Sunday, February 14, 2010

Truest statement of the week

To resolve a dispute with the Tikrit provincial council this week, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq did what any good autocrat would do: He sent in the army. The problem is, Mr. Maliki isn't supposed to be an autocrat. And the United States didn't train Iraq's Army so it could be used for political coercion. This is just the most recent example of thuggery by Mr. Maliki, who is determined to do anything he can to win re-election next month.

-- "Mr. Maliki's Dangerous Ambition," New York Times editorial, February 13th.

Truest statement of the week II

In just the last week, Mr. Maliki's government has acted with, at best, disputed legal authority. In Diyala Province, a leading candidate from one of the main blocs challenging Mr. Maliki's political coalition, known as State of Law, was arrested Sunday night by special forces sent from Baghdad only days after he took part in a recorded debate in which he criticized the security forces. Warrants are said to have been issued for five other members of that province's legislature on charges that remain unclear.

-- Steven Lee Myers and Anthony Shadid, "Leader Faulted on Using Army in Iraqi politics" (New York Times).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. A very late and long Sunday. Dallas and 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,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

Thank you to everyone who helped. And what did we come up with?

-- The first time we've ever voted a New York Times editorial for "truest."

-- Steven Lee Myers and Anthony Shadid (NYT) earned this truest and the really big surprise about their article was how many other outlets ignored it. You didn't catch it on Pacifica headlines or programs, you didn't read about it at The Nation website or The Progressive. It was probably the most important Iraq article and maybe it's importance can be measured by the studied silence with which it was received?

-- As usual the problem is the media and that includes the self-righteous Amy Goodman. The people know what's happening, even when the media won't cover it.

-- Ava and C.I. cover Human Target which is a show I strongly, strongly urge you to catch. If you watch it once, there's a good chance you'll be hooked. (It's the one show I catch every week.)

-- Our Iraq feature covering some of the important events of last week.

-- We have posted late before and later than this. Why did we post so late this weekend? In part due to this feature. It wasn't planned and discussed and we stumbled upon a YouTube video and started writing it. We agreed to sleep on it before publishing. (We made minor changes after we woke up.) Our problem was we already had Aimee Allison stories. C.I. and Dona wondered, "Is this really a story or are we seeing Aimee Allison in every shadow?" We agreed it was a real story but decided to get some sleep. It was also Valentine's Day and we have plans. I offered that we could post a note and Ava said, "If they're regular readers, they won't be surprised that we're posting late. It's not the first time."

-- A roundtable. The artwork is by Betty's kids.

-- Jess does a solo turn. We really like this article he wrote and encourage you to take the FTC's Valentine's Day quiz.

-- Ty did a solo turn as well. He may address Aimee Allison's nonsense next week. Right now, he's focusing on homophobia.

-- It was going to be other people and then came Aimee.

-- Ava, C.I. and Ann rushed to write this when we thought we were posting in the morning. They hit all the points but noted that if they'd had more time, they could have addressed even more problems with the segment.

-- Awhile back we picked Bette Davis as the best movie star of the last century and we'll probably note a movie by her occassionally. She has many great ones but we'd prefer to note the ones that don't immediately spring to mind the way All About Eve, Now Voyager, etc. do.

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

We'll see you next week.

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

Editorial: Smash the clampdown

Noticeable cracks in public opinion regarding Barack Obama's alleged 'end the Iraq War in 2011' 'plan' are becoming evident. On campuses, many are feeling what Jonathan Katz expresses in "Why ending the occupation of Iraq will take more than Obama's Promises" (The Mac Weekly):

I don't believe Obama when he says we'll be done occupying Iraq and killing and being killed there by 2011 because that's not what we do. He'll withdraw some of the "combat troops" and "re-mission" the rest as "non-combat troops" (these operations include the physical protection "Americans and U.S. assets in Iraq" and "counterterrorism operations in which Iraqi forces would take the lead." That's all to say, they will still be killing and being killed.) We'll get a "lease" from the Iraqi government on some nice plots of land situated between some oil fields, kick up our feet, and have our "non-combat" frogs, our Blackwater toads, and our intelligence snakes go right on violently occupying foreign populations.

The clampdown works overtime to render people like Katz invisible. They're a large number on any campus but you don't see them invited onto Democracy Now! to speak with Amy Goodman, you don't see The Nation rushing to revive their laughable 'Campus Nation' and explore this student body sentiment. When you're a Whore for Barack, you're working for the clampdown. And they've got enough employees to bury the results of a major poll out of England.

Monday, Angus Reid Global Monitor released their latest poll which finds significant doubts as to any withdrawal.

Very confident
Moderately confident
Not too confident
Not confident at all
Not sure

71% of British citizens and 59% of Americans do not believe a withdrawal is happening. [Margin of error is 2.2. percent for the British sample; 3.1 percent for the US sample.] Those are huge numbers, those are highly significant numbers and, as telling as the numbers, so is the silence on the poll from Panhandle Media.


For those who refuse to be silent, Linda Greene (Bloominton Alternative) explains there is an upcoming action:

On Feb. 1 President Barack Obama asked Congress to approve a record $708 billion in defense spending for fiscal 2011. The budget calls for a 3.4 percent increase in the Pentagon's base budget to $549 billion, plus $159 billion to fund the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But citizens aren't sitting by while the Pentagon's budget balloons. On March 20, just after the seventh anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, protestors will march on Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.
On Friday evening, March 19, at least 55 Hoosiers and Kentucky residents will board a bus bound for Washington, D.C., for the second peace march since President Obama was elected. Participants will demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Sponsored by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.) coalition and more than 1,000 other organizations and individuals, the march has as its rallying cries, "No Colonial-type Wars and Occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Haiti," "No War or Sanctions Against Iran" and "No War for Empire Anywhere."
Instead of war, the protestors will demand funding for jobs, free and universal health care, decent schools and affordable housing.

If you need more reasons to get active, study the words of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (link goes to audio) from last week:

We always believe America is number one. If you start the first World War, the Second World War, then you take Korea and Vietnam and Iraq I and II and Afghanistan -- just think of all the money that we spend on wars to save the world. Today we can't save America. What is this? Why do we always have to go to war continually? Why can't we rebuild America? Why is it we have to take three hundred, four hundred billion dollars and tell people we're only going to be there for a year and we're coming home and we declare victory. What is it? What is it about America? How did we start this century of ten years of war? Ten years of war. We started it and we continue to move forward. Where are the anti-war people? 'I looked down at the Dirksen Center' -- where are they? Where are they? They've disappeared. What happened? I thought war was evil. Where are the people who believed in their heart against George W. Bush? 'We have to organize and walk down Michigan Avenue and Clark Street.' What happened? I thought they believed in their heart. Oh! It became a political issue. 'Barack won the election, now we go home.' What happened to America?

TV: Human Target

Fox doesn't often score a winner but their latest Wednesday offering actually holds the attention and offers enough to make you wonder what happens next week. The show is Human Target and it stars Mark Valley as a man for hire.


Valley's character goes by the name Christopher Chance (and other names) and his real name is apparently known to a small, small number. Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) may know his real name having broken into his files and then passed them on to a man willing to pay for them. (Guerrero then shot the man.) Winston (Chi McBride) is the boss and he may know having been the man who offered Chance a way out of what was apparently a criminal life. But whether or not anyone knows, no one is saying at present.

There was a woman he was in love with. She died. How and why are unknown at present but it's one of the show's continuing threads often referenced as he does various jobs.

Jobs? He protects targets often by becoming the target himself. Sometimes, they're hired to protect, other times they're protecting to pay off an old favor or to honor a fallen friend.

This is an action show -- with a lot of brooding -- and the action scenes are rather intricate, whether it's fighting, car chases, motorcycle chases, or what have you. About the only thing that doesn't work is when an episodes running short and gets padded, after commercial break, with what amounts to a greatest hits of what you've already seen.

An early episode, involving a train, demonstrated that the suspense would only come from the action. In that episode, a woman was the target and from the first scene where she and her husband hire Chance, it was rather obvious that the husband was the one wanting her dead. Apparently not grasping how obvious it was, they waited until forty minutes in to 'reveal' that fact. In another episode protecting a woman from the mob and who knows who else, long before Christopher Chance knew the woman was the daughter of the mobster, 80% of the audience probably did.

