Sunday, July 08, 2012

Truest statement of the week

There have been more drone attacks under Obama than during the eight years of their use by the Bush-Cheney gang. Gitmo is still open, rendition of suspects is still going on, and we still are in over 100 countries with over 800 permanent bases. We still occupy and kill and are killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, the real tragedy is that under Mr. Obama and his party, in collaboration with the Republicans, military spending goes up and up and up — to the tune last year of over $563 billion. Imagine what some of that money could have done to alleviate the housing mess or the need for more good paying jobs? Infrastructure repairs for our cities, our roads? How about having our National Guard out there doing what they were meant to do: help out in disaster relief? Nope! Where are the Ed Shultzs and Rachel Maddows, Chris Mathews, Al Sharptons et al.? Silence!

-- Phillip Anthony Faruggio, "Phony Conservatives and Progressives In The Media" (Dissident Voice).

Truest statement of the week II

One of the better know figures in official “left” circles in Detroit is Grace Lee Boggs, founder of the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership. Boggs, a long time Detroit resident, in collaboration with Scott Kurashige, an associate professor of American culture and history at the University of Michigan, has published The Next American Revolution, Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century.
Boggs and Kurashige use Detroit as a focus to advance a right-wing agenda, justifying the impoverishment of the working class and opposing any collective struggle against capitalism.
One is struck in reading The New American Revolution by the authors’ utter indifference to the conditions facing the working class. Poverty, homelessness and unemployment are barely mentioned. The problem, assert the authors, is not the capitalist system and the conditions of mass misery that it is creating, but the American people themselves, who are denounced as “self-centered and overly materialistic.”

-- Shannon Jones, "The reactionary politics of Grace Lee Boggs" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated 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),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
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 did we come up with?

This one's a new voice to us.  
Cedric and Stan championed this one and we all agree with it.

 Some deaths matter -- only some -- to certain leftists when a Democrats is in the White House. And I (Jim) just got what C.I. was saying earlier when she pitched an idea but stopped and said it could wait for next week.   DDPRFP.  That's my reminder for next week.  (Stealing C.I.'s reminder technique.)

Ava and C.I. tackle Bill Moyers.  When his new show started airing, readers immediately wanted a review.  Ava and C.I. begged off saying they wanted a few weeks on air before they weighed in.  They gave him 21 weeks.  Now they bring down the hammer.

Our Iraq feature this week.  If we hadn't had 60 minutes to type up all the features and also to do our Iraq piece, this would have been longer.

I personally love this piece. And though we include a disclosure that C.I. knows Rahm, please note that she, Ava and Elaine did not work on this piece.

A KPFA-er suggested we make a point to hear Kris' latest nonsense.

Bonnie Faulkner earned top honors.

My piece.  I wrote this early in the writing edition and did so to be sure that when Ava and C.I. finished their piece and asked what got accomplished while they were gone, I could say, "Well, we've got one article." :D  (Read my piece and you'll understand that better.)

The continued failure of Barack's economy.

Jill Stein.  And remember the Green Party National Convention is in Baltimore this week, July 12th through 15th.
Repost from Workers World. 
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: If he wore a hoodie would you care about his death?

Tareq Aziz (pictured below) was murdered.  He was 16-years-old.

tareq aziz

In the US, it is often fashionable to become outraged over the death of a teenager or to pretend to be.  But Al Sharpton and the MSNBC No-Stars, like so much of the American press, haven't given a dam about Tareq Aziz.

Pratap Chatterjee (Bureau of Investigative Journalism) reported on Tareq:

Like so many teenagers in remote parts of the globe, Tariq though not legally old enough to drive, nonetheless had often taken out the family car. Around noon on October 31 he had been driving to pick up an aunt after her wedding. A slightly younger cousin, Waheed Rehman, was with him. Earlier that day, drones had been patrolling the skies for hours, but had become such a familiar sight in the area, that they were ignored. A few hundred yards from his aunt’s house one honed in and struck Aziz’s car. The two boys died instantly. Aziz’s uncle said their bodies were badly burned and mutilated, when people arrived from the village. The rescue party had held back at first, as drones frequently strike again, sometimes hitting those recovering the bodies.

The Drone War was started by Bully Boy Bush.  And, on the left, we were outraged and voiced our disgust.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the 2010s, the White House flipped political parties and, in 2009, Democrat or 'Democrat' Barack Obama was sworn in.

Quicker than Samantha Stevens could twitch her nose, the Drone War was no longer a concern for most of the left.

Not because it stopped.  It didn't stop.  The Bureau of Investigative Journalism explains in this video how, in fact, Barack's increased attacks by eightfold.  At least 320 innocent civilians have been killed in Barack's ongoing Drone War.

The Drone War isn't a war Congress has declared.  It's an illegal war.  Again, Bully Boy Bush started it but, like so many other wars, Barack made the decision to continue it -- in fact to amplify it.

Former US President  Jimmy Carter (in The New York Times) pointed out,  "We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times."

If Carter's speaking out, there's a reason.  He sees the anger at the US in the MidEast over the Drone War, he grasps where that anger can mean.  The Drone War isn't making anyone safer.

Barack Obama wants four more years in the White House.  For his Drone War alone, he should be serving a 20-year prison term minimum.  Once upon a time, on the left, we could speak in unison against the Drone War.  These days, not even the innocent victims of an illegal war can prompt the bulk of the left to speak out.

