Sunday, October 18, 2009

Truest statement of the week

The right-wing of the blogosphere has been alight with embittered glee at this sudden about face by a prominent antiwar group: the headline of a blog post by Michael Moynihan on Reason’s "Hit and Run" -- "It’s Different When Obama Does It, Part 35" -- pretty much summed up the general sentiment. Not that Moynihan and the top editors at Reason said or did anything to protest Bush’s wars -- back when they were popular, that is – but still: the transformation of Code Pink from a solid antiwar group into a gaggle of political whores is a sight that has the War Party guffawing. How soon before Medea’s calls to end the war morph into "win the war" -- no doubt under the general rubric of an Afghan "war on poverty"? Scary stuff -- and it isn’t even Halloween yet.

-- Justin Raimondo, "Code Yellow: The selling-out of the antiwar movement" (

Truest statment of the week II

A political whore isn’t "born again," as it were, on account of a single visit to Afghanistan and a talking to by the "minister of women" -- this lady has been operating the political equivalent of a house of ill repute at least since 2004.

-- Justin Raimondo on CODESTINK's I Need Attention Benjamin, "Code Yellow: The selling-out of the antiwar movement" (

A note to our readers

Hey --

Along with Dallas, the following helped with 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.

What did we come up with:

Truest statement of the week -- Justin of Reading Ava and C.I.'s second article this edition, Dallas mentioned a column none of us had seen. We thought it was worth noting.

Truest statment of the week II -- So much so that we pulled from it for two truests.

Editorial: Responsible Withdrawal -- This is worked on by all the above. For four different articles. Dona, Jim, Ava and C.I. worked on editing this and adding some transitions.

TV: Piss Queens -- Ava and C.I. offered this as a bonus. The edition was awful and we had very little to show for it so they came up with this article (which they were planning on doing for Hilda's Mix this Tuesday).

TV: The Homophobic Show -- This was what they planned to cover. The Beautiful Life was the first show cancelled of the fall season.

Whatever happened to the facts? -- Jess asked if we were aware how often we were pointing out errors in various articles this edition? No. Jess went through them and pulled all the errors out and the commentary and ended up with this which Ava and C.I. wrote a bit more to in order to make it flow. What Jess was pulling from was written by all.

Roundtable -- The roundtable where we explain how awful the edition has been. We also tackled LGBT issues, American Dad and other topics.

Iraq -- Some highlights on Iraq.

Simon Assaf's 'Violence continues in Iraq' -- Great Britain's Socialist Worker repost.

Over 1,164 US troops may have been exposed to Sodi... -- Democratic Policy Committee press release on chemical exposure.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Betty, Kat, Ruth, Marcia, Stan, Ann, Wally, Cedric and Rebecca wrote this and picked all the highlights, we thank them for it.

And we thank everyone including Dallas for their help. Currently, we've got no illustrations with these articles. That may be the way it stays. Or not. We're going to bed, we're exhausted. (It's 11:36 a.m. PST and we've been up all night.) See you next week.

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

Editorial: Responsible Withdrawal

Empires need wars to secure markets and resources. And so it has always been.

The buzzword starting with John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign was "responsible withdrawal." He meant Iraq. And "responsible withdrawal" is really just a fancy way of saying, "Pipe down, we're not leaving."

Military madness
Is killing the country
So much sadness
Between you and me
-- "Military Madness," written by Graham Nash, first appears on Nash's Songs for Beginners.

"Responsible withdrawal."

What's a responsible end to an abusive marriage? Divorce. Immediate divorce. Not trial separation. Not marriage counseling. It's divorce.

Somehow, however, we're supposed to accept that an abusive relationship with another country can be ended slowly.

"Responsible withdrawal" is nothing but the War Hawk Establishment flipping the bird at (whatever's left of) the peace movement.

And the phony phrase also serves to extinguish protests.

I Need Attention Benjamin of CODESTINK has taken to the call of "responsible withdrawal" from Afghanistan. She thinks the US should stay until things are secured for women. In other words, she's morphed into Laura Bush.

Medea, who's more than done her part to euthanize the peace movement, feels lonely in DC and thinks the peace movement needs to be re-activated. She says that a lot. While talking about Afghanistan.

She doesn't talk about the Iraq War. She acts as though it's ended. And yet she wonders why the peace movement isn't more active?

The Iraq War has ended and, no matter what crap Raed Jarrar spews, the SOFA doesn't mean it ends. At the end of wars, treaties are often negotiated. The SOFA isn't a treaty to end the Iraq War. It is a treaty that bought three more years and it may be replaced with something that buys even more years.


But all it took was Barry O saying he was doing a "responsible withdrawal" from Iraq and everyone acts as though that war is ending. It's not ended and there's nothing that says it's ending.

The Iraq War should be over. Not at the end of 2011 but right now.

There are no demands from Medea or CODESTINK for that.

Sting broke down the truth years ago, "There's no such thing as a winnable war" ("Russians," The Dream of the Blue Turtles). By the same token, there's no such thing as "responsible withdrawal." You withdraw or you don't.

Every day the US doesn't withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan is irresponsible.

Continuing the illegal wars is irresponsible.

Propping up thug governments is irresponsible.

Kidding yourself that progress has been made in either country is irresponsible.

Continue the madness of illegal wars is irresponsible.

The only responsible position is: All troops out now.

