Sunday, June 14, 2009

Truest statement of the week

Atrios did his best Rodney King imitation the other day. Why can’t we all get along? We’re all on the same side now. We all want the same things on this side of the lefty blogosphere. We should be cooperating instead of attacking each other. Nice for him to say. No one was calling him a stupid, racist c*nt last year, not that any of the name calling is true. It doesn’t really bother me. It just tears that whole cooperation thing to shreds.

-- Riverdaughter "Not so fast with the primaries, Atrios," (The Confluence).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A very late Sunday.

Along with Dallas and Betty's kids, here's who helped:

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,
Ann who's filling in for Ruth at Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.

We thank them all. What did we come up with?

Truest statement of the week -- We went with Riverdaught.

Editorial: The deafening silence -- As Iraq's LGBT community continues to be targeted for persecution, the media attention seems to decrease, not increase.

TV: He never looked so old -- Ava and C.I. take on Letterman.

Barry O, 21st Century Anita Bryant -- This article contains an illustration. Betty's oldest son said of homophobic Barack, "He's scared of the wienie." He said that in front of his oldest sister who insisted hot dogs were not scary. That led to the illustration and we thank them for it.

The Political Closet -- We had decided not to write this article weeks ago. And then Besty Reed wanted to play dumb at the expense of reality.

Politically driven assassinations -- This article came about because reader Leon e-mailed with an Iraq topic he hadn't seen covered. ( is the address.) So feel free to drop a line on a topic. Thank you to Leon. Thank you also to Betty's kid who did the illustration which is of Anne Frank (and Betty's daughter said no to a brown jacket. That was the big fight among the three of them. The boys said her jacket in the photos was brown. Betty's daughters said those were old photos and she'd want an orange or purple coat today -- note who won that point).

Congressional snapshot (Ava, C.I., Kat and Wally) -- As the never ending writing edition produced one failure that couldn't be saved after another -- and as Ava and C.I. pointed out that this was supposed to be our summer fiction edition . . . . Our summer fiction edition? Yeah. But we were convinced that there was too much news needing coverage. A point that Ava reminded us of repeatedly when we claimed we had nothing to cover. So Ava, C.I., Kat and Wally did this piece on things they observed in Congress last week.

Jeremiah was a bull. . . -- We're sure the usual defenders of hate speech will step forward to explain how there's nothing to see here, move on.

Kimberly Wilder on Redistricting -- Our PSA.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Cedric, Wally, Stan, Marcia, Rebecca, Betty and Kat worked on this and we thank them.

And that's the edition. See you next weekend.

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

Editorial: The deafening silence

The persecution of Iraq's LGBT community continues as does the silence from the executive branch of the federal government.

Seth Michael Donsky (Boston's The Edge) continues to report on the persecution and last week explained:

Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch's LGBT Rights Program, substantiates the claim that Iraqi government is tacitly encouraging the violence by ignoring the victims and overlooking the perpetuators. "It's true," he says, " that the government has been unable to restrain violence in the past, particularly during the virtual civil war of 2004-2007--but it has a vested interest in denying widespread violence directed at any group is returning in the supposedly 'stabilized' Iraq."In early April, the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, in response to questions from the Western media and from Western embassies in Baghdad, acknowledged that gays were being killed, but claimed that is was all the consequence of familial, or tribal, violence.
"It was a pro forma acknowledgement," says Long. Long believes the acknowledgement was primarily meant to distract attention from the organized nature of the killings and the involvement of the militias.
[. . .]
"Unfortunately," says Long, "much of the Western press, as well as LGBT activists in the US and Europe, have bought the Ministry's version and have stopped asking systematic questions about the militia's involvement or even the government's own role."

And there is continued silence from the White House. The US State Department would prefer to be silent and, fortunately for them, so many US outlets are more than eager to help them remain silent. After weeks and weeks of documentation and reporting, after public demands for investigations from members of the US Congress and from city councils, US outlets avoid the issue in one State Department press briefing after another.


But Thursday a BBC reporter refused to join the Americans in playing Don't Ask, Don't Tell: "The other week Muqtada al-Sadr said that the depravity of homosexuality must be eradicated. And while he went on to say that he was not advocating violence, there obviously has been a lot of rather gruesome violence directed at gays and lesbians in Iraq. So I was wondering if State has any reaction to that? And then off the back of that, is there any extra responsibility that the U.S. feels towards these groups who were, by their accounts, safer and more free to live their lives under Saddam?"

Ian Kelly, the US State Department spokesperson responded, "Well, let me say that, in general, we absolutely condemn acts of violence and human rights violations committed against individuals in Iraq because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is an issue that we've been following very closely since we have been made aware of these allegations, and we are aware of the allegations. Our training for Iraqi security forces includes instruction on the proper observance of human rights. Human rights training is also a very important part of our and other international donors' civilian capacity-building efforts in Iraq. And the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has raised and will continue to raise the issue with senior officials from the Government of Iraq, and has urged them to respond appropriately to all credible reports of violence against gay and lesbian Iraqis."

Ian Kelly was spitting out nonsense and he knew it. Lucky for him, no one asked a follow up. Here's what should have taken place and would have if you had a press covering the State Department that gave a damn about the harassment of and assaults on gays and lesbians.

1) Well, let me say that, in general, we absolutely condemn acts of violence and human rights violations committed against individuals in Iraq because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In general? When has the State Department condemned the acts specifically? Can you give us a date? The Secretary of State has visited Iraq. Did she condemn the acts on her visit? Has the US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hilly condemned the acts? If so, when?

2) This is an issue that we've been following very closely since we have been made aware of these allegations, and we are aware of the allegations.

Define "following very closely" because three members of Congress, US House Reps Tammy Baldwin, Barney Frank and Jared Polis wrote Hill urging him to "make protecting this vulnerable community a priority." That was at the end of April. What has Hill done since then that indicates he is serious about protecting the community?

3) Our training for Iraqi security forces includes instruction on the proper observance of human rights. Human rights training is also a very important part of our and other international donors' civilian capacity-building efforts in Iraq.

Your training has nothing to do with LGBT. Scott Long made that point to Donsky, "None of the U.S.’s trainings have any component relating to sexual orientation or gender identity. Moreover, the U.S. has a very limited record of condemning violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity--in Iraq or elsewhere." So show us where in the training LGBT rights are covered.

4) And the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has raised and will continue to raise the issue with senior officials from the Government of Iraq, and has urged them to respond appropriately to all credible reports of violence against gay and lesbian Iraqis.

When? Where? And with whom?

Ian Kelly tossed out the same lies the State Department's been getting away with since April and no one challenged him. That's disgusting and very telling of the press corps.

Fortunately, not everyone is so apathetic. This month a letter was sent to to US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and US Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein:

We are writing to urge you to call upon the government of Iraq to prevent the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and to protect the right of all Iraqi citizens to be free from all forms of cruel,inhumane or degrading punishment.
Deeply disturbing reports are enamating from Iraq with regard to the torture, beating and killing of LGBT people in that country. The increasing violence is being led by religious zealots who are targeting these individuals simply because of their sexual orientation. This year alone, 63 people have been tortured or killed as a result of religious decrees against gay citizens. A prominent Iraqi human rights activists has reported that Iraqi militia have deployed painful and degrading forms of torture and punishment against homesexuals that must be stopped.
The United States is spending trillions of dollars to fight a war that is based on bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people. These unspeakable actions of violence on Iraqi citizens are in direct violation of our purpose for being in that country and of the stated policy of non-discrimination of the new administration.
Local police in Iraq have issued a statement that "the extra-judicial killing of any citizen is a crime punishable by law. No one has the right to become a substitute for judicial authorities or executive authorities, and if there are complaints against individuals, there is law and there are police and there are government agencies. No group or class has the authority to punish people instead of the state." The violence occuring against LGBT Iraqis is in direct contradiction to this statement.
As one of the signatories to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Iraqi government has an obligation to protect the right to life (Article 6) and the right of all its citizens "to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" (Article 7). Current actions belie this obligation.
To protect the lives of LGBT Iraqis, we urge you to please take immediate action to stop the violence. We believe that a strong public condemnation of these actions must come from you and our other national leaders, along with the necessary pressure on the Iraqi government to protect the life and liberty of all its citizens.

