Sunday, May 10, 2009

Truest statement of the week

The Department of Justice has asked the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss their appeal of a lower court ruling which blocked a second court martial trial for 1st Lt Ehren Watada. In June 2006, Lt Watada refused to serve in Iraq on the grounds that the US invasion was both illegal and immoral. His court-martial was declared a mistrial in February 2007. A civilian US federal judge blocked the Army's attempt to hold a second court-martial in October of 2007, ruling that a second trial would qualify as double jeopardy. According to the US Constitution, a person cannot be tried twice on the same charges. Although Lt Watada's period of enlistment was up two years ago, he is still virtually confined to the US army has barred him from communicating with anti-war groups. Despite the Dept of Justice's decision not to appeal the earlier civilian court ruling, the US army is still considering prosecution of Lt Watada on two charges of "behaviour unbecoming an officer" because of an anti-war speech he gave to the Veterans For Peace national conference in Seattle in 2006.

-- Mark Taylor-Canfield, Free Speech Radio News, Thursday, May 7, 2009.

Truest statement of the week II

On the issue of getting the word out on the case, I want to take a moment to note three people. I'll start with Brett Barrouquere of AP who has covered this story since 2006. He had not yet hit the three year mark but it was looming. A great deal of what the world learned about all the trials on these War Crimes came from Barrouquere. He was also the only reporter from the MSM who covered Green's trial each day.
I want to note Evan Bright. He covered every day of the trial as well. Bright is a high school senior. C.I. heard about him from friends at the US AG and they interviewed him for Third ("Evan Bright Puts Big Media To Shame"). Bright doesn't think he'll end up being a reporter after college but, if you ask me, he's a natural with real talents. I do hope someone's advised him to include his coverage of the trial as part of his college application.
Third? C.I. C.I. never let go of this story. She was on it when it started and she regularly called out the lies and the silences. For nearly three years. She knows the case incredibly well and has the facts down pat. In part due to a friend who needed help researching Green for a movie but also because that's C.I. She did an amazing job. When no one was covering it, she was on it. This month and last, her coverage included reporting on an analyzing court filings up through the court orders for some witnesses on the prosecution's list. She walked you through the judge refusing to allow some of the more ludicrous lines of defense Green's attorneys wanted to make. That was reporting. And she's the only one who did that. No one else went through those court documents and reported on them. When she started doing that in April, she was hoping to build some interest in Abeer outside the TCI community. Thinking covering Green's ridiculous requests would peek interest. That really didn't happen. But she covered Abeer and when the trial started, she made sure Abeer was mentioned each trial day repeatedly to ensure Abeer wasn't forgotten.

-- Trina McKinnon, "Steven D. Green convicted of his War Crimes."

A note to our readers

Hey --
Working on this week's edition were:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.

and Dallas. We thank them all.

Truest statement of the week -- We didn't have time to cover Ehren this week. He was on our list. When there was no time at all, it was thought we could cover the latest quickly and it was pointed out that the FSRN report actually got the facts correct, one of the few to do so. Well done FSRN. And we've corrected it to show that this was from Thursday's broadcast.

Truest statement of the week II -- Trina. Readers had requested her and we agreed. C.I. was the only objection. Dona asked, "Do you really want to deny Trina a truest just because you're mentioned?"

Editorial: Justice for Abeer? -- This was our editorial after three others (on the same topic) flopped, flopped and flopped. We spent forever on the editorial(s) this weekend. Is this one any good? Who knows? By this point, we just wanted to be done.

TV: Smart drama and the real fringe -- We knew we could breathe easy around the time I read paragraph four of this. Ava and C.I. had saved the day. This is a really strong piece and since we waited until late Sunday night to do this note, we have an idea of the immediate reaction from readers. Ava and C.I. may pick up on one aspect next week or we may if they don't want to. But there's a relief over this article, over one topic, and a feeling that it really needs to be addressed even more. Fringe, Ava and C.I. remind me (Jim) right now, wraps up the season Tuesday night. It's a good time to check it out.

One Sings The Other Doesn't -- MAD Magazine really did do a strong 500th issue. Pick it up at the stores and check it out. The Progressive? What an embarrassment.

Magazine throws bash -- This should have been a one-two, quick write. And our plan was to do this while Ava and C.I. did their TV commentary. We did get other things done during that but we only had two lines when they rejoined us. At some point, it became them taking over because it had been another half-hour with no ideas we could stand. "Taking over," should be "leading." Wally, Mike, Cedric, Betty, Ava and C.I. were the real writers of this. Or at least of the parts that made it up here and of those parts that work. When outlining the edition, we honestly thought this would be a very easy write.

The Progressive Celebrates 100 Years of Racism -- Calling out the nonsense.

Passing a historical problem off as something 'new... -- Ibid. And we have repeatedly maintained here that the left hurts itself by forever treating the media system as a new problem. The problems are not new. They are historical and people need to start talking about the history.

The woman who should sit on the Court -- Judge Anna Diggs Taylor was a left hero for a few months in 2006 and we're really shocked that no one's insisted she be put on the list considered for the Supreme Court. She is the only one who stood up to the illegal spying.

Diane Rehm censors Abeer -- While Ava and C.I. were working on their TV commentary, we pulled this together.

Community reactions to the verdict -- While Ava and C.I. were working on their TV commentary, we pulled this together. It's some of the reactions to the trial and verdict.

She sounds like an idiot -- People who don't live in the US (and who are not seen as Americans due to people not grasping that they have dual citizenship) should be careful when discussing an economic meltdown to avoid sounding gleeful. It doesn't play well when people are losing their jobs, their homes and their way of life.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Kat, Rebecca, Betty, Ruth, Cedric, Marica, Stan and Wally wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's it. See you next Sunday.

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

Editorial: Justice for Abeer?

Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was gang-raped March 12, 2006 in Iraq by US soldiers James Barker and Paul Cortez while her parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in the next room by US soldier Steven D. Green.

Steven D. Green
After murdering the three, Green returned to the living room, joined the gang-rape and then murdered Abeer. In an effort to hide the War Crimes, an attempt was made to set Abeer's body on fire. Evan Bright reported one recent court witness explaining, "He then watched Barker pour a liquid onto her body. While her body was burning, he added clothes and blankets to fuel the flames, 'to destroy evidence,' he said. He continued, describing Cortez & Barker washing their chests and genitalia back at TCP2, and how he himself threw the AK47 into the canal. When asked why he didn't turn his squad members in, he 'didn't feel right, telling on people [he] served with'."

Prior to last week, these were the outcomes: James Barker entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 90 years, Paul Cortez also copped a guilty plea and was sentenced to 100 years, Jesse V. Spielman was convicted (no plea) and sentenced to 110 years and Bryan Howard had a plea agreement which resulted in 27 months of imprisonment.

All had fingered Steven D. Green as the ringleader, as the murderer and as one of the rapist.

Two weeks ago, Green went on trial in a civilian court, a federal court, in Kentucky. On Monday, the prosecution rested. Brett Barrouquere (AP) reported Blake Huggins and Noah Galloway were witnesses for the prosecution today and both testified that Green told them he had committed the War Crimes shortly before his federal arrest June 30, 2006. Barrouquere quotes Huggins stating, "He had mentioned to me that he and a group of guys walked into a house, killed a family and raped a young girl. He just kind of mentioned it to me."

Tuesday, the defense rested. Wednesday came closing statements. Evan Bright reported, "Scott Wendelsdorf just completed the Defense closing statement. 'Madness? Madness. Madness is the only way any of this could have happend'." Brett Barrouquer (AP) quoted US prosecutor Marisa Ford stating, "This was a planned, premeditated crime which was carried out in cold blood." Evan Bright reported of Ford's closing:

She reminded the jury of Barker and Cortez raping Abeer while "Green, behind closed doors, blew Qassim Hamza's brains out with his Army supplied shotgun." According to Ford, he then took the AK47, "which was provided to the family for protection against insurgents," and used it on the mother, Fahkriyah, and their six year old daughter, Hadeel." She went on to describe Green's sexual assault and execution style murder of Abeer, before he "burned her, beyond all recognition." At this, Green(in a blue Polo) looked down but was still listening intently. She talked about Green having had the AK47 disposed of, and his not-so-impaired judgement. "This was a crime…not committed in the chaos of battle, not committed while on an Army assigned mission, but a crime planned, and acted out in cold blood." Marisa cattle prodded the Defense team, referring to Pat Bouldin's "dumbing things down" for the jury in his opening statement. "To 'dumb things down' for you is an insult to your intelligence," Ford told the jury, "you don't need things dumbed down to know that what Stephen Green did was wrong."

