Sunday, December 20, 2009

Truest statement of the week

Yes, the Senate plan would extend coverage to the uninsured--by forcing them to buy policies, whether they can afford them or not. Millions of people will have to buy high-premium, low-quality insurance through private health insurance exchanges, or be forced to pay a penalty. Those plans won't cover abortions, if a handful of right-wing Democrats and Republican conservatives have their way.
And remember President Barack Obama's vow to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against individuals with preexisting conditions? That's in the proposed bill--but if you've got such a condition, you could pay up to 50 percent more for your coverage. Ditto for older people, who could pay premiums up to three times higher than younger people.
If you're lucky enough to have a high-quality employer-sponsored insurance plan, you can keep it if you want, as Obama often says. But you'll pay for it, big-time. The Senate has taken Obama's plan to tax "Cadillac" health insurance plans--typically those won by union members over decades--even further, so now more modest "Chevy" plans will be taxed, too.

-- Lee Sustar, "The Senate's health care fiasco" (US Socialist Worker).

Truest statement of the week II

In my opinion, two things make the continuity of policy from Bush-Obama so very heinous—besides the tripling of troop strength in Afghanistan and no reduction of troops from Iraq—are the escalation of drone bombings and the escalation of the use of military contractors (read mercenary killers) in the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. These two policies were profoundly wicked when George was at the helm and just because there’s a new imperial skipper the policies don’t become any less evil.

-- Cindy Sheehan, "Afghan Democracy Movement by Cindy Sheehan" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. We're done way earlier than usual. Give credit to Dona, Ava and C.I. Dona for insisting on short features. Ava and C.I. for saying "F**k this, we're done." The two of them had a huge headache all night (from no sleep) and they have to repeat the same day today so when they said they weren't in the mood, we listened.

Along with Dallas, the following helped on 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.

In previous notes, it's been pointed out that I left out Dona and Ty. That was an accident, my apologies. I just copy and paste the credits. (Dona and Ty were off on Thanksgiving and that's probably when I started leaving them out, the week after.) Also, thank you to Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts who participated last week and didn't get a thanks (and didn't even get called on in our roundtable). We thank everyone who worked on this edition.

Let's talk about what we came up with.

Truest statement of the week -- Lee Sustar of Socialist Worker (US). On health care. Which reminds me of a note I'll include on another item. But first, check Mike's site each Monday for a rundown of the latest Third edition. Mike not only writes about what he noticed happening, he also tends to call Dona, Ty, Jess and me to ask questions. So he's got a solid take each week and usually catches the things I forget (or didn't even know).

Truest statement of the week II -- Cindy Sheehan. Cindy had two in competition for "truest." The other was the paragraph that falls the one we chose. It became a toss up and the next paragraph might have been the better choice. (However, I always pushed for this one.)

Editorial: Women's rights thrown under the bus -- Trina wanted to work on this editorial. We were thrilled to have her input. But I (Jim) was surprised by her eagerness. Ava, C.I. and Cedric came in wanting the editorial to be about the Senate stab in the back. They were firm on that. So that became the editorial topic and I told myself that if it was weak, we'd replace at the last minute. I didn't know that they'd already had a conversation with Trina about it. During the conversation a number of topics were touched on including Cedric stating of certain left White-Anglo men, "They like Black dick." At which point, Trina couldn't stop laughing and she said, "If you are really doing that for the editorial, count me in." They discussed other things as well. In the editorial it's "cock." Why? Elaine and C.I. don't say "dick" except as an insult. This is a hard hitting editorial and so much more than I ever expected when I penciled this in Saturday night as our topic for the editorial. When we started writing, Cedric, Trina, Ava and C.I. were boom, boom, boom! And we had to say, "Hold on! Hold on!" Everyone wanted to get in on this. It was the most passionate editorial we've done in some time in terms of the writing and the energy level.

TV: No way -- Could Ava and C.I. write two pieces? No, they would not. They were very firm on that. What were they covering? They already knew what they were covering "so leave us alone." Again, they had nasty headaches throughout (Ava says, "Still do, wrap it up, Mr. Wordy!"). This is wonderful. They want it noted that they may need to come back and do a link. They're so tired their vision's blurry and they're not sure if they referenced another TV commentary? If they did, they'll fix it Monday or Tuesday by adding a link to their past article. Second, they've included A.N.S.W.E.R.'s. You'll see that a lot between now and March 20th. This is Ava and C.I.'s space and they are always trying to think of ways to better utilize it. They're planning to continue to include this in their effort to help get word out on the action.

Thank you, Bernie Sanders -- Truth? Politico got a lot of links because a friend of C.I.'s (with Politico) bugged C.I. and me for them. So when we could, we did link. We didn't link for no reason. There story on the sell-outs is a must read. From that, we did "Thank you, Bernie Sanders."

CODESTINK -- Ty and Dona brought the idea for this to the edition. Dona said, "Short, Jim, short."

Biggest Lie of the Week -- Another link to Politico. Guys, don't re-write history. It's neither honest nor amusing.