The [PDF format warning] letter is signed by California state legislatures Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano, Christine Keho, John A. Perez, Jim Beall Jr., Julia Brownley, Sandre R. Swanson, Tom Torlakson, Marty Block, Mariko Yamada, Pedro Nava, Anthony Portantino, Jerry Hill, Hector de la Torre, Mike Feuer, Felipe Fuentes, Cathleen Galgiani, Curren D. Price Jr., Norma J. Torres, Jospeh S. Simitian, Elaine Alquist, Alan Lowenthal, Leland Yee, Gilbert Cedillo, Jenny Oropeza, Gloria Romero, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Lou Correa, Loni Hancock, Lois Wolk, Patricia Wiggins, Ellen Corbett, Carol Liu, Fran Pavley, Bonnie Lowenthal, William W. Monning, Isadore Hall III, Mary Salas, Mike Davis, Paul Fong, Warren T. Furutani, Jared Huffman, Bob Blumenfield, Alex Padilla and Paul Krekorian.

California's one state. Where are the other forty-nine? And don't forget Eleanor Holmes Norton and the District of Columbia. Everyone needs to raising awareness.

TV: He never looked so old

Slutty? David Letterman of the gap teeth and hair growing out of his ears is passing judgment on the looks of someone else? Well it had to happen in the environment the left created in 2008. The left created?


Not all the left. We're of the left. We didn't feel the need to rip apart Sarah Palin in order to build up Barack but we're part of a very small group. That America has a deep strain of sexism running through it is not in doubt unless you live in a state of denial or Denver. But a strong wave of public sexism would usually result in at least a half-hearted effort from the left to combat it. That ceased to be the case in 2008.

First sexism was used to attack Hillary. And for any backlash to be successful, women have to participate. So you had the likes of Laura Flanders and Betsy Reed showing up to insist that Hillary wasn't really a feminist and, for 'good' measure, repeat that Hillary 'cackles.' You had the 'wisdom' of Ruth Conniff, a woman who could write of how charming she found Mike Huckabee but, when it came to Hillary, boil it down to "YUCK!" Yeah, it was so disgusting of Hillary to make us (women) step up and defend her, right? That's why CounterSpin let the whole primary season pass by without calling out the sexism*, right? Because how dare Hillary force us to speak out against sexism, how dare she.

That really was the attitude: "Damn that Hillary Clinton, running for president and drawing all these sexist attacks!"

It was Hillary's fault that Barack Obama was for the Iraq War after it started, it was Hillary's fault that Barack had one shady association after another, it was Hillary's fault that Barack didn't keep his name on the ballot in Michigan, and, no doubt, it was probably Hillary's fault that Laura Flanders was unable to achieve a clitoral orgasm.

Pinning the blame on Hillary allowed a lot of people to pretend that it was okay that they were silent while sexism ran free. Some of them kidded themselves that Hillary was such an evil witch (or worse) that she had it coming. You know, like those rape victims have it coming?

No one ever wanted to get honest and admit that Barack Obama was using sexism and that, no, the woman hadn't been asking for it. Even to this day, they avoid connecting their Christ child to the rampant sexism. They unleashed it to install Barry O and it lingers to this day.

As bad as it was for Hillary, it was worse for Governor Sarah Palin. Why worse? Democrats loved Hillary. That's why she won more votes in the Democratic Party primaries. As bad as it was, she was known and loved by her party. And most Americans -- which is why she remains more popular than Barack in current polling -- had heard all this garbage before. They'd heard it from the right wing so it was surprising to hear it from the left wing but the garbage itself wasn't new and still had the same old stink.

Palin? She was an unknown. And the attacks on her began immediately with lies about whether or not she was the mother of her child. And it wasn't enough to attack Sarah Palin, they had to attack her daughter Bristol.

Bristol was pregnant at eighteen.

Think about it. The Democratic Party's presidential candidate? Whose supporters were screaming "Whore!" at Bristol? His mother was seventeen and unmarried when she got pregnant. And his mother was never married to his father in the United States because the US did not allow bigamy and Barack Obama Sr. already had one wife before he got Ann Dunham pregnant.

Excuse us, before he got her "knocked up."

That is the term David Letterman prefers, right?

Throughout 2008, America was treated to nutcrackers and assorted other vilifications of females who dared to run for the White House. The easiest way to vilify is to outright ignore and that's what happened to the Green Party ticket of Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente. While various 'left' women rushed to do their hatchet jobs on Palin and tell you it was a shame about Hillary but now you had to vote for Barry, you had to, they counted on you never calling them out on their refusal to acknowledge Cynthia's run. The same way various Whites pimped bi-racial Barry as "Black" all the while ignoring Cynthia.

The left didn't just encourage this non-stop sexism, they actively participated in it with very few exceptions. And now we see what comes from that damaging year.

Sarah Palin, a sitting governor, a woman whose success story is something for most to take pride in (we're referring to the fact that she came from humble roots and rose to become mayor, governor and the second woman to be on the presidential ticket of one of the country's two major political parties).

Unless you're David Letterman.

In which case, stoked by a year of non-stop misogyny, you go to town. And then some.

But then David always goes to town. And then some.

Take Nastassja Kinski. In 1982, she appeared on his NBC show, rushed from a photo shoot to make the show that no one was watching (Sandra Bernhard's frequent appearances on the low rated show would help give it some cache but it was not a hit in its early days). Her thanks for that was to have David mock her, make fun of her and refuse to let up. It should be noted that English was not the first language of the Berlin born Natassja, that she was, at that point, still learning, still finding her way. But xenophobia's always played big with David Letterman. Natassja left the show in tears and Letterman pretended to act sad . . . before following it with a segment where he and John Candy (with a wig styled to look like Kinski's hair) made fun of her non-stop.

Take Stevie Nicks who had to send a cease and desist request to the show to get him to stop making fun of her. Dave was surprised. He was a fan. The fact that he couldn't grasp how offensive what he was doing actually was goes a long way towards explaining what a pig he was and is.

There's a reason Cher told him he was an ass on air. There's a reason Madonna used the f-word with him repeatedly. There's a reason Valerie Perrine was shocked to hear David Letterman had made fun of her on air after her segment ended. David is, as Cher long ago observed, an ass.

And he showed his ass repeatedly last week.

Worldwide Pants is his baby and we should probably note that a mature company doesn't allow execs to act out In The Company Of Men at film festivals across the country. If that's not specific enough for you, two men with a certain show (we can name names if we have to) shouldn't have been encouraged to and, yes, congratulated on 'bagging' various women around the country and then putting the women on speaker phone for the entire office to laugh at. These two men as ugly on the outside as they were on the inside, wouldn't have stood a chance with any of the young women were it not for the fact that they praised the women's writing and told them that they could see them writing a script to explain why America loved Raymond. It wasn't pretty, it was disgusting and the more people in the entertainment community (West Coast) learned what went on in David's "pants," the luckier he was that he's based in New York.

And he does tape his show in New York and he lives in New York which is a point to remember as we do the walk through.

In the climate 2008 fostered, anything and everything could be said about Sarah Palin. Tina Fey had really made it possible via her 'impersonation' which repeatedly sexualized Palin (and Fey was never called out for those 'bits' -- such as lifting her skirt in the Oval Office). So David Letterman felt he could get away with calling a governor "slutty."


