Sunday, September 06, 2009

Truest statement of the week

The anti-globalization movement will be out in full-force during the G20 nations’ meeting in Pittsburgh September 23-27 despite the jackbooted thuggery planned by the organizers of the G20 summit. Not only will there be 4000 riot police, but there will be 2000 Pa. National Guard there to suppress opposition. This is merely a bullying tactic designed to scare us away from the global "elite" while they plan more economic devastation for the world.
On October 5th, we will be
gathering in front of the White House to protest Democratic wars of aggression (especially Af-Pak, since the 8th is the anniversary of the US invasion) and there will be opportunity for civil disobedience that is not just symbolic. We will also be reading the International People's Declaration of Peace (IPDoP) in front of the White House that day and kicking off the campaign to build an effective grassroots movement against all violence, but particularly, state-sanctioned violence.
The face has changed in DC, but the odious policies of the Machine remain the same.
Remember, if you don’t actively oppose the policies of this government, then you are passively supporting them and you are responsible for helping to oil the Machine and keep it running.
If you can't physically attend the protests, please consider making a contribution, even if it is tiny, to help defray expenses.

-- Cindy Sheehan, "If McCain Were President," (Cindy's Soapbox)

Truest statement of the week II

Sacrifice your child and endure without complaint the “numb and raw” emotions that come of your grief. And then Barack Obama will glad hand you for “nearly ten minutes” and get some good press - after you cool your heels for two hours awaiting the cool, great man. But protest the senseless death of your son, and you get the bum’s rush at Obama’s gate. Thus, does the erstwhile "antiwar candidate" (How silly that phrase sounds now!) treat Cindy Sheehan whose like he once called on to join him in making peace. And the “leaders” of the antiwar movement are nowhere to be seen or heard.

-- John V. Walsh, "Obama to Cindy Sheehan: Get Lost" (CounterPunch).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Sunday. Sunday.

What did we get? Let's start with who helped. Dallas and the following worked on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's 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 (Jess, Ava and C.I.) tried to get people to take the weekend off. Jim, Don and Ty gladly did. Cedric and Ann worked on highlights and otherwise took the weekend off.

Truest statement of the week -- Cindy got truest for the fourth week in a row.

Truest statement of the week II -- This is John V. Walsh's second truest in 2009. He has gotten truest in years past.

Editorial: Accountability -- Betty's kids did the illustration. We promised them we'd use it in something and pretty much forced the editorial to utilize their art work.

TV: Ugly wallpaper -- Glee. Not so much. And not so much to drool over. If we (Ava and C.I.) wanted to be really cruel, we could have listed almost thirty closet cases who swear this show is just like their lives. Did we mention that the closet cases never went all the way? Yeah, this pathetic show is a lot like their lives.

War Criminal sentenced to life with no parole -- Steven D. Green. He was sentenced Friday. We have regularly and repeatedly covered Abeer at Third. It would be great if this were the final story; however, his attorneys are planning an appeal.

Iraq -- We were a bit more in depth than usual on this feature. Mainly at the behest of Mike who pointed out how little TV attention Iraq received last week.

Roundtable -- And hold on. If you read this when it went up, you had an extra. We just pulled Raymond's question and the responses. Why? At Rebecca's request. She'll explain this week at her website. That was supposed to have been pulled before it went up but we forgot in our rush to be done with the edition. Betty's kids did the illustration.

From the CrackPot 'mind' of Jerry Merryitt -- Betty's kids did the illustration for this feature as well. It's a parody of a sick mind or 'mind.' We think this turned out very well.

US imprisons reporter -- A short feature. If we'd had more time, we would have noted community posts on this topic from last week.

Idiot of the week -- We weren't planning this one. At the last minute, Stan asked, "Did they ever fix the headline at The Chicago Tribune?" Just as we were about to start typing and say goodnight to everyone participating (good morning but when you've had no sleep, it's goodnight), we checked and, no, they hadn't.

Highlights -- Cedric and Ann worked on this piece with Mike, Elaine, Marcia, Stan, Ruth, Kat, Betty and Rebecca. We thank them all.

And that's what you go got.

October 23rd -- to answer the most asked question in the e-mails -- Carly Simon releases her latest album, Never Been Gone. We will be doing a Carly roundtable and plan to do it the Sunday before the 23rd.

Our e-mail address is Due to Ty, Dona and Jim being off, Ava and C.I. hit the e-mails Saturday and replied to all who wrote, if only for a brief sentence. If you didn't get a reply, you went into the spam folder or your e-mail didn't make it through.

-- Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Accountability

We lived up in Cambridge
And browsed in the hippest newsstands
Then we started our own newspaper
Gave the truth about Uncle Sam
We loved to be so radical
But like a ragged love affair
Some became disenchanted
And some of us just got scared

Now are you playing possum
Keeping a low profile
Are you playing possum for a while

-- "Playing Possum," written by Carly Simon, from her album of the same name

When Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan held her vigil against the wars on Martha's Vineyard as President Barack Obama vacationed there, the gilded lights of the left stayed silent.

In the aftermath of growing outrage, the same losers played possum.

Last week, they found a new page in their handbook: Rewriting history.

Where there is opportunism, there is Sad Sirota. At The Confluence, myiqis2xu called out David Sirota's latest lies noting that the big talker today was strangely silent on Barack's faults when it mattered.

Last week, Sad Sirota scribbled/moaned:

Though the 2006 and 2008 elections were billed as progressive movement successes, the story behind them highlights a longer-term failure. During those contests, most leaders of Washington’s major labor, environmental, antiwar and anti-poverty groups spent millions of dollars on a party endeavor -- specifically, on electing a Democratic president and Democratic Congress. In the process, many groups subverted their own movement agendas in the name of electoral unity.
The effort involved a sleight of hand. These groups begged their grass-roots members -- janitors, soccer moms, veterans and other "regular folks" -- to cough up small-dollar contributions in return for the promise of movement pressure on both parties’ politicians.

Debbie Gibson may have gotten lost in your eyes, David Sirota spent the bulk of this decade getting lost in the pit stains of Republicans turned Democrats, swearing this was the new way as he rubbed his face repeatedly.

It was no surprise that David Sirota would swallow both of Barack's testicles and give them a good tongue bathing -- he'd been doing that with faux Dems for years.

And it's awfully hilarious to hear little Davy claim to give a damn about ending the Iraq War. As most remember, he is the one who attacked Tina Richards for confronting US House Rep David Obey on the Democrats in Congress refusing to end the illegal war. And it was Sad Sirota who showed up after Ned Lamont won the Conn. Democratic Party primary to 'counsel' that Lamont needed to stop talking about the Iraq War. If you've forgotten, that 'strategy' is why Lamont tanked and Joe Lieberman (running as an independent) made it back into the US Senate.

With that record, one rivaling Judith Miller's record on WMDs, you'd think David Sirota would just crawl back under his rock. Instead, he continues to mistakenly believe he's fit for civil society.

We need to all be willing to tell the likes of David Sirota: Hold your horses.


We need to refuse to allow them to rewrite history, to re-invent themselves. To be sure, Sad Sirota will always be the first out of the gate with reinvention. Consider him the Madonna of faux politics. And to be sure the Idiot Katrina vanden Heuvel will always be the last to get it (last week, she was still gushing over Barry: "President Obama had it right in April when he delivered his 'economic Sermon on the Mount' and said, 'We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand. We must build our house upon a rock.' And, as the IPS report notes, even earlier in the year Obama spoke out against excessive executive compensation, saying . . ."). But even the strugglers like Katrina will catch up at some point.

Be prepared to tell them, "Hold it just one damn minute."

