Sunday, August 19, 2012

Truest statement of the week

Fletcher & Davidson credit Obama with taking the troops out of Iraq.
This is an outright lie, as more than a hundred thousand US – financed mercenaries remain in Iraq indefinitely, and the Obama White House fought till the last minute to get its Iraqi client state to set aside the Status of Forces agreement negotiated under the Bush administration which required all official US forces to leave the country.

-- Bruce A. Dixon, "Tired Old So-Called Leftists Give Same Old Excuses For Supporting Obama in 2012" (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

I mean, we are talking about a trillion dollars worth of student debt.  We found a way to forgive much more than that from the bankers who caused this problem with the waste, fraud and abuse on Wall Street.  We think that the students who are the victims of this waste, fraud and abuse ought to have equal forgiveness.  So there are a variety of ways to do it.  There are some proposals that we do in other quantitative easing but it's time to do it for student debt rather than mortgage debt.  There are a variety of solutions.  I can't say that we're dedicated to any one of them at this point but I think in principle it's really important that we bail out the students for all kinds of reasons.  Our economy depends upon it.  They are indentured servants basically.  In order to move forward, we need to get them out of debt.

-- Green Party presidential candidate  Jill Stein explaining to Ross Reynolds (KUOW) her campaign's plan to forgive student loan debt.

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?

Bruce Dixon got a truest this week.
As did Jill Stein.
The last thing we wrote and we wrote it tonight. This was a very long edition and I (Jim) am rushing this note because C.I.'s still got to post at The Common Ills.  
Ava and C.I. are not of the Water Cooler Set. They actually have brains.  Proof?  Has anyone else but them noted that NBC is planning to air a sitcom mocking people who are grieving loved ones who have died on . . . September 11th.  I was so thrilled that they had this in the article because usually they tell whomever they're talking (NBC suits in this case) what the problem is.  Which is good friendship but doesn't lead to a lot of exclusives.  So I was saying, "Way to go! Way to save it for the story!"  That wasn't their intent.  They actually intended to share it with the suits but (Ava) "they were just so condescending about how everyone else loves this show and we thought, well you're on your own."  Repeating, right now NBC's plan is for the official debut of Go On to be Tuesday, September 11th.  Go On is a sitcom starring Matthew Perry as a snarky asshole trapped in a grief group.  Talk about a lack of respect and sensitivity on the part of NBC.  You read it here first.  Give it up for Ava and C.I.

I've been asking for something like this for a long time and Ava and C.I. usually say "no" or say "do it without us."  What changed?  Ms. magazine and Women's Media Center refusing to cover the two all women tickets for president this year.  If Gloria's going to do damage to other women, Ava and C.I. are ready to write the article.  Which they did with Ann, Elaine, Betty, Ruth and Marcia.

It really amazes me not just who was silent about this attack on veterans but also who wrote about the protests -- yeah Courage to Resist, I'm talking about you -- and managed to 'miss' what happened in Obama Campaign Headquarters.  Courage to Whore is more like, Jeff Patterson.

A comic feature.  The Andrew Sullivan came at the last minute.  Ava and C.I. had just finished their TV piece and they worked with Ty, Wally, Marcia and Jess on the Randy Andy.  We all agreed that was the funniest one and should open it.

We urge you to see Jane Fonda's new movie.  It's really something.

Ava and C.I. wrote this.  When it became clear that this was probably a go two Sundays ago, Ava and C.I. began working the phones, speaking to various feminists, grassroots and leadership, to see what should be covered, what points should be hit on.  This feature is the result of that and they say "Thank you for all the input."

Happy Endings at a bargain price.  Don't miss it.

Jill Stein's campaign.

WW repost on the 'recovery.'

2 WW reposts this week because we do believe this is an important issue.

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


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

Editorial: We're giving that guy the F-16?

The notion of giving Nouri al-Maliki F-16s was always problematic.  The prime minister and thug with F-16s was always frightening.


This year, KRG President Massoud Barzani has frequently called out  the decision and asked the US to rethink it.

So far, that hasn't happened.  Nor has the administration been willing to use the F-16s as a bargaining chip to make Nouri honor the Erbil Agreement, a contract the US government negotiated but that Nouri tossed aside after he used it to get his second term as prime minister.

In fact, nothing could deter Barack from supporting Nouri.  It's not just that the Obama White House backed Nouri for a second term in 2010 after the voting results had Nouri's slate come in second.


From the start, members of Congress -- Democrats and Republicans -- have questioned the wisdom involved in giving Iran's neighbor F-16s.  Especially when Iran's neighbor Iraq was ruled by Nouri who has so many close ties to the government in Tehran.

On the front page of this morning's New York Times, James Risen and Duraid Adnan's "U.S. Says Iraqis Are Helping Iran to Skirt Sanctions" ran.  Opening paragraph:

When President Obama announced last month that he was barring a Baghdad bank from any dealings with the American banking system, it was a rare acknowledgment of a delicate problem facing the administration in a country that American troops just left: for months, Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed on Tehran because of its nuclear program.

We're told that Barack's "not eager for a public showdown with Nouri."  Oh, too bad, precious.  That's part of the job of being president.

And part of the job includes protecting America.  The US Air Force notes, "Since Sept. 11, 2001, the F-16 has been a major component of the combat forces committed to the Global War on Terrorism flying thousands of sorties in support of operations Noble Eagle (Homeland Defense), Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom "

Why would you share that technology with Iran?

And with the latest news about Nouri helping Iran skirt international sanctions, how can you honestly believe Iraq won't be sharing F-16 technology with Iran?

TV: No low is too low for NBC

"Aren't you going to review Go On?" an NBC friend asked us?  We replied that we caught the pilot and were attempting to be kind.  Apparently unable to take a hint because they really are grossly stupid (and grossly offensive, you can skip to the last paragraph right now if you need proof), we were supplied with two more episodes.


Go On is Matthew Perry's third lousy show since Friends went off the air.  We told you that Studio  60 On Sunset Strip sucked when the Water Cooler Set insisted it was hilarious.  (Hilarious is that the critiques we made while the Water Cooler Set slept suddenly caught traction as Newsroom finally resulted in Aaron Sorkin's long on the screen sexism being noticed.) In early 2011, Mr. Sunshine debuted and, again, the Water Cooler Set was sure you'd love it.  You hated it.  No surprise there, we did as well.

If this were baseball, strike three would mean Perry would be out after this show.  However, this is TV and that means that Perry, being a man, will get six or seven chances.  A woman, by contrast, gets only one time to strike out on TV.