Iraq -- Our Iraq piece. We almost didn't have it. We were going to just do the count of the dead and the wounded because everyone was so tired. Then C.I. looked at it and said, "Well, add Chilcot from the inquiry." Then, "Well, we should include this new organization to get the word out on them . . ." So it ended up much meatier than the scrap it almost was.

Come And Get These Memories -- Jess found Missy's comment during research. We agreed we need to relive these moments. I had what I thought was a cute headline for this. Jess and Dona both hated it. I said, "It's too late to think of anything else, let's just post it." Ava and C.I. began singing the Motown hit "Come And Get These Memories." Proving me wrong.

The Attack of the Drones -- A repost.

The murder of Kelly Kwalik -- ETAN raises awareness.

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

And that's all we got. We'll see you next weekend.

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

Editorial: Women's rights thrown under the bus

Across the country, many people are reeling and wondering how the US Congress could so disrespect women? The obvious answer is the one so many refuse to recognize: Barack Obama waived them through.

Yes, 'the feminist' we had all been waiting for (or at least the One the embarrassing Ms. magazine had been waiting for) really wasn't a feminist, really wasn't a friend of women and really didn't give a damn about women's health, let alone women's rights.

Which is how the Senate got 60 votes for a bill that you would have thought, before yesterday, required a Republican majority to push through.

The new president of NOW, Terry O'Neill, issued a statement yesterday which included, "The National Organization for Women is outraged that Senate leadership would cave in to Sen. Ben Nelson, offering a compromise that amounts to a Stupak-like ban on insurance coverage for abortion care. Right-wing ideologues like Nelson and the Catholic Bishops may not understand this, but abortion is health care. And health care reform is not true reform if it denies women coverage for the full range of reproductive health services. We call on all senators who consider themselves friends of women's rights to reject the Manager's Amendment, and if it remains, to defeat this cruelly over-compromised legislation."

Good for Terry and good for NOW. Good for them for speaking out and good for them for drawing a line in the sand. They say if the amendment isn't pulled from the bill, senators should "defeat this cruelly over-compromised legislation." And they have urged you to, "Take Action NOW: Please call your senators immediately and urge them to oppose the Manager's Amendment in the Senate health care reform bill, which will effectively make abortion coverage unavailable in health insurance exchanges and, ultimately, in private insurance policies as well. If the Manager's Amendment passes, urge your senators to oppose the entire health reform bill."

That's action. We're against the whole bill (due to the fact that it's not universal health care, that it contains nothing to stop the rise in drug prices, that it contains nothing to help the average citizen). We agree with Howard Dean that it needs to be scrapped. But we applaud NOW for speaking out and fighting. Not everyone does that.

As we researched this article, someone asked, "Didn't a certain group of women start a new site?" Yes, they did.

Yes, and it is embarrassing.

notunderthe bus

It's called Not Under The Bus. Apparently, they failed to grasp that women were tossed under there by Barack in 2008. Poor girls.

Poor, stupid girls.

See, we're zooming in one section of the website.

notunderthe busuh

Not Under The Bus wanted to work with NARAL. The laughable and weak NARAL. NARAL's removed their 'action.' But from the Not Under The Bus tweet:

Emergency @NARAL petition needs your signature by tomorrow to ask Snowe to vote for health reform: #underthebus

Please insert your favorite curse word(s) of choice right about now.

And you wonder why women have to struggle for equality? A bill that was questionable, one that everyone knew might include an attack on women's rights. And NARAL is urging people to ask Senator Olympia Snowe to support it. NARAL, before the bill's written, is demanding you 'take action' to drum up support. That's the bill that NARAL is now protesting.

The smart thing, pay attention NARAL, would have been to have waited to see what the measure was before drumming up support for it.

And Not Under The Bus? You disgraceful women have already done enough damage. You're the women of (Democratic) Women's Media Center. The useless trash that wouldn't cover Cynthia McKinney's run for president until you were shamed into in the final days of the campaign -- this despite the fact that every post was on Barack Obama who, unless we're missing something, doesn't have a vagina. You made time to rip apart Sarah Palin -- usually in the most sexist manner. And you pretty much made 2008 all about proving just how little respect women can have for themselves. So maybe right about now you ought to pack it in?

A number of you claim to be for peace but we know we won't see you at the rallies in the new year. No, you could speak out against George W. but cowards like yourselves can't speak out against Barack.

Pack it in, girls, you give women a bad name.

Barack is the reason this happened, the reason women's rights and women's health are now in jeopardy. Barack has been assisted by the useless and self-defeating women of NARAL and Not Under The Bus.

But Barack's assisted by men as well. He's assisted by a toxic left which continues to spit on women. Last week, Joe Canon of Canonfire (if that's spelled wrong, f**k it and f**k him), decided that the thing to post was a nude photo of a woman. Not just any photo, mind you. This one is shot from below which, between the angle and the erect nipples jutting out, go a long way towards defining woman as the other. And who objected. Which of the PUMA websites rushed to delink from Canon? Not a damn one. Not one damn website could delink or even object. They all turned their heads and acted like it didn't happen.



