Sunday, March 13, 2011

Truest statement of the week

Obama is following his predecessor, George W. Bush, regarding war policies and censorship. The Bush Administration barred coverage by reporters and cameramen of the American soldier coffins. But the truth is the Obama Administration is happy to keep any anti-war popular pressure off against the wars as the fighting continues. Those pictures might upset the country and leave us asking, "Why are we still fighting and dying in those wars?" We have yet to get a straightforward answer from Obama, as to why he chooses to continue the Bush-instigated wars.

-- Helen Thomas, "What About The Wars?" (Falls Church News-Press).

Truest statement of the week II

We're there because of U.S. interests, and those U.S. interests can be summarized quite simply in one or two words: oil and natural gas. The stability of the Persian Gulf is of enormous national interest to the United State. No politician wants to send young men and women to die for oil. But the fact of the matter is that it is one of the politically most - no pun intended - inflammable issues. When the price of gasoline goes up, as it is going up right now, to $4 a gallon, if we were to leave before there is genuine stability in Iraq, if that area no longer had the oversight of American military, I think you could very easily see the price of oil go up to seven, eight, nine dollars a gallon. And the fact of the matter is then you would have all kinds of political yelling and screaming on Capitol Hill, all kinds of pressure being raised by the American public, which would not want to see that happen to its economy.

-- Ted Koppel, on Tuesday's Talk of the Nation (NPR).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another long Sunday.

We thank all who participated this week 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.

And what we came up with?

  • Helen Thomas. You can't keep a good woman down.

  • Ted Koppel. See above. (Joking.)

  • Next weekend is the eight anniversary of the start of the illegal war. Will you stand or cave? Thank you to Isaiah for the use of his comics.

  • Ava and C.I.'s long masterpiece. Eight years into the illegal war and NPR is still shutting out the voices of peace. Eight years into the illegal war and their current correspondent in Baghdad (Mike Shuster) can't find any news to report. Yet last week you were once again asked to save NPR . . . from itself. Again.

  • This was a fun article to write and resulted from several e-mails asking for a music piece. It's long. And we may be the first to report that the CD and download (Amazon and iTunes) of 1968's The Papas and the Mamas is not the full album. A track is left off. As noted in the article, C.I. and I (Jim) got into a disagreement over this and I was the idiot who shouldn't have questioned.

  • A certain laughable website ended up the target of our latest parody. If we'd wanted to be mean -- as opposed to funny -- we could have noted what it's many critics do, that it's an apologist for the Israeli government.

  • Reprint from Workers World.

  • Dona explains that we're late and what's been going on there. (Yes, I'm happy we're going to have a baby.)

  • And Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: Stand or sit?

Will you be standing on Saturday?

Or will you be silenced?

In 2007 and 2008, campaigning for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Barack Obama went around giving speeches where his big applause line was "We want to end the war and we want to end it now!" He was referring to the Iraq War.


And he was lying when he claimed he wanted to end it.

The March 7, 2008 Iraq snapshot revealed that. Anyone else could have cited the BBC interview where Samantha Power (national security advisor to the campaign at the time of the interview) explained that Barack was offering just words and would decide what to do or not do on Iraq if elected. Here, we called it "The death of Our Modern Day Carrie Nations" -- sadly, we were wrong. She now advises Barack on ever more war. And we noted how silent the 'independent' media was being on Power's revelations in "Editorial: The Whores of Indymedia." We continued to cover the reality. Even though it took Tom-Tom Hayden four months to discover the BBC interview -- for one brief day before again forgetting it (see "Letters to An Old Sell Out: Where's the honesty?").

But if you remember 2008, you no doubt remember all the claims from the Cult of St. Barack that once he got the nomination, they'd hold his feet to the fire. But they had to be silent for just now! Then it was once he got the presidency they'd hold his feet to the fire.

He's been serving as president for over two years now and the wars continue (he promised to continue the Afghanistan War -- we noted many times, in real time, that numerous members of the peace movement who backed Barack were playing Sophie's Choice with the people of Afghanistan) and what do we here?

We hear that no one can primary him in 2012. We hear that no third party run can be staged in 2012.

When did baby's feet ever get held to the fire?

Answer: Never.

I am the war hawk you have been waiting for

And The Little War Hawk That Could did. And US service members continue to die and Iraqis continue to die and the US props up the thug Nouri al-Maliki who not only faciliates the attacks on Iraqi Christians, he does the same with the attacks on Iraq's LGBT community. In other words, he's got a lot of hate in him.

And he attacks journalists and he attacks Iraqis and he runs secret prisons and his hand-picked Rapid Response Commnader got caught last week in the act of taking a $50,000 bribe and responded by ordering his forces to beat up the Integrity Commission investigators (nine were wounded, three of whom required hospitalization). That's Nouri. That's the US Governmnet's man in Iraq.

What a proud, proud moment.

And that's what your silence supports. And it's what your blind group hug of Barack supports. You can stand up and stand up to the war machine and to War Hawk Barack and stand up for the Iraqi people. But doing so requires more bravery than we're suspecting cult members have.

Non cult members and those who have been successfully deprogrammed can stand up this coming weekend, A.N.S.W.E.R. and March Forward! and others will be taking part in these action:

March 19 is the 8th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Iraq today remains occupied by 50,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries.

The war in Afghanistan is raging. The U.S. is invading and bombing Pakistan. The U.S. is financing endless atrocities against the people of Palestine, relentlessly threatening Iran and bringing Korea to the brink of a new war.

While the United States will spend $1 trillion for war, occupation and weapons in 2011, 30 million people in the United States remain unemployed or severely underemployed, and cuts in education, housing and healthcare are imposing a huge toll on the people.

Actions of civil resistance are spreading.

On Dec. 16, 2010, a veterans-led civil resistance at the White House played an important role in bringing the anti-war movement from protest to resistance. Enduring hours of heavy snow, 131 veterans and other anti-war activists lined the White House fence and were arrested. Some of those arrested will be going to trial, which will be scheduled soon in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, March 19, 2011, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, will be an international day of action against the war machine.

Protest and resistance actions will take place in cities and towns across the United States. Scores of organizations are coming together. Demonstrations are scheduled for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and more.

Not able to be in DC? A.N.S.W.E.R. offers a list of these other actions:

Click here to list the event in your city or town.

Washington, D.C.
Gather at 12 noon
Rally at Lafayette Park
March to the White House
for a massive veteran-led civil resistancemi
Initiated by Veterans for Peace
Click here for more info

Around the U.S.


12 noon
Corner of Central & Roosevelt Avenue
Rally at the sculpture followed by a march; speakers, music at end rally
Contact: or call (480) 894-2024


Laguna Hills
Gather on the corner of El Toro Road and Paseo de Valencia
(in front of Chase Bank)
Sponsored by Concerned Citizens of Laguna Woods and Laguna Woods Democratic Club
Contact: Betsy Martin at 949-581-5453

Los Angeles
Gather at 12 noon
Rally at Hollywood and Vine
Click here for more info

Santa Barbara
Gather at De la Guerra Plaza (downtown) for a rally
March down State Street to the beach
Arlington West will be set up and there will be a program of speakers
Sponsored by Veterans for Peace - Chapter 54, The People's Coalition, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Society of Friends (Quakers) and individual citizens opposed to war

Santa Cruz
Gather at the Santa Cruz Town Clock
corner of North Pacific Ave. and Water St.