First, if we were a man and look liked David Letterman, we'd be thankful for slutty women because discerning ones probably wouldn't give us the time of day. (Unless they had an ear hair fetish.)

But Dave's got a son who turns six this year and he and the boy's mother have been married for three months. Glass houses?

By contrast, Sarah Palin's been married to Todd since 1988.


What is that really, Dave?

The fact that Sarah Palin's an attractive woman and you can't have her? Was "dyke" your next choice of slurs?

Find another governor, male or female, that a late night host could call "slutty" and get away with it? There would be huge protests. CBS would be hearing from the local stations of that state and they would have to address the situation.

Instead, Dave made jokes on Monday and on Tuesday. Along with his 'political' observation of slutty, Dave felt the need to share:

One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.

Palin attended the game with her husband Todd and her 14-year-old daughter Willow. Willow, for those who have forgotten, was attacked on many lefty blogs last fall for not being ashamed of her brother Trig and for holding him on camera. In the sad year of 2008, a special-needs child, which Trig is, is something to be hidden away. David Letterman's attack on Willow only copied the attacks already lobbed at a fourteen-year-old girl on various websites.

After making Sarah and her daughter Willow jokes for two days running, come Wednesday, David wanted to clear the air. That's when, among other things, Andrew Malcolm of The Los Angeles Times was on the story. More than any outcry, the paper's coverage of it was worrisome to Letterman and staff. They supplied Malcolm with excerpts of their then unaired Wednesday night show:

"We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, the 18-year-old girl, who is -- her name is Bristol, that's right, and so, then, now they're upset with me..."
"These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. I mean, look at my record. It has never happened. I don't think it's funny. I would never think it was funny. I wouldn't put it in a joke..."

"...Governor Palin, if you’re watching, I would like you to consider coming to New York City -- you and Todd as my guests, or leave Todd at home -- I'd love to have you on the show. It'd be exciting..."
"All right, so there, I hope I've cleared part of this up. Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."

Yes, he did suggest it. The 'explanation' was nothing but lies. Bristol, Palin's 18-year-old daughter, was not on the trip. Dave made jokes about Willow. And Willow was covered in the media -- including the New York media -- well before David opened his big yap.

Newsday, reporting on her speech about special-needs children last Sunday noted: "Accompanying Palin on the trip is her husband, Todd, and the couple's 14-year-old daughter, Willow, as well as Palin's sister; Heather Bruce and Bruce's son Karcher, also 14." Ben Smith observed, "She’s traveling with her husband, Todd, and her 14-year old daughter, Willow, as well as her sister and nephew, and the public events are deliberately focused and on a human scale." It was not a secret which daughter was on the trip.

Friday, Palin appeared on NBC's Today Show and Matt Lauer brought up Letterman's 'comedy' routine. On being said to resemble a "slutty flight attendant," Palin responded, "And my first thought was, hey, don't disparage flight attendants. They work hard. We love them, you know? How condemning of them. Don't say such a thing. And then I found out later the comment that was made about statutory rape of my 14-year-old daughter Willow -- knowing that crossed the line and, then, others chiming in on other comments that Letterman has made, just, you know, quite, I think, a sad commentary on where we are as a culture, as a society to chuckle and laugh through comments such as he had made the other night. I think it's quite unfortunate."

Lauer noted Letterman's claim that the 'joke' was about 18-year-old Bristol and not Willow and Palin pointed out, "Okay, Matt, I would say that that you and anybody else are extremely naive to believe that very convenient excuse of David Letterman's the other day. It took a couple days for him to think of that excuse. No, he wasn't talking about my daughter who was there with me at the game, the 14-year-old. He was talking about some other daughter. Well I think it's a quick excuse. And, you know, regardless, it was a degrading comment about a young woman. And I would hope that people really start -- really rising up and deciding it's not acceptable. No wonder young girls especially have such low self-esteem in America."

You know them's fighting words to Keith Olbermann who declared war on women long ago. One thrust Keith wasn't going to stand for it. Like most women, we go out of our way to avoid Keithie. So we first learned of his latest antics from Bob Somerby's Friday column at The Daily Howler:

According to KO, Letterman apologized, atoned, said he was sorry -- had done so Wednesday, for eight heartfelt minutes! Sorry! So you'll see how Olbermann’s limbic brain works, this is how Letterman actually "apologized" and "atoned" for the joke which said Palin looks slutty:
LETTERMAN (6/10/09): Now, here's the other joke they're upset about. "Number two: Bought make-up at Bloomingdale's to update her slutty flight attendant look." The only thing I can say about this is that I kind of like that joke. [Laughter]
To KO, that sounded like an apology. Maybe he couldn't hear Dave's words over his own noisy efforts.
Olbermann has played these games for years. Truly, we hadn't known there were still "liberal" men who had such demons in their heads about girls. But KO is one such fellow -- and Letterman is another. Maybe they should drive too fast up to Greenwich and rent themselves a room at the club. They could spend the rest of their lives with the Buckleys. Which is what such big losers deserve.

Yeah, we were going to have watch. And we did Friday night knowing Keith would still be harping on in his shrill way. It was Keithie's usual blustering. A televised tantrum which brought to mind J. Fred Muggs and finally provided the missing link to Olbermann's infotainment lineage.

As Somerby noted, Keithie insisted an apology had been made when it hadn't been. Keithie loves to string together words for their mere sound and he hopes they make him sound intelligent. They don't, they just make him sound prissy, or, if he'd prefer a word with more syllables, persnickety. And that's when it hit us why he brings Richard Wolffe on: The mincing, flamboyant Wolffe makes Keithie almost seem like 'Regular Joe.' Dick Wolffe offered, "Well -el, let's talk with what we can all agree on. If you're a self-respecting parent and someone makes your child, whoever it is, the butt of a late night joke, then you'd be offended. And you would be well within your rights to go out and say you were upset about it. But, of course, Governor Palin went well beyond that. And knowing the limits of where she should be and what she should talk about, has never been her strong point."

'Sarah Palin didn't know her place' is the thrust of Dickie Wolffe's criticism. She "went well beyond that," he insists carefully avoiding what "that" was. "That" was tying in David Letterman's sexist routine (wherein the mother's a slut and the daughter is raped) with the devaluing of women in our society.

Sarah Palin's exactly right and watching Dickie Wolffe try to drum his sunken chest and squeak out, "Woman, know your place!" only proved it more so.

Let's move over to NOW for a moment because Lisa Bennett called out Letterman and he made it into NOW's Media Hall of Shame:

After two nights of "jokes" at the expense of Palin and her family, Letterman tried to explain himself and offer something of an apology. On his June 10 show, Letterman said he was referring to Palin's 18-year-old daughter, Bristol -- not the 14-year-old daughter who actually accompanied Palin on her New York trip. Letterman said "I recognize that these are ugly" jokes. NOW agrees. Comedians in search of a laugh should really know better than to snicker about men having sex with teenage girls (or young women) less than half their age.
The sexualization of girls and women in the media is reaching new lows these days -- it is exploitative and has a negative effect on how all women and girls are perceived and how they view themselves. Letterman also joked about what he called Palin's "slutty flight attendant look" -- yet another example of how the media love to focus on a woman politician's appearance, especially as it relates to her sexual appeal to men. Someone of Letterman's stature, who appears on what used to be known as "the Tiffany Network" (CBS), should be above wallowing in the juvenile, sexist mud that other comedians and broadcasters seem to prefer.

While we're glad NOW called it out, there was no apology. Not "something of an apology," it was no apology. Somerby was right and so was Andrew Maclom ("Taping tonight's program in New York, Letterman made for him a lengthy explanation or clarification, though no apology.")

As the week drew to a close, we noticed that, as per usual, Women's Media Center didn't have a damn thing to offer women. Apparently they forgot their own "Sexism Sells But We're Not Buying It"?

