Sunday, February 21, 2010

Truest statement of the week

Today, I found out that the "operation" that killed my son is over. "Operation Iraqi Freedom" got its name after the "great" Powers That Be figured out that "Operation Iraqi Liberation" stood for "OIL." Now, Obama's SecDef, Robert Gates, has changed that benign name to an even more New-Agey, Sweeter-than-Honey name: "Operation New Dawn." Doesn't that sound nice? Who doesn't like New Dawns? Except perhaps the people of Falluja who were brutalized in a Marine siege back in 2004 that was inappropriately entitled, Operation New Dawn.
When Obama first took over the trappings of Empire, he changed the name of the "Global War on Terror" the GWOT to: OCO, or Overseas Contingency Operation--doesn't that sound benevolent, too? Like the U.S. Empire is involved in Overseas Aid. You have a need for "Aid?" We have a "contingency" for you!
Illegal invasions and occupations are now called: "Interventions" as if the U.S. and its allies, are sweeping in and saving a country or society from a drug or alcohol problem, when clearly it is The Empire that is suffering from an addiction to mass murder and pillage.
It doesn't matter what the U.S. decides to call its "Operations:" part of us will reject the propaganda, and part of us will embrace it wanting very desperately to believe that our country is not a rogue state and/or that Obama is not as bad, or worse, than Bush.

-- Cindy Sheehan's "Operation New Dawn" (Cindy's Soapbox).

Truest statement of the week II

Who are these people and where are they leading us ? Every sane Iraqi must ask himself/herself this question. Where the f**k are you ? Have you disappeared in the ether, in communion with the dead or are you patiently waiting for your turn to finally join them -- your easy way out, since the only thing they promised you -- your liberators and your idols, is death...
They guaranteed you death, and now you just wait for it, like a terminally ill patient in a doctor's waiting room. He knows he's on his final way out, but he still pays his weekly visit...
How did my world shrink to turbans and charlatans and quacks, to a vicious authoritarianism that has suck up every God notion from my vocabulary..did my soul die in this tunnel ?..the idea itself is more murderous than a physical death...
We are the soul zombies of the new world order...the soul zombies of the new Middle East...

-- Layla Anwar, "A Tunnel . . ." (An Arab Woman Blues).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. For a change, we're do extremely early -- especially for us! 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 thank you to Isaiah for the use of two of his comics. And to Betty's kids for their illustration for the roundtable. Now what did we come up with?

Cindy Sheehan, who had the most truests in 2009, racks up another truest in the new year.
Layla Anwar is an Iraqi blogger always willing to speak her truth.
This almost wasn't the editorial. But Dona reminded that C.I. had saved the topic for this site and Ava, Wally, Kat and C.I. reminded what they were hearing from Republicans in Congress about the 2012 elections. It made this an Iraq-heavy edition and I (Jim) don't say that as an "Oh no!" That's fine. We always include Iraq and we try to focus on the illegal war as much as we can. This is an editorial you should bookmark because you'll want to remember it when 2012 rolls around.

Ava and C.I. take on the hideous Amy Goodman who seems to think Democracy Now! now airs on the E channel. After months of being called out for ignoring the Iraq Inquiry, Goody finally devotes a 'segment' to it -- approximately two minutes and she and her guest can't even get the story straight in that limited time. She truly does produce trash TV.


Our weekly Iraq feature. If it seems weightier than usual it's because we didn't wait until the last minute to write it as we sometimes do.

We heard the commentary after six readers in Houston e-mailed to complain about it. If you find something awful, feel free to e-mail, we will work it in if we can.

This was supposed to be a light e-mail. It gets a little heavier than I expected in some places. Ty notes he had an e-mail for C.I. but time ran out and he'll try to get an answer from C.I. and e-mail the reader back on that.

It really doesn't. We had thought, at one point, that this could be an editorial. It just didn't work out. Finally, we lopped off twelve paragraphs and posted it as a short piece.

This may change. Ava and C.I. have not read over it. I took all the notes they took and the three drafts we wrote of this and blended everything together. They're tired and want to get some sleep but note they may change it later tonight if they remember to look at it. (A note has already been added since this first posted. Ava, C.I., Ty and Dona wrote the note added.)

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

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

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

Editorial: Iraq The Political Football

Iraq has always been political football for the two main political parties in the US. In 2002, many Democrats voted with Republicans on a measure they didn't support out of fear that they would be called 'soft on terror' if they didn't. This measure gave us the Iraq War. (Many Democrats voted for it because they wanted war, FYI.)

In 2004, Bully Boy Bush and John Kerry squared off over Iraq for the presidential election with Kerry insisting he'd fight the 'dumb' war 'smarter'. And that proposal was supposed to pass for peace. Meanwhile, Bully Boy declared that the Iraq War was being won and blah, blah, blah.

In 2006, Democrats campaigned on the Iraq War, calling it out, saying it was lost, the 'dumb war,' the 'wrong war at the wrong time' and, if they were given control of just one house of Congress, they would, they insisted, end the Iraq War. They were given control of both the House and the Senate in the 2006 mid-terms. The Iraq War did not end.

In 2008, Barack Obama insisted he'd always been against the Iraq War. And no one was supposed to ever ask, "Really? Even when voting to fund it?" He insisted he was against the Iraq War and would, if elected president, bring it to an end within sixteen months. Later, while campaigning for the Democratic Party's nomination, he lowered that to ten months.

As with 2006 Dems, it helped him get elected.

But he didn't keep his campaign promise.

And he made a lot of other mistakes.

Chief among them: Appointing the unqualified Chris Hill to be the US Ambassador to Iraq.

In 2012, don't be surprised if Iraq's still an election year issue. Republicans opposed Chris Hill's nomination. At least two of them did that because they honestly believed he shouldn't be the ambassador. Some of the others opposing him did so because they believed Chris Hill was their party's ticket back into the White House.

How so?

They oppose Hill and Hill screws up and they've got their out on the disaster that is Iraq.

The line some Republicans are preparing for 2012 goes something like this: "Iraq is a disaster. Barack Obama did not give it enough attention and allowed all the benefits resulting from Bush's surge to disappear. Not only that, he appointed Chris Hill who was unfamiliar with the region, unable to speak the language and incapable of doing the job required."

Their argument then cites specific examples of Hill's failures.

Could it succeed? Could the Republicans win back the White House based on Iraq?

They very well could.

That's because the bulk of the left media no longer focuses on Iraq, no longer cares. So what, you may ask?

The right wing's not being silent. This is just like in the documentary Sir! No Sir! when Jane Fonda is explaining that people ask her why she has to keep going back to the topic of Vietnam and she points out that the right wing never stops going back. And she's right. They don't stop.

So what's gone in 2009 and this year so far is that the right continues to cover Iraq. And the left (with few exceptions) ignores it. So in 2012, the right may have spent three years spinning on Iraq while the left said nothing. Spin takes hold via repetition. Spin takes hold when no one challenges it. Spin takes hold when one side abdicates their responsibility to tell the truth.

You may think the Iraq War is in the past and we all know what happened and how. You may think that. You would be very wrong.

As noted in last Wednesday's snapshot, KETK 56 'reported' on Iraq, allegedly examining whether or not the illegal war was worth it. But for this 'report' on the Iraq War, they aired over two minutes of footage . . . of the Twin towers repeatedly going down, of Ground Zero and of the Pentagon.

Don't we all know that Saddam Hussein and Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 at this late date?

No, we don't all know that.

And once upon a time a lot of people believed the lie that Saddam was behind 9-11.

The lie was believed once. When the left drops the ball and allows the right to spin, the right wins. And when they're re-spinning? They win all the faster.

If the left continues to ignore Iraq and Iraq continues down the course it's always continued down since the start of the illegal war, 2012 won't be pretty and when Republicans insist (wrongly) that the 'surge' worked and that all was fixed and beautiful, a lot of people are going to believe it for the simple reason that between 2009 and 2012, they rarely heard a peep about Iraq. The silence (wrongly) allows many to believe things must have improved in Iraq or surely it would be big news.

