Monday, Monday, can't trust that . . . independent media. Don't they all just suck? Remember when they were trashing Big Media and saying they weren't about the truth that they were just selling lies. Well that's Little Media today, isn't it? All liars. All willing to betray anything they believe in.
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "State of Misunion" is very funny and we could all use a laugh so here it is:
We'll get to Bambi but I want to do The Third Estate Sunday Review first. Here's what we worked on this weekend:
"Truest statement of the week" -- Dolores Huerta socks it to the Littlest Liar in Indymedia
"Truest statement of the week II" -- Bill Moyers explains how time could be better spent (someone tell Amy Goodman who offered celeb testimonials in alleged 'news' headlines today).
"A Note to Our Readers" -- Jim's note. They really were all tired. The rest of us had stopped over 2 hours before everything started going up and we were tired. We were really tired. So they must have been even more so. It was a long edition but a good one. And really strong.
"Editorial: Florida, Florida, Florida!" -- Remember I said everyone was tired? We were so tired that Jim said maybe we should jettison this piece? C.I. hit the roof. And should have. It took Ava, C.I. and Jess being in charge of an edition (the Christmas one last year) to get Florida (and Michigan) seriously addressed. And Wally lives in Florida. This issue is mentioned at Third before Christmas but C.I., Wally and Cedric were screaming for months for a serious feature on it. Never the time or never enough time. So when Ava, C.I. and Jess were in charge, all of us participating knew Florida was going to be addressed and it was. It's not that Jim doesn't think it's an issue (and he loves this editorial -- after it was written) but he wanted two other features. It's the only time I've ever heard C.I. say "no." Usually C.I. will object to something by saying, "Fine, but do it without me." And that's not a threat. But it was too big of an issue to the community and Dona had targeted Florida for the editorial when we were all pitching stuff Saturday night before we wrote a word. There's another piece that we'll do next week and it is important (and Jim had asked C.I. to hold off on it at The Common Ills) but there just wasn't time and we all agree Florida was too important. Even Jim after we started writing it. C.I. came up with including the Tori song lyrics which said what we wanted to say (and had said) in a nicer way.
"TV: Nah-nah-nah, Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye" -- Jim wanted something else (before it was written) but Ava and C.I. said, "Readers have been very patient with us. This is one for them, not for all the psuedo-readers who show up when they think we're being 'serious'." Ty said the commentary was HUGE with regular readers. Ava and C.I. knew it would be. They know they've asked a lot of readers by ignoring entertainment TV during the writers' strike and this was a way to say, "Hold on a bit more, we'll be back to doing what we used to do very soon." This is funny as hell and even Jim was laughing his ass off when he was reading it to us.
"Roundtable" -- This was mainly hard to edit. One thing that helped was Dona said one section could be an 'exclusive' for Hilda's Mix audio-version. So when we knew that section would be an 'exclusive' we were able to strip it out and that allowed other things to be pulled. This was a long roundtable.
"1 Book, 5 Minutes" -- Dona warned before any writing was done that asking for a roundtable and a book discussion was too much and she wasn't wrong. The plan had been to interview Marcia but there wasn't time. Here we're discussing Naomi Wolf's The End of America which is an important book and one you should read if you haven't already.
"Which endorsements matter?" -- Read this and note what happened today on Amy Goodman's Hollywood Democracy as she wasted time featuring Oprah Winfrey testifying about the greatness of Bambi and Maria Shriver as well. Amy Goodman stopped being about the people. She's just another whore (I'll use the word and we did in the editorial, C.I. suggested the Tori song instead) who talks about integrity and truth but sells out when it suits her.
"Thanks, Amy Goodman????" -- She couldn't do a damn thing to get the word out on the Let Them Stay actions for war resisters in Canada but after it's over, she can reduce it to a headline and not even get her facts right. Typical.
"A contest, Super Duper Tuesday" -- Green Party contest and info on Green primary in Illinois.
"Ralph DiGia (1914-2008)" -- This is sad. He passed away. He had a long life and accomplished a lot. Ralph DiGia sounds like a really great guy so check this out.
"Highlights" -- Kat, Betty, Rebecca, Cedric, Wally, Elaine and I wrote this. We invited Marcia and Ruth to participate but they were both too tired. I need to note that C.I. also wrote some of it. Not on purpose. There was a problem with this article and the one on endorsements. When they both posted, each had a link that wasn't closed and wiped out two or so lines in each. C.I. came in Sunday night and wrote two for this and two for the endorsements pice.