If it seems strange us working in sports, it's no stranger than Perry talking sports.  He plays the host of a talk radio sports show.  Yes, this is the man whose only successful TV role thus far has been Chandler Bing.  If you didn't just nod your head knowingly, join us as we drop back to season seven of Friends, episode 20, "The One With Rachel's Big Kiss" (written by Shana Goldberg-Meehan and Scott Silveri) for the scene where Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) is helping Chandler (Perry) find a tuxedo.

Chandler: You mean these tuxes have been down the red carpet with people yelling, "Who are you wearing? You look fabulous!"

Rachel: Honey, might I suggest watching a little more ESPN and a little less E!?

Chandler: Okay, who wore those?

Rachel: Uhm, well, let's see.  Uh, this one is Tom Brokaw.

Chandler: Not bad.

Rachel: This one is Paul O'Neil.

Chandler: Who's that?

Rachel: He plays for the Yankees.  Seriously, ESPN.  Just once and a while, have it on in the background.  

It was a very funny minor scene in the episode (this is the episode where Winona Ryder guest stars as the Rachel's old sorority sister, the only woman Rachel ever made out with).  It was funny because it was so Chandler.

Grasp that because no one at NBC or Universal did.  Matthew Perry's persona onscreen is not that of a sport fan.  So why have him play one?  He's failed in two other shows and for his third show you're going to have him in a profession no one would believe?

What we couldn't believe was how bad he looked.  If a woman showed up on camera like that, she wouldn't get one strike, she wouldn't even see her show get on the air.

The spray tan (we hope that's not make up) stops an inch before his hairline making him look ridiculous and it does nothing to conceal those awful bags under his eyes.  Actually, bags?  Those are vintage Louis Vuitton Steamer Trunks.  Then there is the sweater and his turning to the side frequently as he displays side boob.  Saggy side boob.  Really saggy side boob.

And what's up with the way he's delivering lines? His voice is coming from the roof of his mouth (it's higher and flat out weird) and his delivery is so halting and unsure that he comes off drunk.  (We called to ask if he was sick and an NBC friend said, "Doesn't he sound like Michael J. Fox?  Not in Family Ties, but right now?"  Since you brought it up, yes, he does and it's very curious to put it mildly.)

But so much is very curious lately.  Like NPR.

No, we're not talking about the usual sexism running free as Audie Cornish plays idiot (she's playing, right?) while Eric Deggans humps the microphone and pretends he's a TV critic but all he offers is men, men, men.  There are women on TV.  We realize that when confronted with Oprah's network, Eric's penis shrunk in fear, "[. . .] it's a little scary to enter a world where my concerns are among the least considered in the universe."

 His concerns.  His interests.  He's not a TV critic.  He's a bad writer and he's worse on NPR.  This is the third time we've called out Deggans (see here and here) for his sexism on NPR.  Please note, we let most of it slide because we just don't have the time.  It's very rare that Deggans appears without being sexist.

Where has the NPR ombudsperson been during all of this?  And it's not one person.  This has been going on through two terms.  And as we've pointed out before, many times, NPR is over-run with male TV critics.  Possibly the critics are booked because they, like NPR, won't give women equal time?

We're referring to the number of women booked as guests [for instance, see "Terry Gross' new low (Ann, Ava and C.I.)"] but, as our pen-pal Alicia Shephard noted in 2010, women rarely show up in NPR's news stories.  And when they do, it can be very weird.

We're thinking of several stories last week, but we'll zoom in on just one, the report Larry Abramson filed on Morning Edition Wednesday. Abramaon informed listeners, "Crystal Gregory says she's supporting the Obama ticket because the budget plan proposed by congressman Ryan -- which never became law -- would change Medicare into a voucher program."  Then she's featured declaring, "And since the mission of the Ryan budget is to change Medicare as we know it, and the mission of many people in the Republican Party is to privatize Social Security, I want to make sure that doesn't happen."

It was curious for a number of reasons, among them the inability to fact check Gregory who badly needs to be enlightened.  Let's drop back to the January 9, 2008 "Iraq snapshot:"

Turning to US politics, as Cedric and Wally pointed out last night, Barack's ready to 'tackle' that mythical Social Security 'crisis.'  Patrick Murphy (WSWS) explains, "Barack Obama took the occasion of his first press appearance in Washington as president-elect to declare his determination to impose policies of budgetary austerity, including the elimination of entire federal programs and cost-cutting in the entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that are of vital importance to tens of millions of elderly and poor people."  Murphy goes on to warn against the impending "frontal assault on the most important components of what remains of a social safety net in the United States -- the programs that provide at least minimal retirement benefits and medical coverage for tens of millions of elderly people, as well as medical coverage for millions of low-income families."  Too busy wallowing in his own filth, The 'Progressive's CEO Matthew Rothschild praises the speech and begins his long belch/gush with, "One of the things I like most about Barack . . ."  Do tell, sweetie, do tell. ("Obama Hits Many High Notes in Speech on the Economy" -- no link to trash, Google it if you need a good laugh.)  Hillary Is 44 ignores Matty Roth's recommended Kool-Aid (Spineless Saffrow flavored) and declares, "Obama has now revealed what his legacy is to be -- the destruction of Social Security.  Ignore the flowery words, Obama is planning a great treachery.  Expect PINOs to be silent." Murphy (PUMA Pac) notes, "No wonder the Wall Street Boiz gave so much money to the Precious (ooh, that soft money feels so good).  Fat times ahead for them.  Hats in hand for the rest of us.  Thought it will be rather amusing to watch the BOIZ' reaction to this hard swing right."  Chris Floyd (Empire Burlesque) offers this context:
This is of course the same argument that George W. Bush made after the 2004 election, when he sought to sell off Social Security to those same "financial markets" that Obama is now trying so assiduously to soothe. No doubt, we will soon see the old scare stories that filled the media then trotted out once again, this time in "progressive" garb. But the truth remains the same: the programs are essentially sound and can be maintained with only relatively small adjustments for many decades, as far as one can reasonably project into the future.          

