let's move on to Libya.  September 11, 2012, the US Consulate in Libya was attacked.  Four Americans were killed.  The Barack administration told us that it was protesters angry about a YouTube clip.  In fact, it was a planned terrorist attack.  It had nothing to do with the YouTube clip.  But the White House used that cover story, that lie, to conceal from Americans the fact that on the 11th anniversary of 9-11, there was another attack on the US.  Last week, prior to the debates, the media briefly paid attention.  Some more so than others.  Ruth, you wrote "The NewsHour underwhelms"  last week.  Explain that.

Ruth:  They tanked the story, they did so deliberately.  Did the administration lie?  Yes, and they did so repeatedly and not just Susan Rice either.  But The NewsHour continues to spin and conceal for the president.  So they treated it as a minor news item and then pretended to explore the story in another segment but intentionally avoided mentioning anything of value.

Jim: You mention that they did not book CNN's Elise Labott.

Ruth: Go to the snapshots.  C.I. has already covered what went down there in real time.  If you want to ponder whether the White House lied or misled, ask Ms. Labott who dared to ask questions that were shot down -- dared to ask them weeks ago -- questions that we now know she was right to ask.  No one could talk about that on the show because they did not have the experience Ms. Labott did.

Jim: C.I.?

C.I.:  Ruth's referring to the September 13th Iraq snapshot.  That day, Elise Labott asked questions and was lied to.  It was pretty much known that she was lied to by all present.  That's why I included it in the snapshot.  The section's all about Libya and we don't generally include that stuff.  A friend in government told me he couldn't believe (a) how much CNN knew at that time and (b) how much Victoria Nuland spun.  I then checked with three different journalists present at the briefing and all knew Nuland was lying. 

Jim: And CNN knew a great deal in part because they discovered the late Ambassador Chris Stevens' journal.   Does the media get back on the Libya story this week?  That's an opinion answer, by the way?

Cedric:  No.  No, I don't see that happening.  I see them continuing to spin for Barack as they've done the last four years.  The Libya story is too damaging to Barack.  It's probably among the reasons the race is so tight.

Ruth: I would agree with Cedric.

Betty: Same here.

Jim: Anyone disagree?

Kat: I might.  When's the next presidential debate?

Dona: October 11th, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan debate.  October 16th is when Barack and Mitt return.  How come?

Kat: I don't know that the vice presidential debate can shake up the news cycle.  Maybe it can, but I don't think so.  October 10th, this is why I think it can come back into the news cycle, October 10th, the House Oversight Committee holds a hearing entitled "The Security Failures of Benghazi."  Schedule to appear, I'm reading from a press release I got when we were in DC, Charlen Lamb who is with the State Dept., State's Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom and a member of the Utah National Guard, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood.  I think that hearing could get Libya back into the news cycle.  I could be wrong.  But I'll go ahead and say "yes."

Jim: I was not aware of that hearing.  Thank you for bringing that in, Kat. 

Dona: I'm jumping in to note that last week was such a relief, to break up into small groups.  We're past the half-way mark and we still have 8 people who haven't spoken.

Jim: And I have the list of the 8, Dona just slid it to me.  We're switching to the topic of TV because there were two e-mails about TV and I'm always attacked in e-mails for not including these. So first off, Barney e-mailed to say he'd found a glaring hole in Ava and C.I.'s TV coverage.  He writes, "They never covered the classic Friday Night Lights.  All the other TV critics did."

Ava: Which is one of the reasons we didn't.  The other was it was a soap opera with a predominantly male cast.  If the gender of the cast had been reversed, it would not have been a critical hit.  Repeatedly, the Water Cooler Set of male critics and women who want to be men repeatedly attack worthy shows in which women are equal or the leads but turn around and praise this tired crap that focuses on men.  Again, it was a soap opera.  Nothing wrong with that, but let's stop pretending it was anything magical.  Because we have to have a media piece every week --

Dona: At least one.