The jury deliberated for a few hours on Wednesday and then again on Thursday. And first out of the gate with the jury's decision was Evan Bright: "Steven Dale Green found guilty of and convicted on -- ALL -- sixteen (16) counts; including eight (8) which could bring a death sentence." He reported that on Twitter and the 18-year-old high school student then wrote a incisive report on how it was inside the court room as the verdict was read:

As the jury entered the court room, Green(red sweater vest) let out a large sigh, not of relief, but seemingly of anxiety, knowing the weight of the words to come. As Judge Thomas Russell stated "The court will now publish the verdict," Green interlaced his fingers and clasped them over his chin. Russell read the verdict flatly and absolutely. Green went from looking down at each "guilty" to eyeing the jury. His shoulders dropped as he was convicted of count #11, aggravated sexual abuse, realizing what this means. A paralegal at the defense table consoled Green by patting him on his back, even herself breaking down crying at the end of the verdicts. After Russell finished reading the verdicts, he begged questions of the respective attorneys. Wendelsdorf, intending to ensure the absolution of the verdict, requested the jury be polled. Honorable Judge Russell asked each juror if they agreed with these verdicts, receiving a simple-but-sufficient yes from all jurors. Green watched the jury flatly.

Monday Green is sentenced and we return to a question "Justice for Abeer?"

It's hard to say. We're thrilled with the verdict and congratulate the prosecution on a job well done; however, two things.

There is still the sentencing and the defense is said to be planning to pull out all stops. Second, these were War Crimes. These were international in scope. We honestly expected the world to be watching but for that to happen the media would have to cover the trial and they pretty much all took a pass.

It was disgusting and maybe they're saving their strength? Intending to come rushing out of the gate on Monday after the sentencing?

If not, we're left with a question similar to the one about a tree in a forest: If justice takes place while no one's watching, did it really happen?

TV: Smart drama and the real fringe

Fringe is an investigative/sci-fi, serial drama created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci which airs on Fox and wraps us season one Tuesday night. Fringe is also the reason this site didn't go dark in November as planned.


We had problems with the show when it started and, as noted September 14, 2008, when we expressed those problems to "a writer for the show, we were asked to wait until the mid-season to review the show (changes are promised -- don't believe it)." Our problems were we weren't in the mood for another remake of Deanna Durbin's 100 Men and A Girl. We weren't in the mood for another show where one woman was paired with a cast of men.

When we raised that issue, we were told, "Blair Brown's in the cast!" Yes. The good woman and the bad woman. The dualities. Nothing new or novel there. We can trace the dualities as far back as The Dick Van Dyke Show (stay-at-home wife Laura versus working gal Sally) and further if you give us time. We were told that was a valid criticism and they were already at work on it. We didn't place a lot of faith in that statement but agreed (without thinking) to wait until at least mid-season to review it because the changes would be in place by then.

In promising that, we extended the life of this site (without realizing we were doing that). Now we hear all the time from writers, show runners, performers, "We're going to fix that. We're going to address that." And they never do. A sitcom that utilized one of our friend's life (life, love life and profession) promised to fix its flaws but in the end got canceled because it never dealt with them. But Fringe actually did do something. More needs to be done but they've given the lead character, Olivia, a sister and a niece who've moved in with her and added FBI agent Astrid (the wonderful Jasika Nicole). Blair Brown basically does cameos. So without the addition of the three females, you'd have entire episodes where, unless a victim was a woman, you might never encounter a female character other than Olivia.

Olivia is a federal agent who, in the first episode, had to try to save her partner (and lover) from an unknown disease/condition. It turned out that he'd been exposed to a contagion as part of his efforts to betray the country and engage in bio-warfare. Except it turned out, after he was dead and after Olivia communicated with him via William Hurt's old isolation tank from Altered States, that he was actually infiltrating the ring for the government and was deep undercover. The multi-national corporation Massive Dynamics has him currently in some sort of suspended animation. Oliva has Walter Bishop (John Noble) working with her. In order to achieve that goal, she had to track down his son Peter (Joshua Jackson) because she needed Peter in order to see Walter who was institutionalized and is the text book definition of not only the absent minded professor but also the mad scientist. When Olivia was a child, Walter and his partner William Bell (Leonard Nimoy in Tuesday's finale) conducted experiments on Olivia and other children. A fact she didn't know until much later in the season. Walter has a lab in Harvard University (actually Yale) and works there with Peter and Astrid and a cow.

If this is all getting too confusing, please note, we're not done yet and at least the show, unlike the comic book, hasn't brought in Nazis . . . yet. (In the fourth issue of the six edition comic Fringe, on sale now, Nazi Hans Froelich is revealed to be Walter Bishop's father.)

Fringe deals with 'fringe' science and with things that could never, ever happen. It's so out there, right?

Nothing nutty ever happens in real life, right?

Well let's take a look.

Last week President Barack Obama tried to 'regular Joe' it with Joe Biden and MSNBC embarrassed themselves (yes, that's still possible) by having Andrea Mitchell ooh and awe over it on live TV as if it were news that two middle aged men got a burger. Were there any news to be found in the two going out for fast food it was when Barack insisted upon Dijon mustard for his burger. It's that sort of 'flourish' that keeps the Celebrity-in-Chief Barry O! and Michelle the crazy woman in the attic. Yes, America, Barack is his own trophy wife.

That wasn't even the weirdest of the weird; however.

There was David Simon appearing before Congress. For those not in the know, Simon's a bad writer, a bad White writer, who employed other Whites to write about being African-American in America. Or rather to write stereotypes about being African-American in America. The Wire was for the middle-aged White male what corporate rap is for White boys in suburbia, a way to get 'cred' and be 'down' via, quite honestly, stereotypes that suppress African-Americans.

Just as all the White young dopes love them some 'gangsta' rap, all the White boys of the Docker set love them some 'gansta' shows. They be keeping real . . . real ugly, real racist. Novel concept: White male 'creative geniuses' need to stop using the n-word. There's no need for it. It's not 'realistic' because it's got nothing to do with David Simon's life. But apparently, writing about all the time he spends on the toilet each Saturday night after an all day pig out wouldn't pass for 'gritty' TV.

Simon cast himself as Stella Johnson, squeezed into his mini-skirt and marched into Senator John Kerry's hearing to offer a loopy testimony on the wonders of journalism . . . in 1972. As we listened, we wondered if we were having an acid trip but then decided it was all on him as he did everything but insist, "Well you're the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet and I'm just a good old fashioned Harper Valley hypocrite."

At one point, the bald blowhard declared, "Indeed, the very phrase 'citizen journalist' strikes my ear as Orwellian. A neighbor who is a good listener and cares about people is a good neighbor; he is not in any sense a citizen social worker, just as a neighbor with a garden hose and good intentions is not a citizen firefighter. To say so is a heedless insult to trained social workers and firefighters."

We don't say "citizen firefighter," insisted Davy Simon. But we do say "volunteer firefighter." A point he intentionally overlooked.

The shocking thing wasn't that he continued to pontificate but that Democracy Now! elected to broadcast his garbage. He was so nutty that if he'd crossed his legs and his 'sunshine' had fallen out from under his skirt, we wouldn't have been at all surprised.

Nutty? 'Fringe'? We're not sure if it was the woman who appeared on Oprah last week or her idiot followers online. The woman was Elizabeth Edwards.