Here's who worked on the above:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and 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,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ.
And Dallas too. I've got e-mails asking me about "Idiot of the Week."
I had planned to retire it. See Paul Rogat Loeb was always going to win because he's just SO STUPID. And then I saw a picture of him last week. Looking at his picture, it seemed obvious he'd never gotten laid and never would get laid and I thought, "Well he's stupid and he's a virgin." So I thought he was pathetic enough and we'd move on. I hadn't realized that was a feature everyone liked so much. So we'll do it tonight. And just remember, Paul Rogat Loeb will probably die a virgin judging by his picture so laugh at him but not to loud. Feel a little sorry for him. And grasp that when a man as old as he is can't get any and isn't a priest, his life really is pathetic.
In "Why This Edwards Voter Is Now Backing Obama," he wrote:
Clinton’s Iran vote: The Kyl-Lieberman bill gave the Bush administration so wide an opening for war that Jim Webb called it “Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.” Hillary voted for it. Obama and Edwards opposed it.
Rogat Loeb is a liar. Edwards was opposed to it. He spoke out against it last summer and since. But he couldn't vote so all he could do was speak out against it. He wasn't in the Senate. Bambi was in the Senate. And he didn't vote against it, he didn't vote at all. So shut your trap, absentee Senator and Paul Roget Loab, maybe you're still a virgin because you're such a bad liar? He probably takes that frizz headed scrawny body up to the bar and says, "Yeah, I played for the Bears. Back when McMahon was on the team. Dig me, ladies." He probably tries to break it down with the Superbowl Shuffle and everyone's looking at him like, "How lame." Apparently, no one ever told him that it wasn't okay to lie. Paul Rogat Loeb is the Meryl Streep of lying. He is the "Idiot of the Week" and of every week.
Then he offers up "How Obama Could Create a Long-Term Democratic Majority" which is built around this nonsense:
Commentators are talking, and rightly so, about how young voters are flocking to Barack Obama. Their overwhelming support gave Obama his Iowa margin, kept him just a few points behind in New Hampshire and Nevada, and contributed to his massive South Carolina victory. Young voters haven’t always turned out historically, but they’re responding to Obama’s message, and together with his equally massive support from African Americans and strong appeal to independents, their passionate enthusiasm could help him expand the Democratic base enough not only to win in November, but to win decisively.
First off, Bambi's not the only one with young supporters. And it matters what kind. Bambi has the likes of Jennifer Fang who hopefully finally registered to vote. Since she's in college, she should have already been registered but according to her page on Bambi's official site, she still hasn't. That's a typical Bambi supporter. They aren't political. They're caught up in a drama that independent media created by ignoring Edwards, Kucinich, Richardson, etc. and pimping Bambi over and over and over.
This Just in! To pull even more 'youth' supporters Bambi has announced Miley Ray Cyrus will be his vice president!
I mean that makes about as much sense. (And yeah, I was paying homage to Wally with that structure, he does "This just in!") Miley's really popular with the 'youth' and she's got a number one movie and a sold-out concert so screw Billie Holiday, the Rolling Stones, ColdPlay, Tori Amos and every real artist, let's get behind what's popular! I'm burning my White Stripes CDs as I type!
Did you ever think that some people -- regardless of age -- aren't that smart and that when you've got a craze around a candidate, everyone should step back and use their better judgement?
Rogat never did. He probably is breathing easier now that ratings were up for American Idol last week. He's probably like, "Yes! I can keep watching! I love Simon!" And notice who he has to piss on to set up one group (the most uninformed group -- and I'm a member of that generation). The Bambi supporters are not for anything. They're not for ending the illegal war. They are dumb little kids who live on Mommy and Daddy's dime and are spoiled rotten airheads. I've seen them on my campus. I know who they are and I know what they are. Many of them not only don't care about the illegal war they actually support it. So remember that the primary is as left as Bambi is ever going to get. In the general election, we'll hear him moving even further right -- hard to believe I know. But that's what's going to happen if he gets the nod. That and the Rezko stuff. It's cute, in one of those columns Rogat tries to blame the Clintons for Bambi's drug use. He even says that they say the GOP will bring it up. Damn straight. He wrote about it in two books, joked about it to Jay Leno. It's an issue.