Ava: Right, at least one.  Because we never have a week off, C.I. and I have some things we designate back ups.  These are the shows that really don't need a review from us but that we can grab during summer reruns if we have nothing else to cover.  At one point, Friday Night Lights was on that list.  Our review would not have been a rave.  The fact that it always struggled in the ratings was another reason we didn't rush to pan it.

Jim: Second e-mail I said I'd try to work in was from Troy who wrote, "I miss Ava and C.I. doing TV.  I'm sorry but I could care less about this damn election.  I'm sick of it.  I don't think I'm going to vote and that is an opinion that a large number in my dorm are entertaining.  So I'm hoping Ava and C.I. can soon start covering the fall shows."  C.I.?

C.I.: We're so in agreement with you, Troy, Ava and I are.  But we're not going to write three pieces or four pieces a week.  Last week, we wanted to cover Jami Gertz's show The Neighbors.  It was said that there were other things more important, so we did the other things.  But, Troy, we share your opinion.  We'd rather be writing about anything -- anything -- other than the race for president.

Jim: And to clarify, when C.I. says "they," she means me.  I'm the one insisting that the race needs to be covered.  Which brings up the last TV e-mail.  Ava and C.I. did a great piece on the debates last week entitled "America recoiled from Barack last night (Ava and C.I.)" and e-mails came in asking about that.  Specifically, can Ava and C.I. write what they want?  Yes.  But I will beg and badger, maybe even bully, to get politics into their scope.  They noted they would be doing two articles on the debate here -- noted that in their piece about the debate.  Did they need to check that with anyone at Third? No.  If they would agree to write five pieces for one edition on politics, we wouldn't complain.  So I hope that addresses some of the TV e-mails that came in last week.  Now for Iraq.  Trina, your thoughts?

Trina: Amazement.  The White House is negotiating to send more troops in, this after just adding a Special-Ops troop to the US military already still in Iraq.  And no one is talking about it.  And no one is addressing it.  It's huge news.  A.N.S.W.E.R. just did a protest against wars today and yesterday and they couldn't be bothered including what's going on in Iraq.

Wally: I agree this is astounding, the silence and the move by the White House.  I also think we need to do the editorial we talked about last week.  At this point, redundancy may be the only way to keep getting the word out.  And, in this community, we are getting the word out.  But  that's not happening at most places.  Even those that have covered it have done one tiny article on it.  Like  John Glaser writes one article.  Where's the amplification of that?  Where's the outraged columns by Justin Raimondo and the rest at to get the news out?  Those columns don't exist.

Elaine: This actually goes back to the points that Betty, Isaiah and Ty were making, the hypocrisy.  That's what keeps the so-called left media like The Nation, The Progressive, etc. silent.  I heard a cute little conversation on this where it went, 'they are trainers, they are just trainers.'  This was a conversation among Nation staff.  A friend pocket dialed me intentionally so I could hear it.  They are 'trainers,' it was insisted, 'and advisors.'  So it doesn't matter, was the argument.  Really?  Because I am old enough to remember Vietnam and I really kind of think that JFK putting advisors on the ground helped fuel the war.  So spare me the nonsense of 'they're just advisors.'  I'm not 12-years-old and I know better.

Marcia: And doesn't that say it all.  Really, doesn't it?  And how pathetic is The Nation?  They were happy to use Iraq against Bush but they don't give a damn about it today and include that pathetic Tom Hayden in that because his six paragraph blog post about a team of Special-Ops going in was nothing because he was using Tim Arango's New York Times article but ignored the part about the White House negotiating to send more troops in.  The hypocrisy, Elaine's right, it's all tied together.

Stan: I'm reading Endgame and hoping to finish in time so that we can do a book discussion in a few weeks but it's a big book.  But I'm far enough in that it's obvious that the mistakes and errors didn't end on Iraq when Bush left office.  Barack has harmed that country as well.

