Sunday, December 02, 2012

Truest statement of the week

Each time a period of calm sets in, it is shattered by more violence.

-- Duraid Adnan, "Bombings in Iraq Kill at Least 48" (New York Times).

Truest statement of the week II

The very existence of what the CRP/Hearst report [here, here and here] calls the “drone caucus” is an indication of the profound degeneration of American democracy. It was not so long ago, in the 1970s, that leading Democrat Henry Jackson became notorious as the “senator from Boeing.” Now an entire caucus has been formed of promoters of weapons of mass murder. What is next: The napalm caucus? The poison gas caucus?
According to the CRP/Hearst report, the principal activity of the “drone” caucus has been to promote the use of these weapons within the United States, including passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, signed into law by President Obama on February 14, which requires the FAA to complete the integration of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the national airspace by September 2015.

--- Patrick Martin, "Bipartisan group in US Congress promotes drone killings" (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 was an obvious pick when it appeared in print Friday morning.
We've included links to the report Patrick Martin's highlighting because it's an important report. 
Our Bradley piece.  AP seems really eager to slant coverage the way a columnist -- or a Bob Somerby -- might while pretending they were just sticking to the facts.

Ava and C.I. had a planned piece.  I (Jim) asked them to tackle the topic of Assange's presentation instead.  Do they like the piece they wrote?  Not really, they say, but they're glad they worked Lynne Stewart in and hope that reminds people that Lynne remains a political prisoner.
Ann and Ava and C.I. weren't planning on reteaming for a piece this week.  But they asked her about a segment she'd blogged about, how it had ticked her off.  She explained that the segment was supposed to be about what women thought but all she heard were men.  That fit with Ava and C.I.'s plan to write about Don Gonyea's ridiculous 'report' on a female senator.  

For our Iraq coverage, we had a number of possibilities but went with Kobler's presentation and how it omitted women.  

Rebecca asked if we'd seen the list of the honorees?  We hadn't.  Does anyone take that family seriously anymore?  Ava and C.I. pointed out that Latino groups had earlier complained that none of the nominees were Hispanic and so Dona said, "Well then we really have to cover this."

Hint: It's not who you think.
A press release from Senator Murray's office.

I wanted to respost this regardless.  I was also hoping that we could do a piece similar to this on a variation topic; however, Rebecca was under the weather, Ava and C.I. didn't feel good and Ty was "tired and bored" so the idea died quickly.  Maybe next week.
A repost from Workers World.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

 See you next week.


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

Editorial: Did the AP forget journalism?

One of the biggest surprises about the pre-trail of alleged whistle blower Bradley Manning was how eager some in the press was to ignore the political prisoner and provide cover for a government that has held Bradley for 923 days despite the fact that he's still not been found guilty of a single crime.


There are a few basics in journalism.  They include that reporting is not opinion, reporting is fact.  And, when evaluating information that requires special knowledge, reporters seek out those with special knowledge.

AP decided to forgo that last week during the pre-trial of Bradley Manning:

His pretrial testimony appeared to support the military's argument that it was trying to protect Manning from harming himself by keeping him in strict isolation, taking away his clothes and shakling him when he was outside his cell.

Is that what it appeared?

To whom?

To the medical practitioners of the Associated Press?

We weren't aware that AP now required a double major (journalism and medical degree) of its correspondents or that the AMA and AP had merged to form the AMAAP.

It was as if there weren't public concerns about the treatment of Bradley Manning already in the public record.  AFP reminded everyone last week,  "A UN rapporteur on torture concluded Manning was subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment at the Quantico brig." And along with that public concern, the week saw medical professionals give testimony -- testimony AP ignored when reaching their own 'medical finding.'

RT reported that the navy doctor who the government had charged with evaluating Bradley testified Wednesday.  Capt William Hoctor stated, "I had been a senior medical officer for 24 years at the time, and I had never experienced anything like this.  It was clear to me they had made up their mind on a certain cause of action, and my recommendations had no impact."  Larry Shaughnessy (CNN) adds, "But Capt. William Hocter said his regular recommendations to ease Manning's heightened confinement status within weeks of his arrival in Virginia were not acted upon by commanders."  BBC News continues, "Pte Manning's glasses were confiscated, he had to request toilet paper and was forced to remove his underwear at night."  Hoctor felt frustrated and stymied.  John Bailey (NBC News) quotes the doctor testifying,  "It was clear to me that they had made up their mind on a certain course of actions and my recommendations didn't really matter."

Perhaps most damning of all,  Ed Pilkington (Guardian) reported, "Three Quantico forensic psychiatrists who gave evidence to the court this week agreed that within days of arriving at the marine base Manning had recovered his mental health and was no longer a risk to himself. They consistently recommended that the soldier be put on a much looser regime. But the authorities would not listen."

Authorities would not listen.

Authorities ignored the medical professionals.

And AP wants to rush to suggest this was out of concern?

AP would do damn well to learn its own limitations.

Unless an AP consultation is now covered by ObamaCare, we'd suggest it stop attempting to render medical findings before it gets slapped on the wrist for practicing medicine without a license.

Media: Losing big in the court of public opinion

Julian Assange has been many things.  Right now he's trouble and in trouble.  He's got a fleet of attorneys at his beck and call yet they don't appear how to do a damn thing.

