Sunday, November 07, 2010

Truest statement of the week

And in case you missed it, Maddow Friday night called for Olbermann's reinstatement. And as she whined her way through her what-he-did-was-wrong-but-Fox-is-worse-so-reinstate-him-now complaint, MSNBC came sharply into focus.

It's not high school with cable TV salaries, as one news executive once explained it to me trying to account for the adolescent behavior and attitudes of its hosts. No, it's a weird, little, liberal prep school. It's not very good academically, but it cost lots of money to get in. The editor of the literary magazine is Olbermann, and his protege is Maddow, the poetry editor. And now, the poetry editor is upset because Keith was suspended for breaking one of the school rules.

And she's so upset she's going to demand his immediate reinstatement. But what is she going to do if he is not reinstated? Nothing, because that would involve paying a price, however small, for her convictions. And if she walked off in protest, who would publish her self-absorbed, snarky poems?

Poor MSNBC President Phil Griffin, having to play headmaster to this crew of emotional 15-year-olds.

-- David Zurawik, "Free Keith: Watching MSNBC go off the rails" (Baltimore Sun).

Truest statement of the week II

Interpreted charitably, this sentence is simply incoherent. How could Democrats vote for a "public option" when the PO had been withdrawn from the final bill? This simply makes no sense.

Or, interpreted uncharitably, the passage indicates that you are blissfully unaware of the reality, namely that the absurd public option, in a classic bait and switch operation had been removed indeed, had been negotiated away by the White House long before the charade of public debate actually began. So rather than voting for progressive legislation, the "hard vote" was not for health care reform in any meaningful sense, but for what was ultimately yet another bailout, that of the insurance companies in the form of a subsidized market for some 30 million new rate payers which will materialize when the legislation takes effect in 2014.

Such factual inaccuracy was not unexpected given your previous postings, where several fabrications involving the status of third parties were conspicuous.

-- John Halle, "Parry Jumps The Shark: A Final Open Letter To Robert Parry" (Corrente).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Incredibly late.

Thank you to all who worked on this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

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),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

Thanks to Betty's kids and thanks to Isaiah for their work on illustrations.

New content?

Ava, C.I. and Isaiah brought this one in. We applaud it.
John Halle's gotten "truest" before and will again. We're not sure on this -- there was disagreement about which passage was the truest -- so read the whole thing if you haven't already.

Following the roundtable, Kat pointed out that this statement should just be the editorial. We didn't do it this week, we added a little detail. If it's still being ignored next week, Crowley's statement will be the full editorial. Thank you to Betty's kids who did the illustration.

Ava and C.I. This wasn't even what they planned to tackle. They were prepping to do a piece on network coverage of the mid-terms; however, a friend phoned and alerted them to a trainwreck in progress and, like the excellent reporters that they are, the two of them were immediately on the scene. I (Jim) had the hardest time headlining this article. Finally Dona said we should use a line at the end of the piece of the headline. She was correct.

They all dream of a sugar daddy or mommy to rescue them -- as C.I. just said, "Who would have ever thought independent media suffered from a Sleeping Beauty complex?" If she'd said that even ten minutes earlier, we'd be working that into a piece. What have they accomplished? When some of them want to trash third parties, maybe they need to be asked to show their own cards? Isaiah drew the illustration and Betty's kids painted it.

We roundtable the mid-terms.

Isaiah drew this illustration and Betty's oldest son said he (and only he) was going to paint it. They both did a wonderful job. Peterson says Barack has to have a second term -- or it will be a betrayal.

When your reporters are covering the actions of a news outlet to discipline someone for breaking ethical guidelines and your reporters appear to struggle grasping the issues at stake? It's time to sit down with them. You call that a red flag. Thanks to Isaiah for allowing us to use his comic.

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

And now we're done.

We'll see you next weekend. Peace.

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

Editorial: Everybody knows?

Last week we offered a "Truest statement of the week" and it dealt with the SOFA.


The media is still not covering what Philip J. Crowley, US State Department spokesperson declared:

"Well, we have a Status of Forces Agreement and a strategic framework. The Status of Forces Agreement expires at the end of next year, and we are working towards complete fulfillment of that Status of Forces Agreement, which would include the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year. The nature of our partnership beyond next year will have to be negotiated. On the civilian side, we are committed to Iraq over the long term. We will have civilians there continuing to work with the government on a range of areas – economic development, rule of law, civil society, and so forth. But to the extent that Iraq desires to have an ongoing military-to-military relationship with the United States in the future, that would have to be negotiated. And that would be something that I would expect a new government to consider. [. . .] Should Iraq wish to continue the kind of military partnership that we currently have with Iraq, we're open to have that discussion."

As Kat notes in the roundtable, last week, she, Wally, Ava and C.I. were told in DC by a Pentagon correspondent that the statement wasn't "news" because 'everybody knows' that the US government wants to renegotiate the Status Of Forces Agreement.

Everybody knows?

That would certainly be news to many of the people who regularly write us angry e-mails 'correcting' us that the SOFA does mean the end of the Iraq War and that it can't be renegotiated. It would also be news to the people who turn on their TVs and, when Iraq is mentioned, are quickly informed that all US forces will be out of Iraq at the end of 2011.

Everybody knows?

TV: Hermetically sealed 'independent' media

Michael Moore the go-to on Republicans? We watched in open mouthed amazement. There it was on display, the fetishes of the left 'leaders' that repeatedly hold the movement back, the bias and the discrimination that they so willingly embrace, all there for anyone in the public to see. If they bothered to catch it.


We almost missed it. After we finished speaking Tuesday night about the Iraq War, we rushed back to the hotel, put the TV on CNN, pulled up CBS on one laptop and ABC on the other to catch the streams on them (we were Tivo-ing NBC at home) while we were listening to PBS's coverage. This will be the piece, we just knew, that would capture the full flavor of the mid-term elections. Then a former network anchor phoned and, after he stopped laughing, asked us if we'd caught Free Speech TV's coverage?


We quickly dropped the CBS stream and picked up FSTV.

"There's the hope and the hopelessness, I've witnessed thirty years," Joni Mitchell sings in "Heijira" -- though it sounded to us like she'd caught FSTV as well.

For many, Michael Moore being brought on as the 'expert' on Republicans might have been the telling detail explaining the vast ignorance exhibited by so many of our 'left' media personalities. Moore explaining what the Republicans and the Tea Party wanted -- to his credit, he got that they were not one and the same, something which frequently eluded Nation magazine scribbler Richard Kim -- underscored how uninformed the left currently is.

Michael Moore is not a Republican. Why is he explaining Republicans to viewers?

Why were any of these non-Republicans allowed to speak?

It made no sense.