Jim: That's Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor's Endgame. And since a book just came up, I have to note Theresa's e-mail.  She thanks Ava and C.I. for last week's "Ann and Nancy Wilson share the true story (Ava and C.I.)" about the new book by Heart but is upset that "there is so little book coverage."

Rebecca: I haven't spoken!  I can actually address this in a way.  Marcia and I have reviewed two books this year.  And?  We're about to do another.  It will be this Thursday if we can pull it off.  That's because the week after sees the October 19th return of Whitney on NBC and Marcia, Betty and Ann are Whitney bloggers.

Marcia: Actually, we're going to blog about that on Monday the 22nd.  We already decided that.

Rebecca: Okay, then let's make the 19th the day we do the new book.  I'm only on page 82 but I will be done long before then.

Marcia: And I'm at the half-way mark.  Also Ann's noted at her site that she's reading Neil Young's book and enjoying it.  The plan for her is to write about the book when she finishes it.

Mike: And roundtable are long and hard to do with this many people.  That's probably why doing the Heart book as a book discussion didn't work.  We did try that and it was awful.  No one would have read our book discussion and said, "Oh, that book sounds interesting!"  That's why Kat said, after two hours spent on that discussion, that we should get Ava and C.I. to write about the book.  19 people is a lot of people to do a book discussion with.  And I agree with Wally about this week's editorial.

Jim: Alright, we'll do that then and we're ending this right now.  This is a rush transcript, by the way.

An exchange both media and White House hope you forget

As more details emerge about last month's attack on the US Consulate in Libya, one public exchange people should familiarize themselves with is this one from September 13th, when CNN's Elise Labott asked for answers and State Dept. spokesperson Victoria Nuland (below) spun and lied.

Elise Labott:  Can you talk a little bit more about the security that was at the Embassy? It seems that for an area such as Benghazi, where there was a lot of instability, there were very few guards there. And can you talk about whether the U.S. asked Libya, the Libyan Government, earlier in the week for extra security precaution and whether that – extra security precautions or security personnel and whether that request was fulfilled?
Victoria Nuland: Well, let me start by reminding you that we are extremely cautious in any circumstances about talking publicly about our security arrangements. You can understand that the more you talk about these things, the more difficult it is to maintain security at your facilities. So --
Elise Labott:  It does seem though that there were very few security personnel at this location.
Victoria Nuland:  I'm going to reject that, Elise. Let me tell you what I can about the security at our mission in Benghazi. It did include a local Libyan guard force around the outer perimeter. This is the way we work in all of our missions all around the world, that the outer perimeter is the responsibility of the host government. There was obviously a physical perimeter barrier, a wall. And then there was a robust American security presence inside the compound. This is absolutely consistent with what we have done at a number of missions similar to Benghazi around the world.
Elise Labott:   Could you talk about whether a request was made to the Libyan Government as early as Sunday or Monday and whether that – for additional security precautions, given the fact that there was some trouble in the area, and whether that request was fulfilled?
Victoria Nuland:  I'm not prepared to talk about specific diplomatic engagements between us and the Libyans on security, either before or after.
As Norah O'Donnell (CBS News -- link is video) reported last Thursday,, requests (plural) had been made for better security.
Elise Labott:   Well, I mean, I have to take issue with that, because there have been several incidents, including you from the podium, throughout the Arab Spring where you've said –
Victoria Nuland: Right.
Elise Labott:   -- that you've talked about discussions with the various governments –
Victoria Nuland: Right.
Elise Labott: -- about needing additional security precautions – the Syrians, for instance –
Victoria Nuland: Right.
Elise Labott:  -- which was one of the reasons that you closed your Embassy, because those precautions were not taken. So why would this be any different?
Victoria Nuland:  Elise, I'm happy to see whether there's more that we can share on this, but I don't have it today.

 When Labott asked about whether there had been a request for additional security, Nuland lied and stated she was going "to reject that."  Nuland was already aware of the requests.  She was informed on September 12th.