They have to be held accountable. They have made their entire careers about trashing Real Media and whining that Real Media is never accountable. It's past time the Beggar Media was held accountable as well.

They are not going to be allowed to waltz in as America's woken up to realities about Barry O (upcoming Zobgy poll does not look good for Barry) and pretend they were truth tellers. They were whores. They're whores who need to see a doctor and be tested because they've certainly diseased the public discourse with their actions.


Integrity's probably too much to hope for but we can hold them accountable.

TV: Ugly wallpaper

Is there anything worse than summer repeats? We honestly thought the answer had to be "just 'reality' TV." Turns out there was a great deal worse and we only had to check out Fox to find it.


No, we don't need to say, "Excuse us."


That is the term for what Fox aired last week. On Friday, we caught Glee's tweet-peat.

What's a tweet-peat?

It's a repeat. Made even more annoying via Twitter messages on the screen.

No, it's not like Pop Up Video -- though it owes a debt to that VH1 show. Pop Up Video still let you see most of the image. Not so with a tweet-peat.

And let's be clear that it wasn't just an annoying crawl at the bottom of the screen like you were watching CNN. No, this popped up all over the screen and was most irritating during Cory Monteith's big scene. Yeah, he was singing but that's not why anyone was watching. He was in the locker room shower. A network that doesn't have the brains to stop the annoying squares all over the screen during the big shower scene is a network that will most likely fumble teen appeal.

Teen appeal is really all the show has. There are a lot of freaks who will like it. The ones who thought, for example, that Joss Whedon showed real talent with an all singing episode of Buffy. Teen appeal means that Monteith plays high school quarterback Finn . . . despite the fact that he's 27-years-old. Apparently Jason Priestly was either already booked or else blew the audition.

Glee is yet another high school musical in a country you would think had had enough. Unlike the Disney franchise, these high schoolers only break into song when there's an audience around. That's supposed to pass for a more reality-based program. The creators like to tell everyone that the world is dark enough and they're just trying to bring a little razzle-dazzle into it. You'll have to take their word on it because this is a simplistic film stretched out into episodic TV. Translation, it's going to take many, many episodes for the gang to fix up the barn and Phil Silvers will have to wreck several of Judy Garland's tractors just to keep audiences awake between this Wednesday (season debut) and January.

Between song rehearsals, the characters attempt to ooze interest. Mainly they just come off wooden as if they're all working really hard not to upstage the production numbers. The adults have their conflicts. The kids have their pathos. If Peyton Place had been a musical, it would have been Glee.

Did we mention Finn's the quarterback? Did we mention his best friend Puck? Finn and Puck, pretty much like the entire student body -- or at least the ones with lines -- are White. Amber Riley plays large, African-American diva wanna be Mercedes Jones and Korean-American Jenna Ushkowitz plays Tina Cohen-Chang. Things are worse in the teacher's lounge where the only skin color is pale pink. America may have a bi-racial president but, on Fox, TV high schools haven't changed a great deal since The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

That show made Dwayne Hickman a star in 1959. Will Glee do the same with Cory Monteith?

Like Chad Michael Murray (already yesterday's faded pin-up), Monteith's nose appears to be missing its end point. So we really needed to see the bod. But we couldn't because we were stuck with these multiple balloons of text, filled with 'important' information, flooding the screen. Instead of being allowed to check out Monteith, we were forced to read ditherings like the following:

RT @ChrisColfer Paintballs hurt. Personal experience. #GLEE from web
RT @
Frankenteen @mrowjazz..on my break i'm learning how to surf and i like to go home and spend time in canada spend time with my roommates from web
RT @
MsAmberRiley One of the dancers got hurt and our choreographer had to stand in! #GLEE from web
RT @
ChrisColfer I'm pretty sure some of those dancer went to rehab after that dance. #GLEE from web
RT @
Frankenteen ohio knows how to dance! #GLEE from web
Isis_Nocturne DruidDUDE was here earlier for the east coast feed. from web in reply to Isis_Nocturne
RT @
MsAmberRiley I was dancing with them Waaaaay in the back, you just couldn't see me #GLEE

That's what makes it a tweet-peat and that's what makes it annoying as hell. The actors tweet brief little nothing strings of words that further distance you from an already non-engaging show.

Here's the reality on Cory Monteith: Not all that.

And "not all that" pretty much sums up Glee.

The show features the always worth watching Jane Lynch and, when it debuted last May, we heard so much praise for Lynch that we wrongly assumed she had an active role in the pilot. Blink and you miss her. The praise for Lynch's tiny role should be taken as an indication of how little the others offer.

Matthew Morrison is probably the most talented cast member after Lynch but he's saddled with a sad sack role and looks to be only a year older than his star pupil Finn -- in reality, Morrison is three years older than Monteith. If that doesn't have you rolling your eyes, Morrison's Will will. As the director of the glee club, Morrison's basically stuck with being 'inspiring' to his charges -- as though the producers were attempting to answer "Slap a penis on her!" to the musical question of "How do you solve a problem like Maria?"

When not 'inspiring' his charges, Will is in a troubled marriage with a woman who's maxing out their credit card at Pottery Barn. Apparently, avoiding that bad world the rest of us live in also means acting as though the country wasn't in the midst of an economic meltdown? Money is briefly a concern to Will when his wife tells him she's pregnant. At which point, he nearly gives up glee club to 'buckle down'. Hearing the kids sing "Don't Stop Believing" convinces him there are worse things in life than struggling for money and we're pretty sure that's been the case with nearly every Journey song.

Prince once sang, "Everybody wants to find Graffiti Bridge." If he'd been watching Friday's tweet-peat of Glee, we think he might have discovered it. He would not, however, have heard his own song. That's because despite ten songs being performed in the hour, none were by Prince or, for that matter, any person of color. When you add that together with the White creators and the miniscule number of characters of color in this public school it all sounds like "White Flight Tonight." Turn this crazy bird around.


"This Flight Tonight," which contains the lyric "turn this crazy bird around," is a Joni Mitchell song that first appears on her classic Blue album.

War Criminal sentenced to life with no parole

Friday morning, War Criminal Steven D. Green appeared in the Paducah Division of the US District Court's Western District of Kentucky Courthouse to be sentenced for his War Crimes. March 12, 2006, he participated in the gang-rape of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and then murdered her as he had earlier murdered both of her parents and her five-year-old sister.

Steven D. Green
"You can act like I'm a sociopath," snarled the War Criminal in court Friday according to AP's Brett Barrouguere. "You can act like I'm a sex offender or whatever. If I had not joined the Army, if I had not gone to Iraq, I would not have got caught up in anything."

Green, of course, joined the military only after his most recent arrest meant no more slaps on the wrists and serious jail time. Green, of course, is a sex offender. A rapist. A War Criminal.

Gone was the gaunt boy-child who was swallowed in his over-sized clothes. He'd packed on twenty to thirty pounds since the days when his attorneys tried to exhibit him as frail and waif-like. He looked like the thug he always was as he showed up in the courtroom overfed and in shackles.

Green's sentencing was a long time coming. The crimes took place March 12, 2006 and the feds took him into custody June 30, 2006. November 8th, 2006, Green entered a not guilty plea. His trial was delayed in 2008 due to a quilting fair (that's not a joke). He was tried in a civilian court because he'd already been discharged when the War Crimes came to light.

Captain Alex Pickands handled the military prosecution for the others (still in the military) in August 2006. He noted of Green and his fellow co-conspirators, "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."

Some would enter guilty pleas, some would be convicted. One would weep in court -- the weeping rapist -- as he confessed to . . . well something, not really his fault, you understand. Green tried to pull that same nonsense during his sentencing Friday.