Nor did 'journalist' T.R. Reid when he was 'explaining' objections to ObamaCare (he used that term) which he insisted was just that the right called it "a government take over of health care." He went on to brag that people weren't aware that now the insurance companies "can't drop you" but, pay attention, T.R., what people objected to the most about ObamaCare is that they're being forced to buy insurance. That's what the lawsuits were about, T.R. Now you can dance happy over the fact that consumers can't be dropped but the reality is consumers can't drop their insurance either -- unless they want to pay a heavy fine. (And possibly face charges. We may roundtable on that this edition.)

In DC, Latoya Peterson was interviewing 'informed' voters on the left and 'left.' There was Danni and Tin Beat. Tin Beat didn't vote. He did whine that his parents couldn't vote due to not being citizens. And he whined that he couldn't vote. Cause he forgot to register after he moved from California. Gosh, Latoya, thanks for those informative interviews. Want to share how you picked out who to interview? Oh, wait, we'll get to that and to all of Latyoya shortly. She managed to interview Nadia who said, "This tea party nonsense is crazy and it's scary." To prove her point apparently, Nadia then burst into laughter and Latoya joined her. She would then add, "I don't really understand the platform."

Nadia, you could have watched the entire six hours of Free Speech TV's coverage -- we did, twice! -- and still not understand the Tea Party platform. That's because no one was on who could explain it. For example, Thom Hartman attacked the Tea Party for Russ Feingold's Senate loss, insisting that Feingold voted "against the Patriot Act and these people say they're opposed to big government!"

Hartman can only successfully flaunt that ignorance in an echo chamber. The Tea Party, pay attention, believes in national security -- as any serious study of the movement has demonstrated. As a diverse movement, there are no doubt some opposed to the Patriot Act; however, for many it was needed legislation. We don't think that way, we think it's unconstitutional. But we're able to leave our own comfort zone long enough to grasp that not everyone thinks like we do.

That task is too much for Thom Hartman. And it was another Thom, last week, who demonstrated how important it is that the left starts understanding the Tea Party. There was Thom Shanker, of The New York Times, on the second hour of Friday's The Diane Rehm Show (NPR) trying to co-opt the movement into calling for cuts to social programs by passing off the military's budget desires as facts and not wishes. There was the other Thom who gets that the Tea Party is concerned with "national security" and was attempting to hijack that concern with some outlandish claims -- including that the nation couldn't be safe without a heavily financed military.

Four out of ten Americans told pollsters -- as ABC and CBS repeatedly informed us Tuesday night -- that they were supportive of the Tea Party. Even allowing that they meant 'sympathetic' to, that's a large number. And yet the left has refused to dialogue with all of those people, it has written them off repeatedly (and falsely) as "racists" and "idiots" and "stupid" and "Tea Clanners."

That latest was Chris Raab's 'contribution.' Yes, it's coded language . . . about as hidden as one of Mr. Furley's sexual innuendos on Three's Company. But it's all that could be bought from Raab. It's always strikes us funny when a foundation baby has the nerve to attack others as being funded by this or by that. In other words, Demos-fellow Raab sounded a lot like a bratty teen still living at home and slamming his parents for what they do for a living.

Chris Raab was in Denver and it was the rare Denver segment that didn't include him (we counted one segment without him). Kai Wright was in NYC and he was all over their segments -- as was Herb Boyd and Rosa Clemente. In DC, there was a segment where Marc Steiner spoke to Glen Ford and two other African-Americans and, of course, Latoya Peterson co-anchored.

Why are we bringing that up?

We laughed at it for most of the coverage. We laughed at the tokenism of it.

"Look at us!" FSTV was proclaiming in their coverage. "We're wonderful."

We laughed knowing that African-Americans only make up 13% of the voting electorate. But they were close to 50% of Free Speech TV's hosts and guests. In addition, there was Gloria Neal (anchoring some of the Denver coverage), there was Sara Haile-Mariam, there was Wellington Webb (whining that people were attempting to "emasculate" Barack), there was Leslie Herod . . .

On and on, it went. And we might have kept laughing were it not for Granny Panties wearing Latoya Peterson deciding she could speak for Latinos.

But there was Latoya -- looking like the overweight kid in the "Unpretty" video -- insisting that she, an African-American, could speak for Latinos.

Bear with us just one second. Throughout the six hours, the repeated lament is that the Democratic Party didn't do enough to reach voters, key voters, voting groups. They'd always note the youth, they'd always note African-Americans. Every now and then a crumb would be tossed out for Latinos.

But did FSTV want to reach Latinos?

Seems to us if you want to reach Latinos, you include them. Juan Gonzalaez co-hosted -- with Laura Flanders and Amy Goodman (translation, he barely got a word in) -- a few hours of the NYC coverage (then Laura and Amy were left to fight each other for the remaining hours). In Colorado, Vanessa Martinez wasn't on to express her opinion. Gloria and David Sirota and tons and tons of guests could express their opinions, but Vanessa was reduced to reading questions off Facebook when called upon. At one point, David Sirota actually asked her a question. It took him over 37 words to ask a basic question. Her reply was three brief sentences and then she quickly went back to asking questions left on Facebook.

Where were the Latinos?

Why weren't they invited to the party?

It was hilarious to hear repeatedly on FSTV that the Democratic Party's not reaching them.

The Democratic Party's not reaching them? Free Speech TV's not reaching them.

There were two Asian-American guests (Richard Kim and Mother Jones' Suzy Kihmm), there were two Latinos (Gonzalez and Martinez -- neither a guest and only Gonzalez -- briefly -- a host) and there were a lot -- a lot -- of Whites and a lot of African-Americans.

Excuse us, is that really reflective of the country's demographics?

No, it's not. And with Latinos being the exploding population, they damn well should have been front and center but no one thought to book a Latino as a guest.

Let's be really clear here because Latoya Peterson has cognitive issues: Puta, shut your damn mouth about Latinos.

Is that clear enough?

She doesn't know what she's talking about and it's insulting that she thinks she can speak for them. This happened not once but repeatedly. If you're not going to let Latinos speak, don't speak for them. Just shut your damn mouth. We hope that's clear.

Why were so many African-Americans on? Why were they so over-represented in the broadcast? It's a question that FSTV forces people to ask. Most -- Black or White -- wee about equally worthless.  (We'd argue Glen Ford was more qualified than any one -- of any race -- on the six hours of coverage and one of the few people worth praising.)

But it's tokenism or, as the right would insist, "social engineering." It's not reflective of society.

And we're back to the 13%. We have to come back to that because Latoya made it impossible for us not to.

In DC, Latoya participated in a discussion with Marc Steiner, David Swanson and Norman Solomon. Only Norman bothered to provide even a slight push-back to Latoya's nonsense.

Her nonsense?

She noted throughout the evening that Barack and the Democratic Party were not living up to what was needed nor what was promised. At one point, she was mocking Gloria Feldt and others for saying that people had to vote and that they could hold the elected accountable after the election. That, said Latoya, was like giving your lollipops over to the playground bully hoping he won't beat you up. Yet Marc Steiner floats the notion of a progressive candidate challenging Barack in 2012 and Latoya goes spastic.