Last week, as Bradley Manning was preparing to speak for the first time in court (first time at any length), Assange and his handlers seemed to feel it was time for a media blitz.  How shifting the focus from Bradley to Assange was supposed to help Assange was anyone's guess.  But the lengthy interview with Democracy Now! and the piece at The Huffington Post just made clear that it's all about Julian.

Vanity isn't a legal defense.


Putting Assange on Democracy Now! at any time was never going to be a smart move. Amy Goodman's an idiot and a menace.  It was her interview with Lynne Stewart that provided the ammo for those attempting to destroy Lynne.  That is not forgotten by the real left.  Nor is it forgotten that after doing that -- whether via incompetence or a deliberate effort to 'work with the government' -- Amy Goodman lost all interest in political prisoner Lynne Stewart.  Maybe it was guilt or, maybe as some whisper, she'd completed her assignment?

Regardless, when you go on with Amy the crazy runs free.

And the last thing Julian Assange can afford to look like is crazy.

The point that his legal team probably wanted to resonate was this:

AMY GOODMAN: Are you saying, Julian, that you would go to Sweden, if they assured you that you wouldn't be extradited to the United States, to answer questions about these two women who have made charges on sex abuse on your count?

 JULIAN ASSANGE: Yes, that has been our public position for quite a long time.

And for that to carry weight now, he really needs to seem dignified, organized and upright.

That's really important because the reality is that he skipped out on Sweden before.  He did so unknowingly, according to the official story, but he did.  He's never copped to it publicly.  He's never acknowledged that the judge forced his first attorney to admit, in court, that the Swedish authorities had contacted him and told him they were now ready to question Julian Assange but Assange left the country because the attorney didn't pass that on.

It's known and it's suspected, rightly or wrongly, that the first attorney really did pass on the message. Every time Julian Assange talks about being willing to submit to questioning now, in the back of many minds is the fact that he didn't do so the first time.

Equally true, when you're wanted for questioning, you really don't get to dictate the terms.

The only way he has any power at this point is by getting public support.  And that's not been present. He hasn't had that kind of support.

To garner it now, with all the bad press already out there, he has to be the sharpest, most well spoken, most organized person in the world.

That requires a simple and coherent narrative.

Are you just like the press with The Pentagon Papers?

It's a talking point Assange and his supporters love to repeat.

But thing is Katharine Graham never gave interviews whining about herself.  Benjamin Bradlee didn't pen columns about himself.   The Washington Post stayed focused on the news.  WikiLeaks should have done the same.

Every time Julian Assange leaves larger issues to talk about himself, it harms his case.

Such as here:

Amy, being in prison, house arrest, and now held captive in an embassy, with a bunch of cops outside, of course is a difficult circumstance, but it is not more difficult than the circumstance that is faced by Bradley Manning in Fort Leavenworth or by Jeremy Hammond, an alleged source related to the Stratfor files in New York, or by many other prisoners around the world.

That probably sounded the increasingly out-of-touch defense team as wonderful.

But as two who have long advocated Assange note what he went through is nothing compared to what Bradley Manning does, we couldn't believe that nonsense.

What he's going through, even now, is nothing.  House arrest?  He did a talk show during house arrest -- Hulu carried it in the US -- and the 'house' was an English manor.  Even today, at the Ecuadorian Embassy, he's certainly got more space than Bradley Manning did in a six foot by eight foot cell or, for that matter, than Anne Frank did in an attic.

It's called perspective.  It includes knowing that a heavy weight boxer goes into the ring with someone in his or her division.  Meaning leave out Joe Biden.  On the world stage, Joe is the grinning holy gofus of the administration.  Julian Assange wants to be taken seriously, members of the White House Cabinet aren't his foes.  The foe is Barack Obama.  In 1974, when Joe Frazier was hoping to become the heavyweight champion of the world, he wasn't boxing Rodolfo Martinez.

Joe said, Hillary said, blah blah said, is a distraction that lowers the issues.  It's Barack's administration.  You take on Barack.  That's so basic.  Even a Hollywood starlet desperate for attention knows to pick a public rivalry with someone high up the chain.

Assange versus Obama?  That's a conflict the world will give you a few seconds to make a case for.

For a few seconds.

Which means you organize and simplify the message.

Drop the petty and make it about David versus Goliath issues and people will respond.

The crazy hasn't worked.  It hasn't delivered the support so many just knew was coming.  So it's time to make some hard choices.

First up, does Assange want to spend the rest of his life in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London?

Interviews like the one last week on Democracy Now! will help ensure that he does.  "Let's talk Stratfor, let's talk this, let's talk that . . ."  There's no point in it.  And, honestly, you don't put your client in that situation.   You don't let them face these erratic free form questions.

Not when your defense counsel, not when you know that they stand a good chance of taking the witness stand in more than one trial.

The legal arguments could go either way.  Thus far, the way they've gone has not been in Assange's favor.  The public presentation?  It's done nothing to increase support for the issues at stake or Assange personally.  So exactly what's been accomplished under the current 'strategy'?  Time is in short supply, Assange and his team need to get organized and do so quickly or accept that things are very likely not going to go in his favor.

How NPR Silences Women (Ann, Ava and C.I.)

a radio 

NPR is supposed to be public radio governed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which is supposed to be under a mandate to provide diversity.  Yet over and over, we have seen that NPR books men and ignores women.

We documented how only 18% of Terry Gross' 2010 guests on Fresh Air were women. Next,  we documented how over 66% of Diane Rehm's guests in were men.  We then went on to document that only 30% of Talk of the Nation's guests were women.

People are always 'puzzled' how this happens.  NPR friends insist it's an accident.


An accident can have a multitude of outcomes.

If these are accidents how come the outcomes is always the same: Men booked more often than women on NPR?

That's not accidental, that sound likes engineering.

Last week, NPR gave us two prominent examples of how they embrace and perpetuate sexism.

Friday on Tell Me More, Michel Martin hosted a segment entitled "Women Fire Back At Working Dads."  How many women did she bring on for that segment?

One. Listeners heard one woman speak.  How many men were heard in the "Women Fire Back At Working Dads" segment?  Two.

Women fire back?

Maybe off air.

Friday was the day NPR let all their women hatred flop out.

Political hack Don Gonyea should have been put out to pasture long ago.  If they're not grasping that, maybe they missed his All Things Considered report?

Supposedly, Gonyea was filing a report on Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

How did he do that?

By speaking to 'political scientist' Dante Scala (associate professor at University of New Hamsphire -- does not know Ayotte personally), Senator Lindsey Graham and New Hampshire Democratic Party's Peter Burling.

A woman was judged by three men.  Not surprisingly she was found not to be "uneasy during speeches" and she prompts "impatience and annoyance."

This is reporting?

On New Hampshire politics, Scala's not the only 'expert' identified by his university.  Professor -- not associate professor -- Ellen Fitzpatrick could have been called and all Don Gonyea would have needed to do was to check out the website.

Since she's one of only 20 women in the Senate (there are 100 Senators in the US Senate), he could have checked out the University's identified experts under "politics" under the subheading "feminism" and Gonyea would have had four women to pick from (Jennifer Borda, Marla Brettschneider, Melissa Deem and Svetlana Peshkova).

Why is a woman being judged by three men?

Did Don Gonyea feel his gender was underrepresented on NPR?

As All Things Considered producers and hosts listened to the insulting remarks from men (Scala and Burling were insulting), did it not trigger any alarms?  Did no one say, "Isn't this supposed report a little too negative.  We're saying nasty stuff about this woman and we've got nothing to back up these nasty claims with?  And doesn't it really just seem like we're allowing two men to beat up on a woman?"

No, that never entered their minds because All Things Are Never Considered at NPR.

Maybe if they could learn to police themselves, they wouldn't be wasting $1.5 million in tax dollars on another diversity initiative that's not going to mean a damn thing.  If they'd police their own, that $1.5 million could have gone to investigative reporting -- something NPR really doesn't do anymore.

The UN again forgets women


Last week, Martin Kobler briefed the United Nations Security Council on Iraq.  Kolber (above) is United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative to Iraq.  Though Kobler went on for over 20 minutes, this was all he had to report about Iraqi women:

We will also sustain our efforts to promote gender mainstreaming and the empowerment of women.  For example, we are supporting access to justice for women, as well as training police officers to provide legal assistance to women survivors of gender-based violence.

That was it.

Two sentences in twenty minutes.

That was it.

Last Sunday, maybe Kobler missed this?, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared, "Millions of women and girls around the world are assaulted, beaten, raped, mutilated or even murdered in what constitutes appalling violations of their human rights.  [. . .] We must fundamentally challenge the culture of discrimination that allows violence to continue.  On this International Day, I call on all governments to make good on their pledges to end all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world, and I urge all people to support this important goal."

Maybe Ban Ki-moon would be smarter to spend less time calling on other governments and spend more time ordering those working for him "to support this important goal."

Two sentences in twenty minutes.

All hell broke loose in Iraq last week.

Iraqiya members and State of Law members got into fistfights in the halls of Parliament.  Over?  MPs going public with the reports that Iraqi women are being tortured in prisons and detention centers, that some of these women are being raped, that some of these women have been arrested despite the lack of arrest warrants, that some women are being tortured to 'confess' that their husbands are breaking the law.

State of Law did not take kindly to that emerging.

The Ministry of Interior is denying that any torture is taking place.

Who heads the Ministry?  Oh, that's right, Nouri never got around to nominating anyone.  So Nouri heads it.  What's the name of Nouri's political slate?

Oh, that's right: State of Law.

And when Saturday rolled around, Nouri gave a rare public speech making threats -- including arrests -- over the allegations.  Mind you, not arrests over anyone who has been torturing Iraqi women.  No, he wants to arrest MPs who discussed this issue.

And all Koblert had to offer was two little sentences on Iraqi women?

If the United Nations isn't going to take Iraqi women seriously, why should anyone else?


For more on the topic, you can also see C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" and Kat's "The real UN slogan."

Kennedy still stands for sexism

If you missed it, Sunday night the Kennedy Center is handing out 'honors.'  To Americans.  Well, to people.  Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant aren't Americans, are they?

But they are people.

And nine people are getting 'honors.'

If you leave out Natalia Makarova, you've got eight people.

And then you can leave out "people" and just say "men."

That's right, at this late date, someone thought it was acceptable to honor just one woman.

But, hey, they've ignored Latinos for years, as the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda pointed out last September.

If Academy Award winner, Grammy winner, Tony winner and Emmy winner Rita Moreno had been honored this year, she would have been only the third Latin to be honored.

The Kennedys do love to pretend that they're for equality and they care, they really care.  Remember when Caroline Kennedy, in 2008, suddenly decided she wanted to be a senator?

She just couldn't understand why Americans didn't rush to kiss her feet.

It's because her family's not all the fairy tale has made it out to be.

And all these years later, the Kennedy family name still stands for the same thing: sexism.

Somewhere, one of the family's most famous victims is laughing.

Look who's playing politics with Benghazi!


The always embarrassing Robert Kuttner penned (another) bad column for The Boston Globe, this one entitled "Why John Kerry shouldn't be nominated." Benghazi be damned, Susan Rice must be the next Secretary of State and not John Kerry, Kuttner argues, because "If the Kerry seat opened up, that would make 10 [vulnerable Senate races in 2014].  [Republican] Scott Brown would likely run, and win."

So Kerry can't be Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense or in the Cabinet at all.

That's what passes for logic among the whore class.

Who's playing politics with Benghazi?

Robert The Stooge Kuttner.

Senator Murray calls for a DoD suicide prevention plan

Patty Murray

Senator Patty Murray (above)  is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and her office issued the following last week:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Contact: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Senator Murray Proposes Major Mental Health Care Expansion as Part of Defense Authorization Bill
Murray's amendment would make improvements to ensure that those who served have access to consistent, quality behavioral health care
Would require DoD to create a comprehensive, standardized suicide prevention program
(Washington, D.C.) – As it becomes increasingly clear that the Pentagon and VA are losing the battle on mental and behavioral health conditions that are confronting so many of our servicemembers and veterans, Senator Murray gave a speech on the Senate floor today to offer an amendment to the defense authorization bill that seeks to improve mental health and suicide prevention services. The amendment is derived from her servicemembers and veterans mental health legislation, the Mental Health ACCESS Act of 2012, which unanimously cleared the Veterans' Affairs Committee earlier this year. Senator Murray's amendment would require the Department of Defense to create a comprehensive, standardized suicide prevention program; expand eligibility for a variety of Department of Veterans Affairs mental health services to family members; strengthen oversight of DoD Mental Health Care and the Integrated Disability Evaluation System; improve training and education for our health care providers; create more peer-to-peer counseling opportunities; and require VA to establish accurate and reliable measures for mental health services.
Key excerpts from Senator Murray's speech:
"I think everyone in this body knows about, and is distressed by, the alarming rate of suicide and the mental health problems in our military and veterans populations. We know our servicemembers and veterans have faced unprecedented challenges: multiple deployments; difficulty finding a job here at home; and isolation in their communities. Some have faced tough times reintegrating into family life, with loved ones trying to relate but not knowing how. These are the challenges our servicemembers and veterans know all too well."
"We must have effective suicide prevention programs in place. It's often only on the brink of crisis that a servicemember or veteran seeks care. If they are told 'sorry, we are too busy to help you,' we have lost the opportunity to help, and that is not acceptable."
"While the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have taken important steps towards addressing this crisis, we know more must be done. We know that any solution depends upon reducing wait times and improving access to mental health care; ensuring proper diagnosis; and achieving true coordination of care and information between the Departments."

The full text of Senator Murray's speech:
"Mr. President, today I am offering an amendment to the defense authorization bill to improve mental health and suicide prevention services.
"This language is derived from my Mental Health ACCESS Act, which was unanimously approved by the Veterans' Affairs Committee.
"This amendment is critical legislation that improves how DOD and VA provide mental health care.
"I think everyone in this body knows about, and is distressed by, the alarming rate of suicide and the mental health problems in our military and veterans populations.
"We know our servicemembers and veterans have faced unprecedented challenges: multiple deployments; difficulty finding a job here at home; and isolation in their communities.
"Some have faced tough times reintegrating into family life, with loved ones trying to relate but not knowing how.
"These are the challenges our servicemembers and veterans know all too well.
"But even as they turn to us for help, we're losing the battle. Time and time again, we've lost servicemembers and veterans to suicide.
"But while the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have taken important steps towards addressing this crisis, we know more must be done.
"We know that any solution depends upon reducing wait times and improving access to mental health care; ensuring proper diagnosis; and achieving true coordination of care and information between the Departments.
"This amendment would require a comprehensive, standardized suicide prevention program across the DoD.
"It would require the use of the best medical practices, in suicide prevention and behavioral health programs to address serious gaps in
the current programs.
"This amendment would expand eligibility for VA mental health services to family members of veterans.
"The amendment would also give servicemembers an opportunity to
serve as peer counselors to fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and create a quality assurance program for the historically troubled disability evaluation system.
"It would require VA to offer peer support services at all medical centers and create opportunities to train more veterans to provide peer services.
"This bill will require VA to establish accurate and reliable measures for mental health services.
"We must have effective suicide prevention programs in place. It's often only on the brink of crisis that a servicemember or veteran seeks care.
"If they are told 'sorry, we are too busy to help you,' we have lost the opportunity to help, and that is not acceptable.
"I would like to thank Senator Levin and Senator McCain for their work
on the defense authorization bill, and for their help bringing this amendment to the floor today.
"Thank you Mr. President."
Kathryn Robertson
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

State of the left, state of the country

Repost of C.I.'s popular weekend piece.

I Hate The War

Who will save the country from the likes of Eric Boehlert?

The failed journalist ended up a Media Matters which means he's a propagandist not a journalist.  And the dumbest thing we ever did on the left was thinking we could fight the right by becoming like them.  "Come on over to the left, David Brock, you can be one of us."

Instead, we became lying corrupt whores.  It's on us, no one else.

The key to left victories -- that's not elections, dumb asses -- is an informed public, a thinking public.

Spin is not information, phony outrage is not information, hatred is not information.

Actual information, actual knowledge, leads to a better world.  I define that world as "left," others may feel differently.  But the story of humankind, of civilization, demonstrates that knowledge produces advancement.

I ignore Media Matters, we pulled them from our links sometime ago when I noticed how a fact check wasn't a fact check.  A fact check was a character attack on someone based not on their being incorrect factually but over a writer disagreeing with someone's opinion.

That can make for interesting writing.  But don't try to pass it off as a fact check.

More than anything else Benghazi reveals the hollowness of what's passing for the left today.

We get tons of e-mails on the topic from apolitical people each week who are surprised that we're not marching with the spin.  We won't.  Unlike Eric and other liars, I don't 'meet the world' by turning on MSNBC.  Meaning, I'm all over the country speaking to various groups of people.  I'm not stupid enough to think that a low rated cable channel represents a significant part of America, let alone all of America.

MSNBC exists (in prime time) to push talking points.  They coordinate them with the White House -- and when this was done under Bully Boy Bush, we were outraged.  But see a a good whore doesn't just simulate passion, he or she can also simulate horror.  In fact, there's probably a great deal more money to be made in acting shocked.

Outside the hacks on the right and the left, you've got a country of people who look at Benghazi and see four dead Americans.  They see a press that ignores Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith while constantly harping on Chris Stevens.  This despite the fact that Woods and Doherty are Iraq War veterans and, as one e-mail this week noted, "I've heard more about the veterans killed at a parade in [Midland] Texas by a train than I have about either Mr. Woods or Mr. Doherty from the media."

Yeah, people notice it.

The American people are not stupid.  If they were MSNBC would be a high rated network.  Instead most realize it's nothing but propaganda at prime time.  Most also grasp that there are no journalists on MSNBC prime time.  That's a bunch of talk show hosts who couldn't get real jobs in the real world if they had to.  These TV 'leaders' did not emerge because they were popular and America was clamoring for them to be on TV.  They were forced off on America.

And yet they trot out their tired shtick each week night, pretending that they have some sort of insight to offer as they deliberately lie and skew and whore.  And it's embarrassing.

When the left was shut out of the media not all that long ago, we talked about how we would fight back and a lot of us gave money to help on that.  And we were assured this was about a smart media, not a partisan one.  This would not be about creating an apologist media for Democrats, it would be about a real left media.

When they were out begging, this was really important.  Democrats in Congress would not stand against the impending Iraq War.  They would not, they refused to.  They had the power to stop it before it started.  They refused to use that.

Yes, there were some who wanted to.  But they were stifled and allowed themselves to be stifled.

So it was really important to those of us repeatedly being hit up for seed money -- for radio, for magazines, for websites, for our own TV programs and -- dare we dream -- our own left network  -- over and over, that the focus would be on informing the public, not carrying water for the Democratic Party.

If a whore will tell a man he's amazing in bed, why should I be amazed that a whore would tell so many of us that of course they wanted to create an independent media?

I shouldn't.  I can be stupid, more so than anyone else, more often than anyone else.  But I can also learn to stop giving.  And that's what I did and that's what I encouraged a number of friends to do as well.

Occasionally, we hear from the beggars.

A variation of, "Dear Donor, for just a few hundred thousand you were able to feed me and my family of co-workers and we were able to pretend that we cared about accountability and ethics.  Now look at what is left.  It is all Democratic operatives.  If you could send seed money, even $50,000, we would be able to start a left media that would stand up and tell truth to power."

That's really cute and I love the accompanying photo of you darting out of Manhattan's Bar Americain before the waitstaff realizes you stiffed them on the tip.  But the reality is, when we starved the beast, we saw what was going on.  And we're not giving money.

You can pretend right now, for example, that you were doing something.  In the case of one begging letter, I remember you coming up with all these conspiracy theories about how this person had threatened Barack Obama or that person had and that's why Barack wasn't doing what the people had hoped.  And that was May 2009.  He hadn't even been in the White House half a year and already you were whoring for him with conspiracy theories about death threats from corporations and all this other distracting crap, none of which did a damn thing to hold the President of the United States accountable.

So let me make it really clear to you, whoring's a young kid's game.  I know none of you are good looking.  Let's face it, there's a reason you can't get TV work. But you're unattractive and now you gotta a few miles on you and you're still whoring and still expecting to pull in the big money.

It's not going to happen.

You're not just known whores, you're had whores.

A smart whore makes a point to please a customer, that's makes for repeat business.

Instead of pleasing your customers, you screwed them over.  Now you show up thinking you're going to get more money from disgruntled johns?

Media Matters could have been something.  I never gave to Media Matters.  Yes, Crazy Naomi Wolf vouched for the soul of David Brock.  I hope he had a real change and I wish him well but I don't contribute money to anyone who did what he did to Anita Hill.  I also don't think, "I'm sorry," covers it.

The rush to embrace David Brock couldn't have happened without Crazy Naomi, admittedly.  It also couldn't have happened without a left that really spits on women, that gladly degrades them.  A left comprised of a bunch of screwed up sexually men who can't get their jollies without hating women. And that pretty much describes the lefty men writing commentaries today.  In fact, right now, there's a woman pitching the equivalent of You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again about her affairs (bad sex) with a number of prominent lefty commentators (piss your BVDs, boys, her written pitch includes 'happily married' men as well).

Now we should forgive on the left, absolutely.  And David Brock shouldn't have to wear a hair shirt for the rest of his life.  But why would we want to take advice from him?  Why would we believe he had advice to offer?

David Brock lied about Anita Hill.  David Brock also repeated lies about Anita Hill in print.  He did so, not surprising in the United States, in order to protect a man (who wasn't fit to sit on the Supreme Court).

David came to be shamed by his actions.  Good.  It means there was some humanity inside of him.

But what did he have to teach the left?

He wasn't giving course in how to rediscover your own humanity.  He wasn't the new Marianne Williamson.

Was he an expert communicator?


He was a liar.  A self-billed "professional hitman."

And that's what he brought over to the left.

And the damage has been done.  Eden is polluted, paradise is paved over, however, you want to allude to it, our politic is spoiled and rotting.

And if you ever doubt it, here comes Boehlert with his garbage.

Yet another faux left who has decided that Susan Rice must be compared to Condi Rice.  I'm not sure if it's because they're women or because they're both African-American or due to gender and race. I have no idea but it's really telling in a "We compare 'em because we can't see no difference between them" kind of way.

You'd think David Brock being gay, that Susan Rice's homophobia (personal or official) that she's expressed as US Ambassador to the UN for the last years would mean Media Matters would dial down their hagiography.  But that's not happening obviously.

So Boehlert shows up with nothing about Susan Rice because that, after all, would require work and that 'bath' he gave himself at the sink a few minutes ago before starting his shift is about all the 'work' he plans to do.

Boehlert's taking on Charles Krauthammer.

Today, Rice's sin in the eyes of Krauthammer and Fox News is that she relayed what the intelligence community told her about Benghazi. For that, she's guilty of incompetence or being misleading, in the words of Krauthammer. But in 2005, Krauthammer stressed that Condoleezza Rice should not be held responsible for relaying what the intelligence community told her about Iraq because she didn't generate it.
It goes without saying that the sprawling Iraq War was a far more important, costly and deadly event than the "small firefight" that engulfed the Benghazi consulate, as national security writer Tom Rick's described it. And it goes without saying that as national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice had a much more direct and influential role in initiaiting the Iraq War than United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice had responding to the terrorist attack in Libya.

Let's go through it.

 The day after the attacks, as the State Dept's Patrick Kennedy acknowledged in public testimony to Congress, he briefed members of Congress and their staff that it was a terrorist attack.  Yes, Boehlert is another 'expert' who's never managed to sit in on a Congressional hearing.  It's amazing these experts will insist they read the press.

The days of the press covering Congressional hearings are really over as a result of cutbacks.  We increased our coverage of Congressional hearings for that reason.  We saw a hearing in November of last year find Democratic Senators asking about the 'troops coming home from Iraq' -- specifically about the 15,000 being moved to Kuwait.  We saw the Secretary of Defense and Chair of the Joint-Chiefs state that the US was still negotiating with Iraq to keep troops there.

That hearing was heavily covered -- unlike most Congressional hearings.

It made CBS, NBC and ABC evening news.  It had the wire services, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and everyone else.  But, with the exception of Elisabeth Bumiller at the New York Times, what we just discussed wasn't noted.  Instead, the 'coverage' was that John McCain and Leon Panetta had words.  Strong words.  McCain snapped at Panetta!  (The reporters who were present didn't even stay for the first hour of the hearing.  The minute the 'snap' took place, they eagerly began leaving, convinced they had a story.  And if their names are Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, they did indeed have a story.  If they were news reporters, they didn't have a story.)

So if you weren't at the hearing, I really don't need to hear from you.

At the hearing Patrick Kennedy affirmed what members of the Committee were saying, he briefed them or their staff, September 12th, and was saying it was a terrorist attack.

By the time Rice had gone on TV there were many problems with her presentation.   She would have known that if she had any real role in the issue.  She didn't.  So, no, Boehlert, she never was "responding" to the September 11, 2012 attack.  She did go on TV and yack about it.  She presented the face of the American diplomat as uninformed and unintelligent.  That's no win for anyone.

It goes without saying that the sprawling Iraq War was a far more important, costly and deadly event than the "small firefight" that engulfed the Benghazi consulate, as national security writer Tom Rick's described it. And it goes without saying that as national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice had a much more direct and influential role in initiaiting the Iraq War than United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice had responding to the terrorist attack in Libya.

Now someone help me out on Boehlert because I appear to have slighted him.  I've never given him credit for leading the call against the Iraq War.  Apparently, reading him today, he did just that.

Now it was damn lonely in February 2003 speaking on US campuses against the impending war.  A lot of people were still silenced by 9-11, others were cowed by it.

But I didn't realize Boehlert was right behind me on that circuit.  Or that he, like me, was saying Iraq does not have WMD and there is no connection to al Qaeda.

You know why I didn't know that?  Because it didn't happen.

There are those of us who put it on the line and then there is Eric Bohlert.

Even at Salon, he did not use his forum to make a difference on Iraq.  In fact, he was writing sorries for Colin Powell (he might want to re-read that today and grasp how so much of it can apply to Susan Rice) and other nonsense.  To review the lead up and the early years of the Iraq War is to encounter Boehlert covering such 'ghosts of the past' and topics such as Ben Barnes, Priscilla Owens, Katharine Harris,  "Bush's 9-11 Coverup" and so much more.

None of it useful.  None of informative.  All of it pretty much partisan.

He did summon the 'courage' to attack Darryl Worley though it's hard to tell that really wasn't over the natural animosity and sour grapes of chubby Boehlert towards a pretty boy.

National intelligence claims.

I have never heard Condi accused of cooking the intelligence.  Is she now accused of that?

If so, Boehlert needs to explain that claim.

But more importantly, who the hell is he to question Condi?

I say that because I took a stand.  And I was told repeatedly I could be wrong (and that I was wrong) and I was willing to live with being wrong.  I looked at what was known, what was possible and what was plausible.  And, no, Iraq couldn't have WMD.

Where's Boehlert's stand on that?  In real time?

He never did take a stand.

He was a coward and now he wants to attack Condi Rice.  It might carry some weight if he had taken a position in real time or found a way to write about Iraq.  It's hilarious, when you go through his articles from that time period, you've got all this crap about Terry Shiavo and other pop culture topics of the moment and then you'll come across this one piece about how Iraq had fallen off the media's radar.  As if he'd been covering it.  He's a joke.  He was a hypocrite at Salon, he's a hypocrite now.

Condi's position was that Iraq had WMD.  She was wrong.  She based it on intelligence.  She has not been accused of cooking the intel.  (One of the few in the administration that's not been accused of that.)  And she honestly believed that before she went into the White House (read her speeches and papers from 1996 forward).

She was wrong.

I have no problem saying that.  I have no problem calling her a War Hawk.

Thing is, I was doing that in 2003, ahead of the invasion.  Where was Eric?

Suddenly, he wants to get all worked up about the Iraq War and people who died in it but, in real time, he was writing about sex scandals in Congress and Jeff Gannon (oh, he couldn't shut up about Jeff Gannon  -- he was obsessed with it).  Looking through his past writing, every day is about what advances the Democratic Party.  It's never about truth.

That's why he couldn't take a stand on Iraq.

He lacked the ethics to oppose the Iraq War and say, "This is a war built on lies."

He could -- and did -- write forever and a day, repeatedly, about Bully Boy Bush's National Guard record.  But he didn't give a damn about Iraq and the proof is in what he wrote.

And now that whore wants to show up and use the Iraq War?

And he wants to call the attack in Benghazi a "small firefight" and do it by quoting Thomas E. Ricks?

Four Americans are dead.  They were attacked because they are Americans.  You can live in your bubble all you want but in America, people are paying attention.

Here's something Whore Boehlert can stuff in his tip jar:  If you want to insist that Susan Rice did nothing wrong about Benghazi, don't dismiss it as a "small firefight."  No one will take you seriously outside of MSNBC prime time.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

The e-mail address for this site is

Workers shut down Port of Oakland

Repost from Workers World:

Workers shut down Port of Oakland

By on December 2, 2012 » Add the first comment.

‘We are determined to get a fair contract’