We thought the worst was over but then came yokel faced Margaret Carlson. Carlson, for those not in the know, disgraced herself in 1999 and 2000 by repeatedly lying about Al Gore. Were Media Whores Online still around, we're sure they'd be celebrating Mag Cartlon's fall. In the midst of her whoring, she could be found on all the chat and chews and had a post at TIME magazine. These days she begs for space at The Los Angeles Times and does freebies for The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast? How apt.

It was there, on Friday, that Mags wanted you to know "Palin Can't Outsmart Letterman." What she really wanted you to know was that a media whore can pass their sale-by-date but they still can't stop whoring:

Who said anything about a 14-year-old girl? Not Letterman. That would be… the Palins. It turns out it was Willow, not Bristol, who went to the baseball game. But who knew that until the Palins brought this "disgusting" comment so painful to their younger daughter to the attention of the 300 million people not tuned into David Letterman?

Who knew? Mags, we find over 79 articles in major publications published before Letterman made the 'joke' which noted that Willow was accompanying her parents on the trip. Just because you don't know how to read doesn't mean the bulk of America is also illiterate. You'll notice Mags blames the Palins for the 'joke' Letterman made. If they'd stayed silent, according to Maggie, it would have been better for Willow. It never ceases to amaze how someone so stupid can repeatedly maintain that she knows best.

Mags then goes on to trash Bristol and you have to wonder how she'd fill if someone put her own daughter through the "whore" glass? And to prove how truth-free and classless Margaret Carlson is, she then insists Sarah Palin should have sat down on David Letterman's show because it would have been "every bit as good as make-up sex." Yes, it does appear she's the daughter of Clayton Williams and, no, that's not a good thing.

We didn't vote for the McCain-Palin ticket last year. We never even considered it. That was settled for us long before Palin was even picked. But that didn't mean we stayed silent while she was attacked or lied about or smeared. It was interesting because a few woman got it at the start of 2008 and they would say, "It's not about Hillary." And it wasn't. Hillary was just the then-current target. It was about women. The attacks on Hillary were about women. The attacks on Sarah were about women. The silence on Cynthia was about women. And that's why it needed to be called out.

And if Hillary supporters and Cynthia supporters and Sarah supporters could have gotten it together to stand together and say, "No more!" . . . Well it would have been a powerful moment and would have gone a long way towards refuting the left's embrace of misogyny last year. But that didn't happen. And we're living with the after-effects. And when Sarah Palin tries to point that out, Richard Wolffe flutters in insisting she doesn't know her place. And instead of being laughed off your TV set, he's still an MSNBC fixture. 2008 was the breeding ground for what happened last week and, here's the scary part, that was likely just the first phase.

* CounterSpin, the last Friday in May 2008, finally noted sexism in the primaries. This was their 'full' critique of it: "One of the most disturbing features of the media coverage of the Democratic presidential race is the way racism and sexism have been expressed. CNN viewers were treated to one pundit explanation that people might call Hillary Clinton a bitch because well isn't that just what some women are." We first noted that May 25, 2008 and have noted it repeatedly since including last week. CounterSpin's a weekly, half-hour critique of the media and never found time to call out the sexism though they found plenty of time to praise and promote the sexists during the same programs which found them silent on sexism.

Barry O, 21st Century Anita Bryant

No one has done more to advance homophobia in the 21st century than Barack Obama. It was Barack, after all, in 2007, who put homophobes (Donnie and Mary Mary -- plural, not singular) onstage in South Carolina to scare up votes. It was Barack who offered his 'swing state' 'values tour' featuring a homophobe (Douglas Kmiec) in the run up to the general election. It was Barack who invited a homophobe to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. It was Barack whose words were used by Proposition 8 supporters in their robocalls last November and it was Barack who refused to call the use of his voice out.

Last week, on the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, Barack launched another attack on America's LGBT community and some were outraged that it would take place on that anniversary. That's because they're idiots. January 13, 2008, Ava and C.I. explained at this site that Barack Obama, alleged 'Constitutional' 'scholar,' didn't understand the first thing about that landmark case:

Loving v. Virginia was a breakthrough, a legal landmark, for the United States. In a debate, Barack Obama was asked, "Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay marriage?" Obama mouthed a lot of nonsense about 'equality' and then went on to state it's a decision for different denominations to make. There should have been a gasp heard round the country.

Barack is a lawyer, a trained legal mind. Though we find it difficult to believe he's never studied Loving v. Viriginia (as difficult to believe as Clarence Thomas Senate testimony that he'd never thought about Roe v. Wade), we'll allow that maybe it fell into some gap in his education. But as a trained legal mind, he does grasp court billing. "v. Virginia" means versus state. Not versus a denomination.

In that historic case, the Supreme Court of the United States found the laws of the state of Virginia to be unconstitutional and illegal. That finding meant that all states could no longer refuse to issue marriage certificates to couples of different races. Obama's weak-ass response should have been considered weak ass. (John Edwards also embarrassed himself in that debate noting he was against "gay marriage" and "I do not" support it leading us to shout back at the screen, "Gee, John, we weren't aware you were being inundated with proposals!") But it was also dishonest. A law student, forget the former president of the Harvard Law Review, grasps that Loving v. Virginia was not about whether "denominations" could make a decision, it was about what the government could do. To provide perspective, imagine the issue was illegal search and seizure on the part of the government (forbidden by the Constitution) and Obama had responded, "I think it's up to denominations." The government was discriminating and the Supreme Court stood up for the rights of all. A trained legal mind should grasp that. If Obama didn't, he's either not much of a student or he's a really bad liar.

He's either not much of a student or he's a really bad liar. Since Ava and C.I. wrote that, Barack's done everything in his power to demonstrate he's actually not much of a student and actually a really bad liar.

On Friday, the US Justice Department filed a brief in Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer v. US, State of California and DOES. Smelth and Hammer are a married couple in California who argue that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act infringes upon their rights as a married couple.

The Justice Department would tell Ben Smith:

As it generally does with existing statutes, the Justice Department is defending the law on the books in court. The president has said he wants to see a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act because it prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits. However, until Congress passes legislation repealing the law, the administration will continue to defend the statute when it is challenged in the justice system.

Generally does? The Justice Department doesn't have to issue any brief and often doesn't. But if it does issue a brief, it certainly has no excuse for issuing one that includes and endorses homophobia. Queerty sums up: "it's clear Team Obama isn't just hoping to keep DOMA alive, but they've taken the position that gays=incest, DOMA is good for the nation (and neutral, not anti-gay!), DOMA is a good fiscal policy, gays have less of a right to privacy, and -- here's the kicker -- 'DOMA, understood for what it actually does, infringes on no one's rights, and in all events it infringes on no right that has been constitutionally protected as fundamental, so as to invite heightened scrutiny'."

Read the brief and be offended but, at some point, grasp how stupid it is on the most basic of grounds. The brief argues that the issue does not belong in the state courts and then goes on to argue that it doesn't belong in the federal courts. Exactly where would a citizen of the United States be able to argue for redress?

And grasp that a lot of alleged legal 'scholars' are whoring whatever's left of their name to say the Justice Department had to, HAD TO, file a brief. They didn't have to file such an insulting brief and, no, they didn't have to file a brief at all.