After the wars are over
And the body count is finally filed
I hope that man discovers
What's driving the people wild

TV: Piss Queens

Our mouths were dropping open on Monday as we sat stunned at the sight of Democracy Now! Well, actually, at guest Buffy Sainte-Marie . . . Who apparently raided Cher's wardrobe and stole the wig worn in 1997's "Believe" video.


Cher's got Cherokee roots and Buffy has Cree and, after we got over our shock at Buffy's wig, we were left with the realization that this was as close to her 'roots' as Buffy was probably going to get.

We don't mean to imply that it was all heavy. For example, Amy Goodman provided lots of laughs. We especially laughed at, "After hitting the top of the charts in the early '60s, the outspoken performer suddenly disappeared from the mainstream airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon years."

Now Buffy was blacklisted and we're not trying to make light of that. But when exactly did she ever hit the top of the charts?

As we understand it, before 1965, the Beatles and the Supremes hit the top of the charts. In 1965, Cher would hit the top of the charts with Sonny ("I Got You Babe"). As we understand it, "the top of the charts" is number one. So, help us out, when did Buffy ever hit number one?

We'll be kind. How about number two? Number three? Top ten? Top twenty?

Buffy's highest charting single was in 1972 (when radio stations were encouraged not to play her) when she hit number 38 on the Top 40 with "Mister Can't You See."

Okay, we'll maybe she wasn't a singles artist. Not everyone is. Maybe, like Barbra Streisand, she's more of an album's artist? Okay, when did she top the charts with an album?

If the top of the charts is still number one, then never. Nor did she make it in the top ten, or top twenty, or top thirty, or top forty, or . . .

Her highest charting album thus far is 1966's Little Wheel Spin and Spin which made it to number 97 on the Billboard Top 200.

We've told you many times before that, when Amy Goodman tries to talk music, you shouldn't listen.

Buffy's career was harmed by the blacklist put out by LBJ and Nixon. But let's not pretend that she was harmed in terms of top 40. She's not a top 40 artist. She never was. She was like Joan Baez and Judy Collins during the sixties and early seventies and none of them were singles artists. Judy came the closest. Joan never cracked the top forty until 1971 with "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (number three on the Top Forty) and she'd make it to number 35 with "Diamonds and Rust" in 1975. Joan may very well have been blacklisted, we wouldn't doubt that she was also targeted. Discussing the blacklist last Monday, Buffy stated, "He had a letter on White House stationery, you know, commending him for having suppressed music that deserved to be suppressed, and it was about me. Eartha Kitt was affected. Taj Mahal was affected. A lot of people were affected." A lot of people were affected, Buffy said, she did not list Joan Baez.

Judy Collins had more success on the charts. "Both Sides Now" (written by Joni Mitchell) was a number 8 Top 40 hit in 1968. Two years later, she made it to number 15 with "Amazing Grace."
In 1973, she'd make it to number 32 with "Cook With Honey." In 1975, she'd take "Send In The Clowns" to number36 and, in 1977, it would chart at number 19.

Judy's not generally seen as a "peace queen." But Judy was speaking out against the war in Vietnam and against the same things Joan and Buffy were. Judy also had a real label behind her: Elektra. Buffy and Joan were both on Vanguard which, by the early seventies, both women agreed didn't know how to promote artists. It never did. And part of their problems had to do with the label they were on. At one point, Vanguard was having a hissy fit over a Buffy album (one Buffy herself would go on to disown) and they needed something that would sell. When a label needs something from an artist that will sell there are two choices: a live album or a repackaging 'best of.' Vanguard decided to go with the latter . . . two times in a row.

The thing about 'best of's is that it can be the death of a career. And doing a Best of Vol. 1 and, the following year, a Best of Vol. 2 tends to send a message that the recording career is over which is why real labels never do such a thing. But Vanguard wasn't a real label.

Judy had the real label. She was also leading and not following. For example, before Joan Baez decided to dabble in baroque (Noel, October 1966 if you're generous; Joan from August 1967 if you're honest), Judy had already done an album in the genre (In My Life, released in June of 1966). Buffy showed up with baroque in July 1967 with Fire & Fleet & Candlelight.

Her label hated Illuminations (a judgment she later agreed with it) which is too bad because it's one of the strongest albums of 1969, like nothing else anyone was doing and her new album's "No No Keshagesh" sounds a great deal like "He's A Keeper Of The Fire" from the 1969 album.

A male folk-rocker caught Buffy's act Monday and phoned us to convey this sentiment, "She's on the ground, legs spread, furiously fingering herself while she's got her mouth buried in Barack's crotch." And that pretty much sums it up.

She declared:

I know we're having hard times in our -- in the world right now, economically, you know, and yet I still so believe in the soul of people, you know, of individual people and our capacity to work together and to elect a great president. I supported President Obama, not because he grew up in Hawaii, where I live, and not because he was half-black, half-white, but just the idea of a professor of constitutional law in the White House, you know, the idea of someone with that kind of background and understanding who had also been a community organizer really, really touched me.

It was shameful, it was embarrassing and it was disgusting.

Joan and Buffy always self-presented as the Peace Queens but the two have become the Piss Queens. If that sounds harsh, you should have heard all the comments being made to us last week by men and women who know both.

Judy Colllins is probably waxing over Barack herself. But no one saw Judy as a peace queen and no one saw her as anything but a woman who would vote Democrat no matter what.

Joan and Buffy? They were supposed to be about causes. They were supposed to be about peace. Both women rejected party politics during their hey day. Both disgraced themselves in 2008 as they rushed to whore for Barack.