Along with not pinning your hopes on intricate mysteries to unravel, you better be able to suspend disbelief -- from record heights. For example, accepting that a group of monks might take in someone they pretty much knew was a criminal might be believable. That they would hide him might also strike some as plausible. That, even when beaten, they'd refuse to give him up might even have a few takers. But who in the world, for one moment, would believe the monks would allow him to teach an 'independent study' class that postulated Superman was like Jesus?

If you can suspend disbelief and accept that you'll know who the 'bad guy' is within the show's first ten minutes (long before the characters do), you've really got an interesting show. The writing is on the level of The Rockford Files and we don't mean that as an insult. That show wrote characters very well. This one does as well and it also has strong performances. That includes Emmanuelle Vaugier who role as an FBI agent offers a few twists and turns for the show. (That wasn't a one-shot on the January 25th episode, she will be back. And Vaugier is probably most familiar from her role as Mia on Two & A Half Men.)

Each week Chance has to protect a target and that had us thinking of the loony fringes of Panhandle Media and how they're all about the "human target." Blasting away at this person or that and how they do it not for insurance money or to stop someone from testifying, but in order to feel superior to the rest of the world.

How else do you explain the stunt KPFA allowed Aimee Allison to pull on Friday's The Morning Show? Where Aimee and her guest spent a half-hour attacking John Mayer with a few verbal grenades tossed at Holly Robinson-Pete and Michael Franti.

And that had us thinking about all the hatred heaped on and grenades tossed at Hillary Clinton who, for the record, is not the president of the United States. But the pathetic and lunatic fringe that refuses to call out Barack for the actions he orders is happy to turn around and pretend that Hillary is commander in chief and that she's responsible for this action or that action.

It's amazing that KPFA gives Hillary so much power after working so hard to destroy her run for the presidency.

Is hatred the motive for most crimes?

We don't know. We're sure envy would rank high on the list as well. But what we are seeing more and more and hearing more and more from supposed left 'leaders' and 'gas bags' is a non-stop attempt to attack and smear, to destroy and distort.


For those who missed it, Hillary out polls Barack but KPFA and its ilk are convinced that non-stop attacks on Hillary will bring them new listeners. Actually, that should read "attacks on Hillary and other women." And we'll be checking back in on Pacifica and their intended targets in April but for right now, here's a little game you can play.

Listen to any Pacifica radio program with a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Note how many times the host and/or guest(s) tosses out Hillary's name to deflect from Barack. Note how many times the host rips apart Hillary Clinton for what the president has done. Note how many times Barack is called out.

We think you'll quickly grasp that Pacifica's all-time human target remains Hillary Clinton. John Murtha died last week and Amy Goodman 'marked' the passing by . . . playing her insults of Hillary. It's non-stop, never ending hatred from Amy Goodman and so many of the on air loons of Pacifica.

And in a real world like that, it's completely plausible that Christopher Chance could be needed week after week to protect one person after another. In fact, we'd suggest that they do an episode about a bitter Nancy Kulp look alike who never made it as a writer and sank as a radio host, someone with zero accomplishments to her name but who keeps pouring out sheer hatred day after day. Have her plot to kill the Secretary of State and let Chance fight her to her bloody death. Should Amy Goodman be too busy to take the part, we'd also highly recommend Laura Flanders.

And thinking of Amy Goodman and Laura Flanders and the two bitter no-talents' never ending assault on Hillary had us realizing that it wasn't envy or hatred that fueled their actions, it was the realization that their own lengthy lives had meant and resulted in so little. Maybe the true motivator of crime is absence of accomplishment? That would certainly explain Mark David Chapman as well as Goodman and Flanders.


Last week, the Iraq Inquiry in London heard again from the 'inventive' Jack Straw. Andrew Gimson (Telegraph of London) observed, "In Mr Straw's evidence on Monday to the Iraq inquiry, words meant whatever he chose them to mean, or often considerably less." Chris Ames (Guardian) reported:

Straw, the man who backed the war but wants us to believe he was against it, tried to have it both ways at once, but eventually the weight of his contradictions caught up with him. Although most predictions were that Straw would be put under pressure over the legal issues, he was in most difficulty over the endgame: the failed attempt to get a second UN resolution to back the war -- sorry, to secure Iraqi disarmament.
The first major hint of what really happened was when Sir Lawrence Freedman asked Straw if Powell had ever told him that military action was planned for the middle of March 2003, even if Saddam complied with security council resolution 1441. Straw could not remember this but Freedman suggested that he check the records, which Straw agreed to do: "I think you are trying to tell me something." Nothing you didn't already know.

What is the Iraq Inquiry? According to former UK prime minister and forever poodle Tony Blair, it's a "conspiracy" and a "scandal." But let's allow someone who's not demented to explain it. This is John Chilcot, Chair of the committee, speaking at the close of the Inquiry on Monday:

We are here to establish a reliable account of the United Kingdom's involvement in Iraq, based on all the evidence, and identify lessons for governments facing similar circumstances in future. Now, we are committed to being open and transparent about how we are approaching our task and the information we are receiving. This is the first Inquiry of its kind in this country to have hearings broadcast on television and streamed on the internet, and tens of thousands of people have been watching the evidence sessions on our website. So far there have been nearly three quarters of a million hits on the website and people have access to more than 150 hours of video recordings, as well as thousands of pages of transcripts of the evidence, as well as the documents that have been declassified during the hearings. The initial hearings served two purposes. The first phase, largely before Christmas, set out to establish the narrative account of the United Kingdom's involvement in Iraq. In the last four weeks we have focused much more on the major decision-makers, politicians and senior officials, military and civilian, to examine why and how they made their decisions. Conducting the Inquiry in this way has allowed us to hear a range of different perspectives about the same events. The evidence we have been given so far has provided a much more detailed account of the United Kingdom's military action against Iraq and subsequent commitments than has previously been brought together in public. But these public hearings are only the most perhaps obvious aspect of our work; they are only one element of our Inquiry, though they are an essential one, and the great bulk of our evidence is in tens of thousands of government documents, many of them highly classified. They allow us to shine a bright light into seldom-seen corners of the government machine, revealing what really went on behind the scenes before, during and after the Iraq conflict, and they form the central core of this Inquiry's work. The Inquiry is still receiving more documents every week and we have no reason to believe that any material is being deliberately withheld. We have published a small number of those documents during the hearings but I should emphasise, and I want to emphasise: our access to the documents is unrestricted. Publishing a limited number of them is a separate matter. Over the next few months we shall examine all the evidence we have received, including those documents. They will enable us to see where the evidence joins together and where there are gaps, if there are, and only then can we decide what further evidence we need, the issues and points which need to be clarified and the identity of witnesses we may wish to question in the next round of public hearings in the summer. In the meantime, we will be holding a number of meetings and seminars with a range of individuals, British and non-British, who, we believe, will be able to provide relevant information and insights, and these could include, for example, veterans from Iraq, the campaign, officials from the former American administration. We also hope to visit Iraq later in the year. Now, we cannot take formal evidence as such from foreign nationals but we can, of course, and will have discussions with them. We shall also need a limited number of private hearings, to get to the heart of some very sensitive issues which are essential for our understanding, and the terms under which we shall hold hearings in private have been published on our website, and we will in due course publish as much of that evidence as we can. Now, the Inquiry has broken new ground and a great deal has been achieved since the launch at the end of July. We aim to complete our report, if at all possible, by the end of the year.


Meanwhile, the violence continued in Iraq. Sunday 11 people was reported dead and 6 wounded; Monday 1 dead and 1 wounded; Tuesday 1 was reported dead and 6 wounded; Wednesday 4 dead and 19 wounded; Thursday 3 were reported dead and 7 wounded; Friday 18 dead and 40 wounded; and Saturday 2 were reported dead and 14 wounded for a total of 36 reported dead and 94 wounded.