But men like Joe Canon think they can get away with it. Men like Alexander Cockburn as well. At CounterPunch, what better way to raise money for the website that reposts everything than to sell a calendar and a cheesecake one at that. That's 'liberated.'

*If you're only concerned with one half of the human race.

*If you believe that women and their bodies exist solely for the left males to profit from and off of.

It's disgusting and no one's calling it out.

The same way all the sexism aimed at Hillary Clinton and at Cynthia and at Palin never got called out in 2008. It was 'funny' and you just didn't have a sense of humor -- male or female -- if you weren't laughing.

Funny but the ones who didn't have the sense of humor were the members of the Cult of St. Barack. Or have we all forgotten the attacks on The New Yorker for a parody cover? Have we forgotten the former president of NOW, Kim Gandy, urging that the copies be burned. Book burning. How very.

Time and again, women are disrespected. And the lie is that it's conservatives (men and women) doing it.

That's not to argue that huge numbers of social conservatives don't disrespect women. They do. But the punch that hurts the most is the sucker punch you get from a 'friend.' In that regard, the ones doing the most damage have been and continue to be on the left.

"March with us," they say, "join us."

Left unsaid is that you're there to make their demands and only their demands and if, at any time, you're foolish enough to think that you are, indeed, in this together, just try making a demand for women's equality and watch the howler monkeys screech: IDENTITY POLITICS!

Here's reality and we'll be kind and not name the woman online who should be ashamed of herself because, in her hatred, she jumps onto the "Yeah, it's Identity Politics!" bandwagon, "identity politics" for the left male screaming it means any issue that does not effect the Anglo-White male or the African-American male [straight males in both cases -- or self-loathing closet cases]. So immigrant rights? That's "identity politics." Marriage equality? "Identity politics!" Women's rights? "Identity politics!"

Some have found it strange that the Anglo-White male can support the African-American male. We don't find it strange at all and we have two theories on that. First, racism is an evil and the same Anglo-White male spouting sexist 'jokes' knows he'd be vilified if spouted racist 'jokes.' Second, they worship Black Cock.

That's true of a huge number of Anglo-White males on the left. We're not saying they're gay. We wish they were, they'd stop snapping "Identity politics!" every ten seconds. What we're saying is they wish they were African-American. A large number of them do. In the 50s and early 60s, they were jazz hipsters. In the late 60s, you could find them on campuses trying to carry off a fro (they never carried it off). More recently, you can find them trying to act like African-American rappers. By contrast, check out African-American males of the same period and you'll not see this huge desire on their part to act or be White. It's just a very curious characteristic of a certain number of Anglo-White males on the left.

We don't know what it is about the emasculated Angl0-White male of the left but he's always lusted after the African-American male. We will note that women did not emasculate these men. They emasculated themselves. As for why they emasculated themselves, we'll leave that for someone else to figure out. But the reality is that if they lusted after vaginas the way they do Black Cock, women would be in a lot better position today.

TV: No way

"There's no way that happened," a Michigan student was insisting to us as we spoke at her campus last week. If Tony Blair had been asked about WMD and responded, "I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments, about the nature of the threat," it would have been "huge," insisted the student, "and Amy Goodman would have been covering it."

Maybe . . . in 2003. Or 2004 or 2005. But in 2009 Amy Goodman's just another Media Whore. Tony Blair did make those statements (and others) in a BBC interview and some did register the remarks and what they meant. For example, Henry Chu (Los Angeles Times) observed, "It was a startling admission from the onetime British leader, who was President Bush's staunchest ally in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Blair's comments were immediately denounced by critics who accused him of using false pretenses to drag Britain into an unpopular war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of allied troops and thousands of Iraqi civilians." Stephen Jones (Epoch Times) reported, "Tony Blair's admission that Britain would have still taken part in the Iraq war -- even if it knew that Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction (WMD), has sparked calls that Blair stand trial for war crimes." Goody didn't have time for it. Excuse us, she had time to reduce it to a headline -- to ninth headline out of fifteen on Monday. No segment, no probe, no discussion, nothing. Blink and you missed it. As Goody once hectored The New York Times, "It's a matter of emphasis."

Last week found Goody joining the gymboree in Copenhagen and what she chose to emphasize was "live." "We're broadcasting live from Copenhagen . . ." She's say it after the opening theme music and she'd also often say it in her teasers over the opening music. If "live" to you means Goody does wrap arounds for pre-recorded pieces, you were in hog heaven. Most, however, probably caught on to the reality of the canned nature of "Climate Countdown: Copenhagen" (yes, her program's now as bad as any corporation -- with cutesy slogans). Certainly those catching the live stream (WBAI listeners, visitors to the Democracy Now! website, etc.) should have caught on. You can't include clips from your 'live' interviews in your opening moments of the show. No, you can't. But Goody did just that repeatedly.

It was week two of canned Democracy Now! shows from Copenhagen. The Iraq Inquiry was taking place in London, an inquiry into the illegal war that John Pilger has called "The Crime of the Century," and Goody and her fringe freaks didn't have time for it. See, they'd already spent weeks ahead of time planning.

Their coverage?