TV: Trash TV

With Geraldo no longer in syndication, the bragging rights for "Trash TV" are up for grabs, or we thought so. And then we watched Democracy Now! on Wednesday.

Amy Goodman's pathetic little show only gets worse each week. Foundation money has dictated softer and softer coverage, to be sure, but it was her own choice to go for the title of Pacifica's Mary Hart. She did that by taking her alleged "war and peace report" to the Sundance film festival (a festival that lost pertinence and cachet after 1992) for approximately two weeks of 'news' programs. As we noted of that garbage, "While NPR worked, Amy Goodman jerked off. Last week, Goody took Pravda on the Hudson to the Sundance Film Festival which allowed her to yet again avoid the Iraq Inquiry in London. Friday, Tony Blair was the witness as the Inquiry completed three months of public hearings and yet Goody and her so-called 'war and peace report' have never gone to London to cover the hearings or even devoted a single segment to the hearings via phone-in guests. For three months. Yet she could give the hour to Robert Redford on Monday."

Riddle time: What's worse than Amy Goodman ignoring the Iraq Inquiry?

Answer: Amy Goodman 'covering' it.

November 24th, the Inquiry began public hearings, February 17th, Goodman finally found enough interest to do a segment on it. Kind-of. Sort-of.

For 10 minutes, she addressed the Iraq Inquiry . . .

And a movie.

Does it get more pathetic?

Over five minutes was devoted to In The Loop and its director Armando Iannucci was invited to offer . . . insight . . . into . . .

Well, not much. "The film is -- it's a fiction," explained Iannucci and that may seem obvious but it apparently had escaped Amy Goodman.

She offered two brief clips of the Inquiry -- Tony Blair testifying in the longer one, Clare Short in the shorter. How many film clips did she offer? Four lengthy clips from In The Loop.

Does it get more pathetic?

Actually it does. Iannucci was only one of Goodman's guests. The other one?

He writes for the British newspaper The Guardian.

"Yea!" you exclaim because The Guardian actually covered the Inquiry. Click here for their folder of the paper's coverage.

The Guardian? Maybe you're thinking Goodman brought on Richard Norton-Taylor who wrote or co-wrote so many articles on the Inquiry? Or maybe Andrew Sparrow who not only wrote and co-wrote articles but also live blogged the hearings for the paper? Or maybe Chris Ames who runs Iraq Inquiry Digest and regularly writes columns on the Inquiry for the newspaper? Or Simon Jenkins or any number of people because the newspaper covered it in live blogging, in news articles, in editorials, in columns, in cartoons, in every way possible.

So, naturally, the news that someone with The Guardian was on to discuss the Iraq Inquiry was good news.


Leave it to Goodman to pick possibly the only columnist for the paper who has refused to write about the Inquiry.

George Monibot has never written a column on the Inquiry nor has he ever blogged at the paper about the Inquiry.

If he's not the most uninformed worker at The Guardian, his answers certainly portrayed him as such.

We'll note the 'full' Inquiry discussion and comment as we go through it. You should grasp very quickly that the ten minute segment entitled "George Monbiot: UK Inquiry 'Toothless' and 'Feeble' in Probing Origins of Iraq War" only spent about two minutes on the Inquiry.

AMY GOODMAN: George Monbiot, start off by responding to the Chilcot inquiry. Is it working? What do you think?

GEORGE MONBIOT: Well, being pulled before the Chilcot inquiry is a bit like being mauled by a sock puppet. They're toothless. They're wooly. They're utterly feeble. It's a panel of pussycats. And they were deliberately chosen by the government for that very purpose. It's the prime minister's office which sets the terms of reference for inquiries in the UK and which chooses the members of the inquiry panel. So it's rather like someone, a criminal suspect who's up before the court for murder, for example, who says, "Well, actually, I don't want to be tried for murder. I'd rather be tried for shoplifting. And I'd like to appoint the judge and the jury for that trial." It's a ridiculous process, which would never be tolerated in the United States or, indeed, in any nation which has got a constitution. But in the UK, where we don't have a written constitution and where there are no practical limits to the prime minister's power, they can get away with it.

Remember that point he's insisting on: It wouldn't be tolerated in the US.

AMY GOODMAN: I think people in the United States might be thinking right now, "Huh. I mean, you're having this inquiry in Britain; nothing like this is happening in the United States."

GEORGE MONBIOT: Well, that's true. Of course, that is true. And it's about time that something did happen. But hopefully it wouldn't be like this. It would be a proper American inquiry, which has got some teeth, which is not appointed by the very people who were responsible for the thing that's being inquired into, and where there's a chance of them actually getting to the truth of the matter, rather than, as they did with Tony Blair, throw out these complete lobs to him, these hospital passes which anybody could catch, where he could just bat them away incredibly easily without breaking into a sweat at all.

George Monbiot is an idiot. He needs to find a topic he knows something about or just sit his tired ass down. It wouldn't happen in the US? It would have teeth? What world does that idiot live in? JFK is assassinated. America gets the Warren Commission. The worst terrorist attack on US soil takes place on 9-11 and we get a whitewash commission. Bush and Cheney don't even testify under oath. They take questions in the Oval Office or not. Like Goodman, Monbiot appears to have trouble distinguishing fact from fiction -- or in their cases, fact from film.

Monbiot doesn't know a damn thing -- not at all surprising to anyone who knows a thing or two about that columnist. But Goody lets him prattle on because she's not too smart herself. In fact, it appears the more she bleaches her hair, the dumber she gets. Or are we not supposed to notice that either?

AMY GOODMAN: And the significance of Clare Short's testimony, not to mention her significance in the lead-up to the war, George Monbiot?

GEORGE MONBIOT: Well, the problem she's got, really, is that she didn't resign until after the war had already begun. And what she should have done was to resign at the same time as Robin Cook. Once the parliamentary decision had been taken, once Blair had said, "There's no turning back now. We're going in," Cook resigned at exactly the right moment and retained his credibility. Short had a difficulty in that she didn't resign then. She sort of flinched and resigned later, which makes her testimony slightly less powerful than it would otherwise have been. However, she's absolutely right to highlight the lack of discussion within Parliament and the lack of discussion within the cabinet and the complete absence of a credible reason for launching the war, which of course makes this a war of aggression, in direct contravention of the United Nations Charter and of other instruments of international law, and which means that it was classified by the Nuremberg tribunal as an instance of the supreme international crime.

Clare Short testified February 2nd. And those familiar with her testimony may have been puzzled by Monbiot's 'summary' of it.

If you're among those puzzled, grasp that what he's done is restate her points in this passage: "There was never a meeting that said what's the problem, what are we trying to achieve, what are our military, diplomatic options. We never had that coherent discussion of what it is that the problem was and what it was that the government was trying to achieve and what our bottom lines were. Never. There was no emergency. No one had attacked anyone. There wasn’t any new WMD. We could have taken more time and done it right." Reading that, you should grasp that all he did was grab that passage and restate it to Goodman. And if you paid attention, you caught that he was restating what Clare Short said . . . in the clip Amy Goodman played during Monbiot's segment.

Do you get that?

You might also try saying: Elizabeth Wilmshurst. Who? An attorney who resigned in protest before the Iraq War started. She testified January 26th. Along with her former superior Michael Wood ("Legal Adviser, Foreign and Commonwealth Office). They both gave explosive testimony and it's strange that Monbiot didn't mention either of them -- until you grasp, as one editor at The Guardian put it to us, "George has an irrational phobia of any topic too 'in the news'." Which really doesn't allow him to be informed enough to comment, now does it?


He didn't pay attention to the hearings. He never wrote a piece about them. But this is who Amy Goodman books to discuss the Iraq Inquiry?

Someone who knows nothing?

Clare should have stepped down before the Iraq War started, huffs Monbiot.