Thursday, the US military announced: "A United States Forces-Iraq Soldier died Feb. 10 of non-combat related injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." The fallen was identified as 20-year-old Adriana Alvarez. KRGV reports, "CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to her family. They tell us they didn't want her to enlist and they're having a tough time dealing with her loss." The Brownsville Herald quoted her sister Alma Alvarez saying, "We are devastated" and notes that Adriana Alvarez' survivors include Alma, mother Alicia "and two other younger sisters." The announcement brought to 4376 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.

And more violence is not just likely, it's expected. Currently, national elections are scheduled to be held in Iraq (and in countries with large exile populations such as Jordan) on March 7th. Last time, sectarian tensions were flamed as a campaign strategy. That's happening again. Remember what happened after the last national elections? What some like to call the civil war?
Iraqi Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi confirmed that political parties are manufacturing "an enemy" in order to frighten the public and win votes at the forthcoming Iraqi elections. Al-Hashimi said that this was in order to push the Iraqi electorate to vote along factional or sectarian lines, which is in the electoral interests of some candidates and parties. Al-Hashimi also accused some candidates of not adhering to the principles of fair competition by employing unethical methods to win votes.

Last Sunday, Nouri and his political party organized 'independent' rallies against Sunnis in Baghdad and Basra (these 'independent' and 'spontaneous' rallies featured governors and mayors from Nouri's parties as well as Shi'ites waiving . . . American flags).

Over 500 candidates were banned last month with allegations that they were Ba'athists determined to bring back the Ba'ath Party. Then a ruling body reversed the extra-legal banning but last week the ruling body reversed themselves. Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) explained, "OK first and foremost, most important piece of news, confirmed news, which you will obviously not be reading about in your media. -- for the month of January 2010 ALONE, there have been over 1625 sectarian arrests." She also provided a breakdown of the numbers:

- 6'500 candidates for
- 350 parliamentary seats
- 50'000 voting locals inside of Iraq
- 320'000 "observers".
- Iraqi army and police which make up 1 million individuals will be voting in separate ballots. - important to remember this point, bearing in mind that army and police are most, if not all, affiliated to the Shiite parties,
- and now for the last point and a very important one too : again as per official government figures
only 18 million Iraqis are eligible to vote BUT 26 million voting cards have been issued so far. Observers ask why this is so -- hope you do too.

Meanwhile the most explosive news came from Steven Lee Myers and Anthony Shadid (New York Times) who reported that Nouri al-Maliki, thug of the occupation, sent the Iraqi military into Tikrit -- for the second time -- to force the choice of a new governor for the province. What's the result? You have US forces attempting to help and calm members of the province's council, telling them (rightly) that they have the law on their side.

The US military is now caught between the US-installed government in Baghdad and its attack on Tikrit.

Aimee Allison says Pakistani lives don't matter

The Clown Face of Evil

We didn't realize what an ugly face for the left Aimee Allison was. We knew her as the Socialist who tries to pretend she's Green Party but cheerleaded (and voted for) Barack Obama. We knew her as the idiot who stammers on air, forever lost, as she tries to find her way to a basic point Monday through Friday on KPFA's The Morning Show. But we didn't realize how truly disgusting she was until this morning.

That's when we turned up a video that was posted in January 2009, and only had 103 views (counting us), we didn't realize what a War Whore she was. We strongly question KPFA's continued employment of Aimee Allison for a number of reasons but we think her comments regarding Pakistan demand that she be let go.

In a video she decided to post to YouTube, she allegedly responded to a comment left on her FaceBook page decrying Barack Obama's drone attacks on Pakistan. Instead of responding to how awful the bombings that killed innocent civilians in Pakistan, Aimee spent two minutes justifying Barack's bombings as "consistent" with what he'd said as a candidate ("big carrots and big sticks"). "As far back as August, 2007," Aimee blandly declared, Barack "said he favored taking direct action in Pakistan" . . .

And on and on, like a whore being paid by the minute, her insipid words continued until reaching it's most embarrassing and offensive moment:

And the real question isn't, "Can you send drones to fire missiles in an area and not kill civilians and protect the national interest?" The question that we should be asking as American citizens is: "What are the goals? What is UN foreign -- US foreign policy goals in that region and why is it that those people are dying?" It is that kind of transparency and message to the American people that we need to hear right now.

Really? That's what we need right now? As "American citizens"? And what do the Pakistanis need, Aimee Allison?

What about them?

Today CNN reports that six Pakistanis are dead from the latest drone attack and that the US military insists (as they forever and a day do) that all six were 'militants' and 'terrorists' -- and possibly 'unicorns' if there is enough objection. But the objection won't come from Aimee Allison because asking whether you can send drones and kill people isn't the question she wants asked. All she wants is for Barack to be 'open' and 'transparent' and sell this murder to the American people.

You need to grasp that an almost four minute video uses two minutes to justify Barack's drone attacks with a bunch of quotes from him as a candidate. There's never any outrage expressed -- not once -- during the four minute video. There's never any condemning of the attacks or sorrow expressed for the victims.

Pacifica is supposed to be on the side of the people, Aimee Allison instead rushes to justify and minimize drone attacks and the deaths of innocent people, she rushes to okay the invasion of other countries. There's no excuse for what she did.

We're not on FaceBook but we'd imagine that someone one was and listed among her "favorites" "Barack Obama" and "Michelle Obama" has her priorities screwed. And we have to wonder about that and how anyone can be a co-host of an alleged radio news magazine who has "favorites" like that?

It might, for example, lead you to place a higher priority on personality than on human life. Might? In fact, it did.

Aimee Allison is beyond embarrassment at this point and she should have been pulled aside a long time ago -- probably when she was recommending that people burn copies of The New Yorker (she favored the Nazi book burning tactic because, as she explained on air, she found the satirical cover of the magazine in the summer of 2008 to be offensive). No one's pulled her aside and, time and again, she does one thing after another that goes against everything Pacifica supposed to stand for.

Her dismissing the lives of Pakistanis is only the last straw.


Jim: Roundtable time -- on e-mails and news topics. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude -- back with us and fresh from London; 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); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. This is a rush transcript. First e-mail is from regular reader Mary who writes that she has e-mailed on this topic "several times" and her issue is what lets something become a story and what doesn't? Dona, provide a summary of the writing for each week's edition.


Dona: Each week, we know that Ava and C.I. will write a commentary and we know that Mike, Elaine, Rebecca, Betty, Wally, Kat, Ruth, Marcia, Stan, Ann and Cedric will do the "Highlights" piece. We also know that we will have to cover Iraq. Sometimes our "Iraq" feature doesn't work out or we're pressed for time and we'll fold it into our editorial. In addition to that, we're pitching multiple ideas. Many of which will never be worked on but some of which will be. Of those, some will result in something we think we can publish and a larger share will not be worth publishing. That's the overview. The only thing written so far this edition is a piece that Jess did on consumer scams. So I'm going to toss to Jess to explain the basics for Mary on that.

Jess: This wasn't a piece that would work as a group writing piece and I'm very aware that everyone at Third -- Third is Jim, Dona, Ty, Ava, C.I. and myself -- has done individual writing and that I've been lagging there since the early part of 2009. So I was bothered by two scams that had come through to me in the last week and I was mentioning that to Jim and Dona. I knew I could write it on that level. I wanted to give a thank you to C.I. in the article but C.I. nixed that. However, when I was done with my article, I mentioned what I liked and what I didn't like. C.I. immediately gave me additional resources which take it from me to a larger realm. Had this been a group piece, it would have been easy to do the second part but the first half would have been lost and the first half is what will most likely pull readers in. We believe in group writing, however, there are times when writing by committee destroys a piece.

Jim: What was the big learning thing?

Jess: Honestly, that the FTC has a Valentine's Day quiz. It's PDF format, but you can click here. There were two scams I learned of that are in the article and they were shocking but I'll leave those for the article and just note the quiz.

Jim: Thank you. Now to Haiti. Mike may end up with a "truest" this week. He's nominated for the following: "You've exhuasted not only our compassion but our patience as well." That's on the never-ending media coverage of the Haiti earthquake and the aftermath. And several readers suggested that statement as a truest and several more suggested we address Haiti.