TV: Bill Moyers' same tired act

At 78, you'd think Bill Moyers would be too old to be American Public Television's 'golden boy' but he's burned all his other bridges and, really, what does American Public Television have to offer after the death of Julia Child?  Apparently not much.


"Not Much," in fact, should be the title of Moyers' new program.  Despite telling a New York Times blog that his show would provide "people not often heard on television," all he's offered is more of the same.

Doubt us?  Review the first 20 episodes that have aired  and you find that he couldn't offer a guest of color until episode five, that people of color make up only 20% of the guests, that women of any color make up only 31% of the guests while White males make up 63% of the guests.

1-13:  Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson
1-20:  Reagan Budget Director David Stockman and New York Times' Gretchen Morgenson
1-27: CitiGroup chair John Reed, former Senator Byron Dorgan
2-3: Jonathan Haidt
2-10: Bruce Bartlett, DEMOS' Heather McGhee
2-17: Kathleen Hall Jamieson; Rita Dove
2-24: Neal Gabler, Christian Wiman
3-23: Andrew Bacevich
3-29: George Goehl, Aj-jen Poo and Sarita Gupta 
4-5: Paul Volcker, Carne Ross
4-13: Angela Glover Blackwell
4-20: New York Times' Ross Douthat and former MSNBC blogger Eric Alterman
4-27: Marty Kaplin
5-4: Luis Alberto Urrea
5-11: Kathleen Hall Jamieson, RoseAnn DeMoro
5-18: Tom Morello
5-25: Creator of cheesecake T&A fluff Covert Affairs' Doug Liman, Larry Siems
6-15: The Wall St. Journal's Thomas Frank, Mother Jones' Clara Jeffery and Monika Bauerlein
6-22: Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, Yves Smith and Peter Edelman
6-29:  Khalil Gibran Muhammad

You should also note that these "people not heard on television" usually are.  Most are TV staples of a variety of networks such as David Stockman  and Andrew Bacevich.  Many others qualify as MSNBC staples (Eric Alterman, Matt Taibbi, Thomas Frank, etc). In addition, if you're writing for The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, etc., you really don't need TV time to get out a message. 

Writers for those and similar publications have no trouble being 'heard.'  Their views are known and usually completely stale and dull.  Where's the Drone War, Bill?

Not on your program.

Al Jazeera's Listening Post can claim to provide stories that aren't widely heard and issues that aren't significantly covered.  Last month, they offered a strong examination of the Drone War (click here for a partial transcript).  The Drone War is being carried out and presided over by US President Barack Obama.  Over 320 innocent civilians have been killed.  But don't hold your breath waiting for Bill Moyers to devote any serious attention to that.

Instead, he wants to chat with TV regulars -- and they pretty much all are that with the possible exception of Aj-jen Poo and Sarita Gupta.  When the two of them were on together in a joint-segment, Bill kept saying things like, "Come on, confess" and "What's the secret?"

And you kept waiting for Sarita Gupta to explode, "Bill, you know I'm a Communist!"

And he does know that.  And it's not a dirty secret.  But for some reason, it's one he refuses to share with the audience.

'Oh, look,' Bill seems to say, 'here are two apolitical activists.'

Bill always has to treat Communism -- in public -- like it's a dirty word.

Which explains how you got the April 27th 'essay' from Old Man Moyers.

He was babbling on about "flush'ing and memory hole and a ghost before he got to what upset him.

US House Rep. Allen West, a Republican, was speaking in his district and was asked how many members of Congress were "Marxists or International Socialists"?  West responded that he'd guess it was about 78 to 81.

Old Man Moyers, and he wasn't the only one, nearly had a heart attack.  How dare he!

How dare he what?  Answer a question?

In the incident that so outraged Moyers, he was responding to a question from a constituent in his district asked at a public townhall.  Was he supposed to refuse to answer?

It's not the same as McCarthyism.

And that little dance is getting real damn tired.

And we warned you here, back in 2008, the American people weren't going to put up with it, that it was like an earlier time period and that people would draw conclusions about that earlier time period.

Bill Moyers wants to paint McCarthyism only one way.  But a lot of people suffered and people are starting to talk.  Eric Alterman has a new book he wrote with Kevin Mattson entitled The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. In promoting it, Alterman gave many interviews.  Some outraged a lot of people who felt he was practicing some sort of McCarthy tactic.  In some, we'll agree he was lashing out.  We won't agree that he was practicing or aspiring to any form of McCarthyism.  For Eric Alterman, "Democrat" basically means "liberal."  He was speaking from not just his position, but from the position many others hold.  You don't have to agree with him but don't call him crazy about this or think he's out on a limb all by himself.  Especially in the immediate post-McCarthy period, the attitude he's expressing was very, very common.  We're going with one of his milder interviews promoting the book because we want his argument to be clear.  May 24th, he appeared on KERA's Think with Krys Boyd for the first hour.

Krys Boyd:  Talk a little about the McCarthy Era.  When this idea developed that liberalism was a step away from Communism, which at the time was universally  seen as -- almost universally seen as -- an existential threat to the American way of life.