Travel back with us to May 19, 1992. Keith Meinhold uttered the following words on ABC's World News Tonight, "Yes, I am in fact gay." The Navy immediately moved to discharge him. The legal issues and appeals went on forever. Finally in November of 1994, Stephen Labaton ("U.S. Drops Effort to Oust a Gay Sailor," New York Times, November 29, 1994) would report: "The Government's decision not to appeal the Meinhold case was announced today by Joseph Krovisky, a Justice Department spokesman, who said it was made by Solicitor General Drew S. Days 3d, who represents the Administration before the Supreme Court." How did that come about? David Johnston ("Gay Sailor Claims a Victory As Court Case Deadline Passes," New York Times, October 17, 1994) explained: "A Government lawyer said today that the Justice Department had not ignored the deadline, but was intentionally allowing the decision to stand without asking for a review by the full appeals court. But the official added that the Justice Department had not decided whether to petition the Supreme Court. The Government has more than a month to decide whether to seek a review by the High Court."

The Justice Department can file or not file as it sees fit and has always filed or not filed as it sees fit (and anyone who claims otherwise doesn't really know their Civil Rights history and isn't much of a 'legal' scholar). And it actually makes sense to link DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell because they were both in the news last week.

"He's a coward, a bigot and a pathological liar. This is a guy who spent more time picking out his dog, Bo, and playing with him on the White House lawn than he has working for equality for gay people," Gulf War and Iraq War veteran James Pietrangelo II told Mark Thompson (TIME magazine). Pietrangelo's appeal to the Supreme Court was passed on. Monday, Free Speech Radio News' Nell Abrams had explained, "The High Court let stand a decision that holds the current policy is rational. In so doing, the Court has allowed the Justice Department to avoid arguing in support of Don't Ask Don't Tell -- a policy that President Obama said in the past he would move to repeal." The following morning, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) observed, "The Obama administration had urged the court to throw the case out. In a brief, the Obama administration had said the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is 'rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion.' While running for president, Senator Obama campaigned to end the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January."

Barack and hot dogs

America's LGBT community was thrown under the bus not once but twice last week by the homophobic Barack. Homophobic. Not just calculating. He stayed silent at Trinity while Jeremiah Wright preached homophobia, he stayed silent when that church's gay choir director was murdered (he stayed silent and so did the press). Jeremiah Wright and his supporters love to whine that he was misunderstood. But the reality is he was much filled with hatred than the snippets let on.

In the midst of the minor firestorm over Jeremiah Wright's hate speech, Bill Moyers invited him to sit down and make his case to America. Though Bill just nodded and grinned, Ava and C.I. called out Crackpot Jeremiah's comparison of sodomy (anal intercourse) with rape, lynching and other crimes. It was homophobia Crazy Ass Jeremiah was expressing. The man Barack elected to listen to and be mentored by for over two decades. But he had a lot of homophobes behind him, for example James Meeks.

Last week, Barack revealed what most paying attention would have grasped long ago: He's a homophobe.

He practices homophobia, he traffics in homophobia.

And shame on all the ones who let him get away with it.

The stab in the back last week? He was only able to do that because he'd stepped on so many for so long without ever being called out. Self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders stayed silent while homophobes paraded onstage in South Carolina. She stayed silent all along and she was far from alone in that.

Shame on her. Shame on her and everyone else who allowed homophobia to spread throughout the Democratic Party. It was always there. But it wasn't the dominant thread and the Democratic Party was certainly more friendly to the LGBT community than was the Republican Party. And then came Barry O.

And they dropped every standard they had, every belief they held dear, all to ram through this illegitimate candidate that they knew nothing about. Now the whole country has to live with what they pushed through. And it's not pretty.

Recovery for the Democratic Party starts with calling out homophobia -- especially when it comes from the White House.

The Political Closet

Blame Betsy Reed.

We'd decided to skip a planned feature but then along came the winner of Mike's Idiot of the Week and we knew we couldn't skip it.

Socialist (but in the closet on it) Bisty showed up with "The 'O' in Socialism" (The Nation) last week where she lamented many things (and her parents lamented paying for a wasted higher education) including:

Now, the Obama=socialist meme, which was once just laughable, has gone viral.
It's still hard to take it very seriously, given how far Obama's policies are from even the mildest form of social democracy--recall how he explicitly rejected the idea that the United States should emulate Sweden's highly effective response to its early 90s financial meltdown, when it overcame the crisis by nationalizing the banks.

We don't like liars so we don't like the jug-eared Bitsy. But Bitsy wants to pretend the problem is Republicans. On Socialism?

The January 4, 2008 Iraq snapshot noted the meme Bitsy can't be honest about:

If you're not seeing the problem, you're lying to yourself. A bit like the lie being spread that "Obama's a closet socialist, hop on board, he's big time left, he just can't say so." He's not and he's not left. Do we want a War Hawk in the White House, as the US moves to the wars to Africa, who can lie to the camera and say, "Oh, my father was from Kenya, this is a just war, don't even ask me that!"

The "Barack Is A Socialist!" meme started on the left and ran through the Socialist circles. We have an e-mails from an anti-war 'leader' on December 29th claiming Barack was a Socialist and that "we all must get on board." Barack is a Corporatist War Hawk and, community wide, we always told the truth on that. But a lot of liars on the left insisted he was a Socialist. Now Bisty Reed wants to show up and pretend like the right wing started it? That's laughable. When, in the last forty years, has the right ever had the intellectual resources to start anything? They're reactors, not actors.

Barack benefited from the 'intellectual' left, the Socialist. Many of whom lied about him and some lied knowingly. It wasn't a problem for them because, hey, they lie about who they are.


May 20th, Matty Rothschild stepped out of the political closet, "And for those who, like me, are actually Democratic Socialists, it’s time to come out and say so."

"Democratic Socialists" are not Democrats. Tossing the word "Democratic" in front of it does not make a Socialist a Democrat. And it matters because Matthew Rothschild savaged Hillary Clinton and stroked Barack over and over throughout the Democratic Party primaries. (Matty grew so unhinged at one point he just knew The New York Times had conspired -- with the weather apparently -- against Barry.) Didn't readers of The Progressive have a right to know that Hillary was being judged not by a Democratic standard but by a Socialist one?

Didn't readers have that right?

And when Barbara Erhenreich was writing her trash, didn't readers also deserve the courtesy of knowing the unhinged Erhenreich was grading by a different scale?

Democrats are Democrats and they may be corrupt or they may be wonderful or they may be human and flawed. But a Democratic Party primary is supposed to represent the will of the Democrat Party base. Not Socialists. Not Communists. Not Republicans. Not Greens. Not Libertarians.

A general election is open to all and every US citizen could and should weigh in. But when people are coming out during the primaries in favor of one candidate or another, the public has a right to know who is endorsing.

So, for example, when Laura Flanders makes a political endorsement (as she did) of Barack Obama for the Democratic Party nomination, people had a right to know that she was not a Democrat. Not only is she not a Democrat but in the general elections of 2000 and 2004, she didn't vote for the Democratic Party candidate. How much weight would her endorsement of Barack carried with anyone had people known she wasn't a Democrat or that she didn't vote for Al Gore in 2000 or John Kerry in 2004?

How seriously would they have taken her bitchy attacks on Hillary Clinton (including saying Hillary "cackled") if they'd know she wasn't a member of the Democratic Party?

During the campaign, when various Republicans endorsed Barack, it was treated as news. And it was news. Republicans should be endorsing their own party. When they don't, it's news. By the same token, when Socialists endorse Democratic candidates, it should be news because it qualifies as such. But a lot of people want to live in political closets and tell themselves fairy tales.

Take Naomi Klein. Interviewed by Matthew Rothschild, she not only made a fool of herself, she revealed herself to be a very bad liar:

That night I was walking to the apartment where my husband stays, and passing by this really elite, storied club. I always look in the window. It looks like the kind of place where Central American coups are plotted. On this night, a half hour after the results had been announced, there were these two African American men high-fiving each other outside the club. One of them was the doorman for this private club, and the other was a chauffeur for one of the club members. As I was passing, one of the club members came out looking just miserable. He was sort of a Daddy Warbucks character, with just an absolute scowl on his face. I watched these two men who had just been celebrating go back to their posts. One of them opened the door of the club, and the other opened the door of the waiting limousine. And they shared this smile. I just thought: Wow! This is a night where the people holding the doors are having a way better time than the people walking through the doors. And that's pretty rare in that city.