Betty: Mike's exactly right. That coverage is non-stop and important stories are not being covered. Also, as Kat has noted and as many other people have noted -- including Ava and C.I. in a piece so powerful that Sad Sirota ripped off parts of it -- the coverage is nothing but "Oh the humanity! Oh the humanity! Let's all wallow and be powerless!"

Kat: Actually, I'm going to disagree with you, Betty. There's another aspect: Evil Bill Clinton.

Betty: Thank you. You're correct. That's all over the Pacifica coverage. It's an embarrassment and I'm glad you pointed it out.

Elaine: If I can jump in before we get to the type of coverage to point out one factor. I'm listening to the BBC yesterday and they devote an entire hour to Haiti and note that it's one month since the earthquake. One month. One month and we still have to have non-stop coverage. I'm so sick of it. As Mike said of this media coverage, "You've exhuasted not only our compassion but our patience as well."

Rebecca: Here's my problem with the glomming by Pacifica, et al. I'm so sick of the fact that regularly real news is ignored because it's the day this person was killed or that person was killed or this tragedy or that tragedy. Do you realize how many days of Pacifica programming are the same each year? And I'm sure that the Haiti earthquake will now take up a day on the calendar as well. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of all of it. I want to deal with what happens today and history is not to consume us, it is to inform us of what happens today. I'm so sick of the memorial days and the days of observance and blah blah blah.

Marcia: I agree. Think of all the days we've already got where nothing else happens. Well there's MLK day. There's Malcolm X's death, Fred Hampton's death, various Civil Rights events, there's the Brown versus Board of Education anniversary, Hurricane Katrina anniversary, there's East Timor day, there's the nuking of Japan anniversary, you name it. I'm sure Haiti's earthquake will now be added to it. Betty mentioned an article by Ava and C.I. and I want to quote from another one by them, this is about the day after Howard Zinn's death, "Focusing just on KPFA, listeners got 80 minutes on Zinn and his death as a result of the fact that Democracy Now! is aired twice each day. But that wasn't all the Zinn coverage they got on Thursday. In addition to that one hour and twenty minutes coverage from Goody, they got 30 minutes of the two hour The Morning Show devoted to Zinn, they got at least 20 minutes of Zinn from an old interview on Letters To Washington, the full hour of Living Room, two minutes and thirty-four seconds on the half hour Free Speech Radio News, Flashpoints Radio gave Zinn over 13 minutes on Thursday -- despite having spent 20 minutes on his passing the evening before. At some point the question needs to be asked: Did listeners really need all of that?" Is Pacifica unable to grasp that they drive away listeners with this and other saturation coverage?

Rebecca: Haiti, of course, has been much more coverage than the examples Ava and C.I. gave on Zinn's passing. I'll point out the obvious, Haiti's long been an American Communist dreamland. You get the whole "Mother Courage" contingent and you get them rubbing their thighs excitedly as they say "imperialist!" and if you caught them in an unguarded moment, you'd hear "brothers and sisters" --

C.I.: That actually was done on WBAI last week, on Taking Aim. "Brothers and sisters," repeatedly and also "Mother Courage." Tuesday on WBAI.

Rebecca: See. And I was in London and had no idea but that's so typical. And there's nothing wrong with Communism, but step out of the closet all damn ready. There is something seriously wrong about offering your Marxist critique while posing as a Democrat or as an 'independent.'

Ava: For example Naomi Klein. One has to wonder, having ripped off various economists as well as Ira Levin, whom Little Nomi will rip off next. But how pathetic that she wants to play brave and she can't even get honest about what she believes in.

Rebecca: And that's a woman who can't even talk about war resistance and acknowledge that her father was a US War Resister during Vietnam and that's why her family went to Canada.

Kat: Here's my problem -- on this theme -- here's my problem. They Closet Communists hiss and piss at the "mainstream media" and the "corporate media" in their angry commentaries on air at Pacifica, for example, but they never want to admit it's not that simple -- a point Elaine made on Friday -- they never want to admit it's not that simple. There is a corporatist view, there is an imperialist view, there is a Socialist view, there is a Communist view, there is a liberal view, a left view, all these views. But they continue to insist, these Closet Cases, that there are only two views: The corporate media view and their view and their view is correct and 100% accurate. It's not that simple. I'm sick of the blinders. And to address one more point, the saturation coverage? It's not accidental. It's planned. My opinion.

Mike: I agree with Kat. It's planned. It's planned because it's part of an echo chamber. Meant to give a radical view passed off as the normative view and the factual view traction and to indoctrinate. That's all it is. I'm not opposed to a radical view. But don't cover up what you're offering. And let's get really honest here, the Closet Communist -- often Jews, but not only Jews -- is obsessed with the Black man.

Betty: I would say, "Obsessed with the Colored man." I would say that because they are so trapped in the past.

Mike: I'm laughing but I agree. Okay, so they are obsessed and as a result they will not critique Barack. I'm so f**king sick of them. I'm so damn sick of them. And if you're ever listening to a Pacifica radio program on Haiti and you're not sure whether you're hearing Communists or Democrats or whatever, here's how you can spot the Closet Communist: They slam Bill Clinton, they slam Hillary Clinton and they either ignore Barack or they offer a mild critique. Barack Obama is president of the United States. Anyone unhappy with the current US policy towards Haiti would loudly criticize the president. Anyone who instead slams Bill and Hillary and ignores the president of the United States? That's a Closet Communist for you. That's how you can know them. When Naomi Klein's bitter and fat face furrows as she hisses and pissed about Bill Clinton but she refuses to loudly call out Barack -- the way she did Bush, for example -- that's your clue. They're all so fake and so phony and it's impossible to trust any of them anymore. This isn't about being opposed to Communist critiques or to Socialist critiques, it's about being opposed to closet cases. Be honest about what you believe in or stay off the airwaves. I'm tired of it and I'm tired of the tricksters. And if you look at the 'big' Panhandle Media stories, time and again, it's the Closet Communists leading the way.

Stan: Which is why race always dominates. Or the Black race. With an emphasis on the African-American male. My cousin, Marcia, used to regularly call out Amy Goodman and how she inflamed tensions and I agree that she did and I honestly believe that is what Amy Goodman sets out to do. I believe she wants a race war. Look at just her Jena coverage. She interviews a mother who tells her X and then two days later, Goody's acting like she never heard that and creating a false story instead. These aren't accidents, these are intentional and deliberate attempts to inflame tensions.

Cedric: I would agree with that and I would agree, as Betty's father has so often pointed out, that when the powder keg goes off, it won't be Amy Goodman being in danger, it'll be African-Americans, it'll be me, it'll be Ann, Betty, Stan, etc. Not Amy Goodman. She just tosses the match and then runs. And Marcia, you may want to explain why you stopped that coverage at your site of Goody.

Marcia: Because it was so depressing and so never ending. I'm so sick of it and I'm so sick of her. And whether it's her or the lying Laura Flanders, I've realized that African-Americans would be a lot better off if these busybodies just butted the hell out of our lives.

Ann: I think the takeover that took place of independent media is why the US is covered so little. And I think people at Pacifica need to grasp a few things including the fact that those of us living in the US, where Pacifica broadcasts from, do not need a month long Haiti report. We have our own issues and our own concerns and a month later you can damn well start addressing them. But it is an echo chamber and it does exist to indoctrinate us. It's not about informing, it's not about helping. And it's so hateful. That crap that Kevin Pina and Dennis Bernstein is so hateful. And they just pour the hatred on Bill Clinton and, of course, avoid calling out Barack Obama. What a powerful man Bill Clinton must be to still be in charge of US policy all these years later! They need to grow up and they need to grasp that they sound flat out crazy.

Wally: I hear a Pacifica-er, in the midst of so-called Haiti coverage last week, start ranting about Mena and all those conspiracy theories. You need to grasp that even when he applauded and cheer led the Iraq War, Christopher Hitchens wasn't kicked out of Pacifica circles because so many of them believed his crazed and drunken lies about Bill Clinton. They do not have a picture of Bill Clinton that's balanced or rational and they're really letting their hatred out these days. It's as though they were the aliens on V and they can't help but show the world their lizard faces.