Lizzie's got a new book because, apparently, self-obsession is part of her therapy. She's been married to John Edwards for many, many years. John had an affair with Rielle Hunter (we don't know Rielle, we do have several friends in common with her). Rielle had a baby.

Lizzie wanted to talk turkey, Lizzie wanted to be honest and the real question to ask her was, "Why now?" She should have been honest when it mattered since it turns out she knew about the affair much sooner than was thought.

Some have pointed out that Elizabeth Edwards attacked Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Party primaries and that John Edwards hid behind his wife's skirts. That's true and it's false. John attacked Hillary as well and Elizabeth usually included some criticism of Barack in her interviews. That said, by the third or fourth time of the media (such as The New York Times) running with "Elizabeth Attacks Hillary!" and ignoring her comments about Barack, Elizabeth knew damn well that she was being used by the media to attack Hillary and she should have known that before because the media was desperate to create a cat fight (and grossly disappointed when Ann Coulter, of all people, wouldn't take the bait on Hillary).

When John embarrassed himself with his 'I have sinned' interview, we didn't have any sympathy for him. In part because, for all her 'letting it all hang out' pose, we've heard the stories for years now about John Edwards many supposed affairs. Rielle may be the first one publicly known but she does not appear to be his first affair. And it's a shame that Elizabeth is building her 'defense' (such a lawyer) around the claim that it was.

Time's short, especially when you have cancer. You don't have time for self-delusions. In the Edwards Fairy Tale, one adopted by a number of woman bloggers who should know better, John and Elizabeth lived in the Garden of Eden, or at least Allah, and all was perfect and wonderful between the two of them until one day, many, many years later, Rielle slinked onto stage. She lurked, she tempted and poor John, probably heady from a hot oil treatment, finally caved.

Rielle is an adventurous woman, according to mutual friends. She is not, however, a rapist. And to be Elizabeth or one of her online supporters, you pretty much have to cast Rielle as a rapist. It is all so much slut-shaming that we keep expecting the same actresses who played Amy Fisher in TV movies years ago (Drew Barrymore and Alyssa Milano among them) to show up playing Rielle.

Rielle's a grown woman, unmarried. She can sleep with whomever she wants. It's her business. She's not taken a vow to anyone. Elizabeth Edwards told Oprah, "There is no excuse for women to do this. Women need to have respect for other women."

Really, Liz? Let's see, in July of 2007, you began falsely stating that Hillary was saying women (and men) should vote for her because she was a woman (Hillary never said any such thing). You told Ladies Home Journal in 2006 that you and Hillary both had law degrees and married lawyers but "I think my choices have made me happier. I think I'm more joyful than she is." You pushed the lie that Hillary (the one who would garner the most voters in the Democratic Party primaries) wasn't electable, "I want to be perfectly clear: I do not think the hatred against Hillary Clinton is justified. I don't know where it comes from; I don't begin to understand it. But you can't pretend it doesn't exist, and it will energize the Republican base. Their nominee won't energize them, Bush won't, but Hillary as the nominee will. It's hard for John to talk about, but it's the reality." Electable? You knew, at that point, that your husband had an affair and you're questioning whether or not Hillary is electable? You know that at any moment the news of the affair can come out in the press and you're questioning whether Hillary could win the general election? What was hard for John and Elizabeth Edwards to talk about was his cheating ways and that's reality.

Yet after doing all of that damage and so much more to the first viable female candidate for the US presidency, Elizabeth Edwards wants to finger point at Rielle and say, "There is no excuse for women to do this. Women need to have respect for other women."

As we noted, a lot of bloggers want to believe in St. Elizabeth. (Ha.) And as a result, they rush to demonize Rielle. They rush to demonize so quickly that they pretend there is no victim here.

There is a victim. Rielle's child. The daughter may or may not be John Edwards' child. But Frances Quinn Hunter is a baby and she doesn't deserve to have Elizabeth Edwards talking about her on TV, spitting out the word "it" over and over to Oprah in reference to her.

It's good that Elizabeth has stopped insisting that she 'knows' the child isn't John's. She knows no such thing. But she needs to stop attacking the child. She doesn't have to like Frances, she doesn't have to know the child, but she does have to stop referring to a living, breathing human being as "it." Frances Quinn Hunter didn't do a damn thing to Elizabeth Edwards.

John Edwards cheated on Elizabeth. Rielle didn't. John Edwards lied to Elizabeth. So it was really funny to watch Elizabeth's blogging crew online work overtime to support Lizzie and attack Rielle. One huffed, "After a marriage of 30 years, she has a lot invested in the man." Yeah, too much invested in him as was obvious during the Kerry campaign when John and Elizabeth were the picture of harmony (remember the front page photo of all their kids frolicking in the summer of 2004?) but when the press moved on, things weren't so pretty. While Teresa Heinz Kerry was ready to go any and everywhere (and did, winning over a huge number of Latinos in Texas with a speech tying her immigrant story into America's shared history), Elizabeth preferred not to be too far from her husband and the rumors of his straying were already rampant within the Kerry campaign. Elizabeth did have "a lot invested in the man," in fact, she had too much.

She still does. She told Oprah she loved John but wasn't sure she was in love with him. In December 2006, he told her of the affair. He's lied to her about the affair (by her own admission) but she was told he'd cheated and told by him in December of 2006. Now we're not saying, "If she were a strong woman, she would have left him!" It is her decision. She needs to do what makes her happy and comfortable. Any spouse learning of an affair needs to do that. It may mean a divorce or separating. It may mean working through it. That's a decision for the person cheated on to make and no one can make it for her or him.

But that's almost two and a half years ago. We're not saying, "Get over it!" We are saying a smart woman should know by now what she wants to do. If she's not in love with the man, she should have left him. It's not healthy for her or for him. And there is something very sick about their marriage with her going on television to declare maybe she's in love with him, maybe she's not. Common sense was the one thing Elizabeth Edwards was supposed to have and it's the one thing which has been consistently absent since her husband went public with the affair.

Or how about a guilty verdict in a federal case, in an international incident, War Crimes, in which former US soldier Steven D. Green is found guilty of gang-rape and murder? How about the way that verdict was vanished, disappeared?

As weird as that was, it was nothing compared to sitting in Congress on Thursday and hearing a US House Rep, Democrat Adam Smith from Washington, agree with an Australian that the Smith-Mundt Act barring government propaganda being aimed at US audiences was a hindrance to the 'work that needed to be done' but "[t]he problem we're going to have is the paranoia of the American public right now that the government's trying to manipulate them." Those paranoid Americans! Poor Adam Smith, in a kinder world, he would, apparently, be serving in Australia's Parliament and not having to deal with the 'crazies' in the US.

Compared to all the above, Fringe seems fairly normal.

In the tradition of the Fox's most lasting hourly show, The X-Files, Fringe tells you something is out there and that it's dangerous as hell. Viruses are engineered, people work on transportation devices (we don't mean planes, trains and automobiles), people burst in flames, bald children live underground, sealed by concrete underneath a building while a bald adult walks around spying on all. And did we mention men get pregnant? On one episode, a creature assembled in the laboratory injected larvae into FBI Agent Charlie (Kirk Acevedo), thereby impregnating him.

There's talk of a coming storm, a coming battle, and a great deal more. Each episode tracks one specific 'fringe' case and also provides clues and details about the larger, ongoing story. Walter Bishop and William Bell set the story in motion years ago. Walter's memory is shot and William's been referred to all season but never seen (until Tuesday night).

Who is seen each episode is Anna Torv who plays Olivia and bares a physical resemblance to Cate Blanchett. In terms of acting, she's in her own universe which is why Olivia's held the audience's attention from the start. She's also very lucky to have Joshua Jackson to play off of. Yes, too often, Peter has a lot of Pacey in him. Some of that's the writing. But the former Dawson's Creek star can frequently surprise you and the writers would be wise to grasp that Peter's light banter only gains complexities when he's also allowed to show darker moments. Peter grew up with a father who was legally insane and a criminal. He grew up with great shame and there's a dance he does with Walter that has largely been non-verbal because it's largely unscripted. It's something Jackson and John Noble have created all on their own.