He's been saying that for how many years now? He just dusted it off and presented it as if he were commenting on the Inquiry. In her testimony, Clare Short addressed that and more. But he doesn't know that and can't comment on it because he didn't care enough to follow her testimony.

And Amy Goodman doesn't know because she doesn't do any work at all. (Yeah, we caught her hawking Michael Moore's bad film on WBAI and claiming that Wal-Mart 'still' does something that even Moore's film -- in an endnote -- reveals is no longer done. What an idiot.)

It may be hard for some to believe today but in 2003 and 2004, especially before Air America emerged, there was a big push for England's Guardian to do a US paper. It was thought that they could start out with a weekly edition and quickly build up. They'd be a national paper. This idea was pushed and pimped by a great many and, in terms of Pacifica Radio, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who pushed it more than Amy Goodman. And she's had many, many guests (not just Monbiot) from the paper (which she frequently mistakenly identifies as "The Guardian of London") on her program.

She is familiar with the paper. So how does she end up booking the one person at the paper who hasn't followed the Inquiry?

Are we really supposed to believe -- we who have actively called out her silence on the Inquiry for months now -- that it was just an accident?

It didn't play like an accident. And there was no effort, the next day, for her to bring on anyone who actually was an expert.

So what we're left with is Goodman as the purveyor of Trash TV. She books a faux 'expert' to talk about an Inquiry he's neither written of nor followed because (a) she doesn't really give a damn about the Inquiry and (b) she really doesn't give a damn about her audience.

And it's the latter point that's now killing her show. We called out CODEPINK for some time, explaining they were pro-Obama and anti-peace when push came to shove and, to all the doubters and nay-sayers, time and Media Benjamin's own mouth proved us right (see Scott Horton's interview with her for Anti-War Radio). Goodman's own actions tell on her as well. She pretends she's going to explore the Iraq Inquiry but she reduces it to a ten minute segment and then spends approximately eight minutes of that ten minutes on other topics. To really make the entire segment a waste, she books a guest who can't talk about the Inquiry because he hasn't followed it. When an alleged public affairs program decides to program fluff, that's Trash TV.



Iraq elections (for now at least) are still scheduled for March 7th. Despite that, the US Ambassador to Iraq, Chris Hill, spent the bulk of the week in the US. As The Washington Post's Karen DeYoung told Diane Rehm Friday, "The Americans at least think that the crisis has passed" (second hour of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show). And they did.

Hill spoke at the State Department on Wednesday and at the Foreign Press Center on Friday. He couldn't stop raving about how there was no boycott, would be no boycott. Wednesday, for example, he gushed, "You'll recall in 2005, we had a Sunni boycott. There are no signs whatsoever of a boycott by any of the communities at this time." But now there is a boycott. Saturday, Waleed Ibrahim and Jack Kimball (Reuters) reported that the National Dialogue Front is boycotting the election and asking that other parties do the same. Fang Yang (Xinhua) added: they had released a statement which noted: "After the press releases by Ray Odierno (top command of U.S. troops in Iraq) and U.S. ambassador Christopher Hill that the Accountability and Justice Commission is influenced by the Iranian Quds Corps, we can't continue in a political process running by foreign agenda."

What's the statement referring to? Among other things, Gen Ray Odierno's press briefing Tuesday at the DC's Institute For the Study of War when he was asked by The Nation's Robert Dreyfuss about Iran.

Kimberly Kagan: Elections questions. Elections. Bob.

Robert Dreyfuss: Yeah. Two very quick ones.
Kimberly Kagan: Please introduce yourself.
Robert Dreyfuss: Oh, I'm Bob Dreyfuss with The Nation magazine. One is Ali al-Lami, who was arrested by the U.S. a year and a half ago. And I was wonderinf if you could kind of clear up who this guy is and what his connection to Iran are and why he was arrested and why he was freed. And sort of the related question is, I mean, you seem reluctant to talk about Iran's influence in Iraq. But a lot of people say that the fact that Maliki, you know, didn't cave in or exceed or agree with, whatever you want to do, with the American suggestions about transparency and other things indicates that Iran has a lot more influence as the U.S. drawdown approaches, and the U.S. has a lot less.

Gen Ray Odierno: Yeah. al-Lami is a Sadrist by trade. He was arrested after an operation in Sadr City where both Iraqi security forces, U.S. civilians, and U.S. soldiers were leaving a meeting that they had witht he local government in Sadr City, and their vehicles were attacked with IEDs as they left the meeting. There were some accusations. We had some intelligence that said that al-Lami was the one who directed these attacks on these individuals. He was released in August of '09 as part of the drawdown of our detention facilities because we did not have the actual prosecutorial evidence in order to bring him in front of a court of law in Iraq. All we had was intelligence that linked him to this attack. So, as we had some others, we had to release him. He has been involved in very nefarious activities in Iraq for some time. It is disappointing that somebody like him was in fact put in charge or has been able to run this commission inside of Iraq, in my opinion. He is, him and Chalabi clearly are influence by Iran. We have direct intelligence that tells us that. They've had several meetings in Iran, meeting with a man named Mohandas, which is an ex-council representative member -- still is a council representative member -- who was on the terrorist watch list for a bombing in Kuwait in the 1980s. They are tied to him. He sits at the right-hand side of Quds Force commandant, Qassem Soleimani. And we believe they're absolutely involved in influencing the outcome of the election. And it's concering that they've been able to do that over time. Chalabi, who you know, has been involved in Iraqi politics in many different ways over the last seven years, mostly bad.

While the National Dialogue Front boycotts, another political party has called out the assault on a free and fair election. Like the NDF, the Ahrar Party has been targeted with violence. Last week, they released a statement noting, "Over the past five days, Ahrar has had campaign workers shot at, captured and even killed, for the 'crime' of putting up our election posters. In Maysan on Wednesday, an Ahrar candidate was the victim of a carefully-planned ambush, narrowly escaping capture. One of his team was murdered at gun-point." The party's leader, Ayad Jamal Aldin declared, "These politicians are all talk. It it their weakness that has allowed outsiders and corrupters who are intent on dividing and destroying Iraq to take control of our country. Ahrar stands for a united and peaceful Iraq. For jobs, security and electricity for the Iraqi people." In a statement issued on Saturday, Ayad Jamal Aldin declared, "Security is the number one, number two and number three issue for almost all of us. The government has lost control, but today Ahrar puts forward a real plan to bring an end to the violence and intimidation that blighs the lives of all Iraqis. With Ahrar, it is the people who hold the power. That is what scares the corrupt and foreign-controlled. Nobody should be above the law. The police and army will be the servants of the Iraqi people -- and NEVER the other way around. No more bribes. No more interference from outside. These are the principles of the Ahrar Plan."

Another running for the Parliament is Moussa Faraj and Abdulla Mizead interviewed him for the latest weekly broadcast of Swarthmore College's War News Radio. (You can find a partial transcript in Friday's "Iraq snapshot.") Last year, provincial elections took place and the 14 provinces held their elections in January 2008 while the KRG provinces held their own in July of 2008. There's no delay in national elections -- they'll be held (unless they're postponed) March 7th across Iraq. Delovan Barwari (Kurdish Herald) has reported: on the competition amongst what is seen as the three biggest political parties in the Kurdistan region: the Kurdistan Democratic Party, PUK and Gorran.

What's really amazing is how little the US corporate press has reported on the candidates. Elections are less than two weeks away. One of the few exceptions is Amer Araim's guest columns for The Contra Costa Times (click here for the latest) which offer real analysis of the election, the candidates and the political parties.

At other outlets, what gives?

So much that happens in Iraq is under the radar.

Like the daily violence.

Sunday 8 people were reported dead and 10 were reported wounded; Monday 2 were reported dead and 4 were reported wounded; Tuesday 8 were reported dead and 16 reported wounded; Wednesday 3 were reported dead and 6 wounded; Thursday 13 were reported dead and 52 wounded; Friday 2 were reported dead and 1 wounded; and Saturday 6 were reported dead and 2 wounded. That adds up to 42 killed and 91 wounded -- reported killed and wounded, actual numbers are no doubt higher.