Trina: What's really coming through, my opinion, is how little value Pacifica actually offers. They have no news program. They read headlines. That's pretty much all they do besides the occasional report from Max Pringle. Don't bring up Nora Barrows-Friedman because the non-stop Haiti coverage means we don't get her reporting from Gaza or else her reports treated as an after thought. So you've got Max Pringle and that's really it. There is no investigative reporting and they really offer nothing but headlines and interviews with book authors and journalists. That's not reporting. Since they don't report, they rant and do so repeatedly. And do so loudly. And there's a special kind of self-hatred starting to gel, my opinion, that's leading them and their MSNBC counterparts to really wallow in the ugly.

Jim: Interesting.

Trina: I participated in a lengthy conversation late Friday night and early Saturday morning with Ava, C.I., Elaine, Mike and Rebecca on this topic. So some of what I'm saying may be cribbed from them. But there's no value. They're not reporting. They're reading headlines and they're doing interviews. And they're self-promoting. There's a segment that we'll be highlighting in at least two ways -- an embarrassing one -- from KFPA that I won't go into here but that's the perfect example of how Pacifica has just hit rock bottom. But they ask you to give money and give money and what are you giving it for? You don't know the orientation of the hosts -- the political orientations -- but you do know that they're doing programming on the cheap. And you have to wonder where the money goes. I'm tired of it. I'm not giving a dime. They've shown their ass one time too many.

Ann: What I don't get is why each of the stations works so hard to marginalize themselves. You can look at what Trina's talking about and see it there. But I'm talking about the music and the on air intros. Not hosts, mind you. And to deal with the music, what is that crap? I'm Black and please, it's a White person idea of Black music. A non-rhythmic White person's idea. And why are they playing that to begin with. Picture for a moment that you don't listen to WBAI. You don't know it's out there. So you're flipping the channel and you come across that awful music they play -- that they think makes them soulful -- you'd switch to another station. And there's this message that WBAI especially sends. Despite the fact that the bulk of their on air hosts are White, with their hourly intros and their music, and that spot featuring the kids, to hear any of that, the average listener would think, "Oh, this is a station for Blacks." And Blacks listening past those moments would be grossly disappointed because, again, the bulk of the hosts are White. And White people thinking, "Oh, this is a station for Blacks," might move on to a station for Whites or a station for all races. They self-defeat in the way they represent themselves and I'm honestly surprised that that's never been addressed but then I think back to college and this White woman who thought she was soulful because she knew some reggae. Some bad reggae.

Trina: WBAI just did several hours yesterday featuring the music of Bob Marley, by the way.

Ann: Why? So a bunch of whiney White folk who are in their sixties can grin while they roll up another doobie? See, that's what I'm talking about. That's not going to grab White audiences or Black audiences. Black audiences rejected reggae in real time. It never had a foothold in the Black community. It was hugely popular with the White stoner which might have been a larger grouping in the seventies than it is today. Who do they think they're pleasing? Who do they think they're attracting?

Cedric: Let me add to my wife's comments regarding reggae that for a lot of the I-Know-It-All Whites on the left -- that's not a grouping of all Whites who are left, to be clear, they see a Black person performing reggae and think, "Oh, this is the Black experience!" It's not for most of us.

Betty: I'm sorry but when Cedric said the I-Know-It-All Whites on the left, I immediately thought of Kris Welch and how she always thinks she's so soulful with her music choices but they're just laughable and how it's hilarious that KPFA attacks religion in one program after another but plays gospel music on Saturday mornings. Of course, the gospel music is performed by Blacks. So it's patronizing from the Whites in charge of KPFA. It's "oh, they're soulful and they came up from slavery and they make such cute music." It's not about religion for them -- despite it being gospel music -- it's about "listen to our pet Blacks." It's very insulting.

Cedric: It is and it is "listen to our pet Blacks." You always get that sense, for example, from Amy Goodman. And I keep waiting for someone to point out that she is 'primary' host of Democracy Now! which has three other hosts and none of them are Black. For a show supposedly so concerned with Blacks, the 'concern' only exists if White Massa Amy can control it. Black is the only race on her show, if you watch it, that's the impression you get. So I find it very telling that she has three other people who either fill in for her or co-host with her and not one of them is Black. She's hired these people. She's chosen to hire and who not to and it's very obvious that Amy Goodman doesn't hire Black people. So "listen to our pet Blacks" is very appropriate.

Ty: Dona's going to call time in a moment. I haven't spoken because I had e-mails picked for this roundtable but we ended up in an intense discussion on other topics. That's fine, by the way. But Dona's going to call time in a moment so I need to speak. I want to actually go to what Trina raised but noted would be dealt with elsewhere because sometimes that doesn't happen. I think Ava and C.I. will either address it themselves or bring Ann in for a joint piece and we have two other possible pieces on it, on the same topic, but I just don't see us writing all of them or writing all of them and deciding all are worth publishing. So I want to bring up what Trina was alluding to. Ann wrote about it on Friday and I'll just take Aimee Allison's comment, "Can you just shut up and play guitar." I find that so offensive and so appalling that it aired on Pacifica and I want to be sure that's on the record.

Jim: Ty, I honestly thought the topic would pop up in here. Do you want to comment? Does anyone? That appalling remark was uttered in a trash John Mayer segment. I know there was huge agreement with Ann's post and if you want to cover it?

Ty: John Mayer? I actually like his music. Probably more than most here. I don't mean anyone hates him. I mean that he is someone I listen to a lot. I didn't find his remarks racist and let's just deal with that aspect because I think Ava and C.I. and Ann can carve out -- in fact I know they can -- additional territory if we just focus on race. Dona, how much time do we have?

Dona: I'm adding five minutes just for this.

Ty: Thanks. John Mayer gave an interview. I want to know where the racism was because I keep hearing that it was racist. Mayer rejected the idea that he was an honorary African-American and stated he hadn't faced the prejudices that African-Americans do. He used the n-word in that remark, once. I don't use the n-word, we all avoid it here. John Mayer isn't the only one using the n-word and he wasn't calling anyone the n-word, he was being frank about what the Playboy interviewer was calling a "hood pass." I don't get where the racism was.

Betty: I agree with Ty. Let me first though point out that I'm going by Ann's post and that segment on KPFA's The Morning Show Friday -- which I did listen to after I read Ann's post. I have not read the interview, I don't buy Playboy. I don't read Playboy. The Morning Show elected to devote an entire segment to a Playboy interview and I found that offensive. But having made that decision, they should have conveyed the interview. Based on what they conveyed, I heard nothing that was racist.

C.I.: Can I jump in here for one point?

Betty: Absolutely. I think I know what you're going to say.

C.I.: You do. I know Holly Robinson-Pete and I didn't appreciate the garbage from Aimee and her guest aimed at Holly. I found that disgusting and I want to be on record about that. I know Michael Franti and found their comments disgusting on him as well but I especially found the Holly remarks disgusting.

Betty: I thought that's what you were going to say. And I agree with you. Two Black people, Holly from 21 Jump Street and Hanging With Mr. Cooper and Michael Franti, defended John Mayer and the response is to insist that they are "house slaves"? That's the response from KPFA? I think it was incredibly racist that KPFA went there. I don't think it was fair to either Holly or Michael and I think it's very telling that when others disagree with Aimee, she immediately rushes to that.

Ann: I found the whole thing so disgusting and so disappointing. I'm going to table any other remark because Ava, C.I. and I are hoping to take on that segment in an article here.

Stan: Well I'll jump in. I can't take Aimee Allison's airhead personality so my attempts to listen to the segment ended four minutes in. Can someone tell her to stop laughing at her own jokes? Can someone tell her that she's not funny and she's not amusing? Other than that, let me point out that Ty hit it on the nose. Racism is the charge. Who was hurt, who was targeted in the interview? I'm not seeing anyone. I'm seeing, from the quotes Ann included, the only ones KFPA found racist apparently, that Mayer's castigating himself. I'm not seeing any hate aimed at anyone. I would have preferred he didn't use the n-word but he didn't popularize the use of it.