San Francisco
Gather at 12 noon
Rally at UN Plaza (7th & Market Sts.)
March to Lo. 2 boycotted hotels
Click here for more info


On the Bridge at Hwy 73 & Hwy 74
Sponsored by Evergreen Peace


New Haven
Gather at 12 noon
Rally on the Green (Elm St and Church St.)
Sponsored by ANSWER CT
Contact: 203-606-0319,


Daytona Beach

Gather at the NW Corner of Nova Road and Intl Speedway Blvd
(in front of the Steak N Shake restaurant at 1000 W Intl Speedway Blvd)
Sponsored by Veterans For Peace - Central Florida, WeAreChange - Florida, CODEPINK of East Central Florida, Military Families Speak Out - Florida
Contact: Phil Restino, Central Florida Veterans For Peace (VFP Chapter 136) at 386-235-3268 (cell), 386-788-2918 (home), or

North Miami
7 p.m.
MOCA Plaza 770 NE 125th St
Progressive Democrats of America - Miami Chapter
Sandy Davies - Local PDA Coordinator - - (305) 336-1934
See below under Additional Events for another North Miami listing on Friday, March 18.

Gather at Black Jacket Park at 12noon
March to the Department of Defense offices
Contact: 484-888-3237,


Gather at 12 noon
Rally at Michigan and Congress
Followed by a march
Click here for more info


Gather at 1:30pm
Rally at public semi-circle at NE corner of Grandview and Dodge, followed by march
Contact:, to sign up for email updates

Iowa City
Gather at 11:00 a.m.
Iowa Cit Court House
417 South Clinton Street
Sponsored by: Veterans for Peace, Johnson County Greet Party, PEACE Iowa, International Socialist Organization, Workers International League-Eastern Iowa, Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor
Contact: Dawn Jones at, 319-335-2569


Gather at 12 noon
Rally at Southwest Corridor Park at Ruggles Station
Followed by a march
Contact: 857-334-5084,


St. Paul
Gather at 1:00 pm
at the Martin Luther King Community Center, 270 North Kent Street
March through the streets of St. Paul at 1:30 pm
Rally State Capitol Building at 2:15 pm
Initiated by Iraq Peace Action Coalition
Contact: 612 827-5364, 612 522-1861


South side of Beach Blvd. opposite Biloxi Green.
Sponsored by South MS United for Peace.
Contact: Glen Sandberg, 228-697-5195

New Hampshire

Assemble at Keene State College Arch Gate on Main St.
March to Central Square for program
Sponsored by Keene Peace Vigil
Contact: Chris Hansen at, 603-835-6190

New Mexico

Gather at 11 am
at Central Avenue and University
March to Lockheed Martin
Rally at Civic Plaza
Sponsored by the March 19 Coalition
Contact: Stop the War Machine at 505-268-9557 or the ANSWER Coalition at 505-268-2488

New Jersey

Highland Park
Gather at 11:30 am
at Route 27 and the Albany Street Bridge.
Followed by a march through the streets of New Brunswick to various locations to highlight impact of war economy
Rally 1 pm at Bank of America, 410 George S
Sponsored by Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War
Contact: 732-967-9370,

New York

New Paltz
See below under “Additional events”

See below under “Additional events”


Gather at Fountain Square
520 Vine Street
Sponsored by Coffee Party Cincinnati

Gather at 2:00 pm
at the The Ohio Statehouse (High St. Side, near the McKinley Statue)
Sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition
Contact:, 614-226-7807

Gather at Carillon Park
Open Mic.
Sponsored by the September 11 Coalition and Dayton Peace Action
Contact: Tim Lingg at 937-291-2008


Oklahoma City
See below under "Additional events"


Rally at 1:00pm
March at 1:30pm
Pioneer Courthouse Square
SW 6th and Yamhill (downtown)
Cosponsored and endorsed by over 50 peace, labor, faith, civil rights and other organizations
Contact: Peace and Justice Works at 505-236-3065 or


King of Prussia
In front of the King of Prussia Mall(DeKalb Pike at Mall Blvd)
Initiated by Focus on Peace. Click here to RSVP.

See below under “Additional events”

South Carolina

Hilton Head Island
Gather at 10:00am
at the Hilton Head Library
Vigil on Rt. 278 and Beach City Rd.
Sponsored by Hilton Head for Peace
Contact: 603-264-6102


See below under Additional Events.

11 am
Gather at S. side of Mockingbird Dart Station, 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln., march at 11:30am to Potomac Park for rally
Sponsored by Dallas Peace Center, Code Pink Greater Dallas, Code Pink Ft. Worth, North Texas Progressive, North Texas Veterans for Peace
Contact: Trish Major, Dallas Peace Center, 214-823-7793,

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bell Park at 4800 Montrose
An anti-war/pro-peace demonstration. BYOT (Bring your own theme). Speakers requested, bring your signs and banners.
Alfred Molison (832-638-5187 Cell, alfredm 123 at sbc


Salt Lake City
Gather at 1:00 pm for a rally
Utah State Capitol (350 North Main St # 600)
Initiated by the Revolutionary Students Union


Quantico (Triangle), Virginia
See below under "Additional events"


Gather at 12 noon
Rally at Westlake Park: 4th and Pine.
March at 1 pm
Return to Westlake for concluding remarks
Sponsored by ANSWER Seattle, SNOW coalition, Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, Veterans for Peace 392, World Can't Wait

Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia
Gather at 12 noon
Rally at Lafayette Park
March to the White House
for a massive veteran-led civil resistance
Click here for more info


10:00-11:00 a.m.
End Iraq War Peace Rally at the corner of Hwys 20/31
Flying the large peace dove made by the Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice.
Sponsored by the Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice
Contact: or 262-639-4100

Additional events

Amarillo, Texas, on Friday, March 18
5:30 to 7:00 PM
Amarillo Texas City Hall (7th and Buchanan)
Sponsored by March 19 Coalition
QContact: Rusty Tomlinson (765)722-1113

New Paltz, N.Y. on Tuesday, March 15
Gather at 6:30 pm
University of New York, Lecture Center 102 (map)

North Miami, Fla., on March 18
Armed Forces Recruitment Center (NE 163rd St & 11th Ave, North Miami Beach)
Sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America - Miami Chapter
Contact: Sandy Davies - Local PDA Coordinator - - (305)336-1934

Oklahoma City, OK on Friday, March 18
Gather on the Northeast corner of NW 23rd St & Broadway
Sponsored by Peace House and Oklahoma Center for Conscience
Contact: Peace House at 405-524-5577,

Pittsburgh, Pa. on Saturday, March 26
Gather at 12 noon
at 47th and Butler St.
March through Lawrenceville at 1 pm

Syracuse, N.Y. on Friday, March 18
12 noon
Federal Building
Corner of Clinton and Washington
Organized by the Syracuse Peace Council and the ANSWER Coalition

Quantico (Triangle), Va. on Sunday, March 20
Rally and march for Bradley Manning's freedom
Main Street and Rt. 1 (Jeff Davis Hwy.)

Click here to list the event in your city or town.


Illustrations are Isaiah's "Pinocchio Obama" and "Barack and Other War Hawks."