When we were looking at the first episode and second episode and friends were asking why we didn't care for it, they assumed it was another Alias and worried that Olivia ran around in hot pants and a bra. It's not that kind of a show. It's actually a highly intelligent show and this being J.J. Abrahms, he's also going for a sexy show. It's a tribute to Anna Torv that she's made it that without bikinis or g-strings, without love scenes. Olivia is a gorgeous woman but, in the end, she's sexy because she's smart.

When everything begins to fall together, when the pieces start to fit, Olivia's more robust than at any other time during the show. Not many shows strive for intelligence and we're having a really hard time of thinking of one that attempted to make smart sexy. We're aware that Alias was a show warmly embraced (long before it aired) by the US intelligence community (for obvious reasons) and a few years from now we may find out that J.J. was part of a government program to instill a desire for scientific learning in the next generation. For now, we'll just be glad that Olivia exist and that, for once, Fox is standing with a show that's worth watching. Fringe wraps up season one Tuesday and, yes, it will be back this fall.

One Sings The Other Doesn't

The Progressive and MAD Magazine both reached milestones recently. MAD published its 500th issue and The Progressive celebrated 100 years in print. Even with that claim, The Progressive was fudging the truth.

100 years

Reality, La Follette's Weekly Magazine was not The Progressive. If you doubt that, turn to page 30, "1929," where a December 17, 1929 article is excerpted (for two sentences) and declares, "The Progressive Publishing Company is the name of a new organization which has been incorporated with a capital stock of $25,000 and which will publish a new weekly to be called The Progressive. The new publication will succeed La Follette's Magazine." What did they announce in 1929? That La Follette's was shutting down and "a new weekly to be called The Progressive" would "succeed La Follette's Magazine." Not a continuation, not a name switch, a new publication. A new weekly. The Progressive won't be 100 years old until 2029.

Reality, the anniversary issue is a bad, bad issue.

Each year gets one page.

Nothing gets context.

If you're really lucky, you read a few sentences by a member of Congress. If they were a member of Congress when they wrote the article the excerpt comes from, they will be identified as such. Otherwise, you don't know who these people are or why you're supposed to care. One exception is: Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis' daughter Susan Brandeis gets a slug explaining who she was or at least that she was someone's daughter. But being a Supreme Court Justice yourself doesn't appear to help, as is evidenced by the Abe Fortas excerpt which makes no mention that he would go on to serve on the Supreme Court. Charles Beard (one of the 20th centuries most noted historians) gets no identification, nor does the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. James Weldon Johnson gets a four line bio but Bayard Rustin gets nothing. I.F. Stone gets nothing. Neil Sheehan gets nothing. Their star reporter Judith Miller (yes, her) gets nothing but an "Editor's Note" does comment on her 1975 story.

What was the purpose of this issue? Each page covers a year and there's no context. Politicians or policies are mentioned in the brief excerpt without context. Never do you feel informed or, for that matter, that you've actually read something. It's the equivalent of photo captions or, if you prefer, In Style magazine: Printed text for those who can't or won't read.

After you grasp that there's no point in taking the magazine seriously (maybe that was the intended anniversary message) you can sit back and notice other things. For example the google-eyed Susan Sarandon self-promoting like crazy. A third of a page is wasted for a 1989 article on Susie. 1989 was, apparently, a very slow year. Susie talks about how brave she was to attend one of the first AIDS marches.

You might notice 2003 through 2009. Those are the years of the continuing illegal war. How often does Iraq pop up in the anniversary issue's coverage of those six years? Four times. (We are not counting a single, brief sentence shout-out in the midst of an interview when it's in a litany of beefs.) Let's compare to that to six years of Vietnam, 1967 through 1973. Seven. (And note, it's not mentioned at all on the "1973" page.

You notice that the WWII years never mention the Holocaust. You notice that Iran-Contra might as well have not happened. There is nothing on the Congressional inquiry. There is a vague excerpt from an Allan Nairn piece on the Contras that would leave anyone new to the topic confused. Does The Progressive not expect to ever have new readers?

Gay rights is reduced to "I'm a sissy! Good for me!" (Richard Gollance "I'm Proud to Be a Sissie"), Kate Clinton on gay marriage, and Gloria Steinem as advocate because, apparently outside of "sissies," gays had nothing to contribute to the magazine in the 70s, 80s or 90s. Apparently issues like visitation rights, property rights, serving in the military, etc. are not topics the magazine's ever covered or found interesting?

What may have stood out the most for us was a 2006 e-mail from Matthew Rothschild. No, not one in the magazine. Or one he sent us for that matter. One he sent a subscriber who forwarded it to us. In 2006, Rothschild was putting up articles from the archives (usually in PDF format) at the magazine's website and the spying scandal about wiretapping was breaking. Rothschild replied to the subscriber that he was going to put up some stories on Congress' investigation (Church Committee, Pike Committee) into government abuses. He never did. Nor do they make the issue. There's a 1976 excerpt of a piece by George Lardner Jr. that makes no sense at all because it provides no context. He's saying Congress is white washing an investigation but no one reading the excerpt will have a clue.

The excerpts are a joke and speak to lousy editing. For example Tom Harkin's "The Tiger Cages of South Vietnam" (page 81, "1970") is excerpted. No slug line explaining Harkin (who is now a Senator) in terms of who he was or why he was in Vietnam -- he was a legislative aide on a Congressional trip to examine Vietnam prisons. The excerpt should have started a paragraph before and ended a paragraph sooner. At least. "With a great stroke of luck, we were able to find the tiger cages," opens the excerpt. The great stroke of luck was due to the fact that former prisoners had sketched out a blue print which the members of Congress were using, when they broke with the official tour and they got lucky because the noise they made outside the door caused a guard to open it thereby exposing the "tiger cages."

And when you finish reading the issue (twenty minutes tops), you really do register all that was left out. You'll notice, for instance, that Senator Robert Wagner appears repeatedly but never is his anti-lynching act noted -- an act FDR opposed and killed because he was afraid of losing support in southern states. It's a carefully crafted 'history' in a VH1 Pop-Up Video kind of way. With 130 pages, they find a way to truly say nothing.

By contrast, MAD uses 58 pages and not only manages to acknowledge its past but also to provide new content. The Progressive's 100th anniversary issue is nothing but a cut & paste clip job. There's nothing to indicate that they have a future, let alone much of a past.

MAD magazine

Magazine throws bash

NYC, New York (AP) -- Revelers celebrated Saturday to honor the 500th issue of MAD Magazine. The comic magazine began offering it's parodies and satirical look at the world in 1952 as a bi-monthly magazine before quickly become a monthly.
MAD magazine

Spokesperson Alfred E. Newman led an afternoon conference entitled "What me worry?" -- the trademarked phrase Newman debuted in 1955.

"Inspirational, simply inspirational," declared Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine. "This has been a glorious day for free speech and vodka."

vanden Heuvel had obviously enjoyed copious amounts of the latter as evidenced by her inability to operate an elevator. When asked how she decided which costume to wear to the celebration, vanden Heuvel responded, "What costume?"

More confusion ensued in the main ball room when Newman and US House Rep Dennis Kucinich entered from opposite points of the room. "They really are two different people!" gasped Will Durst.

At the podium, bad writer and den mother to the push-up bra set of 'feminists,' Katha Pollitt was explaining the effect MAD Magazine had on her life, "I was a homely teenager. I know some of you may find that hard to believe. Don't all gasp at the same time. Anyway, I was homely and I'd read MAD and they made all the powerful women look ugly. And that's how I decided I could be powerful. MAD helped me visualize the dream. If you can dream it, you can own it. If you can see it, you can be it. If . . ."

Following Pollitt's speech, revelers took a 30 minute cat nap -- well, during Pollitt's speech.

Outside the auditorium, in the parking lot, Matthew Rothschild, editor and chair of the board of The Progressive, was taking part in what he dubbed "a mass political action" but which several passersby dubbed a "lonely pity party."

Rothschild decried what he termed the "softening" of the magazine and, "most of all, it's high circulation."