That's a lot of information for Naomi to pick up just by walking by. Does she use a walker? It's another lie from a woman who seems intent to divorce herself from reality. She makes up a story that sounds so very wonderful but when you stop a moment to actually think about it, it all falls apart.

Sort of the way it would have fallen apart for Barack if all of his endorsers at The Progressive, The Nation, The Huffington Post, etc. had to admit their political persuasion when endorsing.

In that interview, Naomi made a real fool of herself, sounding like a neo-con seeing 'good' in 9/11, as she declared of the economy, "This is an amazing moment for the left, for progressives. Because the free market ideology is truly in crisis."

Bill Fletcher isn't a Democrat and when that was pointed out at The Common Ills, his little feelings were so hurt that days later he could be heard on CounterSpin whining about a new McCarthyism. It's not McCarthyism, Fletch, it's about telling the damn truth. Bill Fletcher Jr. -- non-Democrat -- endorsed Barack Obama during the Democratic Party primaries.

People damn well had a right to know that the endorsement was not coming from a Democrat. In fact, he and others should have been told to butt the hell out. It wasn't their business, it is not their political party.

Though Bill's itty-bitty feelings were hurt then, as soon as the election was over, he and Babsie were out of their political closets and co-authoring an article at The Nation entitled "Reimagining Socialism:"

But as socialists we know the spirit in which this great project of collective salvation must be undertaken, and that spirit is solidarity. An antique notion until very recently, it flickered into life again in the symbolism and energy of the Obama campaign. The Yes We Can! chant was the slogan of the United Farm Workers movement and went on to be adopted by various unions and community-based organizations to emphasize what large numbers of people can accomplish through collective action. Even Obama's relatively anodyne calls for a new commitment to volunteerism and community service seem to have inspired a spirit of "giving back." If the idea of democratic planning, of controlling our destiny, is the intellectual content of socialism, then solidarity is its emotional energy source--the moral understanding and the searing conviction that, however overwhelming the challenges, we are in this together.

Proving that xenophobia runs deep at The Nation, Babsie and Billy got to claim "Yes We Can!" was the slogan of the United Farm Workers. No, it was not. Si se puede translates as "Yes, it can be done." Si se puede was the slogan of UFW. "Yes We Can!" was a song by the Pointer Sisters.

When they were tearing apart Hillary and endorsing Barack, do you think most people knew that what Fletcher and Ehrenreich were on board for was the death of capitalism?

Now some would have applauded that. How many we don't know and we can't know because Fletcher and Ehrenreich are liars and tricksters who refused to allow their beliefs to compete in the public square.

After the election was not the time for the American people to learn that these people were not members of the Democratic Party and did not support the goals and platform of the Democratic Party.

After the election, it was too late.

It was also too late to jump start a conversation on Socialism which is how the cowardice on the part of Bill Fletcher Jr. and Barbara Ehrenriech cheated Socialism. And goodness knows, Socialism could really use a serious discussion. That was demonstrated October 29, 2008 when "Deep In The Heart Of Texas" posted "Socialist!" to Barack Obama's campaign site:

I'm a Socialist and I'm proud of it.
Stupid people that use that term as an insult don't understand what it means. Thomas Jefferson was a Socialist. FDR was the greatest Socialist of our time. Our Founding Documents were based on a "Social Contract."
It's a philosophy we all live by everyday. We all put in, and we all take out. We pay, and we withdrawal. We are stronger together than we are separately. Our education system, our roads and highways, our police departments, our fire departments are all the product of Socialism. Our progressive tax system is socialism at work! What do senior citizens live off of? Social Security!
Oh my! We're all Socialists! Let's elect one!

Socialism is not Social Security. The right wing believes that and repeats it but it's not Socialism. FDR was not a Socialist and, in fact, if you have to argue that a non-Socialist was "the greatest Socialist of our time," that's indicting actual Socialists as being pretty damn lousy. And the "Social Contract" is not a Socialist premise, it predates modern Socialism.

These are things that Babsie and Billy could have educated on had they not been so desperate to hide in political closets.

Socialism? It's a theory and a system. The same as Capitalism, or Communism, or Fascism, or Democracy, or Monarchy. And maybe it's what the US wants and should move to and maybe it's not. But trickery and deceit -- long the hallmark of Socialists and Communists who have attempted to co-opt the Democratic Party (this is not a new development, The National Guardian was created to fight against such sell-outs) -- don't advance anything. You don't persuade with trickery. You don't convert with deceit. Not in the long run.

If Socialism is as wonderful as Babsie and Billy and the rest think, you might think they'd be willing to make the case for it publicly.

2008 cannot be undone. But in the future, you can and should call out non-party members who attempt to hijack a political party's nomination process. Socialists, Communists and Republicans are not members of the Democratic Party. While they're more than welcome to vote for whomever they want in a general election, a political party is supposed to choose its own nominee. If you check out the 'intellectual' cheerleaders for Barack, you'll find there were very few Democrats among them. There were Republicans (Arianna and her Blogger Boiz, Andrew Sullivan, et al) and there were Socialists and Communists. Like the voters, Democrats lined up behind Hillary. Unless Democrats are willing to fight for their own party, they better accept that they will not be picking their nominee.

And everyone should reject Bisty Reed's facile and insulting scribbles. Bitsy tells you that Barack's actions with the banks and Big Auto are being called Socialism by the right wing. "America's Socialism For the Rich". Funny. We didn't realize The Guardian published right-wingers. We also didn't realize Joseph Stiglitz was a right winger.

Politically driven assassinations

The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC remains closed today after a gunman fired shots, which resulted in the death of Stephan Tyrone Johns, a security guard at the museum. Suspect James Von Brunn is a Holocaust denier and white supremacist. After the incident, police found anti-Semitic writings at Von Brunn's residence in Annapolis, Maryland. This is the third shooting in recent weeks that is politically driven and has been considered domestic terrorism. Army private William Andrew Long, was shot and killed this month because of the suspect's opposition to the US military's presence in the Middle East. Also, Dr. George Tiller, one of the only remaining late abortion doctors in the country, was shot and killed in his church in late May by an anti-choice extremist.

Feminist Wire Daily got it right, there were three that were "politically driven" and considered "domestic terrorism." In this community, the assassination of Dr. George Tiller was covered and that's because we believe in abortion rights and we don't water down that support. We know many do and we knew we had to be vocal.

With regards to Stephan Tyrone Jones, which took place Wednesday, it was covered less but it was covered in the community. The death of William Andrew Long? Not covered.

A reader raised that in an e-mail (send e-mails to and wondered if that was one of the things we missed or one of the things we attempted which fell apart?

It's one of the things we missed. C.I. covers Iraq at The Common Ills and when that was in the news cycle, the emphasis was on Congressional hearings that C.I. was reporting on. Kat reported on the hearings as well. In DC, they really weren't following stories from Georgia, especially ones that didn't receive a great deal of attention. June 2nd, C.I. did note the attack.

The rest of us? Some of us just followed Pacifica and if that was your only outlet, you might have heard two sentences on the attack. There was no effort to devote, for example, an hour to the story.

