Sunday, January 13, 2013

Truest statement of the week

A film about events this recent and emotionally charged cannot escape debate, but the most controversial scenes in "Zero Dark Thirty" have been misrepresented, and the fury directed at Bigelow is both jarring and familiar. Call it Hillary Clinton syndrome and you might be right. Now that Hillary is a meme with dark glasses, BlackBerry and (finally!) a commitment to hair length, Bigelow is this decade's gender offender. For years, Bigelow has refused to answer questions about being a "woman" director, quietly going about her business of making odd, interesting, violent films. Now that she is successful, she is being put in her place, and by [Naomi] Wolf of all people.

-- Susan Zakin, "Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow Shows Us the Things We Carried" (Truth Dig).

Truest statement of the week II

January 11th was the 11th dark anniversary of the opening of that torture facility, but, despite Obama's empty promises, Gitmo remains open with 166 detainees remaining: despicable, illegal, immoral, and just plain degrading to the tortured and torurers alike.

-- Cindy Sheehan, "Guantanamo," (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox). 

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?

Marcia discovered the Susan Zakin nomination.  We all agreed it was a truest.

Cindy Sheehan got another truests.
Does no one else the hypocrisy in Nouri applauding a protest for him while screaming that those who protest against him are breaking the law?
Ava and C.I. wrote this and wanted it up this morning.  They were very bothered by the fact that we did not have an edition ready.
As Rod Stewart observed once upon a time, every picture tells a story.
I had asked them to write about this and they made clear that after they took the time to write two features, other articles should have been completed and should have been worthy of posting.

Do idiots not get that equality isn't something you go for once?  Do they not get that it's a way of life?

To help us finish the edition, Ava and C.I. wrote a third piece.

And they gave us the bones for this -- a rough draft -- and said fill it in.  We did.

Repost from the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Repost from Workers World.

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


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

Editorial: Nouri hates truth tellers

If you missed it, by paying people to turn out in Baghdad and by busing them in, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was able to get a 'few hundred' to march around chanting that they love him on Saturday.  He immediately issued a statement praising them.  (If you're late to the story, see "The Wives of Nouri al-Maliki.")


Meanwhile real protests have been going on since December 21st.  Thousands of Iraqis protesting.  Calling for change, calling for their loved ones to be freed from prisons, calling for an end to the rape and torture of women in Iraqi prisons, calling for Nouri to step down.

These protesters, who represent many more Iraqis than Nouri's paid brigade does?

They're attacked.  The military uses batons on them.  Fires guns in the air to scare them.

They're called unconstitutional and illegal and it's said they need a permit to march.

But if you do the exact same thing but in support of Nouri, he doesn't send out the military, he doesn't scream that you're breaking the law, he doesn't do anything but praise you.

Nouri's against the real protesters because they're telling the truth.  It's that simple.

But Nouri's one person and less and less people listen to him.   From Fridday's snapshot:

Alsumaria reports that cleric and leader of the Islamic Supreme Council delivered a sermon today calling for dialogue among all the parties and refusing to lay the blame on protesters.   Also weigh in?  Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani whose message today, delivered by Sheikh Abdel Mahdi al-Karbalai during morning prayers, was a call for unity and responsibility.  Alsumaria reports he stated that the political blocs are responsible for the current problems and that the politicians and the security services must exercise restraint and utilize wisdom.  He warned against attacking the protesters.  All Iraq News notes that he spoke of the need for government institutions to be independent and to preserve the independence so that no one official could exploit the powers of the government for personal gain.  Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr also weighed in today.  Kitabat notes that Moqtada explained the popular protests in Mosul, Salahuddin and Anbar are not against government but against policies and that it is the right of the Iraqi to speak their beliefs.   He noted that there had been some early mistakes (referring to some slogans and banners in early protests -- they generally expressed the not uncommon belief in Iraq that things were better before the US invasion) but that these are cries to rally the nation.  He stated that Nouri is the one throwing out obstacles.  Alsumaria reports Minister Rafia al-Issawi and Sunni Endowment president Ahmed Abdul-Ghafoor Samarrai showed their support by attending a demonstration in Baghdad following morning prayers.  All Iraq News reports Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq issued a statement today declaring that force should not be used against the protesters.   Others went further.  For example, Kitabat reports Sunni Sheikh Abdul Malik Saadi stated that it is the resposibility of Iraq's rulers to hear the protesters' demands, that it is the right of citizens to exercise their rights, and that the security forces are to provide security and their role is not to target the protesters but to protect them.  The Iraqi people are partners in the country, the Sheikh noted, citizens, military, they are partners.  He called on the protesters to be strong and patient, not to take up arms and he called on the military to protect the protesters.

Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr's already called for his supporters to turn out this coming Friday.  And the Friday after that?  It should be something to see.

