Sunday, August 30, 2009

Truest statement of the week

"The facade has changed but policies remain the same. Integrity in our movement means we have to do same for Obama as we did for Bush. We're here to make wars unpopular again. Because if we were right to oppose it under Bush, we're right to oppose it under Obama. While the Obamas are here on vacation, people are still dying. There's no vacation from body bags. And the families of dead soldiers will never be able to truly enjoy a vacation again."

-- Cindy Sheehan quoted by Alicia Jennings at MSNBC's "First Read."

Truest statement of the week II

A funny thing has happened on Cindy Sheehan’s long road from Crawford, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard. Many of those who claim to lead the peace movement and who so volubly praised her actions in Crawford, TX, are not to be seen. Nor heard. The silence in fact is deafening, or as Cindy put it in an email to this writer, "crashingly deafening." Where are the email appeals to join Cindy from The Nation or from AFSC or Peace Action or "Progressive" Democrats of America (PDA) or even Code Pink? Or United for Peace and Justice. (No wonder UFPJ is essentially closing shop, bereft of most of their contributions and shriveling up following the thinly veiled protest behind the "retirement" of Leslie Cagan.) And what about MoveOn although it was long ago thoroughly discredited as principled opponents of war or principled in any way shape or form except slavish loyalty to the "other" War Party. And of course sundry "socialist" organizations are also missing in action since their particular dogma will not be front and center. These worthies and many others have vanished into the fog of Obama's wars.

-- John V. Walsh, "The Silence of the Antiwar Movement is Deafening" (CounterPunch).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. We did things a little bit differently this week.

We were typing and uploading images when Dona said, "The chat & chews start on the East Coast in about ten minutes." At which point, she started uploading anything we'd finished editing and typing stopping with Ava and C.I.'s commentary which addressed the topic the chat & chews would be obsessing over.

Dona wanted that up before the chat & chews started airing and now that we're on the West Coast, we tend to forget about that unless we're watching satellite feed while we wrap up.

Let's note credit before we get further down the road. Along with Dallas, the following helped write this edition:

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),
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

We thank them all. We thank you for reading. Our e-mail address is and -- hold on. Say it with me now FFFFFOOOOOOOOOOOCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKK!.

Hold up, we have another feature to do.

Okay, first, reader Bill wrote about "The music and book roundtable" last week and his was among the many e-mails I (Jim) read on that. But his was the one I loved best and I printed it up and shared it with everyone and then asked, this morning, "Did anyone e-mail him to tell him how much we loved his e-mail?" To which Dona replied, "Why would we e-mail him about that when we'd assume you already had?" Point taken. Bill, I loved your e-mail, we all did. Your comparison made me laugh out loud. Thank you so much for writing.

If you write, understand a few things.

1) If you go into SPAM, you may or may not be seen. (That applies to this week.)

2) We don't 'do' FaceBook. We're aware of them. We're very much aware of them. We do not 'do' FaceBook. Not now, not ever. Don't expect a response to your invites.

3) We work the inbox as best we can. If you go to the SPAM folder we may not see you until the last minute.

4) Ava and C.I. do not take payment for their reviews. They do risk pissing on friends each week when they tackle shows that they usually have a friend or two working on. But if you have something you want reviewed, no amount of money is going to make Ava and C.I. review it. They don't need money and they wouldn't do a review for payment. That was a big thing last week in the e-mails with people who have books or movies or albums to promote e-mailing to ask how much Ava and C.I. would charge? They won't charge. They don't accept money for reviews. In addition, they have their own list they're working through. (They had hoped to do an hour long drama today but current events changed that.) Kat reviews music in this community (and she doesn't take money and has pangs of guilt when she grabs one of C.I.'s advanced copies instead of buying an album herself). Books? We all review books in a roundtable here and we do not take money for those reviews. In some cases, we have an advanced copy due to a friend of C.I.'s. I hope that clears it up.

Today at 5:00 pm PST on the Kevin Pollack Chat show, you can hear Family Guy and American Dad creator Seth MacFarlane:

Remember my "FFFFOOOOCCCKKKK" (I can type that, it's not with a "u")? The announcement on that went to spam and Ava and C.I. were looking at the spam folder while we're doing the note. SO we just paired the announcement with a cell of Roger.

There are some other things in the SPAM folder that, if we'd seen before, we'd be noting this edition. But we didn't see them. For a Seth MacFarlane (whose hugely popular with our readers) appearance, we'll do a quick announcement.

Okay, what do we have?

Truest statement of the week -- Third week in a row, Peace Mom gets the truest of the week. That is a record. Two weeks in a row has happened before but never three.

Truest statement of the week II -- John V. Walsh wrote a very important article and we went back and forth on what was "truest" and what was "truest II"? We finally decided Cindy was the source and Cindy's activism is what Walsh is writing about so Cindy gets truest. Nothing wrong with Truest II and we encourage you to read Walsh's commentary if you haven't already.

Editorial: You can't drive on the left side of the road -- Kat groaned loudly and said "FFFOOOOCCCKKK" when Ava and C.I. made a CD selection. They put on an album and Kat loved it. She identified it as Nanci Griffith, which it was, and assumed it was an older album, which it wasn't. It came out a few months ago. Kat's thinking she's now got to find a way to do a review of it, of Carly's upcoming CD and two others that she really wants to review. And nothing's coming up in the next two weeks, she says. But, if you're wondering why Nanci Griffith pops up twice this edition, that's why. This was the most debated piece. Why? Long term readers who've already read the editorial will be able to guess: "We told you so." C.I. really didn't want that in but finally waived it through. I love saying, "I told you so." C.I. loathes it. It was finally allowed when I argued it might be humorous. As Mike would type, ":D" Illustration is by Betty's kids and Betty's daughter is very, very proud of this. Is Cindy supposed to be angry, we asked her? "No, she 'termined." She meant determined. And that is the highest praise, we're not joking. "Whatever you do, be 'termined." That's what she has long hair Barbi tell the other Barbies when she's playing, "Whatever you do, be 'termined." We agree Cindy Sheehan is determined and we applaud her.

TV: Ghoul Watch -- Ava and C.I.'s masterpiece. And the other place Nanci Griffith's noted. We love this. We couldn't believe how hard they worked on it. They're covering: The NewsHour, Nightline, CBS Evening News, Democracy Now! and CounterSpin and citing The Washington Post, Stars and Stripes, Socialist Worker, WSWS, CounterPunch, PEW, Diane Rehm Show, Los Angeles Times, Anglola Press and you name it. This is a huge and ambitious piece and they pull it off and even provide some laughs along the way. They planned to tackle an hour long crime dram and watched ten episodes of it that have aired while reading two scripts for the coming year. They did all that work and then had to shelve it due to current events. As Marcia has noted, the work these two do before a word is ever written really is tremendous.

No health care plan but there are a bunch of liars... -- Trina worked on the editorial and she worked on this. She wanted to work on this and that's why we got her help this weekend. We thank her for her help and we love working with her. There is NO plan and left gas bags who insist upon attempting to bully and scare people into hopping on board should be ashamed.

When Coward met Zirin . . . -- Elaine brought this idea over. I wasn't overly impressed. I read the ISR article (in the magazine itself) and didn't really catch it. It was only when this piece was written that I got the point. Thank you to Elaine. Illustration by Kat, Wally and Betty's kids.

Iraq -- Friday, C.I. was rushing to get the snapshot dictated and sent before 6:00 pm EST when everything had to stop. C.I. had to get on the laptop. Why? Because the idiot Steven Lee Myers was writing an end of the month piece. No, August has not ended. And, since he works for The New York Times, SLM was lying. He didn't have the numbers right or anything. So C.I. went through all the numbers thus far. Now the reason we're doing Iraq each week here is due to the fact that (a) it's fallen off the radar and (b) the number of Iraqis killed each month is never rendered honestly by the media anymore. The undercount is even smaller at the end of the month than if you count all the deaths they reported.

Jim's World -- I respond to Denny Loo madness.

Shame of the Week -- Our jaws dropped. Shameful.

10th anniversary of Timor-Leste's historic vote -- From ETAN.

Seth MacFarlane online at 5:00 pm today -- I already explained this one.

To Dennis with Loo from Ava and C.I. -- Repost of Ava and C.I.'s response to Denny Loo.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Betty, Rebecca, Cedric, Ruth, Marcia, Wally, Stan, Ann and Kat wrote this and selected the highlights unless otherwise noted. We thank them for it.

And that's what we ended up with. We'll see you next week.

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

Editorial: You can't drive on the left side of the road

I was a child in the sixties

And dreams could be held through TV

With Disney and Cronkite and Martin Luther

And I believed, I believed, I believed.

Now I am the back street driver from America

And I am not at the wheel of control

And I am guilty, I am war and I am the root of all evil

And, Lord, I can't drive on the left side of the road

-- "It's A Hard Life Wherever You Go," written by Nanci Griffith, first appears on her album Storms.

And, Lord, I can't drive on the left side of the road.

Not in the US. Apparently never in the US.

And we warned you.

Yeah, we'll say it: We told you so.

Starting in 2005, we began documenting the "Walk Away Renee"s from Iraq. We'd call them out and the reaction from readers was generally positive. A few would say, "So what! We have the online world!" We don't get those e-mails any more. After Ava and C.I. exposed Amy Goodman as the Goody Whore whoring it for Barack and addressed the bad clip-jobs she 'authored' with her husband/brother David Goodman (he's her brother but we do love those reviews that refer to them as "husband and wife team"), no one ever objected to calling out Goody and, in fact, we generally have around 300 e-mails each week outraged by Goody's latest silence.

You got played, America.

A wide contingent of pundits -- Democrats, Socialists and Communists -- weren't interested in ending the Iraq War, they just wanted to elect Democrats.