Oh, cookie. Please.

There wasn't a spontaneous moment in Copenhagen. True of the various officials representing countries and true of the protesters.

As the first week whimpered along, we'd talked to various real environmentalists and heard about all about the freaks like Naomi Klein who had spent months trying to round up support for what they swore would be "the next Seattle." Didn't turn out that way, but it never would have. You can't put a weak minded and non-creative person like Naomi in charge and expect to get anything accomplished. She was far from the only freak.

We couldn't stop laughing at what they produced -- and what Goody chose to highlight. The big complaint Goody used to make (pre-2004) was that activists were always portrayed as "screaming" and she'd usually pair that with 'maybe if they were invited in, they wouldn't have to yell.' But there was Goody doing just that, all damn week, yelling protesters. With little slogans. The ones NPR had made fun of the week before. For good reason.

The leaders of the freaks are angry and that's the only 'message' they got across. Movements have to recruit new members to be successful. When you fail to do that, you're the Shakers. That's the reality, like it or not. Anger doesn't recruit a lot of people. Engaging them might. When most people hear yelling, the response isn't, "What are they yelling about?" No, the response is to move on. The un-official theme song of the non-event really drove home that the 'leaders' had no idea of how to lead. A rap song.

A rap song.

Angry chants and a bad rap song.

The Civil Rights Movement offered a ton of songs (some of which were original to the movement, some of which were adopted by it) and the focus on those songs sung in public during activism was on melody. The Copenhagen Freaks would have been better off trying to adapt new lyrics to Celine Dion's theme to Titanic than trying to seem 'hip.' During the Civil Rights Movement, Motown emerged. Great songs, no question. But the Civil Rights Movement didn't say, "Hey, we'd be 'hip' if we did 'My Guy' or 'Stop! In The Name Of Love'." The Copenhagen Freaks just wanted to be 'hip.' They lack the artistic chops to come up with anything catchy -- let alone arresting -- and they lack the brains to realize they're supposed to be reaching out. They just wanted to be superior. So all you saw and heard was shouting and anger. And blame.

But the real blame goes to those freaks who thought they were leaders. Leaders are supposed to inspire which this whacked out group confused with "perspire." Chief among the idiots Kumi Naidoo. Now before we talk about the stupidity of Naidoo, we should probably first talk about Greenpeace's stupidity. A man with no record of accomplishment in environmental issues got put into a position that is, thus far, too much for him. When you pick a president, you need to grasp he or she is your public face. Had Greenpeace grasped that, Naidoo never would have become president because, as a general rule, those who grow pelts on the side of their face are a little too 'out there' to speak to the average citizen. With Naidoo, the immediate question is: Does he shave or is he sheered?

He may have wool but there's nothing lamb-like about the man who, after Barack Obama gave his Nobel Peace Prize winning speech, declared that the escalation in Afghanistan and the continued war in Iraq could be forgotten if Barack would only address climate change. [Marcia called it out here.] Greenpeace is losing donors off of that one and that's a good thing because that s**t never should have come out of the mouth of the president of any organization. We do not okay the deaths of millions to get our own pet issue pushed through the pipeline.

It's a lesson Bono still hasn't learned. He refused to call out George W. Bush and he refused to speak out against the Iraq War. When asked why by Jann Wenner for a Rolling Stone cover story, Bono explained that his issues were important and Bush's help with those issues bought Bono's silence. That was laughable then and it's more laughable now. Bono's nothing but a joke.

Kumi Naidoo has helped turn Greenpeace into the same thing.

Jokes were really all Naomi Klein had to offer, or attempted ones. She was on Democracy Now! so much in the last two weeks, she was practically Kelly Rippa to Goody's Regis. Not that the overexposure made Naomi generous with other guests. Thursday, she was pretending she really didn't want to be back on again while sharing a segment with French reporter Jade Lindgaard.

For someone who didn't want to be on, she certainly monopolized the segment. Lindgaard managed to get out 213 words while Naomi yacked away for 851. That's basically four times as many words. (It's one word over four times for those doing the math.)

All those words, she must have had something to say, right? The Obama administration had come up with a proposal. Whether you like the proposal or not (Naomi didn't), it came from the Obama administration. We grasp that Naomi hates all women (she's made that increasingly clear) and possibly she truly believes that women go 'rouge' -- a term she snorts out whenever speaking of Sarah Palin; however, Hillary Clinton doesn't make policy. If the US is proposing leading on a $100 billion effort, Hillary didn't decide that morning, while putting on her make up, "You know Barack wants me to announce ___ in Copenhagen, but I think instead, I'll just create a $100 billion proposal."

Naomi ripped apart the proposal and ripped apart Clinton. Like the roots she hails from, she naturally avoided ripping apart Barry Obama.