April 27, 2009, his trial finally began. His attorneys would ignore his guilt and try to paint it as though Green's actions were, if not normal, understandable. May they find their own circle of hell and reside there forever. The judge had barred them from the argument they wanted to attempt, that, unless you were in Iraq, you couldn't judge Steven D. Green. What a load of bulls**t.

In the Article 32 hearing for the ones in the military, Capt Pickands made it very clear, "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."

The jury didn't buy it and, May 7, 2009, they convicted Green. Evan Bright reported, "Steven Dale Green found guilty of and convcited on -- ALL -- sixteen (16) counts; including eight (8) which could bring a death sentence." May 21st, the federal jury deadlocked on the death sentence issue and instead sentenced him to life in prison for his War Crimes.

Friday, BBC reported, "Judge Thomas Russell confirmed Green would serve five consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole." Deborah Yetter (Courier-Journal) explained, "Friday's federal court hearing was devoted mostly to discussion of technical issues related to Green's sentencing report, although it did not change Green's sentence. He was convicted in May of raping and murdering Abeer al-Janabi, 14, and murdering her parents, Kassem and Fakhriya, and her sister, Hadeel, 6, at their home outside Baghdad."

Friday, Steven D. Green snarled that his War Crimes, whatever they were, whatever you wanted to call them, happened because he was in the military and he was just a victim. It was a far cry from the performance he gave May 28th when he was attempting to get leniacy from the judge. Back then, he insisted, "Most of all I am sorry for the deceased, but aside from them, I am the most sorry for the boys whose family are gone. I know what we did left a hole in their lives, and scars on their minds, and that there is no making up for that. I only hope for them that they can somehow, and I don't know how, move forward, and have a good future despite the nightmare in their past that I helped create. They have my apologies and my prayers, as meaningless as they must seem." And in writing, he declared, "I am truly sorry for what I did in Iraq and I am sorry for the pain my actions, and the actions of my co-defendants, have caused you and your family. I imagine it is a pain that I cannot fully comprehend or appreciate. I helped to destroy a family and end the lives of four of my fellow human beings, and I wish that I could take it back, but I cannot. And, as inadequate as this apology is, it is all I can give you."

And it was all he could give, a performance. He demonstrated that on Friday when all concern for the family was gone and it was all about what a victim Poor Little Steven was. In real time, his May 28th performance did not fool many. Abeer's aunt Hajia al-Janabi never bought it. Andrew Wolfson (Courier-Journal) reported she denounced Green "as a coward, a criminal and a 'stigma on the United States'," attempted to approach him and was "restrained by a half-dozen court security officers." Wolfson notes that Mahdi al-Janabi then went back to the witness stand to express, "We do not accept your apology at all." WKLY has text and video:

Ann Bowdan: An outburst in federal court after relatives of an Iraqi family killed by a Kentucky-based soldier addressed the suspect for the first time. Steven Green was faced with the death penalty but will receive a life sentence instead. Hailee Lampert was in court today during this morning's and she's live downtown to tell us what happened.

Hailee Lampert: Ann, this was the most emotional, intense court hearing I have ever been to. At one point, the victim's grandmother got so upset she had to be restrained by multiple law enforcement agents who actually began escorting her out of the court room until she literally collapsed on the floor beside the bench where I was sitting. She was literally within arm's reach of me. And she was beside herself. She was that striken with grief.

[. . .]

Hailee Lampert: And at a certain point, the prosecutor pointed out Steven Green and one of the boys took a moment to look at him. His face remained stoic and cold and he was asked if he had anything to say to the suspect and the boy said "no." Then the man's sister took the stand and said, "I am not honored to look at Steven Green and I don't want to see his face." She said she doesn't understand why Green would would cross all those continents and oceans to come to Iraq and kill her family. She spoke directly to Steven Green, referring to him on multiple occassions as a coward and a criminal without mercy. Then the 14-year-old's grandmother took the stand echoing similar sentiments. Remember for her it was the first time being in the same room as the man convicted of killing her son and his family. Again the prosecutor pointed out Steven Green in the court room and after giving her testimony the elderly woman got up and began approching Green saying she just wanted to get a look at her. But as she began moving closer, law enforcement stepped in and physically held her back until she fell down crying on the ground beside the bench where I was sitting. Now at that point, the judge did allow her to stay in the court once she had calmed down a little but the uncle took the stand as well.

Hailee Lampert (WLKY -- text and video) filed another report where she quoted the aunt stating, "The wounds are eating my heart. But he has no conscience." The uncle was quoted stating, "The face of this innocent girl, that face will be chasing you in that dark cell you will be in until the last day of your life. Abir will follow you in your nightmares. On Judgment Day, you will see what your hand has done to us and to your nation."

Steven D. Green dropped the performance on Friday. He will serve a life sentence with no chance of parole. His attorneys plan to appeal and he, no doubt, plans to continue playing the victim.

Friday, Green gave the world a gift. As Bob Dylan once sang, "I'm seeing the real you at last."


Bush and al-Hakim
The month of August ended last Monday and the totals for reported deaths and wounded were 509 dead and 1919 injured. That is just reported, the actual figures are obviously higher. So it was a real suprise and laugh when the Iraqi ministries released their totals and attempted to claim only 456 deaths -- this despite Reuters and McClatchy's reported daily death tolls adding up to 509. Even with their ridiculously low totals, August ended up being the highest monthly death toll in the last 13 months.

Tuesday (Sept. 1st) saw 3 people reported dead and five wounded. Wednesday saw 6 reported dead and eleven wounded. Thursday saw 14 reported dead and 129 injured. Friday saw one reported death and ten reported injured. Saturday saw 5 reported deaths and twelve reported wounded. For the first week of September (running from Tuesday through Saturday), Iraq saw

29 reported deaths and 167 reported wounded.

Thursday the US military issued the following announcement: "CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq -- Two Multi-National Division - North Soldiers were killed and five wounded in a vehicle rollover accident in the Diyala province of northern Iraq Sept. 2." he number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 4338. That's offered despite the fact that ICCC went down on Wednesday and has remained down ever since.

The two killed were Todd Selge and Jordan Shay. 22-year-old Shay was a fellow Blogspot user and he posted the following to his blog (through amber lenses) August 27th:

Thanks to the hand-tying status of forces agreement between Iraq and the United States, American soldiers are not allowed to operate in urban areas without having the Iraqi Police or Iraqi Army present. Exceptions apply, but they're few and far between.

By the time our squad had regrouped around the front of the building, our IA escort forces from outside the city had exited their humvees and stood around smoking and joking with each other. They were dressed in USMC desert fatigues, military body armor, and commercial tactical vests. They were also carrying clean weapons outfitted with modern American optics and flashlights. Apparently, Iraqi Army Special Forces are fairly well funded.

Amnesty International released a report last week. CNN (link has text and video) was one of the few who covered it:

Naamua Delaney: Six years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq has one of the highest rates of execution in the world. That is according to Amnesty International which just released a report that 1,000 Iraqis are currently on death row, about a dozen of them women. Arwa Damon met one woman who could be executed soon despite her claims of innocence.Arwa Damon joins us now from Baghdad. Hello, Arwa.

Arwa Damon: Hi, Naamua. And what is especially disturbing about that Amnesty International report is it says that many of the death sentences that were handed down followed court proceedings that did not meet international standards. Additionally many of the alleged confessions were extracted under duress. This is something that we have heard countless times from a number of different organizations over the last few years. Samar Sa'ad Abdullah's case is one which tragically embodies all the shortcomings of the Iraqi judicial system. We first met Samar Sa'ad Abdullah in the spring of 2007 at the al-Kadhimiya women's prison in Baghdad. She'd already been on death row for two years and she was terrified.