The 42 reported dead includes 5 Iraqi Christians killed in Mosul. AFP reported that Adnan al-Dahan's corpse was discovered Saturday and he became the fifth as he followed 20-year-old Wissam George (Wednesday), 21-year-old Zia Toma (killed Tuesday, Rasin Shmael was also wounded), 40-year-old Fatukhi Munir (Monday) and 43-year-old Rayan Salem Elias (Sunday). In the summer of 2008, Mosul became a dangerous place for Christians who began fleeing in increasingly larger numbers each week until the fall when even the press had to take note of the targeting of Iraqi Christians. Spero News quoted an unnamed Chaldean priest stating, "It is an ethnic cleansing that goes on day after day, in silence and indifference. We are in deep distress as the authorities and the police do nothing to stop this massacre." Meanwhile Mosul's Syrian Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa told Vatican Radio that he and other bishops spoke with the province's governor and the chief of police on Friday about the targeting of Iraqi Christians by unknown assailants.

With Iraqi Christians again under assault, we'll close with this press release from EWTN:

Irondale, AL (February 17, 2010) -- (EWTN) At the invitation of the bishops of Iraq, EWTN Rome Bureau Chief Joan Lewis has begun reporting live from this war-torn country on the plight of Christians in Iraq and the Middle East.
You can hear Lewis' reports exclusively on the EWTN Radio Network until Feb. 28, and read about her findings on her blog, "Joan's Rome," at
Live radio reports begin at 6:05 a.m. ET, Monday through Friday, on "The Son Rise Morning Show" with Brian Patrick, which airs from 6 a.m. ET to 8 a.m. ET, Monday through Friday. She can also be heard live at 9:15 a.m. ET, Wednesdays, on "Catholic Connection" with Teresa Tomeo.
In addition, Lewis will break in at various times on "Open Line," which airs live from 3 p.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, and encores from 10 p.m. until midnight.
To find an EWTN Radio affiliate in your area, click To find out how to get EWTN on satellite radio, click here
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 28th year, is available in over 150 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website and publishing arm, EWTN, is the largest religious media network in the world.
Contact: EWTN Global Catholic Network AL, 35210 US
Michelle Johnson - Director of Communications, 205-795-5769
Keywords: EWTN, Iraq, Middle East, Joan Lewis
Category: Catholic Organizations

Matt Rothschild, please buy some glasses

"I'm Matt Rothschild, and that's how I see it," declares the CEO of The Progressive in his latest audio bit (Houston's KPFA The Progressive Forum aired it as part of its Thursday broadcast, click here for the archives). And the only logical reply is: Get your eyes checked!


Rothschild (pictured above in Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels") opens with, "I noticed that the death threats against Obama climbed at one point to 400 percent higher than those against Bush, and yet the Secret Service has increased its number of agents by only 5 percent."

No, it never gets better.

Long after the lie Matthew Rothschild insisted upon repeating months ago has been disproved, he's still going to the well on it.

Poor Matty. C.I. and Ava loathe a certain freak show at the White House who was due to appear before Congress (but didn't show) so they attended a hearing. In that hearing, Matty's claims were revealed as lies. From the Thursday, December 3rd snapshot:

Turning to something non-Iraq related. Today in the Committee on Homeland Security hearing, US House Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton got a refresher in how blind trust in the media can leave you with egg on your face. Sounding very sure of herself, she repeated the claim that always sounded false but was so pleasing to so many: Barack Obama is receiving more death threats than anyone ever has!!!! Eleanor's not the first person to repeat that nor did she originate the false assertion. She just had the misfortune of repeating it to the Director of the Secret Service Mark J. Sullivan who quickly corrected her and explained that Barack had not received more threat at this point in his presidency than had Bill Clinton or George W. Bush at the same time in Clinton's presidency or Bush's whatever you want to call it. (I have never used the "p" word to refer to Bush and never will.)
Eleanor's a smart woman (except when it comes to films) and she's not a liar. She didn't create the claim. She read it, she heard it. It was all over the media. By October, Bryan Bender was asserting in the Boston Globe -- though careful readers may have noted that he had no source for it in his article. The false claims -- it felt so good to so many! -- first surfaced in an article by Toby Harnden (Telegraph of London) where he clearly identified it as appearing in a book by Ronald Kessler. That's August 3, 2009. It just felt so good and so righteous! to so many freak shows. By August 12, Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) was repeating it. The same Rothschild, it should be noted, who spent the bulk of this decade explaining how one 'threat' against Bush after another was in fact not a threat but an overreaction which led to an innocent person being targeted. But that's when a Republican's in the White House. When it's a Democrat, Matty's no longer concerned about examining alleged threats, he's too busy rushing forward with bad columns. Why? Because he feels so good thinking everyone wants to get Barack. He feels so wonderful. It makes him feel special and, yes, superior. And if you've ever seen Matthew Rothschild then you know feel superior to anyone isn't something he's often been able to pull off. But there was Matty in August insisting that Barack was getting 30 death threats a day! A 400% from Bush! And who was the source? Toby's source. Ronald Kessler. It's curious that Matty, writing for The 'Progressive,' didn't feel the need to identify Kessler who allegedly did interviews with unnamed Secret Service agents to get his 'facts'. Kessler publishes with what outlet? Oh, yes, Newsmax. Newsmax. Not an unbiased publication. Matty knew his readers -- all three -- would laugh like crazy if he explained who Kessler was or his Newsmax ties. So he just left that out. Conservatives, Matty will invite you into his bed but, remember, in the morning you'll need tip-toe down the hall. So that's the source and has always been the source -- a single source -- Ronald Kessler. Kessler's always played loose with the facts and it's often bitten him in the butt. For anyone other than right-wing partisans to take him or his sensationalistic and gossipy books seriously is rather surprising. But Matty did. Because it said what he wanted to hear. It said what he needed to hear in order to feel special about himself and to feel like he was so much better than the country he lived in. In fact, I think I hear the first sentence of The Matthew Rothschild Story: "From an early age, he was driven by a need to feel better than the country he lived in and better than its people. He was of them, yet he was never for them."
Testifying to Congress today, the head of the Secret Service corrected the falsehood. Wait and see which of the many (Amy Goodman also repeated the nonsense claims) freaks will come forward and say, "OOPS!" It was a pleasing tale to tell for many, it just wasn't true. By the way, Kat attended the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Afghanistan and the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the same topic Wednesday and wrote about it last night in "Depressing time in the House and Senate." And, again, we didn't open with Iraq. But this lie about the threats has been repeated over and over and we'll open with the facts. Unless Sullivan retracts or 'clarifies' his statement, that is now the public record and liars are on notice. The hearing was this morning. For those who'd like to see it, click here to stream and it may not be posted until Friday morning.

Matthew Rothschild, pictured below in Isaiah's "Wheel of Greed," not only never corrected his false claim, he continues to repeat the falsehood.


At the end of his commentary (a text version appears at The Progressive), he says, "So yeah, I worry. Don't you?" What we worry about is a the publisher of a left magazine who is either unable or unwilling to correct his false claim and continues to insist upon repeating it.

What we worry about is what sort of hatred of the American people may be found in Rothschild's determination to hold on to and repeat that false claim.


Jim: Roundtable time -- on e-mails and news topics. But mainly what Ty thinks will be a "fun roundtable." 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. Ty?


Ty: I can do a "Ty's Corner" on e-mails and ask everyone their thoughts and then write it up or I can let people speak for themselves. More and more, we are getting -- at -- e-mails for people with their own sites. Which is fine. And I'll give you an example by starting with Stan. Penny e-mailed about Stan's Friday movie posts, most recent being "Peter Sellers and Claudine Longet throw The Party" -- and wondered how many films a week does Stan "watch or see"?