The Iraq War has not ended and is not ending any time soon. Barack is following George W. Bush's 'plan.' And where are the 'peace movement' 'leaders' objecting to that?

No where to be found. Communist Leslie Cagan has started snapping at people -- close friends -- who ask her, "Leslie, you're a Communist, why did you trade your integrity to pimp a Democratic Party candidate?"

We've explained many times before, Leslie is of the cowardly and closeted Communist faction. She won't work to build a Communist Party because she doesn't think one could be built or accomplish anything. So instead, she stays in the political closet and attempts to hijack an existing political party. What Leslie's doing isn't new. And a real history of the United States would establish that. But Socialist Howard Zinn can't even be honest above-ground about being a Socialist. You really think he can offer an honest history of the United States?

Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel never gave a damn about the Iraq War as anything but a means to pump up votes for Democratic Party politicians. She's the epitome of the faux left Cold War Warrior. (Which is why, at the start of the Afghanistan War, she was scribbling bad pieces about how this, the Afghanistan War, was a big break for the left. Did you send a thank-you basket to the families of all the ones killed so the Dems could have 'a big break'?) People are always surprised that Democratic Party member Katrina (she's not a Communist or a Socialist, despite rumors) doesn't rush forward with blog posts or commentaries on Russia when it's in the news. That is her area of expertise. But they don't understand Katrina. She's dances the tightrope of acceptability and won't risk falling off. She'll never take a stand that's not already polling well with the American public and she never has. Sadly, this who leads The Nation magazine. Dems are in power -- control both houses of the Congress and the White House -- and Katty van-van's not interested in Iraq.

There's Matthew Rothschild, CEO of The Progressive, who is a Socialist. Of course, he waited until this year to tell you that (readers of this site knew it some time ago). A grown man running a political rag who can't tell you his political i.d.? How very sad. But Matty finally found the guts to step out of his closet and get honest. Too bad he couldn't do it while trying to influence a presidential election, right? If someone's endorsing a candidate, don't voters have a right to know the politics of the endorser?

And when you add all the Socialist and Communist pundits who pimped so hard for Barack (Laura Flanders for example), you start to wonder if the hatred that emerges when Barack's called a Socialist isn't really their own fear of being outed?

Barack's a Corporatist War Hawk. Since 2007, Ava and C.I. have refuted the claims that Barack was a Socialist. (And back then, kiddies, Communists and Socialists like Leslie Cagan and Carl Davidson were insisting in e-mail appeals to friends that Barack was a secret Socialist.) When "Socialist" is applied to Barack today, we tend to roll our eyes at most. But a huge faction of pundits on the left start foaming at the mouth.

And if you pay attention, you'll grasp those pundits on the left are not Democrats. And then you'll join us in wondering if they're just afraid of being outed?

They never gave a damn about Iraq, none of them.

They've pledged allegiance to Barack of the United States of America.

They're all in need of a new Joe Stalin and if this one is far to the right of Stalin (and who thought that was possible), so be it. They need a Big Daddy.

And Uncle Barack doesn't want to end the Iraq War, so they don't bother to cover it. When forced, they'll repeatedly insist that the Iraq War will end at the end of 2011.

And they'll pretend they're journalists.

Journalists do not say: "This will end in 2011."

That's because journalists report what happens. They don't offer predictions.

No one knows what will happen in 2011. What is known is that the Iraq War drags on and over 130,000 US troops remain in Iraq.

And the pundits of Panhandle Media can't be bothered.

So the Communist Collective of MADRE and Laura Flanders show up on her ugly show Grit TV last week to insist that the Iraq War is over and they whore themselves like tired old whores do, limping along, flashing flaccid flesh that no one's renting let alone buying, and whored up with so much make up they look like Meme on The Drew Carey Show.

Yes, yes, folks, the media whores of the left. And just when you think they have nothing left to expose, they unzip their pants and appall you again.

Cindy Sheehan
Last week, Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan arrived on Martha's Vineyard Tuesday with the intention of protesting War Hawk Barack Obama's ongoing wars. And?

As genuine left John V. Walsh points out: Silence.

The Progressive celebrated an anniversary which they falsely billed as the magazine's 100th anniversary. Among the people they enlisted to help them raise money at their big celebration was Cindy Sheehan. Strangely, last week, the rag's online site offered six postings (that's huge for that rinky-dink operation) and not a one about Cindy Sheehan. In addition, Socialist Matthew Rothschild taped two Socialist Point of Views -- one on Ted Kennedy and one Karzai . . . and none on Cindy Sheehan.

In These Times didn't have time for Cindy. The Nation didn't have time.

CODESTINK sent out two mailings last week. Neither noted Cindy. Cindy, Jodi's not going to back you on a protest against Barack. And Medea doesn't scratch her own crotch without Jodi's permission.

But screw them and the other cowards. If you've caught on to their lies and their whoring, consider yourself lucky and enlightened and grasp that they don't control anything except a bunch of rags that no one reads.

And grasp that the point for us in the last years has been educating the young to what was going on. That's at all the community sites and that's C.I., Ava, Wally and Kat on the road each week speaking to students. And grasp that students see hypocrisy. Students were the ones in 2003 who were the most outraged by the Iraq War. Students today are the ones who are outraged by the hypocrisy from the left. And the snubbing of Cindy Sheehan of last week? Just the thing to further fuel the outrage among the left's grassroots.

Last week saw a lot of on campus bravery. We'll close with one example, Chad Van Alistin's "Obama's promise on War in Iraq remains unfulfilled" (Collegiate Times):

Remember that war? Whatever happened to that? I heard a lot of people died. I also heard that there was no end in sight. I don't seem to hear about that war at all anymore. I remember promises of it coming to an end, even talk of a troop withdrawal. But I don't think the war ended. Still, I can't seem to find anything about it anymore.

Occasionally on the news I see stories about more deaths, more bombings, and even another hostage or two. However, there's no talk about the war itself, and certainly no talk about when it's going to end.

The news media has been fixated on stories of a healthcare crisis and swine flu. This sexy tale is full of controversy, fear of imminent death by an invisible invader, and even contains all the stimulus of high spending and corporatismRemind you of that War on Terror? The war that President Barack Obama promised to end. The war that the Democratic party promised to stop -- even going so far as to swear to take congressional action to end it as soon as possible. Instead, Obama and the Democrats have decided to continue occupying foreign soil.

TV: Ghoul Watch

Last week saw the death of a politician. The Wednesday death could potentially effect multiple countries and the future for many years to come. It's the sort of death that actually merits extended coverage.


So naturally, the media either ignored the death of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim or treated it as something minor. There were exceptions. For example, Friday on the second hour of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, guest host Susan Page (USA Today) and panelists David Ignatius (Washington Post), Barbara Slavin (Washington Times) and Janine Zacharia (Bloomberg News) demonstrated that grown ups actually could explore serious issues.

It wasn't that the media was death phobic. Please. We doubt they're done with Michael Jackson but they happily set him aside to jibber-jabber about US Senator Ted Kennedy all last week following his Tuesday night death. Despite the non-stop coverage, we rarely learned much. Maybe that had to do with the 'experts'?

Appearing Thursday on PBS' NewsHour, historian Michael Beschloss was asked by Judy Woodrfuff about Ted's father Joe Kennedy and what he wanted "for himself and for his children?" Beschloss replied, "He wanted to build a political dynasty that cranked out presidents, and he succeeded. And that's what's unusual about the Kennedys, because you look at the Adamses. You know, John Adams was not averse to the idea that John Quincy Adams might become president, but despite some of his critics, he didn't really have in mind creating a long political dynasty. Same thing with the Roosevelts; same thing with the Lodges and the Tafts, as Richard mentioned."

Did you catch it? Joe Kennedy "wanted to build a political dynasty that cranked out presidents and he succeeded." Uh, no, he didn't.



Now the Adams and the Roosevelts can claim "presidents." But the Kennedy clan? There's only been one Kennedy in the White House. You expect an 'expert,' a historian, to grasp the problem with his own answer.

And how is history served when facts fall away, when topics are judged unmentionable?

Wednesday night on The NewsHour, Tom Oliphant may have walked as close to the topic of
Chappaquiddick as the taste makers would allow, "I mean, he did not always have the best of relations with Catholic officialdom because of his personal life and also some of the issues that he championed, but he was a devout believer. I wish I had a dollar for every mass I've been to with him on the road when there was, like, nobody else except a driver." The word "Chappaquiddick" could be mentioned on Wednesday's Democracy Now!, it just couldn't be illuminated.

Amy Goodman directed Ted Kennedy hagiographer Adam Clymer to "talk about Chappaquiddick and how it derailed so much of what he wanted to do and also how he came back from that." Clymer yammered on about the 60s and "Jack's death and then after Robert's death" before finally stating, "He did run in 1980. And I think that what crippled his race then was Chappaquiddick. We know the whole story. He was -- drove off a bridge on an island with a young woman who drowned. He took too long to report it. And he got probably fairly gentle treatment from the local constabulary. He's said this was with him every day of his life and that he deeply regrets it. But I think it crippled his run for the presidency, and he hadn't expect it to, because he was easily forgiven and reelected by the voters of Massachusetts, so that that --."

A woman drowned?

Golly, Adam, did the woman have a name?

And when did it take place?

"We know the whole story," insisted Adam Clymer forgetting that not everyone is, like him, 72-years-old. Some hearing the story for the first time might assume this incident took place in 1980 since that was the only year he mentioned.

It was July 18, 1969 and Teddy was driving the car. The passenger was Mary Jo Kopechne. Ted had been drinking. Ted managed to drive off the bridge and into Poucha Pond. He also managed to extract himself from the car and swim to shore. Ted left. The next morning, fishermen saw the car, the police were called and the body of Mary Jo Kopechne was pulled from the car. The next day.