Turning to US politics, President-elect Barack Obama met with the Washington Post editorial board yesterday.  Here for Michael D Shear's text article, here for the sixty-one minute audio.  Warning for those listening to the audio, Barack's speaking abilities have not magically improved.  Sample: "Uh, obivoulsy military service is uh something we uh honor as a country [. . .] That's going to be something that we uh uh  . . ."  And four minutes, for those wondering, he takes his first swipe at African-American fathers.  Yes, it's Barack singing all his well known tunes. And mixing in a few new ones such as, "It's not something I've said publicly . . . but spending money wisely is not easy."  Mostly, the interview will be remembered as the one where Barack declared War on Social Security.  Barack's replied to questions and made vague statements.  But, his Love Cult insists, that's just the Nice Guy Barry trying to make nice and get along.  He doesn't want to say, "Stupid crooks, Social Security is not going to be chipped away!"  Well, actually he does want to say that and he did say that.
 [. . .]
He begins talking about his big "Fiscal Responsibility Summit" that will be held in February and include a motley crew that will "talk about waste."  He then segues into Social Security during this response (at approximately 16:14) and states the following: 
We're also going to have a discussion about entitlements and how we get a grasp on those.  Uh and uh, you know, like i think everybody here is familiar enough with the budget problems to  know that as bad as these deficits that we're running up over the next --  that have already been run up -- have been and despite the cost of both TARP and the stimulus, the real problem in our long term deficit actually has to do with our entitlement obligation and the fact that historically uh if our revenues ranged between 18 and 20% of GDP they're now at 16. It's just not sustainable so we're going to have to uh craft  a uh what George Stephanopoulos called a grand bargain and I-I try not to use the word grand in anything that I say but uh but we're going to have to shape a bargain.  This, by the way, is where there are going to be some very difficult choices and issues of sacrifices and responsibility and  duty are going to come in because what we have done is kick this can down the road.  We're now at the end of the road and uh we are not in a position to kick it any further.
Those are right-wing talking points and only the most historically ignorant of Barack's Love Cult will fail to grasp the declaration of war.  

Is Crystal Gregory aware of any of that?  Not from her statements.  And Abramson made no attempt to inform her or listeners of his report.  He didn't even note Barack's January 11, 2009 discussion with George Stephanopoulos on This Week (ABC -- video and text):

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me press you on this, at the end of the day, are you really talking about over the course of your presidency some kind of a grand bargain? That you have tax reform, health care reform, entitlement reform, including Social Security and Medicare where everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good? 

OBAMA: Yes.  

STEPHANOPOULOS: And when will that get done?   

OBAMA: Well, the -- right now I'm focused on a pretty heavy lift, which is making sure that we get that reinvestment and recovery package in place. But what you describe is exactly what we're going to have to do. 
What we have to do is to take a look at our structural deficit, how are we paying for government, what are we getting for it, and how do we make the system more efficient?

STEPHANOPOULOS: And eventually sacrifice from everyone.   

OBAMA: Everybody is going to have to give. Everybody is going to have to have some skin in the game.

And that's why, though Abramson played dumb,  Barack created the Simpson - Bowles Commission.  February 18, 2010, he issued Executive Order 13531 which created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ("By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Establishment. There is established within the Executive Office of the President the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform . . ."). 

But Simpson - Bowles died, right?

Unlike in the land of TV, nothing written ever gets tossed in D.C., it just gets put in a folder and saved for a rainy day. 

Back in June, Donald Haider (Bloomberg News) offered that the cuts Simpson - Bowles proposed (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) weren't off the table, they were merely waiting for "the lame-duck session, the period after the Nov. 6 elections and before newly elected officials take office in January.  This is when compromises on new revenue and entitlement cuts have a sporting chance of passage.  The good news is that there are signals that negotiations could center around the debt-reduction recommendations of the bipartisan Simpson - Bowles panel two years ago."

And if actual research was beyond 'journalist' Abramson's skills, if it was too much for him, all he had to do was check out the rival campaigns.  As Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein's campaign observed last week,  "In elevating deficit reduction to his highest priority and setting up the deficit reduction supercommittee in 2011, President Obama made it clear that benefits programs were on the chopping block and that he would negotiate with Republicans on how to curtail them. Now, Representative Paul Ryan’s budget is in the spotlight, which also threatens services that millions of Americans depend on."  And you could read that online, you just couldn't hear on an NPR-produced 'news' program.

Larry Abramson seemed much more interested in painting Joe Biden as a flirt without having the guts to say so (listen to the report or read the transcript).  That's probably why Abramson didn't notice the flaw in his providing education remarks from Biden and noting the vice president's wife is an educator.  He opens with Biden and a voter decrying a voucher system . . . for Medicare.  But ends on education and fails to note just how hard the Obama administration has pimped vouchers for schools. 

Again, it makes no sense.

And neither does Go On

For example, Perry's character Ryan King will be visited in dreams by his dead wife (played by Christine Woods) in future episodes.  Did NBC not see the ratings for last season's A Gifted Man?  It also included a dead wife who 'visited'?  It lasted 16 episodes.

It's because of the dead wife that Ryan enters a grief group.  And Ryan and the writers get to mock the woman who leads the group (Lauren, played by Laura Benanti) because her only training in addressing an issue was in weight loss.  Ryan and the writers have a chuckle over that as they set Ryan up as the all knowing.  But, thing is, Ryan's not addressed anything, so group facilitator Lauren is still one up on him.  And Ryan's snide 'get over it' attitude towards people who have lost loved ones is not only snide, it's offensive.

As usual, we're several up on NBC.  Doubt us?

After watching the two additional episodes and reading over the press material, we listened to two NBC suits prattle on and on about how we will find this show funny, we must find it funny, when it debuts officially on Tuesday nights.  On Tuesday nights, they insisted to us, it will be funny.  

We weren't aware Tuesdays were so magical.

The reality is that it's offensive for NBC to debut a show mocking grieving people who've lost their loves ones on a Tuesday.  

If you don't get what we're saying, pick up a calendar and then explain to us how September 11, 2012 -- the 11th anniversary of 9-11 -- is the perfect day to officially debut a sitcom where Matthew Perry smirks and snarks about people grieving over dead loved ones?  As we noted at the top, grossly stupid and grossly offensive.


No, really, who is Gloria?


Gloria Steinem's official web page features an "about" section.  It's entitled "Who is Gloria?" and, despite being 810 words long, it leaves out a really key detail.

Each year, Gloria's birthday is used as a fundraiser for the magazine she helped found, Ms. magazine. This year, her 78th, the fundraising noticeably dipped. Probably due to the economy.  Possibly due to the fact that feminism isn't a fossil, it's a living, breathing movement.

Gloria's a feminist icon.  She's not really a leader though, not anymore.  She hasn't been for some time now.

As Mother Jones noted in 1992, covering the presidential campaigns, Gloria was just another Democratic flunkie, the independent woman, the Catwoman of the election (Batman Returns was huge box office that summer), Mother Jones declared, was Maureen Dowd.