Wearing a Barry O! So Stylish! t-shirt, an Obama button and, he told the press, Barack BVDs, Rothschild insisted that MAD no longer did hard hitting satire.

When shown a section of "The Bailout Hymn of the Republic" produced by Frank Jacobs and James Warhola, Rothschild wrinkled his nose and insisted, "They're making fun of Barack! That's racism! It is wrong to make fun of Barack! He is our God, Lord, Master and Turkey Baster!"


Spittle dripping from his chin, Rothschild was led away by the police as he dove both hands down the front of his pants and began rubbing furiously. Said MAD magazine editor John Ficarra, "The FBI once asked MAD to stop calling its director, J. Edgar Hoover, 'J. Edgar Electrolux'."

The Progressive Celebrates 100 Years of Racism

To travel through The Progressive's April 2009 issue is to stare in disbelief at just how racist the people involved are. The White periodical, started by White people, serving White people celebrates its 100th anniversary by reducing race to Black and White.

100 years

Even more appalling than the silence is the promotion of racism. An unnamed Vietnamese man (presumably Colonel Nguyen Van Ve) appears on page 81 in a comic by Pat Oliphant. Whomever the Vietnamese male is supposed to be, he's drawn as if he were a guerrilla. If it is Ve, it needs to be noted that the prison he ran was run on methods he was taught not only by Americans but by the British, in fact, Ve traveled to England in 1965, five years before the cartoon, to attend a training at the Prison Service Staff College at Wakefield. We're failing to see any cartoons where British males are drawn as apes. We live in the Bay Area which isn't the Whiter Shade of Pale that Madison, Wisconsin is. There is huge shock and outrage in the Asian American community over this comic. And there should be.

As already noted, the cartoon is by Pat Oliphant who has a long history of doing cartoons known for their racially offensive nature. In 2001, Marsha Ginsburg (San Francisco Chronicle) reported on only one instance of Oliphant trafficking in racial stereotypes to demean Asian Americans:

Outspoken Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Pat Oliphant, who once said political correctness "drives me crazy," enraged Asian Americans with a cartoon that appeared this week in many Bay Area newspapers.
The cartoon, which The Chronicle declined to run, portrays a buck-toothed Chinese waiter delivering cat gizzard noodles to a customer who concedes he had been "slowly getting used to doing business with China."
The waiter trips, dumping noodles on the head of the customer, who says the waiter must have been waiting for an apology. The waiter jumps up and down while saying, "Apologize Lotten Amellican!" The customer, who gets up in a huff and leaves, is Uncle Sam.
The 1,700 member Asian American Journalists Association said Oliphant's work "crossed the line from acerbic depiction to racial caricature" and yesterday demanded that he stop using racial stereotypes in his work.

So how the hell did his racist comic make it into The Progressive? We're not talking about back in 1970. We're talking about in the April 2009 issue.

The magazine reproduces the cartoon on page 81 which is devoted to 1970. With twelve issues making up 1970 and multiple illustrations to select from each issue, a decision was made to go with this cartoon over others. A decision was made to run this racist cartoon which suggests that Vietnamese (or all Asians?) are apes.

We're not even sure the cartoon ran in the magazine originally. If it did, it wasn't created for the magazine. They could have chosen any illustration. They went with that racist one. By a cartoonist who's long been called out for drawing racial stereotypes and who has a very hostile relationship with the Asian American community.

"But we're happy with the final result," gloats Matthew Rothschild on page 66 as he begs for more money. Apparently, with enough of your hard earned dollars, Rothschild would be able to run even more racist cartoons.

As you leaf through the bad issue, you search in vain for many topics. The internment of Japanese Americans? Not there. Native Americans? In 100 years of publishing, you might think the magazine had a lot to say about the topic but apparently not. One article . . . on the schools attended.

Latinos? In May 2006, the largest rallies and marches took place and they were advocating on behalf of immigrant rights. They offer one lousy paragraph (page 123) that doesn't even make it clear that this was about immigrants, that this was a Latino led movement and a student led movement.

As I marched on May 1, I began to grasp the heart of this movement: the economic rights of any and all people, regardless of papers, to decent pay and dignified work, housing, education, health care, an equitable distribution of wealth and income. Borders are now irrelevant. Corporations have long acted as if this were the case. Why shouldn't we?

That could be about immigrant rights . . . It could be someone elaborating on Judystock, a gathering of Judy Garland buffs discussing the meanings of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow."

In the excerpt, the word "immigrant" is never used (the headline to that paragraph is "A Single Movement"), nor the word Latino, Hispanic, etc. Another curious absence is the term "Holocaust."

Despite having WWII stories abounding throughout pages 46 through 51 (and after), the Holocaust is never noted. Norman Thomas (heavily featured throughout the magazine) has a 1948 piece on Palestine which mentions "Jews and Arabs." That's apparently the first mention of "Jew" in the retrospective.

It's hard to believe that a magazine wants to look back on the last 100 years and refuses to note the Holocaust, especially a magazine that features Ruth Conniff who is so damn eager to portray others as Holocaust deniers. (Such as when she falsely accused Norman Finkelstein of being one.)

The refusal to note the Holocaust is all the more appalling when you grasp that they included Milton Mayer's "Let Me In on the Kill" where Mayer's ridiculing those who would hang the Nazi leaders, "Let me drink the blood of the Beast, and I shall be new and pure" (originally ran October 14, 1946). This has to be a first: A look back at WWII that omits the Holocaust but does include sympathy for the Nazi leadership. In one form or another, Mayer spent the 40s and 50s begging for sympathy for Germany. Prior to WWII, Mayer, a non-practicing Jew, was most famous for penning "The Case Against The Jew."

What you quickly find as you flip through the issue is a narrative where race in the US is Black and White and that no issue could ever matter as much as what 'wonderful things' Whites have done for Blacks. Careful readers will quickly catch on that it's what 'wonderful things' White males have done for Black male. It's not only condescending it's sexist and, in their 100th year celebration, they make a strong case for why their bad magazine needs to go out of business. Pronto.

Passing a historical problem off as something 'new'

As Ruth noted Thursday, Danny Schechter and his ghost writer won an award for best blog, a James Aronson Award. And as Ruth explains, C.I.'s jaw dropped wide.

Why is that?

Because Danny Schechter is among the ones portraying the problems with the media as something new, something recent.

Get a grip, flibbertigibbet.

Good strong stuff dealing in round abuse and blackguard names, pulling off the roofs of private houses, pimping and pandering for all degrees of vicious taste, gorging with coined lies the most voracious maw; setting on, with yell and whistle, and clapping of foul hands, the vilest vermin and the worst birds of prey.

What is that? It's a media critique. It's actually a blistering media critique of the US press. Who authored it? Charles Dickens. In the 19th century. Not the 20th.

There will most likely be no media reform in this country, no real reform. And the failure will have a lot to do do with the desire of the left to turn a historical problem into a 'new' and 'emerging' one.

Danny Schechter is receiving a James Aronson Award.

That is laughable. All the pleas you will hear at MediaChannel were done by Aronson and company at The National Guardian, a weekly national paper that was published in NYC from 1948 through 1992. The radical paper was started by James Aronson, Cedric Belfarge and John T. McManus. The paper was created in time to promote (and endorse) Henry Wallace for president. FDR's former vice president was running against Democratic Party nominee Harry S. Truman and Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey. Norman Thomas was the Socialist Party's candidate, Claude A. Watson was the Prohibition Party candidate, Strom Thurmond was the Dixiecrat's candidate, Wallace was running on the Progressive Party ticket which was a blend of Socialists, Communists and disaffected Democrats who did not see Truman as a continuation of FDR's policies.

The National Guardian, publicly, was not a Communist Party publication. It liked to point out that it did not just offer praise to the Communist Party and just echo the Party line. The Nation does the same with the Democratic Party today and, yes, to many both would qualify as party organs. While claiming not to want to be a party organ of any party, the reality was they hoped to get the Progressive Party to fund their newspaper; however, the party's leadership was opposed. (As James Aronson noted in Something To Guard, co-written with Cedric Belfarge, the Communist Party was the leadership and they had no interest in sharing the resources: "The framers of this 'go look for funds elsewhere or drop dead' policy were, we knew, in or close to the CP.").