Whether Ted Kennedy's a murderer or not is something for speculation (barring any new evidence emerging now that he's dead). But there's no question that he was responsible for Mary Jo Kopechne's death. He was the driver of the car. He wasn't a child, he was already in the US Senate and, in fact, four months shy of celebrating his seventh year as a US senator.

It was a huge story and it was pretty much vanished last week. Despite multiple segments on three days worth of programming, The NewsHour slipped Chappaquiddick by in three brief sentences during a lengthy Kwame Holman report. Unlike Amy Goodman's program, however, The NewsHour did give Mary Jo Kopechne's name and the year she died. It's rare that a member of Congress is directly responsible for the death of an American citizen on American soil. But that is Ted's history and part of his legacy even though everyone worked overtime to cover it up or minimize it last week.

ABC worked overtime. Tuesday's Nightline featured not one but three segments on Ted: "Lion of the Senate's Storied Career" [watch here], "A Life Remembered" [watch here] and "The Kennedy Men" [watch here]. It and other coverage, anchored by Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson, is already available on DVD from ABC for the they-think-it's-a-bargain price of $29.95. Wednesday, Nightline was back with three more segments, "Remembering Senator Kennedy," "Living in Camelot" and "The Kennedys Unite." But no matter how much time was spent, very little got said. For example, Wednesday on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Jim Axlerod spoke with the Boston Globe's Marty Noland who'd spent 40 years covering the senator and this is all Noland could produce, "He was full of charm and he enjoyed the odd drop after hours and so do I. He could sing an Irish song like a Clancy brother put together. He could do that and he'd do it at an AFL-CIO meeting as well as he'd do it in a saloon somewhere." That's the best a reporter who's covered Ted for forty years could do?

Apparently so and apparently that's all anyone could offer. Whether it was CBS Evening News offering 'memories,' or Democracy Now!, or The NewsHour or Nightline, there was no difference and little more than cheers and platitudes.

Now we personally believe a death does not require days of coverage. The networks disagreed with us and turning on Saturday's evening newscasts was 'discovering' the apparently unexpected development that Ted Kennedy had been buried. Seems to us if you're going to use all that time, you should have something to show for it otherwise it appears the entire point was to manipulate reactions and, as Noam Chomsky and Edwards S. Herman would put it, manufacture consent.

It's really a juvenile to offer these Little Golden Book portrayals of politicians and indicates either a lack of respect for honest discourse or a lack of respect for the audience. Or maybe both.

Lance Selfa (Socialist Worker) observed Friday:

In the early 1970s, Kennedy and Rep. Martha Griffiths of Michigan supported the creation of a government-run "single-payer" system to make health care a right for every American. Kennedy and Griffiths ran into opposition from Republican President Richard Nixon and business organizations.
Kennedy abandoned his own bill in 1974 and later supported legislation that preserved the role of the private insurance industry in the health care sector. "My feeling is that this is the central cop-out of liberal leadership," long-time single payer advocate Dr. Quentin Young said in an interview with Socialist Worker in 2003. "Ted Kennedy was the author of an excellent single-payer [universal insurance] bill of 1971. But now, since it's not considered feasible, they don't even push for it."

Lance Selfa wasn't invited to share by the networks or by Amy Goodman. CounterPunch's Alexander Cockburn wasn't allowed to pass on this observation via the airwaves, "We also have Kennedy to thank for 'No Child Left Behind' -- the nightmarish education act pushed through in concert with Bush Jr's White House, that condemns children to a treadmill of endless tests contrived as 'national standards'." If he hadn't been shut out, Steve Early (CounterPunch) could've spoken this directly to the cameras: "But here’s what I remember about the same Ted Kennedy, who sided with corporate America in its late 1970s drive for deregulation, who was MIA during the biggest anti-concession battle of the 1980s, who pushed trade liberalization in the 1990s, and who settled short on health care reform for the last several decades." WSWS editorialized, "After 1980, there was little substance left in Kennedy’s professed devotion to social reform, despite his becoming the perpetual target of right-wing Republican attacks, which demonized him as an unrepentant liberal. From then on, Kennedy became what could be called a political minimalist -- eschewing any serious attempt to enact major social reforms."

Now had the networks and Goodman done what was required to note the passing of a 77-year-old from an illness, they would have each spent about three minutes and could then say, "Well, we really didn't have time to explore." But they made time, they devoted endless and never ending segments to the Death Pageant and, in the end, it all added up to so damn little reality.

The closest any got to reality was on Wednesday's NewsHour when Judy Woodruff spoke with Senator Orrin Hatch who declared, "Well, naturally, I'm grieving. Let's face it: I knew Ted was going to die, but I prayed for him every day hoping for some sort of a miracle. [. . .] I mean, let's face it. Of course, he had the best health care in the world, but I've got to say, it was an extremely bad diagnosis, and he knew about it, and he still had that same sense of humor, that same gift of gab, the same ability to try and do things, and I just totally respected him for the way he handled this illness." The news angle to have then pursued was to have asked Hatch about obligations and responsibilities. For instance, "Knowing he was terminal, shouldn't the 77-year-old senator have resigned?" But, no, that issue had to be avoided as well. To watch the scramble now to replace Kennedy, you'd assume he'd been struck by a bus or some other completely unexpected tragedy. In light of all the talk about Barack Obama's desire to include an "end of life" counseling option in whatever health-insurance-company-give-away finally emerges, it's surprising no one thought to offer Ted some end of life counseling.

And the Death Pageant continues. Yes, Ted has been buried, put into the ground, but still cheap and easy, non-investigative, non-news dominates. This morning, ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos serves up "Sen. Ted Kennedy's closest friends from both sides of the aisle -- Sens. Orrin Hatch and John Kerry." CBS' Face The Nation finds Orrin double dipping on the chat & chews as he joins fellow Congress members Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain and US House Rep. Barney Frank to share memories of Ted Kennedy. Two half-hours on ABC and CBS but step quickly, the pageant's float is coming down the road, yes, NBC's Meet The Press devotes the full hour to Ted ("tribute to the life, legacy and political career") where David Gregory sobs with Senators John Kerry (also double dipping) and Chris Dodd, eternal failure Bob Shrum and Kennedy clan members Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Maria Shriver plus historian Doris Kearns Goodwin who's spent the last four days comforting her bender prone husband.

Remember we told you there was a death with actual global and political implications? With the exception of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, try to find any program treating that death as news. Of course, it's Iraq-related and they all want to wish Iraq away. Not end the illegal war, mind you, just wish the entire topic away. The Project for Excellence in Journalism most recent findings are a 92% drop in Iraq coverage this year from the first part of 2007.

As disappointing as that is, it just studied Real Media, not Panhandle Media. Last week, Panhandle Media appeared to go overboard to demonstrate just how hard they'd work to avoid covering Iraq.

For example, Friday on CounterSpin, Janine Jackson declared in the alleged-look-at-this-week's-press, "Embedding reporters with US military forces is troubling enough on it's own." She then went on to sketch out Stars and Stripes revelations (click here for Charlie Reed's report) about the US government hiring the Rendon Group (p.r. outlet who helped sell the illegal war on Iraq) in order to 'vet' reporters attempting to embed with US troops. Embed with US troops? According to Janine, embed with US troops in Afghanistan only: "On August 24th, the paper revealed that potential embeds in Afghanistan were being screeened [. . .] Though military officials insisted that they would not deny a reporter an embed slot because that journalist's coverage was deemed too critical. As Stars and Stripes pointed out, though, that was precisely what happened to one of its reporters." It's sad to see someone sleep her way to the top of ant hill but then she opens her mouth and you realize how damn lucky Janine Jackson is to have made it that far.

Stars and Stripes had a reporter denied from embedding with troops in Afghanistan? No. Stars and Stripes had a reporter denied from embedding in Iraq? Yes. Heath Druzin. Janine screwed everything up and there will be no correction because (a) CounterSpin doesn't 'do' corrections and (b) they don't give a f**k about Iraq. What idiot Janine couldn't tell you, Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) did, the vetting is for reporters embedded in "Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere".

Another good example would be the white-ing-out of Cindy Sheehan last week. Peace Mom arrived on Martha's Vineyard Tuesday. She was there to protest War Hawk Barack Obama's wars on Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Amy Goodman, like all others in Beggar Media, ignored her. As complaints began to get to Amy and as she got called out publicly for being a Barack Whore, she decided she had to note Cindy in some small way. Tim Robbins? He's got another bad play that most people will be avoiding and it's playing in LA -- no one sees theater in LA. No one. But there was Timmy Bob-bob-bobbings, apparently done with his 'nature' photography, shucking and jiving with Amy for an entire segment. Only one of many people given unneeded coverage last week by Amy Goodman. Cindy Sheehan?

Reduced to a headline. And reduced to Friday (as Barack prepared to leave the island) where it could do the least 'damage' to Barry O. And because Goodman's such a War Enabler, she made it the thirteenth item out of . . . thirteen items. Here is Goody's item:

And antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan arrived in Martha's Vineyard to lead a protest near the home where President Obama is vacationing. Sheehan made international headlines four years ago when she led large protests outside President Bush’s home in Crawford, Texas. On Thursday, Sheehan criticized Obama for expanding the war in Afghanistan.
Cindy Sheehan: "The only change I see in the foreign policy of this country has been a change for the worse. As Obama promised his base that troops would be out of Iraq, so far not one troop. He said that he would -- he did say he would send more troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and unfortunately that’s a promise that he’s kept."

Cindy arrived Tuesday. Friday, Goody Whore's telling you, "Cindy Sheehan arrived in Martha's Vineyard . . ." No, you don't arrive "in" an island. But apparently the Little Red School House doesn't teach grammer, just Marxist theories.