Samar Sa'ad Abdullah: Give me life in prison. Even 20 years. I don't care. Anything but this.

Arwa Damon: Samar was sentenced to death by hanging for being an accessory to the murder of three members of her uncle's family. She maintains her innocence and there are disturbing questions about her conviction. But now Samar is in a place that brings death a step closer. On the other side of this door is the corridor that leads to the cells here at Baghdad's maximum security facility. There are more than 500 prisoners who have been brought here waiting to be executed. We are not allowed to film anything outside of this room. And this is where we meet Samar again. This time we're not allowed to film her face. She looks frail, pale, her eyes bloodshot.

Samar Sa'ad Abdullah: (Crying) My life is meaningless. I can't think about anything else.

Arwa Damon: Once her life had meaning and joy. She had a financee, Saif.

Samar Sa'ad Abdullah: I was so happy before when he asked for my hand in marriage.

Arwa Damon: But she says one day Saif took her to her wealthy uncle's house. He shot three members of her family, including her cousin. They'd grown up like sisters. And then she says Saif turned the gun on her.

Samar Sa'ad Abdullah: There was nothing that made me suspect that this was a guy who would kill. I still remember him pulling the gun on me and saying take me to your uncle's room. I am in prison and he is outside wandering in the street -- happy. And I am in prison.

Arwa Damon: Her parents swear she's innocent. They say the Iraqi police picked her up the next day after Saif dumped her in front of their house and disappeared. "We keep trying to tell her everything is going to be okay and not be afraid," Samar's mother sobs. At her trial, Samar said that she'd been tortured by police into confessing that she went to her uncle's house to steal.

Samar Sa'ad Abdullah: They kept beating me. Finally they made me sign a blank paper, they filled it out afterwards.

Arwa Damon: Under Iraqi law, the courts should have investigated her claim that she confessed under torture but the judges disregarded that. Human rights groups say Samar's case is one of many where justice has failed. In a report about Iraq's Central Criminal Court which tried Samar, Human Rights Watch said, "It is an institution that is seriously failing to meet international standards of due process and fair trials. Abuse in detention typically with the aim of extracting confessions appears common." Local organizations welcome the support.

OWFI's Yanar Mohammed: As a human rights organization in Iraq, we find out that we need some backup from abroad to put pressure on our government to -- as a first step to stop the executions of these women who -- some of whom are innocent and we also need to see a new Iraq where execution is not a right for the state anymore..

At Amnesty International's blog, Neil Durkin observed, "It's people like Samar Sa'ad 'Abdullah who we're talking about. She's a 27-year-old woman who's been found guilty of murder but only, she says, after she was viciously tortured (electric shocks, beatings with a cable) into making a false confession. If past examples are anything to go by, being beaten into making a phoney confession is common in Iraq, and meanwhile Samar's trial lasted a grand total of one and a bit days and one of her lawyers was even ordered out of the court by the trial judge."

Despite an overflowing death row, Wednesday saw four men sentenced to death by hanging for their crimes during the July 28th bank robbery in Baghdad in which 8 security guards were killed. A number of the robbers were moonlighting from their day jobs as bodyguards to Iraq's Shi'ite vice president.

The Friday August 21st, Inside Iraq broadcast addressed the topic of press freedom and touched on the robbery and the attacks on the press that followed a piece of satire being published. Host Jassam al-Azzawi was joined by panelists Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor), Saad al-Muttalibi (Ministry of National Dialogue) and Freshta Raper (Iraqi reporter).

Jassam al-Azzawi: And yet, Saad al-Muttalibi, in the package we've just seen we saw Jalal Talibani, the Iraqi president, in a way sniping at the Iraqi journalists and the Iraqi media for somehow covering the Rafidain robbery and there are enough circumstantial evidence to implicate the Iraqi vice president Abdul Mahdi. Why Jalal Talabani being so super sensitive?

Saad al-Muttalibi: Well start with we're in the process of building a stable state and that requires legislation and that requires that even at the darkest moments to look at the press, freedom of the press, and to look at other aspects of the state of Iraq. And I'm not here to defend anybody, I'm just saying that there were no evidence. For somebody to write a piece, an article in a state-owned newspaper and claim that he knew in advance that somebody, anybody has the intention of doing the robbery and buying blankets and distributing the blankets through -- during the elections, that sounds to me like going out of the norm, this is not media reporting, this is accusation and without any evidence. I mean the journalists didn't have any evidence for his case. A journalist's job is uh to produce the news uh to convey the news and events that happen in the country and as truthfully and honest as possible and but not to make interpretation, their own interpretation of events. Thank you.

Jassim al-Azzawi: Freshta Raper, of course that journalist is in hiding right now fearing for his life. The article he wrote pretty much is a tongue-in-cheek, political satire if you will, rather than a direct accusation. But let me talk to you about yourself. You are one of the Iraqi journalists, if I'm not mistaken, whose name is on a list. Tell us about it.

Freshta Raper: Last year, last year exactly, just July to say of a year ago, I -- the paper has leaked from the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] official offices that 14 journalists are the most wanted and has to be take care of and we even -- again we make sure that this was a genuine statement. I personally sent a letter e-mailed to Nechirvan Barzani personally sent to the Iraqi the embassy, we sent a letter to everyone of them to make sure this is genuine or is this a joke because if this is a joke, this is a sick joke to threaten people with killing. They have been doing it for many years and Jalal Talabani has to condemn this because he has a lot for himself to cover up, a lot of dirty secrets what are they doing against the journalists. The only thing I have done in the past four or five years, I'm writing more as criticizing the abuse of power, the corruption, and there are billions of evidence over there of how they misuse the power and how they are abusing people and abusing the system in a daily light. So I am -- I am one of those who could become a victim and at the time I was a lucky one. The person in Baghdad, I feel sorry for.

Jassim al-Azzawi: And you are remarkably lucky in the sense that you live in London and you contribute to the news and you appear on the news but, Jane Arraf, not everybody is as luck as Freshta. Iraq has been for the last few years perhaps the most dangerous place on earth. More Iraqis as well as foreign journalists have been killed in Iraq than in any other war zone and you have covered many of these war zones.

Jane Arraf: Absolutely I think they're some of the bravest people on the earth and one of the amazing things about this past six years has been that throughout the tragedy Iraqi journalists really keep coming out and trying to tell the news. Now they are working in a very difficult background. This is a new industry. Press freedom here is not developed as we're talking about. There also aren't a lot of entrenched standards for the press but one of the things that you see over and over is just an absolute proliferation of journalists who, despite the fact that almost 200 journalists and media workers have been killed here, still feel that they are going to go out, go out on those streets, stand up to those officials and it's -- it's absolutely amazing.

Jassim al-Azzawi: And yet Saad Muttalibi, this proliferation Jane Arraf is talking about, you cannot help but seeing a tinge of sectarianism in it. Most of the newspapers and most of the TV stations and the radios somehow, one way or another, they are affiliated by or financed by this political party and that political party and they take a life of their own. They pretty much attack the others based on sectarian, on ethnicity and other calibrations.

Saad al-Muttalibi: Absolutely right. Hence we require regulations. We require laws to define rights and to define limitations. Journalists jobs in Iraq is probably the hardest job to do, the most dangerous job --

Jassim al-Azzawi: What will laws do if you have militias assigned to a political party? They do the actual on behalf of that political party if they're politicians are attacked.

Saad al-Muttalibi: I must interrupt you -- I must interrupt you. There are no militias anymore. [The two journalists on the panel react in disbelief to the statement.] The militias were crushed in a very bloody way last year and we have now remnants of gangs that could be --

Jassim al-Azzawi: Hold that statement for a second.

Jane Arraf: That's an extraordinary statement.

Jassim al-Azzawi: Jane wants to say something.

Jane Arraf: I'm sorry.

Jassim al-Azzawi: Go ahead Jane.

Jane Arraf: I was just going to say that would really be wonderful if that were the case but that's not the evidence that we are seeing, that we are hearing from Iraqis when we go out in the street. They're -- I think the consensus is that there are militias. There certainly are not the militias there were a year ago that is certainly true but there are places where militias are creeping back and a lot of it depends upon how you define militias.

July 29th, Haley Williams was among the loved ones of British hostages holding a press conference. She is the mother of Alec Maclachlan's child. Alec was kidnapped in Baghdad on May 29, 2007 along with four other British citizens: Jason Crewswell, Alan McMenemy, Peter Moore and Jason Swindelhurst. Both Jasons are confirmed dead. The July 29th press conference was held after the British government declared they believed that Alec and Alan were dead. At the press conference, Haley Williams declared, "These reports are the worst possible news for us but we continue to hope that they cannot be true. But whatever Alec's condition, he no longer should remain in Iraq. We appeal to those holding him to please send him home to us. I speak to you as the mother of Alec's son. We are not the people holding your men but I do understand your feelings cause you're going through the same pain we are going through. If we had any influence over the release of your men we would release them to you but we don't. Please send him home because as a family we can't cope with this anymore."

The kidnappers are the League of Righteous or League of Righteous. Until this spring, the US military had their leader and his brother in custody. While they won't release reporters, they gladly negotiate with terrorists. They released the two men and were 'rewarded' with the corpses of both Jasons. Last Wednesday a third British corpse was turned over and Thursday it was announced it was Alec's. At the end of the week, Hannah Allem's "Chalabi aide: I went from White House to secret U.S. prisoner" (McClatchy Newspapers) backed up Eli Lake's "EXCLUSIVE: Iraqi official's top aide linked to Shi'ite terrorists" (Washington Times) from the week before: Ahmed Chalabi's secretary Ali Feisal al Lami had ties to the League of Rightous. While briefly imprisoned, Lami brags, he encountered his old friend, leader of the League of Rightous, "I asked him, 'So, Sheikh Qais, which is better: your military way or my political way?' He said, 'It's all the same. We're both in prison.' He was right and I was wrong."

That's only some of the news from Iraq last week. (We cover Ibrahim Jassim's wrongful imprisonment and Steven D. Green's sentencing for War Crimes in separate articles.)


Jess: This is our news and mailbag roundtable. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava and me, Jess, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz), Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends. Jim, Dona and Ty of Third are taking the weekend off. As are others who usually participate. This is Third so one of us had to be moderator. Since Ava and C.I. take the notes for this rush transcript piece, it's difficult for them to moderate. That question came in the last time I moderated a roundtable -- for the last Christmas edition, I believe. So before anyone writes in to ask, that's why. Illustration is by Betty's kids. Okay, first topic is, not surprisingly, President Barack Obama and the internet. Reader Carol wrote in to complain about what she sees as very little criticism online of Obama. Ava and C.I. worked the e-mail account Saturday evening and they e-mailed Carol to get her to be more specific if she could. She replied that a number of sites that she used to stand by and visit are now just useless to her. "I'm not talking about BuzzFlash and the other garbage I gave up in 2008," she writes, "I'm talking about the sites that got me through 2008 but now are just impossible to read. It's not one site, it's many. They either ignore Obama or seem eager to get on board with him in recent months despite the fact that people are finally waking up to the truth about him."

Mike: I'll jump in first. It's a holiday week so that might be partly why Carol is noticing what she is. It's also true that a number of sites turned August into a holiday month. There are, I'm sure Carol's speaking of PUMA sites, PUMA sites where it's very obvious that the bloggers aren't overly informed politically. Whether it's misidentifying the outlets they're quoting or failing to grasp that the arguments they're advancing are right wing, there's a lot to be disappointed in. I don't think -- I'll try to put it like this. I know there are topics I can't cover at my site because I am not informed enough to write about them. I know my weaknesses. Others happily type away convinced that they know everything about the economy and the employment rate and the exchange on the pound. I understand what Carol's saying because when I read a post like that and quickly gather that I actually know more than the person writing, it is very disappointing. In terms of Barack, it's gone from a lot of them phoning it in to a lot of them not even bothering to call.

Betty: I would so strongly agree with that. Hillary is 44 is probably the only one that comes to mind, for me, of the sites that hasn't waivered. I'm talking about outside the community and I'm sure that's what Carol means. Hillary is 44 posts three to four times a week and you never fail to grasp where they stand. Why is that? I think they have purpose. I see a lot of floundering online.

Stan: I think that's a good way to put it. Floundering. You keep expecting them to get it together and they never do. After awhile, you just stop checking in with them. And there's this effort on the part of many of them, this panic, about health care. Barack's not promising anything to cheer on. So his plan goes down. Boo-hoo. It's not my dance. There is nothing in that insurance company bailout for the American people. It deserves to fail and I laugh at all those ridiculous bloggers who try to convince you that their blog posts and your phone calls are going to force something to happen.

Elaine: Exactly. All the phone calls don't make a bit of difference. Remember in 2007 when we were supposed to flood the lines to get the Dems, who controlled both houses of Congress, to cut off funding for the illegal war? Repeatedly, they voted over and over to continue the Iraq War.

Wally: Okay, and I agree with Elaine, but the Democratic Party's argument is: Where ya going go?

Trina: Many places. You can go to an independent or a third party candidate. You can go to a Republican candidate as a protest vote. You can simply not vote. But if the Democrats in office have collectively demonstrated anything in the last years it is that the voters owe them no loyalty.

Elaine: Or the voters owe the elected the same loyalty they've shown the voters: None.

Jess: As a Green Party member, let me state very clearly: Do not come to my party. My party is pathetic on the national level and determined to never be anything other than a rinky-dink, minor player. Every week, if not every day, the website for the national party should be calling out Barack's non-stop sellout to Big Business, sellouts of our civil liberties, his continuation of the illegal wars. They do not do that. They don't do it because the national leadership is bulls**t, is cowardly, is craven and needs to be kicked out of the party. Until that happens, the Green Party is nothing but a joke.

Elaine: And that's not by accident. A lot of time went into pulling Socialists like Medea Benjamin into 'leadership.' Her entire purpose within the Green Party was to subvert the party and ensure that it never saw any electoral success. The whole point was to derail the Green Party after 2000 and ensure that it never threatened the Democratic Party again. Which is why Ralph Nader will not run on the national party's ticket.

Jess: Blake e-mailed to ask what, in retrospect, we think explains Barack in the White House?

Marcia: Hero worship. An immaturity among us. We refuse to stand up for ourselves and are growing dangerously like the USSR and other oppressive regimes in that we want a figure to worship. People were not interested in what Barack stood for, they were not interested in exploring what he had done or not done in Chicago. They were only eager to fall in love. So the ones who should have been offering critiques, who should have been pouring through the records, took a pass.

Ruth: I would agree with Marcia and I would point out how embarrassing it is that those same voices now want to pretend like 2008 never took place. They offered non-stop testimonials to Barack Obama and now that he has been revealed to be what we long warned about, the same Cult of St. Barack followers want to act as if they never went around lying for him and ripping apart others to build him up. I would add to Marcia's logic: He was not a Clinton. For many, that really was the deciding factor.

Jess: You're talking about pundits and leaders, right?