Yes, boys and girls, that's how sad it was, Maureen Dowd was seen as making and taking braver stands than Gloria.  It was a lot like the 1976 Democratic National Convention, where Gloria and others -- who had rightly expressed anger at Miami in 1972 -- now pressed women to go along to get along.  (See Veronica Geng's "Requiem for the women's movement," the November 1976 cover story of Harper's.  And for a take on 1972 that paints Gloria as a sell-out to women, see Germaine Greer's "McGovern, the big tease" from the October 1972 issue of Harper's.)

There have been accomplishments as well and no one's saying that there hasn't been.

And certainly at 78, it's probably not all that fair to expect her to still be at the vanguard -- despite the fact that she's repeatedly claimed over the years that she would get more and more radical as the years passed.

The years have passed.

78 is probably time to start preparing for certain things and, if you were ever a leader, that should include cleaning your closet, clearing the air.

Gloria was the face of feminism for middle America.  At a time when the second wave was at its strongest, Gloria was the feminist next door, the reassuring face that said feminism is normal and natural.

Which is why the first thing Gloria needs to clear up is why she hasn't been honest about being a Socialist?

Being a Socialist is nothing to be ashamed of and it's personally sad that Gloria felt the need to hide that part of her while displaying much more (yes, we are thinking of the bathtub photo for People magazine).  But for feminism, it's much worse.

Betty Friedan's writing for 'movement' periodicals was largely disappeared for public consumption and 'the mother of us all' supposedly sprung to life just before she wrote The Feminine Mystique.  The lie didn't help feminism.

Utilizing another political closet case for a leader wasn't real smart either.

At her age, Gloria needs to be dealing with this mess she created.  At 78, she shouldn't postpone it and she damn well shouldn't expect to saddle feminists with explaining it after she's dead.

She might try to argue that her being a Democratic Socialist wasn't hidden.  You had to travel really inward to find that out.  And that was near impossible for most Americans before the internet.  Even now it's easy to get lost in the weeds.

By contrast, she's happy to talk about Democrats and campaign for them and write about them.  You could read every book Gloria's written so far and walk away with the impression that she's a Democrat.

So should she try to assert that her ideology wasn't hidden, that would be a lie.  It was hidden.  (And by not addressing "Democratic Socialist," she also allowed that term to be misunderstood when people did encounter it -- the way she herself misunderstood "humanist" the first time she encountered it -- when people opposed to her had it on posters they carried to protest her.)

So Socialist Gloria and Communist Betty, the two most well known American feminists and both misrepresented themselves to the American people.

What does that say about feminism?

That's not the question for a twenty-something to answer five years after Gloria dies.  It's a question she needs to address right now.  She needs to be taking care of all her messes.  If she's any kind of a leader, if she ever was a real one, that's what she needs to be doing right now.

First rule of leadership:  Do not saddle future generations with your baggage.

No one else needs to try to explain why she misled so many people about her political leanings --  or to justify it or explain it or apologize for it.

And after she does that, she might want to explain why her outlets and her outlook have not been women-centric for many years now.  Best example?  The largest third party in the country, the Green Party,  has a presidential ticket in 2008 that is two women and the 'feminist leader' never wrote one word about it.  It's four years later,  and Jill Stein has the Green Party's presidential nomination and her running mate is Cheri Honkala and  Roseanne Barr has the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party and her running mate is Cindy Sheehan.  And Ms. and Women's Media Center both ignore the campaigns?

Gloria should explain how ignoring two presidential tickets made up of four women fits with Women's Media Center's stated purpose:

The Women's Media Center makes women visible and powerful in the media. Led by our President, Julie Burton, the WMC works with the media to ensure that women’s stories are told and women’s voices are heard. We do this in the following ways: media advocacy campaigns, media monitoring for sexism, creating original content, and training women and girls to participate in media. We are directly engaged with the media at all levels to ensure that a diverse group of women is present in newsrooms, on air, in print and online, in film, entertainment, and theater, as sources and subjects.

How does that statement of purpose jibe with ignoring the two women running for president?  If WMC is supposed to be making "women visible," why the refusal to cover Jill and Roseanne, Cheri and Cindy?

At 78, you really should be aware of how your words fail to match your actions. That's something Gloria needs to explain as well.  And she's probably going to have to make a few amends because while some will insist it's no big thing, the fact that she hid it for so many years makes it a very big thing.


This was written by Ava, C.I., Ann, Elaine, Betty, Ruth and Marcia.

Anyone can become a Bully Boy Bush?

"We just got attacked by Obama . . ." campaign staff an Iraq War veteran says in disbelief.


It was Thursday of last week, in Oakland, at Barack Obama campaign headquarters where anyone on the staff, such as the woman above apparently, could become a Bully Boy Bush.

Iraq Veterans Against the War and CODEPINK and other activists had a petition calling on Barack Obama, in his capacity as president of the United States, to issue a pardon for alleged whistle blower Bradley Manning (who has been held for over 800 days now without a trial).  Along with sixty or so who took part in the action outside, a small number (7) entered campaign headquarters to deliver the petition and to stage a sit-in.

Inside,  IVAW's Joshua Shepherd was giving an interview over his phone.

Joshua Shepherd: We're calling for a full pardon of Bradley Manning as well as an apology for Obama's statement that declared Bradley Manning was guilty before he faced any judicial proceedings.  You know the military judicial system is not quite as fair as the civilian but it is, you know there are certain measures and a minimum level of justice and due process that is required.  And the Obama administration has presided over this obliteration of that system and much to Bradley's detriment.

And then, as the video demonstrates, the protesters were attacked.

There's no excuse for that.

Clearly the staff felt threatened and so responded in hate.  But the activists weren't doing anything threatening . . . unless you consider telling the truth to be a threat.

Clearly much of the Oakland staff considers the truth to be a liability for Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

No wonder.  As noted in Monday's "Iraq snapshot:"

Bradley can't be blamed on Bush.  The leak takes place when Barack's in the White House.  The arrest takes place when Barack's in the White House.  The imprisonment takes place when Barack's in the White House.  The person prosecuting Bradley -- hell, he's already pronounced Brad guilty -- is Barack Obama. 
You can be as stupid and ridiculous as Chase Madar.  You can sound as stupid as he does -- and he does sound stupid since his speaking voice sounds like that of the late Phil Hartman voicing Troy McClure (The Simpsons).  But unless you want to bed down and wallow in stupidity, lose the red herrings.  It's got nothing to do with the draft.  It has to do with people like Chase Madar who can't call out Barack.  Grown adults who are too willing to lie to themselves.  If it weren't for Barack, Brad would be free right now.  Barack has that power.  He won't use it.
There's one reason and only one reason that Bradley's behind bars right now: Barack Obama.