Goody Whore devoted four segments to Ted Kennedy's death and included him in every day's headlines as well. Apparently "Ted Kennedy Still Dead!" was news to some. By contrast, this was her full coverage (fool coverage?) of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim who died Wednesday:

In other Iraq news, the leader of Iraq's largest Shiite party, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, has died after a battle with lung cancer. The sixty-year-old Hakim helped lead Iraq's exile movement against Saddam Hussein before returning to Iraq after the US invasion of 2003. Hakim helped form the United Iraqi Alliance, a Shiite coalition that has dominated Iraqi politics since winning parliamentary elections in 2005.

A headline item, the sixth for the day. By the Thursday Goody was noting the above, Liz Sly and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) had already hailed al-Hakim as "a towering figure in the post-U.S.-invasion political landscape," Nouri al-Maliki (thug and installed prime minister of Iraq) was paying homage, arrangements had been made for a memorial in Tehran Thursday, one in Baghdad Friday and one in Najaf on Saturday.

The Shi'ite politician's death came as his party, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, had joined with ten other Shi'ite parties in Iraq to form a new alliance -- one that excluded Nouri al-Maliki and his Dawa party. Nouri was up for joining . . . provided they'd guarantee to appoint him prime minister if they won in January's upcoming elections. They refused to make that promise. Iran's Press TV called SIIC "Iraq's most powerful party" and adds, "The death of Hakim will add to political uncertainty ahead of national polls in January and after a series of devastating bombings." Who would succeed him? The Iranian Students News Agency explains, "Since his hospitalization in Tehran, his elder son Ammar Hakim has taken control of the SIIC." Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) reports that Ammar al-Hakim is expected to be his "likely successor as party leader". The Angola Press observed, "Correspondents say the death of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) leader adds further uncertainty ahead of national elections next January." The Telegraph of London added, "The alliance includes Muqtada al-Sadr, and -- if it prevails at the polls – could introduce a new era of Shia dominance in Iraqi politics."

The death will most likely have huge implactions for the future of Iraq including the prolonged and no-time-soon ending US occupation. It will have implications on Iraq's immediate neighbors including Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria and those implications -- on an oil producing region of the globe -- will have further implications around the world. And the death was mourned by many Shi'ites in the US. Niraj Warikoo (Detroit Free Press) reported on Iraqi exiles in Dearborn Michigan holding memorials Thursday and Friday.

All of which makes it all the more shocking that Red Amy elected to sleight the passing while going ga-ga over the passing of a White, American male. For Amy Goodman 'expanding' the focus is leaving the parameters of NYC to cover 'far-away' Boston. As Nanci Griffith once sang, "There's a light beyond these woods, Mary Margaret." Someone tell Amy Goodman.

And someone tell all the media that we get why they love the Death Pageants. It's cheap to produce. You just find some archive footage, bring on a few guests who will rush to share unexamined thoughts and, as ABC's already demonstrated, in a matter of hours you can slap that puppy on a DVD and try to make a little money off of it. Actually, Death Pageant may be too kind of a term. It's really just the Ghoul Watch.

No health care plan but there are a bunch of liars


Don't let the word out but we've come across a presidential plan for health care in the United States.


We discovered that on a bookshelf. On one of our bookshelves actually.

It's The President's Health Security Plan.

And it's 278 pages of text.

That, boys and girls, is a plan for health care.

Now you can disagree with it. You can think it should have more of ___ or less of ___ or that it's all completely wrong. And if you do, we won't scream that you're "unAmerican" (the way that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did this month). We'll just assume that you disagree with the plan because it's not something you can support.

And that's okay.

We can thumb through the book together and we can have a discussion about the plan and figure out if there's anything a majority of people can agree on. And if there is, well, we can build on that.

Present us with a concrete proposal and we can weigh in and we can determine whether it's something we support or not and, based on that, can advocate for it or not.

But you have to do that first -- "that" being present us with a plan.

There is no plan for health care currently. The book, published in 1993, was the proposal made when Bill Clinton was president and it was published ahead of any scheduled vote.

Today, there is no plan for health care.

The House has several (different) bills and the Senate has its own bill that is not like the House bills. The White House tosses out a lot of words verbally but there's no plan on paper -- or at least, not on any paper that they're sharing with the American public.

Barack Obama promised he would have health care legislation passed in both houses of Congress and signed by him before the August recess.

Guess what?

Didn't happen.

And yet he and Congress have wasted the month (and networks have wasted airtime) encouraging people to support . . .

Well . . . not a plan. And it's too weak to call it a "concept."

A thought?

Barack wants you to support happy thoughts?

How very Peter Pan of him.

And there's a legion of Lost Boys out there who will do his work for him.

Take Lila Garrett who disgraced herself last Monday on KPFK's Connect The Dots where she raged at Republicans opposed to the health care plan(s) as reported by the press. (There is NO plan.) She insulted them as "barbarians" and as "the missing link" and crazies and it was just embarrassing to hear her spew non-stop.

US House Rep. Dennis Kucinich attempted an intervention, "I think the miscommunications and the town brawls that have occurred, I don't think it really reflects the desire of the American people for information. It reflects a lot of anger that's out there. I'd be careful about writing off all the anger as just the imagination of lunatics who've come to stir up trouble. I think you've got be we have to be aware that there are people out there that have lost their jobs, lost their retirement security, their investments and their health care and they're angry. And they're angry at a government that's given away tons of money to Wall St., that's let these bonuses fly that wealth's going to continue to be accelerated upwards. What in the world is this all about?"

"I'd be careful about writing off all the anger as just the imagination of lunatics who've come to stir up trouble," Kucinich cautioned. And for a few moments, Lila Garrett was semi-stable but then it was time to rage and snarl again.

You longed to hear the knock on the studio door and someone announce, "Miss DuBois, I think that may be Shep Huntleigh at the door," just before Lila Garrett's given a sedative and taken away.

Looks like they're going to need a whole bunch of sedatives. And a really big one for The Nation magazine's own Appaloosa.

Patricia Williams is nothing but a paid whore. Grasp it. Grasp that the spots on that ugly face of hers appear to have migrated to her brain. Using whatever prestige she thinks is left for her (mis)teaching at Columbia, the tired media whore acts as if "American's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" is the legislation or even "the bill" (she repeats "the bill" over and over, failing to note that this is one bill in the House and that there are others).

The spotted whore lopes to her final paragraph where she hisses:

This morning I saw a picture of President Obama dressed as Hitler, complete with little mustache, tacked high on a tree trunk. At first it seemed jaw-droppingly ridiculous, sociopathically paranoid. But if the rule of reversal is what's encoded in that image, all people of good will must worry that what's really at stake for some of our gun-toting, demagogic fellow citizens is nothing less than America's very own Weimar moment.

Poor, Professor Patti, ugly, stinky and a hypocrite. Professor Patti was too busy writing about imaginary French boys (presented by her as real) when Bush was being called Hitler. Suddenly, to call someone in the Oval Office "Hitler" is "jaw-droppingly ridiculous." What's jaw-dropping ridiculous is that this ignorant fool, who doesn't understand the first thing about the law (which is why she always avoids the topic) is allowed to teach at Columbia.

The one scared? Not the right-wing, it's spotted faced Patricia. It's the dumb ass who can't write worth s**t, can't stick to the facts and, honestly, has a personal odor that even offended friends on the set of Bill Moyers Journal when she appeared earlier this year.

"Patti, when we say you stink, we really mean you stink," say Ava and C.I.

The fact of the matter is that if there is an outcry over a non-plan, a lot of it is due to the lies and spinning of trash like Patti Williams. And Rachel Maddow. And Keith Olbermann and all the others whores who keep trying to get you to support something that DOES NOT EXIST.

They're surprised that it's so unpopular with Americans and the reason they're surprised is because candidate Barack Obama did NOT EXIST. He was nothing but platitudes and pretty words and he stood for nothing and he's delivered even less. But the whores managed to get his empty suit into the White House, now didn't they?

And they did that in part by screaming "racist" at the drop of a hat. When Barack finally leaves office, the bi-racial man's only 'accomplishment' may be having rendered the term "racist" obsolete by repeatedly encouraging his supporters to cry it.

Back in the real world, there is NO plan. No American has anything to support at present. So you should be asking yourself why so many people and organizations are whoring themselves out for a president? When they whored under Bully Boy Bush, we on the left found it disgraceful. The fact that Barack's now their pimp doesn't make it any less disgusting.

When Coward met Zirin . . .

One of the claims put forward by non-Democrats who posed as Democrats during the 2008 Democratic Party primaries was that if Hillary Clinton were to win the nomination (which meant winning the presidency, it was already seen as a Democratic year), the country would be caught up in all these struggles "just like when Bill was president!" They'd act so concerned. They'd swear that it wasn't anything against Hillary, they just didn't want the drama.

No, they weren't so stupid that they thought the Christ-child's elevation to the White House would mean world peace, they just spun it that way to eliminate Hillary and we need to again note that when Hillary Clinton or any other Democratic politician is being judged, people have a right to know by what standard.

hillary in kenya

Hillary Clinton is and was immensely popular. She brought in tons of money for the Democratic Party throughout this decade. She was and is a powerhouse.


With whom?

With Democrats?

Hell no. She won the support of Democrats in the primary.

But Hillary's never been popular with Socialists and Communists who blame her for whatever their politics tell them Bill Clinton did wrong.

Is it fair to blame a spouse for what their partner does? No.

In fact, it's sexist. But that's so very much of the left these days.

Take Coward Zinn.

Take him off to an old folk's home and deny him telephone privileges because he's told enough lies for one lifetime.


Sexist Coward Zinn is interviewed in the current edition of International Socialist Worker by Dave Zirin. It's not a pretty picture.

In one of the elderly lunatic's more senior moments, he gushes, "But I wouldn’t have welcomed any first African American, right? What if Clarence Thomas were running for president? No. But Barack Obama? Very decent guy. Articulate, intelligent, and with a wife who's very politically savvy and charming and all of that besides."