Ruth: Yes, so is Marcia. We are not talking about We The People. Hillary Clinton got more votes from We The People. The delegate system was rigged in so many ways. Texas recently had a legal victory for those objecting to the 'two-step' because Hillary won the primary and Barack Obama won the fraudulent caucus. The whole thing was rigged. And, no, we will never forget what took place.

Rebecca: If I could just bring up something I blogged on a few times following the election, I do believe there was voter fraud in the count for the national election. I am not questioning that Barack won -- any Democrat would have won. I am also not questioning the totals for John McCain. But I wrote about how the totals didn't seem correct when it came to Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney's run and I stand by that. I don't believe write-in voters were counted and, in many states, to vote for Cynthia or Ralph meant you had to write-in. I don't think those ballots were properly counted. Would it have changed the results of the election? No. But I do not believe the totals. I believe I noticed it first with my own state but we have a ton of community members in Texas and the Texas vote doesn't seem accurate. Again, I'm referring to write-in votes. I am not saying it would change the outcome of the election.

Jess: So would you say it was intentional fraud?

Rebecca: I believe it was laziness and ignorance. Laziness in that, "It's a write-in, it doesn't matter."

Kat: I think Rebecca's correct. I do believe that write-ins were treated dismissively. I don't believe the totals were at all accurate for Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader. But I also think that in 2012, you'll think they were way off because, by 2012, you'll find a ton of people claiming they voted for Ralph or Cynthia because as bad as Barack looks right now, grasp that we've got three more years and four months of him.

Jess: Layla e-mails to say, "Barack Obama is under constant death threats and you're critiques do not help him." Response?

C.I.: Let me. A) Barack's 'death threats' have always been inflated. B) No one here wants him to die in office. We're all fully aware that would turn him into a martyr. It would have done the same with Bully Boy Bush if he'd died in office. We want Barack to serve out his term and for the American people to see what a backstabber he is. C) In America, we have the right to critique our leaders -- who work for us -- and when we fail to use that right, we weaken it.

Ava: Support with everything C.I. just said. I will further add that under Bully Boy Bush, the left and 'left' would regularly decry the Secret Service following up on leads -- including some very laughable 'threats'. With Barack in the White House, the same Matthew Rothschilds that once decried, for example, the Secret Service visiting a man who allegedly made a threat at a gym, rush to accept every threat as legitimate. The 'Baracks In Danger' motif was started in 2007 by the campaign. Michelle Obama echoed it most publicly back then. But it was a little strategy that was supposed to make people rush to his aid. If threats are up -- and if they're credible -- his campaign -- and David Axlerod specifically -- will have to take the blame for that. But no one here wants him to die in office. We don't want to turn the Corporatist War Hawk into a martyr.

Jess: "Mrs. Obama" -- no, it is not Michelle Obama or anyone related to Barack Obama -- e-mailed to say, "You are all just the most hateful people in the world. Barack has promised to end the Iraq War. He has promised to deliver health care for all. He has promised to restore the rule of law. You give him credit for nothing. "

C.I.: Again, let me jump in. He's promised, Mrs. Obama? He's promised? Promises are what a candidate does. When you move into the office you were elected to, you're supposed to provide action, not more promises.

Stan: I would just add that we do refer to him as "President." This community never referred to Bush with that title.

Jess: Jerry e-mails wanting to know "which left gasbag you feel did the most damage in 2008?"

Wally: Just one? That's going to be hard.

Jess: How about we go around in a circle? Wally, Kat, Betty, Ava, C.I., Rebecca and I are all in California. Trina, Ruth, Mike, Elaine, Stan and Marcia are participating via phone from Trina's. Trina, how about you start and everyone on your end go and then we'll jump in?

Trina: Okay. I feel bad because I know Elaine's probably planning on saying him but Howard Zinn. When he endorsed Barack Obama, that was just monumnetally disgusting. It was betrayal of everything he was supposed to stand for and only drove home that he no longer stands for anything other than turning "A People's" into a brand. I keep waiting for his "A People's History Of Undergarments" line at Victoria's Secret. After everyone basically recoiled at his craven nature, he quickly insisted he was withdrawing his endorsement and was instead endorsing Cynthia McKinney. But he didn't really endorse her and, since the election, he either says he endorsed Barack or, if an interviewer says it, he doesn't correct. Coward Zinn is my choice.

Ruth: Trina went with someone for the latter half of 2008, I am going to go with the first half. I would say FAIR. In terms of its own website, in terms of its radio program, it behaved disgracefully. As Ava and C.I. documented, throughout 2008, they ignored sexism until the end of May when the primaries were ending and then they noted that Hillary had been called a bitch on CNN. One sentence. Then they were off to poor Barack which had been their weekly lament every week in 2008. I lost so much respect for them and I feel they are garbage, they are unethical and they really exposed themselves in 2008.

Marcia: I have to go with Amy Goodman. Long before I ever had my own site, I was known in the community as a huge Democracy Now! fan. "Democracy Now!, always worth watching, as Marcia says," would pop up at The Common Ills over and over. And I did say that back in 2004 and 2005. And then came 2008 and we saw her do all the things that she so long condemned others for. Oh, look, we're in New Hampshire and our guest is Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell. Amy told us that. She refused to tell us that the professor presented as objective had already been campaigning for Barack for over six months. Little stunts like that. Constant lying. Constant whoring. Amy Goodman's trash, I despise her and can't believe I ever used to wake up eager to catch her hideous show.

Stan: For me it was Greg Palast. Watching him rip apart Hillary Clinton over and over and never take on Barack? It just proved what a whore those beggars of Panhandle Media are. Greg Palast was on Air America Radio last month whining about Barack. But forgetting to point out that it was whores like himself that sold Barack to begin with. I bought two of his books. I'm done with him. His 'keen eye' arrives on Barack way too late.

Elaine: I think everybody's had great answers. I'm going to go with Alexander Cockburn and CounterPunch. Alex would love to pretend in 2009 that he was a critical voice. He wasn't. He didn't just run the garbage of others, he regularly tongue bathed Barack during the primaries. It may have been due to his demented hatred for Hillary. But he did tongue bathe Barack. For those wondering, that did not happen with John Kerry. In 2008, even Alex wanted to whore it. Or maybe you just had to to be a member of the Cockburn family?

Mike: For me, it's Socialist Worker. US. I thought throughout 2008 that there was no difference between their garbage and what I'd find in American Progress. Here's a hint to "Socialist" Worker: If you're a Socialist, you aren't happy with a great liberal Democrat and you're certainly not thrilled with a Corporatist War Hawk like Barack.

Jess: Okay, now we're left with those of us in California and I want us to start with Kat because I'm not sure she's spoken yet.

Kat: Sure. KPFA. No one individual. They all whored it. Except Bonnie Faulkner. Dennis Bernstein is demented on the subject of Hillary Clinton so he did pimp Barry O. But they all did. Aimee Allison, the Green who was going to mean that KPFA would show some real independence on air? Kool-Aid drinker who repeatedly disgraced herself on air. The New Yorker cover? Remember that 2008 faux controversy? Aimee 'moderated' a discussion on the New Yorker cover and she felt the need to tell listeners how offended and outraged she was by the cover. It was a parody for those who have forgotten. Aimee Allison represents all that is wrong with KPFA and she is far from alone. There is no independence at KFPA. And don't forget they repeatedly allowed pledged Barack delegate Norman Solomon to come on as an 'objective' voice and didn't feel the need to tell listeners the reality. Only after repeated phone calls did KPFA decide to get honest. And Aimee also hosted the alleged debate between Norman and some guy with PUMA where Aimee let Norman commandeer the segment and repeatedly cut the guy off. That's how she moderates a debate? That's damn embarrassing. That's pathetic. And never forget the 'debate' analysis that led Ava and C.I. to coin the term "Panhandle Media," where KPFA offered two hours of analysis of a Hillary and Barack debate but forgot to tell the listeners that all the 'experts' had publicly endorsed Barack before being booked for the show.