Shame on the campaign staff.  And shame on the whores who didn't report on it.

"Get out of our space! Get out of here!" screams a female campaign staffer at the veterans.

That doesn't sound like any remarks we've heard publicly from Barack.

"For their service and sacrifice, warm words of thanks from a grateful nation are more than warranted, but they aren't nearly enough. We also owe our veterans the care they were promised and the benefits that they have earned. We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America. It's a commitment that begins at enlistment, and it must never end. But we know that for too long, we've fallen short of meeting that commitment. Too many wounded warriors go without the care that they need. Too many veterans don't receive the support that they've earned. Too many who once wore our nation's uniform now sleep in our nation's streets."

That's Barack Obama, click here for video.  So shame on Barack too for failing to call out the attack on veterans who visited his campaign office.

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword

With all the recent deaths, including Sherman Hemsley, Gore Vidal and  Helen Gurley Brown, we started thinking possibly we should keep some obituaries on file?


Andrew SullivanRandy Andy passed away earlier this week after taking a nasty spill.  The blogger had just finished a fourgie with three well paid rent boys when he declared his desire to sleep in the wet spot.  Said trick John, not his real name, "Andy never liked to use condoms so, with the four of us, that was one hell of a wet spot on his rubber sheet.  He took a running dive for it, you know like he was on a Slip and Slide, and just flew across the cum slick, straight off the bed, into a wall, snapping his neck."  As per Sullivan's request, in lieu of flowers, his family is asking that nasty looks be given to special needs children.


Katrina vanden Heuvel.  Editor and publisher of The Nation magazine, Katrina vanden Heuvel passed away last night in her sleep.  Pictured above in happier times, the wanna be socialite led a life heavy on "lite."  As a Princeton undergraduate, Ms. vanden Heuvel was voted "The Girl Most Likely To Do Anything To Succeed, Anything, Seriously, She Has No Ethics."  Great things were expected of the young woman with no scruples.  Sadly, her accomplishments are far too minor to list though she did earn the title "The Peace Resister."  Ms. vanden Heuvel was 76-years-old and, in her last years, had returned to toddler-hood.  This was not just to a child-like outlook, she also returned to wetting herself and, in fact, died last night from drowning as a result of her spastic bladder.  Funeral services will be at noon tomorrow at Our Lady of Social Climbers Church in NYC and three seats have been reserved for Nation magazine readers to ensure that each subscriber can attend.

Barack Obama.  At the age of 68, former US President Barack Obama passed away from severe malnutrition.  When he gutted Social Security during his presidency, Obama probably did not foresee the day when, to save money, Congress would enact cost-cutting measures that did away with Secret Service for former presidents and did away with their pensions.  "If only," said Illinois Governor Rahm Emanuel, "he had invested in a 401K.  He wouldn't have had much money but he could have maybe bought a few crackers, maybe a can of catfood."

The New York Times.  2051 has been a year of many serious losses so the minor death of The New York Times seems barely worth remarking on.  A paper most noted in the 20th century for its failure to report accurately on the Holocaust as it happened became, in the 21st century, the paper most widely known for lying repeatedly about Iraq and non-existent WMD both to start and to prolong a war.  A small, sparsely attended funeral was held in the Columbia Journalism School's Joseph Pulitzer World Room on the third floor.  Though a few of the many spooks the paper had provided credentials for and taken dictation from over the years attended, the paper's noted columnists did not.  Gail Collins spoke for her colleagues when she explained that she needed to use that day to hunt for a job "because it's not as though what I do is even needed.  I'm a columnist who writes lousy columns that take about 5 seconds to think up and 10 to type.  I don't do research or write about anything of value.  At The Times, I fit right in because, as Judith Miller and Jayson Blair both demonstrated, that crazy paper would pay for anything."

Tom Hayden.  A one-time husband to actress, activist, author, producer and fitness guru Jane Fonda has passed away.  He actually passed away two months and four days ago but no one noticed until yesterday. The odor had been bad for months but as the student-intern Janelle Stewart explained, "I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary.  He had old man smell, you know?  And as for him being so quiet, I was just glad he wasn't pinching my behind.  I was thinking he was asleep or something.  Besides, I don't know why this should all be on me.  Shouldn't someone else have noticed?  Didn't he have any friends?"  Judging by the lack of attendance at his funeral yesterday, no, Ms. Stewart, no, he did not have any friends.

Must stream for the week


Peace, Love & Misunderstanding is a new film starring Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener.  This is a film we think you'll enjoy and one you can still catch in the theaters or that you can stream, at $6.99, at Amazon before it's even released on DVD or Blu-Ray.

For more on the film see Ann's "One more time on Peace, Love & Misunderstanding,"  Ruth's "Go to Amazon and stream Fonda's new film!!!," Ann's "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding" and Stan's  "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding."

The accomplishments of Gloria Steinem?

While preparing to write the other article on Gloria Steinem, we (Ava and C.I.) spoke with a number of second wave and third wave feminists to see what points they'd want noted.  All agreed that Gloria needed to clean up her own mess and not leave it to feminists to take care of after she's gone.  A large number also wanted to offer that Gloria accomplished nothing other than getting press.

Press is not a minor thing.  "But if you're really going to tell the truth," one second-waver said, "you need to offer the fact that Gloria is not and was not embraced by all at any point during the second wave.  She is to feminism as Madonna is to music.  The Restockings may have taken their issues with her public but they were far from alone in questioning Gloria and in seeing weakness in her 'strategies'."

Ah, yes, the Redstockings.  In their disagreements with Gloria, they infamously demanded she answer charges about being a CIA agent.  These charges caused huge rifts in the movement and destroyed an experimental woman's college.  That's not their fault.


Gloria had, she herself admits, traveled on CIA money while in college.  If she traveled on the money, then she did so because she was reporting back -- a fact she's never acknowledged.  The CIA isn't a travel agency with charity grants.  If it pays for your travel, it does so because it wants information.

Did she continue to work for the CIA after college?

That was at the heart of the Redstockings' charge -- one that Betty Friedan popularized by telling the press, "Now I'm not going to take questions about Gloria Steinem being a CIA agent,"  telling the press that when they hadn't even raised the issue.