1) Barack is not "African-American." You can call him "African American" (no hyphen) but he is bi-racial. An alleged historian should grasp that. A so-called 'progressive' should know history marches forward and how racist his comment will sound in only ten years.

2) Coward labels Barack "African-American" and then is impressed that he's "articulate" and, golly, we're remembering the uproar when Joe Biden made similar remarks in 2007. Aren't you?

3) "a wife who's very politically savvy and charming and all of that besides."

What a whore. If Coward goes into the hospital anytime soon and slips into a coma, we'll gladly pay to have his plug pulled. He is a disgrace.

Michelle Obama is Laura Bush without a bra. (All the talk about her "shorts" recently had little to do with her shorts which were a poor choice. It had more to do with the fact that she didn't wear a bra and you could see her nipples through her shirt as she deboarded the plane.) She's not politically savvy and she plays "housewife". But that's who a sexist f**k like Coward Zinn raves over.

No surprise, kids.

No surprise at all.

Other than closeted-Communist Alice Walker, what living woman does Coward rave over? Or even acknowledge? None. Never.

But don't think he ignores women. In the midst of raving over Barack and Stepford Wife Michelle, Coward Zinn finds time to chill-ax:

And Hillary Clinton? She voted for the war! She basically has a militarist point of view. She is so over the top on her support for Israel that she doesn't have a balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. So, she shouldn't be secretary of state. I'd remove her immediately.

Yes, he is a demented soul and probably people should have been told he wasn't "progressive" a long, long time ago. But as we've told you -- for a long, long time now -- "progressive" is a term used by pundits who are not Democrats or liberals.

Rahm Emanuael runs the White House. But Coward Zinn's not interested in calling out Rahm, is he? Nope. Rahm voted for the 2002 measure (which some insist was not a vote for the war -- and they're correct to a degree because neither Congress nor the United Nations authorized the Iraq War). Rahm's very close to the government in Israel. But Coward's screaming at Hillary. Old Man Zinn's got spittle running down his chin and his hair's askew as, in the midst of his senior moment, he has a seizure.

Coward hates women. Grasp it.

Admit it.

If you can't, we've got another section of the interview that should nail it down for you.

[Dave Zirin]: AND FOR folks who don't know, when Howard talks about teaching in Atlanta, he mentioned Spelman College -- that's a women’s college, and a historically Black college. And that leads to this: when were you first aware that there was such a thing as a women's movement, which you've written about, and that there were aspirations among women for equal rights and full citizenship in a profoundly sexist country?

[Howard Zinn]: THAT'S A very strong statement, Dave.

[Dave Zirin]: I'M SORRY.

[Howard Zinn]: I FORGIVE you. I think I first became aware of the women's movement when the women's movement emerged and women began acting out and speaking out. Although, I think I first became aware -- before it was a movement, I first became aware of the specific problems of women at Spelman College, because I had women students. A lot of these students came from very poor backgrounds, their parents were tenant farmers or janitors and so on, and they were the first kids to go to college. They would say to me, “My mother told me to remember: 'You're poor. And you're a woman. And you're Black. You've got three strikes against you. So keep that in mind.'" Which, when she said that to me, oh yeah, if you're a woman, that's a strike against you. And I hadn't really been thinking about it that way. And so, that's how we learn things, when we encounter people who teach us.

Asked about women's liberation, Coward's first impulse is to make a joke. Did you grasp that? That's his impulse. It's not his impulse when he's asked about Civil Rights. That's a serious topic to him but women's liberation isn't serious to him. When he finally stops guffawing, Old and Elderly Zinn reveals just how stupid he was and is. He was teaching at a woman's college. Meaning he was teaching at a gender segregated facility. In the sixties. And he's not aware that it might be a problem to be a woman?

Grasp too his word choice. Do you really think Coward Zinn would use "acting out" to refer to Black males engaged in the struggle? No, of course not. It's an insulting and belittling term and he only uses when he speaks of women.

Grasp as well that women don't interest him.

He is asked about women's liberation and he grows bored so quickly that he has to bring in race.

Race is an issue. And there is an intersection of race and gender. But Coward can't be bothered with exploring women's liberation because the topic bores him. So asked specifically (and at length) by Dave Zirin to comment on it, Coward makes a joke, then uses belittling phrases and then moves the topic over to race.

No, Coward Zinn is no friend of women.


Last week, Cindy Sheehan went to Martha's Vineyard, where US President Barack Obama was vacationing, to protest his ongoing wars. We start with her because she stood up while others prefer to kneel.

The ongoing, illegal Iraq War claimed the lives of 3 US soldiers last week. Sunday, the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier died Aug. 23, from combat-related injuries while conducting a patrol in Baghdad. The Soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The names of service members killed in action are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense Official Website at The announcements are made on the website no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member’s primary next of kin. MND-B will not release any additional details prior to notification of next of kin and official release by the Department of Defense. The incident is currently under investigation." Friday, the US military announced: "BAGHDAD – Two 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldiers died of wounds suffered following an improvised explosive device in eastern Baghdad Aug. 28 at approximately 2:30 a.m. The Soldiers names are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is currently under investigation." The deaths bring the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4336.


Iraqis continued to die in the illegal war. August 23rd 4 dead and eleven injured. August 24th, 11 dead, twenty-nine wounded. August 25th, 4 dead, nineteen injured. August 26th, 4 dead and ten wounded. August 27th, 4 dead and fifty-one wounded. August 28th, saw 6 reported dead, 7 injured. August 29th saw 22 dead, 55 injured. In all, last week saw 55 reported deaths and 182 people reported wounded.

We're keeping the weekly count here because the press has failed to provide it and because ICCC, which does a fine job with the count of service members killed in Iraq, does a s**t poor job of reporting on the wounded and appears to use only Reuters for their count (ignoring McClatchy and AP as well as a host of international outlets). For a critique of a dumb ass (Steven Lee Myers), see Friday's snapshot and please note that despite dumb ass' claims that ICCC offers a "civilian count," they offer a count that is civilians and security forces. Dumb Ass Myers can't even read.

Bush and al-Hakim

An Iraqi death got some print attention. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim (pictured above with George W. Bush) died Wednesday in Iran of lung cancer. Thursday, a memorial service was held for the Iraqi politician in Tehran, Friday in Baghdad and yesterday in Najaf. Ava and C.I. address his death in their TV commentary this week. On the second hour of Friday's The Diane Rehm Show (NPR), guest host Susan Page (USA Today) and panelists David Ignatius (Washington Post), Barbara Slavin (Washington Times) and Janine Zacharia (Bloomberg News) addressed the death.

Susan Page: Lots of developments in Iraq this week, including the death of a Shi'ite leader. Tell us what's happening there, Barbara.

Barbara Slavin: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim headed something which used to be called the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, SCIRI. It changed it's name to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, taking out "Revolution." But it's a very important organization it was essentially created in Iran by Iran's Revolutionary Guard corps in the 1980s, after the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. The Hakims returned to Iraq after the US overthrew Saddam. And Abdul Aziz al-Hakim has had lung cancer for some time and so this is not unexpected. But it still happens at a very delicate phase where we are anticipating elections in Iraq next year and there is a reorganization going on among the Shi'ite parties. His party, others affialiated with Moqtada al-Sadr -- a militant leader, with Ahmed Chalabi whom we'll talk about in a little bit have formed an alliance that excludes the prime minister who is a Shi'ite, Nouri al-Maliki. And they are all manuevering to see who will take power as the US withdraws from Iraq.

Susan Page: How important is this situation, David? And how perilous for US interests?

David Ignatius: Well as the US now withdraws its forces in ernest from Iraq -- we've pulled back from the cities and are really not a factor in day-to-day security -- we are seeing an increase in violence and in political chaos in the country. The death of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim a figurehead for the Shi'ite religious parties, is an example of this but in every direction I look in Iraq, I see similar uncertainty. Maliki is increasingly cocky about his own role as prime minister and I-I think has decided he can go it alone separating himself from the other Shi'ite parties. He's got his own complicated dealings with Iran. You've got the Kurds who are pushing for their own interests ever more stridently. I think the question that we need to think about is: Going forward in Iraq, is this project of the new Iraqi state that was created in 2003, after the United States invasion, do Iraqis think it's going to continue? And are they going to buy into it? And are they going to make the deals that would be part of having some kind of viable country and democracy? And right now it's really tough to be confident about that.

Susan Page: Janine?

Janine Zacharia: Just to follow up on what David was saying, I think the August 19th co-ordinated attacks where nearly 100 people were killed and 600 were wounded and US forces who were pulled back on June 30th were sitting on the outskirts and couldn't get in there because the Iraqis had not invited them, I think that this is something the US is going to be looking closely at going forward and we have to see how that's going to effect Obama's promises of doing a complete US pullout by the end of 2011. Just quickly on al-Hakim, some people have said that he's been, because of his illness, as Barbara said, he hasn't been as important day-to-day in Shi'ite politics right now and one US diplomat I spoke to said they're hoping actually this will clear the way for fresh Shia leadership within that party who can challenge Moqtada al-Sadr who is the more radical concern for them.

Susan Page: David.

David Ignatius: I've met Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's son Ammar who's the new leader of this party. We had a long and very interesting breakfast conversation and he's the sort of young man who, you know, when you meet him and talk to him, you think, "Gee, maybe things are really going to work out in this country." He is surrounded by some of the toughest, meanest politicians and I think of this nice, young man, this cleric from Najaf, getting eaten alive by the -- by the wolves of Baghdad.

Susan Page: You mentioned, Barbara, Chalabi, a familiar name to Americans from the very beginning of the Iraq War. What happened this week to an aid of his?