When Barack won the 2008 election, Naomi told Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive), "Well, I made a really conscious choice that I was going to enjoy the night." She wasn't, she explained, going to listen to 'downer' friends who noted he was just another Corporatist War Hawk. And Naomi's 'positive thinking' (willful blindness) continues to this day. As does her never ending sexism. In the interview with Matty Roth, Naomi's blustering (while stroking herself?) about Lawrence Summers and, like many a Blue Dog gas bag, insulting the p.c. movement. She's offended, oh, let's let her tell it:

But to me it's just shocking -- and I know we shouldn't be shocked -- that Larry Summers is [a leading economic adviser]. And even more shocking to me -- and I don't know how to say this in a politically correct way -- is that the main thing that people are objecting to is what Summers said at Harvard about women's aptitude in science. It was an offensive thing to say, and he lost his job for it. But that, to me, is so much less of a crime than the fact that he was the main architect in Treasury for the shock therapy in Russia that impoverished sixty million people --and did a lot of harm to women.

You can be sure if Lawrence Summers had said that African-American males weren't able to do math because of genetic deficiencies, Naomi would take the remark seriously. Instead, it's 'just women' and insults of women and discrimination against women never really matter to Naomi Klein.

In that regard, she truly is the face of the Faux Left.

Imagine a real left, a left that gave a damn about ending the Iraq War? Such a left might decide, "Forget Copehagen, let's go demonstrate in London." Certainly, it was always known that nothing would be accomplished in the big Denmark meet-up (something even Nicole Colson appears to admit at US Socialist Worker). Naomi and her band of cry babies (perfectly captured by a woman who told Amy Goodman she was there so that developing countries would know people like her cared about the issue -- give her a gold star!) hoped to top Seattle 1999 but they couldn't even manage to recreate it. That's what tends to happen with stage managed 'actions' as opposed to real demonstrations.


So Amy Goodman wasted two weeks of everyone's time and no one learned about Blair's remarks or the Iraq Inquiry and Barack's BigBusinessGiveAway (posing as health care reform) came ever closer to passing. Goody had no time last week for Howard Dean or any of the opponents of the Big Giveaway. But, segment after segment, she did have time to pretend she was addressing global warming.

If you're unhappy with the US policy on global warming, you better blame the person in charge. And despite the lunatic ravings of Naomi Klein on Goody's show, Hillary Clinton is not the president of the United States. Though Naomi could screech ("screech" is the only word for it) that Hillary was attempting to "blackmail" developing countries -- "naked blackmail" at that, the offer was the one that the administration wanted proposed. But there was never time to call out the person responsible. Goody offered lots of 'love' segments for Barack. She just didn't hold him accountable. It's not an accident, it's intentional. It happened with his 'surge' speech (as we documented before) and it'll continue to happen. And don't expect any movement in this country when 'left' 'leaders' are too cowed to call out a sitting president. Expect people to continue being Naomi Klein Zombies, wandering around in a daze, having "made a really conscious choice that I was going to enjoy the night."

Thank you, Bernie Sanders

In "Payoffs for states seal Senate deal" (Politico), Chris Frates details the playas playing the American public for fools: "But another Democratic holdout, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), took credit for $10 billion in new funding for community health centers, while denying it was a 'sweetheart deal.' He was clearly more enthusiastic about a bill he said he couldn't support just three days ago."

Bernie Sanders

Though adamantly opposed to Baracks's BigBusinessGiveAway, we say: Thank you, Bernie Sanders.

Sanders is the only Socialist currently in the Senate and his craven actions prove that the Corporatist Democratic and Republican Parties do not hold a monopoly or a patent on a lack of spine or an inability to stand up. Bernie demonstrates that not only is there no real difference between Republicans and Democrats, there's no real difference between them and Socialists.

Most of all, he proves the axiom: Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Thank you, Bernie.

Thank you clarity.

Thank you disillusionment.

Thank you nothingness.

Thank you consequence.

Thank you, thank you silence


"Thank You" -- minus "Bernie" -- is a song written and recorded by Alanis Morissette, first appearing on her Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie album.


Well, lookie here, I-Need-Attention Benjamin had e-mailed us. The e-mail was sent out 11:50 a.m. Friday and entitled "Let's Toast to 10 Good Things About 2009!"


10 good things? Could it be true? Could number one be Medea announcing she'd finally satiated her preening ego and would be retiring from her faux activism which has led her to falsely claim many things? This is, after all, the "Democrat" of "Progressive Democrats of America" who is also a "Green." Of course, she's neither a Democrat nor a Green. But if Medea couldn't hide in closets, the world might have to look at that face even more often.

Reading over her e-mail we realized that among Medea's long list of faults is her inability to count to ten.

"Let's Toast to 10 Good Things About 2009!" she exclaimed in the e-mail's title. But she only offered four. We had to click here to read her ten -- and what a weak list.

No, she doesn't announce her retirement or even exile. Yes, she makes the usual fool out of herself. Like when she was cheering on the Afghanistan War and then tried to pretend that she'd never done any such thing.

Medea Benjamin, ladies and gentlemen, putting the stank in CODESTINK.

Biggest Lie of the Week

Writing at Politico, Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin declared:

Unlike most Democrats, Obama won the nomination without the support of liberal union leaders, bloggers, and members of Congress, most of whom rallied around him only after he had effectively become the Democratic nominee. Running as an outsider, he wasn’t forced to match his sweeping pledges of change to specific commitments to interest groups, and some current claims of betrayal may have more to do with the hope Obama inspired than with the commitments he made.