Eric Alterman:  Uhm.  I'm glad you asked me that.  Thank you.  Uh, that's actually the beginning of the problems that we face today -- that liberals face today.  Liberalism was a quite confidant movement under Franklin Roosevelt and, to some degree, under Harry Truman.  Where liberalism started to lose its nerve -- its nerves was during McCarthy Era, when liberals were accused of helping Communists.  Now some liberals were sympathetic to Communism.  They thought Communists were just liberals in a hurry.  But mostly liberals were sympathetic to civil liberties.  They thought that, in this country, you're guaranteed certain rights and if you want to believe something unpopular, you have that right.   That was evidence of being -- that was taken as evidence of being sympathetic to Communism and not just to Communists but to our Communist enemy, the Soviet Union.  So liberals had to choose between their belief in civil liberties or they're being perceived as disloyal.  And, of course, many people lost their jobs for making the wrong choice.  They lost their careers. Some people committed suicide.  Uhm, and so it became a matter of bravery to say I'm a liberal during that period.  And, you know, a lot of people didn't-didn't-didn't want to put their lives and their families and their future on the line -- quite understandably.  And liberals never really figured out how to handle this because the other part of the problem was that the Communists were not honest.  They wouldn't admit to being Communists.  They took the 5th Amendment.  They took over liberal organizations without admitting who they were.  So liberals were being asked to sacrifice themselves on behalf of a group of dishonest people who hated them and were trying to undermine them.  It was an impossible position to be in and they never figured out how to handle it.  And this is the beginning of the liberal loss of self-confidence that went from the New Deal to the Eisenhower period.

Again, that's a valid take.  It's not the only left take but it's a take that the NYC-based left media refuses to give much amplification to.  There's a reason for that but that's another story. 

Or maybe it's not.

It's a Bill Moyers story -- one that goes untold.

Sarita Gupta was on Bill's show.  Just another activist.  Just a middle-of-the-roader.

In 2002, the Young Communist League held their national convention.  Susan Webb reported on it for Peoples' World.  Webb noted:

Sarita Gupta, coordinator of Chicago JwJ and former president of USSA, and current USSA President Jo’ie Taylor greeted the convention. Communist Party Executive Vice Chair Jarvis Tyner led a delegation from the party’s national leadership. He told the gathering that, as in the 1960s, peace was a key challenge for this generation of youth.

Sarita Gupta, just another middle-of-the-road activist . . . speaking at the Young Communist League convention.

Last November in DC, November 11th, in fact, Sarita could be found speaking again.  What this time? The Democratic Socialist of America staged an event.  Sarita spoke.  US House Rep John Conyers spoke -- maybe this is the sort of thing that alarms Allen West?

But there was Sarita on Moyers program and he never noted what she believed in or what she was.  He kept it all hidden from the viewers.

On last week's program, Bill raged and thundered about the Citizens United decision:

Let’s see if we’ve got this right: On the one hand, conservatives declare that corporations and the superrich can spend all they want on exercising their First Amendment rights, but on the other, they demand to keep it secret so the rest of us can’t exercise our First Amendment rights to fight back? Have you ever heard of more cowardly lions?  It’s one big joke. Big enough to make you cry. Three things don’t go together: Money. Secrecy. Democracy. And that’s the nub of the matter. This is all a sham for invalidating democracy in the name of democracy. 

Wait?  Is Bill Moyers objecting to secrecy? The same man who regularly brings on Communists and Socialists and allows viewers to think they're either independents or Democrats?

He did it last week again bringing on Bill Fletcher Jr.  You may remember that, in 2008, when we objected to Bill going on various media and posing as a Democrat while attempting to influence the Democratic Party primary, we outed his ass.  This led to Bill whining on CounterSpin about "Red baiting."

We laughed at that.  We laugh at most things from Bill Fletcher's multi-sided mouth.

We don't have a problem with Communists, with Socialists, with Republicans, with Democrats, with Greens, with Libertarians, etc.  We have a problem with those who pose as one thing when they're really another.

As we noted in 2008, if a Republican is trying to influence the Democratic Party primary, the press has an obligation to note the person is a Republican.  The same should apply for anyone who's not a Democrat.

But the Bill Moyers of this world try to wall off any mention of Communism.  And the idiots like Bill Fletcher want to scream "McCarthyism!" when they're outed as something other than a Democrat.

They're allowed to lie?  They're allowed to deceive?

That's why, in 2008, we told you it would not be a good time for non-Democrats on the left who posed as Democrats.

Eric Alterman, at his most reasoned, speaks for a number of Democrats on the left who feel that people like him in the past went out of their way to be supportive to the Communist Party only to be betrayed and stabbed in the back.  You don't hear Eric's argument very often today.  But it is part of the historical record and it's not an uncommon view on the left.

It's not the only view.  It's not our personal view.  But it exists and the recent lying in 2008 ensured that it was going to be stirred up again.

Bill Moyers brought Bill Fletcher Jr. on his program last week (and Stephen Lerner and Philip Appleman -- again, Bill doesn't provide many women on his supposed 'progressive' show).  And he let Junior babble on about unions and what harmed them and about business in the US and corporations but he never felt the need to tell his viewers that this was a left critique, it was a Marxist critique.

That's dishonest.

It's that dishonesty that ensured Bill left PBS.  The show's from American Public Television, not PBS.  And it reminds us of how Bill left PBS in the mid-90s.

He was briefly at NBC.  Bill loves to claim he was targeted for his opinions by the right-wing.  But the Congress members upset in the mid-90s weren't upset about Bill's opinions.  They were upset that the US taxpayer funded PBS and Bill Moyers got rich.

Grasp that Bill Moyers was not born wealthy and shouldn't be the multi-millionaire he is based on his work at CBS or NBC.

How did Bill Moyers -- raging against capitalism on last week's program and every other -- become so damn rich?

By using public taxpayer money to assemble programs that he then claimed he owned and that he then sold in various formats.