Cedric: I listened to the segment because Ann asked me to and what I found so interesting was that a caller, Sharon, brings up that she blames -- she says she blames -- Jay Z and Naz for letting the genie out of the bottle, for using the n-word and making it popular. And it's really interesting that Aimee Allison and her guest wait until Sharon's off the line and then immediately start saying, paraphrase, 'Sharon is so right! John Mayer did let the genie out of the bottle!' That's not what she said. And Aimee and the guest refused to explore Sharon's statements. That was not an oversight or a mistake, that was a deliberate choice on their part. Now we were talking about the n-word in a roundtable not all that long ago. Marcia was sharing the first time she heard the word. We're all opposed to the n-word. But as we explained then, it's on all of us not to use the word. It's not just Whites that need to stop using it, it's African-Americans and other races too. We need to stop using the term. And Jay Z and all the others who use the term need to stop right now.

Jim: And John Mayer?

Isaiah: I believe John Mayer apologized for using the term. And I found it disgusting that Aimee and her guest made fun of him for that as well. They played the clip and thought it was funny that he was crying. Then they started calling it an "unpology." I'm so sick of them. I think you have to be pretty filled with self-hatred to mock someone who is crying. John Mayer didn't declare war on Iraq, he didn't launch nukes. He's a person who offered an apology and it sounded sincere. And I thought Aimee and her guest revealed how hateful they are that they would laugh at someone for crying. I think they're the worst bullies on the playground and that, as Ann's so often pointed out, Aimee Allison needs to stop trying to be so macho.

Betty: Amen!

Marcia: I hate these women who live for men. Granted, I'm a lesbian. But I'm not talking about sex here. I'm talking about these women whose entire lives are wrapped up in trying to act like a man and seek male approval. I'm so sick of it. And that's all Aimee Allison is. That's her entire life: Her Life As A Man. But I do think that the segment had some educational value. Unintentional, but it was there. As Aimee and her guest sneered "White boy" as John Mayor over and over, it made me realize how I may come off. I try to be very specific about who I am calling out and try not to offer blanket statements on White men or other groupings. Hearing those two sneer "White boy," their voices dripping with hatred, made me think I need to take extra care in the future to ensure that it was clear who I was speaking of when I use that or "Cracker." I have periodically had to clarify at my site who I was talking about. And I didn't get that because to me it was obvious who I was talking about. But I would clarify because I didn't want anyone to wrongly think I was raging against them or attacking them when I wasn't. Listening to Aimee and her guest, I got how it could sound because their hatred oozed through.

Ty: That's a good point and I have a request here. I know that most people don't know the male comic who was Aimee Allison's guest. Don't know him, never heard of him. I'm sure Ava and C.I. know his name and my request is that we say "male guest." I do not want to promote his sorry ass here. So when Ava, C.I. and Ann write their article, please do not identify him by name. He's worthless and I don't want him promoted at this site. I also want to add that not this edition, but next edition, I may do a Ty's Corner on that segment. I'm too upset now to do it.

Jim: Okay. There's an e-mail to Ava and C.I. that I've held for the end. A reader who doesn't care for this site but keeps reading and keeps e-mailing to say how much he hates it has e-mailed again. He just finished reading a new book on Warren Beatty and he's convinced that, quoting Wilson, "You two" Ava and C.I. "hate on Robert Redford and others" at the bottom of his list is a list of 30 people -- "because you're friends of his" Beatty's "and you take your orders from him."

Ava: Yes, that's absolutely true. It makes the weekends so much easier to call Warren, or if he's out, Annette [Benning] and say, "Hey, Human Target. That's the show this week. Warren, dash off six hundred or so words on it. We'll put our names to it. Thanks!" I've never heard anything more stupid. I'm not friends with Warren Beatty. I know him socially. I actually know Annette better than I know him. I haven't read the book and we're not naming it here. It's written by a sexist pig and most women refused to cooperate with the book because of the author's previous gargage. I haven't read the book. We didn't slam Robert Redford. I don't know Robert Redford. C.I. does. Ruth had written about Redford and she did it very well but got one thing wrong. C.I. raised the one thing with me and did we need to cover it or not? We hadn't written it but it had appeared in the community and it was incorrect. Do we need to address it? And so we did. But we did it late in the article and that was intentional. If we wanted it to stand out or if we wanted more 'eye views' of the piece, we would've used it at the start. I have no idea if Warren Beatty, as Wilson's e-mail claims, hates Robert Redford. In my limited time around him, I've never heard him mention Redford one way or another.

Jim: C.I.?

C.I.: First off, one of the 30 names on the list is Glen Gordon Caron. I don't think Warren spends any time thinking about Caron. I have called out Caron here but that goes to Moonlighting and has nothing to do with the film Love Affair or Warren's opinion of Caron. Ava and I have offered praise to Caron's shows and will again. But I will never, ever act like what was done to Cybil didn't take place. And Caron was a party to that. As for Redford, Ava's already gone into that. But in terms of the others on the list, I'm having a hard time thinking of ever commenting on the other 28 that the book apparently says Warren hates. I don't take marching orders from Warren. I think he's very talented and a friend who sticks by his friends no matter what. But I don't take orders from him or anyone else.

Jim: It states, Wilson's e-mail, that you would never criticize Warren Beatty.

Ava: If Warren does a TV show, we'll review it and if it's good we'll say so and if it's bad we'll say so.

C.I.: And I don't see him doing a TV show ever -- which probably means he'll announce next week that he's going to do one. But I'll share, which I've shared with him, that I think Dick Tracy is a piece of crap.

Jim: Really. We're doing a movie feature, hope to anyway, this edition and that's at the request of two readers. Can you go into Dick Tracy? I know it would please two long term readers.

C.I.: Okay. I think Warren's made some amazing films, some classic films. Shampoo, Bonnie & Clyde, Reds, Bugsy and Bullworth are all classics in my opinion. There are other films that are good. But I think the worst film he ever made was Dick Tracy. I do not care for the look of the film -- especially what I'll call the "piss yellow." The colors were glaring onscreen and I said then, and stand by it, that they bleed and will bleed for home viewers. They were an ugly color scheme. In addition to that, I don't care for Madonna, I'm on record as not caring for Madonna, but I think she was badly misused in that film. I don't think she's much of an actress but I do think she was up to that role and feel she was betrayed by camera angels and by improvs. There's a scene in the film that I truly find disgusting and it's the one that Madonna still complains about to this day. It was not scripted and it's disgusting. She's correct on that. Then we have Tess and, sorry, but that actress isn't a leading lady and will never be one and was never one. Sean Young was fired from the film and that was a mistake because whatever problems she may or may not have, she can hold the camera. She was replaced with a dishrag. The battle for Dick is between Madonna's character and Tess. You can't have a dishrag in that part. It threw the whole balance of the film off and that actress is just awful, I'm sorry. I've never thought she did a good job in anything. She's a bad actress, she's never been a star and never will be, she's not even a leading lady. As a film, it's theme is the most reactionary of any film Warren's ever made and it's portrayal of women is insulting and offensive. I can watch and enjoy Town & Country. I can watch and enjoy every film Warren's ever made except Dick Tracy. I can't stand that film. It's an ugly film and Warren was getting too much help from too many women haters. And it looks like s**t. All that money spent and it looks like crap. It's like watching an eye test. You keep waiting for it to be put in focus.

Jim: Okay, the author of the book -- which we're not plugging -- is a sexist. That's what you said, Ava.

Ava: He is. He writes dreadful books. And women are never equals in the book. He wrote a book about seventies directors and producers and actors and had to work double time to strip women of their credit. I actually should pass this over to C.I. Neither of us have read the new book but C.I. was handed it at a party and did a hilarious riff on it's 'end notes.'