Wally: Betty's next to Kat but pointing to me to go ahead of her. This really is a difficult thing because there are so many. I think I'll go with Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive. He LIED to people. He led them to believe he was a Democrat as he cheered Barry O on. This year, Matty finally stepped out of the closet and admitted he was a Socialist. Readers of The Progressive should have known that all along. It's a political magazine. He was shredding Hillary to pieces over and over. Readers had a right to know this wasn't a Democratic critique. Matty knows that and he knew it then which is why he stayed in his closet. The Progressive is just the land of the nutty. You've got Ruth Conniff drooling about how she likes Joe Klein and Mike Huckabee and she never has a damn clue. Then you've got all the idiots like Matty and Coward Zinn and that ugly woman Babsie. The crazy idiot whose daughter now works for the administration -- a fact that Babsie's columns should disclose but do not -- and the daughter has advocated for the registration of journalists. That whole magazine's crap except Will Durst. I include Kate Clinton as crap because she never called out Barack's use of homophobia in 2008 and also because she thinks she's much cuter than she is. She'd do well to stop trying to be cute in print and try to write a column that actually matters. I'm from Florida originally -- meaning we know Larry King's bad columns. And Kate Clinton writes like a student of Larry King.

Rebecca: I think Betty wants to go last because she's pointing to me. For me, it's real easy: Robert Parry. Robert Parry spent how many years being a defender of Bill Clinton. Suddenly Hillary's running and Robert Parry's an anti-Clinton. He's tossing out one crazy theory after another and generally embarrassing himself. I know Sam Parry got into the whole FaceBook Barack craze early on. That's no excuse for what Robert Parry did. He destroyed his own work and revealed himself to be a joke. I will never visit Consortium again. I don't care if Robert Parry wrote a piece entitled "I was a cheap lying whore." No mea culpa will ever allow me to forgive him because when it mattered he whored. It's too late now for him to play mea culpa. The damage is done.

Jess: Dona works her ass off each roundtable trying to keep track of who's speaking and who isn't. Without her, I keep thinking we're missing someone. As Rebecca noted, Betty apparently wants to go last so I'll jump in. Robert Parry was a huge disappointment. But for me it was Robert Scheer. We do not link to Truthdig as a result of his 2008 antics. Those included his attacks on women. They also included his attacks on democracy -- he should have been embarrassed by what he said to Ralph on the 2007 Nation cruise, instead the Idiot Scheer thought it was something to post online. Robert Scheer's a man who should have retired a long time ago. A long time ago.

Ava: C.I. and I are going to say "The women of The Nation." While we were taking notes, I was also putting question marks in the margins and we finally decided on those. So we're doing a shared answer. That's Betsy Reed, the non-writer, who shows up to insist Hillary Clinton isn't a feminist. That was garbage and it was a GOP move actually. It's the sort of lie you expect from them.

C.I.: And it was the same ground Lying Laura Flanders went after. She's part of that crazy Cockburn family Elaine was talking about. What a pathetic excuse for a human being Laura is. For years, she did a radio show from this area and, back then, she was an out and proud lesbian. Then she moves to New York and hops in the closet. Not only does she hide in the closet -- talking about her cat on the air but never about her lover -- but she also refused to call out Barack for using homophobia in 2007, for putting homophobes on the road right before the general election or for the whole Rick Warren embrace. Laura Flanders is a disgusting joke and that was among the sad moments of 2008 for me. She's not a Democrat. I never would have thought she'd have whored it for a Democrat. But, hey, she lied to Air American Radio listeners on the night of the 2004 elections as she pretended she was in the same boat they were when, in fact, she did not vote for John Kerry. So she's just a repeated liar.

Ava: And then you had Katha the Feminist for Barack. Big girl Katha, big boned Katha, with those huge arms, took time off from her bad poetry to endorse Barack. What a proud moment for feminism, right? The first real chane of a woman president and there's 'feminist' Katha endorsing the man. How very typical. How very telling.

Jess: Okay, Betty, it's just you.

Betty: For me, it's White 'Lefties.' I loathe them. Whether it's Amy Goodman or some other Communist or Socialist gasbag, I loathe them. I loathe being treated as a prop for them to feel special. I loathe the way they repeatedly turn everything into race. And I loathe all their cries of racism. I hope that others in the Black community have paid attention and are grasping just how much we are used by people like Amy Goodman. It's not about us or helping us, it's about their attempts to destroy the system. We're just pawns they use. And I believe the real reason they are so quick to scream "racism!" at other Whites is due to the fact that even they know they're racists. Tim Wise, for example, raging racist.

Marcia: Amen.

Betty: And it takes tremendous racism to present yourself as the voice of the Black struggle when, like Tim Wise, you are a White man. And it's a sign of just how disgusting Panhandle Media is: They book Tim Wise. They let him self-present as an expert and they push that lie as well. Think about it, we can't even get on the air most days but, to discuss the State of Black America, KPFA and others will book White Tim Wise. It's disgusting. And they played their little race games all through 2008. Speaking of race game players, did anyone notice that Grannies For Peace didn't join Cindy on the Vineyard? Grannies For Peace, the original Barack Kool-Aid Drinkers of the Communist set. And they couldn't back up Cindy because that would have required calling out Barack. Who is bi-racial but the concept is lost on Whites.

Kat: Can I just back up Betty here? If Dean Lewis presents as an expert on women and KPFA was booking him to talk about women, we'd be offended. We should also be offended that White Tim Wise is booked as the voice of Black America.

Jess: Dean Lewis?

Kat: I was watching some Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis films earlier.

Jess: Okay. Anyone else want to comment on what Betty said?

Stan: Yeah. I agree with her and I think everyone here does. But especially with the Grannies For Peace, yeah. What, were they too busy thinking up more 'Sarah Palin is in bed' skits? Is that why they couldn't back up Cindy Sheehan? Forget going there, they didn't even issue an alert. They did nothing for her. But that's to be expected from those Barack worshippers. In terms of Betty's point about us being used, I also agree and I find it really amazing to listen to, for example, Amy Goodman who always seems to be on the lookout for some Black experience she can spin to benefit herself.

Jess: Okay, we're going to stop there. We worked through a huge number of e-mails for a roundtable. Thank you to Ava and C.I. who went through the e-mails to select potential ones. Our e-mail address is

From the CrackPot 'mind' of Jerry Merryitt

JIBBERFRINGE: the hormones of sex

Sunday I'm Open Thread

By: Jerry, Section: Me So Horny

Kudos and Cooties, Kids!

When I'm not busy drinking the Piss flavored Kool-Aid for Dear Leader, I like to involve myself in many charitable organizations.

Sadly, few organizations appreciate a woman of my immense talents so I've had to start my own organizations.

Chief among them is Cocks Not Bombs. In this one, I argue that instead of dropping bombs on other countries, we should drop cocks on my bedroom. Specifically, cons. Ex-cons in a pinch, but convicts are fine and dandy.

When I learned that 1 out of every 75 men was incarcerated, I knew both that something had to be done immediately and also why I hadn't had a single date in the last two decades.

At the beginning of Cocks Not Bombs, I learned that first visits to prison were easy. Though they seemed confused by the name of my organization. I'd have to explain that it was "Cocks Not Bombs" and not "Cops Not Bombs." I'd go entertain the prison, walk around the yard and, you know, size the fellas up.

But, for some strange reason, second visits were a problem.

I began to realize that this was yet another example of how prisons interfere with the worship practices of the incarcerated.

And that really bothered me.

I decided I'd make a really big stink and turn it into the big issue for 2009; however, I made that decision while taking Cocks Not Bombs to Corcoran State Prison.

And moments after I made the decision, all bets were off as I exchanged looks with my soul mate.

It was like a moment out of Plato's Ladder of Love or a Shakesperian sonnet or, more to the point, a Lifetime movie. I felt just like Julie Warner in Uncaged Heart. Or Edwina on One Life To Live when she fell in love with Marco. Or Mario! Or Marco. Which one was the doctor and which one was the con? Twins are so confusing.

But it wasn't at all confusing that a man was interested in me.

He couldn't take his eyes off me.

I tilted my chin back, shook my head, licked my lips, smiled, and did a heavy sigh to shake the goodies for him. He just continued to gape. Obviously he was very smitten.

Walking over to the guard, I inquired of my Dream Boat.




Mr. Manson.

How very Tarzan! Man-son. Man's son. Me Jane, you Man's son.

I was attempting to laugh loud and hearty so as to cause my rib cage to rapidly expand (again, the goodies) when the guard informed me that I was getting the evil eye from Chuck.

Evil eye? Oh goody, me loves the Bad Boys!

What you gonna do, what you gonna do, when they come for you!

Gasp for air.

I strutted over towards Charlie to introduce myself and see if he was interested in a conjugal.

He told me he'd "killed women finer than you." I giggled politely in an effort not to come off jealous. Chuck already knows about being caged, the thought of a clingy woman would probably be a turn off.

So to avoid looking jealous, I immediately proposed marriage.

Charles was obviously a little shy. I could tell by the way he whispered, "Get away from me, you're crazier than I am!" Well, the way he hissed it.

But he's had a hard life and shyness is probably a natural outgrowth.

I quickly explained to him that I would use my law degree -- he was surprised to learn I had one -- to work on getting him out of prison, but, in the meantime, prison didn't have to be a barrier to living a happy and fulfilling life.

"After all," I told him, "Look at Susan Atkins. She's managed to marry twice while in prison. First to Donald Lee Laisure and then, she's a cougar!, to young Jimmy Whitehouse."

And at that moment, I saw Chuck smile for the first time. And I just knew. The way you know about a pair of shoes you see in a window or that the ham you accidentally threw in the trash is still edible.

US imprisons reporter

ibrahim jassam

Since the start of September 2008, Reuters reporter Ibrahim Jassim has been held by the US military in Iraq. In November 2008, Iraqi courts decided Ibrahim should be set free. The US ignored the court order and has continued to imprison Ibrahim.

As the US government pretends to encourage press freedoms, their continued and illegal imprisonment of a reporter is highly telling. Around the world, people are taking notice. To the point that Sri Lanka laughs at the hypocrisy. Yes, even Sri Lanka. From Daya Gamage's "Iraqi journalist under U.S. custody without trial but, Us critical of Tissanayagam jail sentence in Sri Lanka" (Asian Tribune):

The United States criticized Sri Lanka Monday, August 31 for sentencing to 20 years in prison an ethnic Tamil journalist by Sri Lanka's judiciary after an open trial. "We were disappointed to learn of the verdict and the severity of the sentence," State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said at the daily media briefing after a Sri Lankan court handed down the sentence against J.S. Tissainayagam.

The United States' criticism of Sri Lanka which gave due process of the law to Tissanayagam came at a time when an Iraqi photo-journalist Ibrahim Jassam lies in U.S. military custody in Iraq since 02 September 2008 without trial and denying him the due process of the law.

The US slammed Sri Lanka for their lack of due process . . . while they refuse due process to Ibrahim. Richard Becker (Party of Socialism and Liberation) observes:

While the U.S. government holds Jassam without charge, the corporate mass media here has ignored his case or given it short shrift -- in sharp contrast with their massive campaign on behalf of two recently released U.S. journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling. Lee and Ling were held for four months in North Korea (DPRK) earlier this year. The highest U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama joined in. Non-stop and highly emotional coverage was standard fare on every network. Countless "human rights" organizations in the United States made the case their highest priority.
Coincidentally, on the day marking the anniversary of Jassam’s jailing, Lee and Ling released an account of their arrest and imprisonment in the DPRK. They admit in the report that they had, in fact, illegally crossed from China into North Korea, a country with which the United States is still at war. (Associated Press, Sept. 2) A 1953 truce ended major combat in the U.S. war against Korea -- which took more than four million Korean lives -- but no peace treaty has ever been signed. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops remain in South Korea today.
Lee and Ling were pardoned and released from their 12-year prison sentences for illegally entering North Korea and espionage after former President Bill Clinton traveled to the DPRK's capital, Pyongyang, to meet with President Kim Jong-Il. While in custody, Lee and Ling were allowed continual phone contact with their families in the United States. Their return to the United States and reunification with family and friends was shown for days on CNN, Fox, CBS, ABC, and the list goes on.
The Obama administration and the mass media conducted a similar campaign for Roxana Saberi, a writer who was arrested, convicted and then released by Iran.

Ibrahim was imprisoned under Bully Boy Bush. He remains imprisoned under Bully Boy Barack. No change.

Idiot of the week

Last week, The Chicago Tribune published an article on Afghanistan by Paul Richter and Julian E. Barnes.

Chicago Tribune

Apparently no one at The Tribune actually knows how to read. That would explain how the Afghanistan article ran (and continues to run) with the following headline: "President Barack Obama sees 1-year deadline to make gains in Iraq."


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

"I Hate The War" -- Most requested highlight of the week.

"Name the War Criminal," "steven dale green off to prison," "Steven Dale Green will die behind bars," "The War Criminal," "Public records are public domain," "Saturday post," "Iraq snapshot" and "War Criminal Steven D. Green sentenced today" -- Commentary on the War Criminal.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bernanked" -- Isaiah's latest comic captures the economy and Barack's efforts to ensure we're all screwed.

"THIS JUST IN! THEY'RE DESPERATE!" & "Desperate measures" -- a topless Barack! Rahm is getting desperate!

"Name the War Criminal," "Ibrahim," "Cindy Sheehan" and "Ben Bernanke" -- Ann's posts from last week.

"No Ethics Left Behind" -- Isaiah dips into the archives and it's amazing how you could cut out a photo of Barack's face and paste them over the Bully Boy Bush comics and be left with pretty much the same comic which would still apply.

"Pasta Salad in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers an easy and tasty recipe.

"Todd," "music & fashion," "Joni Mitchell and Woodstock," "Music snapshot (Carly, Cass, Carole, Cynthia, Ellie)," "Bob Somerby, Graham Nash," "Music (Carly Simon, etc.)" -- music commentary from the community. Remember, Kat's latest music review posts tomorrow.

"Esther Armah is an idiot," "WBAI embraces the homophobe," "Guns & Butter, community weekend schedule" and "The Diane Rehm Show can't find Iraq" -- radio commentary from the community.

"Why Somerby?" & "One groups lies well, the other can't even message" -- Betty and Stan have been emphasing Bob Somerby and they explain why in these posts.

"To sell a plan, you need to have one" -- Trina outlines the basics.

"Bullies bully and steal the attention" and "Discrimination" -- Ruth and Marcia tackle targeting.

"Howard the Coward Zinn" -- Elaine tackles the Coward.

" figures things out""THIS JUST IN! MOVEON'S THINKING CAP!"
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