After Norman's agreed with Steiner, Latoya is pronouncing the idea "tantamount to a betrayal." What? Yes, according to Latoya, if Barack is challenged, it would be a betrayal. At this point, she once again wanted to speak for Latino voters. It was a thread that just didn't die throughout the broadcast which should have been billed as For Latino Voters Who We Won't Allow To Speak For Themselves. It would be a betrayal "disappointing us," she said including Latinos in her 'us,' and "you need to give this man a chance!"

While David Swanson tried not to look at anyone and awkwardly sat in silence, Norman had the good sense to challenge her, "Well where is the betrayal? Are you saying he betrayed us or we're betraying him if we don't give him a second term on a silver platter?"

"I don't think we should give him a second term on a silver platter," insisted Latoya -- apparently eyeing plastic trays at the Dollar General instead. "I think we need to hold him more accountable. But I think if White progressives were to say, 'Okay now we're going to chuck this Black guy, we're going to get somebody else in, we're going to find an Edwards that doesn't have a scandal . . .'"

She never came up for air and we don't serve in her court so we'll cut fat mouth off right there to inject some reality. No one had identified a potential candidate -- not as male or female, and certainly not the race, How telling that Latoya automatically assumed it would be a White man. And how stupid is she? Edwards' run for the presidency wasn't brought down by a sex scandal. That scandal was covered up and only exploded long after he'd shut down his campaign. In fact, if he hadn't hid out in a hotel bathroom, he probably could have gotten away with the scandal. (Edwards, while married to Elizabeth Edwards, had multiple affairs. One such affair produced a child.)

Norman would point out that the candidate could be an African-American. To which Latoya wanted to insist, "We could take Rosa Clemente seriously." We could.

We suppose we could.

In 2008, we certainly did. Check the archives. Rosa Clemente was named as Cynthia McKinney's running mate July 9, 2008. Basically four months later, the 2008 election was held. That's approximately 16 weeks in which she could have been covered as a candidate. This site publishes weekly. Check our archives and you get approximately 40 results, the bulk of that during the period when she ran. If only 16 articles had appeared mentioning, we still would have done a strong job covering her run -- especially since everyone writing for this site except for us declared for Ralph Nader in the election. This wasn't a McKinney-Clemente site.

"We could take Rosa Clemente seriously," Latoya Peterson insisted. But we did. We already did.

By contrast -- you knew there'd be a "by contrast," didn't you -- Racialicious?

Latoya Peterson's site has about five articles. Three of which mentioned Rosa during the time she was running for office. Well two. One of the three mentions was actually in a comment to an article by Latoya -- an article that didn't mention Rosa. Well one. See both September articles that show up in the search? Latoya didn't write about Rosa. People leaving comments did.

November 3, 2008, Latoya writes, "It's the day before November 4th [Election Day], and it occurs to me that we have not provided much coverage to other candidates outside of Obama." She claims that "my lack of posting does not mean that I have not been paying attention" to Cynthia and Rosa. But she calls Rosa "Afro-Latina" and Rosa rejected "Latina." We wrote about that during the 2008 campaign. So obviously, if Latoya didn't know that she wasn't paying attention. She appears to have written her only article solely because Women's Media Center did a piece on the campaign. (Finally did a piece on the campaign. We actively campaigned offline to get WMC to do a piece on the historic campaign. It required a lot of screaming and the threat that we'd do more pieces like this one online if Cynthia's run wasn't covered.)

"We could take Rosa Clemente seriously," said Latoya -- apparently unaware how many of us already had.

Latoya, by contrast, refused to take Rosa seriously.

Don't push your blame off anyone else, Latoya, you own up to it.

But owning up would require growing up and that's why we have to talk about how tokenism is hurting the left. Norman -- and only Norman -- tried to fight back against Latoya's idea that Barack must be handed a second term and her lunatic assertion that Barack not getting a second term would be a betrayal. As he pointed out, "The people being foreclosed, they don't care what race the president is, the people in Afghanistan who are dying don't care what the race of the president is."

Latoya was having none of it, insisting, "It's not just about the race of the president on its face. It's a lot of the symbolism. It's about reciprocation. It's about feeling like Black people who are part of a political president. It's about little Black kids being able to touch Obama's head and say, 'My president has hair like me.'" And on and on she continued.

We don't need it. If her maturity level is such that the nation need suffer two terms of Barack Obama so that some mythical child can touch his head, that's on her and her stupidity and her immaturity. She sounded so much like Cokie Roberts in the late nineties insisting Bill Clinton must resign "for the children."

Barack's not even Black, he's bi-racial. Will Latoya tell those mythical Black children rushing up to touch Barack on the head -- that is a racist image Latoya's promoting -- that Barack's mother was White? Will doing so make it hard for these mythical children? Is that why we have to lie? As part of some grand social engineering scheme?

The tokenism needs to end right about damn now. Reality: 13% of the population. Not 50%. Not even 20. 13%. And Latoya wants to insist that we must give Barack a second term because otherwise it will be a betrayal. To Black children who apparently can touch his head now but will have to cease and desist when he is no longer president. (Point of fact, after someone stops being president, they're usually more available to the public at large.)

Latoya Peterson is immature and infantile. And she wants to turn the nation into a nursery. We're not going along with it. We're not David Swanson either, meaning we're not going to pretend it didn't happened and keep our heads bowed.

David did that, Marc Steiner pretended he wasn't there. Only Norman challenged the assertion, that idiotic assertion.

The President of the United States is not an inspirational figure or a source of worship. The woefully uneducated, such as Latoya, have succeeded in dumbing down the nation and turning Barack into the personal lord and savior. That's fine for the idiots but we're not playing that game.

If you're not up for the job, you're not up for the job. The reality is Barack was never up for the job. But surround him with toy radicals and let him recast himself from bi-racial to Black and suddenly he's the token so many left 'leaders' needed. They needed him to feel good about themselves, to get hard ons in bed, to prove something to others and themselves.

The 2008 election was never about Barack. How could it be? He had no qualifications.

And when people marvel over that and wonder how it came to be that he had so many lefty and 'lefty' media personalities eating out of the palm of his hand, you only had to catch Free Speech TV last week to see why.


It was on display long before Latoya ran naked in the temple of her familiar. It was on display long before David Swanson wallowed in silence and White guilt. It was there every minute of the coverage. White, Asian or Black, all your guests and hosts were mocking White voters. That was allowed, in fact, that appeared to be ordered. And then came the cherry on the top of the tokenism, Latoya Peterson informing the world (Amy Goodman kept hailing it as "a global broadcast") that if Barack Obama didn't get a second term it would be a betrayal.

We're sick of living in a country where Saturday Night Live can't joke about Barack the way they did Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Can't? Try won't. We're sick of the tokenism, we're sick of the refusal to hold Barack to the same standard you'd hold anyone else who held the same position in the past.

In 2008, Tom Hayden and others declared there would be violence in Denver if Barack didn't get the nomination. Now we're told there will be sad, little children if Barack doesn't get a second term.

Golly, we have to wonder, what do they have planned to argue for a third term?

It's all about tokenism. And that's especially true in 'independent' media.

There's no real interest in equality among the White media personalities or the Black ones. If there was, someone damn well would have insisted that Latinos be part of the process. Didn't happen. That's because Whites drive the Beggar Media. Blacks get in as tokens and they're not trying to open the doors for others. No, they want to be sure they keep their seats at the table. So they play along as tokens and the biased system continues. (Look, boys and girls, we just explained how FAIR's CounterSpin has three hosts -- two White men and one African-American woman but no Latino despite FAIR's repeated attempts to grandstand on Latino issues.)

The tokenism isn't going away. The victories might be. No one wanted to believe Scott Brown's election had any meaning back then. (We believed it.) No one wanted to believe that the Tea Party would have any impact. (We believed they would. And, look, unlike many third parties in this country, they actually elected candidates to Congress on Tuesday.)

We've noted the nonstop demonization of anyone who disagrees with Corporatist War Hawk Barack Obama as being "racist." Long before we did, Bob Somerby has. He's repeatedly noted it, he's repeatedly noted how much of the electorate is Anglo White. And he does that to explain that the way the left media is conducting itself is turning off huge portions of the voting public.

But Bob's mistaken when he thinks this is by accident. That's exactly what they want on some level. It is not about winning elections. Winning elections requires that you stop screaming "racist!" at everyone you disagree with. They're not about to give that up.

The reality is they are the tokens -- they themselves are the tokens and they want to be.

They don't want to be like the country. Look at what Goodman hailed as a "global broadcast:" They set up a camera in Denver, in D.C. and in NYC. They took three calls from California and one from the state of Washington.

Global broadcast?

It wasn't even a national one.

It was tokenism. It was about being so-special they're not like anyone else in the country, they're so above it all. Which is how they could and repeatedly did mock and rage at voters across the country. At one point, they were attacking Oklahoma and Texas and we were especially confused on the latter because while the results of Oklahoma's ballot proposals had just been noted, Texas hadn't even been mentioned the whole hour.

Tokenism means they only book each other. They don't really want to know what Republicans think because they really don't want to engage with others. Besides, it's so much easier for them to just to invent Republican straw people to defeat.

So what if they're uninformed? They don't want to be informed. They want to continue living in their world where they awake to Frank Rich telling them they're beautiful (this world they're living in must not come with mirrors) and Rachel Maddow lullabyes them to sleep insisting they're righteous. "Look at us!" they want to insist. "We're wonderful." Such claims couldn't be made in a world with give and take, with free exchange -- thereby explaining the hermetically sealed 'independent' media.

If you're not getting it, this world was sent up by Woody Allen decades ago.

This is the world created in Sleeper. And Latoya might allow that an Erno is needed . . . provided he was Black.

About that 'brave' 'left' media

foundation money

Tuesday night during what passes for 'independent' media coverage, yet another 'lefty' on the George Soros dime was making allegations about the Tea Party and Karl Rove (yes, he was too stupid to grasp that the two are opposed to one another) and we were not only left to chuckle over the Soros whore's hypocrisy (money's bad unless it's tucked into his g-string, apparently), we were also reminded of the refusal by certain elements of the left to work.

The begging has been well documented. From time to time, a few attempt to document the reality of the left and money. When they do, they tend to move on quickly or (shut down). One of the few on the left who repeatedly pursues this topic like a dog with a bone is journlist Bob Feldman whose strongest piece thus far on the topic may have been "Alternative Media Censorship: Sponsored By CIA's Ford Foundation?" and, recently, Feldman came across an important section in Remembering Tomorrow by ZNet's Michael Albert:

"...We know that money matters in society, but we don't seem to realize that money matters on the Left... "
...The area I have some experience with, alternative media, is graphically if not universally donor, and donor dynamics, dominated. For example,
The Nation was begun and financed by large donors who, at most points, occupied the key decision positions in the periodical. The same holds true for Monthly Review, Mother Jones, Utne Reader, In These Times, and New Left Review. In cases where the big donor didn't come abroad, it was generally the best fund-raiser or most financially connected participant who had the corner office. With our activist hats on we decry mainstream media for being owned and thus beholding to big money in its motivations and structural choices, but then, when we don our media hats, we construct operations no less beholden to big-money interests, but now via the largesse of donors rather than direct owners. "
When leftists I have known have talked about a major nonprofit--say the Ford Foundation--they...certainly haven't described an institution free of constraint...

Which goes to the sameness in so many 'left' outlets and which also tends to weaken whatever character might be left in 'left' media personalities. They no longer take brave stands, they whore repeatedly and they always need the quick thrill of turning another trick for cash.

And you can't think of the street walkers of the faux left without thinking of Robert Parry.

To this day, many on the Left refuse to acknowledge that this shift in strategy was a miscalculation. Some say it was important not to be corrupted by Washington. They also still resist moving to address these dangerous shortcomings. Just this year, wealthy progressives pulled the plug on Air America.

Oh, my goodness, Bobby Parry! Say it isn't so! The financial sinkhole that was Air America Radio -- which had to stab lower income children in the back to get their original toe hold -- lost millions and Parry's big upset is that "wealthy progressives pulled the plug on Air America." Yes, Parry, better people should continue working for a company that repeatedly couldn't make payroll throughout its lifetime. Better they get screwed over repeatedly, right?

Air America Radio -- in all of its forms -- was a huge disappointment and a huge lesson. AAR had a brief flurry of success. That's when it was having trouble getting radio stations to play its programming but was the number one streamer online. Many would see that as a good thing and something to build on. AAR couldn't be part of the future, it wanted to compete with the past. Instead of building on its huge success, it squandered it. It wasted time finding radio outlets and getting into litigation with them due to lack of funds.

And that lost money isn't Parry's concern. He's not worried all the workers screwed over. He's just worried that some pampered lefties and centrists who couldn't get their own lives together can't continue to enrich their own pockets.

Parry is nothing but a Democratic Party tool. That's what happens to the beggars. They beg and they whore and they have nothing to offer. Which is why Parry can never stop writing about Jimmy Carter -- but can never point the obvious fact that Carter was not just an utter failure, his actions and those of his administration (particularly the politically insane Zbigniew Brzezinski) brought on post-9/11 America. He likes to bluster about truth-telling but what's he really told? When's the last time "I am an investigative journalist!" broke a story?

Seems to us it all goes back to his days at AP.

If Parry's got a case to make for independent journalism, maybe he should be making it and stop trying to hector people about how they vote?

But he's not about investigative journalism. He's about whoring for the Democratic Party. Which is why he writes the garbage that he's written for the last years as opposed to breaking one damn investigative journalism story.

Which only became more clear via John Halle's recent work -- click here, here, here and here. Halle (rightly) holds Parry accountable for his baseless attacks and Parry's response is to repeatedly distract.

On its most basic, his argument is all wrong for one reason only: His argument is yet another plea for money -- for him to benefit from money.

We see a lot of people asking for money and we don't see them doing much with it. The Nation magazine, for example, is most infamous these days for wasting donations to their investigative journalism fund on digging through the trash cans of people they hate or in refusing to run a piece outing Senator Dianne Feinstein on her conflict of interests and how it may have impacted her votes and appears to have enriched her husband.

Robert Parry -- and his friends -- have spent the last ten years whining and whining about how this big donor turned them down or that big donor turned them down. They've uncorked that so many times, you'd think their whine cellar would be empty.

But it's so obviously not.

When people even make noise about a third party, along comes Parry and his crowd screaming "No! No! No!" and insisting the money would be better spent investing in an echo chamber that they control -- an echo chamber that deceives and lies, that fails to inform.

They don't want grass roots, they want an uninformed body they can control.

That's why they have nothing to offer but their op-eds over and over. Their bad columns passed off as reporting. Their bad columns which they insist you must fork over money for.

Robert Parry wants to insist that work, energy and (most of) money put into building a third party is a waste of time. But he and others like him have had how many years to demonstrate that their outlets can accomplish anything and what do they have to show for it?

Where is their Watergate expose?

Where is anything to point to with pride?

You're a grown man begging for money and your life is meaningless and your work is fluff.

You also note that no serious effort has been made on building a third party, suggesting apparently that that is still the way to go. But there are also structural reasons why third parties have failed in the American winner-take-all presidential system. So even if more resources were invested, the likely result would only be the election of more right-wing candidates. That is why the left-of-center publications you cited objected to the Nader campaign in 2000. They recognized that all Nader would accomplish would be to help put George W. Bush in the White House, which is what Nader did.

Okay, Robert Parry, let's say you're right for the sake of argument. By the same token, as you've spent over a decade begging for money, what have you accomplished?

The shine on you tarnished before the eighties ended. You could blame the outlet for that in the past, but for over ten years now you've had Consortium News as your outlet. You and you alone have determined what gets published and what doesn't. So where's the big scoop. Over ten years, you should have accomplished something, right?

If someone's going to rip apart the work required to build a third party and insist that their method is so much better, okay. But shouldn't they have to prove that in some manner? Shouldn't they be forced to show what their own efforts have resulted in?

All these years of 'freedom' and 'independence' and where's the big scoop? Where's the mind blowing, life changing report -- even one -- that can be pointed to with pride?

There's not one. And the current system pretty much ensures that there won't be.


Jim: We have a ton of topics including the mid-term elections to cover. Some of the topics will be from e-mails and our e-mail address is Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; 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); 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.


Jim (Con't): The mid-term elections were last Tuesday. As expected, the Republicans won control of the House of Representatives. The big news from the election in the last few days is that Nancy Pelosi is not stepping down as Speaker of the House. Today on NPR's Weekend Edition, it's potrayed as something being done to show strength, we're told the Democrats are proving they're 'fighters' by sticking by Pelosi. Thoughts?

Rebecca: Bulls**t. They're sticking by Nancy because she raises a ton of money. She played hardball with her fundraising and that's the only reason they're sticking with her.

C.I.: I'm sorry, Rebecca, I'm sorry, I'm jumping in. We need to correct what was said. She was Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi was. The elections flipped control of the House. When people are sworn in at the new year, Democrats will not be in control. Pelosi wants to stay on in party leadership but, Jim just mispoke, no big deal, but with Republicans in control of the House, Democrat leadership would not be as Speaker. To finish this out, NPR did present as she's going to remain leader -- minority leader -- however they were wrong. She is running for the post. She may or may not be challenged -- I'm not following that nonsense so you'll have to go to someone else on that. But at this point, what she's done is she's declared her intent to run for leadership. Not Speaker of the House, she'd have to switch parties for that because the next Speaker will be Republican. Sorry, again, Rebecca.

Jim: And sorry for my wording. I was completely wrong in everything I said. Okay, Rebecca, back to you.

Rebecca: Nancy Pelosi's fundraising abilities are the reason she was made party leader in the House in the first place. That's the leverage she had over the likes Martin Frost others who wanted the post way back in 2002. She's inept. She's lousy at anything other than strong arming. She can't speak worth s**t. That's why she avoids the Sunday chat and chews. She's a liablitiy. And that's before you get into all the bagged from the big loss the Dems just suffered in the House.

Jim: Okay. What else stands out about the elections Tuesday? Or the coverage?

Ann: I caught PBS' live coverage -- basically The NewsHour extended. And I would praise a lot of it but there was one serious problem. To cover the Alaska race for Senate, they brought on this asshole from Alaska. Sarah Palin wasn't running for that post. We didn't need his song and dance about Sarah Palin. I'm sure he thought his crude remarks were witty but they weren't. And PBS needs to make it really clear in the future that if you are brought on to report, that's what you do. You don't tell jokes. Especially sexist and offensive jokes.

Jim: You wrote about the coverage in "Elections" but didn't mention that.

Ann: I was dealing with four or so hours of coverage and I thought the PBS staff did a good job. This man does not work for PBS. He was a local reporter from Alaska. I thought the way segment was quickly cut -- I believe by Judy Woodruff -- went to the reality that The NewsHour realized there was a problem with their 'reporter.' And that was the only big flaw for me. But it became more of an issue when a friend visisted Saturday and she'd seen that bit and thought it was hysterical.

Cedric: Ann didn't think it was hysterical -- and, of course, I side with my wife. A huge, loud argument ensued.

Ann: Here's the thing for me. I wouldn't vote for Sarah Palin. But I don't need to lie about her, nor do I need to hate the woman. She has positive qualities, admirable qualities. We disagree completely politically. But I'm not engaging in lies about her. And this friend was running with that 'jokester' who appeared on PBS' spin and just trashing her and -- I'm just not in the mood for it. You want to talk about her positions? Great, I'll disagree with her. But this let's launch this personal attack, I'm just not in the mood. It's gone on for far too long. It's showing the ugliest side of ourselves. I have no idea why so many want to wallow in that kind of hate. It's also stupid because should she ever have any kind of a station and actually be on the verge of some national elected office, she'll be immune. Any valid criticism of her policy proposals will be seen as just more of the same carping and attacking. It's just not smart.

Betty: I agree, Ann, but it's not really about being smart, it's about these people using hate to fundraise with. That's what it is. That's why The Nation, The Progressive and all of them can't let go of Palin. They're driving up the hate hoping it will mean more money for them. It's the same with the Democratic Party. They thought they'd fundraise on her back. And by the way, I believe we stand alone in calling the nonsense of having Nathan Daschle -- Tom's son -- be in charage of the Democratic Governors Association. The idiot is inept. Redistricing will take place and the Dems couldn't afford to lose on this issue. I don't the stats. Anyone? C.I.?

C.I.: I -- I'll call these approximates. I've been focused on Iraq. I believe they lost 9 governorships.

Betty: And that is the point. Little Nathan wasn't qualified. I'm sick of all the nepotism in the Democratic Party. I'm sick of Pelosi's daughters, I'm sick of all of it. Nathan was obviously not prepared for the job and so Republicans walked away from the mid-terms with 9 more governorships than they had before last week.

Jess: Chiming in to offer a New York Times link that does chart those races and, yes, the Democrats did lose 9 spots.

Jim: Thank you to Betty, C.I. and Jess for bringing that into the discussion. What else on the elections? Any thoughts on the Senate?

Mike: I'll grab that. The Senate remains in Democratic control. But there were losses of seats and clearly Harry Reid has been ineffective and that's going back to the Democratic takeover after the 2006 mid-terms. We need a shake up. I don't care if it's Dick Durbin or who. But the Senate needs a new Majority Leader. And to me this -- and Nancy Pelosi -- go to the lack of leadership in the Democratic Party. Pelosi shouldn't be running for the Minority Leader post. She should have learned something and she should be thinking about what's best for the party. She's not. Nor is Harry Reid. He's weak and he's ineffectual. When Rebecca was talking earlier, I believe she noted one quality Nancy did have: the ability to strong arm. Harry doesn't even have that. Harry's got nothing and he's lackluster.

Jim: Good point. Nancy Pelosi didn't end the Iraq War but was able to pull together the House votes on every faux effort. Harry Reid couldn't even do that. Anyone want to go for a theme of the elections?

Stan: I'll grab. For me the message was: Checks and balances. America wants it. Doesn't feel they're getting it. Are they going to get it now? I don't see how. Hopefully I'm wrong. However, if this had been the balance in 2009 and 2010, we wouldn't have that hideous ObamaCare. In fact, let me back up. I think we will see checks and balances. If this hadn't happened, you can be sure even worse than ObamaCare would be attempted and pass.

Trina: I agree with Stan. Can you imagine what the next two years would be like if the House hadn't flipped? Look at all the crap that was pulled to pass ObamaCare. And look at the indifference and arrogance on that. The people wanted single-payer, universal health care. Couldn't get that but our 'liberals' could force us into the same corrupt system that already existed but now, on top of everything else, you will be fined if you don't have insurance. In other words, they forced us at gun point into a corrupt system.

Ty: And yet who even wanted to talk about that? I'm referring to a piece we have about how these 'brave' 'independent' media outlets don't do a damn thing. And I want to go back to 2008 just because I'm so sick of the liars like Robert Parry -- all the Fat Old White Men -- who whored in 2008. If you can't tell the truth about 2008, why the hell should I believe a word you say? It would be like your denying that Al Gore won in 2000. If you're lying and pretend there wasn't caucus fraud in 2008, you are as useless as the liars of 2000. And liars like Robert Parry chose their sides early on. Not only that they attacked women with their columns and I won't forget that either. They wrote the kind of s**t you expect from The National Review or something. You did not expect from a left site. And that's why the trash like Robert Parry's Consortium News needs to die. And hopefully it will. It was bought and paid for and then did the whoring it was told to. There's nothing independent about Robert Parry.

Trina: I do think that's an important point. Early on, here, Ava and C.I. were noting that it wasn't normal. You do not get every left outlet getting behind the same candidate in a primary. It was organized and it was orchestrated. And they're whores -- in every sense of the word. The caucus fraud? Whose votes were stolen the most via the caucus fraud? The elderly. But the so-called 'independent' press didn't give a damn, didn't feel the need to be the watchdog. They'd toss out the elderly, they'd toss anyone -- as they demonstrated over and over.

Ruth: As one of the elderly, let me say I agree. And let me add that it was not just the caucus fraud. It was everything. They lied over and over. Their lies split the Democratic Party because people saw through them. Now it is two years later, they cannot make their bills and they are out begging and surprised their begging is returning so little.

Isaiah: They all showed up, picking up on Ruth's point, trying to tell us how to vote and telling us to vote in 2010. It was so clear that they didn't grasp that no one gives a damn. You can't whore in 2008, be exposed and turn around two years later and expect to be listened to unless you're just insane. They really think we're stupid and -- even funnier -- they think they're smart and crafty.

Jim: Robert Parry decided he could show up and, with his increasingly dwindling audience, have pull with the rest of us. That's bulls**t. People don't trust him and they won't trust him. He doesn't grasp how he destroyed his own reputation in 2008. He's like a criminal -- pick your crime, I'll go with rapist -- who thinks everything's okay because he has been thrown in prison. But everybody knows he did it. And no one trusts him. Ava, I know you and C.I. wrote an epic this week but are there any main points you had to leave out or anything that stands out?

Ava: Sure. There are many. We would have loved to have fact checked the six hours but there was not time or space for that. At one point, Rosa Clemente -- who does not identify as Latino, C.I. and I covered that in 2008 -- was referring to all the White male candidates running and said of the Green Party,"after having picked the first women ticket in presidential politics, referring to her run with Cynthia McKinney in 2008. They were not the first women ticket. It's really appalling that a woman would say that -- and Latoya Peterson's also repeated that nonsense.

Jim: Did she mean first women of color ticket?

C.I.: It doesn't matter. That's wrong as well. Monica Moorehead was the Workers World Party presidential nominee in 1996 and in 2000. In both runs, her running mate was Gloria LaRiva. They were a women of color ticket.

Ava: There were other things as well. Colorado, when Gloria Neal was done hosting and David Sirota took over, became a cesspool of sexism -- with shout outs for Bill Mahr and talk of how working for Barack in 2008 was a great way to pick up "girls." It was frat party centeral so, of course, you knew they had a White Anglo rapper as guest for their coverage. Sara Haile-Mariam is a complete idiot. There she was whining about the youth vote but the organization she's a part of was doing what? Justin Bieber videos? You want to talk about wasted efforts to reach the young people of America politically. You had neoliberal Wellington Webb on whining about Barack being "emasculated." The whole thing was a sewer of male anxiety -- coming from many of the men and a lot of the women. There was the idiot John Nichols who thinks you do a roundtable on live TV with your cell phone turned on. And when it starts ringing, it keeps ringing until Michael Moore makes a joke about you because you're too much of an idiot to turn it off.

C.I.: And Michael Moore -- hello, Michael, thanks for reading -- 'came up' with an example of how if your house gets trashed and you hire someone to clean it up, two years later you're not going to be thrilled that it's still not been cleaned up. Yes, that is very similar to Trina's statement in ""Don't leave my car in a ditch for 2 years" and that we picked as "Truest statement of the week" last week.

Dona: Elaine, Wally and Cedric haven't spoken. Cedric's backed up Ann for about one sentence but he hasn't been asked anything or brought up anything on his own. We need to wind down -- oh, almost forgot Kat, she hasn't spoken either.

