Sunday, April 07, 2013

Truest statement of the week

Those who doggedly challenge the orthodoxy of belief, who question the reigning political passions, who refuse to sacrifice their integrity to serve the cult of power, are pushed to the margins. They are denounced by the very people who, years later, will often claim these moral battles as their own. It is only the outcasts and the rebels who keep truth and intellectual inquiry alive. They alone name the crimes of the state. They alone give a voice to the victims of oppression. They alone ask the difficult questions. Most important, they expose the powerful, along with their liberal apologists, for what they are.

-- Chris Hedges, "The Treason of the Intellectuals" (Truthdig).

Truest statement of the week II

If there is anything worse than the United States destruction of Iraq and the killing of one million people, it is the fact that this crime has gone largely unreported. Most Americans don’t know very much about the invasion and occupation for the simple reason that the corporate media didn’t tell them much of anything important about it. Media consolidation into ever larger corporate conglomerates, and political subservience to big money guaranteed that only those Americans intrepid enough to seek out their own sources of news know about the degree of horror their government brought to the Iraqi people.
They don’t know that shells and missiles made of depleted uranium have poisoned Iraq’s air and water and that it was first used in the Gulf War of 1991. They don’t know that thousands of Iraqi children were killed when sanctions prevented them from getting food and medicine. They don’t know about the city of Fallujah and how it was destroyed by United States forces in 2004.
A campaign to “pacify” this city began after U.S. military contractors were killed there in 2003. In April and then in November of 2004 the city was decimated by a campaign meant to destroy popular resistance. The U.S. military attacked Fallujah’s hospitals in order to prevent the international media from seeing the carnage they had produced. Civilians trying to flee were turned back or even killed and soldiers cut off supplies of water and electricity. Mark77 firebombs, a variant of napalm, and white phosphorus, a weapon which melts skin and bone, were used during the attacks. All of these ghoulish concoctions are banned by international law and so is using collective punishment against a civilian population. 

The result of the use of depleted uranium and other weapons is a rate of genetic damage higher than that of any other population ever studied. Rates of cancer, leukemia, and infant mortality are higher in Fallujah than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after they were bombed with nuclear weapons in 1945. 

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Hidden War Crimes in Iraq" (Black Agenda Report).

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?

Two weeks in a row, Chris Hedges gets a truest.
Margaret Kimberley's had a truest before but you have to go back a bit.
Please read C.I.'s "Hejira" that just went up.  The stuff we covered in this editorial? is STILL not aware of it.  It's really past time that supposed 'independent' outlets stopped replying on AFP, et al and started relying on Iraqi media.  They wouldn't look as uninformed if they did that.
Ava and C.I. knew they were going to write about Happy Endings, they just didn't know how they'd write about it this time.  I (Jim) think the readers will love this.
When Madeline Kahn was a guest on The Carol Burnett Show, she did one of "The Family" skits.  "The Family" is how Eunice, Ed and Mama were known back then.  In her skit, Madeline played an actress -- who'd been in the film Catwoman From Mars -- who lets Eunice be in a local play (after Eunice buys 200 tickets) and they act out the scene from Mary Queen of Scots where "A bastard profanes the English throne" appears.  That's what made us think of it.
Nope, the BBC didn't give a damn about the protests in Iraq on Friday.
We roundtable on a number of items.
Joan Wile reports from the forefront of the efforts to stop The Drone War.

We have a new e-mail address. 

Repost from Workers World.
Mike and the gang wrote this.


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

Editorial: All the things the media keeps forgetting to tell you about Iraq

standing behind mcgurk

In June 2012, the White House claimed they'd stand behind then-nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq Brett McGurk -- apparently because, as Isaiah pointed out, they were afraid to stand in front of him.

Now the sleazy Brett has been sent to Iraq by Barack.  Why?

To announce that the US-brokered Erbil Agreement is no more.

That's big news and it was noted in Iraqi media and in Friday's "Iraq snapshot."

The US-brokered Erbil Agreement is what ended the 2010 political stalemate after 8 months, for those who've forgotten.  It was a contract that outlined a power-sharing government.  The US swore it was legal and binding and that they'd back it up.

Last week Brett McGurk announced the new US-policy: Backing a majority government.

If the Iraqis had wanted a majority government, they would have voted one in.

Then again, if they'd wanted Nouri for a second term as prime minister, they would have voted his State of Law into first place in the 2010 elections.

But they didn't do that either.


They voted Iraqiya into first place.

But Barack Obama took out his tiny penis and pissed all over the Iraqi people, their voters and democracy.  He and his tiny penis wanted Nouri al-Maliki.

The US government's word isn't worth anything in Iraq anymore and you can thank Barack Obama for that.  Democracy was important to Brack . . . until democracy meant that the Iraqi people chose someone other than Nouri to be prime minister.

Look for the same whores who pass themselves off as journalists to ignore this development.  The same way they are ignoring Nouri announcing Friday that he wants early parliamentary elections.  We're not talking about the April 20th provincial elections.  No, he wants to hold parliamentary elections -- currently scheduled for March 2014 -- no later than this coming June.

And those April 20th elections?  He's not letting Anbar or Nineveh vote.  Says it's too dangerous.  Says they'll need six months to calm down sufficiently for voting.  Anbar and Ninveh support Iraqiya.  So if parlimentary elections are moved up to June, do you really think Nouri's going to let them participate?

That's one way to ensure that Iraqiya doesn't beat him again -- refuse to allow their members to vote.

TV: What's happy about early endings?