So's the fact that he's a Harvard legacy but no one's supposed to talk about that. Remember all the crap we heard about Bully Boy and how he only got in because of his father being in? Same thing with Bambi. Why do you think he went to two other colleges first? Because he didn't have the grades to get in right away.
And these idiots that say, "I don't want a dynasty!" Well Bambi's related to Dick Cheney and has joked about it. Dick's been vice president for two terms now. Sounds like a dynasty to me. I'd rather have a Clinton than a Cheney.
This is from Taylor Marsh's "Obama Hearts Nuke Giant Exelon" and ask yourself why you didn't hear about that New York Times story on Democracy Now! today -- oh, that's right! Amy Goodman had to offer up War Hawk Oprah Winfrey looking like death dragged over in a bad wig singing Bambi's praises, no time for news and that:
Well isn't this a cozy little group: Obama, Exelon, and their consultant, Obama's main man David Axelrod. A partnership made in heaven for the nuclear giant Exelon, which has given "at least $227,000" to Obama's campaign that eventually got them legislation from the Illinois Senator written with their best interests in mind. If this was a story about Clinton rewriting legislation to benefit one of her biggest campaign contributors, who also happened to be Big Nuke, there would be blaring headlines across the web. That it revolves around nuclear leaks and helping provide cover for Exelon, a big biz corporate contributor for Obama, against the best interest of a community, is not a small issue either. You cannot buy this type of free pass from the traditional media. They have to be willing to be complicit in it, because any way you slice it this is a huge story.
The report in the New York Times is alarming. For one thing, you've got to wonder why he told a whopper in Iowa when the records are so easily revealed. Of course, to win. But when it concerns radioactive leaks and the protection of citizens, we're talking about the morality of personal politics and professional ethics. Guess Obama knows the press has been asleep where he's concerned and counted on that continuing. Oops.
Mr. Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction and introduced a bill to require all plant owners to notify state and local authorities immediately of even small leaks. He has boasted of it on the campaign trail, telling a crowd in Iowa in December that it was "the only nuclear legislation that I've passed."
"I just did that last year," he said, to murmurs of approval.
A close look at the path his legislation took tells a very different story. While he initially fought to advance his bill, even holding up a presidential nomination to try to force a hearing on it, Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks. ... ..
Nuclear Leaks and Response Tested Obama in Senate
This is what has bothered me about Obama from the start. The let's make a deal approach to bipartisanship. I'm all for compromise when it's required, but the type of stuff the Times talks about is a problem for Democrats who believe we've got better ideas, answers and solutions, and should hold off caving to wingnuts, especially the nuclear industry.
Kind of important, isn't it? And if people knew that and other things, maybe Bambi wouldn't appear so 'shiny'? And is anyone going to talk about how the 'shiny' is yet another example of sexism? This whole campaign season has been nothing but non-stop sexism. No surprise that Amy Goodman would take part in because she publishes in Hustler. (She's stopped after an outcry.) She's a writer for Hustler. That's disgusting. She's disgusting.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, February 4, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US admits Iraqi civilians were killed by US fire, Henry Waxman reveals that Cookie Krongard lied to Congress and Congress knew, things get worse daily for women in Iraq, political coverage at the request of members sick of 'alternative' and 'independent' media, and more.
Starting with war resistance. On Saturday Angela Hickman (Queen's Journal) spoke with author Lawrence Hill who had two books released last year -- the fictional Someone Knows My Name (Canadian title: The Book of Negroes) and The Deserter's Tale, with Joshua Key, which documents Key's service in Iraq and how he came to the decision that he could no longer participate in the illegal war. Hill explained, "[The main characters are] both ordinary people who are drawn into a canvas of world events that they didn't ask to be drawn into." Hickman explains, "Hill said he heard Key interviewed on CBC and thought his story was fascinating and the next day his publisher approached Hill about doing the story." Joshua Key, wife Brandi and their children went to Canada as have many war resisters. Dee Knight (Workers World) reports on the actions two weekends ago in support of war resisters being granted safe harbor in Canada:
The rallies urged the Canadian House of Commons to adopt a recommendation of its Committee on Citizenship and Immigration that would make it possible for U.S. Iraq War resisters to obtain permanent resident status in Canada.
[. . .]