Jim: Okay, Elaine, you were opposed to this roundtable. Why?

Elaine: I just think enough's been done on the elections. I knew we were going to have to do this roundtable this week. We made a point last week not to cover the elections. But I really think there are more important things to focus on. While the leadership issue may be a real issue, a lot of the 'coverage' in the last three days has been indulgent and embarrassing. There are real issues and real concerns out there. If you can't find them in the election results, why don't you cover Iraq or something that actually matters. My opinion only.

Kat: I agree with Elaine. In the "Iraq snapshot" for October 25th, the US State Department's spokesperson Philip J. Crowley is quoted about extending the Status Of Forces Agreement with Iraq to allow the US military to be on the ground there beyond 2011. Where's the coverage of that. We were in DC a little bit last week and, at one point, speaking with a Pentagon correspondent and he wanted to insist it wasn't news -- that the SOFA might be extended -- and that's why Crowley's remarks weren't covered. But who says it's not news? Do most Americans realize what's going on right now? The Christian Science Monitor did that editorial two weeks ago insisting that Barack needed to prepare the Congress for the possibility that the US military may be in Iraq past 2011 but who's bothering to prepare the people. Don't tell me "everybody knows it" when you're not covering it and when you continue to repeat the nonsense that all troops will be out in 2011 when that is clearly not clear at this point.

Wally: I would agree with that. I would further say that I'm getting real damn tired of C.I. having to point out the basics. This morning -- no links -- the reports are that a deal's been brokered and Nouri will be the next PM. Continue in his post. The prime minister is voted on by the Parliament. Considering how many times Nouri's been hailed as the next prime minister, you'd think people learn to get it right. He is not the next prime minister unless and until the Parliament votes on it.

Cedric: I agree with Wally. For reasons community members will know, I'm not really much for talking this roundtable. On that, I'll just note -- no links -- Wally and I made sure to be hard hitting Saturday and not back down. But I'd rather give my time to C.I. to flesh out what Wally just said.

Dona: If that's okay with C.I., that's fine with me. But I just realized Marcia hasn't spoken so let's toss to her first.

Marcia: Actually, C.I. went over this Friday at Trina's so I can grab it. Wally's noting that Parliament elects the Prime Minister. They're not meeting Monday -- as C.I. pointed out all last week when people were saying THEY WILL MEET MONDAY, there could be quorum issues. That turned out to be the case on Friday. They're now scheduled to meet on Thursday. The Parliament has to first elect a speaker and two deputies. They can not rush in and elect a prime minister. There is a process they have to follow. So Wally's point that anything could happen between now and that is valid. The day after the election, March 8th, Quil Lawrence was hailing Nouri as the winner. You'd think the press would have learned by now. But they repeatedly demonstrate that they have not.

Jim: Okay, thank you, Marcia for grabbing that and we're going to end the roundtable on that note. This is a rush transcript.

Big Crazy of the Week: Latoya Peterson

In a week that saw so many cans of crazy being opened including Bernie Sanders demonstrating he didn't grasp what ethical guidelines were (someone in the Senate should explain them to him), Big Crazy was a hard fought battle.


But Racialicious' Latoya Peterson earned the dishonor via her work on Free Speech Television election night. (See Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Hermetically sealed 'independent' media.")

Barack Obama, Latoya Peterson explained, must be given a second term because to do otherwise would be "tantamont to a betrayal."

She went on to offer such 'valid' 'reasons' for giving Barack a second term as, "It's about little Black kids being able to touch Obama's head and say 'My president has hair like me'."

Oh, really?

We missed that in the Constitution.

What Latoya's actually done is ensure that it will be that much more difficult to ever get a Black president (Barack is bi-racial) because of the fact the people will remember this. It is people like Latoya Peterson that the nation will fear, people who will hector and screech that this must be done or that must be ignored because nothing is more important than . . .

The Constitution?


The rights of the people?


Nothing is more important than her so-called symbolic victory.

People need to grow the hell up. Barack Obama is in the White House, he is the president. You're not doing him or his legacy any favors by refusing to hold him to standards.

In fact, were history written today, he'd probably be mocked, made fun of, with multiple entries about how he got away with this or that because he was considered "Black."

We don't think he's a good president -- let alone great one -- but his fan club that does, members of the Cult of St. Barack like Latoya? They better grasp history is watching and history is recording and they can hold him to the same standard as any other president or they can continue to give him a pass. If it's the lattter? That'll be part of the history books as well and rob any pride in his legacy that might be possible.

It's time to sit down with David Carr and Greg Sargent

A rule's a rule. You can be opposed to it. You can fight to overturn it. You can say, "I won't follow it and I will take the consequences!" What you really can't do, and be consider ethical, if you're a journalist is excuse the violation of a written rule and try to argue it doesn't matter.

Greg Sargent, still trying to find a way to save Keith Olbermann from a suspension, whores it out at The Washington Post with it's-not-even-a-violation! The Washington Post would do well to go over the rules with Greggie. They'd also do well to review the Journolist issue. In other words, all the little whores on Journolist -- Ezra Klein, we do mean you -- need to be forbidden from the Circle Jerk. Ezra's already raised eye brows at the paper over the 'linkage love' he's given fellow Journolister Spencer Ackerman -- and how Wired became a go to for Klein . . . after they hired his buddy.

David Carr, at The New York Times, plays a little more down-low but he's not the idiot he comes off in the column. The debate going on is not new. If your morning show -- as Carr damn well knows -- was under the network's news umbrella, you were held to different standards than if your morning show was under the network's entertaimment umbrella. And, if you were doing public affairs or talk, it was always considered more 'golden' to be part of the news division. Being part of the news division comes with responsibilities.

Those responsibilities include being required to follow the guidelines for news employees.

Keith Olbermann was suspended by NBC News because he was caught making financial contributions to candidates. As an NBC News employee, he's required to get his employers' permission before making any contributions. He thought he wasn't bound by his contract. He is bound by it.

He was suspended for his actions. Were he fired for his financial contributions, we would probably be defending him right now and seeing that as an extreme reaction to one violation. But he wasn't fired, he was put on a limited suspension.

And he needs to take it like a grown up as does his cult.

But while we would defend him were he fired for those stated reasons, we could not defend if NBC News fired him because he brought guests onto his programs whose campaigns he had donated to and did not disclose that.

You cannot do that. If you're giving airtime to someone you've donated to, you are required to disclose that.

MSNBC's Boldest Lie

The above is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "MSNBC's Boldest Lie" and Maddow delcared that on MSNBC last week while demonstrating that she has no concept of the news. The news is not, is never, "My friend got suspended and I'm mad!" While events around the world and in this country unfolded, Rachel Maddow's gas bagging about her little buddy, Rachel Maddow is engaging in naval gazing and not in the news.

That Scott Baio lookalike wouldn't know the news if it her in the face. As she demonstrated repeatedly as part of Air America Radio.