Stan: First off, I rarely go to the movies anymore. Sorry. I've got to the point where I can't take the teenagers who throw candy and other things. I'm just not in the mood for it. You spend the whole time telling them to pipe down and have no idea what the movie was about. In 2009, I paid to see the following at the movies: The Proposal, The Hurt Locker, The Blind Side and Avatar. I didn't see anything else at the movies. I watch a ton of DVDs. Easily seven a week. My uncle is in town for two weeks and he's staying with me and he is really not into the Winter Olympics and was afraid I would be. I told him I usually just use my TV as a monitor and the only thing I watch on TV regularly is The NewsHour on PBS. That's not, "I'm too good for TV." That's just I'm usually really busy. I catch The NewsHour probably three times a week. But I watch at least one movie a night. I'll toss something in that I've got and return phone calls and then, when I'm done, toss in a Netflix rental or a Redbox rental or a Blockbuster rental or my own independent, non-chain video store rental. And I get from all of them every week, to give you an idea. I do two films at Netflix and think I need to step that up to three so I can do my own at-home film festivals. Redbox? We were at the grocery store Thursday, my uncle and I, and there was nothing new but we saw The Quick and The Dead and grabbed that from them. So anyway. Easily seven DVDs a week. I only write about one a week. But I see a lot. And I don't watch The New Adventures of Old Christine these days on TV because I can't stand Gary Unmarried coming on off it. Instead, I buy the episode for 99 cents and watch it online. Which is really stupid since I could see it on TV for free but I hate Gary Unmarried.

Jim: You always hated it or you've started hating it?

Stan: I love the show the first season. But -- and Ava and C.I. tackled this in "TV: Gary Unwatchable" -- it changed so much it's not the same show and it's really awful. I can't stand it. And the first season, I really enjoyed it.

Ty: Okay, on TV, Ava, a question regarding TV pieces. Braeden writes that he guesses you and C.I. watch a ton of things each week to figure out what to cover and he's wondering if you could specifically walk through a process?

Ava: Sure. Or I'll try anyway. First, Stan mentioned the Winter Olympics. That's knocked out NBC. And, no, we're not going to watch the Olympics. Now what we mainly do is a lot of work in July and August. We're reading scripts and watching some videos and figuring out how early we want to note this or that? We're talking to friends at the networks to figure out what needs help and what doesn't. Cougar Town is a great show and it's now safe at ABC -- I say that and tomorrow I'll get a call that it's being cancelled -- but when we were trying to figure out which show to open with for our first review of the fall season, we were thinking of The Good Wife -- which we love -- but then we heard a complaint from a friend working on Cougar Town. We followed up on that with ABC friends and found out that ABC was very nervous about the show. How nervous? We were told that they were afraid the way they were of Heather Graham's show -- which was canceled minutes after airing its first show. So we led with Cougar Town. And, I'm talking too much, that show was being attacked like crazy -- by faux feminists. Women who never object that an actress does nothing on this or that show were suddenly attacking Cougar Town -- and from their writing, it was obvious that they hadn't even seen the first episode. It was really, really ugly. Ruth?

Ruth: Yes, it was. I made a point to call out at least two women who were doing attacks on the show and they had not watched the show. They revealed that in their writing. They did not admit it, they just revelead it because they made comments that they would not have made if they had seen the show. But it is a very funny show. It has continued to be involving. There are so many twists and turns. And Courtney Cox's character is in a love triangle of sorts. Her ex-husband is still in love with her and her neighbor across the street is as well. She does not know that. They know it, the two men, and Andy knows it, he's married to Courtney's best friend Ellie. It is a very involving show. I find The New Adventures Of Old Christine to be as well and loved the episode where New Christine had her ultrasound and Old Christine considered getting pregnant again. I could channel flip if it were not for Gary Unmarried. Or if ABC had a show worth watching at that half hour. Instead, I generally watch The New Adventures Of Old Christine and then record Cougar Town and watch it the next day.

Ava: So for the fall, we do a lot of prep work in July and August. For the mid-season, we're generally trying to do prep work in December. It's not always easy. For this week? We haven't written our piece yet. We have a sitcom we may team up with Amy Goodman's increasingly irrelevant program and some others. Friends asked us to consider three PBS shows. When we -- C.I. and I -- break away to start working on the piece, we'll be shuffling through three PBS programs to see if they can be included and also trying to decide whether or not to include the sitcom in it. We will be tackling Goody and her Iraq lies.

Jim: There's also a package of scripts and shows, all the same one hour show, that were delivered to the house on Friday.

Ava: And we don't have time to open that box. We got in on Saturday. It's Sunday morning. We'll take the scripts and recordings with us on the road this week and see if there's anything for a review but we're really tired. I think that's the theme throughout the community, right Kat?

Kat: Exactly.

Ty: Okay, let's move to Kat. John K e-mails to ask about the CD reviews. He notes you promised one this weekend and then pulled it. He wonders why you haven't reviewed Sade's new CD?

Kat: Well, John K., you should have written me. If you'd e-mailed me before Friday, I'd be reviewing Sade's new CD this week. I love that CD. But I've been waiting on a CD. Why? I do think it's a valid criticism that I review major artists and only them. That's not intentional. And in other years, I picked up and trumpeted many smaller artists. However, in those years, I had Tower and I could walk in and grab a wide variety. These days? Downloading really doesn't lend itself to experimentation for me. So I wanted my first review to be of a smaller label artist. I asked around and around and finally C.I. helped me. I say "finally" because I asked many people before C.I. I don't mean that I asked and asked and C.I. just blew me off. So I asked C.I. around -- I think it was January 13th. C.I. said, "Really? There's a great artist who is putting out an album in February." And I get the back story on that artist, recording on a label I've never heard of. C.I. gives me two albums by the artist and I'm blown away by that. Last week, on the road, I'm listening to the new album and planning to review it in a review that would be posted today. But I didn't realize that it was breaking street date. Meaning my review would go up before the album was out. Big deal? Here's the thing, and it should be familiar to you, you go to the store intending to pick up a book. It's a book you just heard about it. You go in, they don't have it. You tell yourself, "Next time." Next time, you're looking for a different book you've just heard of. This is a small label and an artist not known to the degree of, say, Alicia Keyes. So I want my review to go up when the album is available in stores and for download so that no one says, "I'll remember to check that out!" but then forgets. However, I feel awful that I said I'd do a review this weekend and couldn't once I found out I was breaking street date. So if John had written me, I would've written a review of Sade just to keep my word. And I do listen to the new Sade constantly.

Ann: And it's on sale at Borders Books for $9.99.

Jim: That's a great price. I believe that's the price it costs to download. Dona?

Dona: Yeah, that's what I paid for our download.

Jim: So dash into your local Borders Books if you have one to get Sade's Soldier of Love. Ty?

Ty: Isaiah, Jane e-mails very concerned. She thinks that with the comics at The Common Ills and in the community newsletters, you may be overtaxing yourself. She wonders if that's why you didn't do a comic last week?

Isaiah: Thank you, Jane. I mean that. First off, there's a difference in the comics for the newsletters and for TCI. I worry more about TCI. Not worry about the comic I will be drawing but worry before I figure out what to draw. I spend more time worrying. And that's because I know that the community will get my cartoons so the newsletter ones are never a worry. But the ones at TCI are up every where -- other places repost them and I don't just mean in this community -- and I do know C.I. does get flack on them from time to time. I'll usually hear about that from Jim, in fact. Never from C.I. So I spend a lot of time worrying about my comics at TCI. Those are the only stressful ones. In terms of last week? Valentine's Day was on a Sunday. C.I. and Ava were trying to get people to take off from here and enjoy the romantic holiday but everyone wanted to work here. And so C.I. told me it would make her very happy if I didn't do a comic Sunday night. It would make her very happy to know that I was relaxing and having a good Valentine's Day. So I said I'd try to do one on Monday and she said it would be fine not to. And I was off on Monday and slept in. When I woke up, I rushed to do a comic for Hilda's Mix and had no idea for TCI so I just ended up not doing one. I had thought I would. Did I answer the question in any of that? Thank you, Jane, for your concern.