Happy Endings is a sitcom on ABC that airs . . .  Well when does it air?  Right now it's Fridays.  But there's not another ABC show currently that's been flipped around the schedule more.  In season three alone, Happy Endings has aired on Tuesdays and Sundays and now Fridays.  When a show starts flying all over a network's schedule, that's usually an indication that they're looking to axe it.


Which is why it's good that both USA and TBS are expressing interest in continuing the series should ABC cancel it.  What really surprised us was the homophobia at work trying to destroy the series.

We praised the show from the beginning.  It was a breakthrough show and one that just got funnier each season (we noted the third season greatness at the end of this piece).  The story about six friends includes one gay friend, Max (Adam Pally).  NBC's failed sitcom The New Normal also tried to include gay characters.  For some reason, Ellen Barken felt the need to demonize whole groups of people with Tweets before the show came on ensuring that it would have a very rocky time getting viewers.  We found her remarks stupid and uninformed because her generic hatred for all things conservative failed to grasp that there are Republicans who are pro gay (and Republicans who are gay) as well as Democrats who are homophobic.

For example, we would assume the website The AV Club is a liberal and welcoming site.  But then we read this nonsense from David Sims and we have to wonder:  "There’s a rather sweet kiss between Max and Wilson (I generally approve of such things on network TV, even if Adam Pally is beginning to shoulder an outsized load compared to say, Eric Stonestreet) but apart from that it feels nonsensical. I don’t know why I’m so grumpy about this!"

He's writing about two episodes that aired Friday, specifically the "Bros Before Bros" episode.  In that one, Dave's food truck finds competition when another food truck parks opposite it.  There's intense rivalry.  Turns out the food truck is owned and operated by the father of Max's new boyfriend.  Max is torn.  At the end, the rivarly erupts into a huge food fight and the only thing that stops it is when Wilson (Alex Quijano) and Max kiss.  The kiss, a passionate one, served a plot point.

So why is Sims being so damn snippy?  Why's he such a homophobe?  And exactly why does he have to bring up Eric Stonestreet?  Stonestreet plays Cam, one of the two gay stereotypes Modern Family loves, the other being bitchy Mitch played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson.  David Sims wants Max to be more like Mitch and Cam.  But Mitch and Cam are like most married couples on Modern Family -- driven by their children and lacking in sexual desire.  Even so, Clair and Phil and Jay and Gloria have some sexual desire.  It's just Mitch and Cam that are asexual.

On Happy Endings, characters are sexually active.  That's Penny, that's Dave, that's Brad, that's Jane, that's Alex.  It hasn't been Max this season.

Dave Sims seems to think otherwise.  But the last real kiss we're recalling Max having was when James Wolk was guesting as his boyfriend in season two.  Instead, season three has honestly played like Will and Grace in terms of Max.  He's stepped through hijinx with a new male beside him and, pay attention to the dialogue so you can learn that the two have had sex.  It's the Jack scenes from Will and Grace with everything but Guapo.

Season three has been Max and Penny competing for her physical therapist with both losing. It's been Max finding a guy he likes (episode 8) that he might get involved with (or have sex with) but Jane and Dave are determined to fix him up resulting in the guy Max likes walking out.   It's been Max unsure what type of gay he was and finding a guy he might like at the end of the episode (episode 9).

Though Dave Sims is bent out of shape, this is the first on camera physical contact Max has had all season.  (Episode 15 featured a guy the gang found repulsive -- had a head like a thumb -- that Max slept with when the stress of pretending to be straight for Chicago Bulls ticket got too much for him.  The sex took place off stage and the two never kissed on camera.)

Friday night, in episode 17, Max had his first romantic kiss of the season and that's too much for Dave Sims who admits he doesn't know "why I'm so grumpy about this."  It's obvious: Homophobia.

That's what leads him to compare Max to Cam.  Would you compare Penny (Casey Wilson) to Deborah on Everyone Loves Raymond?  Hell no.  Penny's not married and she's a sexual character.  Why would you compare Max and Cam?  Because they're both gay?  So the issue for Dave Sims is the characters being gay which goes to his homophobia.

Dave Sims might benefit from some self-examination and asking himself why one kiss is one kiss too many?  After he does that, he might want to ask himself what's the 'acceptable' number of same-sex male kisses?  Or why he feels that an asexual couple like Max and Cam should be considered the standard?  Or if the real issue is that he needs his TV gays to be stereotypes and when a groundbreaking character like Max comes along it leaves Dave Sims in a sexual panic?

What Happy Endings leaves us with is aching sides from non-stop laughing.

Season three has taken the humor to another level.  There have been the sight gags -- best the Halloween costumes where they went as the Jacksons and all picked up on Latoya (Dave), the prank schemes -- hilarious ending with Alex (Elisha Cutbert), the mistaken moments -- Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Penny think they've killed Alex's racist parrot Tyler,  the angry get-backs -- Brad getting back at Jane saying he was a trophy wife by playing one at her work, complete with tea cup pet pig Carnitas, and so much more.

It's been a hilarious season.  Instead of spinning wheels, the show's deepened the characters and deepened the laughs.  Every detail matters.  So in the Daniel Chun scripted "Ordinary Extraordinary Love" (episode nine), Penny offers a song she wrote whose lyrics include, "Take a penny, leave a penny."  And in the Jason Berger scripted "Bros Before Bros" (episode 17), her father (Andy Richter) explains he met Stephen Sondheim when he grabbed an umbrella at what he thought was a communal stand "give an umbrella, take an umbrella kind of thing."  And hats off to Beth McCarthy-Miller for her strong direction of episode 5 "P&P Romance Factory."  Brad sliding across the hood of the car in faux sexual excitement was comedy magic.  And the episode with Black Plague: A Love Story hasn't even aired yet.

When the show came on, the strongest were Casey Wilson, Damian Wayans Jr. and Max Pally.  Now days, every one of the six is the strongest.  Zachary Knighton's Dave is among the biggest surprises.  He and the writers have fleshed out the character that a whole episode could track Dave and it would be hilarious.  Alex and Jane (Eliza Coupe) have their own special chemistry -- even in "The Incident" when gearing up to kick the s**t out of each other.

They're all so amazing they should get an ensemble acting Emmy this fall.

And maybe they'd get a bigger audience if ABC wasn't forever moving them around the schedule?  It's as if ABC's whole point is to keep it a secret just how funny and how wonderful this show is.   A happy ending has to be shared to be enjoyed.

A bastard profanes the English throne

As detailed on NPR's Snap Judgment recently, Kim Yong was taken away by North Korean police one day.  They declared his dead father had been a traitor and this crime passes down for three generations.  They beat him and locked him in a tiny cell.  Doing the horrors that can only take place in a non-democratic country, right?


They held him without trial for several years.  They left him nude to humiliate and embarrass him.  Oh wait, that's Bradley Manning and we're talking about America in this paragraph, not North Korea.

To quote from Mary Queen of Scotts, "A bastard profanes the English throne" -- and apparently one does the same in the United States.

Before the start of this century, when people spoke in an informed manner about political prisoners, they did so like J. Soffiyah Elijah (Harvard Blackletter Law Journal), noting, "Many of today's political prisoners were victims of an FBI counterintelligence program called COINTELPRO.  COINTELPRO consisted of a series of covert actions directed against domestic dissident groups, targeting five perceived threats to 'domestic tranquility'."  But that's changed.  Under Barack, when we talk about political prisoners, we're no longer pointing to the supposed long-ago-days of COINTELPRO.

In 2010, Workers World reported on a talk about US political prisoners given by Gloria Verdieu who noted Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Sundiata Acoli, Move 9 Charles, Debbie, Delbert, Edward, Janet, Janine, Michael and William Africa, Cuban Five Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez and Oscar Lopez Rivera, among others.  All detained since before the start of the 21st century.  Verdieu also spoke of one who was imprisoned after Barack Obama became president:

The activist lawyer, Lynne Stewart, was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Mumia's essay entitled, "Punishing Lynn," said, "This outstanding lawyer, a 70-year-old grandmother, who is facing the serious threat of breast cancer, was originally sentenced to two years and four months, but the federal appeals court felt that wasn't enough." 

Why wasn't it enough?  Maybe because Lynne's lifework of being The People's Attorney made her Political Enemy Number One of many in government?  Andrea Bauer (Freedom Socialist Party) offers some history:

On March 10, I spoke by phone with Lynne’s partner, Ralph Poynter. The two met while working at a public elementary school in Harlem in the 1960s, she a young white librarian and he a slightly older Black teacher, a unionist fighting for labor rights and improvements in Black lives.
Lynne’s legal career was spent defending the poor, the outcast, and the targets of the ruling class, from teenagers accused of dealing drugs to Black Panthers and Weather Undergrounders. She believes, as Poynter told me, “We must be consistent in seeking justice for everyone.”
There’s a terrible irony here. While Stewart understands the racist, sexist, and anti-working class nature of the justice system, she fearlessly fights for its supposed principles, like innocent until proven guilty; equality under the law; the right of the accused to a capable, vigorous defense.
And for this the system punished her. 

That's why she fought for so many.

But what about the crime that landed her in prison?

Lynne is guilty of no crime.  She broke no law.  No law can be cited.  She broke an agreement in the Clinton era.  Defending one client, she agreed to a set of rules the Justice Department had come up with.  The Justice Department cannot write or pass laws.  Only Congress can.  When Lynne issued a press release to Reuters, that broke an agreement.  It did not break a law.  Nor could it.  The Free Speech Clause in the First Amendment would make it impossible for a law to be issued denying someone the right to speak.

This was when  Bill Clinton was President.  Janet Reno was Attorney General.  Reno had the Justice Department look into the matter.  They did.  No big deal.  They said, "Lynne, please agree not to do this again."  Lynne said she'd try.

But then the Supreme Court installed Bully Boy Bush who appointed John Ashcroft to be Attorney General.  Instead of addressing the issues of the day, Ashcroft worked on getting Lynne.  The same action from the 90s was used, after 9-11, by Ashcroft to prosecute her.

Invoking 9-11 and holding the trial near Ground Zero, the Justice Department was able to scare up a conviction in February 2005.  Sentencing came in October of 2006: 28 months.

Again, no law was broken.

She was appealing the decision.  And Bully Boy Bush would be leaving the White House.  A new day would be dawning.


Lynne's attorney Jill Shellow told Charlotte Silver (Al Jazeera),  "I had high hopes for [the Obama] administration that have been repeatedly dashed.  I'm extremely disappointed."

Extremely disappointed?

Her attorney should be f**king outraged because things were bad under Bully Boy Bush, they got a lot worse under Barack.

Barack Obama was sworn in as US President in January 2009.  Things changed for Lynne.  They got much worse.  She was no longer allowed to remain on bail while appealing.  In November 2009, she was thrown in prison.  Not only that, under President Obama, the Justice Department went to court to have her 28 months sentence changed to 10 years.  Which did happen in July of 2010.

Barack's political prisoners.  Like Lynne, like Bradley, like John Kiriakou.  The Government Accountability Project has a page entitled Bradley Manning and the New Political Prisoners: Daily Whistleblower News.  That's how bad things are.

And things are really bad for Lynne whose cancer has returned.  There's a thing called "compassionate release."  Lynne not being a threat to anyone should be an automatic for that.  Yet there's been no move on the part of the government to give her a "compassionate release."

As Stephen Lendman (People's Voice) noted last month, "Obama Wants Lynne Stewart Dead:"

Lynne's 73.  She's gravely ill.
Obama killed Chavez.  He wants Lynne dead.  Unjustifiable longterm imprisonment assures it.
She's a breast cancer survivor.  It reemerged.  It's spreading.
She's dying.  Vital life-saving treatment is delayed or denied.  Expert private care can save her.  She needs it now.

Friday on Free Speech Radio News, Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone discussed Lynne's case with Dorian Merina:

Ralph Schoenman:  Her physical health is very poor.  It's a very desperate situation in truth.  When asked on the stand, Dorian, when Lynne was being charged by the state, basically assimilated to the crime ascribed to the person she was defending merely for the act of defending him, was already suffering from breast cancer which was treated and in remission.  But she was scheduled for major surgery at the time that they revoked her bail even though the case was still pending before the courts and arbitrarily railroaded her into prison while she still had the legal right to contest.  And that prevented her from having to schedule surgery which they deliberately delayed, there's no other way to put it, by 18 months.  The consequence of that was, as the surgeon said, she said it was the worst case of she'd ever encountered.

A bastard profanes the American White House.  And shreds the Constitution.  And punishes the people a free society would be applauding.

There is a petition calling for a compassionate release of Lynne due to her health.  Ralph Poynter, her husband, notes:

5,600 and counting! Individuals are reaching out to their friends, family and colleagues. Organizations are reaching out to their members. People throughout the world are joining together in the effort to free Lynne Stewart.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent this Cri de Coeur: “It is devastating, totally unbelievable. Is this in a democracy, the only superpower? I am sad. I will sign. Praying God’s blessings on yr efforts.”
+Desmond Tutu
Pete Seeger declared: “Lynn Stewart should be outa jail!” on a postcard signed “old Pete Seeger” accompanied by a drawing of his banjo.
Your outpouring of support has lifted Lynne’s spirits as she undergoes the ravaging effects of chemotherapy. On March 20, she sent this message to each and every one of you from her seven-person cell in the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, Texas:
“I want you, individually, to know how gratifying and happy it makes me to have your support. It is uplifting, to say the least, and after a lifetime of organizing it proves once again that the People can rise.
“The acknowledgement of the life-political, and solutions brought about by group unity and support, is important to all of us. Equally, so is the courage to sign on to a demand for a person whom the Government has branded with the ‘T’ word — Terrorist. Understanding that the attack on me is a subterfuge for an attack on all lawyers who advocate without fear of Government displeasure, with intellectual honesty guided by their knowledge and their client’s desire for his or her case, I hope our effort can be a crack in the American bastion. Thank you.” — Lynne
Lynne Stewart devoted over 30 years of her life to helping others as a criminal defense lawyer. She defended the poor, the disadvantaged and those targeted by the police and the State. Such had been her reputation as a fearless lawyer, ready to challenge those in power, that judges assigned her routinely to act for defendants whom no attorney was willing to represent.
Now Lynne Stewart needs our urgent help or she may die in prison. Our determination can compel the Bureau of Prisons to file the motion for compassionate release that will free Lynne Stewart.
Check out the Justice for Lynne Stewart website to view the signatories (up to 03/31/13), the postcard from Pete Seeger, Archbishop Tutu’s message as well as Lynne Stewart’s letter back to him, and much more.
Remind your friends to sign the petition and to disseminate it to others. Ask each person to get five people to sign, and each of those five to ask five people of their own. In five stages, you will have reached another 3,000 people!
Ralph Poynter

Photo of the week

From Fallujah من الفلوجة

Friday, protesters in Falluja asked that the "BBC Make the Unmissable, Unmissable!!"  by providing coverage.  But the BBC was apparently too busy to cover the protests.


Yet again.


Jim: It's roundtable time.  As many of you have noted in e-mails, we're long overdue. Our e-mail address is Please note that is a change.  Our e-mail account was hacked some time ago and we created a new one.  Participating our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Reader Gemma writes that two of her "favorite roundtables in the last few years were 'TV Roundtable' and 'Barbie Roundtable' but I really enjoy the grab bag ones too."  Gemma, the grab bag ones result from us knowing we have to do a roundtable and better get started on it right away or we won't have one.  Like right now.   Ty will select e-mails throughout.  Ty?

Ty: I'm selecting from our old account.  After this roundtable, we won't go into it.  'B-b-but it's on so many articles!  It's not fair!'  Waah.  Things change.  I think Mike wrote about it.  But the reality is that we all got hacked awhile back.  You may remember that someone was posting at The Common Ills and The Daily Jot and Cedric's Big Mix.  Not full posts, just a post with a link.  C.I., Cedric and Wally change the passwords to their Blogger accounts regularly -- UK Computer Gurus even send reminders on that.  So they were surprised that someone cracked and kept cracking their passwords.  Then one day, one morning, as C.I. was finishing an entry, it's in there, this December 24th entry, you can read it, she puts in a message to Wally and Cedric, to change e-mail passwords, she figured out while she was writing that this was what was happening, they had hacked the e-mail accounts.  So Wally, Cedric and C.I. changed the e-mail address for their accounts -- I'm referring to they write a post, they e-mail it to an address, it hits blogger and shows up on their page.  And they had no other problems but that's when we started checking out sent boxes and discovered that we'd all been cracked.  There were copies in our sent boxes of e-mails sent that we didn't write.  Mike noted this to a degree at his site where he asked people e-mailing him to e-mail and that's pretty much what everyone's done.  That public account is being kept.  But we're keeping our own e-mail account.  We're just changing it up.  Again, that's the short story for the change.  The e-mail address is now and that's how it's going to be.

Jim: Thank you, Ty.  I want to start with Mike's "F**k Kevin Gosztola"from last week.  Mike explain what's going on with that post.

Mike: Sure.  Kevin Gosztola is a pampered priss who preens when petted.  I'm not a big fan of candy asses.  Bradley Manning leaked to WikiLeaks because of his outrage over counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism -- which has basically merged in the '00s.  Gosztola wrote a very long -- and very boring -- article for The Nation and somehow managed to avoid that reality even after Bradley spoke in court citing those two things.   This is at the core of Bradley's decision.  You can't speak honestly of what he did without including it.

Jess: And Amy Goodman can't speak of it honestly either.  As Ava and C.I. pointed out in "TV: Goody's COIN cover-up" awhile back, she aired BBC Arabic and The Guardian newspapers' James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq -- a documentary about counterinsurgency and she avoids the term and asked that the guest not use the term, changes the topic when the guest does.  This is about the 'liberal class' that Chris Hedges is always indicting including last week.

Jim: How so?

Jess: Harvard's the Carr Center is the home of this madness.  Let's talk about what it is.  C.I. notes it's war on a native people, it's where you try to turn a group against their own, you demonize members of it, in order to defeat them.  And C.I. likes to include Eliot Cohen, a right-winger, speaking honestly and off the cuff in a  Foreign Policy's roundtable on counterinsurgency:

The first thing is just to remind us all, counterinsurgency is a kind of military operation. There's an American style to counterinsurgency; there was a German style to counterinsurgency; there's a Soviet or Russian style to counterinsurgency. It's just a kind of operation that militaries do, and I think particularly in the popular discussion there's this tendency to call counterinsurgency the kind of stuff that's in the manual.
[. . .]
And finally, having played a very modest role in helping get the COIN manual launched, I've got two big reservations about it. Actually three. One is a technical one, which is it underestimated the killing part of counterinsurgency and particularly what Stan McChrystal and his merry men were doing [with special operations]. I think that is a large part of our counterinsurgency success. We killed a lot of the people who needed to be killed, or captured them, and that's not something you want to talk about. You'd rather talk about building power plants and stuff, but the killing part was really important, and I think we have to wrestle with that one because it's obviously problematic. 

Jess (Con't): That's counterinsurgency and that's what Amy Goodman and Kevin Gozsta-alawhatever are covering up.  Because the intellectual, academic finger prints are all over it.

Elaine: Which goes to the co-option of academia, sorry to jump in, Jess.  But C.I., Rebecca and I were calling it out along with many others as late as the 70s.  In one of the best snapshots, C.I. worked in a reporter today who wrote against counter-insurgency in the seventies.  But it is money, it is big money, it is big funding.  That's why War Hags and War Whores like Harvard's Sarah Sewall promote it and propagate it.  And it's why intellectual and ethical cowards like Amy Goodman can't call it out.  Amy Goodman is the greediest of the greedy whores.  She's demonstrated that repeatedly. It really is time for Pacifica to end her bad program.  There is a groundswell building for that because it's become more and more obvious under Barack Obama that Goodman's not about news but just one more whore covering for imperial wars when Democrats are in office.

Jim: Mike?

Mike: I think Jess and Elaine both make good points.  In my piece, I pointed out that The Nation won't call it out.  That's not always been the case.  Back during Vietnam, the magazine could call it out.  Under the cowardly leadership -- or what passes for leadership -- of Katrina vanden Heuvel, they refuse to.  So I allow in my post that The Nation maybe why Kevin doesn't mention counterinsurgency in his article.  But I also point out that to not mention it is dishonest and so that's no excuse.  He shouldn't have written the article if he couldn't be honest.

Betty:  Jim thought this was going to be a quick topic.  When he mentioned it before the roundtable started, he said this would be a few seconds.  I said, "No, it's going to be the whole roundtable."  And that's fine.  Under the strong advocacy of C.I., Ava and Elaine, we have learned over the years about
counterinsurgency and the need to call it out.  I want to drop back a second, to when Bradley Manning spoke in the military court about why he passed on documents to WikiLeaks.  He said, "I felt we were risking so much for people who seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and hatred on both sides.  I began to become depressed at the situation we found ourselves mired in year after year.  In attempting counterinsurgency operations, we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists.  I wanted the public to know that not everyone living in Iraq were targets to be neutralized."  I agree with Mike, it's dishonest to write or talk about Bradley and leave out counterinsurgency.  That is what repulsed and motivated him.

Rebecca: And Betty was right that this is becoming a roundtable on one topic.  But that's fine because it's an important topic.  I'm really appalled by the refusal of so many on the left -- or the libertarians for that matter, the Justin Raimondos and the rest -- to call out counter-insurgency.  What a bunch of chicken s**ts.  Who was it -- Jess?  -- who compared it to Chris Hedges' column indicting liberals who refuse to speak up?  Because that's exactly what it is.  Of course counter-insurgency is wrong.  And yet, we've got a nation of commentators who are scared to speak that truth.  Chicken s**ts and whores, that's all they are.  Stan talked about this before -- much nicer than I'm doing -- about how it didn't take a thing to say counter-insurgency is wrong.

Stan: Right.  I just said that it takes nothing to come out against counter-insurgency.  We might not all be able to speak or write about it as eloquently as C.I., Elaine or Ava but we can all go on the record opposing counterinsurgency.  C.I noted NYU Professor Nicholas Mirzoeff 's[PDF format warning] "War is Culture: Global Counterinsurgency, Visuality, and the Petraeus Doctrine" and in it, he writes, "Counterinsurgency has become a digitally mediated version of imperialists techniques to produce legitimacy.  Its success in the United States is unquestioned: who in public life is against counterinsurgency, even if they oppose the war in Iraq or invasions elsewhere?  War is culture."   And like he asked, who in public life is against counterinsurgency?  So many are so damn scared to call it out even though it's wrong.

Trina: Well during Vietnam, it was called out.  That's why it fell into disrepute.  That's why the military moved away from it.  And it's just really sickening to watch people refuse to denounce it today.  I think the assertion that it has to do with the fact that it's become big money for academia -- not just Harvard but Swarthmore and other institutions -- goes to the silence.  The silence has to end.  It's really amazing because it has been such a huge topic for, for example, Elaine and C.I.  You go to their sites and it has been a non-stop topic for seven years and counting.  But so many cowards are afraid to weigh in.  It's a tool of empire and even those who might denounce empire in the abstract refuse to denounce counter-insurgency.

C.I.: Just to be clear,  I didn't realize it was controversial and for a long time honestly thought there would be additional coverage elsewhere.  There wasn't.  Elaine, in fact, is the one who quickly grasped that Amy Goodman was not going to cover it.  She would have guests on who could discuss it -- Elaine would point this out at her site, and this is when Bully Boy Bush was occupying the White House -- and Goodman would avoid the topic.  There's money to be made there and Amy Goodman's just a trashy whore.  That's why she supported the illegal war on Libya, it's why everyone else has done more to call out The Drone War than she does.  She spends on a lot of time on the faux actions of Barack supporters, idiots like Bill McKibben, and a lot of time distracting.  There is no worse gatekeeper on the left than Goodman.  But what I did had no bravery or thought in it.  I knew Monty McFate as a child, I called her out which might have been 'new' and I called out counterinsurgency which was nothing new or novel or even brave for me based on past experience.  I didn't realize that everything had changed and that it had now infected and taken over academia.

Jim: Okay and on that note, I'll close down the counterinsurgency topic.  Betty was right, it ended up being a huge part of this roundtable.  That wasn't the plan.  Ty, take us to an e-mail.

Ty:  Robyn e-mailed Friday to ask how surprised we were by "Barack's move to take the scissors to Social Security"?

Cedric:  Wally and I covered it Friday morning with "THIS JUST IN! LOOK WHAT THE BITCH DRAGGED IN!" and "Even Helen Keller could have seen it coming."  I don't think we were surprised. I also think Trina's "Catfood Meat Loaf in the Kitchen?" reviewed how obvious it was.  Trina, if I can ask, you were frustrated when you wrote and frustrated with the Cult of St. Barack?

Trina: Yes, I was.  I've had it with making excuses for little kids who think it's more important to believe in Santa Claus than it is to see the truth.

Cedric: Well said. And that's how I feel too.  Stop your fantasies, stop all your crap, we need to look at the world as it is. I'm just not in the mood for the Cult of St. Barack anymore.  They need to grow the hell up.  They are harming the country with their delusions.  Barack made sexist remarks last week and you saw the Cult go into overdrive insisting any criticism of the Blessed Barack was racism.  It's time to end this crap, it's time to end it.  People need to grow the hell up.

Jim: Wally?

Wally: At some point, people are going to look back and ask how this cult leader with an eating disorder destroyed an active left.  And the answer was because so many on the left were willing to be destroyed.  I was talking to an idiot this week.  She didn't come to our talk but showed up afterward because she wanted to meet C.I.  She was asking me to introduce her to C.I. And I asked her if she had a class and had missed the talk but she said she didn't care about politics anymore now that "Bush is out of office" and she went on about how she didn't care about politics.  What an idiot.  Wanting to live in ignorance.

Jim: Wallow in it.  Did you introduce her to C.I.?

Wally: No. I told her we didn't have time.  And gave C.I. a look to let her know, 'avoid the crazy.'  But that's what we're dealing with.  Entitled assholes who think because they grumbled a little in 2006 they've done their part and don't have to pay attention.

Ann: And they think that because they've convinced themselves that Barack's some sort of 'new politician.'  He's the same craven, sell-out we've seen 100 times before, if not worse.

Jim: Okay.  I'm cutting you off, Ann, because Ty's going to bring up another topic from an e-mail and we'll let you and Ruth address that.  Ty?

Ty: Gun control.  We've taken no position on the issue and it's had a lot of people write in.  Some -- like Candy -- are mad about that while others -- like Roy -- are glad.  Ann?

Ann: I'll let Ruth go first because she's actually writing about this at her site.

Ruth: Okay.  Well I am not one for people trying to use a tragedy to push their pet causes.  I am not alone in that and I believe that is why support for stricter gun laws has fallen off.  No one needed Michael Bloomberg, NYC Mayor, for instance, weighing in.  No one needed to here that the answer was to show bloody photos of dead children.  The ones wanting stricter laws ended up looking crazy as they thought they could either buy support or scare people into supporting.  And that is why support has dropped.

Ann: I think Ruth's covered that very well at her site and just now so I'll move over to another aspect.  Where are the damn jobs?  Barack needs to shut his damn mouth about gun control.  I don't give a damn.  I do give a damn about us having jobs in the United States.  He has had four years to focus on it, his entire first term.  And he never did.  Now, in his second term, he's off on immigration and gun control.  He needs to drop both of them, focus on the economy and focus on nothing but the economy until we start seeing major creation in jobs.  That's it, that should his priority.

Dona: Ty's going to do one more question and it's going to go to Kat and Isaiah, then every one will have had the chance to participate.  Ty?

Ty: Bill notes that Roger Ebert died last week and that no site in the community bothered to note it.

Isaiah: I watched Ebert on that TV show with Gene Siskel.  It wasn't really all that entertaining or perceptive.  It did show film clips which was the main reason I watched.  He was another talking head on TV to me.  I'm not trying to be rude, just explaining that his death didn't register with me.

Kat: Roger Ebert offered sexism -- as did Gene Siskel.  He didn't like Bush and he's a Democrat and so we're supposed to be in sackcloth covered in ash apparently.  Spare me the widows weeds.  He was a print journalist whose writing left no impact.  Had he not gotten the TV show, he wouldn't have been known and on the show, again, he and Gene offered sexism nearly every week.  They would offer things like Point of No Return would have been a better film if Bridget Fonda had fondled a gun -- crap like that.  I'm not making that up, that was honestly their suggestion when they 'reviewed' that movie.  Pauline Kael leaves a mountain of work behind her.  She has a legacy.  Ebert has nothing to show for it. I honestly think Leonard Maltin is a stronger reviewer and writer than Ebert.

Jim: That's probably not what Bill was hoping to hear but those are the answers that he got.  This has been a rush transcript.

Joan Wile's "The No Drones Explosion"

As noted in Thursday's snapshot, Wednesday "in NYC, Joan Wile, the author of Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace and one of the Raging Grannies, joined others to protest The Drone War: "  Joan Wile reports on the protest and the need to stand up against The Drone War.  (This is Joan Wile's report, all rights belong to her.) 

THE NO DRONES EXPLOSIONby Joan Wile, author,
Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up For Peace (Citadel Press)
Rockefeller Center No-Drone rally April 3, 2013

I got an idea a few weeks ago --once in a while I would read about these things called drones.  From what I could gather from the sparsity of information about them, they seemed to me to be immoral and vicious.  Not only did it appear that they were very dangerous for people all over the world but it occurred to me that eventually they would prove to be very dangerous to us in the U.S, too.  After all, many countries have the technology already, and some of them might launch them on us.  Although I had quit anti-war activism in late 2012, to which I had devoted myself for nine years since 2003, I decided to come out of retirement and have a rally opposing these indiscriminately-deployed nasty weapons.  I settled on Wednesday, April 3.  It was the kick-off event to what is billed as April Days of Action, which is planning anti-drone events all over the U.S. throughout April.
My timing turned out to be good, although I had no awareness at the time that there was a fast-building anti-drone sensibility developing among the public.  But, as I began to reach out to people I knew in the anti-war movement, it became apparent that lots of other people were outraged about these killer machines, too.  There was suddenly a lot of discussion in the media and demonstrations started to be scheduled all over the country.
I didn't know much about drones at all, but I was referred to some excellent sources of information, among them KnowDrones  (, an online publication full of drone data, and the Granny Peace Brigade, which has a lot of information on their website (
I became more and more horror-struck as I learned that many innocent people died from our Predator drones when so-called targeted killings turned out to be not so well-targeted -- it is estimated that over 3,000 non-combatant civilians have been killed by our killer drones, and many more injured.  These are not exact figures, of course, as drones are exploded in very remote places in such countries as Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan where there are no forensic experts to determine how many bodies were disintegrated in a hit.
This is totally unacceptable, but I learned of other negatives of our drone policy.  Although some small drones are used for surveillance, which can be useful in natural disasters, there are more and more plans afoot to use them to spy on us, turning us into more of a police state than we've already become.
Beyond these dreadful evils, though, is the sheer immorality of the drones.  Our Constitution stipulates that nobody can be declared guilty unless it is proven so in a court of law.  And yet, here we are, the supposed beacon of democracy, acting as accuser, judge, jury and executioner without a trial regarding people we are not officially at war with.
Our rally, in Rockefeller Center, was quite a success.  We billed it as a "granny" event, inasmuch as several peace granny groups were there.  However, many non-grannies were there, also -- members of the War Resisters League, World Can't Wait, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, various Peace Action groups, and others.  In all, there were probably at least 60 persons assembled on Fifth Avenue in front of Rockefeller Plaza.
Our wonderful speakers were Col. Ann Wright, who famously retired from the Diplomatic Corps the minute we attacked Iraq and has spent the intervening years traveling all over the world urging peace; Nick Mottern, journalist and Editor of KnowDrones; Bill Gilson, President of Veterans for Peace local Chapter 34. and Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait.