C.I.: I won't do my comedic riff, it would take too much time. I will note that the book is a joke and if you don't get that, you haven't looked at the end notes. The author's done a clip job, nothing more and the end notes makes that clear. You are supposed to use primary sources. Looking at the end note, one thing that stood out was a 90s interview Warren Beatty gave. I know about that interview because the writer called me asking, "What am I going to do?" Because Warren's a frustrating interview. So I listened and listened and gave some comforting words and my friend wrote the article. My friend wrote it for a magazine, it was a cover story. So I found it interesting that the quote from that article isn't credited to the article but to a website. To the magazine's website? No, to a website, to a musical artist's website. And you see that over and over, a lack of primary sources and secondary sources. In addition, Elaine May comes off very poorly in the book according to friends who read it. I found it interesting that at least two insults to Elaine May were from . . . drum roll, please, Wikipedia. Yes, the sexist Crapapedia is 'source material' for this supposedly well researched book. And, get this, the two quotes? No longer in Elaine's Wikipedia entry. Because? They couldn't be sourced. But this asshole has put them into a book and now they'll be considered 'real' even though even Wikipedia no longer stands by them. It's a cut and paste job and those who doubt it should peruse the end notes before purchasing that bad book.

Jim: Okay and that's going to be the end of this roundtable. Our e-mail address is This is a rush transcript.

Consumer scams (Jess)

A Saturday panic began with an e-mail from Helen Davidson -- -- telling me that my "Order id: 45030199841" was "Accepted." And there was a link for "Info" and a "Thank you Amazon support."

Order? What order was accepted?

I hadn't ordered anything on Amazon since doing my Christmas shopping. I immediately go to Amazon and am just about to log into my account when I realize that the e-mail was sent to a permanent account and, with Amazon, I use my Yahoo account I've had since high school.

I go back to the e-mail and put the curser over "Info" to see where the link leads to. Some website that's address is gibberish (I don't click on links unless I know where they're taking me).

And I'm lucky on that. A lot of people getting the e-mail from Helen Davidson might not have attempted to pull up Amazon to see what order was made, they might have just used the link. And the page pulled up may or may not have appeared to be legit and who knows what would have happened after that?

I'm a laid back person. Jim, by contrast, is less so and told me he would have immediately clicked on the link. So the scammers don't just prey on the people who don't know better, they also prey on the quick to respond. Which had me thinking of a text message I've repeatedly ignored.

I'm told that a bank -- one I have no account with -- has stopped my credit card and I need to call 1-514-994-5964. I just ignored it because I didn't know the sender, didn't know the bank and didn't have the time.

But Jim and Dona both said that if they'd received a text like that, they would have called the number, thinking it legitimate, and wondering what was up with their credit card?

"You would have immediately called?" I asked to confirm I was understanding and they repeated that, yes, they would have immediately called.

If you Google the phone number 514-994-5964, you will quickly see the scam has targeted people all over the US and in Canada as well.

I think we're all used to some scams. I could be wrong. But as a Yahoo user of many years, I know what I assume most of us know, Yahoo never e-mails you asking you for your password or other information. So when I get those "Urgent!" e-mails telling me I have to provide that information or my account will be shut down within 48 hours, I just hit the "Spam" button and move on.

You may notice, on those e-mails, that they really aren't from Yahoo, that it's not a company address. And you may pick up other details. But texting, especially when it supposedly comes from your carrier, can seem so much more personal -- "Hey, look, it's right there in my hand! I'm holding the message!"

The Helen Davidson e-mail I would've immediately ignored did it not have that "" e-mail address. Mistakenly on my part, I gave the e-mail weight just due to the address.

As bad as the above scams are, imagine that you're in dire need of a job and you get scammed regarding employment. Not only does it happen, it's becoming such a problem that the Federal Trade Commission intends to address it next week. Friday, the FTC issued the following statement:

FTC Targets Scammers Pushing Phony Jobs, Bogus Money-Making Schemes

In conjunction with state law enforcement officials and other federal agencies, the Federal Trade Commission will hold a press conference on Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 11 a.m. to announce a law enforcement sweep cracking down on job and work-at-home fraud fueled by the economic downturn.

WHO: David C. Vladeck, Director, FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

Tony West, Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray

A job seeker who lost money to a scam

Also attending will be representatives of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Microsoft

WHEN: Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 11 a.m. EST

Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Room 432
Washington, DC

Call-in Information: A toll-free phone number (in the U.S. and Canada) will be available for media only, beginning at 10:45 a.m. EST. Detailed instructions will be posted on the FTC’s Web site beforehand.

VIDEO: A new FTC consumer education video, available in English and Spanish, tells anyone looking for work how to steer clear of a job scam. Still shots from the Web sites of some of the operators charged in this law enforcement sweep, as well as video footage of Consumer Protection Director Vladeck, and Monica Vaca, an Assistant Director in the FTC’s Division of Marketing Practices, also will be available. They can be downloaded at when the press conference begins.

PRESS CONTACT: FTC Office of Public Affairs

If the above seems familiar, this is the press conference that was supposed to take place February 9th. Due to the bad weather that hit DC, the conference was rescheduled.

Does the FTC ever get results? A good question. It's a government agency, it's supposed to be working for the public. This month they will be distributing $1.6 million to 24,916 people who were scammed by Check Investors, Inc, Check Enforcement, Inc. and Jaredco, Inc who billed themselves as National Check Control and whom the FTC began seeking a judgment against beginning in 2003 for "harassing and abusing consumers, falsely threatening criminal prosecution, illegally communicating with third parties, collecting amounts that were not due, and other violations of federal laws."

david vladeck

What may be most interesting is just how many scams there are. For example, David Vladeck (pictured above), the director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, gave a speech in October at the National Advertising Division Annual Conference and spoke of common sense plans such as increasing children's advertising literacy but he also detailed a variety of new scams. Here is one that caught my attention and that I was completely unaware of until reading over the speech:

In addition, the Commission has brought two federal court actions against marketers of "miracle" devices advertised to dramatically increase gas milage in ordinary cars. Earlier this year, we filed a case alleging that Dutchman Enterprises falsely advertised in major magazines that its Hydro-Assist Fuel Cell could boost automobile gas mileage by at least 50% and "turn any vehicle into a hybrid." In the second matter, the defendant was charged with falsely advertising that its NanoDetonator would allow ordinary passenger cars to harness the power of nuclear fusion, thereby eliminating the need for gasoline. In both cases, the Commission charged that the claims for the devices violate basic scientific principles. Through litigation, the Commission is seeking to halt unsubstantiated gas savings claims and reimburse consumers who have purchased the devices.

PDF format warning, click here for the speech in full. To file a complaint with the FTC, click here. And to find out if you and your romantic partner are fiscally compatible (PDF format warning) click here for a seven question quiz.

Ty's Corner

It's becoming really obvious that homophobia is not a dissident strain on the left, it's a dominant one. As an African-American, gay male, it's very troubling to watch so many White people (usually straight and usually male) rush to attack their opponents on the right by . . . calling them gay.


Tea bagging, for those who do not know, require testicles. A pair of testicles are dangled over a mouth as one would dangle and dip a tea bag into a cup of hot water. It's predominately an act that takes place between two men though it can take place between a man and a woman. Certainly, gay men have popularized the act more than anyone. Or had until MSNBC's crew decided it was funny to insult Republicans as well as gay men.

I want to thank C.I. and Bob Somerby (The Daily Howler) who led on rejecting the term and led on it when it was 'shiny and new' and the hottest fad the faux left had. I think C.I. summed it up best -- in all of her writing -- in the 2009 year-in-review:

There's a term we don't use here and no one should have been using it as an insult. If it's a sexual practice they enjoy, by all means talk about it with friends and lovers. What we do in the bedroom, all of us, what gets us off, is rather curious and rather strange. That's true even if your activities are confined to the missionary position. There's a reason, pay attention, children giggle and point when they see members of the animal kingdom engaged in sex. And jokes about sex and sexual anxiety have long been comic gold. With all that said, when you take a practice that is a predominately same-sex (male) practice and use it to ridicule people you loathe, you're engaging in homophobia.

That's just a snippet but I loved it and I loved it because C.I. was pointing out that all of us -- straight, gay, bi whatever -- have things we enjoy that are, yes, strange to those not into it.

But what C.I., Somerby and a few others rejected, so many others embraced.

And continue to embrace.

There are websites I will never visit again. They've used the t term to ridicule right-wingers because . . . what's funnier than calling someone gay apparently.

I don't take it lightly.