As bad as it was for Joan -- and it hurt her as she discovered when she tried to tour recently -- it was worse for Buffy. Despite being a Latina, Joan avoided her ethnicity. Buffy's always claimed her heritage.

What does that mean?

Well, as a historian put it, "Seems to me the attackers didn't just show up and start mowing down the natives, they had to be welcomed in and isn't that what Buffy's done with Obama?"

Yes, as she furiously fingers herself, that's exactly what she's done.

For Buffy or any Native American to whore for Barack is disgusting.

Samantha Power isn't a woman of peace. She is a supporter (a public one) of "counter-insurgency." Counter-insurgency is war on a native people.

It is an attempt to defeat them and to colonize them. No Native American should ever support counter-insurgency. It's desired effect is the same destruction and colonization that stole the land from the Native Americans.

Power currently sits on the National Security Council. Power wasn't just an adviser to Barack's presidential campaign, she also worked for his office when he was a US Senator.

Then there's our online stalker Sarah Sewer (Sewall), Sammy Power's kiss-kiss friend. She's not just a supporter of counter-insurgency, she's a 'guru' and, like most of the Carr Center trash, she backed Barry. She was also an adviser for his presidential run. She even bragged, as we may have been the only ones to note, that she could get him to say what she wanted.

Counter-insurgency is about 'neutralizing' the 'opposition.' During Vietnam, the Phoenix Program, as both Buffy and Joan damn well know, was an example of a counter-insurgency program. As with that program, the current counter-insurgency (taking place in both Iraq and Afghanistan) allows for the 'termination' of lives and the intimidation that results from that and other tactics.

It is terrorizing the local population and. if you don't hear a great deal about it these days, it may be due to the fact that their efforts to lie don't go over well. In October of 2007, for example, Monty McFate was lying through her teeth (a given for Monty) and 'explaining' to Susan Page (filling in for Diane on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show) that the counter-insurgency 'social scientists' give their names to people when 'researching them' and are was just anthropologists talking to the people. When a New York Times correspondent joined the discussion later, he wasn't aware Monty had been lying about the anthropologist "Tracy" and he began discussing her (Tracy).

David Rohde: I saw her briefly, but I don't know what she does at all times. She personally, um, actually chose to carry a weapon for security that's not a requirement for members of the team, I've been told. And she wore a military uniform which would make her appear to be a soldier, um, to Afghans that she wasn't actually speaking with.
Susan Price: And so you think Aghans knew that she wasn't a soldier even though she was wearing a military uniform and carrying a weapon? Or do you think that they just assumed that she probably was?
David Rohde: I would think that they assumed that she was.

Of course they'd assume she was a soldier, she's carrying a weapon and wearing a military uniform. No, she's not practicing science and no one doing counter-insurgency is. Excuse, us they are doing a bastardization of science, the same way Hitler did. But in terms of true science, a field which does include ethics, they've got nothing to offer.

And that these people aligned with Barack Obama and he with them should have been reason enough for Buffy Sainte-Marie to have avoided him like the plague. Instead, she still can't stop babbling and whoring. We see her as the eternal welcome wagon lacking common sense and imagine a Buffy in 1492, so eager to curry favor, that she wraps herself around Christopher Columbus. We, and the surviving Tainos, know how that story ended.

Barack worked for a CIA-front company out of college and then went on to do some bad community organizing that left him eager to run from community organizing. (We discussed Barack's community organizing here a year ago.) But Buffy sees no accomplishments and isn't bothered. Sees counter-insurgency -- the very thing that killed off so many Native Americans -- and thinks, "Hey, great!" It's disgusting.

And Buffy's disgusting for refusing to call it out and refusing to back away from her endorsement of Barack.

She's disgusting and she's a fraud. That becomes obvious as you listen to her new album Running For The Drum and hear the lyrics to the third track, the finger-pointing "Working For The Government." Excuse us, but isn't Buffy doing the same damn thing?

As you grasp that, you being to realize that Buffy Sainte-Marie is no more real than Alice Cooper or Marilyn Manson. Buffy Sainte-Marie is nothing but a creation, a character, something to sell records. A chocolate Easter bunny -- pretty on the outside but hollow.

Piss Queens posing as Peace Queens have a way of revealing themselves. "Eventually," as Carole King used to sing. And thinking of faux Peace Queens, of Piss Queens, naturally had us thinking of Medea Benjamin -- the gal who puts the stink in CODESTINK.

For some time, we've been warning you that CODESTINK wasn't about peace anymore. And leave it to Medea to do us a solid by going public on that fact. It happened first with The Christian Science Monitor but she swore she was misquoted. Then last week, Scott Horton interviewed her on his Anti-War Radio (link has text and audio) and, while still insisting she was misquoted by The Monitor, she repeated the same exact statements. She's not for the US pulling out of Afghanistan any time soon. She has other concerns. And she was a 'responsible withdrawal' (which will be addressed this edition in another piece).

On Democracy Now! in September
, I Need Attention Benjamin was bragging about the petition -- she's such a hard working peace activist (sarcasm) -- and insisting, "We have to be heard. So I would say that the most important thing is to reactivate the networks that were so active during the Bush years to force Obama to do the right thing, which is to set an exit strategy and bring our troops home." These days, Medea thinks Troops Home isn't a pressing issue.

And she wonders why she's seen as such a joke? The woman who tried to turn a pie-ing into a drive-by shooting.