Courage to Resist in collaboration with the War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada) initiated the actions at Canadian consulates across the U.S. They had the support of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and many other groups. This event was the first nationally coordinated action in the U.S. in support of war resisters in Canada. Since the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, many soldiers have been going AWOL (Absent Without Leave). GIs who have publicly refused to deploy--or re-deploy--to Iraq have been court-martialed and imprisoned. Thousands of service people are AWOL and are believed to be in hiding in the U.S. and abroad. Hundreds have fled to Canada.
You can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (email@example.com -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers.
In Iraq a law has been passed -- a benchmark, in fact -- but hold off on sounding the trumpets. Amit R. Paley and Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) report that the de-de-Baathification law will be practiced law next week since it is "considered as approved" following the refusal of anyone on the presidency council to officially object. CBS and AP observe it became law without the singature of the Sunni representative on the three-member presidency council because the constitution requires the body to act within 10 days after the panel received the law, according to Iraq's constitution." Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reported yesterday (before it was known what step the council would take) CIA asset and Iraqi exile into the US invaded Ahmed Chalabi has been blistering in his criticism stating that the result of passage would be "all former Baathists now serving in the security services would lose their jobs, a total of 7,000 people" and, of the Iraqi Parliament, "People should pay attention to what they are discussing and voting on."
Today Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) again explores conditions for women in Iraq (and the outlet should create a folder of her reports on this topic and cites the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights as the source for 1.5 million figure -- the number of women who have become widows during the illegal war -- while Iraq al Amal Association's Hanaa Edward explains that "11 percent of the more than 20 million Iraqi families were supported by unmarried or widowed women in 2005. Widows who register with the state receive about $40 a month, barely enough to survive on their own, let alone take care of their children." Meanwhile Weam Namou (uruknet.info) looks at what has been lost for women during the Iraq War for 'liberation,' "Since the invasion, many women have been executed, assaulted, raped or released only after their families paid considerable ransom money. Serious threats and deadly attacks have forced Christians and Muslims to wear the veil and quit their jobs, and to avoid makeup and education. My friend's sister-in-law, at the start of the war, was stabbed in the heart simply because she was wearing a cross, which was ripped off her neck and thrown over her body. Today when you talk to Iraqi women they remember 'the good old days' when Saddam was in power and women were able to safely go to work, participate in social activities, take part in politics or stroll outside in the middle of the night. During Saddam's regime, women were free to choose whether to wear western-style dress and make-up or the black abaya. When I was in Baghdad, I wore the clothes I'd packed from America. No one in the streets blinked an eye."
Meanwhile Wikileaks publishes a US government document on Iraq. From their summary:
Classified SECRET consolidated US Forces Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Iraq.On first reading, the document contains a number of items of interest to the press, including rules about mosque attacks, detention of immams, cross border incursions (including Iran and Syria), the use of mines and riot control agents, terrorist targeting, the destruction of Iraqi government property used by insurgents and even kafkaesque rules for attacks on WMD mobile production labs. Deeper reading by those more familiar with the US-Iraq war is likely to reveal other items of interest, for instance variations in the declaration that Al Quds, the Mahdi Army and armed supporters of Muqtada Al-Sadr are enemies who may be engaged at will.The document forms a talking point to most US operations in Iraq and the degree of official sanction for them.
In it, you'll learn -- among other things -- that US forces could cross into Syria or Iran, that tasers are permitted in US controlled Iraqi prisons (with consent of the prison's US commander) and more. Meanwhile, Garrett Therolf and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) report, "Nine people were killed and four were injured in an errant U.S. airstrike southeast of Baghdad, the military said Sunday.One child was among the dead, and two children were among the injured, said U.S. Army Maj. Brad Leighton." The numbers are in dispute with some putting the number of innocent civilians killed at 20. Martin Fletcher (Times of London) notes: "Even the US figures would make the civilian death toll the highest since last October, when a US air strike killed around a dozen Iraqis, including women and children, near Samarra, north of Baghdad. In November a leader of one of the 'Awakening Councils' of Concerned Local Citizens claimed US soldiers mistakenly killed dozens of his fighters during a protracted gun battle north of Baghdad. The US military admitted killing 25 men, but insisted they were insurgents."
Turning to some of today's reported violence . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two people and another Baghdad roadside bombing wounded two police officers. Reuters notes a Kirkuk roadside bombing left two people injured. CBS and AP notes, "Turkish warplanes on Monday bombed some 70 Kurdish rebel targets in nothern Iraq, the military said. It was the fifth aerial attack against Kurdish rebel bases in nothern Iraq in two months."