TV: The True Scandal

Some scandals are in your face.  "Lance Armstrong to Speak With Oprah Winfrey on Doping Scandal," "British Detective Found Guilty in Hacking Scandal," "Honduras Fires Ambassador in Prostitute Scandal," "Tunisian FM Accused in 'Sheraton-Gate' Scandal," "DEA agent linked to Columbia prostitution scandal in DOJ report," "Scandal of dehydrated pensioners rushed to hospital because their care homes did not give them a drink," "Texas military assault scandal prompts congressional hearings," and "Skiatook schools healing from bribery scandal" are just some of the ones that made into headlines in the last few days.   Other scandals are more duplicitous, more down-low and, as a result, more deadly.


If you're Olivia Pope, you're handling both of them.  Attempting to fix the p.r. on the crime of passion resulting in a media feeding frenzy and to bury the murder of a woman no one's noticed is dead as you try to protect the White House.

Pope, the lead character in ABC's Scandal (Thursday nights, last hour of prime time), is played by Kerry Washington. She's a fixer.  You come to her with a problem and she and her staff will try to fix it.  The staff includes attorney Harrison (Columbus Short), investigator Abby (Darby Stanchfield), attorney Quinn (Katie Lowes) and ex-CIA and Black Ops Huck (Guillermo Diaz).  Olivia was White House press secretary after she and White House Chief of Staff Cyrus (Jeff Perry) helped get Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III (Tony Goldwyn) elected President.  Cyrus brought her in when Fitz was losing in the primaries.  Olivia fixed the campaign, humanized Fitz, created warmth between him and his wife Mellie (Bellamy Young) and fell in love with Fitz in the process.  Abby has an on-again, off-again relationship with US Attorney David Rosen who was a friendly rival of Olivia's until they faced off over Quinn on trial for murder and David was clearly win the case until somehow, at the last moment, the case was tossed.

If it seems like we're going slowly, we are.  See Scandal's not just the success story of fall 2012, it's also providing quality story telling.  We waited for that to get noted last week.

But, of course,  we waited in vain.  Because?

Because Scandal stars a woman, because the show runner is a woman (Shonda Rhimes), probably because Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes are both African-American.

On the left, a woman has to work twice as hard to get half the recognition of a man.  The boyz and their female pets pretend like it's not so but check any left publication, any left broadcast show, you'll find men, men and more men.  The tokens know to keep their mouths shut and not rock the boat.

Take ridiculous Eve Ensler of the talking vagina fame.  She's just written another column about rape.  And she was deployed last fall to go after then-US House Rep Todd Akin last fall over the topic of rape.  But Ensler never said one word as two women, who may have been raped by Julian Assange, were demonized and attacked.  See, Todd Akin is a Republican.  So his words about rape warranted him being called out by Token Eve.   Julian Assange is the patriarchal left's glitter dream boy.  Eve knew to stay silent.  Eve Ensler, the original appendage, how aptly named.

In the Bully Boy Bush years, you saw this repeatedly at websites like BuzzFlash, for example.  It was time for the 'arts.'  So they'd link to this song against war (or 'against' war -- some were mighty weak) by this man or that man and ignore women completely.  If a TV show was seen as 'male' (The Practice, for example), they'd link to some passionate courtroom speech and applaud like crazy while ignoring ER's anti-war storyline or ignoring similar work to The Practice (if not better) being done on Judging Amy.  See Judging Amy and ER skewed female.

Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty is a film, a very good film.  The attacks on it?  We could dismiss it as differences of opinion in some cases and what happens when the uneducated try to do film criticism in other cases.  But these are attacks from the patriarchal left.  These attacks are about gender as surely as repeatedly refusing to applaud women are about gender.

The patriarchal left (which really is the left) isn't interested in women unless women can be used as a tool to beat up on their political enemies.

Which is how we get the silence on Scandal.

Back in December,  Huck was grabbed under the Patriot Act.  Last week, viewers found out what happened, Huck was taken to the Pentagon where he was tortured and beaten.  The scenes around that, the battles around that, were as riveting as the torture was horrifying.

When David Rosen first showed up to monitor the questioning, he was shocked by what was taking place.

David Rosen: He hasn't answered any of our questions yet.

US Government Official: He will.  They always do.  Eventually, they always do.

David Rosen: I'm just wondering about -- it really looks like he can't take much more of the water boarding, the interrogating.  And I'm wondering if maybe we want to do a little less interrogating and start thinking about his civil rights?  I'm a US Attorney, gentlemen.  I represent the United States of America.  The United States of America is in this room with you so you need to watch how you treat the prisoner on American soil.

US Government Official: I represent the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act and all the men and women who ever fought for your right to stand in this room with your glasses and your briefcase and to spout your crap.  We're not on American soil.  This is not America.  This is the Pentagon.  And that is an enemy combatant.  Son, I represent the United States, you understand?  The United States of America is in the room with you.  Your a guest here.  Shut your mouth.

For the Glenn Greenwald set -- light on facts, quick on judgment -- showrunner Shonda Rhimes must be endorsing torture!  According to those losers, portraying torture is wrong unless you have Rocky or Bullwinkle rush onscreen to declare, "Hey, boys and girls, torture is wrong.  And you should never ever torture.  Not a teacher, not a friend, not a stranger.  Torture is wrong."  Then you have the red-headed woman from Kids In The Hall run towards the camera and insist, "It's a fact!"