Barbara Slavin: Yeah, well, the twists and turns involving Ahmed Chalabi are just incredible. This is the guy, to remind people, who led Iraqi exiles after the Gulf War, who lobbied so hard to overthrow Saddam Hussein, who presented information to the media about alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn't turn out to actually exist in Iraq once the US got there and he also, throughout this time, had maintained good relations with Iran -- which makes sense if you're an Iraqi Shia, since Iran is the neighbor and the biggest Shi'ite country. And what we have now is more evidence that his connection with the Iranians are closer perhaps than we even thought. The
Washington Times has a front page story today about the arrest of a top aide to Chalabi on charges that he was a liason to an Iraqi Shi'ite militant group called the League of the Righteous which, among other things, is believed responsible for the execution-style murder of five US marines in 2007. And Chalabi, of course, denies it, the aide denise it, but, uh, senior US military officials say that, indeed, Chalabi's links and the links to this group are-are documented and that Chalabi has been playing both sides of the fence.

And addressed the nw alliance -- which Nouri al-Maliki's not a part of at present -- as well as the League of Righteous which has yet another connection to the Shi'ite dominated government.

Monday the Dept of Veterans Affairs announced that compensation claims for PTSD would be simplified: "The VA is publishing a proposed regulation today in the Federal Register to make it easier for a Veteran to claim service connection for PTSD by reducing the evidence needed if the stressor claimed by a Veteran is related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted over the next 60 days. A final regulation will be published after consideration of all comments received. Under the new rule, VA would not require corroboration of a stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity if a VA psychiatrist or psychologist confirms that the stressful experience recalled by a Veteran adequately supports a diagnosis of PTSD and the Veteran's symptoms are related to the claimed stressor." Tuesday US House Rep John Hall declared, "I am optimistic that this new rule is going to be a giant step forward in getting veterans the benefits they have earned faster and easier. This rule should make major progress in clearing the VA's claims backlog.
I will work with the VA and veterans during the comment period to ensure that the rule in application is as comprehensive and inclusive as my COMBAT PTSD Act. Veterans currently face an adversarial process when they seek treatment and compensation from the VA. Our servicemen and women have been forced to 'prove' a specific stressor that triggered their PTSD, even if they have already been diagnosed. They need to track down incident reports, buddy statements, present medals, and leap other hurdles to mee the threshold the VA mandates in order to receive desperately needed compensation. Just as our military adapts and reforms its strategies in every war it fights, the VA is now adapting to assist the surviving heroes of those wars." James Dao (New York Times) reported on the VA's proposed change yesterday and noted, "Critics said the proposed rule would still require veterans to prove a connection between a traumatizing event and their PTSD, even when that connection was not clear cut. Strict application of that requirement could lead to many rejected claims, they say." Which is why it's all the sadder that 'change' in the administration saw the VA being put under a retired general
and he's not proposing half of what US House Rep John Hall is.

And finally PTSD is the topic of "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder as a Risk Factor for Suicidal Ideation in Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans" (Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol. 23, No. 4, August 2009, pp 303 - 306). For the study, 435 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans were used for the sample. Half of the sample was diagnosed with PTSD (49.6%). The study notes:

Prior research with Vietnam veterans with chronic PTSD has established an association between PTSD and suicide (Bullman & Kang, 1994). This study extends these findings by demonstrating an association between suicidal ideation and PTSD in treatment-seeking OIF/OEF veterans with more acute forms of PTSD. PTSD was significantly associated with suicidal ideation after accounting for age, depression and substance abuse, with PTSD veterans over four times more likely to report suicidal ideation than veterans who did not screen psotive for PTSD. Among veterans who screen positive for PTSD, there was no significant increase in risk for suicidal ideation associated with a single comorbid disorder. However, the likelihood for suicidal ideation was 5.7 times greater in veterans with PTSD who screened positive for two or more comorbid disorders relative to veterans with PTSD alone. Results suggest that veterans with PTSD who have multiple psychiatric comorbidities may be at greater risk for suicidal ideation. This increased likelihood of suicidal ideation associated with comorbidity is notable because, of those OIF/OEF veterans diagnosed with a mental disorder, 27% have three or more different mental health diagnoses.

Jim's World


Last week, we offered "Shame on Dennis Loo" which followed up on Ruth's "Elizabeth Esser-Stuart." Ava and C.I. elected not to participate in the writing of the group piece and we weren't surprised (or offended) by that.

Tuesday saw them penning "To Dennis with Loo from Ava and C.I." and what changed?

Denny Loo couldn't stop distorting us and Ava and C.I. don't stay silent when their friends are trashed.

And as usual, he couldn't stop trashing.

At World Can't Wait, Eddie called Denny Loo out and Denny accused Eddie of being some part of The Third Estate Sunday Review (Third is Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I.and me, Jim). Eddie's not part of Third. Eddie's never been among those assisting us at Third. But punk ass Denny Loo doesn't like being corrected so he prefers to smear people.

When Eddie pointed out that Ava and C.I. had already addressed the issue of Denny's participation in t-word conversations (that they took place at a blog), Denny insisted that people shouldn't assume that was him.

Dennis Loo

Even though the poster used Denny's photo as well as name.

Even though the poster, like Denny Loo, has to have the last word or, as Mike put it, the last 500 words.

It is Denny Loo.

At World Can't Wait last week, he referenced one use of the term "tea bag" in his World Can't Wait essays. He played martyr and wronged party.

He forgot to explain that he already knew that smearing someone with the t-word was using homophobia (that was explained in one of the threads he couldn't stop posting replies in), he forgot to explain just how many thread conversations on the t-word he had taken part in.

He forgot to mention that knowing all of that, his use of "tea bag" at World Can't Wait reads like a wink-and-a-nod.

Denny Loo's a liar.

I waited for the tough talking punk ass to show up in our inbox. Big surprise, he never did.

He wants something from us.

Probably worship.

Kiss our ass, Denny Loo.

We stand by what we wrote last week.

Denny Loo is using homophobia.

And, in my opinion, Denny Loo's a homophobe.

For the opinions of others you can see the following:

"And Dennis went to the Loo"
"Dennis Loo's rocks fell out"
"Italian Potatoes in the Kitchen"
"sick of the hypocrisy"
"Dennis Loo, world class fool"
"The control freak Dennis Loo"
"Dennis Loo is a PRISSY idiot"

Shame of the Week

And so, at the time, a few of us -- Susan Sarandon, myself, Sean Penn -- spoke out against that war and were lambasted as being traitors and Saddam supporters. And, in fact, all we were saying was, give it more time. Let's find these weapons of mass destruction. And we were treated like crazy people in the media.

Oh, that's all you were saying, Tim Robbins? Just "give it more time"? What a cowardly downgrade of a former brave stand.

While others sang, "Give Peace a Chance," Timmy says he was just singing, "Give it more time."

Hostess cup cakes
Shame of the week.

10th anniversary of Timor-Leste's historic vote

From ETAN:

Klibur Solidaridade Timor-Leste/ Timor-Leste Solidarity Group

Xisto dos Santos> +670-726-6564
Charles Scheiner> +670-734-0965
Manuela Leong Pereira, +670-723-7267

29 August 2009 - On the 10th anniversary of Timor-Leste’s historic vote for independence, activists from five continents came together to reaffirm their solidarity with the newly independent country. Meeting in Dili, more than 200 people from solidarity groups in 18 countries discussed the continuing need for justice and accountability. In addition to ending impunity for those who committed crimes against humanity and other human rights violations during Indonesia’s illegal occupation, participants developed proposals to address current issues, including economic justice, gender justice and West Papua.

Participants in the three-day conference, “Strengthening Solidarity: The Struggle for Justice Continues,” ranged in age from 15 to 85 years. They warmly welcomed long-time supporters of Timor such as Carmel Budiardjo of TAPOL in England and James Dunn, a former Australian diplomat sent to Portuguese Timor 48 years ago. Many young Timorese enthusiastically participated, exchanging ideas with veteran activists from Timor-Leste and abroad.

Attendees both from inside and outside Timor had worked for self-determination for the occupied country. They campaigned together for a decade or more to end the quarter-century of Indonesian occupation and to enable the Timorese to determine their political destiny, which they voted for overwhelmingly on August 30, 1999. Both Timorese and international participants reaffirmed their support for Timor-Leste’s development as a new nation based on economic, legal and social justice.

Three Timorese leaders who worked with solidarity activists in exile and later rose to high government positions addressed the conference. President José Ramos-Horta graciously opened the conference, telling stories of his long association with some of the long-time activists present. Mari Alkatiri, Secretary-General of FRETILIN and former Prime Minister, said that “if we don’t continue to talk about justice, we shouldn’t have thought we could rule ourselves.” Agio Pereira, Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers, closed the conference.

Participants enthusiastically endorsed self-determination for West Papua and Western Sahara and ending military rule in Burma and human rights violations in Sri Lanka. They also clearly linked the struggle for justice for Timor-Leste with that for democracy and human rights in Indonesia. Participants felt strongly that others should benefit from the international solidarity extended to Timor-Leste over the decades.

Solidarity activists from Indonesia and Ireland, and two Timorese women, one who worked with the solidarity movement from inside the country and another from Australia, shared their experiences and analysis of their activist campaigns that led up to the referendum. People involved in unfinished human rights and self-determination struggles for Burma, Sri Lanka, Western Sahara and West Papua urged participants to extend their solidarity. Speakers on the second day detailed the consequences of impunity, as well as obstacles to and mechanisms for achieving justice for crimes committed during the brutal Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste.