NPR: Where dysfunction runs freely

If you missed it, NPR is yet again under attack. They've lost two Schillers in one week over the fact that they had an anti-Semitic employee who engaged in party politics on top of everything else while representing a non-partisan news organization. Because of all of that, we're not supposed to be critical of NPR right now.

"Right now."

"Could you hold off, right now?"


The Danger Prone Daphne of broadcast outlets is forever shooting itself in the foot and having never pledged a vow of silence, we're not going to sit around play The Quiet Game while we pointlessly await the day NPR gets its act together.

Besides, unlike so many of our NPR friends, we actually listen and to listen is to eye roll. So, while those who think Page 6 is where news begins and ends focused on the sting and firing of last week, we were more concerned about the actual work.

James Kitfield: So, you know, what is interesting to me is that if you spend time in war zones or if you spend time with the military, is that there's a sense that the United States is not at war. The US mmilitary is at war. And you get that -- You go to a base like Fort Hood -- which I was at not that long ago -- and there were blood drives going on. And there's Gold Star Mothers, who, you know, have lost a son. There are people on crutches all over the place. And you leave the gate to that base and you would not know that America is at war. And this is very -- this sense that it's the military at war, not the country, is one that is striking to the people who are fighting this war. I think it does create kind of a disconnect in their mind that, you know, they come back from war zones where they've lost friends and buddies and seen the horrors of war, and America is tripping along and doesn't seem to be too engaged in these conflicts.

Diane Rehm: And, Joseph Collins, no demonstrations throughout the country.

Joseph Collins: Absolutely, I think since the beginning of the global war on terrorism, back to 2001. I don't think there's been a solid, major anti-war or critical demonstrations across the whole country.

That was Monday's Diane Rehm Show. People, we were told over and over, just don't get that there are wars going on. Stupid Americans, apparently. And there was Diane riding her high horse on Monday.

But thing is, the week? It's not just one day.

The work week isn't even one day.

The work week is considered to be Monday through Friday.

So we listened to Diane's two hour show Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and, yes, Friday, to see if Diane would ever bring up the Iraq War? Hadn't the whole point of Monday's broadcast, one hour dubbed "Costs of the Wars: Sacrifice by Few," been about how "Americans" are ignoring the wars? With ten hours (plus weekend repeats) to fill each week, certainly Diane could cover the Iraq War, right?


And what's really sad is that it was even absent from Friday's second hour, the 'international' news roundup. An hour on international news and Diane and her panelists had no time for the Iraq War.

It's been over four weeks, in fact, since Diane's made time to dole out three to seven minutes on Iraq during her Friday news roundup. (Diane and three guests discuss the domestic news of the week on the first Friday hour and then, on the second hour, Diane's joined by a different three guests and they discuss international news.)

If Americans not living on bases don't realize the Iraq War continues or it's not front and center in their minds, that goes to the media and quit lying and pretending otherwise.

Diane wanted to talk tsunami and earthquake because . . . Well, she didn't have an expert on the topics but it's "hot topics." Yes, boys and girls, her Friday roundtable has descended into an audio only version of ABC's The View.

It has been over four weeks since Diane's audience has heard (from her two hour daily show) a word about the Iraq War. And yet she wanted to mount a high horse last Monday?

Ticking off all the 'news' the media brings us these days ("Charlie Sheen . . . college sports scandals . . ."), Gary Daily (Terre Haute Tribune Star) used his column last week to cover the wars while noting the silence from other media outlets and surmising, "I guess the expiration date on interest in these costly wars (trillions and counting) and deadly (thousands and counting) has run out." Veteran journalist Helen Thomas (Falls Church News-Press) also noted the media's efforts to ignore the wars, "Some broadcasters do acknowledge the wars thousands of miles away, but they also say these wars are rarely the lead story, on grounds that people are not that interested. But the truth is the Obama Administration is happy to keep the popular pressure off as the fighting goes on."

Cute how that works out, isn't it? Media just happens to lose interest when the administration most needs a compliant public. Who says the media doesn't serve the interests . . . of the rulers?

And who is NPR to mount a high horse this month to begin with? Not only did we have to endure the high horse riding Monday of The Diane Rehm Show, Tuesday we had to endure Ted Koppel clucking over NPR airwaves, "As it is, the U.S. public pays little enough attention to what's happening to U.S. troops in Iraq now." We'll get back to Koppel, but how would the US public know what's going on in Iraq? What US broadcast network remains in Iraq to provide coverage? What US dailies continue to keep staff in Iraq? None on broadcast TV, a handful on newspaper dailies: Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor, you can also include the wire service AP -- McClatchy, though they have Iraqi correspondents, is no longer interested in publishing from Iraq and Hannah Allem is not in Iraq though her byline does often pop up on the rare Iraqi stories that are filed. And Allem's lack of being in Iraq may explain her surprise to discover that journalists were again beat up by Iraqi security forces on Friday (not that she bothered to file on that when informed of it).

National Public Radio tries to keep one correspondent in Iraq (plus a small Iraqi staff). Kelly McEvers left Iraq March 1st and was replaced with Mike Shuster who apparently exhausted himself before arriving as he attempted to finish his memoir entitled Mugabe: You Say Dictator, I Say Mad Prankster. That would explain his inability to pin down the story and get the facts correct.


If facts were flexible, Shuster might qualify as a reporter. But facts don't budge. Here's Shuster on Tuesday's Talk of the Nation 'explaining' Iraq to listeners:

Don't forget, it was a year ago that the last elections for the current government were held. And for the better part of 2010, the Iraqis - the Iraqi leaders were unable to put together a coalition and a real government. That didn't happen until Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, put together a workable or semi-workable coalition at the end of December.

These are his opening remarks after the nice-to-be-here chit-chat. They didn't put together a government until the end of December? A government?

November 11th is when the power-sharing coalition came together and Jalal Talabani was named president of Iraq and Osama al-Nujaifi was named Speaker of Parliament. Seems to us, that's a government, right? Nouri was unofficially named prime minister-designate. He's officially named prime minister-designate November 25th (Talabani delayed the official proclamation to give Nouri more time to name a cabinet). Nouri did name his Cabinet December 21st (part of it anyway) and move from prime minister-designate to prime minister. Is that what Shuster meant? Because he says "semi-workable coalition" and, for most reporters, the coalition was formed November 11th. Do we need to quote 8,000 outlets to back that up?

He repeatedly stumbled over the most basic of details. Another example, "Furthermore, we're now almost three months into 2011, and no [. . .]" He said that. Shuster said that. March 8th, he said it.

"We're now almost three months into 2011 . . ." March is what? Third month, isn't it? So, for example, on most calendars, March is the third month of the year. In fact, we're having trouble finding a calendar that doesn't see that but maybe Mike Shuster's using some sort of solar-lunar-wind turbine medley calendar?

Shuster followed that . . . interesting appearance with another on All Things Considered Friday. There he wanted to 'report' that Nouri al-Maliki had softened his approach to protesters. Listening to Shuster, we were pretty sure something went soft but it wasn't Nouri's attitude towards protesters.