PBS responded to this by stating they would change their rules to make it more difficult for that to happen in the future.  (They sort of half-assed did that.)  But the reality is that Bill Moyers' bank account is stuffed with money that should be in a PBS bank account.

On last week's program, Stephen Lerner fumed, "We don't connect with people 'cause we're not saying who the bad guys are."  That's the least of the problems on a Bill Moyers' program.

Lerner's said to be a Communist.  We don't know.  We know Bill Fletcher which is why we wrote about Fletcher.  That we don't know if Stephen Lerner is a Communist is a problem when you consider that we watched him attack American corporations for over a half-hour on Bill's program.

We're feminists.  We're Democrats.  (We did not vote for Barack in 2008.  We will not vote for him in 2012.)  We're not corporatists and we're not War Hawks.  We do and will shine the light on women and no one ever has to wonder about that.  No one coming here to read one of our articles is unaware that they're reading two feminists.  Or that we're presenting a feminist (not "the" feminist) view.

If people agree, disagree with -- or just consider -- our critiques, arguments, thoughts, reporting, they know where we're coming from.

Bill Moyers spent the opening of last week's program railing that the wealthy (which should include him) had a megaphone and that they could hide who they were.  And then he presented Bill Fletcher and Stephen Lerner and never told his audience who they were.

But, as with Sarita Gupta and so many of his other guests, Bill never does tell.

Think about that.

And while you do, listen again to Eric Alterman's argument regarding the way liberals were harmed by McCarthyism, "And liberals never really figured out how to handle this because the other part of the problem was that the Communists were not honest. They wouldn't admit to being Communists. They took the 5th Amendment. They took over liberal organizations without admitting who they were. So liberals were being asked to sacrifice themselves on behalf of a group of dishonest people who hated them and were trying to undermine them. It was an impossible position to be in and they never figured out how to handle it."


Last week saw more violence.  Last week saw the political crisis continue.

It saw the websites of newspapers Al Mada and Kitabat hacked in the continued war on a free press in Iraq.  The good news is Al Mada is currently back up.

This is Iraq -- where Iraq Body Count reports 121 people have been killed in just the first seven days of this month.

iraq body count

The country where Moqtada al-Sadr delivers a major televised speech on Friday . . . and the English language coverage is left to Jane Arraf and her Twitter feed . . . and she distorts what he says.  Two Tweets and she can't even provide accuracy.

The Friday snapshot provided an overview of what Moqtada said and provided the context for the remarks.

Twitter can be a powerful medium.  In oppressed countries like China or the US, activists can use Twitter to provide real-time, accurate coverage of protests and demonstrations.

Twitter can also be an instrument of blather.  As foreign (non-Iraqi) journalists in Iraq demonstrate blathering on about 'issues' like plastic surgery and sports.

In fact, the great revelation from Twitter may be just how banal and superficial so many professional journalists actually are.

Which actually explains a great deal.  Such as how they fail to report on Moqtada's speech or how they miss the Reform Commission which has been meeting for two weeks now.

The Reform Commission is supposedly the body that will end the ongoing political crisis.  Supposedly it will, according to its head Ibraham al-Jaafari, have real power and be able to force concessions.

We're less optimistic because it seems like yet another attempt by Nouri to kick the can down the road and hope the people forget what caused the crisis to begin with (Nouri refusing to follow the contract he signed in November 2010 -- the Erbil Agreement).  But don't worry, superficial reporters will never trouble Americans with that or any other details about how bad things really are in Iraq.

Instead, they'll just continue Tweeting like the mindless twits they are.

Guys and Gals, Rahm's Gone

Listening last week as various members of the New Economy Working Group popped up on various radio programs, one question kept popping into our head.

No, not the Agency connections to Yes! magazine.  A tired whore for the  Agency can't spread for her country anymore so now she fronts a bad magazine.  We get that.  We really do.  In fact, we got it before anyone did.  In fact, Elaine and C.I. were in London when the old whore was outed by a British parliamentarian years ago.  And, no, we're not at all surprised that she's friends with Amy Goodman.  After all, not even outing being outed as a paid employee of the CIA has stopped Juan Cole from appearing on Goodman's bad program.

So it wasn't the Agency taint of New Economy Working Group that bothered us.

It was this novel idea that they pimped.  Or 'novel.'

The problem with the economy, they told us over and over, was that Barack Obama, as US president, hadn't been bold enough.

That's been said since 2009.  Yes! and the Institute for Policy Studies really needed to form yet another 'think tank' (of non-thinkers) to repeat what was already widely known?

Regardless, their 'answer' was that Barack needed to be pressured -- after the election, of course, and they insist that you vote for him -- and that when he was pressured, he would do something.

Pressure Barack?

Oh, how the fauxgressives make us laugh.  In fact, it's almost as funny as that ugly woman sleeping with all those international officials to spy for the CIA years and years ago.

Weren't they going to pressure Barack in 2009?  'After he was elected'?

And did they?



They've never pressured Barack.

And, guess what else, Rahm's gone.


Remember Rahm?

The current mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, was White House Chief of Staff from January 20, 2009 to October 1, 2010.  [Disclosure, C.I. knows and likes Rahm Emanuel.]

Rahm's gone.

He's been gone for almost two years.

He was the scapegoat, remember?

Barack, we were told, wanted to be 'progressive' and even 'democratic,' but that darn Rahm Emanuel just wouldn't let him.

Bad, Rahm! Bad, bad, bad!

Rahm's been gone for almost two years.