Jim: And I'll jump in here. Sometimes Isaiah has a comic that goes up at TCI early on Sunday morning. Why? Because we'll be talking about some story we're doing here and Isaiah will say he can do an illustration on that and he'll start to draw something and C.I. will find out and say, "No." No to it being an illustration here. If Isaiah wants to do it, she'll say he can do it as a comic and it'll post to TCI and then we can use it. So that's why sometimes Isaiah will have a comic up Sunday morning instead of Sunday night. And, for the record, I do understand. It's not fair to ask Isaiah to create an illustration -- a political one especially -- here when a few hours later he's going to have to turn around and do another one at TCI.

Ty: This is for Trina, Marcia and Ruth. Rhonda notes that you three often highlight the same sources, different topics, but the same in that you highlight Feminist Wire Daily News and the ACLU's Blog of Rights. Rhonda was wondering if that's planned and, if so, why?

Ruth: We are all face to face -- Trina, Marcia and I -- and they are pointing at me so I will go first. The ACLU's Blog of Rights is a newer site and it is one that we like to highlight because we think there is a great deal worth reading there. Marcia and I started using it to promote it and we also found it to be a wonderful resource for LGBT rights and what was taking place in the continued battle for equality. In addition, I enjoy the privacy rights issues they cover. Also true is that the ACLU never drank the Kool-Aid. At the start of 2009, many may have been huge Barack Obama supporters personally. I do not know that they were or that they were not. But they did not let them be driven away from their task. They stayed strong and continued fighting for what they always fight for regardless of who is in the White House so Marcia and I really wanted to highlight them.

Marcia: Trina's pointing at me. As Ruth was saying, there was the fact that they were staying strong. Elaine and C.I. were pointing that out at their sites. We read their sites. We all read each others' sites. And Ruth and I were in the midst of a conversation at that time. We had been for days and weeks discussing how depressed we were by the US Amnesty International and the Center for Constitutional Rights and a host of other organizations that supposedly exist to call out those in power and defend the powerless but were now trying to curry favor with the powerful. It was disgusting. So during that on again, off again conversation Ruth and I were having -- Ruth and I spend about five hours on the phone with each other each week, at least five -- Elaine and C.I. were pointing out that the ACLU wasn't in the midst of make over and because of that, Ruth and I wanted to highlight them. Now Feminist Wire? Trina's really trying to highlight more women -- I don't think she realizes how many women she already highlights -- and I brought Feminist Wire up with her. There are times when one of the three of us or Kat will call or e-mail the others and say, "Hey, let's all highlight something from . . ." and we will. But women remain a huge portion of the US population -- over 50% -- and yet the media and the blogs under-represent them.

Trina: Exactly. I feel like I need to highlight more women. And that's a feeling I always have. I know C.I. highlights women like no other website. And as a woman and a community member, I feel it's my job to follow that lead. But, in addition to that, I've been hearing from a lot of women since December. I'd love for them to take their conversation online and encourage them to do so and if they ever say, "Use my name," I'll write about it and do so. But the attacks on women are not forgotten. In 2008, the left websites and Pacifica Radio, et al, decided it was okay to attack women, it was okay to ridicule them. They decided you didn't call that out. We're doing a feature on Matty Rothschild making an ass out of himself and we need to do that. But he's suddenly worried. He's worried that mega-millionaire Rachel Maddow might be getting threats. She wishes. But women have been run off online due to the bullying and threatening of Barack's little buddies online. I'm averaging three women a week writing me, since the start of December, about how they stopped blogging. Why did they? They stopped because of the bullying, because of the threats. They were Hillary supporters in 2008 and they were attacked and attacked and it did the trick, it silenced them finally. Matthew Rothschild, where was your concern for those women? Do they not matter because they don't have MSNBC shows? You had no concern for those women -- in fact, Matthew Rothschild added to the hostile climate towards women in 2008 -- and so when I hear from them, when another writes me, I just can't -- I just feel like I have to work even harder to highlight women.

C.I.: Trina's spoken to me about this topic, if I can jump in. I've heard from four women bloggers who haven't written Trina. The issues are remarkably the same. In one case, the woman now is back to political blogging. And in her case, she got slammed all over the place, she got called every name and non-stop threats. That's disgusting. I would love to name her but I can't. Maybe she'll see this and either write about it herself or else she'll e-mail and say I can mention her by name. But more than probably any other woman online, this woman's been a political blogger at a time when the internet was man, man, man, man. And I'm really glad that she's back to doing her political blogging. She predates pretty much everyone and she should not give up her spot, her history, for any reason other than she's just tired of politics. She's carved out her place. If I can name another woman. Delilah Boyd. She did A Scrivener's Lament. I've meant to e-mail her to ask but have never had time. I hope she stopped blogging because she was done with it. But I do know she was being attacked, bullied and threatened. That's what happened to Hillary supporters and that's why there is no healing. There has never been an apology for all of that. There was never anyone stepping up to defend these women -- and some men -- who were being attacked. And that's why the liars like Amy Goodman can go f**k themselves because people do not trust them. They saw themselves attacked and saw Goody not call it out but take part in it. They saw Goody go to Denver and not even consider it newsworthy that a delegate count has just started and Nancy Pelosi's shutting it down. People still don't know that. There was no delegate count at the convention. Pelosi shut it down. So don't whine to me about Florida in 2000. If you didn't give a damn about what happened in Denver in 2008, you don't give a damn about all votes being counted. But women were bullied and were threatened and were attacked and the people who should have defended them did nothing.

Rebecca: Can I jump in on that? I have a buffer in my e-mails in that my husband reads them. That's in part because of my 2005 stalker who stalked me online and then stalked me in person. I would never, if I were starting a blog today, put a last name on it. I wouldn't do that. If I could give women one tip, that would be it. But I'm also the mother of a young girl and so that takes up a lot of time as well. So my husband helps out by reading my e-mails. And I note that from time to time so that does cut down on the abuse factor. A lot of bullies aren't going to threaten if they know (a) I'm not going to read it and (b) it's being read by a man. But I do hear from women who wonder why I keep blogging? They took a lot of threats and suffered a great deal of intimidation -- this is especially true of women who were PUMA bloggers -- or my e-mails are primarily from them -- and they just wonder if it was worth it? Not just because Hillary, obviously, didn't get the nomination. But also because such hatred of women was on display and no one called it out. Amy Goodman didn't call it out, Matthew Rothschild didn't call it out, FAIR and it's radio program CounterSpin didn't call it out, just go down a long list. And the point is, here, that women thought they were part of the left and they thought the left might disagree on certain things and things might even get heated. But they never expected to encounter so much gender hatred and so many gender attacks and that these would take place publicly and that our 'brave' left and 'left' watchdogs wouldn't call it out. There is no healing. The ones who betrayed our core beliefs have refused to take responsibility and to apologize or atone for their actions. It's as though they farted and they think they can blame it on the dog. But everyone in the room knows it was them.

Elaine: I have a buffer too. Sunny, my assistant, reads my e-mails. And Trina, for example, will tell me about the e-mails she receives and I will just marvel over them. I don't get those. I'm referring to both from other women bloggers as well as from threatening men. I'll get an Eric Alterman, for example, going nutso in an e-mail. But these aren't threatening so much as they're humorous. And I think it is the buffer issue. The fact that I'm not the one reading them means that a lot of people who would otherwise write to bully don't even bother. So for any woman who's experiencing threats or attacks in e-mails for her blogging, if it's bothering you, get a friend to read your e-mails and announce that online. I seriously expect you'll see a dip in the number of threatening e-mails.