Dar Addustour reported that the al-Sadr bloc heard this speech and have demanded that Nouri apologize to Iraqis. They were offended by his labeling groups Ba'athists or supporters of Saddam. They note he had little to offer other than demonization. It was a snide speech with Nouri at his most belicose as he declared the government of Iraq would not change except by elections. Al Mada noted that MP Sabah al-Saadi was not impressed by Nouri's bellowing and declares the measures Nouri has proposed do not get to the root of the problems, that instead of offering "frank talk," Nouri's plan proposes cover ups of the corruption. In one of the most telling reactions to Nouri's speech, Aswat al-Iraq reports MP Safiya al-Suhail, of Nouri's State Of Law slate, "quit Iraqi prime minister's bloc". And if Nouri's attitude wasn't clear to Shuster on Friday, he probably didn't pick up on reality the following day; however, Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Lara Jakes (AP) report Nouri took to state television where he verbally attacked the protesters, "Those who call for regime change are limited in number; they are weak and voices of discord. [. . .] Do they want the return of a dictatorship? Or the Revolutionary Command Council? Or a regime that marginalizes groups? We say clearly that who ask for the change of this regime are out of line with the will of the nation."


While covering for Nouri al-Maliki, installed thug of the occupation, Shuster forgot how to cover the news.

That's how he files a report for Friday's All Things Considered (which airs live on the East Coast in the evening hours) but missed the morning protest in Baghdad in which journalists and protesters were again beaten by Iraqi security forces. It's how he missed Brig Gen Numan Dakhil (commander of Baghdad's Rapid Response Team) getting caught by members of the Integregity Commission taking a $50,000 bribe and, realizing he's been caught, sicking the response team on those gathering the evidence, injuring nine of them with three requiring hospitalization. Now the good news is that some outlets did cover it and that forced Nouri to issue an arrest warrant for the man and, of course, he was arrested . . . after a shoot out in Baghdad. Sounds like a story, doesn't it?

Sounds like a new story.

Somehow Shuster can't find it. You sort of picture Shuster traipsing through the killing fields of Cambodia defending Pol Pot with a, "Is that all you got?," don't you?

What you just can't picture is: Mike Shuster journalist. Not from the 'work' he's doing in Iraq currently.

Daily news out of Iraq appears to be confined to Happy News based on what Shuster files and listening to him rave over thug Nouri will only lead many to recall Peter W. Galbraith discussing how the Iraq War was lost in 2008. [Disclosure, C.I. has known Peter Galbraith for many years.] His many observations included the Shi'ite government becoming an Iranian proxy. In 2008, a few saw that. As 2010 ended, many foreign policy observers were publicly stating that. Galbraith was the first to prominetly do so in 2008. His observations flies over Shuster. As does Galbraith's opening comments on Nouri al-Maliki:

Does Senator [John] McCain really believe that Nouri al-Maliki is a democrat? The prime minister of Iraq? This is a man who was an apparatchik of the Dawa Party -- Dawa is the oldet of the Shi'ite Islamic parties. It was actually on the [US] terrorism list until 2002, participated in the bombing of the -- the 1983 bombing of the US Embassy in Kuwait. He has in every regard behaved as prime minister of Iraq as a sectarian politician.

Though there's no indication that Shuster has ever heard that assement, he was present when Galbraith made it. In fact, he was sitting next to Galbraith, shuffling his feet, twiddling his thumbs, shifting back and forth in his seat and nervously playing with his collar at the Fifth Street Los Angeles Public Library on the night of October 7, 2008 for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' event. Even then, he couldn't fake full interest in Iraq. Click here for video of that segment and note the segment is four minutes and Shuster can't fake full attention for that brief period of time.

It's amazing that reality is so absent from NPR when opinion so clearly floods it. Not just in their decision to offer waves of Operation Happy Talk passed off as "news" about Iraq; but also in their decision to allow pro-war voices to speak unchallenged repeatedly.

Most recently, it was Ted Koppel on Tuesday's Talk of the Nation who, true, did explain the Iraq War doesn't end in 2011 -- it continues with a new agreement between Iraq and the US and the US military remains under the Defense Dept or it continues with the US military being switched to the umbrella of the State Dept. He also noted that the US was in Iraq, and would remain there, due to oil. These are factual issues.

What follows is not factual, even though Ted presents it as such and host Neal Conan refuses to challenge him:

Well, I mean certainly those who believe that we have no role, never did have a role in Iraq, I guess you'd have to agree with them. I would make the point, A) whatever your feelings are or were about the initial invasion of Iraq and whether that was justified or whether it is - it was smart ever to get in there in the first place, the fact of the matter is now that we have an enormous amount both in blood and treasure invested in that country, and were we to pull out now, at a time of greater instability in that region than we have seen in many, many years - we don't know what's going to happen next in Egypt, we don't know what's going to happen in Bahrain, we don't know what's going to happen in Yemen or in Libya, and for us just to precipitously pull out, before the Iraqis are capable of taking care of their own security, I think would be very unwise.

That's not a point. It's an opinion. It's Ted's opinion (and the opinion of many other hawks) that the US is in Iraq so it must stay there. We've heard that opinion before, many times. When Barack Obama was running for the US Senate, the alleged 'anti-war' candidate offered that opinion to one of us (C.I.) and Elaine at a fundraiser. We heard it until Camp Casey from the likes of Rachel Maddow and Al Franken on the late and non-lamented Air America Radio. That is not a peace opinion, it's never been one and it's so damn amazing that eight years into the illegal war, Ted Koppel can go on NPR and argue that the US has to remain in Iraq and we still can't get guests on NPR who are opposed to the war. (Tavis Smiley was one of the few to book guests who were opposed to the Iraq War. Though Tavis continues to do radio, he ended his NPR partnership for obvious reasons some time ago.)

Eight years into the Iraq War and we still can't get the voices of peace on NPR. On Monday's Diane Rehm Show, she and her guests -- three guests -- complained about the lack of protests since the war started. Diane did allow, after a listener e-mailed, that she remembered protests but they didn't get a great deal of press coverage.

They didn't or they don't, Diane? It's been months since the closet thing to a peace scholar (Phyllis Bennis) has been allowed to be part of the invited conversation on Diane's program. Monday? Monday you had journalist James Kitfield. You had the Council on Foreign Relations (which supported the Iraq War in the lead-up to it) represented by Matt Pottinger, you had the National War College represented by Joseph Collins and you had the National Military Family Association represented by Michelle Joyner. NMFA is an organization that takes no position on war but does advocate for family members of the military. So a goodwill committee for military life was on the panel and two people representing supporters of war (CFR and the National War College) were given seats at the table. Everyone had a seat but the voices of peace.

Apparently to grind some personal axe the supposedly neutral James Kitfield (he's supporting the continued war and Diane damn well knows that) made a point to lie and state that peace activists spat on Vietnam veterans. Though the lie has long ago and repeatedly been disproved, Diane didn't bother to correct Kitfield, she just moved quickly on.

Neal, meanwhile, creates hurdles to keep voices of peace from speaking even as callers to his show. Taking calls to 'discuss' with Ted, Neal declared, "Given the state of Iraq's forces, the crises elsewhere in the region, should U.S. forces stay on in Iraq or withdraw as planned? We'd especially like to hear from those of you who served in Iraq: 800-989-8255 is the phone number." We'd especially like to hear from those of you who served in Iraq . . . Translation, everybody else don't call in. Were we listening to NPR or Voice of America Radio?