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that Waleed Haitham Idrees ("employee of the ministry of foreign affairs") in Baghdad today while an attack in Diyala Province a bus driver was shot dead "along with a 7-year-old girl. Her 4-year-old brother was injured." Reuters notes 3 police officers were shot dead in Mosul, 7 suspected of something people shot dead in Salman Pak by US and Iraqi forces and "Gunmen killed a foreign ministry official in a drive-by shooting in western Baghdad's Mansour district, police said."
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that a a man was kidnapped in an armed home invasion in Baquba and found dead shortly after while clerics Ali Hassan al-Khafaji and Abdul Rahman al-Idreesi were kidnapped in Basra.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today.
Meanwhile Reuters reports, "Iraq has halted oil supplies to Austria's OMV AG in protest over a deal between the company and the Kurdish regional government, Iraq's oil minister said on Friday." This as Reuters also reports the Turkish military sent planes over northern Iraq to bomb three villages today.
In the New York Times, Thom Shanker reports, " The Pentagon on Monday will unveil its proposed 2009 budget of $515.4 billion. If it is approved in full, annual military spending, when adjusted for inflation, will have reached its highest level since World War II." And where is the oversight?
"I am not personally following every allegation of corruption in Iraq, Mr. Chairman. But I am certain that we are tracking these allegations of corruption, because no one is more concerned about allegations of corruption, because no one is more concerned about what is, in fact, a pervasive problem of corruption than we are," declared US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice to the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last October. The chair of that committee told Bill Moyers (on last Friday's Bill Moyers Journal -- text, audio and video), "I was so stunned when finally she admitted that somebody at the State Department should have been looking after these things. And I said to her, 'But you're the Secretary. You're in charge of the State Department. You're the one who should be making sure that the job is being done.' But I think it was a rare moment of candor."
The set of hearings on Blackwater got some attention from the media and some white washing. Scott Shane (New York Times) decided to play balladeer (November 17, 2007) with a feel-good write up on one aspect: brothers Howard Cookie Krongard and Alvin Buzzy Krongard. Cookie was the State Department's Inspector General, Buzzy was on the advisory board for the mercenary company Blackwater. During the November hearing, Cookie tried to deny Buzzy was on the board. After the committee broke for lunch, Cookie swore he'd just learned -- on the break -- that Buzzy was on Blackwater's board and announced he would be recusing himself from Blackwater matters (after having covered for Blackwater throughout his tenure as Inspector General). Cookie would finally step down, as Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) noted, "forced out for allegedly impeding ongoing criminal investigations into the construction of a new, $740 million U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and security firm Blackwater Worldwide." With Moyers, Waxman revealed what really happened.
Henry Waxman: He thought he could just get away with saying, "No, it's not true." His brother's not on the board of Blackwater. And that would be it. But the members of our committee were ready. And one member asked him -- here's -- "See, this e-mail from Eric Prince, who's the head of Blackwater to your brothers, thanking him for joining the board."
Moyers then plays the clip with Cookie denying further and Waxman calling a break only to have Cookie return afterward and claim he had 'new information.'
Bill Moyers: What went through your mind as you watched that performance unfold before your eyes?
Henry Waxman: The man was absolutely lying. His brother claimed that he inform him well in advance that he was on board of Blackwater. When he was asked after our hearing, the brother made that statement publicly. And we even threatened to bring both brothers in, put them under oath and see who was telling the truth and who was not.
Bill Moyers: Why didn't you do that?
Henry Waxman: Well we were set to do it, but we heard from Mr. Krongard at the -- inspector general of the state department -- offering to quit rather than have that hearing. And in my view, it was better to have him leave that job than go through a hearing that wou'dve been embarrassing. But at least we got the result that seems in the best interest of the American people.
Bill Moyers: What does the failure of the inspector general's office at the state department and that episode say about oversight in Iraq today?
Henry Waxman: Here's the watchdog, the Inspector General for the State Department was impeding the work of doing the investigations to keep the State Department honest. Nobody was keeping them honest.
There is a great deal in the two-parter on government corruption, but note that the chair of the committee has stated clearly that Cookie was lying and that only after the threat to take testimony from both brothers on the issue was made and being moved towards did Cookie resign. That tidbit didn't make it into the official record previously. That's Bill Moyers Journal and also of interest may be the show's opening segment with a discussion of endorsement.
DON'T LINK TO HER! Jess, Martha and Shirley gave me a summary of today's e-mails.