Piss Queens are never really about peace. They're about themselves. Which is why Medea's only shown real regret and hurt when discussing her pie-ing. Which is why Joan Baez thinks she's cute calling African-Americans "Negroes" -- Laura Flanders apparently found it cute as well since she broadcast Joan doing just that in August of 2005 on her Air America Radio show. (Most interviewers have just eliminated that word from Joan's published interviews for the last 30 years.)

Piss Queens aren't about peace, they're about themselves. And sometimes, if it helps them or looks like it might help them, they'll stand up for peace. But take a picture quickly because Piss Queens tire easily and really can't handle anything more than a momentary stand. That's the real lesson of last week.

TV: The Homophobic Show

The CW has the bragging rights for first cancellation of the year: The Beautiful Life. Cancelled after only two episodes, it was among the season's worst and it's worth exploring why that was?


In terms of keeping things moving, the scripts weren't the problem and, had it not hugged homophobia so tightly, it might have been the first hit soap opera of the decade that wasn't a retooling of a 90s Spelling hit. But you couldn't ignore the homophobia and you never should have been exposed to it to begin with.

Chris Andrews (Benjamin Hollingsworth) wants to be a model. Simon (Dusan Dukic) is his agent at Covet Modeling Agency -- run by Claudia (Elle Macpherson). He's sent to the 'group home' of models where a druggie (and too fat to be a male model) guy tells him that there's no room for him in one room and sends him down the hall to the room of 'supermale model' Cole (Nico Tortorella). Cole refuses to room with him and has Chris call Simon. Simon tells Chris he can stay with him causing Cole to purse his lips even more than normal.


Simon's gay. And Cole says Simon loves to 'sample' the goodies.

Chris' slack jawed face conveys . . . Well who could tell?

But Chris ends up at a party with Simon and Simon sees them as a couple. While presenting Chris as part of the couple to Claudia and a rep from GQ, Chris suddenly goes ballistic and gets physically violent with Simon.

It's ugly.

It's the sort of homophobic crap you rarely see on TV these days and certainly not on the CW which is the WB and UPN merged. CW kiddies grew up watching Jack on Dawson's Creek and Willow on Buffy. The previous generation got a token gay or lesbian on a very special 90210 episode and that was about it. This generation grew up with gay characters and they weren't 'scary' because they were gay.

But there was good guy Chris engaging in a hate crime.

Simon goes to put his arm around Chris and Chris starts hitting him. Simon wasn't trying to kiss him and both men were standing in a crowded club.

As offensive as the moment was -- and we're not done with it -- what happened after was even more offensive.

Claudia's disciplining Simon, we're told after, and he's no longer with her agency. For what reason? Not for sexual harassment because according to Cole, Simon had been sampling for some time. The reason appeared to be because GQ liked Chris' homophobia.

Claudia immediately begins apologizing for Chris behavior but there's no reason to, GQ wants to book him.

Chris' homophobia makes him GQ 'manly.'

Now while an attempted draped arm gets a gay man beat down, no one bats an eye when a White European woman forces the only male of color (Cordbin Bleu) to sleep with her. He doesn't want to. She ensures that he has no jobs. He agrees to sleep with her and she stops blackballing him. And, guess what, happy face for sexual harassment, he actually ends up having a great time! No means "no" until it's enjoyable, kiddies!

The show was disgusting and selling sexual harassment as a good thing is offensive but when you grasp that was the show's mind-set -- and there are many other examples, so many that when an ugly model gets a big shoot, it's assumed she screwed her way onto the job -- and that the show truly believed 'it's all good' as long as it involved the 'beautiful' people, you were left with what was the big deal? What was the problem with Simon?

That he was gay.

And that fact only became more obvious. The series had a huge cast and you quickly realized that except for the quickly exiled Simon, no one was gay. A show about the New York fashion scene and not one damn character's gay? Not the models? Not the agents? Not even the designers?

Let's repeat that last one, not even the designers are gay?

Mischa Barton was the ugly model who got the big shoot. Barton looked like crap and we're not going to pretend otherwise or pretend that it's okay. Her skin looked as if it was fried and she didn't remotely pass for pretty. She should have been fired her first day on the set because she looked so bad she was completely unbelievable as a model -- let alone a supermodel.

Raina was the female lead (Sara) and she didn't look like a super model either. She looked like Jill Goodacre who is a very attractive woman and was a successful model but wasn't a supermodel.

The men were far worse. There was Fatty White Anglo who had a drug problem -- one that apparently didn't keep him thin. Peter DeLouise is a talented actor and not a bad looking guy. But if he had tried to play a successful male model, we would have laughed. We're being very kind and not naming the actor. But who the hell cast him? Who the hell cast any of these people?

We were supposed to buy Nico Torotorella's Cole as a supermodel and the reality is that few men have ever made supermodel status. Those who have? They usually were beautiful and sexy. Torotorella projected no sexual heat and his looks were bland. He also came off heavy on the catty drama in his line readings making you wonder if the beat-down of Simon was so brutal to make it clear that no one else was gay, not even Cole who gave off such a strong vibe that we'd recommend Torotorella play Christian when Clueless goes to Broadway.

If you're playing students at a community college, your looks really may not matter. But when you're casting people to play successful models, it matters. It especially matters when Elle Macpherson is in the cast. As she lunched and clubbed as Claudia, you kept expecting the designers and photographers to tell her, "Stop running an agency! We want you in our fall campaign!"

Of all the performers who have a right to feel short changed, Elle's top of the list because she was giving a great performance. She was outstanding and the show could have made her the new Donna Mills or even Heather Locklear. Ashely Madekwe also gave a strong performance as Marissa.