NPR is supposed to broadcast in a democracy where all voices are equal. That's not the message Neal sent out, now is it? It's hilarious that the show wanted to insist the US public is not paying attention to Iraq but, when taking calls, made clear that they weren't interested in the thoughts of the public, just military members who had served in Iraq.

If we'd had time, we would have contacted Alicia Shephard about all the above. Not that it would have done any good because Alicia doesn't touch the really hard issues (sorry, Alicia, you know it's true). And this piece really calls for an NPR response. For all the above, true, but also for Ted Koppel himself.

Neal Conan introduced Ted as an "NPR commentator." His NPR bio calls him that as well. However, when he was hired, NPR announced he "will join NPR as a senior news analyst" and a few months ago on Talk of the Nation, he was introduced as "NPR senior news analyst."

You may be scratching your head and saying, "Ava and C.I., you're splitting hairs! News analyst and commentator, it's all the same!" Really?

Because we aren't the ones who made the distinction, we aren't the ones who hid behind the distinction nor did we order the purging on the NPR website to protect ourselves (and NPR) from legal consequences. What are we talking about?

The division between commentator and "news analyst" was meaningless until October 2010 and most were introduced interchangeably. In October 2010, following public actions by NPR management, there was suddenly a need to create a division between the two roles. That's when NPR fired Juan Williams. Many were surprised by the purging of Juan's stories from NPR's website and by how quickly that took place. There was no reason to be surprised. They purged because Juan was introduced as both a commentator and a news analyst.

But the reason given, if you've forgotten, for Juan being fired was that he was a "news analyst" and not a "commentator." And to back themselves up, they needed to 'tidy up' the website.

Currently, you can see that Ted's still billed as both. (And, sorry, NPR friends, we did do screen caps.) Which is it?

After Juan was fired, there was a big to do. Suddenly, there was a huge distinction between the two roles. Then NPR president (she was fired by the board last week), Vivian Schiller issued a memo on the firing October 21st:

First, a critical distinction has been lost in this debate. NPR News analysts have a distinctive role and set of responsibilities. This is a very different role than that of a commentator or columnist. News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation. As you all well know, we offer views of all kinds on your air every day, but those views are expressed by those we interview – not our reporters and analysts.

Since Alicia Shepard has echoed that party line, she should probably explain what Ted Koppel is and why NPR is so confused by his role. But an ombudsperson who doesn't do the due diligence required to realize that Juan Williams was introduced -- on air -- as both a "news analyst" and a "commentator" over the years isn't much an ombudsperson is she? (We're giving her the benefit of the doubt that she wasn't aware of Juan's various on air introductions when appearing on NPR programs.)

NPR has established that you can no longer be both. To go back on that now would invite a multi-million dollar lawsuit from Juan Williams, now wouldn't it? So what is Ted? Since the press release NPR issued to the press announced he was "a senior news analyst" and since he's been billed as that repeatedly and recently, we'd argue he needs to be held to those allegedly stricter standards. Or do those standards only exist when it comes to Juan Williams?

If Ted is a "senior news analyst," Vivian Schiller laid down the NPR law: "News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation."

If that's the law, then follow it. If that's the law, then Ted Koppel deserves a disciplinary meeting over his remarks from last Tuesday:

Well, I mean certainly those who believe that we have no role, never did have a role in Iraq, I guess you'd have to agree with them. I would make the point, A) whatever your feelings are or were about the initial invasion of Iraq and whether that was justified or whether it is - it was smart ever to get in there in the first place, the fact of the matter is now that we have an enormous amount both in blood and treasure invested in that country, and were we to pull out now, at a time of greater instability in that region than we have seen in many, many years - we don't know what's going to happen next in Egypt, we don't know what's going to happen in Bahrain, we don't know what's going to happen in Yemen or in Libya, and for us just to precipitously pull out, before the Iraqis are capable of taking care of their own security, I think would be very unwise.

Pulling out, Ted declares, "I think would be very unwise." The law: "News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation."

Ted took the personal public position that the US military should remain in Iraq. That is "a controversial issue" and, according to NPR law, he shouldn't have taken it. From the August 27th snapshot:

Last week, Gallup and AP polls were released offering the findings that most Americans are opposed to the Iraq War and feel it should never have been started. Gallup found 53% judge it as a failure, 55% judged it a failure. AP's poll with GfK Roper Public Affairs found that 65% opposed the Iraq War. Now Brian Montopoli (CBS News) reports on CBS' poll (but doesn't explain why the New York Times took a pass) which finds "nearly six in ten say it was a mistake to start the battle in the first place, and most say their country did not accomplish its objectives in Iraq." The number saying it was a mistake is 59% which is in stark contrast to March 2003 when a majority, 69%, stated the US was correct to declare war on Iraq (the US-led invasion began in March 2003) and only 25% of respondents then (March 2003) said it was a mistake.
[. . .] Jim Michaels and Mimi Hall (USA Today) report on USA Today's poll which found 60% expressing the belief that the Iraq War was not worth it.

Ted Koppel's opinion is not just contrary to a small minority opinion of Americans, it's contrary to the overwhelming American majority opinion. So if what was done to Juan was fair and how NPR deals with these issues, Ted Koppel should be shown the door. (We know he won't be.) NPR shut out the majority opinion on Talk of the Nation and on Diane's show. The majority of Americans were not represented despite NPR standing for National Public Radio. A functioning ombudsperson would address that. But how can a dysfunctional radio outlet have a functioning ombudsperson?

The legacy of the Mamas and the Papas

Forty five years ago this month, the Mamas and the Papas cracked Billboard's top five singles chart for their first time with "California Dreamin'." Who?


Let's go to Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia, published in 1969:

The Mamas and the Papas were the royal family of American rock -- not because their music keeps growing and progressing to plateau after plateau of greatness (it doesn't), but because they were the first, with the Spoonful, of the
big American groups, the first, that is, since the Beatles. Besides, they look regal. John Phillips, tall and stately, looks like Everyking, Cass Elliot, majestic earth mother, like Everyqueen, and Michelle and Denny the essence of princehood and princesshood. They came to us, that dreary winter of 1965-66, singing that all the leaves were brown and the sky was greay and that it was a good time to dream of California. Until then, everything new and interesting and commercially successful (all those things can go hand in hand) was English and had been since 1964 and the Beatles. Now, with the Mamas and the Papas, the spotlight that had been fixed so firmly on Liverpool and London suddenly swiveled over to America (and caught the Spoonful's Daydream as well). America had had Dylan, of course, but not a group scene with any sort of style, and nothing like those first three singles the Mamas and the Papas brought out in less than a year.

Those first three hits were "California Dreamin'," Monday Monday" and "I Saw Her Again Last Night." March 5, 1966 was the week "California Dreamin'" went top five, a supergroup was announced and a new scene was created. Sonny & Cher were the closest visual equivalent. And while Cher would become a fashion trend setter throughout her career (including up to today), the Mamas and the Papas popularized a look that was less likely to be featured in (or on the cover of) Vogue but was adopted by a huge cross-section of the United States, the jeans and the bare feet, the flowers, the emerging flowing gowns. In her book California Dreamin', Michelle Phillips explained:

And we did look so good; as we got richer, the clothes got prettier -- never anything but loose and beautiful, but certainly silkier and ever more colorful and stylish.
However fancy our clothes, John forbade us to wear makeup or mess with our hair because it would be bad for our contemporary hippie image. He felt very strongly about that. Certainly we wanted to wear makeup, but if I had put on mascara, Cass would have put on lashes, and if I had teased my hair, then she would have put on a hairpiece, so John just told me I wasn't to put any makeup on or try any tricks with my hair. It was the right decision. We were ahead of the trend, and anyway, our clothes made up for any lack of makeup. Toni from Profile de Monde in Beverly Hills made sure of that. Mia Farrow, always full of great ideas, had put us on to Toni, who just swept us up and gave us fabulous Damascus brocades; beautiful silks in scarlet, gold, silver, blue, and green; harem pants, bell-bottoms, long coats, capes, jackets. Toni knew just what would look good onstage: Our clothes were the best you could get.

And they brought musical excitement back to the US, hitting the top forty charts 12 times (we're including "Dancing Bear" which hit 36 on Cashbox but didn't go top 40 on Billboard) in the years 1966, 1967 and 1968. Though male - female duos had hit number one before (such as Sonny & Cher), no gender integrated group had until "Monday Monday" began its three week stay at the top of the Billboard singles chart the week of May 7, 1966. The group was music, image, the whole package. Everything clicked. Some worked out by luck, some worked out by determination, but all four shaped the group that was almost known as The Magic Cyrcle.

John wanted that name. Cass and Michelle hated it. The band argued about the name while watching a talk show on TV whose guests included the Hell's Angels. As the motorcycle enthusiast onscreen began referring to women as "mamas," Cass insisted that's what she and Michelle were, The Mamas. Michelle backed her up and John decided they'd be The Papas and the Mamas until Cass adamantly informed him that you didn't say "Papas and Mamas," you said, "Mamas and Papas."

In her book What Falls Away, Mia Farrow places the group within its proper context, "Sounds of Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, the Mamas and the Papas, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen floated over the Malibu cliffs and mingled with wind chimes, and scents of sandalwood and marijuana." Their sixties chart run was spread out over four studio albums -- all of which were produced by Lou Adler who explained the naming of the debut album (If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears) to John Gilliland for KRLA's The Pop Chronicles, "The title of the first album is exactly the way I felt when I first saw them. I couldn't believe it. To see four people like that put together."

The first album was the material the group had worked on while living on the Virgin Islands (John and Michelle Phillips documented the band's roots and history in the top five hit "Creeque Alley") and resulted in two huge hits ("California Dreamin'" and "Monday Monday") plus radio favorite "Go Where You Wanna Go" which would later become a hit for The Fifth Dimension. The second album was recorded during a turbulent period. Michelle, married to John at the time, would be fired from the group due to the affair she had with Gene Clark (while John was conducting several affairs of his own) and the group would attempt a few concerts with a replacement that did not go well leading the group to invite Michelle back. The self-titled second album went top five on Billboard and Cashbox but the debut album had hit number one on Billboard and number two on Cashbox. The laid back album spawned three hit singles: "I Saw Her Again Last Night" "Look Through My Window" and "Words Of Love" and probably made more of an impression on Graham Nash -- who dropped by to watch John, Michelle, Cass and Denny record "Dancing Bear" (dropped by largely to check out Michelle, see his recollections in Harvey Kubernik's Canyon Of Dreams) -- and would quickly be fixed up musically, by Cass, with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. The third album, Deliver, lived up to its name and returned the group to the top of the albums chart (this time hitting number one on Cashbox and number two on Billboard) the group's second biggest charting hit, "Dedicated To The One I Love" (number two) and "Creeque Alley."

The music and the attitude set the group apart. On the latter, Donovan writes in his book The Autobiography of Donovan The Hurdy Gurdy Man:

Well do I remember sitting with the lady of the canyon herself, Joni Mitchell, watching the animated film The Wind in the Willows with Cass cheering along with Toad in his new car, his bug eyes rolling at the thought of driving down the highways, not a care in the world. Cass pointed out that Toad was us musos. "Only wanted to see what was on the other side of the hill, m'lud. Honest. I didn't mean any harm, and the keys were in the car." Oh, Cass, how right you were.

They were a complete musical experience and they were a team, a group of four dependent upon each members. As already noted, John and Michelle wrote "Creeque Alley." The album also featured their "Free Advice" and "String Man." The first album had featured their "California Dreamin'" and "Hey Girl" and the second had Michelle and John's collaboration "Trip, Stumble and Fall." In addition, the first album featured John and Denny's "Got A Feeling" and the second John and Denny's "I Saw Her Again Last Night." All three albums featured cover songs. But things were starting to change and John was becoming more in control or more controlling.

The Papas and the Mamas would be the band's break up album. It would feature a (hit) cover of the classic "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" and also some of the Shirley Temple tune "The Right Somebody To Love." John would team with Denny to write "For the Love of Ivy" and with Lou Adler to write "Meditation Mama (Transcendental Woman Travels)." But for many, it was John's album. That wasn't necessarily seen as a good thing.

Asked by Jerry Hopksins (Rolling Stone, October 26, 1968) what songs by the Mamas and the Papas she liked, Cass responded, "'No Salt on Her Tail,' 'Look Through My Window,' 'Monday, Monday,' 'Go Where You Want To Go,' 'Got a Feeling.' Notice I haven't mentioned any songs from the last album. I wonder what that is? Maybe because that album was such an arduous task. We spent one whole month on one song, just the vocals for 'The Love of Ivy' took one whole month. I did my [debut solo] album in three weeks, a total of ten days in the studio. Live with the band, not prerecorded tracks sitting there with earphones."

Denny would tell Matthew Greenwald (for the book Go Where You Wanna Go), "Well, John's got the studio up in his house, and he's happy, Cass and I are just showing up whenever. This is after Monterey, and John and Michelle are back together and they're going to have a baby and 'everything's wonderful.' But she's still out f**kin' around on him, and he's trying to get her in line. He'd drag her around to all the rooms in the house and say, 'This is the nursery! This is your bedroom!' It didn't help, and it didn't work. The whole fourth album to me was, 'Let's just get it done . . .'" Instead of going to a recording studio, the band was not recording in an illegal (not up to code) studio built in John and Michelle's Bel Air home that had formerly belonged to the movie star Jeanette MacDonald. To enter the studio, you went through the cedar closet to what was formerly the attack. Cass wasn't impressed with the album, Denny wasn't impressed. And Michelle?

In her book, Michelle recalls that they could have gone on an adventure to Crete with Mia Farrow but, "Instead, in our own studio at the Bel Air House, we made the Papas and the Mamas album, and I hardly remember anything about it except that it wasn't very good. Tom Wilkes, who had art-directed the Monterey Pop Festival, designed a fine album cover with a very interesting interchange of faces, but it wasn't a big seller because we really hadn't the material or energy to write or sing it well. What a waste of cedar closet." In the 2004 foreword to the boxed set Complete Anthology, Michelle writes, "Despite the glorious music, I had always thought of the group as a bubble that had to burst sometime, and it did in early 1968. Frankly, we had run out of material and had had enough of all the togetherness. What was essential for: 1, the drama; 2, songs written about the drama; and 3, the willingness to stay when we all wanted to move on, was all gone. Cass and I both had babies, John wanted to produce and Denny wanted to go back to the islands or something. It was over."

But the real waste may have been the refusal to reconsider the album or, for that matter, the failure to realize how praised The Papas and the Mamas was in real time. Reviewing the album in real time, Samuel R. Delaney (Crawdaddy) concluded his lengthy rave with this:

Practically all the songs are about either the garden or the fire outside, in some way or other. Or they define a way for getting from one to the other. It gives the album power and relevance. The Papas and the Mamas is the most exciting and musically intelligent work of a group who have exhibited some of the most exciting potential in the past three years. I don't have to tell you to go out and buy this one. You will.

That was it for the band and the sixties. To avoid the lawsuits from their label, they'd get back together for People Like Us in 1971. Most saw it as going through the motions and you can tie that in with The Papas and the Mamas. Again, John Phillips wanted control (this is the only Mamas and Papas album Lou Adler didn't produce) and all but one track was written by John ("I Wanna Be A Star" was written by Michelle and John). There are some nice moments such as "I Wanna Be A Star," "Snowqueen of Texas" and "Blueberries for Breakfast" but it lacks an overall vision. The Papas and the Mamas had a very dark vision.

the mamas and the papas

And as far as albums go, it is the group's masterpiece. Writing of Cass, Peter S. Taback (Jewish Women's Archives) declared of the group, "During their three-year reign at the top of popular music charts, the Mamas and the Papas melded folk and psychedelic styles in a quartet whose half-dozen remembered songs still evoke a time prior to the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention when hippie ideologies of communal living and relaxed standards of dress and demeanor had not yet divided the recording industry or the nation along fierce political lines." The dualities Delaney noted in his review run through the entire album and capture the year (1968) in all of its turmoil. Garden and fire, light and dark, it runs through the album clashing against one another and sometimes, such as with "Safe In My Garden," battling itself in a single track.

The Shirley Temple song ("The Right Somebody To Love") opens both sides of the album, just Michelle singing all by herself. A lone and innocent voice quickly replaced by the lapping sounds of "Safe In My Garden" when it first shows up and then by the crashing sounds of "Gemini Childe" when it shows up the second time.

If you're asking, "Huh?" . . . Well, you're not alone. Sample dialogue.

Jim: No, no. Wikipedia has the track list --

C.I.: I don't care what the hell that crappy little website says and if you're going to question my knowledge of the Mamas and the Papas, we're going to have a very long writing edition.

Of course, Jim did question. Not only does the Wikipedia entry not list "The Right Somebody To Love" in two places, it's not that way on the CD. "Get the boxed set," C.I. snapped leaving the room. When she returns, Jim will tell her that the track listing is the same on The Mamas and the Papas Complete Anthology (a four-disc set of everything the group recorded -- as well as a few solo tracks from all four members). "I didn't ask you what the list was," she'll declare popping on side two of the vinyl version of The Papas and the Mamas and, sure enough, right before "Gemini Childe," you get twenty or so seconds of "The Right Somebody To Love." Popping in the second CD of the anthology, we see that it also includes those 20 seconds (they start when you play the track"Gemini Childe").

So, in other words, this album is so unappreciated that when it was released on CD, it didn't even include all the tracks. The whole concept was tossed aside by cheapness and lack of concern. The album was issued by MCA on a single compact disc and if you go to iTunes or Amazon and download the album you get that version. Here's how you check if you have the full album or not, if "Gemini Childe" is not four and a half minutes long, you don't. Four and a half minutes and it starts with "The Right Somebody To Love." Four minutes and seven seconds and it doesn't.

So if you download this, for example, you are not getting the full album.

Some might be okay with it. The album lacks the chart jumping hits of previous releases. "Twelve Thirty" appears on the album was a hit single before the album was released (number 20 Billboard, number 16 Cashbox), "Safe In My Garden" only made it onto Billboard's chart (number 43), "For The Love Of Ivy" makes it to numbers 12 (Billboard) and 10 (Cashbox) and the album's big hit, "Dream a Little Dream of Me" (12 on Billboard, 10 on Cashbox).

If this album had been a huge hit and the band had stayed together (even for just one more album), who knows what direction they might have gone in? This was the group's most ambitious album. And it's rave reviews in real time are largely forgotten and it can be released on CD and then as a download without all of the tracks and no one objects.

But the group left its mark. Both with the music and with the attitude. For instance, there might not be a Fleetwood Mac -- not the incarnation that was most successful and a worldwide success. See, it was 45 years ago that Stevie Nicks met Lindsey Buckingham. What does that have to do with the Mamas and the Papas?

For one thing, both groups were a mixture of men and women. Nicks and Buckingham would become a duo and then team up with the British Mac (Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood) to create a supergroup. But do we know how Stevie met Lindsey back in 1966?

The Nicks family had moved again, from the Los Angeles area (where Stevie attended Arcadia High School) to San Francisco Bay area (where Stevie attended Menlo-Atherton High School). On a Wednesday, Stevie attended a function where a young man, away from the others, sat at a piano, playing a song. Knowing the song, Stevie walked over and sang "California Dreamin'" with him. That's how the two met in 1966.

The Mamas and the Papas created a legacy with their music, with their style and with their attitude. On that last one, it may be best captured in Joan Didion's reflections on the music business (The White Album):

First we wanted sushi for twenty, steamed clams, vegetable vindaloo and many rum drinks with gardenias for our hair. First we wanted a table for twelve, fourteen at the most, although there might be six more, or eight more, or eleven more: there would never be one or two more, because music people did not travel in groups of "one" or "two." John and Michelle Phillips, on their way to the hospital for the birth of their daughter Chynna, had the limo detour into Hollywood in order to pick up a friend, Ann Marshall. This incident, which I often embroider in my mind to include an imaginary second detour, to the Luau for gardenias, exactly describes the music business to me.

Note: In Didion's book, she spells Ann Marshall's first name "Anne." We have corrected it in the excerpt above.

Goose (Parody)

goose tracks

Goldsby and Covington by Boots Malone
Goldsby and Covington have been a lot in recent news and TV, second to the issues in Japan. What does it all mean? Square Pegs, Charles In Charge, White Snake, Wham, "Let The Music Play," Rubik's Cube, Win, Lose Or Draw. What it all boils down to is More . . .

Toots #102 by Gilley d'Bob
I will never be satisifed. Life is one constant search for the betterment for me.
-- Jayne Mansfield, author, violinist, thespian

As the self-appointed leading Marxist of the non-self-identifying Marxists, I am the lifeblood of whatever blood flows through the veins in America, irregardless of the miniscule and puny and small brains throughout the country or possibly as a result of them, I stand supreme as I only I can stand when I plant both of my feet on the ground, side by side or possibly partially splayed, I stand as always do, upright, possibly leaning or slouching, knowing that I and I alone can lead because when a man such as I feels that I need to do something then you better believe that I do it and I will and I have and I shall but I am troubled by the thought that so much falls on my shoulders for I am but yet one person and More . . .

The Marching Imperialist And The Military-Peace-Industrial-Pre-Fabricated-Complex by Lily Krenshka
In her timeless novel The Bitch (1979), Jackie Collins was all too aware of the plutocrats and the corporatists and the neo-pagans and Pansy Division and all that drives the imperialist desire for more and more jabbing and sticking and invasion, "Vannessa, Leonard, and a whole group of people arrived at 'Hobo' as Fontaine's guests. She watched the women's reactions to Steve. Nothing special. 'Do you fancy him?' she whispered to Vanessa. 'He's not Tony.' 'F**k Tony. I'm sick to death of hearing about Tony. He's not the only stud in the world you know.' Fontaine drained her champagne glass, and gestured for more." Yet Collins recognized the other dangers as well More . . .

The Vanishing of Olbermann by Dr. Mathilda West
The most pressing issue today is the Vanishing of Keith Olbermann from MSNBC leaving only the skilled and highly intelligent Rachel Maddow to steer us in the direction that, as right thinking Socialists, we should go because who is more trusted by Socialists than centerist Democrats working for a multi-corporation which not only delivers bad cable but has also destroyed the Hudson River? With that in mind and so much more More . . .

The Rent Of Capital by Gloria Coogle
"We're dying in America to come into our own" sing Roger and Mark in the fantastic musical Rent whose text and score provide a modern retelling of Karl Marx's The Poverty of Philosophy. Mimi nods to the Young Hegelians throughout but most obviously in her decision to sleep with the landlord which, as so often happens, leaves her hooked on heroin and dying. "We're dying in America to come into our own." And not only does it retell Marx, it anticipates the going-ons in Wisconsin today via the drag queen Angel who, like the union workers marching and chanting in the last weeks, strikes the notes as a percussionist. Not to mention that who but Joanne Jefferson could stand in for Governor Walker? And how do you measure, drive, measure progress More . . .

Goose 10th Anniversary Interview conducted by Lt Katy Whitcomb
Gilley, how do you feel on the tenth anniversary of Goose?

I feel tired and older. And that's like a tenth of a century. Makes me think.

Goose's main attraction is that it features exclusive content.

Correct. I do not understand CounterPunch, Truthout, et al and why anyone would ever visit those sites when so much that they offer can be found everywhere else. I insist upon one of a kind -- even if that means I publish a lot of irregulars. But what is life but a pair of Wrangles with one side straight leg and one side boot cut? It is in life's irregularities that we discover my own beauty and wisdom for I think therefore I type.

And yet Goose does not pay for any of the content they run.

When you look like me, you never pay for it. And that's how I like it. Of all our contributors, I believe I am most proud of Michael Stowell who not only wrote for us for free but did so while homeless. I tell you, when I can short-sell a guy like Stowell, I feel really good, I feel real really good. Like Arianna Huffington making her AOL deal. In fact, we're in talks at Goose to merge with internet search engine Archie.

Resist the War!


From Workers World:

March 19 & April 9 actions

Published Mar 12, 2011 10:47 AM

Both an upturn in worldwide struggles and a stepped-up organizing schedule have added momentum to the spring anti-war mobilizations set months in advance but still on target. These demonstrations will both focus on the criminal eight-year U.S. occupation of Iraq and nine-year occupation of Afghanistan, while staying on alert for new interventions in Pakistan and perhaps Libya.

The United National Anti-war Coalition, which is planning major protests in San Francisco on April 10 and New York on April 9, has also made important gains with endorsers, including the over 50-year-old anti-war group Peace Action New York State and the 300,000-strong 1199 United Health Care Workers-East. For more information, go to

In the New York City area, UNAC has set up a central organizing office at 296 Ninth Ave. near 28th Street at the Church of the Holy Apostles (646-998-6103).

On March 19, the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq, demonstrations will take place in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities demanding an end to U.S. war and military intervention abroad and funding for people’s needs at home, initiated by the Answer Coalition. For more information, go to

Dona's note

I have to do a note to address some questions that keep popping up

First, check out this infographic on lying. Jim was hoping to work that into a roundtable and we don't have one.

I'm the reason we don't.

I'm the reason we're so late these days.

In e-mails, our address is, a number are commenting on the delays.

Most put it off to our normal delays and our normal attitude.

That's not what's going on.


I'm pregnant. I'd hoped to keep it private awhile longer but I've had the worst morning, evening and nightly sickness. That's what's slowing down our writing edition. And when Ava and C.I. think I look like I've had more than enough, they insist we take a minimum of eight hours for a break. I appreciate that. Sometimes I don't need that long, sometimes I do.

I'm hoping to be over this shortly but that may not end up being the case.

I don't feel great about being responsible for the delays. I know our readers are waiting. I also don't feel great about the fact that until we finish, C.I. can't do The Common Ills and that puts her way behind.

But, as Kat says, it is what it is.

And that's the reason why we're currently so late and have been for so many weeks now. It's why a caretaker article is being pushed back to next week. It's unruly and needs a serious edit. I don't have the energy right now. So . . .


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, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Iraq snapshot," "Senate Armed Services Committee," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. and Ava (filling in for Trina for one post) offer reporting on Congressional hearings they attended this week.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Mary Pops Back -- Isaiah's immensely popular comic.

"I Hate The War" -- Most requested highlight by readers of this community.

"Roberta Flack should record Donovan" -- Ann offers her idea of the perfect Roberta Flack album.

"Marriage equality = full equality" -- Betty addresses what equality means.

"the father of the movement" -- who let the sexist genie out of the bottle in 2007 and 2008? Hint he finally remembered women in his Saturday address.

"bradley" -- Rebecca weighs in on Bradley Manning.

"Ms. Schiller's Belated Regrets," "NPR 'forgets' the anti-semitic remarks in their 'report'," "Somebody shut Bill Moyers up," "Anti-Semite Jason Linkins," "Vivan Schiller has been kicked out of the building" and "Martha T. Moore may be the only one" -- Ruth reported on NPR all last week and we also include Marcia noting how disgusting some outlets were.

"Puerto Rico" -- Kat offers realities about Imperialism and Puerto Rico.

"Bette and Marilyn" and "Eye For An Eye" -- Marcia and Stan talk movies.

"Karl Rove Leaves The Administration" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this blast from the past.

"Critical skills" -- Elaine on the lack of thought in so many of our left 'leaders.'

"Fringe is freaking trippy!!!!!!," "The Event returns," "blogdrive and brothers & sisters," "TV and Hedges," "Desparate Housewives" and "The Cape, Isaiah and more" -- Mike, Marcia, Rebecca, Betty and Stan cover TV.

"Kevin Zeese and his Tiny Penis" -- Elaine on one of the left's biggest repeat offending sexists.

"Isaiah, CCR, Third"

"James Kitfiled LIES on NPR" -- Ann calls out Kitfield's smearing of the peace movement.

"Privacy rights" -- Kat explores privacy.

"Donald Rumsfeld has a website?" -- and wonders why some people have websites?

"War Criminals" -- Elaine weighs in on the war criminals.

"An explanation that makes sense" & "THIS JUST IN! ONLY WHEN HE CAN'T BE THE BULLY!" -- Barack cares about bullies . . . now that he's no longer the only one.

"Support Bradley, not the network"
"Oh, Alicia Shepard, you're so stupid"
"Nuclear energy"
"food for thought"
"Vivan Schiller has been kicked out of the building"
"The Event returns"
"A pleasant surprise"
"Back to you"
"Polling and more"
"They gave him their heart and he gave them a pen"
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