Workshops then discussed future solidarity actions on several topics. The justice group reaffirmed the need to end the culture of impunity through the creation of an international tribunal and urged more coordination of international and local campaigns for justice. They called for greater dissemination of Chega!, the report of the Timor-Leste truth and reconciliation commission (CAVR). The group on economic justice called for people-centered development that benefits all Timorese citizens, as well as greater transparency and accountability from government. The gender justice workshop called for improving the judicial system to better support victims of conflicts over the years. The People-to-people/religious solidarity group encouraged religious denominations to get more involved in working for justice and accountability and to provide more information about human rights issues. The Solidarity with West Papua group strongly supported self-determination for the Indonesian-controlled territory.

The conference urged the government of Timor-Leste, the international community and the UN to take principled action against impunity, and demanded an international tribunal for Timor-Leste, saying there cannot be impunity for crimes from 1975-1999. The conference urged attention to the victims of sexual violence from the Japanese occupation as well (1942-1945).

The conference called on Timor-Leste’s National Parliament to debate the CAVR and the joint Commission on Truth and Friendship (CTF) recommendations. We urge the Timor-Leste government to implement the CAVR recommendations. Governments of other nations must also implement the CAVR recommendations that are addressed to them. The Timorese government and parliament must attend to the victims of the occupation and intra-Timorese violence, and the UN must establish the solidarity fund to support victims of the occupation. The conference urged cooperation in resolving the cases of stolen children, and investigation into the question of people disappeared. The problem of the East Timorese “refugees” in Indonesia must also not be forgotten; their living condition is growing from bad to worse.

Attendees plan to amplify the voices of the victims of war, violence and occupation and push responsible governments to improve the living conditions of victims. We need to improve data collection on victims (including victims of sexual violence); NGOs need to consolidate the data they have collected (on present and past victims), and use that data to end the cycle of violence.

The conference demanded an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the killings of Papuan political leaders and human rights activists, including Arnold Ap, Opinus Tabuni, Theys Eluay and his driver Aristoteles Masoka,. The participants urged a peaceful dialogue between the government of Indonesia and representatives of the people of Papua. They urged the government of Indonesia to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of “Special Autonomy” in West Papua and open its results to public. The conference urged international agencies and governments who support “Special Autonomy” to evaluate and review that support. They also demanded the release of all West Papuan political prisoners wherever they are, including those detained by Indonesian Regional Police of West Papua in Jayapura.

The conference condemned the recent attack by Morocco on Sarawi activists and human rights defenders in Tan Tan, Morocco. The participants extended their solidarity for the implementation of the peace agreement in Aceh, and for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Mindanao.

Participants came from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, the United States, West Papua and Zimbabwe.

Funding was provided by CAFOD, Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Australia, Caritas Aotearoa (New Zealand), Development and Peace, HIVOS, Progressio, and Trocaire.

The conference is part of a series of activities including an exhibition illustrating global solidarity activities over the years now open at Fundação Oriente, Dili, through 5 September. Visiting activists from overseas and Timorese students visited rural communities in Maubisse and Ermera to expand their understanding of people’s daily lives and how they are cooperating for mutual benefit.

Klibur Solidaridade Timor-Leste/ Timor-Leste Solidarity Group
Sekretariadu: Oficina Asosiasaun HAK, Farol, Dili, Timor-Leste
Telp. +670-331-3323, email:,


ETAN looks forward to your support. Go to to donate. Thank you.

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
PHONE IN DILI (until Sept 9: +670-746-7636)
Phone: (718)596-7668 Mobile phone: (917)690-4391
Email Skype: john.m.miller

Web site:

Send a blank e-mail message to to find out
how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet

Winners: John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award for 2009


Seth MacFarlane online at 5:00 pm today

Well shut my mouth, as Roger might say.

Roger as Laura

Family Guy and American Dad creator Seth MacFarlane will be a guest of the Kevin Pollack Chat show today at 5:00 pm PST.

Seth MacFarlane is also a voice artist and voices our favorite character on American Dad, Roger. In addition, he does such voices as Stewie, Brian, Peter Griffin, Glenn Quagmire and others on Family Guy.

You can hear him today at 5:00 pm PST (that's 7:00 Central, 8:00 Eastern) online by clicking this link:

To Dennis with Loo from Ava and C.I.

Ava and C.I. wrote this reply to Dennis Loo's reply to our "Shame on Dennis Loo" and to Ruth's "Elizabeth Esser-Stuart" last week.

To Dennis with Loo from Ava and C.I.

Ava and C.I. here.

We're speaking to a group today and the issue of the t-word is brought up by a student because of Denny Loo. World Can't Wait's Denny Loo. We listen with great interest because it involves people we know.

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),
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

First Denny Loo, Third Estate Sunday Review? Not a blog. Publishes every damn Sunday and we damn well know because we've worked every damn Sunday, the only two who can make that claim. We've never had a week off. It's an online magazine which publishes each Sunday. We'll get your name right, when you get your facts right. And you're not close enough to just call "Third Estate," Denn.

He says that others can't get their facts right. We laughed so hard at that when we pair it with Dennis describing seeing Ruth's [Friday night] post at her site: "In response to this I sent an email to the person who wrote it. Below is what my email said in its entirety. My email’s subject line read: 'Town Halls'."

C.I.: The public e-mail address of this site, started by me in 2004, is That's the public e-mail for this site. Kat posts reviews here and she also has her own site. Non-community members can write her via the public e-mail address. The same with Isaiah who does comics here and the same with Ruth. But when you write someone, you write them. He didn't write Ruth. He sent an e-mail addressed to NO ONE. And he doesn't say which site he's writing about. Now on Saturday morning as I'm trying to get done with the morning entries, I've got to deal with Denny's crap. I've got play post office because he's too whatever to put a name on his envelope. There are maybe 14 sites in this community, maybe more, I'm not sure. Denny doesn't address his e-mail to Ruth. Denny doesn't mention what he's writing about such as, "The post on ____ [date]" or "The entry entitled ____" I've got no name, I've got no title. He's wasted my time and he needs to stop claiming he sent an e-mail to Ruth. He tossed a message in a bottle into the ocean.

Dennis goes on to write:

I had hoped to initiate a principled and private email exchange or perhaps they’d post my email with their rebuttal. Instead my message triggered the following reaction (along with a few others of the same kind describing my email as “nasty.”) Their comments are quite long so I’m excerpting parts of it:

Your e-mail discounts everything she said and dismisses it and her. There was nothing principled about your e-mail. And if you wanted what you say, you probably should have said so in your e-mail. It's not as if it was a short e-mail, now is it? Second, why the hell should anyone in this community trust anything in a 'private' e-mail from World Can't Wait?

Here's reality Denny, you didn't ask for your e-mail to be shared. Only one person ever had the guts to do that, to have her words posted, and that was a reporter at the New York Times. Now NYT e-mails the public account several a times a week and has since sometime in 2005. But only one person has ever had the guts to go public. And it was a woman. We'll get to the policy in a second but community members know it, drive-bys know it and before Dennis Loo e-mailed he damn well should have familiarized himself with it. But, repeating, why should anyone in this community trust anything in a 'private' e-mail from World Can't Wait?

Do we want to go there? Yeah, we do.

So ____ with World Can't Wait e-mails Rebecca and could she please, please link to his site. He'll be so happy if she does that, at his site, he'll link to her. Rebecca does that.

Do you want to know how the story ends?

Do you want to know how pissed that makes us? We remember the little push-up bra, do-me feminists online who pulled that stunt with Rebecca before and we remember how hurt she was by it. So we're really not understanding why World Can't Wait thinks they have some pull with us at this point?

The t-word. We didn't participate in the article. We haven't participated in conversations with others on this. This is the first time we're going public. We've been silent (other than in e-mails to community members complaining about Dennis Loo) because Mike's already pissed at Debra Sweet (whom we like) for pulling her strong essay and replacing it with watered down embarrassment that Debra's probably never going to get a "Truest statement of the week" and probably not going to be noted as often as she would otherwise. That was before Dennis Loo went into wack job territory. When that issue arose, we (Ava and C.I.) dealt with it in terms of community members who e-mailed to complain and otherwise excused ourselves from the conversation because we were hoping it could die down and not hurt World Can't Wait.

But now we're pulled in (Third only offers new material on Sunday). Den, don't act like you haven't engaged in those t-word conversations. You can play that at World Can't Wait maybe (we haven't read your pieces there in some time). But why are you assuming that's what they're talking about. They're saying they're not linking to you (and pretty much World Can't Wait as well) but Denns, you leave comments all over the place, now don't you? Don't you?

With that little photo of you with your Dennis the Menace hair? Right? We're looking at it right now in fact.

You know the site you love to comment at, right?

Right, Den.

You get what we're saying. You get how embarrassed you should be right now. Especially considering some of the in depth conversations you've had in these threads where the t-word was used repeatedly and, in fact, Denn, was used in some instances making fun of the Republicans (or libertarians) and noting that the t-term was a term for one act of gay male sex.
Considering that in these threads, you are leaving comments to reply to everyone who has left a comment, it's a bit hard for you to be believable when you claim (a) you didn't know the t-word had anything to do with gay sex and (b) you're a complete innocent in the whole thing.

Sorry, Denn, that piano won't play.

You wanted your e-mail posted?

You should have said so. Ruth doesn't have to follow the policy. The policy was created for The Common Ills. People e-mailing TCI at the public account have to say they want to be quoted. That's not Ruth's policy and it's not Kat's. But they're using the public account and Ruth wasn't sure. We would assume that those writing Sunday's article were hoping to take the conversation in any e-mails over to Third.

You're upset because you can't follow policies. You felt your e-mail should have been quoted. Then you should have said so.

The "user profile" page of TCI:

About Me
Threats and abusive e-mail are not covered by any privacy rule. This isn't to the reporters at a certain paper (keep 'em coming, they are funny). This is for the likes of failed comics who think they can threaten via e-mails and then whine, "E-mails are supposed to be private." E-mail threats will be turned over to the FBI and they will be noted here with the names and anything I feel like quoting. This also applies to anyone writing to complain about a friend of mine. That's not why the public account exists.