As any African-American surfing the net in the last ten years will tell you, you look for clues at a website to tell whether or not you are welcome. Are you issues covered? Are you treated as anyone else would be? And if you find that not to be the case, you don't visit that site. I use the same approach with regards to my sexuality.

Yesterday, I had an e-mail from a hate monger -- the idiot who runs -- and why he e-mailed me (me, not this website) I have no idea. But why he thought a new 'campaign' by the so-called Progressive Democrats of America was something to amplify is even more puzzling. With apologies to our readers here, I'm including the artwork of the latest PDA campaign.


Yes, the t-word.

Because the best way to attack the right-wing is to call them gay. The best way is to sneer at them with the 'utlimate' insult: Gay. Because there must be no greater shame or outrage than to be a gay man.

That's what PDA's selling.

I don't support homophobia and I'm really amazed by how many have rushed to support it. I'm really amazed by how many have refused to call the homophobia out.

Last week, Aimee Allison wanted to jump on her high horse and slam John Mayer for supposed racism on KPFA's The Morning Show. His alleged racism (Mayer castigated himself in the interview, he did not attack any African-American with racism in the interview) was just offensive to Allison. But Allison is a-okay with using the t-word on air. She's a-okay with that. Not only does she use it but guests use it without being corrected.

John Mayer's remarks were not racist in my opinion. And I'd be more understanding of Aimee if she'd ever shown the same alleged sensitivity to any other issue. But she doesn't and she continues to use the t word on air.

She continues to mock conservatives by calling them gay.

You get the feeling she'd call them f*gs if she could. On air.

I'm sick of the homophobia.

It needs to stop.

On the left, we're supposed to know better.

I also understand that PDA's average age is something like 75 and that it's the younger generation that grasps that homophobia is unacceptable. I'm not surprised that a bunch of White people, largely straight and largely male, would be homophobic. I am surprised that people who should know better would rush to amplify the homophobia. I'm surprised and I'm disappointed.

PDA sends the message that gay is "strange" and "shameful."

That's not a message that "progressives" or "Democrats" should embrace.

Shame of the week

"Shame of the week" may be too mild for what took place Friday on KPFA's The Morning Show. As Ann pointed out, Aimee Allison, co-host, became the new Laura Ingraham. She did so by declaring of John Mayer, "Can you just shut up and play guitar."

The Clown Face of Evil

Early in the week, we thought Joe Biden might win shame of the week, then Robert Gibbs topped him and we thought we had a winner. Along comes the Clown Face of Evil Aimee Allison and we end up with a contender so strong, she may be the shame of the year.

To be really clear, the answer for those of us on the left has never been, and will never be, to become more like the right. It's a fact that continues to escape Aimee Allison.

KPFA's biggest waste of time (Ava, C.I. and Ann)

Friday, KPFA's The Morning Show served up another embarrassment via Aimee Allison. Musician John Mayer gave an interview to Playboy and Aimee and a wide ass, unfunny, male comic decided they'd spend an entire segment offering . . . nothing.


It was not a bright moment for John Mayer but if you're going to insist that it was racist, you might to explain how it was. Aimee and her guest struggled with that and then some.

John Mayer used the n-word. It's not a term we use. If it's the basis for Aimee's decision to call Mayer a racist, we're confused because Aimee's repeatedly praised Quentin Tarantion's films -- films whose only consistent theme is their non-stop use of the n-word.

The segment featured call ins including an African-American woman named Sharon who hinted that the program should address real racism and went on to declare that she blamed Jay Z and others for "letting the genie out of the bottle." Somehow, after she was off the line, Aimee and her guest turned this into, 'John Mayer let the genie out of the bottle.'

Even more hilarious was when Aimee wanted to insist that the interview was also sexist. She wanted to do that for about twenty seconds.

Possibly realizing that a comic who traffics in sexist jokes and worse ("bitch" jokes are worse, Aimee) wasn't the best person to discuss sexism with, Aimee quickly aborted that thought.

But let's stay with it for a moment. First off, if she really thought the Playboy interview was sexist, where was the female guest? It's a bit like her curious decision a short while ago to 'address' the assault on women's reproductive rights by bringing on an 'expert' . . . a male 'expert' (Dave Zirin, the sports writer). That's only surprising if you're unaware this is a program that, last month, booked 123 guests, 89 of which were male and only 34 were women.

Second of all, exactly what world does she live in that she's shocked to find people talking about sex . . . in . . . Playboy magazine.

The woman's an idiot who desperately needs an education before she tries to speak in public again and your first clue was that for a segment supposedly intending to address racism, her choice of a guest is a comedian.

A comedian.

Listeners were never going to be treated to a serious or informed look at race, race relations or racism with a Henny Youngman wanna-be going for yucks. What kind of an idiot degrades the audience and the topic by going for yucks?


For more on this topic, see Ann's "Aimee Allison is the new Laura Ingraham."

Don't Miss Movie

Now Voyager, you saw it, you loved it, you know all about it.

Or do you?

Bette Davis plays a 'spinster' named Charlotte. It wasn't Davis' first time playing a 'spinster' or a Charlotte. 1939's The Old Maid, directed by Edmund Goulding, first found Davis playing 'spinster' Charlotte . . . focused on raising a young child named Tina. Also starring in the film is Miriam Hopkins as her cousin and rival and George Brent as a man that they both love.

the old maid

The Old Maid is a tight film with strong visuals, amazing acting and a story that holds you until the end. For more, see Stan's Friday post. And to really appreciated one of film's best actresses, don't miss Bette Davis in this movie.


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 by readers of this site. C.I. was surprised and says the point of the entry was just "to focus on the elections and Nouri at a time when I don't feel many, outside of The New York Times, are even vaguely aware of what's supposed to take place in roughly three weeks."

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Stuffed Shirt" -- Isaiah on the 'relaxed' Barry O.

"Screech Olbermann" -- Ruth takes on the ridiculous Screech.

"They keep conning us" -- Marcia reminding you to that if you want to end a policy, you end it. You don't bury hope of ending by commissioning a year long study to determine whether or not you should end it.

"The Old Maid" -- Stan's Friday night movie post.

"The worst of all the beggars" -- Imagine if a complex, years long history was reduced to one sentence? That's Amy Goodman for you. The Red Diaper Baby's all grown up and spewing lies. Elaine takes her to task.

"Weekend" -- Mike shares his thoughts on the "Oh the horror!" pushers.

We're noting all of Ann's posts:

And we're also noting all of Wally's guest posts for Rebecca:

"THIS JUST IN! SNIT FIT WATCH!" & "The people? Since when do they talk about the people?" -- Imagine if the media always made a point to include just how unpopular Barack's Big Business Give Away masquerading as 'health care' 'reform' was in their stories?

"Don't Spook the Spook" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this 2006 comic.

"Oven problems in the Kitchen" -- Trina actually enjoys cooking questions more than recipes these days. She says readers who've been reading for six months or more are now more or less handling their own recipes and seeking out new ones in books and from friends. "The cooking questions are just more fun," she maintains.

"Barbara Lee, David Paterson" and "Barbara Lee: War Whore" -- Betty and Kat on the very disappointing Barbara Lee who, for the record, many of the one-time Out of Iraq Caucus blame for destroying the caucus once Barack got the Democratic Party's presidential nomination despite claiming, during the primaries, that the caucus would hold whomever got the nomination's feet to the fire.

"Bill Clinton" -- Kat on the all the hate being spewed at Bill Clinton from "the left" that's not really Democrats but is too chicken s**t to say what they are. Closets are for hangers, kids.

"Save the grandstanding on Hiram Monserrate" -- Trina noting the laughable claims of Democratic state legislators in New York that they took a problem seriously.

"Go away, John Edwards, go away" -- Ruth on the cess pool that never stops sinking.

"No reason to make it complex" & "Barry strikes again" -- Betty and Stan on the ever disappointing Barry O.

"Fat Boy Robert Gibbs, Don't Ask Don't Tell" and "Fat Boy Gibbs and the Frat Boy administration" -- Mike and Marcia take on the embarrassment that is Fat Boy Bobby Gibbs, White House pie hole.

"Corporatist War Hawk suprises willfully blind" -- Elaine on the refusal by some to see.
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