Jess: I don't know Elaine. I agree if they're doing a site like you or Rebecca does, but if they're posting a great deal, the way C.I. does, I don't know that that helps. It's widely known that C.I. only reads e-mails on the weekends and holidays and an hour in the morning and an hour at night. During those times, she grabs what she can. But it's known that Eli, Martha, Shirley, Heather, Dona, Jim and I read the e-mails the rest of the time and are reading the bulk of the e-mails and yet threatening e-mails still will come in.

Ava: I agree with Elaine's suggestion and think it could cut down on a number of threatening e-mails but, as Jess has noted, there are still problems re: threats to TCI. When those come into the public account, I will either reply or C.I. and I will and that tends to knock a number of threatening men into silence.

Dona: I'm sorry, I have to note something here. At this site, the TV reviews are written by Ava and C.I. It wasn't always that way. For at least the first two weeks, it was group writing. Then it became just Ava and C.I. The e-mails were the same for weeks and weeks. People liked the commentary or didn't, they explained why and the e-mails were lively but they weren't threatening. After several months of Ava and C.I. doing the commentaries, we went ahead and noted that they were doing them, we gave them the credit they were earning -- had earned. And suddenly, threatening e-mails came in, like you wouldn't believe. When it was thought that we were all writing it -- men and women -- no threats. When it was known that two women were covering it, non-stop threats. So let me turn this to Stan, Cedric, Wally and Mike. How many threatening e-mails do you receive?

Mike: I do not ever remember receiving an e-mail that threatened me with bodily harm. Dave Zirin might have written one like that but I never took it seriously if he did because he's so emotional.

Wally: That's funny because I was thinking of the emotional Tom Hayden and his e-mail. But no, not any threats. Cedric's got a different story, however.

Cedric: I did get some threats. Is it because I'm African-American? It may be. I was threatened for comments supporting Jake Kovco and his parents efforts to get the truth about his death. He was an Australian soldier who died in Iraq. I got so many threatening e-mails on that.

Marcia: When I wrote about Kovco in 2008, those bullies were comfortable leaving threatening comments on my post.

Cedric: I don't know what it is. But Wally and I teamed up when we were both working on registering people to vote in the 2006 mid-terms and campaigning for Democrats in those races and since we teamed up I really haven't gotten any real threats. Not any that I remember.

Dona: Stan?

Stan: I did. I was bothered by it and I sent texts to everyone. Ava was the first to respond and she texted back, "Hit reply and write F**K YOU." Which I did. And I never heard from him again. And I've followed that tip from Ava and that usually ends their threats.

Ava: That's a technique I developed while replying to New York Times staff e-mailing The Common Ills. A good "F**K YOU" and they never whined again.

Jess: If I could clear up something because there may be confusion for a reader or two, when we say threats, we're talking threats. We do not mean someone doesn't like you or they say shut up or they wish you would die. We're talking direct threats. Betty got them almost instantly after she started her website. And she finally had to just read her e-mails once a month. She'd go in and she'd read what she could or what she wanted to for a bit and then she'd delete the rest unread.

Betty: That's true. They do threatening e-mails to women that they don't do to men. I think it's because a bully sees a woman as weaker or maybe he's intimidated by men. But with women, they will immediately fire off an e-mail to them full of threats.

Ty: Okay, Betty and Stan, you both highlight Hillary Is 44. Sometimes you will expand upon something from that site, other times you'll just note it with a link and excerpt and then write about something else. So Susannah e-mails wondering if that's your favorite website?

Betty: Outside of the community websites, Hillary Is 44 is my favorite website. It's never embarrassed itself. I'm sure you can think of several Hillary supporting websites that feel the need to act ass stupid and insist, "Barack's actually done a good thing." They'll say that, for instance, after his State of the Union address and you'll think, "Nuclear power is a good thing?" No, it's not. So they need to stop it. But they live to embarrass themselves and a lot of them blog like they're desperate to be let in the club house. I don't want in that club house -- that club house is filled with men and with women who hate women. I'm not interested. My life is better -- and certainly my blog is better -- not lusting after that club house.

Stan: Yeah, I agree with Betty. We generally talk on the phone before we blog. Sometimes she'll have something else she wants to write about and sometimes I will. We try to make it so that at least one of us expands on the excerpt from Hillary Is 44. So if she's got something on another topic she wants to cover, I'll expand on Hillary Is 44 and vice versa. It's interesting because most of us who blog at night are in contact with one another. We all are, actually. I may not speak to everyone blogging that night, but I'll speak to Betty and maybe my cousin or maybe Mike or someone and they'll have spoken to two other people, so we all generally have an idea of the topics each other is grabbing.

Ty: Does that mean, for example, if Mike's grabbing X, you won't write about X?

Stan: Yes and no. If it's a topic we all care about, we may all write about it. But if it's a topic that is something I don't really know that much about or am not that passionate about, I'll let Mike, for example, write about it and if I get an e-mail of "Why didn't you cover?" I'll just refer them to Mike's post.

Jim: Ty, do you have an e-mail regarding Ann because we need to wind down. Dona just handed me a note.

Ty: Yeah, I do. Jean wonders if Ann's planning to cover Fresh Air for the foreseeable future?

Ann: I don't know. I feel kind of bad because I know Betty often listens to the show. I'll call her before I blog to make sure she's not planning on writing about it and I also do it the day after. I do that so I can confirm what I heard -- or that what I think I heard is what I heard -- but also because if Betty does write about it, she'll write night of and next day when I write, I can link to her. I do want to do audio because I don't want that to just fall on Ruth. Or Ruth and C.I. But I'm not sure if Fresh Air will be the one I stay with.

Jim: Okay, so that was the roundtable and it was a low key one. Rush transcript.

Operation Happy Talk never ends

As if to confirm how nothing has changed, last week Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defense, decided it was time to (again) change the name of the Iraq War. Jake Tapper (ABC News) broke the story that Gates wanted to drop Operation Iraqi Freedom and go with the moniker Operation New Dawn. [PDF format warning] ABC News posted the memo:


SUBJECT: Request to Change the Name of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM to Operation NEW DAWN

The requested operation name change is approved to take effect 1 September 2010, coinciding with the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq. Aligning the name change with the change of mission sends a strong signal that Operation IRAQI FREEDOM has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission. It also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq.

Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan weighed in on Friday

Today, I found out that the "operation" that killed my son is over. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” got its name after the “great” Powers That Be figured out that "Operation Iraqi Liberation" stood for "OIL.” Now, Obama’s SecDef, Robert Gates, has changed that benign name to an even more New-Agey, Sweeter-than-Honey name: "Operation New Dawn." Doesn’t that sound nice? Who doesn’t like New Dawns? Except perhaps the people of Falluja who were brutalized in a Marine siege back in 2004 that was inappropriately entitled, Operation New Dawn.
When Obama first took over the trappings of Empire, he changed the name of the "Global War on Terror" the GWOT to: OCO, or Overseas Contingency Operation-- doesn't that sound benevolent, too? Like the U.S. Empire is involved in Overseas Aid. You have a need for "Aid?" We have a "contingency" for you!

Jake Tapper noted the objection to the name change (or the attempt to pretend something's changed) by Brian Wise speaking on behalf of Military Families United. They're not an anti-war group. We waited -- obviously in vain -- for an anti-war group to tackle the name change.

At least Peace Mom called it out.

The hate mongers

Matthew Rothschild, as we note in another feature, is concerned. Concerned about hate and anger. Or he pretends he is. There's a lot of hate and anger he chooses to ignore -- as Trina points out in this week's roundtable -- and it comes from the supposed left.

For those who missed it, last Sunday Family Guy (Fox) did another 'joke' that crossed many people's lines. It was making fun of Down's Syndrome. And it tied Sarah Palin in by making the child be the daughter of a woman who was governor of Alaska.

A number of readers e-mailed to alert us about the 40-year-old woman who voiced the young girl on Family Guy and how, in a New York Times blog post, an e-mail from her said it was okay to make those jokes.