They published their first issue October 18, 1948. February 7, 1949 (not even four months later), the front page carried a plea for money ("A CALL TO ACTION NOW! THE PROGRESSIVE PRESS IS IN PERIL"). Readers responded. And one reader, Anita Blaine, even donated (a gift, not a loan) $78,000 that month. But instead of using that money to cover expenses or investing it or just saving it, they decided to act like $78,000 would come in every year and lower the subscription rate when the subscription rate had already failed to cover the basic expenses, hence the plea for money February 7th. By June of 1949, they were hitting up Anita Blaine for an additional $150,000. $228,000 in 1949. A huge amount. Enough that should have guaranteed solvency. But the beggar media never knows how to stay afloat or to budget. It's probably why Blaine made her gifts gifts and not loans. She always knew they'd never repay the loan.

For a little over 40 years, the newspaper managed to stay afloat through constant fundraising. It died two years after its last living founder (Cedric Belfarge) had passed away. But James Aronson and Cedric Belfarge left the paper in the spring of 1967. (It was a bitter departure, Aronon wrote of it in "Editing on the Left: Memories and Convictions," The Nation, February 5, 1968.)

Unlike most in Panhandle Media, the staff of the Guardian could actually work in the real press. They hailed from The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Time, The New York Post, etc. Why would they want to start their own press?

For the same reason that people do today: The stories that matter were not getting out. Too much was being ignored and hidden.

They also saw their goal as informing and educating. They did not (unlike today's Beggar Media) see their role as promoting either of the two dominant political parties (the same ones then as now). They never endorsed a Democratic Party presidential nominee. They, in fact, saw one of their long range goals as creating a new political party (originally as keeping the Progressive Party alive but that was impossible -- in 1948, you already had people running from it due to the Communist presence). If you were fortunate enough to know Aronson (Elaine and C.I. were), he could tell you all about the fakes in the Communist Party who latched onto the Democratic Party with the hopes of changing it from within. They would infiltrate it, they would take it over! That was their plan. As noted in other articles here, that is also what fueled the hardening against Communists among centrist and liberal Democrats and allowed them to take part in the witch hunts, or watch without objection as they went on.

It's why non-Democratic Party members like Laura Flanders, Grace Lee Boggs and others attempting to influence a Democratic Party matter (the selection of the presidential nominee) actually set the stage for the backlash that is mounting. Equally true is that a number of people who don't grasp what happened run from the party they don't understand. They're not coming back just like an earlier group switched parties and never came back. To them, the Democratic Party is officially crazy. They don't grasp that events were influenced by outsiders who had no business in the Democratic Party process because they are not Democrats. It is, to finish out this line of thought, why for all the talk of the GOP's funeral, the most dangerous development for Democrats and the thing that will lead to a steady bleed over the next years. Since FDR, no Democrat other than Bill Clinton has ever been elected to two terms as president. (Death allowed Truman and LBJ to finish their predecessors terms after which they were each elected to only one term. Jimmy Carter was elected to only one term. Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan were elected to two terms. Bully Boy Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court to one and elected to another.)

The National Guardian didn't succeed in establishing another political party. Aronson's opinion was that it split (further) into factions after he and Belfarge left in 1967 and its best times were behind it with the exception of continuing to run reports by contributors who had been with the paper for many years (such as Anna Louise Strong and Wilfred Burchett). Most readers would trace the end to the US pullout from Vietnam and careful readers would certainly notice that the coverage of Watergate was rather staid for the paper that, December 19, 1963, ran Mark Lane's "A Brief for Lee Harvey Oswald."

Lane's article had been turned down by every US outlet and, when it ran, was ignored with a tiny group choosing not to ignore it but to ridicule it. While ignored by US outlets, the international press was all over it. And that's a good place to go out because it underscores how nothing has really changed. Whether it's the Downing Street Memos or any other story, it's easier to find it covered outside the US than within -- especially true the more it has to do with events in the US.

The woman who should sit on the Court

Having lived through last summer's vote on FISA, Barack's broken promise on public financing and so much more, we don't trust him and we're certainly not going to devote our time to lobbying for a Surpeme Court nominee when we know Barack Obama's never kept his word and won't start now.

But we do want to note one thing as a list of women, possible nominees to replace Justice David Souter, flies back and forth. We want to note how appalled we are by what passes for 'leadership' on the left because there's one name which has never made the lists and should be at the top of it.

We're not going to lobby to put her on the Supreme Court (for reasons already stated) but we'll note she's earned her place on that and any other list: Anna Diggs Taylor.

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor

Jimmy Carter appointed Judge Diggs Taylor to the federal bench (US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan). The Barnard College and Yale Law School graduate had worked for the Dept of Labor, had been a Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor, an Assistant US Attorney, a legislative assistant to US House Rep Charles C. Diggs, Jr. (her husband from 1960 through 1970, she was a legislative assistant from 1967 through 1970), a labor and a law professor and an attorney in private practice prior to sitting on the bench.

The list of organizations she's a member of include:

Michigan Association of Black Judges
Women Judges Association
Federal Judges Association
State Bar of Michigan
Federal Bar Association
Wolverine Bar Association
National Lawyer's Guild
Women Lawyers Association of Michigan
Civic & Other Activities
Trustee, Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan
Trustee, Metropolitan Detroit Health Council
Trustee, Founders Society of Detroit Institute of Arts
Trustee, Arts Poetica Chamber Orchestra
Trustee, Henry Ford Health System Eastern Region
Vice President, Yale Law Alumni Association
Co-chair, Volunteer Leadership Coalition
Co-chair, United Way Community Services
Trustee, Herlong Episcopal Cathedral School

She's clearly qualified and she clearly would bring a professional and personal background of needed diversity to the court.

But, most important, she earned her spot on the Supreme Court.

If the name hasn't registered yet, let's drop back to Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bully Mama Babies Bully Boy" (August 20, 2006).

Yeah. The decision in ACLU v. NSA, the one where Judge Diggs Taylor found, "There are no hereditary kings in American and no powers not created by the Constitution." In 2006, the judge stood up when every other member of our three branch federal government trembled. Judge Anna Diggs Taylor stood up.

She sided with the Constitution. She gave a ruling that she knew the administration in power would be hostile. What she did took courage and guts. It showed real independence and real respect for the law.

It is amazing that a list of potential Supreme Court nominees is repeatedly circulated and her name isn't even on the list.

Along with Isaiah's illustration, we're also using a photograph of Robert Maniscalo's portrait of Judge Diggs Taylor which hangs in the Theodore Levin US Courthouse, Detroit, Michigan.

Diane Rehm censors Abeer

As reported in Friday's "Iraq snapshot," the Thursday conviction of Steven D. Green in a US federal court on all counts for his War Crimes involving the gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and the murder of her five-year-old sister and her parents was banned as an agenda topic on The Diane Rehm Show. Rehm didn't want to address the international incident even though Friday, as usual, found her gas bagging for an hour about 'international affairs' such as . . . well, swine flu.

E-mails came in suggesting the topic before the show began airing. E-mails came in during the broadcast. Rehm made a point to ignore all e-mails and, so worried was she that the topic might be brought up, she banned female callers to the second hour of her show. That was not only stupid, it only further exposed how few females she books. (The second hour's panel was made up of three journalists: all male. The first hour had two males and one female.)

Since Diane Rehm wouldn't read the e-mails on the air, we figured we'd note some of them here. (Thanks to ____ for passing them on to C.I.) We are withholding names from the e-mails. If you recognize an e-mail as your own and would like to be noted as the writer, e-mail us at giving your permission for us to make your name public. And e-mail from the same account you e-mailed the show because that's how we'll know it was you.