Gloria denies it and has denied it repeatedly.   Unless someone has proof otherwise, it's not really worth pursuing and it distracts from a larger question: Is Gloria working effectively for women?

That's at the heart of the continued disappointment with Gloria Steinem.

The other Gloria Steinem article this edition notes:

See Veronica Geng's "Requiem for the women's movement," the November 1976 cover story of Harper's.  And for a take on 1972 that paints Gloria as a sell-out to women, see Germaine Greer's "McGovern, the big tease" from the October 1972 issue of Harper's.

If you work from Greer's article to the present, you're left with a pattern that speaks of no accomplishments.  If you view Gloria's actions as a sell-out, as Greer did, then you're left with a record of no accomplishments for women -- though Gloria herself can point to several best sellers for herself.

Greer argues that Gloria (and Bella Abzug) kept abortion off the party's platform by refusing to support feminist Jacqui Ceballo's call.  Though happy to paint Shirley MacLaine as preventing her own efforts at getting abortion on the platform, Gloria's refused to address Greer's article.

If Greer's article is correct (and this is still debated as we learned via various phone calls for the other article), it demonstrates that Gloria is little more than a tool to the patriarchy.  It demonstrates that that's all she's ever been.

The women's movement resulted in major successes and major changes.  Gloria's really not connected to any of that.  She herself has nothing to do with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 (and is only crowned co-leader -- with Betty -- by the media in 1972).

What has she fought for, what has she won?

There's nothing.  Again, she authored some best selling books.  She popularized the term "feminist" and she became the face of it American house holds.

But she hasn't accomplished a damn thing for women.

If Greer's argument is correct, in 1972, to help the Democratic Party, she refused to fight for the rights of women, she reused to encourage others to fight.  If Greer's argument is correct, in 1972, America first saw what was Gloria's pattern.

What has she ever demanded for women in all the years of her fame?

She's an apologist for the patriarchy.

Abortion rights have been decimated under her 'leadership.'  Instead of fighting to expand them, she's stage futile protests against completely chipping away at what women have the right to.

That's all she's done on any issue for American women.

For a woman who's spent the last thirty years insisting she was going to get even more radical as she aged, we're left with a woman who's never pushed a radical thing in her life.

The rights won by the second wave were won by women who weren't afraid and weren't trying to get in bed with powerful men (we mean "in bed" politically, but, yes, it is true that Gloria's slept with a number of questionable males that a so-called leader of feminism should have avoided).

They were won by women who put women first.  Gloria's not done that.

She won't do a damn thing to help women.

October 8, 2006, this site published "Are You On CounterSpin's Guest List?"  which covered how FAIR's weekly radio program presented 36 male guests over a six month period but only 13 women.  Gloria did nothing.  Gloria's on FAIR's advisory board.   At the end of 2007, we published "The Nation featured 491 male bylines in 2007 -- how many female ones?" (Answer: 149.) Where was Gloria?

Afraid to challenge the patriarchy, afraid to upset the boys and the queen bees.  Unwilling to challenge.   (And her refusal to take on those who attack her is not noble.  The Nation wrote another screed against her.  A long time ago, she should have said "enough" and, at this point, her actions do not speak to women's strength but, it may be argued, condone silence in the face of violence.)

And that's why a number of feminists -- even her contemporaries -- don't feel she's accomplished much as she enters her sixth decade in the public eye.

DVD set to grab

Season two of  Happy Endings comes out on DVD  October 2n (and October 23rd, new episodes begin airing on ABC).  Right now you can grab season one on DVD and we suggest you grab it at Target.

Online, it's $12.99 but two readers wrote in to say that they grabbed it for $11.99 at actual Target stores.  It's a funny show but for 13 episodes on two discs, the thirty dollar list price always seemed more than a bit high.


In addition to the 13 episodes, what do you get?

Some promotion featurettes about the cast, an interview with Adam Pally and Casey Wilson, a parody theme song, some outtakes and some deleted scenes.

The deleted scenes should inspire a lot of debate.  For example, watching them, we all agreed that the whole how Bo got to Alex and Dave's wedding sequence (walking out on his job, getting stuck in traffic and skating to the church) wasn't necessary.  Had it been included, people would have assumed Bo was a regular character and waited all episode for his return.  However, we're split on the scene where Penny frets over being a ma'am to Jane while Alex drops a line about how awful her solo honeymoon was.   We agree Andrea agreeing to sex after a movie with Dave should have been included because it provided another (needed) example of Dave attempting to break up with her.  You might agree with our calls, you might not.  Watch and see for yourself.

But this is hilarious sitcom and a ground breaking one (see Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Exploding a stereotype").  You'll watch the episodes repeatedly.  Stars: Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr. and Casey Wilson.

And what of Blu-Ray?  Oh, please.  They're the laser discs of this decade.  The new format will be stored on Cloud or stored on a chip or something we haven't heard of yet.  Blu-Ray?  It's just another way to milk the consumer to pay all over again for a 'deluxe' edition of Die Hard.

Jill Stein notes Dems and Reps push austerity agenda

Jill Stein

Jill Stein (above) is the Green Party candidate for president.  Her campaign notes:

Obama cleared path for Ryan; Greens offer only alternative to austerity agenda, say Stein, Honkala

In elevating deficit reduction to his highest priority and setting up the deficit reduction supercommittee in 2011, President Obama made it clear that benefits programs were on the chopping block and that he would negotiate with Republicans on how to curtail them. Now, Representative Paul Ryan’s budget is in the spotlight, which also threatens services that millions of Americans depend on.
“Ryan's extreme budget ideas were rejected by Congress, including many of his own Republican colleagues,” said Stein. “Americans value Medicare and Social Security, and do not want to be the sacrificial lambs for deficit reduction, especially when they see the massive waste in the private health insurance industry, the bloated Pentagon budget, and the backroom Wall Street bailouts.”
When Congress mandated some $2 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years, President Obama called for $4 trillion, increasing the pressure for devastating cuts to essential programs. President Obama has proposed $320 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts, including higher premiums and co-pays such as a $100 homecare fee for frail elders. In addition, he called for cuts in the cost of living adjustment for Social Security benefits, which over half of elders depend on for the vast majority of their income, and which is already inadequate to meet basic needs.
“Americans deserve affordable health care and economic security in their retirement. We will get neither if we continue down the road to austerity being promoted by both Ryan and Obama,” said Stein.
“What Americans need from our President is a clear statement that cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits are off the table,” said Honkala. “Under a Green administration, we will implement cost savings measures that address the federal deficit without any cuts to benefits or services.”
Stein and Honkala are the only candidates who are not sponsored by Wall Street, and the only ones whose platform includes protection for critical programs that include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and Meals on Wheels.
Stein, a Harvard-trained physician who once ran against Mitt Romney for Governor of Massachusetts, is proposing a Green New Deal for America - a four part policy strategy for moving America quickly out of crisis into a secure, sustainable future. Inspired by the New Deal programs that helped the U.S. out of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Green New Deal proposes to provide similar relief and create an economy that makes communities sustainable, healthy and just. The Green New Deal fully protects Medicare and Social Security and restores the fiscal security for these benefits.
Running mate Cheri Honkala, the nation’s leading anti-poverty advocate, is National Coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, one of the country’s largest multi-racial, inter-generational movements led by the poor and homeless. Compelled by her own experience as a homeless, single mom, Honkala has spent nearly three decades working directly alongside the poor to build the movement to end poverty, and has organized tens of thousands of people to take action via marches, demonstrations and tent cities.