Well, if this were China, their article would be the first sign of a new cultural revolution: The revising of history.

But instead, this is the United States. And in 2007 and 2008, the blogosphere got on board with Barack. They got on board like crazy issuing calls for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the Democratic Party's race for the presidential nomination. They ripped her apart, they banned people who left comments disputing right-wing lies (that the left bloggers were now repeating).

To Ben and Martin, we say, "We had no idea Politico paid enough to buy the really good stuff." But, hey, smoke it if you got it.



As for the labor unions?

January 9, 2008, the Nevada SEIU chapter endorsed Barack. But let's not deal with chapters, let's deal with the SEIU itself. February 15, 2008, they issued their endorsement. We're surprised Ben Smith doesn't remember that because February 14, 2008, for Politico, he was reporting that the endorsement was coming. Not only did Barack get the endorsement February 15th, it followed, by one day, the endorsement of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union's endorsement.

As for members of Congress? Ben, Martin, allow us to introduce you to Nancy Pelosi. Her title is "Speaker of the House." She lobbied so hard for Barack, she broke every rule in the book. Or how about John Kerry campaigning with Barry O before and after Kerry's own state made it clear in their primary that they supported Hillary? John Kerry, the party's 2004 presidential nominee. How about US House Rep Jesse Jackson Jr.? How about U.S. House Rep John Conyers? U.S. House Rep Barbara Lee? We can go on and on.

We have no idea what compelled Ben and Martin to write such blatant untruths. We can only hope they were under the influence of something -- and that it was really good stuff.


In the hearings so far, a huge amount of valuable and illuminating evidence has been uncovered, and that's why we approach the opening phase of hearings in the way we did. We have not been trying to ambush witnesses or score points. This is a serious Inquiry and we are not hear to provide public sport or entertainment. The whole point of our approach has been to get to the facts. We have been asking fair questions and have been expecting, and getting, full and truthful answers. That is the essence of a formal public inquiry and witness[es] have responded to this approach by being commendably open and candida, highlighting a number of issues which we shall examine much more closely as the Inquiry continues. Our model of questioning and our selection of witnesses in the hearing up until 11 January is designed to help to establish the narrative. We took a conscious decision to do this through the oral hearings rather than through the publication of a mass of documentary material because we believe that this is the most helpful way to provide the necessary context. We have, therefore, not yet made any requests to government to declassify documents to allow them to be published. As we move into the next phase of evidence taking, where we will hear from ministers and the most senior civil servants and military officers, the Inquiry will increasingly wish and need to draw on government documents and records which are currently classified, in some cases highly classified, in its questioning.

The above is just a little taste of the lengthy self-referential statement John Chilcot, chair of the Iraq Inquiry, made as he brought the public hearings to a halt for this year. The hearings have been critiqued and, apparently, the criticism is starting to get to Chiclot (pictured below).

John Chilcot

Tuesday, he redacted testimony and claimed "national security." People appear before the inquiry and make questionable statements and the committee rarely calls them out.

Is it a farce?

The committee begins hearing public testimony again next month including that of Tony Blair's.

The Iraq War continues, even with little to no coverage in the US. Last week, Spero News interviewed Biship Shlemon Warduni ("the Chaldean Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad"):

[Question:] What is the current situation of the Christian community in Iraq?

[Bishop Shlemon Warduni:] Our situation sparks concern and pain. The context is well-known: for years, Iraq has been ravaged by internal and external wars that have robbed the people of peace and basic social services like health and education. The consequences of the last war and military occupation are tragic. The political instability and anarchy has generated misery and destruction. This is why many Christians - along with thousands of other citizens - have had to leave the country. We have lost about a third of our community. It is a tragedy of vast dimensions, which is witnessed by the world.

[Question:] Have you noticed improvements in the last year? What do you hope from the new elections?

[Bishop Shlemon Warduni:] What has occurred is that the lack of political planning has led to the proliferation of terrorism, which today has its own agenda and destabilizes the country. Legality and security are lacking, the government is weak, and the elections (not yet established with certainty) will have to address these urgent needs, otherwise they will be useless. Meanwhile, attacks on churches and Christians continue: in the last two weeks there have been explosions in three churches in Mosul, not to mention in Baghdad, where three months ago a car bomb outside a church killed two young people and wounded 30, causing great material damage. [For us], tranquility is a small break between two attacks.

Iraq wasn't safe for anyone last week.

Sunday, 2 people were reported dead in Iraq and 26 injured, Monday 1 person was reported dead and 25 wounded, Tuesday saw 12 reported dead and 60 wounded, Wednesday saw 5 reported dead and 18 reported injured, Thursday saw 4 reported dead and 15 reported wounded, Friday saw 3 reported dead and 17 reported wounded. Saturday saw 3 people reported dead for a weekly total of 30 reported dead and 151 reported injured.

In the US, March Forward! is a new group, one that's "an affiliate of the ANSWER Coalition," composed of veterans. The group has a "10 Point Program for Struggle:"

1) We demand the right to refuse illegal and immoral orders.