Oakland, Calif. — “Picket line means don’t cross,” chanted striking Service Employees Local 1021 workers and their community supporters as they picketed all seven terminals at the Port of Oakland on Nov. 20. The workers had walked out in an unfair-labor-practices dispute with the port.
After 16 months of negotiations, over 220 SEIU electricians, clerical workers, security personnel and janitors decided they’d had enough and demanded that the port commissioners bargain with them in good faith. The port was pushing a concessionary contract.
Millie Cleveland, SEIU 1021 port field staff, says, “SEIU workers refuse to go backwards, no takeaways. The workers want to remain above water and keep up with inflation. Once again workers had to withhold their labor to get the employers to understand how determined we are to get a fair contract.”
She talked about how “the strike was significant in that, with the support of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, they were able to shut down all seven terminals.”
The workers’ picket lines were fortified by community supporters, including sizable numbers from Occupy Oakland. Other community supporters included the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition, Occupy San Francisco and the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee. These extra numbers were significant. The picket lines had to be substantial in order to have the arbitrators declare a health and safety risk, which then allowed the ILWU workers to get paid, despite not crossing picket lines and not working.
It’s important to note that SEIU 1021 had just endorsed a resolution by the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition demanding that Oakland police officer Miguel Masso be fired and tried for the murder of Blueford, a Black youth killed last May. The Blueford Coalition, including Adam Blueford, father of the slain 18-year-old, was on the picket lines in solidarity and reciprocation. That is what solidarity looks like.
The strike also covered the Oakland airport, but picketers did not attempt to shut down passenger travel.
The walkout was planned to last 24 hours, shutting down the afternoon shift as well. However, when the port commissioners saw the solidarity between the SEIU, ILWU and the community, they got Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to step in and restart negotiations. After returning to negotiations on Nov. 23, SEIU staff member Cleveland said they are “attempting to bargain and addressing some concepts, but are still far apart, returning to negotiations Monday.” She pointed out that the strike committee “continues to meet.”
Why picket lines must be respected
Workers World asked Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10, about why the longshore workers risked a day’s pay by not crossing the SEIU picket lines. He told this reporter that Local 10, Local 34 and Local 91, representing longshore workers, clerks and walking bosses, respectively, all refused to cross the lines. Thomas explained the ILWU’s strong history of not crossing picket lines. In recent years that included a community picket to protest the killing of people bringing humanitarian supplies to Gaza and Occupy Oakland’s two port shutdowns in 2011.
Thomas explained that the ILWU is “one of the most democratic and militant organizations, which understands the importance of class unity. … We were keenly aware of the situation with SEIU and their being without a contract. The strike was their decision. We don’t allow the sanctity of the contract to be used as a subterfuge to undermine worker unity.”
Thomas quoted from the ILWU’s Ten Guiding Principles. He said that item four, “To help any worker in distress,” must be “a daily guide in the life of every trade union and its individual members. Labor solidarity means just that. Unions have to accept the fact that solidarity of labor stands above all else, including even the so-called sanctity of contract. We cannot adopt for ourselves the policies of union leaders who insist that because they have a contract, their members are compelled to perform work, even behind a picket line. Every picket line must be respected as if it were our own.”
Thomas went on to say: “What’s missing today is that kind of labor solidarity. The interests that the port represents are those of the shipping companies, its customers, stevedoring companies and capital, not the workers, in my opinion. What’s not talked about is the impact of the SEIU Local 1021 strike on the shipping companies, Walmart, and other global retailers, as opposed to the focus on independent truckers losing a day’s pay.”
He then quoted from Frederick Douglass: “There is no progress without struggle.”
Thomas summed up: “The ILWU has a living history. We are teaching our younger members how to contribute to that rich historical legacy by learning the lessons for working-class unity.”
Pending grain lockout or strike
A major grain contract with ILWU workers in the Pacific Northwest is set to expire on Nov. 28 after months of negotiations. The employers are demanding a highly concessionary agreement, like the one forced on ILWU workers in Longview, Wash., last January. “The companies that operate the NW Pacific grain terminals,” said Thomas, “have presented their ‘last, best, and final offer.’” It is one that ILWU workers will be very reluctant to accept.
ILWU Local 8 members in Portland are already organizing for picket duty. Portland and Seattle Occupy activists are preparing to support the workers if the ILWU strikes or is locked out. How this struggle will play out will be significant for longshore and other workers, given the militant history of the ILWU and the extreme concessions being demanded by the grain companies.

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.

"I Hate The War" --  Joan asked her in e-mail if it was too late to pick this as the best of the week?  Might have been if everyone didn't swarm the e-mail account here in the late hours asking that this be the most requested highlight of the week.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Idiotic Susan Rice" and Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Sunset Jackson" -- Isaiah offers to comics this week.

"Iraq snapshot," "The real UN slogan" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. and Kat cover a UN presentation.

"Enchilada Bake in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers an easy recipe and addresses relationships and other issues.

"3 women, 4 men and the awful film Lincoln,"99 River Street" and  "Suprisingly good film" -- Ann, Stan and Trina weigh in on movies. 

"Rihanna is a disgrace," "Disappointing Beyonce," and  "Trashy Rihanna," -- Ann, Kat and Marcia on music while Ruth continued her Benghazi coverage:

"Petraeus' would-be mistress"  and "THIS JUST IN! TOMMY WANTS TO SUCK ONE!" -- Cedric and Wally take on the disgusting Thomas E. Ricks.

"give it up for the amazing shonda rhimes," "Rock Hudson,"Car of my dreams,"Arrow,"Nikita: The Swords Edge,"  "Revenge," "666 Park Avenue," "revenge 'lineage'" and "The Good Wife" -- Rebecca, Ruth, Marcia, Stan, Mike and Betty cover TV.

"The disgraceful" -- Elaine on what Benghazi's revealing.

"THIS JUST IN! HE WANTS YOU TO JUMP!"  and  "Assisted suicide?" -- Wally and Cedric take on Barack and his ridiculous fiscal cliff.

"Spoiled child Barbra Streisand" -- Kat on how Barbra's 'promoting' her first film in years, the first one in 16 years that she's been a co-lead in, by pissing people off with her stunted logic.

"Barry & Bully" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.  

"The always disgusting Nate Silver" -- Elaine on the ridiculous name calling Silver.

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