In political propaganda news, Amy Goodman disgraced herself today -- a regular pattern these days. No link to the Cynthia McKinney interview, as requested, read Marcia later today for why. Goody can take comfort in the fact that Stephen Zunes seems determined to be Loony Zoony as judged by his 'performance' on the KPFA Evening News but even he was drawfed by Norman Solomon whose appearance will bite him in the ass at a future point. So eager to pimp for Bambi, Solomon began praising the weak-ass MoveOn which he's criticized before and, yes, will again. So file away his claim about the laughable 'analysis' about MoveOn's 'poll' that led to their endorsement:
And I think that explains why for instance, the voting by MoveOn members nation wide -- which is a pretty good barometer and expression and, in a sense, galvanization of a left liberal constituency in this country. Why did MoveOn voters went 70% for Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton?
Norman, Norman. At least with ____ we all know he still wants back in the 'club' -- back in the halls of power. It's never going to happen. Never. He's disgraced himself and the only thing that had most of us return to speaking to him after the whole Vickie affair (yeah, I said it) was that an illegal war broke out and we thought he was getting back to his roots. His endorsement of Bambi was an insult to all who fought for Civil Rights, against the death and dying in Vietnam, for women's rights, for gays rights, for Chicano rights, for labor rights, go down the list. But it was a sign of how eager to suck up he still is, how he continues to delude himself that he'll be invited back into the power 'club' (never, ever happening) that he'd sell himself out. So that's _____. But Norman?
Ay-yi-yi. MoveOn claims over 3 million "members" and less than 200,000 people voted. Read Bill Samuel's analysis at OpEd News and grasp that Solomon has written similar analysis in the past . . . of MoveOn. When MoveOn drops the illegal war further off the radar remember that Norman Solomon -- so desperate to pimp for Bambi -- declared them the "barometer" of the left-liberal consensus in the US. Remember it. Those lunatic words will haunt him. Norman, Norman. He's not a politician, why he wants to hop on board a campaign is anyone's guess but it does need to be called out because, as Third Party notes, this is exactly the nonsense that led to left names attacking Nader in 2004 and silencing their criticism of the illegal war. To be really clear for those who may be too young to remember, turning the peace movement into the John Kerry for President campaign prolonged the illegal war and made it that much harder to pick up the pieces. Why "media analyst" Norman Solomon feels the need to cheerlead a candidate -- any candidate -- is a puzzler. But Third Party is correct, this is how it started, how 'brave' voices on the left dropped the illegal war for a full damn year.
"What is the alternative to 'alternative' media?" wonders Lynda noting, "I really need an alternative from Bambi love." Don't we all. For those who specifically complained about Sunday's KPFA Evening News (28 members), Democracy Now! (1323 members) or about the alleged independent media in general, we'll note the campaigns by providing what 'independent' media couldn't address today: reality. They've never been able to address it -- Big or Small Media. As high school senior Lee Thach (New America Media) explains how the media 'steered' his choice: "'Race was one of the issues we expected to discuss here tonight,' said moderator Brian Williams, referring to Barack Obama's blackness. At that moment I switched party affiliations and joined the Green Party because I would rather be insane and care about issues than sane and pretend Barack Obama was running as Al Sharpton. . . . Months into the election, I would have expected to know Obama's healthcard plan or Clinton's plan to get us out of Iraq. But based on watching 24-hour news, I really only know their gender, their race." In today's New York Times, Paul Krugman explains, "The principal policy division between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama involves health care . . . there really is a big difference between the candidates' approaches. And new research, just released, confirms what I've been saying: the difference between the plans could well be the difference between achieving universal health coverage -- a key progressive goal -- and falling far short. Specifically, new estimates say that a plan resembling Mrs. Clinton's would cover almost twice as many of those now uninsured as a plan resembling Mr. Obama's -- at only slightly higher costs." Krugman goes on to explain why and concludes, "If you combine the economic analysis with these political realities, here's what I think it says: If Mrs. Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, there is some chance -- nobody knows how big -- that we'll get universal health care in the next administration. If Mr. Obama gets the nomination, it just won't happen." KPFA will broadcast live coverage Tuesday night starting at 5:00 pm PST, 7:00 pm Central and 9:00 pm EST. The broadcast will be hosted by Aimee Allison and Larry Bensky "with Davey D." (Note, I am not making fun of Davey D, that is how KPFA is billing the event.) KPFA streams online (for free) and can be heard over broadcast airwaves at 94.1 FM in the Bay Area. With David Solnit, Aimee Allison is the author of Army Of None cover in their book. Here's Ralph Nader on Barack Obama:
He's too abstract and too general. He comes on as a constitutional law specialist, but he offers nothing to hold this outlaw presidency of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney accountable. There are so many impeachable offenses that have been documented by epeople such as the head of the American Bar Association a copule years ago, Michael Greco and many other legal scholars and pracitioners. And he's not speaking out. He's backing away from any kind of accountability for a presidency that has made a mockery of the constitution, made a mockery of federal law and international treaties, whether it's systemic torture and illegal war in Iraq, spying on Americans without judicial approval or undermining the authority of Congress, which he's a part of.