Service members should no longer be bound to carry out the plans of the Pentagon and Wall Street in violation of U.S. law, international law and people's right to self-determination. Service members deserve the right to resist, without persecution, orders that conflict with internationally recognized laws or that conflict with their own conscience.

2) We demand an immediate end to the criminal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Service members should no longer be sent to fight, kill, die, be seriously wounded and/or psychologically scarred furthering the domination of U.S. corporations over other nations. We have nothing to gain from these wars. The occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan serve only the interests of the rich, not the service personnel who are sent over and over to repress people who have the right to determine their own destiny. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are not our enemies. The more than 800 U.S. bases in 130 countries around the world should be shut down and the troops, fleets and air power brought home.

3) We demand an end to the existing officer corps.

The existing class stratification in the military must end. Officers -- who are overwhelmingly from more privileged sectors of society -- enjoy a much higher standard of living. They are paid significantly more, are provided much higher quality housing, and have access to services not available to enlisted personnel. Officers advance their careers on the backs of enlisted personnel, going so far as to send their troops into harm's way for the good of their resumes. The existing officer corps should be dismantled and replaced by enlisted service members who are democratically elected by their units and who are subject to recall at anytime. Officers should no longer enjoy special privileges, including hand salutes. We also demand the right for lower enlisted ranks to unionize and form committees to address grievances with the chain of command, the unit and the military.

4) We demand an end to racism, sexism and homophobia prevalent in the military.

These are intentional barriers to rank-and-file unity against the will of the Pentagon, and must be eliminated through comprehensive education and strict disciplinary action. We demand an end to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and all other discriminatory measures against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender individuals.

5) We demand adequate funding for The Department of Veterans Affairs.Veterans should have full access to quality health care. Services should be drastically expanded to meet the real physical and mental health needs of veterans and their families. Independent medical investigations should be initiated to research the effects of potentially harmful experimental drugs and chemical, biological and nuclear agents to which service members have been exposed. Any service member who has served in a combat theater should automatically receive lifetime compensation from the VA for being forced to suffer or inflict physical and/or psychological harm in advancing the interests of U.S. corporations.

6) We demand the right to a job, housing, health care and education for all.

Service members are lured into the military with the hopes of escaping economic hardship as a civilian, and to obtain education benefits and job training. Yet thousands of service members must remain in the military, literally trapped due to the lack of opportunities in the civilian world. No service member should have to choose between military service and poverty. Housing, a job, and access to free quality education and job training should be a right for everyone.

7) We demand the immediate end to all military aid to governments in service of US imperialism. U.S. domination is not only exercised through direct military involvement, but also through a myriad of brutal client regimes and comprador governments that are funded, supported and directed by the U.S. government. Service members should not have to serve a military that uses billions of dollars in funds and weapons to prop up governments that are guilty of committing war crimes or repressing their citizens for the interests of the Pentagon and Wall Street. Aid to such countries as Israel, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, South Korea, Uganda and Egypt should be immediately cut off. All remaining funds, military equipment and weapons should be repossessed. Reparations should be paid to the populations that the military aid was used to repress.

8) We demand the immediate dismantling of the permanent military-industrial complex.

As long as there is a system in place that allows U.S. corporations to reap massive profits from going to war, there will be war for profit. The domination of the military-industrial complex has caused the death of tens of thousands of service personnel, and millions of innocent people -- all in the name of profit. All private military corporations should be shut down or nationalized. The more than 1 trillion dollars a year that feeds the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex should be used to meet people's needs.

9) We demand that all those involved in pursuing war for profit be indicted.

To ensure that service personnel no longer have to fight for the interests of the rich, all those responsible must be held accountable. Politicians, policy makers, lobbyists, CEOs and others involved in pursuing warfare -- both military and economic -- as a means to reap profit should be indicted for war crimes. Media outlets involved in disseminating false information in support of these plans should also be held accountable.

10) We demand full reparations paid, with interest, to all victims of the U.S. military. As service members in the U.S. military, we have been told that our enemy is the poor and oppressed abroad. But they are not our enemies. To begin to undo the injustices in which we have been forced to take part, the U.S. government should pay for the rebuilding of every structure bombed, compensating families for every person killed and providing a lifetime of health care and disability benefits for every individual wounded, including resistance fighters who took up arms against the U.S. military.

Come And Get These Memories

From time to time, because we all need a good laugh, we'll dip into the pre-November 2008 world for a chuckle.

On January 10th, Seth Michaels blogged "Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union Endorses Obama" at the AFL-CIO's blog. Even then, if the entire world did not appear to love Barry O, it was too much for members of the Cult of St. Barack. Hence this 'informed' comment by Missy:

Missy on 10.01.2008 at 22:09 (Reply)
I am amazed that not one person commented about the fact the other unions endorsed but as soon as Obama gets one endorsement someone has a negative comment. If you have not heard what Obama said he was going to do then obviously there is something wrong with you.
Obama has a stronger AFL-CIO voting record than Hillary Clinton and has long been a supporter of working families. He has been clear and concise about the fact that #1 he is going to begin a phase withdrawal to get our troops out of Iraq, #2 Universal Healthcare with mandates for children but not for adults who cannot afford it and #3 restore middle class jobs.