What's the excuse now?

They better find one quick because without one the New Economy Working Group looks even more like a fraud.

Fire Kris Welch

Kris Welch is on KPFA a lot less these days and, for that, we are thankful.

Kris Welch

Kris Welch is infamous for many things and, in the last years, they haven't been good things.  She interviewed war resister Lt. Ehren Watada's mother in 2006 and that's a good thing.  Of course, getting the woman's name rightis a basic for an interview.  Despite the woman's name being Carolyn Ho, Kris repeatedly called her Carolyn Oh.  She loves to quote lyrics to songs, it's a shame she's so often wrong about what song she's quoting (as when she chose to 'quote' the Beatles "Come Together" -- specifically the line, "Boy, you're going to carry that weight" -- a line not in the song). She's got her war-on dripping over the hopes of war with Syria and quotes mainstream media reports with not even a pretense of objectivity or questioning the administration's position or motives.  And, of course, as she's demonstrated so well since Barack Obama was sworn in as US president, nobody does hate speech like Kris Welch.

So we are thankful that her four hours a week of KPFA time has been reduced to three.   But, thing is, after yesterday's Saturday Morning Talkies with Kris Welch, we'd recommend it be reduced further -- say, to zero.

It wasn't just the fact that after her decades with KPFA, she should know which button to push to get her theme music to play and not unintentionally entertain listeners with cries of, "Oops! Why did it do that?"  10 seconds of silence in the second half of the show because she didn't know which button to push for music

And it wasn't just the repeated "uh"s and "uh-uhs" as she read from Reuters wire reports -- Reuters wire reports which, for the record, did not contain even one "uh" or "uh-uh" in the text.

It wasn't the long pause followed by "wow" as she read the copy she printed up before her show -- apparently read it for the first time while in front of the microphone.  Or when she repeatedly stumbled through a bad prose reading of "" -- she also apparently read it for the first time while in front of the microphone.

It wasn't the shoddy work that produces an embarrassing show.

Nor was it her never ending sexist efforts to blame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Barack Obama's actions.  To listen to Kris on Saturday, was to cheer at the thought of St. Barack but, when it was time to boo the Drone War, to boo Hillary who, Kris hissed, "has another apology in her future" for the Drone War.

It's not that Iraq's on fire with violence and a political crisis and Kris can't take her head out of her ass long enough to see what's going on, let alone talk about it.  As we noted in October 2009's "Editorial: The Ringing Bells of Justice," KPFA began having problems getting donations as they rushed away from Iraq.

It wasn't even the way she slaughtered Jesse Kellerman's Potboiler with  a 15 minute reading she stumbled through as she alternated between scold and whine -- the only two voices now left in her repertoire.   A 15 minute reading, we should note, that had bad marching band music at the start and at the abrupt end.

No, it's the fact that with everything going on in the world -- most of which she ignored, Kris Welch decided to open her show with a program change.

With protesting a program change.

KPFA needs to get clear on something real damn quick: Listeners aren't entertained by your squabbles at the station.  The general attitude is, "We saved the station before, when are you going to do your job."  Kris Welch appears to believe that a nine a.m. Saturday program being moved to six a.m. is the most important story in the world.  Before any real news could be badly delivered by Kris, listeners had to hear her whine and moan that The Gospel Experience -- yet another bad jukebox show on KPFA -- had been moved to six a.m.

It's always hilarious to hear Kris kiss Emmit Powell's ass because when not sucking up to the Gospel Experience, Kris can be found trashing Christians on Living Room and the Saturday Morning Talkies.

Here's a question: Why is KPFA even offering a gospel music show?  Who does it serve?  Mahalia Jackson's been dead since 1972.  Her old recordings and those of so many others serve who?

The Bay Area has a number of radio stations -- including KDYA, KFAX and KDIA -- which serve that community.

So why in the world is KPFA wasting two hours on a jukebox show each week instead of producing needed and original content?

And why in the world would they chose to air Gospel Experience on Saturday and not Sunday, if they had to air it to begin with?

KPFA is better than many Pacifica Radio stations in that it has evening news on Saturday and Sunday.  For thirty minutes, starting at six p.m., you get news.

That's it.  That's really it.  The rest of the day it's embarrassments like Kris Welch or jukebox shows that are such garbage that when a holiday falls, they're done ahead of time and the listeners don't even know they're listening to a recorded program and not a live one.

KPFA and all of Pacifica need to seriously consider dropping all of these jukebox shows.  They offer nothing.  If they want to do music shows, bring someone into the KPFA studio and let them perform.  Which used to happen all the time, by the way.  These jukebox shows are garbage and exist usually because someone had a friend in programming.  They've out lived their purpose and serve no one.  Not just because they're niche music but mainly because if you're listening to music, you're listening to another station.  No one's saying, "Oh, one hour of rock music in a foreign language! Better switch from KITS to KPFA!"  Or, "Oh! It's time for straight-ahead jazz! Better flip to KPFA!"  But what these awful programs by awful programmers do accomplish is sending KPFA's ratings into the toilet each weekend.

And if Kris Welch thinks the most 'tragic' 'news' in the world is that any KPFA show was moved three hours ahead of its usual time, then she needs to go.  Listeners don't need to hear her advocating that they write the station and that they attend this meeting and all the other crap.

KPFA is not your vanity station.  It exists for more than you and you need to stop taking all your petty, personal problems onto the airwaves.  Petty is whining that a nine a.m. Saturday show has been moved to six a.m. and attempting to lead a revolt over that programming change.  Petty is Kris Welch.