But the show couldn't overcome the homophobia anymore than Barton could overcome the way her out of control life is reflected on her face. The cancellation, the rejection of the show, should be seen as a sign of progress.

Whatever happened to the facts?

Does anyone fact check anymore?


We wondered that as we read Kimberly R. Jones' "Ellen points the way for African-American celebrities" (The Progressive):

In the mid-1990s, Ellen DeGeneres came out on her nationally syndicated television show "Ellen." The controversy threatened to ruin her television and film career, but she held her ground and maintained her dignity. Since then, she has hosted the Academy Awards and the Emmys, as well as becoming the face of Cover Girl, in addition to other accomplishments.

Uh, Ellen came out when?

The April 14, 1997 issue was where she proclaimed on the cover of Time "Yep, I'm gay." "Her nationally syndicated television show 'Ellen'"? Nationally syndicated?

We know ABC gets bad ratings from time to time but syndicated?

Ellen was a half-hour sitcom that aired on ABC from 1994 to 1998. It wasn't a syndicated program. Nor was the sitcom in rerun syndication when she came out.

Does anybody fact-check?

Maybe they're afraid of being attacked by the White House for fact-checking?

Last Sunday, White House pit bull Anita Dunn told Howard Kurtz on CNN that Barack Obama, celebrity in chief, was avoiding Fox News because Fox News wasn't fair. It was pushing a Republican agenda. She offered 'proof' of this.

As Bob Somerby (The Daily Howler) explained last week, "Good God. Wallace was bumped from Obama's recent interview blitz because he once fact-checked an administration guest? [. . .]

Can we talk? Sunday morning news programs ought to fact-check their guests! The fact that they so rarely bother is one of their many shortcomings. Dunn was complaining about disparate treatment, saying Wallace never fact-checks anyone else. But could this really be the specific complaint the White House wants to lodge against Fox? We thought Wallace’s focus was obsessive in his Duckworth-related sessions. But if a guest has made misstatements, should these programs really ignore it?"

No, of course, they shouldn't ignore it.

So Fox News is boycotted by Barack due to Wallace fact-checking a guest?

And it's Fox News that was boycotted. Let's get that straight because Amy Goodman either can't grasp details or just doesn't care. September 21st, she was declaring, "But we want to talk about healthcare first. President Obama was on five networks on Sunday: on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and Univision. He skipped Fox, because they skipped his healthcare joint address to Congress." Barack skipped Fox News. Fox News did not 'skip' Barry's "healthcare joint address to Congress." It broadcast it in full.

Fox entertainment is not Fox News. Fox entertainment went with their scheduled programming. Fox News aired the 'address.'

Last week, Rush Limbaugh's dreams of being a part-owner of an NFL football team went up in smoke. We didn't lose any sleep over it.

But we did find it interesting to watch as the usual hairy-backed loons (hello, David Zirin!) worked themselves into a tizzy. You know, the same low-lifes who were screaming "Not fair!" when the right-wing media focused on Van Jones. That was wrong, they insisted then. But using the same techniques on Limbaugh? Okay with them.

Well not the same techniques. Van Jones' own words and actions were used to ease him out of the administration. A job, it should be remembered, that the tax payers fork over the salary for. But with Rush Limbaugh? Turns out the hairy-backed crowd invented a few quotations. In other words, they flat out lied.

Confronted with his using a false quote, Zirin insists it's not his fault: "For all the dittoheads out there, here is how we came up with the quote: it was in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Detroit Free Press, the Washington Post, and in the book 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America by Jack Huberman. It has been out in the ether for years. "

First, Hairy Back Boi, when you're using a false quote probably not a good idea to write "here is how we came up with" it. English, like personal grooming, has yet to be mastered by Hairy Back Boi.

If the quote has really "been out in the ether for years," one wonders, why are all of Zirin's links to October 2009 pieces?

We're having trouble finding the quote in the Detroit Free Press article (Zirin links to USA Today republication) but maybe that's explained at the top of the article with this: "Editor's note: A quote that has been widely attributed to Rush Limbaugh has been removed from the original version of this column after Limbaugh denied saying it. USA TODAY could not verify the accuracy of the quote."

When insisting you're in the right, probably not a good idea to use as a source a publication that has pulled the quote and stated they "could not verify the accuracy of the quote."

At The Washington Post link, Mike Freeman does not reveal where the quote came from. He either attempts to mislead or doesn't know how to link because he does provide a link but it goes to an AP report that does not contain the quote. What of St. Louis Post-Dispatch?

A quote in Bryan Burwell's column Oct. 7 attributed to Rush Limbaugh about the merits of slavery in the United States cannot be verified, and its use did not meet the Post-Dispatch's standards for sourcing. Limbaugh said he did not make the statement. Burwell's column did not identify the source of the quote, which was Jack Huberman's 2006 book "101 People Who Are Really Screwing America." The book provided no details about the origin of the quote. When contacted by the Post-Dispatch, Huberman said that he had a source for the quote but declined to reveal it on advice of counsel. The book's publisher, Nation Books, did not return calls to the Post-Dispatch.

So that link is no good either. And any high school student learns citation and grasps that citing secondary sources all using the same primary source is frowned upon.

So what we're left with is Dave Zirin providing four 'sources' for the lie he repeated -- which he has not retracted nor apologized for and is still claiming to possibly be accurate -- and it is most likely one source being cited by three people. We know it's one source cited by two. And two of his three cited newspapers have retracted the quote -- stated they cannot stand by it.