Uh, Missy, that one brigade a month withdrawal? Still hasn't happened. Barry's been in office for 12 months now. Your 'universal health care' that would have 'mandates for children but not for adults who cannot afford it'? Hysterical. And as for restoring middle class jobs, well, we just hope you still have a job in 2009, Missy. We'd hate to picture a dreamer such as yourself awaking to harsh reality.

The Attack of the Drones

We saw this at Cindy Sheehan's website and wanted to do our part to call attention to it as well.

Layout 1

See Peace of the Action for more information.

The murder of Kelly Kwalik

From ETAN:

Statement on Killing of Papuan Leader Kelly Kwalik

Contact: Ed McWilliams, West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT), +1-401-568-5845;
John M. Miller, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), +1-718-596-7668;

The December 16 killing of pro-Papuan independence leader Kelly Kwalik by Indonesian police risks further alienation of Papuans and is likely to seriously undermine Papuan efforts to begin an internationally-mediated dialogue with the Indonesian government. Simultaneous police allegations that Kwalik was involved in lethal attacks in the Timika area in this year and in 2002 are not credible. Making Kwalik a scapegoat only serves to mask the failure of Indonesian authorities to credibly resolve these cases.

The evidence clearly points to Indonesian military involvement in the 2002 attacks, which resulted in the deaths of three teachers, including two Americans, at the Freeport mine. Recently, Kwalik in a meeting with security officials categorically denied that Papuan pro-independence fighters were behind this year's attacks near the mine. His denial of responsibility was supported by police officials, who countered initial claims by military officials that the attacks were the work of the pro-independence fighters.

Kwalik has in recent years endorsed a Papua-wide effort to seek a negotiated settlement with Jakarta by creating a Zone of Peace in the region.

Violent protests by Papuans angered over the killing of yet another Papuan leader underscore how distrustful Papuans are of Indonesian security authorities. The killing could lead to further hardening of Papuan attitudes toward cooperation with Jakarta.

Beyond these consequences, there are immediate questions:

Was Kwalik's presence a result of police subterfuge? Was he lured from his jungle stronghold by police offer of discussion along the lines of a meeting with the chief of police several months earlier?

What is the fate of those arrested at the time of the shooting of Kwalik, including that of the ten year old boy among those detained?

Was appropriate, timely, medical attention afforded to the wounded Kwalik after he was shot?

In the wake of this killing, will the Indonesian Government finally respond to efforts by Papuans to launch an internationally facilitated dialogue to address critical issues, including security force brutality and legal impunity, marginalization of Papuans in their own land and environmental destruction?


Support ETAN! Read what Noam Chomsky says about ETAN:

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: +1-718-596-7668 Mobile phone: +1-917-690-4391
Email Skype: john.m.miller

Web site:

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


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.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Spirit of Barack" -- Isaiah's latest, capturing the it's-all-about-me nature of Barry O.

"Vegetarian Casserole in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a vegetarian recipe.

"Chilcot's Cage Rattled" -- Trina weighs in on the Iraq Inquiry and this isn't "our" pick. This was the second most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site.

"Hillary Is 44 makes a list" -- Betty weighs in on the naughty part of 2009.

"Lilith" and "Was Jerry Lewis ever funny?" -- Ann and Stan do Friday movie posts.

"Lila Garrett: Fool or tool?" and "Tom Hayden continues his long lying streak" -- Ruth and Elaine offer critiques of the 'experts' Lila Garrett keeps putting on air.

"The Big Give Away needs to be stopped," "Forced purchasing of insurance." "The political jokes (Edwards and 'health reform')," "Reuters shows how to waste time" and "THIS JUST IN! THE DISTRACTORS!" -- Betty, Stan, Mike, Cedric and Wally on the so-called 'health care reform.'

"Maggie calls to tell me to listen to KPFA Flashpoints" and "I'm so sick of President Bill Clinton!" -- Kat talks about Kevin and his tiny pina.

"Burn pits made EZ" -- Marcia provides a walk though.

"The never-ending sexism of Saturday Night Live" and "SNL still enforcing the double standard" -- Trina and Marcia take on SNL.

"THIS JUST IN! BARRY THE MORNING GLORY!" & "The Morning Glory"-- Wally and Cedric on the faded glory of Barry O.

"The old days of the internet" -- Ann reflects on the early days of the internet.

"And the bulls**t's back" -- Marcia pointing out the useless excuses made for homophobes.

"Iraq Inquiry" -- Elaine answers a few questions about the Iraq Inquiry.

"The Bullies and The Tyrants" -- Isaiah digs into the archive for this comedic gem.
2 days ago

"christmas iii," "christmas ii" and "christmas" -- Rebecca answers e-mails on the topic of Christmas.

"All the undone work" -- Ruth surveys the landscape.

"John Podesta's done enough harm already" -- Mike doing some truth-telling.
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