(A) Steppin Fetchit was never a role hard to cast in the past. There will always be a number of people willing to humiliate themselves and others for money. When called on it, they will get defensive and insist it's just a joke. (B) One woman desperate for work in TV really isn't the voice of the special needs community. (C) The voice actor's bitchy (the only term for it) remark about Sarah Palin demonstrated that she wasn't an objective party.

The New York Times wisely left out the bitchy remark. Others rushed in where the paper refused to follow. That includes something called Palingate and, if you click here, you'll find just how much hatred and insanity Matthew Rothschild ignores.

This crazy, hate spewing website is of the 'left' -- in the same way that those Barack supporters in 2008, wearing t-shirts calling Sarah Palin the c-word (c**t) were of the 'left.' And it's bloggers will tell you, as Patrick does, that "Sarah Palin isn't even the biological mother of Trig, her beloved Down-Syndrome prop, because she has faked the pregnancy! Bristol Palin is the biological mother of Trig."

See that's the hate Rothschild will never confront. Trig Palin, a child who has never harmed anyone, is called a "Down-Syndrome prop." They're not insulting Sarah Palin there, they're insulting her child. Rothschild will never call it out. Nor will he call out their crazy claims that Sarah is not Trig's mother.

But he will -- and did in the commentary we already called out -- take offense to people saying Barack Obama's not an American citizen. One he'll call out, the other he'll ignore repeatedly.

And the silence and he and the others provide allows the hate to breed and fester. Grasp for a moment that Sarah Palin holds no public office currently, to view most polling she doesn't appear to have a shot at the presidency. And even the hateful people at Palingate scoff at the idea of her being elected. So why the hate? Why the focus?

We reviewed one hundred comments of the 1,338 left on Friday to the post we linked to earlier and this is what Palingate readers wanted to 'share' with the world.

"Stoppalin" chose the very 'left' and 'feminist' path of judging Palin to be a bad mother because she works.

"JT" is a good 'lefty' and 'feminist' as well and wants you to know that Palin has "no morals" because she faked her pregnancy. Presumably, he refers to when Palin was pregnant with Trig because, except to call Piper "a dropout," they ignore the other Palin children.

"NJdem" finds time to trash Palin's father and accuse of him lying that he was present when Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig.

"CC" agrees with "NJdem" and finds Palin's father "pervy and creepy as hell."

"Yawn" shows his/her 'sophistication' by referring to Trig Palin as "it."

After all of the above (and more) has taken place, "aview999" shows up to insist Palin has unleashed hate. Not grasping irony, "aview999" finger points and declares, "She is HATE through and through."

"JCos" mocks Trig by placing parenthesis around special-needs. Apparently not content to insist Palin lies about giving birth to Trig, "JCos" also wants to suggest Sarah Palin lies about Trig being a special-needs child.

"lisabeth60" -- indicating the numeric aspect of her name is her IQ -- hails Andrew Sullivan (the father of the "Sarah is not Trig's mother!" smear). No real lefty hails Andrew Sullivan.

"Jula" and "ella" argue with "Jula" claiming The National Enquirer deserves a Pulitzer and "ella" insisting that "it can be bought off."

We decided to check out another 100 and found "Prochoicegrandma" insisting Trig Palin was born in January 2008 and was kept hidden until his April 'birth'.

For "nel gmez" sliming Palin only wasn't good enough so s/he decided to slam all beauty contestants as strippers. Strippers isn't good enough for "lillibird" who says Sarah Palin is "kinda like a prostitute."

"silver_desert" insists that Sarah Palin's had two abortions.

And the lunacy never ends.

Since 2008, shrill left and 'left' voices have insisted Palin was a nothing and a nobody. So why do they continue to attack her? Why are they obsessed -- so obsessed -- with this woman?

She has always stated Trig is her child. Why do they continue to doubt it? Why do they insist upon focusing on that? What does any of it matter to anyone not named Palin?

These people aren't left and someone needs to correct them on this. Left political people are not obsessed with Sarah Palin or concerned as to whether or not she gave birth to her son Trig. Left political people see that entire discussion as irrational and fluff. It exists for the same reason that Springer exists and appeals to the same crowd.

We'll call it out -- and have before -- but you'll never catch Matthew Rothschild calling it out. He's too busy repeating lies and ignoring sexism and homophobia.

Lastly, the voice actor's getting praised like crazy in comments and it all reminds us of Muntadar al-Zaidi.

Do you remember him?

He was world wide famous and receiving applause non-stop for throwing two shoes at George W. Bush. Do you remember what happened after he was released from Iraqi custody and left Iraq? He lashed out at his supporters. He'd assumed that being so famous and written of meant he himself was popular and that the money would start rolling in. We fear for the voice actor when the circus leaves town.

For the record, we're not bothered by hate or anger. We are bothered by finger pointers who pretend like it exists on only one side. In Rothschild's commentary dealt with elsewhere, for example, he's appalled by right wingers likening the administration to Nazis. It's appalling! Only it wasn't when it was George W. Bush. Back then, Rothschild had no problem with it and interviewed many guests (for Progressive Radio) who felt the US was turning into Nazi Germany. In fact, a producer of a mini-series was canned by CBS for making such a comparison and Rothschild publicly defended the man.

We never compared Bush to Hilter -- among other things, we felt Bush lacked the dedication to evil that Hitler had -- but we didn't begrudge those who did. By the same token, it's not surprising that a right-winger would see Barack Obama as a new Hitler -- many right-wingers felt the same way about Bill Clinton.

Though not opposed to hate or anger, we are opposed to faux outrage and Matthew Rotshcild makes a point to express a great deal of that.


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, C.I. on the latest name change for the Iraq War.

"Iraqi elections and the men who misunderstand them" -- and huge surprise, this almost got enough votes to be the most requested highlight by this site's readers. Surprising because it went up Saturday night. But it is highly popular.

"Operation Bottom Dollar" -- Trina went to DC to report on the FTC press conference that follows up on last week's "Consumer scams (Jess)."

"The Bully & Tony Review" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this one featuring Bush and Blair.

"those men and their sex scandals," "Didn't believe him" and "Sushi and simple Dave Zirin" -- Rebecca, Marcia and Mike on the spectacle.

"Online privacy" -- We remember raising the issue of online privacy as a community, we remember raising it here, we remember people ignoring it repeatedly. Now some are concerned. Now.

"Those of us who are there have to work harder" and "It says a lot about what kind of people we are" -- Kat and Elaine offer takes on seemingly different topics but we think they offer two bookends.

And we'll note all of Ann's posts from last week:

"Peter Sellers and Claudine Longet throw The Party" & "Away From Her" -- Stan and Betty offer Friday night movie blogging.

"You get one" -- Betty tries to set a marker on repeat offenders. Get caught in a scandal, she argues, and I'll defend you. Repeat and you're on your own.

"nbc's heroes" -- Rebecca catches up on the episodes of Heroes she missed while in London.

"And what does it say about me?" -- A man in a coma could supposedly communicate and allegedly wrote a book. Only it was a fake. Ruth looks at the story and why she wanted to believe it.

"The difference is this writer was White" -- Important post by Marcia.

"Michael Kazin nails A People's History" -- It's never as simple as some work so hard to make it.

"Attacking Bill Delahunt" -- We agree with Mike, this attack on Bill Delahunt really doesn't play.

"THIS JUST IN! UNHAPPY BARRY O!" & "The little prince pouts" -- Wally and Cedric on America's princess.

"Evan Bayh's news" -- Stan processes the news that Evan Bayh will not run for re-election.

"ACLU asks a great question, I've got another" -- Trina does have a question -- a great one.

"They should laugh" -- Ruth on the older set that tries to play Tweeners.

"Thanks, Jackson Browne (for nothing)" -- Talk about "The Pretender."

"Barack overrules/sidesteps Congress" -- Important post by Elaine.

"Some explanations emerge" and "THIS JUST IN! TIRED AND NOT VERY SMART!" -- Barry's gay for pay days. :)
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