But silly Dave Zirin continues to do so.

Whatever happened to facts?


Jim: The edition from hell. We're doing a roundtable and our e-mail address is Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and me, Jim and C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review. We long ago sent everyone else to bed. Ty, how about explaining the edition? [Third note: Illustration by Betty's kids.]


Ty: The good news for our regular readers is that you have two TV pieces by Ava and C.I. You have two articles by them because the edition fell apart and to try to help they went off and wrote a second piece. We have highlights by Mike and the gang. We have . . . Nothing else currently and it is 8:00 a.m. PST as I say that.

Dona: Now we have things we've worked on and expect Jim to do a solo piece on Halloween. But other than Ava and C.I.'s TV commentaries and highlights we have nothing else completed or that we can even guarantee will post. And, to be honest, I've felt several times since we started last night, maybe it's getting time for us to think about ending. I'm not trying to call an end to things but I am saying that's how I've felt.

Jess: We really did hit a wall and we only got a second wind a few seconds ago when I grabbed the guitar and C.I. hopped on the piano and we started playing songs and getting everyone to sing. We were completely defocused and I don't want to go through another weekend like this ever again. I propose a best of edition should something like this happen in the immediate future. And I know Dona's not saying, "Pack it in." And I agree with what she's saying about feeling like maybe we've passed our point.

Jim: Okay, so that's where we're at. I'm grabbing some e-mails quickly. Raed Jarrar wrote again. To whine again. He wants to talk about the law. Study it, Raed, study it. And stop wasting our time.

Dona: I actually wrote back to him already and told him that unless he gets off the pity pottie, I don't need to hear from him again.

Jim: Louise e-mails asking what we think of the Balloon Boy.

Jess: The Bubble Boy? From Seinfeld?

Jim: No, the Balloon Boy.

Ava: That's some little kid. I don't follow that story. I only know it's a little kid from going to Google News and scrolling past those non-stories.

Jim: Okay, so that's what we think. It's a non-story. It has nothing to do with your life or our lives and it doesn't really matter. Brandi wants to know what our favorite episodes of American Dad are?

Ty: "A.T. The Abusive Terrestrial." That's where Roger is abused by a new friend, Henry. When Hentry says, "You're as fat as a fort" and Roger says, "I beg your pardon," it's just so funny the way he says, "I beg your pardon." Then when Steve finds out that Henry's beating Roger and Roger defends him, Steve says, "You sound just like Daphne Zuniga from that Lifetime movie and you remember what happened to her." "Oh my God," Roger worries, "she ended up on ABC Family! Well I'm not going to let that happen to me!"

Jess: Mine's either "The Vacation Goo" or "Haylias." In the latter, Hayley's childhood spy training is activated by Stan in an attempt to control her and it backfires. In the former, Roger goes out for acting roles as a woman explaining that the idea just came to him -- while watching Tootsie. He ends up blowing the job and stuck on a cruise ship performing an Olivia Newton-John tribute only to be fired from that job and stuck stripping in Puerto Rico. There's also a funny scene with Hayley and her boyfriend assembling a piece of equipment.

Dona: I'll go with the one that aired last Sunday where Roger disguised himself as a little girl named Caitlin Miracle for a plane ride and then got upset when they wouldn't serve him alcohol.

Ava: We'll go with "Stan's Night Out," C.I. and I. We've actually discussed this over and over. When you're on the road in cars and airplanes every week, you discuss a number of topics. Kat, Wally, C.I. and I agreed that "Stan's Night Out" is our favorite. It's our favorite due to "nip slip" at the start of the episode when Hayley and Roger are the make up counter of a department store.

C.I.: And then they have a contest to see who is sexier. Roger seems to win the contest and prepares for his date which appears to include using a lint brush as an IUD. It's a very funny episode.

Jim: Mine would be "The One That Got Away" where Roger's being screwed over by one of his rogue, runaway personalities. It's a funny episode. Robert had a related question: Family Guy or American Dad, which is funnier?

Jess: American Dad. And Family Guy's sucked with the new episodes so far this year. It's just not that funny. The Spies Like Us parody last week was awful.

C.I.: Like the real bad opening of the episode of Friends that Billy Crystal and Robin Williams guested in. Only it was pretty much the entire episode. But Family Guy's really not that funny to begin with. It really doesn't do the subversion the way American Dad does.

Ava: And there's the whole attack Meg b.s. that just leaves a bad taste.

Jim: Family Guy had some funny ones last year but the first two this year have been so bad I felt like they were in their last season. The best American Dad's revolve around Roger. And I think the community consensus is that when Roger and Hayley are paired up, you've got a great episode. I'd agree with that, by the way.

Ty: One topic on our list of topics that we haven't worked on -- list of topics for articles -- is Barack and LGBT rights. I'll toss that out for here.

Dona: I am deeply depressed by the liars who continue to provide cover for Barack. I loved Marcia's "Why Urvashi Vaid has nothing to say to me" because she was nailing a liar to the wall for her little stunt.

Jess: I don't think any of us believed that Barack was going to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell before he was president. He was a liar repeatedly by then. He had already appeared to argue that Loving v. Virginia was either decided wrong or else he thought it was a lawsuit against a church and not against a state. He's a moron who used homophobia repeatedly for his campaign.

Jim: What really makes me sick are the liars who say that he's the first one to welcome gays. Whatever, you damn liars. They hate Bill Clinton so much, it's just a sickness with them. And I'm talking about people on the left.