If you're e-mailing and wish to be quoted
you need to note that in your e-mail and you need to note what's to be quoted and how you are to be credited.

Under "Interests"? That statement's been up since the second day in 2004 that TCI was up. The statement under "About me"? Rebecca had a stalker whom she avoided so naturally he starts writing the public e-mail address here and asking for this and that about Rebecca and, "Oh my goodness! Me and ___ were listening to that Joan Baez song she mentioned last month last year!!!" He would go from online stalking to in person stalking.

Then he faded away and then he fixated on one of us (C.I.) and began writing highly graphic e-mails (while drunk apparently) about how he would use a knife on one of us (C.I.), how he would start his cut in the vagina and how he would gut one of us (C.I.) and blah, blah, blah. Those e-mails came in repeatedly. If we (Ava and C.I.) saw it, we tended to laugh it off and not worry. But (during the week), we aren't the only going through the e-mails. Charlie, Shirley, Martha, Jess, Jim and Dona are among the ones going through the e-mails. (There are currently over 3,000 e-mails in the inbox and that's after the account's been worked today.) Jess especially was getting disturbed. To calm him down, a friend with the FBI was asked (by C.I.) to look over the threats. After that, the message was added that threats would be turned over. If you want to threaten go ahead, but know it will be turned over to the FBI. ("Unless I see it," says C.I. "In which case, I'll laugh at you. But others will go ahead and report it.")

That's threats of violence. That's not, "I hate you. I wish you would die." "I wish" is not a threat. Unless you're rubbing the magic lamp, "I wish" is never a threat. The New York Times outed a private e-mail from a private citizen calling it a 'threat' (to Adam Nagourney). It was not a threat. Cursing one of us out in an e-mail is not a threat. Telling us we're stupid is not a threat. Saying you are going to kill us and describing it in graphic detail? That sounds like a threat.

We hope that's clear. One of us (C.I.) has already been attacked online for that policy by a group of idiots who either couldn't understand or pretended they didn't.

And, by the way, when those e-mails showed up online (posted by the group of idiots -- e-mails from Dona, Jess and Jim), that pretty much killed the notion that strangers would get replies. FAIR had done the first strike there. They'd passed on Jess' private e-mail reply to them (when they shopped private e-mails from journalists to this site) onto The Nation. That was outrageous. But when it became [by the group of idiots] "The Common Ills" and "C.I." online about a series of e-mails that were written and signed by three other people? That site apparently felt it would garner more attention if it brought TCI in, that pretty much meant that if we have any reason to distrust you, we're not replying.

C.I.: And I have repeatedly noted my conflicts of interest here. I have not replied to reporters who e-mail this site to complain about my critiques. Or to offer to be friends. I have turned down dinner invites from them. There are reporters who have left Iraq and are not going back and I have replied to them. But I know enough reporters and editors and producers and publishers and execs (some of whom are cited at this site) without compounding it by having a private correspondence with a reporter. If Thomas Friedman (he's never written this site) e-mails offended and I e-mail back, am I falling into a seduction dance? Either intended by him or just because I'm thinking, "Thomas Friedman reads this site?" If a reporter makes a complaint about something I've written here, I will weigh it very seriously but I'm not going to be in private communication with him or her because a private conversation is yet another conflict of interest. I have enough of them.

Denny disagrees with Ruth and e-mails her. He's not happy with her critique. He blows off her critique. (Which was the critique of everyone with a site in this community except for us -- Dennis Loo's public tantrums have been the focus of conversations for about two weeks now.) Why the hell is she going to write him back? Even forgetting the pass-ons of e-mails and the publishing of them online?

Because she trusts World Can't Wait? Do you not know how close Rebecca and Ruth are?

Dennis Loo refuses to get it.

Ruth cited Bob Somerby. The Daily Howler. Bob's made common sense comments for the last six weeks now about how we (the left) harm ourselves by screaming "stupid" at the people. Aim high, absolutely. Go after politicians or reporters, wonderful. But when you're calling people stupid you come off like an elite priss.

Professor Dennis Loo wants to make fun of people, average Americans, many of whom did not have his good luck when it came to his educational experiences. It's really sad that a professor would scream "stupid" at people who have often had no opportunities. It's really sad.

Long before Somerby started making those points, they were our approach here. We do not make fun of the Truth Movement. We do not make fun of those with alternative theories about the murder of JFK or MLK or RFK. We do not make fun of people like that. We think it's great that they're interested in a serious topic as opposed to some junk news. And, in the case of the Kennedy assassination, researchers have unearthed so much that would have remained lost to history (these are details that don't relate to the assassination) and they deserve credit for that.

We don't scream at We The People.

And when you do, and when you scream "Stupid!" YOU RUN PEOPLE OFF.

Betty is not a 'birther' but when they get screamed at and scorned, she thinks about the way she gets screamed and scorned by some on the left because she believes in Jesus Christ and is a practicing Christian. The left needs to stop hurting itself and that means stop attacking We The People.

Why doesn't the left have the foot soldiers when the positions are so popular with We The People? Because they can't stop insulting We The People.

Dennis Loo would do well to stop fretting over Ruth and Third and instead conduct a little exercise. Picture himself with some right wing belief and then listen to Pacifica Radio. Listen to Lila Garrett or Aimee Allison or Kris Welch or any number of people talk about how stupid he is. Lila was calling the right barbarians, missing link and a host of others on Monday.

This is how you reach people? This is how you get them to listen to your argument?

This is how you're able to listen to anything they say?


All it does is have each side ready with the insults, waiting for the moment to spring them.

We don't give a damn about tone and never have. But we do think it's past time that the left pundits start looking at themselves.

It sounds, right now, as FREAKY as the right-wing pundits did in October 2001. It's scary. And if you're 'in on the joke,' it may be funny. But if you're not, it's pretty appalling.

Let's drop back to 2008 when Hillary was winning Kentucky and other primaries so 'left' pundits and outlets felt the need to scream that the people in Kentucky were racists. No, they weren't and there was never any proof that they were. They preferred Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. They knew Hillary as a senator and as a First Lady. But instead of dealing with that, with their known comfort with someone who'd been a public figure for 16 years, it was scream "racist!" at them. How do you think that helped?

It didn't help. We were on the ground there and it didn't help the left. We didn't read the piece at Third. We wouldn't have called Dennis Loo a homophobe (hopefully he wasn't) but we would note he was using homophobia. And that offends him. But it's okay to scream at an entire state (Indiana was another one) that they're racist?

Dennis Loo is a public person. He should be able to take his lumps. (We take ours.) But he refuses to even grasp the criticism Ruth was making from the start.

When you call whole groups of people stupid, you look stupid.

Because if you're a political writer, you are apparently writing about what you believe in and hoping to turn on as many people as possible. But when you insult We The People, you cut yourself off from a lot of people you could persuade.

Socialist Worker (US) presumably needs labor readers. That's supposedly who they're trying to reach. But look at the way labor is regularly insulted by them. If you didn't support Barack in 2008, the repeated message from the left was you were a racist. That was true if you supported Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader. And, because Ralph really threatened them, there was an effort to turn him into a racist. It didn't play.

But they tried to and Dennis Loo comes as ridiculous as those people who wanted to play-demonize-the-Arab to advance Barack. (A lot of foolish pundits repeatedly stated Ralph was "White.")

Those efforts have run off tons of people.

The circulation at The Nation is a huge joke today. And why wouldn't it be? Have you read their garbage? It's all hateful and preaching hatred to the choir.

The answer to the left was never to create an echo chamber. The left didn't need one. The left needed to learn to fight in the public square. It hasn't learned that which is why we said months ago when the conventional wisdom was "The GOP is dead!" that it wasn't dead.

Now Dennis Loo, this was the subject Ruth raised and we'll have that conversation with you. But don't create your straw man drama. We're not in the mood for your macho bulls**t and will call you to the carpet if you even try.

You deal with the topic addressed by us (and by Ruth last Friday) which is how do you expect to reach people when you're constantly insulting We The People? How do you think that plays to anyone not on the left? That's people on the right, yes, but also people on the center and, especially, people who aren't political who are the largest group of Americans. (Check the voter turnout totals against the adult population figure in the US.)

Maybe that's what you want do? Maybe you want to be the Joan Rivers of the left? Certainly Joan made a career for herself. But the reason Johnny Carson wouldn't put her on the list of potentials to replace him is he didn't think people could take it, could take week after week of insults. Not enough to keep the show going. Now in one and two week segments, Joan killed in the ratings. But if you look at her ratings for any of her shows after she breaks with Carson, you'll see Johnny was right to worry. It didn't play. It didn't bring in a big audience.

So think about that.

And we're not linking to any article you write where you go all elitist and start trashing people who are not in power. You've outraged this community for weeks now (and that shouldn't be surprising because comments have been left at World Can't Wait calling you out) with your hatred. It only reminds us of how Air American Radio couldn't deliver the ratings. All those angry rants. Who really wanted to listen to that? On the left we're supposed to be about ideas and beliefs. (Please note, AAR comment does not refer to it currently. We haven't listened to it in years.)

The e-mail address for this site is, we are Ava and C.I. and this was a talking entry. And TCI covered Iraq in three entries today and we spoke to seven groups about the illegal war today. Denny Loo, what did you do to end the Iraq War today?

[Jim note, 8-26-09. Shirley came up with a list of typos which I fixed. I also added one or two words here and there and broke up a lengthy paragraph plus I added the photo of Dennis Loo that was on the site Ava and C.I. were looking at where the t-word conversations -- conversations Denny participates in -- never end. And, for the record, I love what Ava and C.I. wrote. Third may take on Denny Loo Sunday. If only in a piece by me.]

thomas friedman is a great manoh boy it never ends
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