For this edition, we read over the police report and the arrest warrants -- PDF format warnings, here and here. Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, born Carlos Bledsoe, of Little Rock, Arkansas is charged with capital murder and terrorism. The report reads:


According to Detective Tommy Hudson's statement, Muhammad's confession is on videotape and the confession is summarized by Hudson as follows:

Mr. Muhammad stated that he was a practicing Muslim. Mr. Muhammad stated that he was mad at the U.S. Military because of what they had done to Muslims in the past. Mr. Muhammad stated that he took three weapons including an assault rifle and put them into his Ford Sport Trac. Mr. Muhammad further stated that he drove around in the vehicle and saw the Army Military Recruiting Station and two U.S. Soldiers smoking outside the building. Mr. Muhammad stated that he pulled onto the parking lot in front of the Recruiting Station, stopped his vehicle, and began shooting at the soldiers standing outside smoking. Mr. Muhammad stated that he fired several rounds at the soldiers with the intent of killing them. Mr. Muhammed further stated that he would have killed more soldiers if they had been on the parking lot.

William Long was 23-years-old. Long was murdered and 18-year-old Quinton Ezeagwula was wounded. Garrick Feldman (Arkansas Leader) reported last week, "After he came home from the hospital Thursday, he showed us the bullet holes in his body and told us he has shrapnel in his lungs, his neck and down his back."

Despite the taped confession, Muhammad entered a plea of not guilty June 2nd. Despite that plea, Muhammad called The Associated Press twice last week to tell his story. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette explains the first call:

In a Tuesday interview with the AP, Muhammad, a Muslim convert, said he didn't consider the killing murder because U.S. military action in the Middle East justified it.
"I do feel I'm not guilty," he said in the Tuesday collect call. "I don't think it was murder because murder is when a person kills another person without justified reason."
Muhammad reportedly told the AP that he was retaliating against the U.S. military and didn't specifically plan the shootings that morning.
"Yes, I did tell the police upon my arrest that this was an act of retaliation and not a reaction on the soldiers personally," Muhammad told the AP.

We do grasp why the e-mail came in and we don't complain about it. That's exactly what we were asking for: If you see a story on Iraq that you feel we should be noting, e-mail. This is a legitimate news story. It deserves coverage. You have a suspect who apparently confessed to the police on tape and has since confessed to The Associated Press. He states he wishes he could have killed more US service members. It's clearly a hate crime and it needs to be included.

But, outside of Feminist Wire Daily, we couldn't find that inclusion. We found a real reluctance to cover it.

When it's a right winger accused, Pacifica and the left magazines go into overdrive on the crime. We don't know what Muhammad's politics are but he claims to be Muslim (claims -- the local mosque has made clear he has never attended) and his race (he's African-American) don't fit the pattern for 'moral outrage' targets of Pacifica Radio.

We condemn the violence in all three cases. We have not focused on the suspects in our previous coverage because we do believe in innocent until proven guilty. However, we're fine with focusing on Muhammad when he's calling up AP to confess to his crimes.

All three were hate crimes. Two resulted in massive coverage from Democracy Now! Want to guess which two?

It was an issue C.I. and Elaine were bringing up last week when something took place on Democracy Now! Anne Frank was mentioned. That was Thursday. She would be noted again on Friday -- for a segment, not just a shout-out. And?

We weren't aware until C.I. and Elaine pointed it out but that was the first time this decade -- and we're in the ninth year of this decade -- that Anne Frank's been mentioned.

Anne Frank

Let's repeat that: In nine years, there was no mention of Anne Frank on Democracy Now! until last week. Now each year, Democracy Now! notes the passing of Malcolm X, MLK, Rachel Corrie and assorted others. And those aren't headlines, we're talking about segments, in some cases entire shows. But Anne Frank has never even be mentioned until last week. She was mentioned in passing on Thursday and Friday's show noted it would have been her 80th birthday.

Why does it matter?

As C.I.'s pointed out, Democracy Now! seems to have a war on Western religions. We'd actually narrow that down to, Betty's phrase, "A war on any religion or denomination whose majority is White. Amy Goodman will embrace any Black congregation." Indeed. Even if that means embracing (and broadcasting) homophobia.

Bill O'Reilly called Dr. George Tiller a "baby killer." That didn't kill George Tiller. We do know that there's free speech in this country and if O'Reilly thinks that, we'd rather he say it so we can know it and avoid him than be fooled.

We're not really interested in blaming Bill O'Reilly for what someone else did. Those of us old enough to remember the attempt on Ronald Reagan's life also remember the attempts on the part of some to blame Martin Scorsese for the assassination attempt. Some tried to say art (Taxi Driver) was responsible. No, a sick mind was responsible.

We don't see Bill O'Reilly as responsible for Dr. George Tiller's death. But if you want to travel that road, you better grasp that road has two lanes. One may take you to Rightwingville, but the other takes you to Leftwingville. Meaning, in the case of Democracy Now! and others on the left, a little more care needs to be taken to note when you're criticizing a government (such as the government of Israel) versus condemning a people because, for many, it's not so clear.

And if you're going to call out Bill O'Reilly's freedom of speech and you're going to insist that he contributed to the murder of Dr. Tiller, you better be prepared to own some culpability in crimes yourselves.

Anne Frank, an international voice of peace, was never mentioned on Democracy Now! this decade until last week. The show broadcast five days a week for one hour a day (it expands to two hours during the RNC and DNC conventions) and Anne Frank's never been mentioned. Sacco and Vanzetti? Executed in 1927, the two have been mentioned and covered over 50 times this decade. So it can't be that Anne's story is "old" since Sacco and Vanzetti's story is even older. What's the reason for the silence?

And while you consider that, remember what we pointed out about The Progressive's faux 100th anniversary issue: "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." How do you do that? How do you offer five pages of WWII coverage and never mention the Holocaust? Better question, why would you do that?

The United Nations recognizes Anne Frank as a symbol of peace. Can someone explain why Pacifica Radio fails to do the same?

Congressional snapshot (Ava, C.I., Kat and Wally)

Last week in Congress contained a few surprising moments.

For example, how often do you hear a Republican call out the bloated Pentagon budget? Wednesday in the US House Oversight and Government Reform's National Security Subcommittee hearing, US House Rep John Duncan did just that, noting:

According to the Congressional Research Service, we're now spending, when we add in the regular budget, the supplemental bills and we're getting ready to vote on another supplemental bill here either this week or a few days and yet in the emergency appropriations and all the money that they throw into the omnibus -- according to the CRS -- we're spending more on defense than all the other nations in the world combined and it seems to me that a lot of it is generated because the defense contractors hire all the retired admirals and generals and then they caught the revolving door at the Pentagon. But somebody is going to have to -- I don't think we can just keep on wasting and blowing money in the way that we're doing.

Thursday at the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Chair Ellen Tauscher declared, "If I could just make one comment because I find myself to be flummoxed. . . . I . .. When I was offered the position of Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, it was one of those bitter sweet moments where I found I could perhaps continue to serve my constituents in work that has become my life's passion and -- but at a tremendous cost that would mean leaving my constituents and my colleagues in the House. It is a true cost. I love the House and I love my colleagues and I love my constituents."

Ellen Tauscher

Her statements followed an ambush amendment that Ranking Member Michael Turner snuck in without her knowledge, an amendment commending her for her years of Congressional service. Tauscher is leaving Congress to become the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Democrats and Republicans joined Turner in noting Tausher's accomplishments.

If that was one of the nicer moments, one of the more maddening ones came on Wednesday with the appearance of the do-nothing Commission on Wartime Contracting commissioners before the US House Oversight and Government Reform's National Security Subcommittee. They had nothing. Nothing at all to offer. They had some of the same points the GAO had. They had nothing on their own to offer. Mainly because they pretty much refuse to go to Afghanistan and Iraq (two trips in all this time doesn't count as going -- they've visited only three bases in Iraq). They appear to exist solely to run out the clock and leave the impression in the historical record that they tried, they really, really tried. They accomplished nothing but they tried. In a half-assed, do-nothing way.

Surprisingly that point didn't make the press coverage. Since we were actually present at the hearing, we know what happened. What the press largely reported was prepared statements written ahead of time and released to the press by the committee. Translation, they didn't attend the hearing they 'reported' on. John Tierney attended. He is, in fact, the Chair of the Subcommittee.