Ava: I want to note that at the end of the spring and early summer, there were those tours that were supposed to 'change' things. And they weren't going to. As C.I. pointed out, it wasn't about anything other than providing Barack cover. They lied and said Ted Kennedy was spear heading the effort in the Senate. The same Ted who couldn't attend meetings and would be dead shortly. The Democratic leadership doesn't want to vote on this and the White House has no plans to push it.

C.I.: Which means it's not happening. It's not going to happen now. They're all in campaign mode, in Congress. And 2010 may see the Dems lose some seats which means we would hear them whine: "We don't have a super-duper, extra fudge on top majority in both houses so we can't do anything." By 2011, opposition to Barack will be even greater and, no, in 2012, it's not going to happen. The public --as polls repeatedly demonstrate -- approves of killing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The ones who need to be convinced -- or forced -- is Congress. And it's the sort of thing an administration needs to do in the first year or it doesn't get done. Add in that Barack could sign an executive order barring any discharges based on sexuality while the US is fighting two wars.

Ty: He won't even do that. Maybe because he knows how long these two wars are really going to last? But Lt. Dan Choi, for example, on the verge of being kicked out of the military because he's gay, one signature by Barack to an executive order and Choi and every other gay and lesbian service members is able to do their service and not worry.

C.I.: I think that's a really good point you're making and one that's not being talked about. Which is that Barack continuing to allow the military to kick out gays and lesbians puts an incredible pressure on the gays and lesbians serving. I don't just mean the normal pressures of being in the closet, I mean pressures of, "Oh, I'm going to be found out any day now and then I'll be kicked out!" If you're constantly worried that you're going to be kicked out, how effective are you? Think about how much more effective you'd be if that worry was removed.

Ty: I agree with that completely and I also liked Choi's speech because what he talked about. It was so different from the embarrassing speeches I was hearing and we've talked about this before. You can't argue for gays and lesbians to be in the military and pretend they're not gay. And if you're an activist and you're coming off as ashamed don't think it's not going to be picked up by your audience.

Jim: And I think you're right on that. And Barack's never been forced to explain why he won't do an executive order on this issue. He's not even being asked to overturn it, just to halt it while the wars are going on. He won't do it. If he won't do it when the military needs to keep every service member they can, I don't see him doing it any other time.

Ava: And while that annoys me on every level and while I'm sorry for those who will suffer, the fact that he repeatedly used homophobia in the campaign goes to who he is and what he believes in so no one should be surprised now.

Ty: And while it's not surprising, it is appalling. Barack and I would both be drinking at "Colored" water fountains if it weren't for past presidents who showed far more bravery.

Jess: But he doesn't get that. He doesn't make that association. That's what Ava and C.I. were pointing out back in January 2008. Anderson Cooper tried to make the comparison and asked him, "Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay marriage?"

Ava: And Barack responded it should be up to "denominations." States makes marriages legal, not churches. If Loving v. Virginia had been left up to "denominations," the laws against interracial marriage never would have been pulled.

Ty: You just can't trust him. That's the reality about Barack.

Jim: And Dona's waiving to indicate time. So this was a rush transcript to a rush roundtable.


Bridge bombings are back. That is only some of the violence last week in Iraq.


Sunday saw 31 reported dead and 93. Monday saw 7 reported dead and 21 reported injured. Tuesday saw 9 reported dead and 17 reported wounded. Wednesday saw 15 reported dead and 53 wounded. Thursday saw 3 person reported dead and 26 injured. Friday saw 19 reported dead and 106 wounded. Saturday saw 5 reported dead and 11 reported injured. At least 89 reported dead last week and 336 reported wounded.

Tuesday on New Hampshire Public Radio's Word of Mouth, Virginia Prescott spoke with Human Rights Watch's Scott Long and Matt McAllester about the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community.

Wednesday VA Secretary Eric Shinseki admitted to the House Veterans Affairs Committee the VA knew that there would be problems with issuing checks for the GI Bill. Thursday found the VA's Kevin Wilson shrugging, "If we did not meet those expectations, then we need to be held accountable for that." If?

Thursday, a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee (Subcommittee on Health) explored billing problems. US House Rep. Glen Nye explained the problem, "Unfortunately inappropriate billing effects both service-connected veterans and non-service connected veterans. For example, a veteran with a service-related spinal cord injury may be billed for the treatment of a urinary tract infection. Now the urinary tract infection may clearly be linked to and the result of the service-connected injury; however, veterans are still receiving bills for the treatment of such secondary conditions. As a result, these veterans may be forced to seek a time consuming and burdensome re-adjudication of their claim indicating the original service-connected ratings. It is my understanding that one of the reasons for inappropriate billing of secondary conditions is that the VA cannot store more than six service-connected conditions in their IT system. It is also my understanding that the VA is taking steps to correct the deficiency but the problem has not been fully resolved and our veterans continue to receive inaccurate bills. Non-service-connected veterans also encounter over-billing and inappropriate charges for co-payments. One issue that I've been made aware of repeatedly is that some non-service connected veterans receive multiple bills for a single medical treatment or health care visit."

Among the big news out of Iraq last week -- a country which saw one bridge blown up Friday and two on Saturday -- was the draft law for the elections 'intended' to be held in January after being pushed back from December. There is no law. And they missed the Thursday deadline. Without a law, no elections.

There is no progress in Iraq. That's always been the reality.