The industry standard for criticism remains David Zuraqik who nailed it all in "Free Keith: Watching MSNBC go off the rails" (Baltimore Sun):

And in case you missed it, Maddow Friday night called for Olbermann's reinstatement. And as she whined her way through her what-he-did-was-wrong-but-Fox-is-worse-so-reinstate-him-now complaint, MSNBC came sharply into focus.

It's not high school with cable TV salaries, as one news executive once explained it to me trying to account for the adolescent behavior and attitudes of its hosts. No, it's a weird, little, liberal prep school. It's not very good academically, but it cost lots of money to get in. The editor of the literary magazine is Olbermann, and his protege is Maddow, the poetry editor. And now, the poetry editor is upset because Keith was suspended for breaking one of the school rules.

And she's so upset she's going to demand his immediate reinstatement. But what is she going to do if he is not reinstated? Nothing, because that would involve paying a price, however small, for her convictions. And if she walked off in protest, who would publish her self-absorbed, snarky poems?

Poor MSNBC President Phil Griffin, having to play headmaster to this crew of emotional 15-year-olds.

If you're a news outlet and your David Carr or Greggie Sargent couldn't grasp the reason Olbermann got suspended, it's time you sat down with your stooges to review your own outlet's policies because -- clearly -- some people think ethical guidelines are more recommendations than actual rules.

ETAN on Obama's Visit to Indonesia

From ETAN:

Statement of East Timor and Indonesia Action Network on President Obama's Visit to Indonesia

contact: John M. Miller, ETAN, +1-718-596-7668, +1-917-690-4391,,

November 5, 2010 - As President Obama departs on his twice-delayed trip to Indonesia, the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) urge him to use the opportunity to build a relationship between the U.S. and Indonesia based on the promotion of human rights and the rule of law.

As we wrote to President Obama last March, "the history of U.S.-Indonesia relations is much better known for the U.S.'s largely uncritical support of the Suharto dictatorship, from its bloody seizure of power in 1965 through its illegal invasion and occupation of then Portuguese Timor to the Kopassus kidnappings and murders of student leaders in 1997 and 1998."

President Obama's visit coincides with Indonesia's Heroes Day, and the dictator Suharto is under consideration to be named as a "National Hero." We urge President Obama to use the opportunity of his visit to decisively break with past U.S. support for torture, disappearances, rape, invasion and illegal occupation, extrajudicial murder, environmental devastation. and more. U.S. weapons, training, political backing and economic support of Indonesia facilitated these crimes. President Obama should apologize to the peoples of Indonesia and Timor-Leste for the U.S. role in their suffering during the Suharto years and to offer condolences to Suharto's many victims throughout the archipelago.

Crimes against humanity and other violations of human rights did not end with Suharto’s fall. Since then U.S. policy has largely focused instead on narrow strategic and economic interests that have little to do with the well-being of the Indonesian people. In recent weeks, horrific videos and other reports of torture, the burning of villages and other crimes show that the people of West Papua and elsewhere continue to suffer at the hands of military and police.

We urge President Obama to condition U.S. security assistance on an end to human rights violations and impunity. We urge him to follow the recommendation of Timor-Leste's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste (CAVR), which urged nations to "regulate military sales and cooperation with Indonesia more effectively and make such support totally conditional on progress towards full democratisation, the subordination of the military to the rule of law and civilian government, and strict adherence with international human rights, including respect for the right of self-determination."

We urge the President to announce that the U.S., as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will work to establish an international tribunal to bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights crimes committed during Indonesia’s 24-year occupation of Timor-Leste. This would send the critical message that no one is above the law and would serve as an important deterrent to future human rights violators. A tribunal was recommended by the CAVR and is supported by the many victims of these crimes and by human rights advocates in Timor-Leste, Indonesia and elsewhere.

We are deeply concerned about the administration's recent announcement that the U.S. will for the first time in a dozen years engage with Indonesia's notorious Kopassus special forces. We also call on President Obama to end this planned engagement and to suspend all funding and training of Indonesia's Detachment 88 police unit pending review of charges leveled against the unit for systemic human rights violations, including use of torture. We believe that U.S. law bars cooperation with military and police units with such egregious human rights records.

These actions by President Obama would change the current course from one of repeating failed policies. While much has changed in Indonesia, U.S. security assistance does not promote further change. Instead it encourages impunity and violations of human rights and sets back reform.

In his book The Audacity of Hope, President Obama wrote that "for the past sixty years the fate of [Indonesia] has been directly tied to U.S. foreign policy," a policy which included "the tolerance and occasional encouragement of tyranny, corruption, and environmental degradation when it served our interests."

A new relationship between the two countries must be built on an honest assessment of the bloody past. President Obama's special connection to Indonesia offers an important opportunity to usher in a new era in the relationship between our two nations. One that rejects a relationship based largely on militarism with one that respects human rights and promotes the rule of law.


Members of ETAN are available for interviews

See also


Support ETAN make a contribution here
Thank you for your support.

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


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

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

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Aftermath" -- Isaiah weighs in on the midterm elections.

"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Presidential Dress Up" -- Halloween and Barack dresses up as a worker.

"can fair ever stop whoring?" -- Rebecca asks a basic question and we believe the answer has to be "NO."

"Carly and Joni" -- Kat talks music.

"So Cedric's too Black for Blogdrive?" -- Marcia asking the most important question of last week.

"Gilda Live" -- Stan offers his Friday night at the movies.

"It is not the Saturday Night Live we used to know," "SNL, the most racist show on TV," "Desperate Housewives and other things," "Keith gets slapped on the wrist" and "Weekend" -- Ruth, Marcia, Betty and Mike cover TV.

"Melissa Harris-Lacewell hides her White Mommy," "White girl Melissa Harris-Perry still not raising her kid," and "White Like Melissa Harris-Lacewell-Perry" -- Turns out the self-defined voice of Black America who's appointed herself to the task of deciding who is Black and who isn't? She's got a mother. Who happens to be White. Betty, Marcia and Stan apply the same standard to Melissa Harris that Harris applied to others.

"THIS JUST IN! HE SAYS IT'S AN OUCHIE!" & "Big, whiny baby" -- Wally and Cedric on how the big baby can't handle the returns.

"Does Julie Rovner have a hearing problem or do I?" -- Ruth covers radio as does Ann:

"Not fond of certain metaphors" -- Elaine on word choices.

"Elections," "'A big blow for the White House'," "I ain't your buddy, Biden," "don't blame the voters," "Zero," "If I could be any politician running for election today," "The results?," "A faux lefty," "Election night!," "THIS JUST IN! THE BLOOD BATH!" & "Not all that popular after all,"
"Stupidist election comment," "The real issues?," "Not crying," "oh, peter daou" and "THIS JUST IN! HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS SAYING!" & "He knew what he was saying" -- some of the elections coverage from the community.
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