If you don't do those things, if you attempt to trust that the audience can find their own way, the patriarchal left insist you've endorsed torture.

It didn't endorse torture.  Rosen was plagued with guilt over what was taking place and sought advice from his boss who basically told him to shut up.  Though ordered not to talk about it, he went to Olivia Pope who he knew would be the one to figure out how to end it.

And she did, enlisting the aid of the acting president Sally Langston (Kate Burton) which allowed David to return to the Pentagon.

David Rosen:  Hello gentlemen.

Government Official:  Where the hell do you think you're going?

David Rosen:  Me?  I'm not going anywhere but you all might want to pack it in because fellas you're back on American soil. (handing a paper to CIA Interrogator) By executive order, this man is to be released.

CIA Interrogator: What?

David Rosen:  President Sally Langston has ordered that you stop torturing this United States citizen and let him go immediately.

Torture didn't work, torture wasn't going to work, a point Olivia made to the White House.

We searched in vain on World Can't Wait's website to see some applause for Shonda Rhimes.  We didn't see any.  They're happy to attack Kathryn Bigelow and Bigelow's film but they're happy to promote the pro-torture Homeland (because it's made by a man).   Some want to pretend it's not about gender.

But with the patriarchal left, it's always about gender.

On a recent press junket, Shonda Rhimes told reporters she didn't like Scandal being called a "guilty pleasure" because that implied that it was a bad show.  She's right about that but take a moment to ask yourself which shows get labeled "guilty pleasures"?

It's shows that skew women that get labeled that.

That tells you a great deal about the term and the gender bias.

Shonda Rhimes is overseeing a richly textured show, why should a show so filled with layers be considered less than some tired, sexist offering on AMC?

As we noted earlier, Olivia and President Grant became an item during the campaign.  She left the White House to end the affair.  That didn't quite take.  The start of the affair was only one story Rhimes chose to reveal in season two. 

That's also when we learned that Olivia, Cyrus, Mellie, Supreme Court Justice Verna Thornton (Debra Mooney) and lobbyist Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry) conspired to get Fitz into the White House with a plot which included vote rigging via electronic voting machines. 

The plot to assassinate Fitz meant that the vote rigging scandal had to go to the backburner.  Verna was the one to figure out that Hollis was behind the assassination attempt.  That prompted Nellie, Thursday night, to forge Fitz's signature on a letter stating he was ready to be re-instated as president.  Only problem is, since being shot, Fitz had yet to awaken.  After Nellie's set this plan in motion -- she couldn't let Hollis run the country via Sally Langston, Cyrus and Olivia had little choice but to help her create the appearance that Fitz had recovered.  They maintained the charade even as Langston grew ever more suspicious, even as they tried to catch the assassin, even as Olivia stood firm against her lover, Senate Majority Leader Edison Davis (Norm Lewis) who demanded to see the president.

And then Mellie started to unravel, unsure of how long she could keep up the pretense.  Olivia let her have it, "Mellie, you need to pull it together.  You have one job: You're holding off Sally.  I'm doing everything else  so get a grip."  In fairness to Mellie, she's also in the last months of her pregnancy and probably would have preferred to have confided in anyone other than Olivia (she knows of the affair Olivia and Fitz had).

But Olivia truly was dealing with a lot.  The quieter scenes in the episode revolved around Cyrus and his husband James (Dan Bucatinksy) who are fighting and hoping to adopt.  Where is the promised baby, James wants to know?  Cyrus wants to know why James hasn't quit his job like they agreed he would?

A quiet moment for Olivia?  In her office having Quinn wanting to know why Hollis hasn't been arrested, why Olivia's covering for him when he ordered the hit on the president and, Quinn says, killed her boyfriend and others and tried to kill her?  What's going on?

For Olivia, that qualifies as a quiet moment.

For show runner Shonda Rhimes, this should qualify as satisfaction.  Scandal is a hit and it's also a first-rate riveting drama that doesn't shy away from the tough or the topical.  If she takes some time today, her birthday, to survey the landscape, we hope she realizes how much she's changed television.  She's not gotten the praise she deserves, not even half the praise she deserves -- and that's a true scandal.

The real War on Women

sausage fest

Occupy Unmasked (Ava and C.I.)

You can blame it on Michael Tracey.  We do.

When Jim told us that readers were e-mailing to note that Netflix had a documentary for streaming, Occupy Unmasked, and suggested that we review it, we gave a 101 reasons why we weren't going to.  Jim had his own little trump card.  He handed us this review by Michael Tracey for The Nation magazine.

The film he briefly reviewed puzzled us.  Tracey seemed more interested in Mark Cuban than he did in the film.  If the documentary was as pointless as Tracey insisted, than why would Cuban have bankrolled it?

So we watched.

We'd recommend Occupy Unmasked, the first 42 minutes, be shown to political science and sociology classes.