Radio moment of the week

Last week saw July 4th observed.  If anyone observed liberty better that day than Bonnie Faulkner, we missed it.

a radio

Journalist Bonnie Faulkner hosts Guns & Butter which airs on KPFA (1:00 pm PST, Wednesday afternoons) and on WBAI (9:00 am EST, Friday mornings).

It's also one of the few Pacifica Radio programs that offers real archives (click here).

How did Bonnie do the Fourth right?

With a rebroadcast of her 2007 discussion with the Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner (also a co-host of Law and Disorder Radio) about the war on civil liberties in the United States.  The program was an important one in 2007.

It was even more important in 2011, after the party ruling from the White House changed and the war on liberties remained.

In 2008, Guns & Butter was targeted online (usually it's just KPFA attacked -- by the likes of David Corn and Norman Solomon -- for airing the immensely popular program).  As a result, it's online presence outside of Pacifica has shrunk and is in still in the process of rebuilding.

Guns & Butter has consistently explored topics others refused to.  And that remains true today.  A current film Bonnie is noting has showings this week in California:

ANNOUNCEMENT: The West Coast Premiere of the new film, "9/11 Explosive Evidence: Experts Speak Out" will take place this coming week in two different venues in the Bay Area: Monday, July 9th in Alameda and Wednesday, July 11th, in San Francisco, both screenings at 7PM. Monday, July 9th, at Michaan's Auctions Theatre, 2700 Saratoga Street in Alameda, and Wednesday, July 11th, at the Victoria Theatre at 2961 16th Street in San Francisco. More information at or This event is free to the public. Suggested donation ten dollars.

Jim's World or How I almost ended Third


You're reading a new edition this week.

That almost didn't happen.

I'm not just referring to the fact that C.I. refused to decide whether to continue for another six months until July 4th.

This site was supposed to go dark right after the 2008 presidential election.  We made that plan back in the summer of 2005 and announced it.  Due to Fringe, that didn't happen.  Ava and C.I. were disappointed in the new Fox show and made that clear to friends with the show, especially to one writer.  Specifically, they were bothered by the lack of women.  They were asked to wait a few months before weighing in because the show was addressing that.  So they announced in an article that they'd review the show in the spring.  They didn't realize they'd just extended the life of this website until after readers pointed it out.  Since then, we've been on a six month renewal.  Every six months, C.I. decides if she wants to continue or not.

The latest renewal was up July 4th and generally C.I. says a week or two before, "It's going to be another six months."  She usually says that in the gina & krista round-robin because Gina usually asks her.  Gina did her part for three roundtables over three weeks and, this go round, C.I. repeatedly said, "I'm just not sure.  I'll decide on the Fourth.   I plan to sleep in, for a change, and then when I get up, I'll figure out what I feel."

So with that being the attitude, last weekend wasn't the best time for things not to go smoothly.  But they didn't.

And there were loud arguments as a result.

Ava matched me in loudness.

The chief problem was that they wrote "TV: A week of hating women" which was a pain in the ass to write because Ava and C.I. had to cover many topics but there wasn't enough room for all topics. So after they wrote the piece, they edited and edited and edited and finally got it down to three solid examples and a readable size.  (Though many readers would argue that Ava and C.I. could write an article the length of The Winds Of War and they'd be happy to read it.)

While they were doing that, we were supposed to be focused and "we" weren't in that I wasn't.

They must have worked three or four hours on writing their article.  And then they come back with it and I read it outloud to everyone, we all love it and Ava wants to know how much we wrote?

We had nothing useable.

Ava was furious arguing that she and C.I. had busted their butts for hours on that article and, during this whole time,  there wasn't even one article we could point to as 'finished' and ready to run?

They, Kat and Wally rushed off to the side with Dona to do "Congress and veterans."  When that was done -- and Dona stuck to a very strict time limit and didn't let it wonder -- they rejoined us and Ava wanted to know what was done.

I'm saying "Ava" but everyone involved knows if one of them speaks, you've just heard from both of them.

Ava and C.I. bonded the first weekend.  They are a team of two within the team of six of us that make up Third.

When C.I. finally spoke, she pointed out what most would expect her to.  We had stayed up all night and the edition wasn't done and now we'd have to come back later in the night and work on it.  Isaiah had worked on it and would have to now try to grab sleep, try to come back and work on the rest of the edition and still come up with a new comic tonight.

"He's not doing it," she told me.  "Isaiah, you're benched.  Jim, I'm going to have a lot of e-mails asking me where Isaiah's new comic is and why I didn't announce he had the weekend off?  And that's all because time has been wasted."

Being me, I wanted to argue.  Dona, in all her infinite wisdom, told me, "You're losing, just shut up before you lose even more."

So I did.

But it was only after we finished the edition that night -- minutes before midnight PST -- that I was talking to Jess and he mentioned how sick of it Ava and C.I. were.

What do you mean, I asked him?

Jess drops the bombshell, this is the sort of thing that's really going to factor in on C.I.'s decision Wednesday.

I had no idea (a) it was that serious or (b) that the decision to extend hadn't already been made.

My first thought was to run to C.I. and say, "Look, won't happen again."

But I knew it would and you can be sure she did.

And as I absorbed that, I realized that whatever she decided was going to be the right thing.

It is going to be time to close shop at some point.  Right now, we're extended up to the start of the new year.

When that time comes, it comes.  And life will go on.