A highlight was when the Granny Peace Brigade, in unison, talked of their Resolution (in progress) which they plan to present to the New York City Council urging that the City be a drone-free zone.  Another highlight was when the Raging Grannies sang some of their original anti-drone songs.
Grandmothers Against the War protest in New York on April 3.
                               Granny Peace Brigade reciting at Rockefeller Plaza anti-drone rally April 3, 2014
Although we didn't have any mainstream media, we had a lot of world-wide coverage from what you might call Main Street Media -- Radio Free Europe, Reuters, Russian RT, and lots more.  The story traveled all over the globe, and we are pleased that it was especially prevalent in the Middle East.
Says Nick Mottern, "These protests will not go away.  We will have a continual campaign from now on until our government confronts this issue and drastically alters its drone policy."

New e-mail address


As explained in our roundtable this week, our new e-mail address is  If you need to contact us, please use that address.

Dick Gregory stands with political prisoner Lynne Stewart (WW)

Repost from Workers World:

Activist Dick Gregory on hunger strike to demand freedom for Lynne Stewart

By on April 5, 2013 » Add more comments.
The legendary African-American comedian and longtime civil rights activist, Dick Gregory — now 80 years old — released the following statement on April 4, 2013, the 45th anniversary of the assassination of his friend, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dick Gregory and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Chicago meeting in October, 1967.
Dick Gregory and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Chicago meeting in October, 1967.
I hereby declare on this day commemorating the life and sacrifice of my friend and brother in struggle, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that in the spirit of his moral legacy, I demand the immediate release from prison of the legendary lawyer, Lynne Stewart, who devoted her entire professional life to the poor, the oppressed and those targeted by the police and a vindictive State.
I further declare that from this day forth, I shall refuse all solid food until Lynne Stewart is freed and receives medical treatment in the care of her family and with physicians of her choice without which she will die.
There is no time to lose as cancer, which had been in remission, has metastasized since her imprisonment. It has spread to her lymph nodes, her shoulder and appears in her bones and in her lungs.
A criminal defense attorney in New York for over 30 years, Lynne Stewart’s unwavering dedication as a selfless advocate was acknowledged by the community as well as judges, prosecutors and the entire legal profession. Such has been her reputation as a fearless lawyer, ready to challenge those in power, that judges assigned her routinely to act for defendants whom no attorney was willing to represent.
In 2002, Lynne Stewart was targeted by then President George Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft for providing a vigorous defense of her client, the blind Egyptian cleric, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. She was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist activity after she exercised both her and her client’s First Amendment rights by presenting a press release to a Reuters journalist. She did nothing more than other attorneys, such as her co-counsel, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, have done on behalf of their clients.
The reason for the prosecution and persecution of Lynne Stewart is evident to us all. It was designed to intimidate the entire legal community so that few would dare to defend political clients whom the State demonizes and none would provide a vigorous defense. It also was designed to narrow the meaning of our cherished First Amendment right to free speech, which the people of this country struggled to have added to the Constitution as the Bill of Rights.
The prosecution and imprisonment of Lynne Stewart is an ominous threat to the freedom, rights and dignity of each and every American. It is the agenda of a police state.
I ask you to join with me to demand freedom for Lynne Stewart. An international campaign has been launched with a petition that supports her application for compassionate release. Under the 1984 Sentencing Act, the Bureau of Prisons can file a motion with the Court to reduce sentences “for extraordinary and compelling reasons.” Life-threatening illness is foremost among these and Lynne Stewart meets every rational and humane criterion for compassionate release.
Join with me, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pete Seeger and 6,000 other people of conscience throughout the world who have signed this petition to compel the Warden of the Federal Medical Center Carswell and the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to act. Act now. There is no time to lose.
Go to to demand her immediate release.

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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.

"Shinseki, the VA and resignation" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "It's The Lack of Sincerity" -- Isaiah on the Drone Warrior. 

"Support Labor, Not Liars" -- Trina lays it on the line.

"scandal 'molly, you in danger, girl',"  "Arrow," "Nikita: 'Tipping Point',"  "Ellen Barken killed The New Normal,"  "Smash,"  "TV thoughts," "Best episode of Revolution ever," "Body of Proof," "revenge," "The Client List," "Revolution," "The Good Wife" and "Isaiah, TV movies, Hedges" -- Rebecca, Stan, Mike, Elaine, Ann, Marcia and Ruth cover TV.

"So another Kennedy" -- Mike notes how money buys another appointment.

"Debbie Reynolds is a singer" -- Kat offers a look at Debbie.

"He really is lousy" and "THIS JUST IN! HE BOMBS!" -- Cedric and Wally take on The Drone Warrior. 

"Iraq snapshot" and "Shame on Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists" -- C.I. and Elaine call out the shameful silence of Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists for their silence on the Monday evening attacks on 4 Baghdad newspapers.  Saturday, Reporters Without Borders finally called it out.

"The ghetto of race roles,"  "films" and "Suspense films" -- Stan, Rebecca and Kat go to the movies.

"Barack Listens" -- Isaiah dips into the archives. 

"Barack calls this 'science'?" and "More on Barack's 'science'" -- Ruth calls out Barack's 'science.'

"F**k Kevin Gosztola" -- Mike calls out the nonsense.

"Catfood Meat Loaf in the Kitchen?," "Down here, it's our time," "At my age, I just do not have time for press whores," and "THIS JUST IN! LOOK WHAT THE BITCH DRAGGED IN!" and "Even Helen Keller could have seen it coming" -- Trina, Betty, Ruth and Wally and Cedric cover Barack's attempt to gut Social Security. 

"On the assassination of MLK," "What he did?," "MLK" and "45 years ago today . . ." -- Betty, Ruth, Marcia and Mike cover the anniversary of the assassination of MLK.

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