This portion is of interest for a number of reasons.  It contains what Tracey labeled a "slur" against Occupy.  As part of the patriarchal left, Tracey feels comfortable writing, "Owing to a few terribly unfortunate (and isolated) incidents of sexual assault at Occupy sites  . . ."  As opposed to what?  The many wonderful (and widely dispersed) incidents of rape?

We're sorry to be the ones to tell you this, Michael Tracey, but one case of rape is one case too many.  And blaming the rapes you will allow happened on "homeless people" seems far from liberal to us.

We'd recommend Tracey's article be distributed to the classes watching the first 42 minutes.

And we'd recommend a full class be devoted to discussing both.

Can the right and the left ever communicate?

Ever honestly communicate?

More and more, our identity is solely feminist.

We're so sick of the lies from the two sides.  We're tired of their distortions, their half-truths, their attempts to gain recruits via trickery.

When Occupy Unmasked deals with those topics, the film is at its strongest.

Let's start with a disclosure on sites.  Michael Tracey insults someone because they were "only at Zucotti Park twice" so let's note we visited the NYC site only three times.  We visited the DC site more than that, we were at the Bay Area sites many times,  LA at least five times and various other Occupy sites.

The film starts by noting a cabal of professional communicators working to plan and orchestrate the 'spontaneous' and 'leaderless' Occupy.   The first move is to get people into Zucotti Park and this is important because the occupying has started and the turn out is small.  So what to do?  Lie.   The organizers spread false rumors that Radiohead will be giving a free concert.  Occupy starts with a lie.

The film makes the charge that the movement or 'movement' refuses to make demands because they don't want to be specific in order to appeal to a broad-base of people -- possibly even those still hanging around for that free Radiohead concert?

Well Occupy did refuse to make demands, even when people like Cindy Sheehan tried to urge them to make demands.  They ended looking like idiots as a result.  And their brief moment of fame came and went and they accomplished nothing.

They still think they'll come back.  Every other week, there's some incoming e-mail about how Occupy is just about to be back.

But it probably won't.  It wasn't a genuine event.  It was created around a lie and though many people participating wanted a real movement, the leaders in the shadows refused to allow it to become one.

Why is that?  The left doesn't want to get honest but they do want to insist that Occupy Unmasked is false.

Malcolm Harris was the liar with the Radiohead rumor.  He thinks it's funny to this day.  No, it's really not funny.  It was dishonest and, if you're a Radiohead fan and you did go to Zuccotti Park to see them, this lie was especially not funny.  The documentary notes he is friends with Natasha Lennard who was writing for The New York Times (freelancer).

Occupy Unmasked charges that she (and others) wanted to get arrested for storming the Brooklyn Bridge (in yet another pointless action).  Lennard disputes this claim to Tracey and states, "Expressing interest in and support for Occupy, as I did, is one thing.  But it seems Occupy Unmasked charges I actively and personally planned illegal acts -- an outrageous and provably fales claim indeed."

What's true, indeed, is that her employer was not aware she gave "support for Occupy."  We spoke on the phone to a Times editor about this comment and were told the paper would not have her covering Occupy if they'd known of her connection to Harris or that she was supporting Occupy.  "She was paid to report and part of reporting is to ensure no conflict of interest."

As she and Tracey rush to insist she did nothing illegal, they ensure that the the world knows (if they're paying attention) that she did something highly unethical.  (Lucky for her, she currently works for the ethic-free Salon.)

If you're a journalist, and Michael Tracey fancies himself as one, you might be alarmed by what Lennard's quote revealed.

But for Tracey, the 'review' is a mission to tear the documentary apart.

Everyone talks around each other, no one communicates directly.

Andrew Brietbart is dead.  He appears in the documentary and was one of the producers.  We're sure he had many friends on the right but, based on this documentary, he was no friend to truth.

We didn't call him a liar.

We said he wasn't a friend to truth.  Pretend for a moment that every word uttered in the documentary is 100% truth, okay?  Pretend especially that all Brietbart utters is truth.  Even allowing for that, he's no friend of truth.

He's loud and the vocal equivalent of a neck roll and a snap.  It's not cute.  And when he gets really loud, you have to wonder, does he think people can't hear him?

He's also not a friend of the truth as a result of the documentary.

The first 42 or so minutes make an argument.   You can agree with it in full or in part or not at all.  But there is an argument being built.  Then it's time to go to the sixties and to offer all this nonsense.  We are not of the Cult of St. Barack but we couldn't get behind any of the charges in the second and third sections of the film.  (When we say "second and third sections of the film," we are not referring to act two and act three.  We know film structure -- we're not idiots like Glenn Greenwald.  We are referring to the second and third segment as labeled onscreen in the film.)  And when the documentary wants to make a big fuss over Barack using the 'words of occupy' by showing film of the President of the United States using the term "fair" and speaking of the need for fairness, it's gone off the rails.  Regardless of who is in the White House, Americans expect that the president will speak of the importance of fairness -- that's a core US value. 

In the first 42 minutes, you had a film.  You could have released it at that length or given more examples and more discussion of events in those first 42 minutes.