During the days leading up to Wednesday, I thought a lot about what sort of lessons might be evident in all these years of Third?

And what I kept coming back to is group writing.

Group writing forced us to write sharper and clearer and made us discuss and debate.  That doesn't lead to quick writing, to be sure.

But it was probably a mistake in terms of time -- only in terms of time -- to have opened Third up.  Everyone who participates is valued and appreciated.  But when you've got, for example, 15 people working on writing one article, you're going to move a lot slower than with a group of six -- and you're already moving slow with a group of six.

So that's the past, what about the future?

Chief question is: When is the fiction edition?

And a number of you were worried that not only would this site go dark, it would do so before the fiction edition.

I thought we'd do it next weekend.  Everyone will be together -- everyone's hanging out at C.I.'s place -- and we could do it face-to-face for a change.

That's not happening.  Ava and C.I. do not want it next weekend because the Green Party Convention takes place this week.  And they want us to note the convention in some way, in original writing.  That's a good point and so we're not doing it next weekend.  Right now, it's for the Sunday after next.  But that's written with a pencil, it can be erased.  But we do plan on doing the fiction edition.  We're not altering our plans, we're not scrapping it.

And, the good news, we do have six more months of weekly editions.

It's the same old song


In Saturday's weekly address (taped ahead of time), US President Barack Obama declared, "Our mission isn't just to put people back to work --  it's to rebuild an economy where that work pays; an economy in which everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead."

That's a mission?  Just now that's a mission?

In the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, there was an economic meltdown in the country.  And only now is Barack on a mission?

Make no mistake, he rushed to rescue the financial institutions before he was even elected -- he strong-armed the Congressional Black Caucus into supporting the bail-out.  He just never did a damn thing for home owners and workers.

It's not like he wasn't hearing that he needed to focus on the economy.  Rahm Emanuel stressed that day after day until he left the White House and became mayor of Chicago.  Rahm was ignored time and again.

Barack wanted to give the insurance companies a gift: ObamaCare.  Half the country hates it, half the country loves it.  That's the results all these years later.

He wasted all that time and all that energy on providing Americans with crap.  It's not single-payer, it's not universal.  It does nothing but take your ability to buy insurance and turn it into your responsibility by law to buy insurance.

Friday, the US Labor Dept. released the latest jobs report. Another bad month with high unemployment (8.2% being the official figure).

Back in  June 2009, Joe Biden was saying "we guessed wrong." And apparently never bothered to guess again.

And now another bad jobs report finds Barack again downplaying the unemployment and his own failures.  The Mitt Romney campaign issued a press release Friday:

Today, the Obama Administration told Americans “not to read too much into” monthly jobs reports.
As it turns out, they’ve been encouraging Americans to do that for years. But after 41 straight months of unemployment over 8%, you don’t have to read between the lines to see the truth. President Obama’s policies have failed to get America working again.

June 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.” (LINK:
May 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.” (LINK:
April 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.” (LINK:
March 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.” (LINK:
February 2012: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.” (LINK:
January 2012: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.” (LINK:
December 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
November 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
October 2011: “The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. There is no better example than August’s jobs figure, which was initially reported at zero and in the latest revision increased to 104,000. This illustrates why the Administration always stresses it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
September 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
August 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
July 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
June 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
May 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
April 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
March 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
February 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
January 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
December 2010: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
November 2010: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
October 2010: “Given the volatility in monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
September 2010: “Given the volatility in the monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” (LINK:
July 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.  It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and replace job losses with robust job gains.” (LINK:
August 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK:
June 2010: “As always, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK:
May 2010: “As always, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK:
April 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK:
March 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK:
January 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK:
November 2009: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.” (LINK:

Green Party candidate qualifies for matching funds

From the  Green Party of Michigan

For more information, contact:
John A. La Pietra, Elections Coordinator for the Green Party of Michigan (269)781-9478 or by email

For immediate release:
Green Party Presumptive Presidential Candidate Qualifies for Matching Funds