The economic non-recovery (Gene Clancy, WW)

Repost from Workers World:

No light at end of economic tunnel

By on August 18, 2012 » Add the first comment.
Numerous politicians and economists, from all across the political spectrum, have decried the “slow rate of recovery” of the U.S. economy since the financial meltdown and great recession of 2007-08. The usual story, most often coming from the Democratic Party, is that while the “recovery” is too slow, there, nevertheless, is “light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Republican position is about the same, except that they assert that there can be no “light at the end of the tunnel” unless President Barack Obama is defeated.
None of the mainstream candidates question whether the capitalist economy is, in fact, undergoing a recovery at all. And none dare even whisper that government policies, as proposed by either the liberals or conservatives, have no chance of changing the direction that the economy will take.
One of the most recent commentators to join the fray is Catherine Rampell, an economics reporter for the New York Times, who writes that the current recovery, while very slow, is not the worst. Looking back at past periods of expansion following several post World War II recessions, she claims that “on almost every measure I looked at, there was at least one (completed) recovery that performed worse.” (New York Times, Aug. 10)
Rampell’s analysis is accompanied by a colorful chart that compares the present with past post-recession periods on the basis of a number of economic indicators.
Although her evidence actually undermines her thesis, Rampell assumes that there is some kind of recovery going on presently.
She states, for example: “Usually, payrolls grow 15 percent from trough to peak over the course of a business cycle. So far in this recovery, they have grown only 2 percent.” Or, “The only major metric I looked at wherein today’s recovery outperformed the average expansion of the previous 60 years was corporate profits.”
Given that corporate profits rose by 45 percent compared to a 2 percent rise in payrolls (Rampell’s figures), it is difficult to see how there is any sort of “light at the end of the tunnel” unless it be the light of an approaching train!
Like most mainstream pundits, reporter Rampell, while mentioning the Great Depression, does not include it in her analysis. But she should! The fact is that conditions today are different than those in the recent past.
Marxist economics writer, Fred Goldstein, has written that far from being in a recovery, we actually “are at the early stages in the development of the present crisis.” (Introduction to “Capitalism at a Dead End,” 2012, which can be read at
Comparing the current crisis, not to the post WWII recessions, but to the deeper and more significant Long Depression of 1873, and the Great Depression of the 1930’s, he concludes that “the capitalist system, as in those two previous great crises, cannot restart itself despite all the efforts of central banks and capitalist governments.”

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Support disabled liberation (Edward Yudelovich, WW)

Repost from Workers World:

Disabled activists at NYC forum: ‘Support disabled liberation’

By on August 18, 2012 » Add the first comment.
Disabled activists at a July 28 forum in New York led a panel discussion to expose abuse of the disabled under capitalist society, including recent cutbacks of benefits. Videos of each panelist’s talk can be accessed on YouTube at wwpvideo.
Workers World Party member Joyce Chediac, a person with dyslexia and hearing disabilities, chaired the meeting. She reported that in May, the Disability Caucus of Occupy Wall Street and the Autism Self-Advocacy Network organized a candlelight vigil in Union Square as a memorial to people with disabilities who were killed by family members and caretakers.
WWP member Brian Shea has been an organizer in the Disability Rights movement for over 30 years, starting with the Disabled Peoples Liberation Front in Boston. Shea also travelled to Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade in 1990 and in 1995 to the Second International Conference on the Rights of People with Disabilities in Havana.
Shea quoted anti-imperialist socialist and disabled activist leader Helen Keller: “So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me ‘arch priestess of the sightless,’ ‘wonder woman,’ and a ‘modern miracle.’ But when it comes to a discussion of poverty, and I maintain that it is the result of wrong economics — that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world — that is a different matter!”
Shea spoke about the Bonus Army of 1932, when 14,000 World War I veterans, many with disabilities, and their families marched on Washington demanding that the government immediately fulfill its promise for benefits. President Herbert Hoover sent 600 U.S. Army troops, led by Douglas MacArthur, to set fire to their encampment. The army killed two Bonus Army marchers.
Shea explained that in 1977, to protest the lack of enforcement of existing federal accessibility laws, disabled activists occupied the San Francisco Health, Education and Welfare office for 28 days. This action won the support and solidarity of unions, community organizations and the Oakland Black Panther Party in getting food in and keeping the supply lines open.
Ex-patient activist, anti-psychiatry, survivor groups, including the Network Against Psychiatric Assaults, the Mental Patients Liberation Front and others organized picket lines against the pharmaceutical companies and the American Psychiatric Association. ADAPT organized disabled activists in wheelchairs to surround inaccessible buses and picket inaccessible bus lines in the 1980s.
Making profits off peoples’ needs
There were organized efforts to provide services for the disabled to help keep them independent of nursing homes and other facilities and institutions that make profits off peoples’ needs. Shea related the struggles of people with AIDS to make medication and treatment affordable and available and to fight abuse and discrimination.
Shea told of a Chicago group called “Jerry’s orphans,” who picketed media outlets broadcasting Jerry Lewis’ muscular dystrophy telethon and its offensive label of “Jerry’s kids.” Shea exposed “the bourgeoisie’s view of charity instead of solidarity when somebody up here tosses a couple of crumbs and pennies to somebody down there whom they see as worthy, and if they don’t see them as worthy, they don’t toss them any crumbs.”
Scott Thomas of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and a recent WWP member spoke on Marxism and Disability Oppression. Thomas explained capitalist society’s “one size fits all” deficit model, class definition of disability: “If you have a disability, you are objectively less.”
Thomas translated this: “Capitalism has nothing for us [the disabled] because we’re not profitable!” He exposed the Judge Rotenberg Center in Boston, where electroconvulsive aversive therapy was used recently to shock an autistic boy 30 times, causing him to develop post-traumatic stress disorder and rendering him unable to speak.
ADA limited to visible disabilities
Thomas protested that protections from the Americans with Disabilities Act are mostly limited to those with visible disabilities. Thomas also objected to the improper prescribing of anti-psychotic drugs to autistic and attention-deficit disorder children. He warned that “90 percent of people with disabilities will be abused. Only 3 percent of the abuse will be reported.”
Next, this reporter explained my emotional disability and how I had been medicated more than 30 years ago with anti-psychotic medications Haloperidol (Haldol), Moban and Mellarill, causing serious side effects, including drowsiness, disorientation, uncontrollable shaking, inability to sleep and unusual sensitivity to heat. After six years, another psychiatrist advised me that like millions of others, I had been misdiagnosed. I was gradually weaned off the medications over 10 months because they were so addictive.
In 1993, my 83-year-old mother was being medicated against her will with some of these same anti-psychotic drugs. After she refused to take her meds, a relative and a psychiatrist signed her into Hillside Psychiatric Hospital Strauss Cottage, where she was held for three weeks until she would agree to take her meds and comply with an Elder Care plan of seven days a week home care, which my father would have to pay for. My mother was forced to wear an ankle bracelet so she wouldn’t run away. When I visited her, her friend, a Holocaust survivor, was being given electric shock treatment for her nightmares about the Holocaust.
In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prisoners, who are disproportionately people of color, do not have the same rights as non-prisoners to refuse anti-psychotic medications.
Some 10 to 20 percent of GIs who see heavy combat develop lasting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and about a fifth of those who get treatment receive anti-psychotic medication. Drugs, including Risperdal, Seroquel, Geodon and Abilify, often used to treat severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are sometimes prescribed to troops for symptoms associated with PTSD and anxiety, including nightmares and irritability. But when mixed with other prescriptions, they can be dangerous and sometimes fatal.
Bullying in the workplace can also help cause this disability. The Communication Workers Local 1180 newspaper, Communique, reported that 37 percent of workers have been bullied, 45 percent of bullied workers suffer stress-related health problems, and targeted individuals have a 64 percent chance of losing their job.
PIST fights for adequate
school-bus services

Sara Catalinotto, a teacher of disabled students, parent of a child in a special autism program, and founder of Parents to Improve School Transportation, demanded that “resources — and respect — be applied to the routing of yellow buses for 150,000 school children who need it in this city, of whom about 60,000 are riding to special education placements. Too many families deal with long, hot, overcrowded bus rides, which force students to miss the start and end of the day — and school breakfast — among other preventable problems.”
Catalinotto reported on solidarity with disabled students and their parents shown by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, the union of school bus drivers, matrons and mechanics.
She also recounted how last spring, the Albany Legislature tried to end state funding for schools that serve only deaf students, only to be thwarted by the deaf community’s mobilization to stop this.
Catalinotto said her teacher colleagues in suspension centers have told her that a high percentage of children there have disabilities. This was documented in an Aug. 7 New York Times article reporting suspensions during the 2009-10 school year of 13 percent of disabled students, compared with 7 percent of students without disabilities. One out of every four African-American disabled students had been suspended.
Johnnie Stevens, Community Labor United for Postal Jobs & Services founder and a PIST and WWP member, related how he helped repair a school for disabled children in Puerta Esperanza, Cuba, while on a work brigade after hurricanes Gustavo and Ike. Stevens’ disability — dyslexia — made his videographic assignment requiring precise logging of seconds, minutes, hours, megabytes and terabytes much more difficult and time-consuming. But the Cubans were patient. He completed the video, and received an award.
Stevens also had filmed in Lousiana after Hurricane Katrina. Stevens contrasted it with his experience in Cuba: “While the U.S. might have fancier wheelchairs and other superior technology, disabled people were left behind to drown in New Orleans when the levees broke.”
Good record for socialist Cuba
Stevens explained how socialist Cuba organizes to evacuate everyone to higher ground before the storm hits. It’s not up to the individual to find a way out. Those with limited mobility are taken care of first and specialized hospital equipment often used to treat the disabled is secured.
The National Association of the Blind, the Association of the Physically and Motor Disabled, and the National Organization of Deaf Cubans are made up of and led by people who have these disabilities. In Cuba, physical and mental health care, daycare, education, recreation and senior centers are always free.
Under capitalism in the U.S., these basic human services are only available according to one’s class, income, assets or health insurance. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people and the disabled here have never had equal access to these essentials.
Cuba is, therefore, truly striving to provide to each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities. This slogan was coined by Karl Marx nearly 140 years ago to describe communism, which is the ultimate goal of socialist revolution. It is the only economic and political system designed for the needs of the multitudes and not the profits of the few. Both disabled and able-bodied will thrive when every tool of science, technology and medicine is used to heal and not to abuse.

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


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" and "Iraq snapshot" -- two most requested highlights by readers of this site.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The New VP Candidate" -- Isaiah on the Paul Ryan pick.

"Squash Casserole & Bean Salad in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers two vegetarian recipes.

"shameful," "The shameful media, the shameful campaign," "Barack's attack on veterans," "Shame on you, Barack Obama," "Jill, Roseanne, Cindy, someone call him out," "Dear Pathetic Matthew Rothschild" and "Now if we can just replicate the Oakland spirit"& "THIS JUST IN! OAKLAND'S GOT SPINE!" -- Rebecca, Ruth, Kat, Marcia, Elaine, Mike and Cedric & Wally on the Oakland action.

"Guess who got her own Wikipedia entry?" "Curiosity's discovery" "mars"-- Betty blogs about Curiosity. 

"I can say I'm wrong, why can't Naomi?" -- Trina on the hypocrite.

"Bill Nelson" -- Kat on the primary elections.

"THIS JUST IN! MOUSER GETS CALLED OUT" and "Mouser and Glory Hog" -- Special Ops calls out Barack.

"Helen Gurley Brown" -- Kat notes a passing.
 "Silversun Pickups: Ass bitches" -- Trina on songs and campaigns.

"Abby goes," "Portlandia," "Alphas" and "TV" -- Kat, Stan and Elaine cover TV.

"The Feminist Barack" -- Isaiah digs into the archives.

"Chicken a la Schechter" -- Mike notes a disappointment.
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