Instead, we're off on something else completely.

The film makers would probably argue, "It's all connected."  That is, after all, the case they make.  'These are stunts by the left and it's ripping the country apart,' seems to be the thrust of that argument, and here's where these things started.' 

But that's not what makes Occupy Unmasked work as a film when it does work.

In moments when it's actually making a point, it's not a political point.  It works -- as muckraking always does -- by puncturing holes in the myth and exposing the truth.

It was a complete violation of journalism ethics for Natasha Lennard to have covered Occupy.  Hypocrisy exposed is where the documentary works.  That includes 'peaceful' people making threats -- whether against the police or against people they disagree with.  That especially includes Ted Hall.

Hall shows up -- and we thought he was a woman -- screaming in a high voice as he cursed about the people who had things.  Ted Hall, as Drew Grant (New York Observer) has explained, is a wealthy trust fund baby.  Occupy Unmasked could have amounted to an interesting argument that, hopefully, people from all over the political spectrum could find worthy of debate and discussion.  But instead it loses focus as it tries to make historical links and create an indictment against the left and left actions for the last fifty or so years.  The film makers believe they have established connections that just aren't there.  As a result, they weaken their own film.

How did it happen?

There's the irony or the karma.  They had a few examples of the hypocrisy in Occupy that could have been used to make a strong argument regarding Occupy.  Instead, they over-reached and were willing to be less than factual and less than honest.  A documentary calling out half-truths and untruths becomes submerged in the same mire and the reason is information takes a back seat to indoctrination.  At some point, the left and the right are going to have to get honest about exactly how much alike they really are.

Tuckered out by equality?


That's US President Barack Obama glad-handing with Chuck Hagel as John Brennan, Michael Morrell and Leon Panetta look on.  (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Some defenders of Barack's lousy Cabinet picks of late insist it's not fair to criticize him for sidelining women.  Look what he did, the cheerleaders insist, in his first term!

He didn't do that much.

The Cabinet wasn't half men, half women.

And eqaulity is not something you strive for once.

His first term doesn't mean crap today.  It's four years later.  The Cabinet, the top positions, should be a lot more diverse than they were four years ago.

The excuses are truly something to behold.  Barackapologist Mike Brzezinski insisted Thursday morning on MSNBC that his picks didn't matter because he was an African-American man.  The excuses are getting as tired as Barack's inability to strive for equality.

TV: Screw Little Mika

At its sassiest you-go-girl moment last week, The Atlantic heaped praise on Little Mika Brzezinski, daughter of a War Criminal, for saying Joe Scarborough was "being chauvinistic."  We're all supposed to be offended for Little Mika and join the notoriously sexist Atlantic magazine in chewing out Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

When The Atlantic pretends to care about sexism, you know something else is really going on.

Exactly what was going on?

Cedric and Wally were all over it mid-week with (joint-post) "Tap tap?" and "THIS JUST IN! HE KEEPS TAPPING" and  (joint-post) "He wants to build a better Cabinet" and  "THIS JUST IN! CABINET PLANS!."  As they made clear, it's a sausage-fest in Barack's second administration Cabinet.  A White House photo also made that clear.

 sausage fest

 The press began to notice.

 David Nakamura (Washington Post) reported:

President Obama brought his top Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency chiefs together Monday with their potential replacements, and some critics noticed one thing that stood out: Each of them was a white man.
Obama, who made women’s issues a core of his reelection bid, has nominated men to serve in three of his most prominent national security positions, including secretary of state, where Sen. John F. Kerry (D) was named last month to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton. The president on Monday announced former senator Chuck Hagel for the defense job and counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan to head the CIA.

Annie Lowrey (New York Times) followed with:

In an Oval Office meeting on Dec. 29, 11 of President Obama’s top advisers stood before him discussing the heated fiscal negotiations. The 10 visible in a White House photo are men. 
In the days since, Mr. Obama has put together a national security team dominated by men, with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts nominated to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as the secretary of state, Chuck Hagel chosen to be the defense secretary and John O. Brennan nominated as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Given the leading contenders for other top jobs, including chief of staff and Treasury secretary, Mr. Obama’s inner circle will continue to be dominated by men well into his second term. 

Now you're getting it, right?  Joe was making excuses for Barack's failure to nominate women, Mika objected to the sexism and chaos ensued on Morning Joe, right?

Wrong.  Mike was the apologist and excuser for Barack -- as always.  And the segment was a typical cable segment.  If you're not getting that, let's switch over to today's Situation Room with Candy Crowley (CNN).

CROWLEY: We are back with Michael Scherer, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times. So, switching gears here. There is a lot made about the president's latest picks in the cabinet: Jack Lew, Senator Hagel, Senator Kerry in key positions here -- Treasury, Defense, State Department. It's something that your colleague, Congressman Rangel said about the lack of diversity in the cabinet thus far. I'm sorry. This is -- yeah, he said, :it's embarrassing as hell," his words. "We've been through all of this with 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And we were very hard with Mitt Romney with the women binder and a variety of things. And I kind of think there's no excuse with the second term." He just talking about when are all these -- and there was a White House cabinet picture, a photo that went out. And it was kind of astonishing in its white male variety. First of all, does it matter? 