He noted, "It is also important that the Commission break new ground. There is no sense in creating an oversight entity that merely duplicates work that is on-going by Inspectors General or the Government Accountability Office. Congress already receives those reports. I look forward to hearing what the Commission is finding that we have not already heard about. In short, I expect our witnesses this morning to ensure us that our investment in their activities was a worthwhile decision. We in Congress --as the sponsors of the Commission -- need to hear about any challenges or hindrances the Commission faces in conducting its work. For example, I am concerned that the Commission will not be able to fulfill its mandate without a semi-permanent presence in theater. I would note that, according to the report, the Commission has only made two trips to date to Iraq and Afghanistan. I am also concerned that the current one year mandate of the Commission might allow responsible government officials and culpable contractors to wait it out. The Commission's charge is too important to suffer defeat at the hands of obstruction. Furthermore, I do not want to see a lack of subpoena power deter the Commission from going after recalcitrant parties." And, as the hearing moved along, it only became more obvious why Tierney stressed those points.

Thursday in the US House Armed Services Committee's Military Personnel Subcommittee mark up session, Chair Susan Davis reminded this is The Year of the Military Family. Someone should have explained that to the US House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee third panel.

Despite the fact that the US tax payer pays everyone of the witnesses' salaries and despite the fact that they all work for the VA, Donald H. Orndoff, Brandi Fate, James Sullivan and Lisa Thomas seemed grossly ignorant of the fact that this was The Year of the Military Family.

The first panel was veterans advocates and the second panel was the GAO and both raised the problems the VA has in allowing input and the problems the VA has with poor planning. So when Chair Michael Michaud asks the VA where in the process they intend to seek input from the veterans they are supposed to be serving and the answer is no where, it's not really clear that the VA grasps that this is The Year of the Military Family.

For more on last year's Congressional hearings, you can see:

"Iraq snapshot"

"The do nothing Wartime Contracting Commission"

"Some pretend to cover the Congressional song and dance, most ignore it"

"House Veterans Affairs Strategic Forces Subcommittee"

"Iraq snapshot"

"Assessing CARES and the Future of VA's Health Infrastructure"

"Iraq snapshot"

Jeremiah was a bull. . .

Jeremiah Wright made the news last week for his "Them Jews" routine.

Jeremiah learned long ago that he could get away with insulting various groups of people -- the Italians for example or, as he called them, "Garlic Noses."


Last week, Jeremiah offered more of the Hate Speech he's so infamous for but timing is everything, Jerry, and he chose to make his comments shortly before the shooting at the Holocaust Museum.

Just a quick thought but maybe someone who tosses around blanket attacks on "Them Jews" really isn't someone who should be seen as someone who can speak objectively "on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict"?

Kimberly Wilder on Redistricting

Kimberly Wilder posts at The Wilder Side with her husband Ian (who recently lost his mother, our sympathies and condolences) and she was noted last week in Newsday.

NY State Senate Coup; Redistricting; and Bi-Partisanship


Kimberly Wilder

As noted in the Newsday article, "Experts: Political circus has serious stakes for GOP", part of the underlying problems and instability in the NY State Senate were because of the looming crisis of redistricting and how it occurs. Redistricting is one of those powers that people think is carried out with accountability because it is done in a "bi-partisan" way. But, now we see that bipartisan means that there are Democratic Party leaders and Republican Party leaders who play rough, make deals behind closed doors (keeping reporters waiting for hours), and can be thwarted by switchers in their own parties."Bi-partisan" is not some wonderful, fair, Holy Grail. "Bi-partisan" by definition refers to the pack of fools we have in Albany, including Republican leaders willing to enlist the help of Democratic officials who are facing investigation and charges. It would be a more fair system, a more democratic system, and probably a more stable system to have a NON-partisan commission or a MULTI-partisan commission to create district lines.

Redistricting is a good example of where third party voters and independent voters should have more power, but constantly get overshadowed or stifled by the two party duopoly. I have previously proposed having an "independent and third party" ombudsperson at the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Adding someone who represents interests other than the two major parties - and their bosses - would put some accountability back into the system. There should be someone entirely independent and/or someone who represents third parties on any redistricting commission.

In some states, working at the Boards of Elections is a non-partisan, civil service job--not a patronage job assigned by the major parties. If we had a system like that, the threat of redistricting would not have been a direct reason for a coup in the chamber which discusses our budget and public services.


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 (with us in spirit), Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Iraq snapshot," "The do nothing Wartime Contracting Commission," "Some pretend to cover the Congressional song and dance, most ignore it," "House Veterans Affairs Strategic Forces Subcommittee," "Iraq snapshot," "Assessing CARES and the Future of VA's Health Infrastructure" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. and Kat report on Congressional hearings they attended last week.

"I Hate The War" -- The most requested highlight of the week. And the editorial here this week should be on a similar note. We're running behind. So much so that Ava and C.I. have asked, "Do we need to do a second piece?" When they're offering (not being asked, but offering) to write a second commentary, you know we're struggling to cross the finish line.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Lowering the Brand" -- Isaiah's latest delicious comic.

"Kat's Korner: Ben Harper" -- Kat urges you to listen to Ben Harper's new album.

"Quick entr in the Kitchen" -- Y because she was tired. We really liked this entry by Trina. She hates it. But she just wasn't in the mood for cooking or much else Friday night.

"The digitial divide" -- Betty breaks down the digital divide. By the way, that's it. In terms of that story, that's it. Two years ago, Ava and C.I. began covering it. Last week, Real Media finally showed some serious concerns. And a number of people wrote this site and Ty summed the e-mails up for us as: "So now you've got to go to the subject one more time." Not a chance. They covered it. Betty grabbed it Friday night because she wanted to make some points and she did a fine job. We're putting a check next to this topic.

"Vacationing Bully Boy" -- Isaiah digs into the archives to highlight this comic from 2005.

"anne frank" -- as Rebecca notes, Anne Frank would have turned 80 Friday.

"Ty hears from Manly Woman," "Jerry Wright's hatred," "Guantanamo and Torture" and "Hidden History" -- Ann continued to fill in for the vacationing Ruth. Ann's doing a wonderful job. We're highlighting all of her posts (one will be noted a little bit below) and can't sing her praises enough. Ann signed on for four days of posts, one each week. Worried that she wouldn't be able to do it, she asked if we could rework the schedule (Mike, C.I., Wally and Betty were also signed up as guest bloggers) so she could grab her first four days all at once. She then wanted to know if she could grab week two and then . . . Now it looks like she'll have done all the blogging herself and she's done a great job. Illustration is of Ann by Betty's kids.

"Letterman," "Letterman the dirty old man" and "THIS JUST IN! LETTERMAN'S A PERV!" -- Marcia, Cedric and Wally on smutty old man David Letterman. This is the topic Ava and C.I. cover this week in their commentary.

"Fake mustache and eyebrows" -- Stan's Friday movie post.

"Idiot of the week goes to . . ." -- Mike's post had several e-mails asking for it to be highlighted. It's also mentioned in an article here this week.

"THIS JUST IN! BARRY & JERRY'S FOR BIGOTS EVERYWHERE!" and "Jeremiah Wrights crawls out from under his rock" -- Jeremiah Speaks!

"American Dad," "Roger and 'Of Ice And Men.' "'irregarding steve'," "American Dad stem, stem, seed . . .," "The do nothing Wartime Contracting Commission," "Gloria Feldt, Bob Somerby, American Dad," "William Blu, American Dad, Roger & Hayley," "Deborah Vagins, World Can't Wait, American Dad" and "World Can't Wait, Kelley B. Vlahos, American Dad" -- Community theme post on American Dad.
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