In a statement released this weekend, the committee to elect Dr. Jill Stein announced the campaign's
achievement. This marks the first time a Green Party Presidential candidate has met this standard.
In order to qualify to receive federal matching funds, a candidate must earn donations of at least $5,000
from at least 20 states with each donation limited to $250 from each donor. Because Green Party candidates
refuse corporate donations, this funding will prove crucial to the campaign.
jill stein
Now that the funding has been secured, all donations to the Jill Stein campaign will be matched dollar
for dollar up to the $250 individual donor limit. A rigorous push from Michigan Green Party members resulted in
the state’s inclusion as one of the 20 which helped Dr. Stein reach her goal.
Michigan Green Party Co-Chair Fred Vitale emphasizes the deeper meaning of obtaining matching
funds: “Reaching this landmark underlines that the political conversation in this country, and in Michigan, is
opening up to include Green solutions to the economic and environmental crisis”.
The achievement of this benchmark can be attributed to several factors, not the least of which is Dr.
Stein’s own enthusiasm and common sense strategies for overhauling our broken political system. In her Green
New Deal, Dr. Stein outlines a revolutionary approach to the office of President of the United States. This
summary of the Green New Deal comes directly from her website:
The Green New Deal is an emergency four part program of specific solutions for moving America quickly
out of crisis into the secure green future.
We call these solutions a Green “New Deal” because they are inspired by the New Deal programs that
helped us out of the Great Depression of the 1930s. And these solutions are “Green” because they
create an economy that makes our communities sustainable and healthy.
First, we will guarantee the economic rights of all Americans, beginning with the right to a job at a living
wage for every American willing and able to work.
Second, we will transition to a sustainable, green economy for the 21st century, by adopting green
technologies and sustainable production.
Third, we will reboot and reprogram the financial sector so that it serves everyday people and our
communities, and not the other way around.
Fourth, we will protect these gains by expanding and strengthening our democracy so that our
government and our economy finally serve We the People.
Take courage. Because of the urgency of these times, I am asking you personally to take courage and
to be willing to believe that these major changes to our economy and politics are within our reach.
It was with this strategy in hand that Dr. Stein travelled throughout the country giving interviews, meeting
Green Party members, sitting in solidarity with the Occupy movement and reinforcing her commitment to underserved,
underrepresented groups such as minorities and the poor. She has made several appearances in
Michigan over the past few months, in person and recently on Skype to the Green Party nominating convention
last month. Wherever she has met with Green Party members as well as the general public, Dr. Stein has
proven a dynamic, intelligent and inspiring voice.
 The political climate of the United States, as well as that in countries throughout the world, cannot be
ignored. The voices of the previously voiceless 99% of the population has proven that only government truly of,
by and for the people can survive and prosper. It is the hunger of the people for this change and the
dissatisfaction with the two twin major parties which has also propelled Dr. Stein’s campaign.
As November draws closer, excitement continues to build for this, the election year in which the majority
of Americans have the greatest chance to make the most dynamic change.
“The Green Party is no longer the alternative,” one Stein advertisement explains, “it is the imperative.”
The Jill Stein website:

Free Lynne Stewart! (Workers World)

Repost from Workers World:



Free Lynne Stewart!

Published Jul 5, 2012 8:44 PM
It is never admitted by U.S. government spokespeople — who love to shout out about “human rights violations” if the target is China or Iran — that the United States has political prisoners. Plenty of them. Many of them have been imprisoned since the Black, Native and Latino/a liberation struggles of the 1960s and 1970s.

But two political prisoners, whose fate is linked, did make it into the media as June ended.
One was Egyptian-born Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in 1995 on trumped-up seditious conspiracy charges connected with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Sheik Rahman, who is blind and ill, has been imprisoned since his 1993 arrest.
The new president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, publicly promised Egyptians on June 29 that his government would try to get Sheik Rahman released on humanitarian grounds.
A day earlier, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit confirmed the 2010 decision of Federal District Court Judge John Koeltl to increase an already outrageous 28-month jail sentence for Sheik Rahman’s attorney, Lynne Stewart, to 10 years. What Stewart was “guilty” of was energetically and diligently fighting an appeal for her client.
Stewart is a human rights activist. As an attorney, she was always a staunch defender of the most oppressed. Most of her clients were poor people from the Black community, some of them Muslims.
It was a great loss to the progressive movement and to the most oppressed defendants that the repressive state apparatus in this country deprived her of the ability to defend these clients. That it sentenced her to the original 28 months was itself a travesty of justice. And that Judge Koeltl would respond to obvious political pressure from the right to increase this sentence to 10 years — for someone who was already 70 years old — gives a new meaning to “cruel and unusual punishment.” (For more details on the decision, see
For the political prisoners the U.S. holds — and denies it has — we need to keep up the political defense.
Free Lynne Stewart!


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.

"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight of the week, C.I. writes about the attempts to censor the Iraqi press..

 "Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Little Dicky L..." -- Isaiah shows Little Dicky pimping for Barack.

"Kat's Korner: Demos, live and what the fans want" -- Kat reviews two live albums by Maria McKee and a demo album by Carole King.

"The preachy and overblown Dennis Loo" -- Ruth tries to be kind.  Some people make kindness impossible.

"Reactionary Grace Lee Boggs" -- Stan explaining how the world's oldest whore is still just a whore.

"The Drone War" -- Elaine on the Drone War.

"Idiot of the Week: Danny Schechter" -- Mike picked the idiot of the week.

"Joe tries to win one for the Barry!"  and "THIS JUST IN! NOVEL STRATEGY!" -- Joe Biden may have the right idea, Cedric and Wally argue.

"Tortilla Black Bean Casserole in the Kitchen" -- Trina serves up a vegan recipe.

"The decision was blackmail?" -- Betty on ObamaCare.
" zachary quinto" and "kill leonard nimoy! (not really)" -- Rebecca talks Star Trek.

"Bad for America, bad for the world" -- Ruth breaks it down.

"Dallas" and "josh henderson putting the stick in tnt " -- Stan and Rebecca talk the TV show Dallas.
"If they treated him the way they did Clinton" -- Marcia shows you how easy Barack's had it.

"Goon," "Magic Mike " and "5 men, 2 women" -- Stan, Betty and Ann go to the movies.
"The worst Court verdict in modern history? " and "Lynne Stewart still imprisoned " -- Monday night C.I. filled in for Kat and Elaine.
"Please hire Seth" -- Stan makes a plea for someone to give Seth Meyers a job.

"The Rose Ceremony" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"THIS JUST IN! GET BACK HONKY KAT!" and "Change would do the world good" -- Morgan Freeman speaks some truth.

"Were they sent to their deaths?" -- Marcia asks about a slaughter in Iraq.
"Mayan, Dust, New Particle" and "The 4th and a worrisome Washington Times article" -- Marcia and Mike blogged on the 4th.
"4 men" -- Ann offers a day of NPR.

"He's not a Democrat" -- Trina breaks down the basics.
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