CUMMINGS: It does matter. I think women are very, very -- it's very important that we have women in the cabinet. It's important that we have women in the congress. I would hate imagine the congress without women, to be frank with you. But I think it's a little bit early, Candy. I really do. You know, he has the EPA position to fill. Governor Solis at Labor and Commerce. He has to fill. I think if we just wait maybe a week or two, I can almost promise you we won't even be having this discussion. 

CROWLEY: No offense, but as you know, State, Defense, Treasury. I mean, that's the -- those are the crown jewels of the cabinet, are they not? 

BLACKBURN: The president passed over a very well qualified woman, Michelle Flournoy, who was kind of the next in the cue, if you will, for defense and went with Chuck Hagel. And I know -- I've got friends that are for him and against him. But, Candy, the thing is, there was a woman who would have been the best person for the job. And why did he step over her? It would have been a historic choice. And I think there are a lot of people who are disappointed in that.

Did you notice there were 4 guests and only one was a woman.  That's disgusting.  And that's how it was on Morning Joe today -- only Katty Kay, the sole female guest for that segment, was present via TV monitor while 3 men sat around the table with Mika and Joe.

That's the chat & chew casting stereotype.  Today on NBC's Meet The Press, the roundtable only included one woman as well, Andrea Mitchell.

Andrea Mitchell:  Let me just say that was a White House photo. That picture was taken by the president's photographer, and that indicated who was around him when he was dealing with the fiscal cliff negotiations. That’s what that picture represented. At the highest levels of the White House and in the cabinet you have men and they are white men. Now, the numbers, we can play the numbers game, but as another Democratic president said during a transition in 1992, "You bean counters, you women's groups who are, you know, counting heads, I'm going to fill these jobs." But they were at lower levels. The fact is that men help elect the president. Women voted for the president in the greatest numbers, but the men on his team were the predominant people. You have two women who are the White House deputy chiefs of staff --- Nancy -- Ann DeParle is leaving this week -- but two women, and neither of them are being mentioned in any of these trial balloons to replace Jack Lew. And that’s why women, including the women in the White House, I've got to tell you, I wrote a story about this this week, and I did not get one complaint. I get lots of complaints from the White House about things that I say and do. And, you know, sometimes it's correct, sometimes I have to correct something, but not one person, and I have talked to several people inside the White House, women, and they said, "No, we didn't have any problem with what you wrote about this week." The women are not happy. 

And so we're back to Mika.  Apologizing for Barack yet again.  On the wrong side of the debate as always.

Why the hell should any feminist defend Mika?

She shouldn't.

Mika's not only on the wrong side of the issue, she's on the wrong side of women.

You want to tap into Girl Power?  You better first throw a little in.

Meaning Little Mika just finished her fourth year (last month) as co-host of Morning Joe.  She's done nothing in those four years to increase women's presence or demand that a female regular be seated at the table.  She's been happy to play the idiot and the token.

There is no defense of Little Mika because she hasn't bothered to defend women.  We understand why it went down the way it did last week.

For Mika to call out Barack for failing to do for women?  That would force her to face how little she's done for women on Morning Joe.  

Instead of addressing that, it was much easier for The Atlantic and so many other sexist publications to distract and divert attention.  The real problem was and remains women like Mika who do nothing to help other women get a seat at the table.

It takes a fat turncoat

When a gender-based attack is launched, it's really important that you have some window dressing to hide behind, a skirt to skirt the charges of misogny.  Enter everyone's favorite turncoat Naomi Wolf. 

feminist naomi wolf

(Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "'Feminist' Naomi Wolf speaks.")

Wolf's attention-seeking behavior was always present but probably most noticeable when she used The New Republic to 'go to war' with another woman.  While feminists avoided giving the woman attention, avoided even saying her name, Naomi was happy to.

Because it wasn't about feminism.  It was about trying to grab attention.

And the back-and-forth exchanges in the centrist and woman-unfriendly New Republic in the early 90s did get Wolf attention.  Mainly, she received attention for a loose grasp of facts and poor reasoning.  She made herself a public spectacle and a joke.

At one point, she sneered her foe was "the nipple-pierced person's Phyllis Schlafly who poses as a sexual renegade but is in fact the most dutiful of patriarchal daughters."  Wolf was, in fact, describing her own path, the end result of her long journey into public ridicule.

The most dutiful of patriarchy's daughters is Naomi Wolf.  She earned that title when she mocked women who might have been raped, when she held them up to ridicule, when she refused to correct her error-plagued attack on them.  She did all of that in the service of patriarchy.

It was a sick left patriarchy but it was still patriarchy.

For every woman who challenged sexism across the board, there's at least ten Naomi Wolfs who rush in with the intent of ensuring that their pet left male not be challenged on his sexism.

She continues to serve that sick left patriarchy.