The other thing, he says he wants to reduce health-care expenses, but again he avoids issues where the corporations are ripping into the health-care dollar, over $200 billion of computerized billing fraud and abuse, according to the GAO. You have over $300 billion that can be saved by a full Medicare system in administrative expenses.
You have too many operations. You have over-medication. These are the things that corporations are profitting from, and he's not focusing enough. In addition to medical malpractice and infectious hospital-induced infections. So he's got to have more fortitude. He is censoring himself. And that's the tragedy.
Nader was appearing on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer and also cited John Edwards critique of the two-front runners while discussing his own moves to run for president. Blitzer cited The Nation's slam piece from last week on Nader -- by John Nichols who did dirty work on the Kucinich campaign via a cover story for The Progressive last year -- and asked about the suggestion that 2004 results indicated a decrease of support for Nader from 2000 and Nader replied: "The Democrats filed 23 lawsuits in 12 weeks to get us off the ballot in state after state like Pennsylvania and Ohio. They did it, in their own words, to distract us and to drain our resources. They're not going to get away with that this time. We're ready for them. We're developing a pro bono network of lawyers. We've already sued the Democratic National Committee for what they did in abuse of legal process in 2004. We are now being flooded with volunteers. Donations are coming in in the testing of the water, period. And I always believed, Wolf, that the forces of injustice work 24 hours a day. The forces for justice and redirection in this country that's desired by so many Americans who are dissatisfied with the two parties, the forces for justice must also work 24 hours a day." Nader also explained why Michael Bloomberg throwing his hat into the ring as a third-party candidate wouldn't mean he (Nader) would pull out.
Finally, from John V. Walsh's "The Invisible Green Primary" (CounterPunch):Massachusetts has three primaries on Super Tuesday--a Republican, a Democrat and a Green. (In MA, the Greens have made common cause with the Rainbow Coalition to form the Green Rainbow Party, GRP). But you would never know it from the declarations of Democrat Secretary of State William Galvin who in his public service announcements speaks only of the Republican and Democrat contests. This is especially damaging to the GRP, because in MA those who are not registered with any party, the so-called "unenrolled" voters are eligible to vote in the GRP primary. These are the most disillusioned and most likely to go Green. But such voters must ask for the Green ballot at the polling place. The people staffing the polling places are supposed to inform the unenrolled voters of all three options, but right now it is unclear if Galvin has so instructed them in a way that will guarantee it happens. Given Galvin's public service announcements, that seems doubtful.This is an outrage since the GRP had to work very hard to win ballot access after the "safe states" debacle of 2004 in which the GP suffered mightily at the hands of the DemoGreens who gained control and sought above all to protect the prowar John Kerry. So in 2006 the hard working Greens set about gathering signatures once again for a series of statewide offices, Governor, Secretary of State and Treasurer. The GRP candidates for Secretary of State, Jill Stein, and for Treasurer, Jamie O'Keefe, both won close to 20% of the vote, giving the GRP back its ballot status. And so the GRP is entitled to have a presidential primary this coming Tuesday. The ballots are printed and available at the polling places.Not only that but both Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney, along with a number of lesser known candidates, will be on the GRP ballot. Ralph and Cynthia are certain to attract votes if the people know about the primaruy. But so far not a whimper out of Galvin, who is considered a "liberal" Democrat, or the mass media despite a steady stream of letters to the editor and op-ed submissions. So tell your friends in MA that there are three primaries afoot on Tuesday--and in two of them there are genuine antiwar candidates, Ron Paul in the Republican primary and all the candidates in the GRP primary. There should be enough variety there for everyone to cast a genuine antiwar vote, no matter your other beliefs.
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