Simon Assaf's 'Violence continues in Iraq'

Violence continues in Iraq
by Simon Assaf

Iraq has been rocked by a series of blasts that have killed scores of people. The latest, which took place in Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar province, targeted a meeting between the Awakening Councils, insurgents who switched sides to become key US allies and the Iraqi military.

The attacks have exposed the severe problems faced by the Awakening Councils following the US withdrawal from the restive Sunni Muslim province – once the centre of an insurgency that humiliated the US army.

Awakening Councils leaders are complaining that they have been abandoned by the US. Many live in fear of reprisals for collaborating with the occupation.
The death rate among Iraqis has reached the 2007-8 levels, one of the bloodiest years of the occupation.

Iraq continues to reel from the occupation. Although the US has been gradually drawing down its troops to send them Afghanistan, some 130,000 soldiers remain -- double the number in Afghanistan.

Although the disappearance of US troops from major urban centres to giant bases has greatly reduced violence, none of the problems that dogged the occupation have been resolved.

The country continues to be plagued by power cuts, high unemployment and ethnic and sectarian conflicts. Now a severe drought has destroyed the agricultural sector.

The latest bombings are said to be the work of insurgents opposed to the Shia Muslim dominated government and the Awakening Councils.

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Over 1,164 US troops may have been exposed to Sodium Diochromate

Last week the Democratic Policy Committee issued the following:

(WASHINGTON , D.C. ) --- The U.S. Army is ramping up its response to the exposure of U.S. troops in Iraq to the deadly chemical sodium dichromate, U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said Friday. He said it has also doubled the Army estimate of the number of U.S. troops who may have been exposed to the cancer-causing chemical from 347 to more than 1,164.

Department of Veterans Affairs is also stepping up its effort to respond to the exposures to better monitor and treat exposed soldiers."These are significant breakthroughs," Dorgan said Friday. "Lives will be saved because of these actions."

As Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), Dorgan chaired hearings on the exposure, and the Army's response in June 2008 and August 2009. Multiple failures by the contractor, KBR, were revealed at the 2008 hearing. The hearing in August focused on the Army's response to the exposure and its failure to adequately monitor, test, and notify soldiers who may have been exposed of the health risks they may now face. Dorgan has been pushing the Army, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to launch a more vigorous effort to reach, warn, monitor and treat soldiers who may have been exposed to the chemical at the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility in 2003.

Dorgan released a letter Friday from Army Secretary Pete Geren who said the Army is now working to track down and notify all 1,164 exposed soldiers to alert them to the health risk they now face. Geren told Dorgan the Army is now working more closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that VA health professionals know to be looking for sodium dichromate exposure symptoms and how to treat them.

Dorgan also released a letter from Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eric Shinseki informing him that the VA is stepping up its response to the exposure. Shinseki wrote that the VA is now offering veterans who were at the site free medical monitoring and treatment. Previously, soldiers exhibiting symptoms consistent with sodium dichromate had to prove their conditions were service connected. That burden of proof, which the VA has lifted,often delayed or prevented treatment for illnesses for which prompt and urgent treatment often means the difference between life and death.

National Guard troops from West Virginia , Oregon , South Carolina , Indiana and members of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division were among those at the Qarmat Ali site who were exposed to the deadly chemical.


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.

"Iraq snapshot," "Post-9/11 GI Bill," "House VA's Subcommittee on Health," "Iraq snapshot," "House Committee on Veterans Affairs" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. and Kat report on three Congressional hearings they attended.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Prizes" -- Isaiah's comic gem.

"Grow up, Danny Schechter" -- the most requested highlight of the week.

"Bully Boy Bush the destroyer" -- Isaiah dips into the archives to highlight an early favorite.

"Somerby on the cry of 'They fact checked!'" -- multiple requests for this to be highlighted.

"Chicken & Rice in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a new recipe.

"Barbra Streisand's auction," "Barbra's latest record," "barbra's auction," "TV and Barbra" and "glen nye, barbra streisand" -- Barbra coverage in the community.

"World Food Day" -- Ruth on World Food Day.

"Lt. Dan Choi" and "Why Urvashi Vaid has nothing to say to me" -- Ruth and Marcia on LGBT issues.

"Alexander Cockburn hopes you're really, really stupid" -- Elaine offers a strong critique of a distractor.

"Celebrity Whine" and "THIS JUST IN! LA BITCHY!" -- Cedric and Wally take on the bitchy starlet.

"Selling widows in Iraq"-- Betty on the policy of marrying off Iraqi widows for cash.

"gordo even screws up a withdrawal" -- Yes, Rebecca, he does.

"Carly Simon sues lying Starbucks" -- Did Starbucks mishandle Carly Simon's This Kind Of Love? Kat documents it and documented it back in 2008.

"Tom Ricks: One Doughnut Short Of A Dozen" & "FSRN, the Idiot Maddow" -- Stan and Elaine offer media critiques.

"Who hired her?" and "THIS JUST IN! DUMB IN PRINT!" -- Cedric and Wally on simplistic idiots.

"Prizes" -- Ann discusses Isaiah's comic.

"Barack's assault on the press" -- Marcia's 'controversial' post.

"Gail Collins" and "Mondays" -- Mondays are a pain in the ass. So is Gail.

"John Walsh, Tom Eley, Barry Grey, Isaiah, Third" -- Mike with a full plate.

"The come down" & "THIS JUST IN! NO NEW AWARDS!!" -- Poor Barry O. Last week, he didn't win a single award.

"Justice For Iraq" -- Trina on meanings.
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