Which explains why she joined the attacks on Kathryn Bigelow and Bigelow's film Zero Dark Thirty.

It actually is a good thing Naomi joined in the attacks.  Although we'd noted it was a gender-based attack, many wanted to pretend it was about a film.  Naomi's glorified slam book post isn't about a film.  It's a pompous little girl, not popular enough for obvious reasons, writing in a slam book.

It's most laughable when Naomi huffs:

Then, there is the James Frey factor. You claim that your film is "based on real events", and in interviews, you insist that it is a mixture of fact and fiction, "part documentary". "Real", "true", and even "documentary", are big and important words. By claiming such terms, you generate media and sales traction – on a mendacious basis. There are filmmakers who work very hard to produce films that are actually "based on real events": they are called documentarians.

"They are called documentaries."  Oh, go write about your vagina again, Naomi, you almost knew something about that. 

Film publicity is what Naomi's taking on today.  Look for her next to write a 'personal letter' to  Jason Voorhees decrying the fact that Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter wasn't, in fact, the final chapter or maybe to take on Photoplay for those articles claiming William Eythe just hadn't met the right girl yet.

Feminist Majority Foundation salutes Hilda Solis

hilda solis
Repost from the  Feminist Majority Foundation.
For Immediate Release:
January 11, 2013
Kari Ross
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation and Feminist Majority
Statement on the Departure of Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
The Feminist Majority Foundation and Feminist Majority salute Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, the first Latina to head a major federal agency, for her outstanding accomplishments in fighting for women workers and for all workers.  Solis' leadership was especially important at a time when the United States was facing the worst recession since the Great Depression and women workers were, for the first time, roughtly one-half of the nation's paid workforce.  She brought a unique Latina, feminist, environmentalist and union perspective to the Department.  Secretary Solis made sure women workers were not forgotten as she worked to fight for and support policies to create more jobs.  Never forgetting her own roots, she found passion for, believed in, and valued the common people and their struggles for advancement as well as the importance of the union movement for build the middle class.  
Secretary Solis was always on the front lines fighting for women workers.  She reinvigorated the Women's Bureau, reached out to women's organizations fighting to increase employment opportunities for women and expanded funding for community colleges that service millions of low income women.  In funding programs at community colleges, the Labor Department, as Solis has stated, expanded "employer-specific" job training for millions of people and "transformed" community colleges into an "engine of economic growth."
Ms. Magazined heralded Secretary Solis' appointment with a headline "New Sheriff in Town; the First Latina to Head Labor will Enforce Fair Treatment for all U.S. Workers."  She did exactly that.  The Labor Department, under her leadership, enforced federal contract compliance regulations and wage and hour regulations protecting workers, especially women, people of color, low income individuals, and retirees.  The Department Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs conducted an impressive number of investigations and collected a record amount of back wages for workers who had been denied overtime and leave benefits as well as pay owed them by their employers.  Moreover, the Labor Department under Solis recorded some $5 billion for retirees and their families.
Solis, a role model for equal employment, practiced what she preached.  She recruited and hired women and people of color to top leadership positions in the Department, including her chief of staff, chief economists, and as leaders of top bureaus, agencies and programs of the department.  Solis, in very difficult times, revived and greatly strengthened the Department of Labor's legacy for improving workers' rights and economic justice.  The Feminist Majority and Feminist Majority Foundation look forward to supporting her in new capacities as she continues her work and passion for working women and men as well as economic and social justice.

Ramsey Clark (Diedre Sinnott, Workers World)

This is a repost from Workers World:

Ramsey Clark’s unique contribution to human rights

By on January 9, 2013 » Add the first comment.