We'll also note that after C.I. said, "This is going in the snapshot," The Diane Rehm Show went into overtime actually responding to some of the e-mails (____ told us that and noted that the auto reply is all anyone e-mailing the show ever gets "until you wrote that"). In the reply (which went out over five hours after the show aired, we are told, it was stressed that they really, really tried to get to the topic, really. Bull f**king s**t. What they really, really tried was to damage control.

As I listen to all the babble on this second hour and notice that NO female guest is on the panel, I have to wonder if that's why we're hearing nothing about Abeer Qassim Hamza.
Steven Dale Green was convicted yesterday afternoon.
Why aren't you talking about that?
And why doesn't Diane book female guests?
This is embarrassing, in 2009, that Diane's got 3 guests and everyone's a man.
A 14 y.o. girl was gang-raped and murdered. In Iraq. US soldiers. It's an international incident. And we can't hear it and I've got to hear three men drone on about the most dull topics in the world.
[name withheld]
Manchester, New Hampshire

As a Iraqi American whose family came here twenty years ago I am very concerend about the story of Abeer Qassim al Janabi who was only 14 when she was killed in her home along with other members of her family and she was killed after she had been raped. I have been most displeased to see no attention given to this especially since the man who is said to be the leader was convicted yesterday in court. I would hope you would find time for this topic.
Thank you,
[name withheld]

Dear Diane Rehm,
Looking forward to today's second hour because I always enjoy the lively international discussion.
Hope you will be addressing the conviction of Steven D. Green yesterday in the Kentucky federal court for his crimes in Iraq.
Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was a 14 year old girl and he was stationed in her Iraq neighborhood at a checkpoint. He was supposed to protect the neighborhood. Instead, he plotted with other US soldiers on how to rape her. He (and other soldiers already convicted) raped her. He killed her parents, he killed her sister and he killed her.
Hope this will be addressed.
Thank you,
[name withheld]
[Note that the e-mailer attaches
this CNN article on the verdict after his name.]

Good morning Miss Rehm,

Can you and your guests cover the trial of the US soldier who was convicted of raping and murdering an Iraqi girl yesterday? I have not heard this covered on any show and it's the topic I really count on you for deep explorations of.


[name withheld]

Ann Arbor, MI

Yesterday in Kentucky, a federal court convicted Steven Green on 16 counts over the March 12, 2006 crimes in Iraq that he and other U.S. soldiers took part in.
Green specifically took part in the gang-rape of a 14 y.o. girl, he murdered her, he murdered her parents, he murdered her sister, and he was the ringleader.
This was an international incident.
This topic belongs on today's show and I'm very distressed that I'm having to write in to say, "Girlfriend, cover it!!!!!"
[name withheld]

This story [link to Democracy Now! headlines for Friday] about the soldier being convicted for raping the 14 year old girl is really tragic and I hope you and your guests plan to discuss it.

Also when do you plan to have Jerry Seib back on the show?

Yours truly,

[name withheld]


Why is today's show ignoring the verdict in United States versus Steven D. Green?
That is the big international story and there's been no mention of it. War crimes took place in Iraq. A verdict came down yesterday.
It needs to be addressed.
[name withheld]

listening on KERA in Dallas

Dear Ms. Diane Rehm,

As a survivor of rape, I know the horror involved and I know that we rarely get media attention on sexual assault cases. That is why National Public Radio is so important. It can cover these topics and do so without interrupting to broadcast commercials. Yesterday Stephen Green, a US Army man, was convicted in court of raping and murdering a 14 year-old girl while he was serving in Iraq. This is a very important story that I believe many of your listeners would be interested in hearing about. I know I would be. Please consider addressing it.

[name withheld]

New Haven, Conn.

We could go on and on. That's only a sampling. All but two of the above are from women. The bulk of the e-mails we have copies of were written by women.

Community reactions to the verdict

Rebecca: the jury is deliberating green's guilty now.
i'm pulling for guilty. i think that's the finding the jury will make and i believe it's the finding most will expect if they've followed the case.

Stan: Are they going to find Steven D. Green guilty in Kentucky?
I don't see how they can't. (And he is guilty.) You've got eye witnesses testifying to his part in the gang-rape, to his part in the killings, to his part in planning it, to his bragging about it repeatedly after.
So I don't see an "innocent" verdict coming out of the jury.
But who knows, right?
I would vote guilty.
I think he'll be found guilty.
I'm not sure what the sentence will be, but I do think he's going to be found guilty. (And I think he is and that the prosecution established that.)

Thursday the verdict in Steven D. Green's War Crimes trial was announced and this feature is just gathering some of the community writing from last week. Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was gang-raped and murdered by US soldiers, has long been a topic at this site and at all community sites.

Kat: The jury found War Criminal Steven D. Green . . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

. . . guilty

and guilty.

All counts.

Marcia: Abeer got some justice today. It was a long time coming. March 12, 2006 she was gang-raped while her parents and kid sister were murdered in the next room and then Green joined the gang-rape and followed that by murdering her. Now Green's been found guilty and that is what we all knew to be true. C.I. analyzed the defense's bungled arguments and presentation perfectly this morning.

Betty: Abeer, I am sorry you were gang-raped and killed. I am sorry that you did not live to see 17. I am sorry you were gang-raped and sorry that it happened while you screamed as you heard your sister and parents murdered in the next room.
I am sorry that you, an innocent civilian, saw your life destroyed as a result of this illegal war.
I am sorry that you will never get to pursue your dreams.
I did not forget you over the last couple of years and I will not forget you now. You are my sister always and I do not forget what my country did to you.

Marcia: Abeer will be remembered. Those of us who care will not let her be forgotten.

Mike: That's Steven D. Green and we never dissect him on the news. He's not even mentioned. Elizabeth Edwards is trotting out her "Poor Me" act yet again and the press can't stop talking about that. Elizabeth, stop doing interviews, you are embarrassing yourself. Maybe if the junk news (like Elizabeth and John Edwards) could hit the trash bin, we could get serious talk about war crimes in our media?

Ruth: War Crimes took place.
And shame on all the people -- men and women -- who choose to ignore the ongoing trial in Kentucky of Steven D. Green. But it is especially appalling as a woman who saw the second-wave came alive, as a feminist who really throught the world was changing, to see what so-called 'feminists' of the third-wave choose to write about. It is appalling to notice all the silences. These are the 'feminists' who live on junk food and crap it back out online and want to call that 'doing their part.' It is disgusting.

C.I.: What was done to her family was horrible. What was done to her was even worse. Think about the gang-rape. It starts when her parents and sister are led out of the room. Abeer's fighting and screaming. And then she hears the gunshots. She knows her parents and her sister have been shot. She knows the bullets didn't 'bounce off' so they're either bleeding or dead and she heard screams. Who did Steven D. Green shoot first? Her kid sister? So Abeer heard her mother screaming after the first shot? Or maybe Green took out Abeer's father first in which case she heard her mother and her sister screaming?
As she was being gang-raped.
And then Paul Cortez and James Barker are done with the gang-rape as Steven D. Green enters the room. It's his 'turn.' And she's being raped again and by the man she knows has just killed her parents and her sister. Between the physical pain and the emotional pain, hopefully by that point she was in shock. If she wasn't, she knew he was going to kill her. He's killed everyone else in the house. He's raping her, she's been raped by two other men. He's killed her parents and her sister and now he's got to kill her because she's the last witness.
If she's not in shock, she may be praying they kill her quickly. Not just because of the pain she's in but because two of her brothers aren't home yet. She may be thinking that if it drags out any longer, her younger brothers will come home and they'll be the next murdered.
Who knows what was going through her head or if she was in such a state of shock that she wasn't even thinking at that point?
We don't know and none of our outlets have bothered to treat her like the person she was and to consider it from her point of view. They've largely ignored her. I'm glad the Times finally mentions her name today and, considering the paper's record, I won't blame the reporters for waiting until paragraph thirteen to mention her name. That's not what reporters generally do. They generally give a name and then use "she" and "her". They don't open with "she" and "her" and continue to use those for paragraph after paragraph. It's unnatural and it feels like editing. So I'm not going to blame them for it and I will applaud them for getting her name into the paper.
But even today, when she's finally in the paper, someone's made the call that she's not worth naming until pargraph thirteen of a fourteen paragraph story. Even when her name finally makes the New York Times, she's pretty much an unnamed extra in what should be her story.

Trina: On the issue of getting the word out on the case, I want to take a moment to note three people.
I'll start with Brett Barrouquere of AP who has covered this story since 2006. He had not yet hit the three year mark but it was looming. A great deal of what the world learned about all the trials on these War Crimes came from Barrouquere. He was also the only reporter from the MSM who covered Green's trial each day.
I want to note
Evan Bright. He covered every day of the trial as well. Bright is a high school senior. C.I. heard about him from friends at the US AG and they interviewed him for Third ("Evan Bright Puts Big Media To Shame"). Bright doesn't think he'll end up being a reporter after college but, if you ask me, he's a natural with real talents. I do hope someone's advised him to include his coverage of the trial as part of his college application.
C.I. C.I. never let go of this story. She was on it when it started and she regularly called out the lies and the silences. For nearly three years. She knows the case incredibly well and has the facts down pat. In part due to a friend who needed help researching Green for a movie but also because that's C.I. She did an amazing job. When no one was covering it, she was on it. This month and last, her coverage included reporting on an analyzing court filings up through the court orders for some witnesses on the prosecution's list. She walked you through the judge refusing to allow some of the more ludicrous lines of defense Green's attorneys wanted to make. That was reporting. And she's the only one who did that. No one else went through those court documents and reported on them. When she started doing that in April, she was hoping to build some interest in Abeer outside the TCI community. Thinking covering Green's ridiculous requests would peek interest. That really didn't happen. But she covered Abeer and when the trial started, she made sure Abeer was mentioned each trial day repeatedly to ensure Abeer wasn't forgotten.

Like Cedric and Wally, in "Steven D. Green convicted" and "THIS JUST IN! CONVICTED!," we'll emphasize Trina's remarks. Jody e-mailed asking about that and Wally's mother saw Trina's post, called Wally and asked if he and Cedric had finished their joint-post? When Wally said no, his mother asked him to consider including Trina's comments in it. Wally and Cedric read the above and realized that said it all.

She sounds like an idiot

America is having economic meltdown and crisis. The Progressive elects to pull quote Naomi Kelein (page 126 of the April issue) stating, "This is an amazing moment for the left, for progressives. Because the free market ideology is truly in crisis."

As intelligent and sensitive remarks go, it's right up there with BullyBoy Bush declaring on 9-11, "This is a great opportunity. We have to think of this as an opportunity." (Bush At War, Bob Woodward, pages 31-32.)


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

Bette Davis

"Abeer makes the NYT finally," "Iraq snapshot," "Steven D. Green convicted of War Crimes," "Iraq snapshot," "Closing arguments in the War Crimes trial," "Iraq snapshot," "Steven D. Green (public domain photo)," "Closing arguments today in the War Crimes Trial," "Iraq snapshot," "Prosecution rests in War Crimes trial" and "Iraq snapshot" -- Lewis and Amanda had the same idea. Both e-mailed Ty and asked him to ask us to highlight C.I.'s entries which cover Abeer. Unless we missed one, there were eleven.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Useless Blogger" -- Isaiah also found a way to note the trial via this clever and funny comic.

"Steven D. Green convicted of his War Crimes" -- A first, the most requested highlight was not by C.I. Trina was the most requested highlight and people are asking for this to be a truest. We haven't decided on the truest statements of the week yet; however, this is on the consideration list.

"Steven D. Green convicted" & "THIS JUST IN! CONVICTED!" -- Like so many of you, Cedric and Wally loved Trina's commentary as well and chose to include it ("to make it," says Cedric) their joint-entry.

"I Hate The War" -- 3 votes behind Trina, here's C.I.'s Thursday night entry.

"Cherie Welch go FUCK YOURSELF" -- And only 2 votes behind C.I.'s entry is this post by Ruth. Highly popular with people applauding Ruth. We applaud Ruth as well. That e-mail from Cherie Welch is not just rude smut, it's filled with lies. Stan brought a quote from Danny Schechter into a roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin many months ago and C.I. informed us, by hearing it, that Schechter didn't write that statement (C.I. broke it down into a linguistic analysis and told us a woman wrote it). Marica and Stan have pointed out other times since then (see Marcia's "Danny Schechter has been kidnapped" for what we believe is the issue's first appearance at a site online). Cherie Welch needs to be a good little sock puppet and move along.

"Waiting on the verdict," "the grab bag post," "What will the verdict be?," "Waiting for the jury," "Steven D. Green trial," "Steven D. Green and Mitch Jeserich," "What's it going to be?," "Some people need to learn to say goodbye" and "The criminals" -- Why no theme post last week? Because we didn't know when the jury was going to go into deliberation in the Steven D. Green case. We imagined that it would be difficult waiting on the jury to deliberate but we had no idea. Wednesday night's posts were the hardest to write. But anticipating that it could happen at any time last week, we all agreed not to offer up a theme post.

"Marilyn French" -- Elaine's post on Marilyn French was requested by several readers of this site. And their e-mail address here is To help Ty, Dona and Jim (who read the bulk of the e-mails), if you're asking for a highlight put "Highlight" in your subject heading.

"Justice for Abeer" -- Which a few of you did with this by Betty. (Although we would have picked this ourselves. Betty's telling it like it is.)

"Bully is . . . being oblivious to everything" -- Each week, Isaiah offers a look back at his first year of doing comics for The Common Ills.

"standing with ruth," "Unacceptable," "Abeer and other items," "Danny Schecter's sockpuppet hurls insults," "The really-reals," "The Dumb Ass of the Week: Cherie Welch," "Strong words in the Kitchen" and "Friday"-- The community stands with Ruth. C.I. notes that in "Abeer makes the NYT finally" and writes, "I do not mean this as a negative criticism of anyone's post but I do know for a fact that Mike planned to write about the ACLU and torture and Elaine was going to cover Abeer at length. Stan was going to do his movie post. Because of the nonsense pulled, everyone got stuck in response mode. And they set their planned topics aside. To do that here, I would have to do a bonus entry and I don't have time. So we'll do our two Iraq entries and I'll table my own thoughts until I sub for Turh [Ruth] while she's on vacation. But for anyone who wonders, I love Ruth and I stand with her always." We wanted to do a roundtable but there's not going to be time, it's already been a long edition. But because Ty did have people e-mailing asking, we'll say, "C.I.'s right and no, it wasn't an insult and we didn't take it as one." We had our Friday posts planned. Especially everyone except Betty and Cedric! That's because they were all (everyone else was all) at the McKinnon house and going to have some fun with a bbq and more that was planned. So we had planned our topics out ahed of time and intended to do a quick post and get to partying. That didn't happen. Some of us (like Mike) were so ticked off by Cherie Welch's nonsense that we couldn't even think of things to write and had to go asking for topics despite having planned topics before. We were in response mode. And we needed to be because we're not going to let Ruth be talked to like that. But we were doing offense most of the week and had planned to continue that on Friday. Some people did (Marcia and Elaine to be sure) but most of us were just responding. And sometimes you have to. C.I. knows that. But she can't respond unless she wants to do it as a bonus entry because otherwise she will hear it in e-mails, "You wrote about an attack on Ruth. That has nothing to do with Iraq. You usually do two entries on Iraq on Saturday, where's the other one?" And one more thing on this entry by C.I. Mike: "I posted it. I'm the one who was supposed to edit Ruth's title so the f-word didn't appear. I forgot. C.I. wrote that early in the morning and I posted that a little after I got back from dropping C.I., Wally, Ava and Kat off at the airport. I mention that (a) to set the record straight and (b) to point out a point that's been made by Marica and others recently, C.I. has no problem owning a mistake. C.I.'s added a note where she says it was her fault and doesn't even mention me. Not only does C.I. have no problem owning a mistake, she'll own ones that are not even her mistakes. It was my mistake and my apologies if anyone was offended by the f-word."
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