Susan Rice wasn't the only one lying to America. 

Media: NPR and the Dumb Ass (Ava and C.I.)

"Call it what it is," advised a feminist friend.  "Aren't you tired of the bulls**t?  Just call it what it is."  Yes, we are tired of the b.s. So, yes, let's go there.


Being a bitch can be powerful and liberating.  Reclaiming the word and grasping that you're only called that if you're making waves and making a difference can be very awesome. 

But there's being a bitch and then there's being a dumb bitch.

Someone may need to explain the difference to Melissa Block. 

NPR has gotten way to lax with rules and regulations.  The would-be Tiffany network of public broadcasting continues to play on air like a Woolworth's five-and-dime.  (Those in need of a contemporary reference, feel free to substitute "like a Dollar General store.")

It's created many problems.

Friday's embarrassment has its roots in the fact that (a) people think they're funny.   We've noted multiple times that being 'funny' isn't something everyone can do and that it harms public discourse.  We're glad to see that NPR took to reporting on that (even if they did pass it off as their own discovery) last week.  We're not really happy that they couldn't realize it applied to them as well.

If Melissa Block were trying less hard to be funny and less hard to be 'cute,' she might not have looked like such an ass -- such a dumb ass. 

Of, if you prefer, dumb bitch.  Now, ourselves, when we want to be bitchy, we'll go after a target.  We'll go after many targets.  These targets?  They're politicians, they're actors, they're writers, they're . . . They're not the public.  And it was especially sad that Melissa Block thought she could go after the public on National Public Radio.  Sad but a sign of how lax the rules and regulations are now treated at the network.

Friday morning, the Labor Dept. released the latest jobs report.  For Melissa and fellow goons David Brooks and E.J. Dionne, it was time to laugh at the 'kooks' who disputed the numbers.  Excerpt.

BLOCK: It's not just those Mitt Romney voters that we just heard in Ari Shapiro's piece who are claiming the job numbers are bogus. We also heard today from Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, and he tweeted this: "Unbelievable jobs number. These Chicago guys," meaning the Obama campaign presumably, "will do anything. Can't debate so change numbers."
And a lot of conservatives weighing in on that as well. The labor secretary, Hilda Solis, said she was insulted. She called that ludicrous. David Brooks, have we reached a new level of conspiracy theories here?

BROOKS: Don't tweet. Too much tweeting going on. You know, people who don't know much about Washington may think that everyone around here is hyper-politicized, but if you actually go into the bowels of the federal government, there are a lot people who don't care that much about politics.
They're numbers geeks. They do their jobs. They go home. They're not that political. And I guarantee you the people in the BLS are totally committed to the numbers. If somebody tried to introduce politics in their work, there would be mass resignations and there would be a lot of calls to reporters at various institutions saying this is happening. So I guarantee you, I feel very strongly it's not happening.

BLOCK: The numbers are not tweaked. E.J. Dionne, what do you make of this new conspiracy theory?

DIONNE: My colleague Ezra Kline wrote this morning, we've hit that moment in the election when people begin to lose their minds. And this is...

BLOCK: I thought we reached that point a long time ago.

First off, notice that they didn't call out Chris Cuomo.  He disputed the numbers publicly on his Twitter feed.  But the first rule of faux journalism is never call out a journalist. 

The excerpt doesn't do justice to what listeners had to suffer through nor can you really read the scorn-based amusement Block spoke with.

Was it so wild that the Labor Dept.'s figures could be wrong?

They were wrong with the July figures and with the August figures.  In each case, they later -- quietly -- published updated numbers that reflected less job growth than what they'd trumpeted originally.

So there is that.  There's also this:

"Numbers can be manipulated,” says Paul Conway, who was chief of staff to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao under President George W. Bush. Conway now runs a conservative advocacy group, Generation Opportunity, trying to galvanize the youth vote. “They [BLS staff] produce a product, that is then subject to the review, and approval and processing of political appointees in the department. That’s a fact -- that’s exactly how it works before anything goes public.”
Conway says political appointees didn’t change the numbers when he was at the Department of Labor. But he says of today’s report: “I find it at best incredible, and at worst suspicious."

So they can be fixed.

Repeating, so they can be fixed.

Guess what makes Melissa Block even dumber than just a dumb ass or a dumb bitch?

Throughout most of the country on Friday, what we just quoted aired on NPR. In fact, many listeners heard that MarketPlace report during All Things Considered before they heard Melissa make an ass of herself. 

Let's explain it slowly.  They heard a MarketPlace report that explained the numbers could be fudged.  They heard a reporter do an actual report speaking to someone who had been in that department who could attest that the numbers could be manipulated.

And then they heard dumb ass Melissa gabbing away with columnists -- not reporters -- and laughing at how 'stupid' people were.  No, stupid were Melissa and her two gas bags.  Stupid were idiots who honestly thought they could weigh in without knowing what they were talking about.

One more thing about that Mitchell Hartman MarketPlace report, for years gas bags on NPR have told us that the president never knows the numbers until the Labor Dept. releases the report.  Gas bags on NPR have sworn the president finds out at the same time.  Hartman exposed that lie as well.  The president gets the numbers a day in advance.

NPR owes listeners not one but two corrections.  First, Melissa Block needs to apologize for ridiculing the public.  Second, Melissa Block needs to apologize for weighing in on a topic she -- and her guests -- clearly knew nothing about.  In other words, the saddest of all know-it-alls is a dumb ass. 

Ava and C.I. evaluate the debate performance

Ava and C.I. wrote this Thursday morning.  You knew we were going to repost it here.

America recoiled from Barack last night (Ava and C.I.) 


Was he snoozing?


As All Iraq News reports, last night President Barack Obama faced Governor Mitt Romney for a closed debate (closed to third parties).  This was so beyond "The Christ-child fumbles."

Immediately after the debate, Ron Suskind probably called it best, Mitt Romney seemed to want to win while Barack was just stumbling on stage.

The impression that he wanted to be anywhere else was cemented with Barack's first response.

For those who've forgotten, the question was, "Let's start the economy, segment one, and let's begin with jobs. What are the major differences between the two of you about how you would go about creating new jobs?"

And the response began?  "There are a lot of points I want to make tonight, but the most important one is that 20 years ago I became the luckiest man on Earth because Michelle Obama agreed to marry me," Barack babbled.  "And so I just want to wish, Sweetie, you happy anniversary and let you know that a year from now we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people."

Oh, gee, is the presidential election intruding on your personal life?

The whine had opponents thinking, "Well maybe next year you'll be back home at your mansion in Chicago."  Worse, it reminded people that while the country has struggled through the Great Recession, Barack started his term thinking America wanted 'date nights' for Barry and Mitchie when what they wanted was to see a president working at improving the economy and creating jobs.

Funny how the date nights disappeared as the anger and outrage over the lack of job creation increased among the voters.

The tone deaf nature of the administration from day one was disgusting.  Bully Boy Bush was rightly called out in 2005 for various galas while the Iraq War and Afghanistan War continued.  In January 2009, backed with a ton of corporation money, DC looked like a whore's paradise and had one longterm DC doyenne observing she hadn't seen anything like this -- corruption and corporations mingling on the dance floors at glitzy galas -- since Nixon.

Two wars were going on but it was party-party central.  And maturity and perspective, which were no where in sight, never arrived.  Which is how you got date nights.  And fashionista covers while millions of Americans moved into poverty.  It was tone deaf.

And the endless rounds of golf and basketball games, the personal sessions with the trainer flown in several times a week from Chicago, the 'body man' Reggie Love, all of it was topped when Michelle decided she and her pals needed a little vaction.

Tone deaf.

And that's how Barack kicked off the debates.  Instead of focusing on America, he yet again -- as he always does -- tried to make it about him.

Cedric and Wally long ago dubbed him the celebrity president and that's certainly how Barack tried to self-present at the start of the debate.

He even got a round of polite chuckles for that nonsense but you could feel the discomfort as it called to mind, for many, that if a president's not putting his job first right now, when does he ever?

And hasn't that been the underbelly of his administration?  The doubt that he really wants to do the work required?

He won't work Congress.  Forget LBJ who was a master at working Congress, he won't even work Congress the way Bill Clinton did.  (Bill is a natural politician.  He needed a great deal of help grasping the ins-and-outs of Congress and protocol which is partly why his first months included so many stumbles.  By contrast, LBJ knew everything there was to know.)

And it wasn't just that he wouldn't work Congress, he didn't seem to care.  Shutting then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of the process of several key pieces of legislation?  When the Speaker's from your party, you certainly don't try to insult her.

But they never cared.  A beer summit?  Sure, Barack was up to that.  It would get a lot of easy press.   But working Congress?

The way Barack elected to start the debate served to remind everyone that if your idea of a president was someone featured on the pages of In Style magazine, it was time to celebrate.  But if you thought a president was someone who got to work on solving the nation's problems, the man standing on that stage only disappointed.

Could he have recovered?

He could have improved.

He could have tried to connect.

But he came off distracted and distant.

And, worst of all, controlling.

"Jim, you may want to move onto another topic," Barack said coming off both bossy and whiny.

Jim Lehrer might and he might not.  He is the moderator.  That's his call to make.

"Let me just finish this  point because you're looking for contrasts," Barack declared at another point as if  his long, rambling responses were caused by Lehrer and not by Barack's own inability to be concise and convincing.

Moments like these -- and there were many -- also touched on the bitchy.

If there was one term for Barack's performance, that was probably it.

And it's why even the die-hards who still make up the Cult of St. Barack couldn't convincingly pull off the lie that he won.  (CNN and ORC International's poll found 67% of those watching the debate said Mitt won).  It was a Barack that they had never acknowledged existed.  But there was no denying it as Barack repeatedly used his time to tell America (lecture?) what Mitt Romney allegedly stood for.

"Who is this Barack Obama?" America seemed to wonder as they finally grasped just how far down the toilet hope and change had gone.

NPR tried hard to spin for Barack.  This morning, on the hourly news, they included a luke-warm critique of Mitt from a political analyst who was supposed to be independent and chose to pair that with someone who was voting for Barack, someone they said had decided to vote for Barack before the debate, who was then given time to tell the world how "scary" Mitt Romney was.  Repeatedly using the term "scary."  The voter didn't belong on the hourly newscast.  It was as embarrassing as the little stunt Scott Horsley and others have been pulling on air that no one's supposed to notice.

Have you noticed how the two candidates are referred to by Horsley?

Take any report.  Let's go to Monday's Morning Edition report.  It's "Romney" and "Mr. Romney" versus "the president," "President Obama," etc.  Now we're not big on titles.  But if you're going to use them, you use them.  In the past, Romney would have been referred to as "Governor Romney" and "the former governor."

Most of the press has shirked any and all standards of professionalism during this election cycle and that's probably another reason Mitt won the debate last night.

As Marcia observed last night:

They have made him into such a devil that I think a lot of Americans were like me when they watched, "What the hell?"

I was expecting Mitt to kill someone in the middle of the debate and then tie Barack to the railroad tracks.

When you inflate someone to be so evil, I guess there's always the risk that they'll be seen by people who will then realize you lied.

In other words, when you try to turn someone into a monster, you better hope they reveal themselves to be that or you better keep them off screen like Bruce in Jaws.



* Our cell phones are going back on after this posts.  Yes, Jim we were ignoring you.  We don't want to write this type of piece at Third on Sunday.  So we wrote it this morning.  We're done with it.

* We have two more debate pieces planned for Sunday.  One deals with the media, one deals with the closed nature of the debates.

* For those who need to know, we are feminists, we are leftists.  We also do not plan to vote in the 2012 elections.  We are sick of the scare tactics.  We are sick of so much.  We applaud Jill Stein's use of the phrase "the politics of fear" and wish she'd use it more often.  She should have known it was a winning strategy when Barack recently tried to co-opt it.

* We have now covered the first debate.  We may or may not cover additional ones.  There's a great deal going on with the media and we're not masochists.

Crisis for homeless children (Kathy Durkin, WW)

Repost from Workers World:

Growing crisis for homeless children

By on October 6, 2012 » Add the first comment.
It is generally assumed, except by the most hardened reactionaries, that governments, even under capitalism, have a responsibility to ensure that children’s basic needs for housing, health care, food and education are met.
However, this basic tenet is being undermined across the U.S., as states cut back essential programs for children, under the pressure of the economic crisis and the greedy 1%.
In New York City, the “richest city” in the country, 20,000 children now live in shelters. This is the largest number of homeless children here since the Great Depression. It is expected only to get worse.
Unemployment, low-wage jobs, combined with exorbitant rents and gentrification of working-class communities by big real estate interests have created the perfect storm underlying growing ­homelessness.
In 2005, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with great fanfare, announced that he would decrease the number of homeless people, 33,000, by two-thirds within four years.
The city then stopped prioritizing homeless families for federal assistance for housing and financial aid, programs which help people stay in permanent homes.
After the administration implemented those cutbacks, the number of homeless families rose. Today, 11,000 families and 46,000 individuals are without homes, the highest levels since the 1930s. African Americans and Latinos/as have been disproportionately impacted.
For the 20,000 homeless children today and those of the future — as there is no end in sight for this catastrophic situation — it’s devastating. It affects their emotional and physical health, their school attendance and achievement, and more.
Exacerbating the crisis further, the city ended all housing assistance for homeless families more than a year ago, forcing more people into shelters. Additionally, Bloomberg and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo cut $48 million and $65 million, respectively, for programs aiding families in obtaining permanent housing.
Now, the pro-corporate city administration has descended so low as to wrongfully deny even shelter access, so that this year, only 35 percent of applicant families were approved to enter the facilities, say the Coalition for the Homeless and the Legal Aid Society.
The two organizations said in their testimony at a Sept. 25 New York City Council Committee on General Welfare meeting, “In recent months, the NYC Department of Homeless Services has begun to deny overnight shelter placements to homeless children and families, even during declared weather emergencies.” The doors are shut even to those with serious health problems.
When confronted at the City Council meeting about homelessness, NYC Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond was intransigent. He insisted that there would be no city aid forthcoming to help families get permanent housing.
Bloomberg’s response to the emergency is to open five more homeless shelters.
Bloomberg and Cuomo should be held accountable for their roles in worsening the homeless crisis. The city and state should immediately rescind the budget cuts, and refund and implement all housing assistance programs to enable families to obtain permanent residences. The city should allot a sizable number of its apartments for homeless families, and more.
Homelessness is innate to capitalism. It worsens during an economic decline.Housing for all should be included as part of progressive struggles all over the country.
In a humane, socialist society, where people’s needs are the priority, the necessities of life for all, especially the needs of children, would be guaranteed. Public housing would not be a hot potato for the superrich and their politicians to ignore and evade.

 Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Murray and Levin ask DoD and VA to work together

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office notes:
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, joined with Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, in sending a letter to the VA and DoD Deputy Secretaries requesting that the Departments work more closely together, as true partners and with greater involvement from senior leaders, to improve the IDES process. The letter also calls on the Departments to set a definitive timeline for completing the review in order to implement meaningful changes. The requests stem from issues identified during GAO's recently completed investigation into IDES
"I am not convinced the Departments have implemented a disability evaluation process that is truly transparent, consistent, or expeditious. Getting this right is a big challenge – but it's one that we must overcome," said Senator Murray. "I've seen the impacts of a broken system – whether it's from a wrong diagnosis, an improper decision, or never-ending wait times. When the system doesn't work accurately and quickly, or when servicemembers can't get a proper mental health evaluation or diagnosis, it means they are not getting the care they need and they are not moving on to civilian life. While DoD and VA are at a critical juncture, I am confident that by working as true partners and committing to real, meaningful changes, the Departments can improve the system for the thousands of men and women who will be transitioning in the next couple of years."
"I am convinced that the DoD/VA Integrated Disability Evaluation System can be improved to better address the needs of our wounded, ill, and injured service members," said Senator Levin. "This system is too complex, takes far too long, and still has an adversarial aspect that our service members should not have to endure. It will take a concerted effort by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, working together, to bring about needed improvements."
The full text of the letters follows:
October 4, 2012
The Honorable Ashton B. Carter
Deputy Secretary of Defense
1010 Defense Pentagon, 3E944
Washington, DC 20301
The Honorable W. Scott Gould
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Secretary Carter and Secretary Gould:
Essential to the effort of improving the transition process for separating servicemembers is overcoming the challenges confronting the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). Earlier this year, as part of our Committees' ongoing oversight of IDES, the Veterans' Affairs Committee held a hearing examining the multiple challenges servicemembers still face while navigating this joint program. As was made very clear at that hearing, real improvements could only happen with the "total engagement, cooperation and support of all senior leaders at both Departments …"
Indeed, the ongoing dialogue and Secretary Carter's July 2, 2012, letter to Chairman Murray underscored this very point, affirming the Department of Defense's commitment "to work closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to examine ways to improve timeliness and effectiveness of the system …" Yet despite the importance of this work, and the Departments' repeated assurances of promising results and progress made, reality has yet to match rhetoric.
It is because of this clear and urgent need for total engagement, cooperation, and true partnership between the Departments that we write to you regarding the recently released GAO report, Military Disability System, Improved Monitoring Needed to Better Track and Manage Performance. Discussing how to overcome the challenges facing the system, GAO recommended that VA and DoD "work together to develop timeframes for completing the IDES business process review and implementing any resulting recommendations."
A timely business process review has the potential to help the Departments analyze each phase of the disability evaluation review process and identify areas where greater coordination and integration between the Departments is appropriate. Such a review can only be successful if the Departments undertake it in a truly collaborative way, evaluating their respective business processes in the context of what is necessary for an integrated system. Further, any such effort must have clear goals and timelines. So while both Departments concurred with the GAO recommendation, the response from the Department of Veterans Affairs was particularly troubling:
Although the Department of Defense (DoD) has been leading the business process review efforts described in this report, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has provided input and support to promote these efforts and will continue to do so to the extent possible. At this time, the full scope or current status of these efforts has not been disclosed to VA. As such, VA recommends that developing timeframes for completion of these efforts should be deferred to DoD.
This response makes clear that true collaboration between the Departments on the business process review has yet to occur. Surely, then, the answer cannot be to drive the Departments further apart by deferring all planning to the Department of Defense. Therefore, we are writing to request from you not only a timeline for completion of the review and implementation of any recommendations, but also that you make this review a truly joint, collaborative effort to improve a broken system. We also ask that you detail the steps you will take to personally ensure the Departments work together as partners in reforming this system and in addressing other joint challenges. As the Deputy Secretaries of your Departments, your leadership is critical in order to create meaningful change for our servicemembers and veterans.
We remain committed to working with you to address the challenges confronting this system, but further delay and a lack of meaningful cooperation is unacceptable and risks jeopardizing the Departments' ability to achieve a truly integrated disability evaluation system that works. Thank you for your attention to this letter and for all that you do on behalf of our servicemembers and veterans.
Kathryn Robertson
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

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