Ramsey Clark
Ramsey Clark
As assistant attorney general for the Lands Division, Ramsey Clark played a key role in drafting the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In 1967, Clark was promoted to attorney general, becoming the first to seek the abolition of capital punishment while still in office. He ordered a moratorium on federal executions.
In 1968, Clark declined yet another request by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Two days later, King was assassinated. In the uprisings that ensued, Clark threatened to prosecute Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley if the mayor’s announced “shoot to kill” order was used.
Clark facilitated a permit for an encampment of 3,000 people on the Washington, D.C., Mall to protest poverty. The project was organized by Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign and carried out in the aftermath of his assassination.
Later that year, Clark opposed preventive detention in the lead-up to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. He called the indictment of Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, as part of the conspiracy Chicago 8 trial, a “scandal.”
He and Roy Wilkins investigated the police attack that killed Fred Hampton, the deputy chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party.
While he was attorney general, many people urged Clark to resign in protest of the Vietnam War. But, Clark says, “I believed in all the causes in which I was involved, that [resigning] would have let a lot of people down.”
In 1972, several years after he left office, Clark traveled to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Before going, he told the audience at a NAACP convention that “Martin Luther King told me once that the Vietnam War was a civil rights issue. I couldn’t accept it then, but now I know he was right.”
As a civilian lawyer, Clark represented the Alaskan Indigenous population in its land claims against the federal government. He taught a Howard University course called “Law as an Effective Instrument of Social Change.”
The federal government threatened to prosecute Clark after he traveled to Iran in 1980 during the hostage crisis. He had also been in Iran during the lead-up to the revolution that overthrew the brutal Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi regime.
On April 16, 1986, warplanes took off from Lakenheath AFB, Scotland, and attacked Tripoli while U.S. aircraft carriers shelled Benghazi, Libya. Clark filed lawsuits against the U.S. and British governments. He also opposed the recent U.S.-aided overthrow of the Libyan government.
Clark has traveled to Cuba and called for an end to the U.S.’s brutal economic blockade. He has led delegations to Cuba that brought medications that were in short supply there. He has called for freeing the Cuban Five, a group of men who came to the U.S. to stop counterrevolutionary Cuban exiles from provocations against the island nation.
Clark was part of the call for solidarity with Cuba that resulted in a historic rally organized by the International Action Center in 1992. More than 5,000 people attended the New York City event.
U.S. out of the Middle East
In 1990, Clark helped form the National Coalition to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East. He traveled to Iraq in a delegation with boxer Muhammad Ali and others, then returned to Iraq in February 1991, while the U.S. was conducting 3,000 bombing sorties a day against that country.
In 1992, Clark convened the Commission of Inquiry for an International War Crimes Tribunal. The resulting report called for the formation of an organization to organize against U.S. interventions. That led to the founding of the International Action Center in 1992. In subsequent years, Clark led three large delegations to bring much-needed medicine to Iraq.
Clark has led the international IAC campaign to ban U.S. use of depleted uranium, a radioactive toxic weapon that has been implicated in Gulf War Syndrome and an increase in cancers in Iraq. Depleted uranium is also an issue in Vieques, Puerto Rico, where such weapons were extensively tested.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Clark led demonstrations to stop the buildup to war against Afghanistan. He was instrumental in leading the massive protests organized by the ANSWER Coalition, which the IAC was a founding member of, against the ongoing “war on terror.”
For 30 years, Clark was the attorney in the U.S. for the Palestine Liberation Organization. In 2011 he led a solidarity delegation to Gaza.
Solidarity missions
Time and again, Clark has jumped on a plane to show solidarity with people who have been targeted by the Pentagon, whether in Grenada, Yugoslavia or Syria. He has led IAC fact-finding delegations to Colombia; to Chiapas, Mexico, to meet with the Zapatistas; twice to Yugoslavia during the U.S./NATO bombings; and to Sudan after the U.S. bombing of a pharmaceutical plant there.
During the Ronald Reagan/CIA war against the Sandinista government, Clark led a delegation to Nicaragua. Clark and Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, the Nicaraguan foreign minister from 1979 to 1990, became colleagues in the struggle to stop the anti-communist Contras, a U.S.-financed proxy army, and their death squads.
Clark supported the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador’s struggle for independence from a Washington-backed military junta. He has traveled to Venezuela and met with President Hugo Chávez, and made visits to Bolivia and Ecuador.
Clark has supported the reunification of Korea and has been involved with the defense of Jose Maria Sison, a leader-in-exile of the Philippine struggle. Recently, Clark testified at three trials against U.S. drone wars near the bases in the U.S. from which drone missions are operated.
In 2008, Clark received the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.

Articles copyright 1995-2013 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.

"You believe in equality or you don't" -- most popular highlight as requested by readers of this site.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Curse of Chuckie" -- Barry loves Chuckie.

"Soap operas," "revenge," "Cougar Town on TBS Tuesday night,"   "The Good Wife,"  "Whitney returns,"  "Whitney rediscovers funny," "The return of Whitney,"  "Abortion on TV" and "Fringe: The Boy Must Live" -- Betty, Rebecca, Stan, Ann, Marcia, Trina and Mike cover TV.

 "Bernanked" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Major news" -- Ruth on JFK.

"Zero Dark Thirty and the shameful Center for Constitutional Rights" and "An insightful review of Zero Dark Thirty" -- Kat and Marcia call out the nonsense.

"The awards" -- Stan on the Oscar nominees.

"Bradley gets a sentencing credit (if he gets sentenced)," "Adrian Lamo is a sick f**k" and "Bradley should have walked today" -- Bradley Manning coverage in the community.

"It's so Glenn-Glenn" and "THIS JUST IN! LOOK WHO SUPPORTS HIM!" -- by the company you keep . . .

"I smell Podesta" -- Elaine on why it sucks so bad.

"Fire With Fire" -- Ann offers a movie review.

"The lack of leadership today" -- Trina on the cowardly 'leaders.'

"Coaches and their students?" -- Marcia explains the basics.

 "Doomsday and Zombie Planet" and "stampeding dolphins, whales breathing through hole in the ice, ..." -- Betty and Rebecca explore the planet.

"Pandemic" and "Social disease" -- Ruth and Kat on diseases.

"Can they take your blood without your permission?" -- Michael calls out police taking blood samples.

 "He's got a jam!" and "THIS JUST IN! BARRY PARTY ON THE FLOOR!" -- party party.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }