Saturday, June 10, 2006

Katha Pollitt on RadioNation with Laura Flanders Sunday

Katha Pollitt on the radio tomorrow.

RadioNation with Laura Flanders Sunday:

On Sunday: The America is Purple tour turns to Oregon with:ERIK STEN, Portland City Commissioner. MARCY WESTERLING of the Rural Organizing Project. JOANN BOWMAN of The Money in Politics Research Action Project. JEFFERSON SMITH of The Bus Project.
And KATHA POLLITT, the Nation columnist on her new book, "Virginity or Death!"

Today's episode should have been noted. Don't be mad at Kat. The failure was my fault.This morning I was waiting for others who were posting on Saturday to post so that they could be highlighted in the entry. Kat phoned to say she was busy today and could take another swipe at her review ("Kat's Korner: Kites are something") or she could do the rundown of Flanders. We try to keep Flanders the last thing displayed on Saturday (until the program's finished) and since I already had Ruth's entry in holding position, I told her if she wanted to go up early, she could do her review of Free Design and I'd grab Flanders.

I was tired and running late and completely (after the Times) forgot about Flanders. I realized that in the car and thought, "I'll grab it when I get back." I only got back as the show was ending (the last few minutes). So my fault.

On the plus side, anyone who only listens if they know the line up missed (as did I) Ehren Watada. How is that a plus? Dawn noted that the problem with listening to the archived broadcast is fixed and has been fixed. So if you missed Saturday's show, you can hear a condensed version of it and Sunday's (probably by mid-day Monday if not sooner) at The Nation. (No sign up/registration required, no fee.) Remind me and we'll note it on Tuesday.

If you missed today's show, you also missed:

NIKKI MILLER from the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, and Navy vet turned anti-war protester WALLY CUDDEFORD, arrested this week in anti-war protests.

Among other things (that's the section I heard part of).

So my bad, my error, my apologies. We'll note Katha being on tomorrow morning as well.

The e-mail address for this site is

NYT: Were five civilians killed by American forces -- a real reporter would want to know

The New York Times this morning?

Good Lord.

First reaction was a panic when I saw a story that I thought I'd have to address but fortunately the byline exempted me from that article. (Members, check the paper and you'll know what I'm talking about.) Dexter Filkins is on the front page trying to really lay on the drama about . . .

Wait, let's quote from yesterday:

Who knows but today's spin is that al-Zarqawi lived through the bombing and died on the stretcher. That's the spin and it's all over. No one, apparently, can write of it without noting it.

Without noting it? Dexy attempts to build a full blown story out of it with "U.S. Says Zarqawi Survived Briefly After Airstrike." In the second paragraph, Dexy pens a sentence that we'll point out: "But one of the raids, in a village not far from the spot where Mr. Zarqawi was killed, appeared to cause a number of civilian deaths."

That's the sort of information that a real reporter opens with. But Dexy doesn't know how to be a real reporter. Without rewriting him, just editing out words, let's present an actual news account:

[A raid], in a village not far from the spot where Mr. Zarqawi was killed, appeared to cause a number of civilian deaths.
[. . .]
[. . .] General Caldwell said [t]he soldiers arrested 25 people and killed one [. . .].
That account was disputed in a village north of Baghdad, where Iraqis said American commandos killed five civilians in a Friday morning raid.
In Ghalibiya, near the scene of Mr. Zarqawi's death, a local Iraqi interviewed by telephone said American commandos dressed in black had raided the hamlet around 4 a.m. The Iraqi, a farmer named Mustafa Muhammad, said a group of local Iraqis, standing guard to protect their predominantly Sunni village from Shiite death squads, fired their guns into the air.
"They thought the Americans were a death squad, dressed in black," Mr. Muhammad said.
The American commandos threw a hand grenade in response, he said, killing five villagers.
"The people were saying that the Americans were looking for Zarqawi loyalists," he said.
Mr. Muhammad said a group of American soldiers wearing regular Army uniforms came to Ghalibiya later in the day to apologize. They promised to provide compensation for the dead Iraqis, he said.

By lopping off a few words and leading with the event, you have an actual news story. Sadly, Dexy can't provide it. After the second paragraph sentence noting that Iraqi civilians may have died, it's a long, long time before Dexy picks up the thread. How long? The statement from the general? It's in paragraph 22 (check my math). The above is built out of the second paragraph, paragraph 22, 23, 24 25, 26 , 27 and 28. The story, again check my math, is 37 paragraphs long.
What do we have the rest of the time? The sort of nonsense he made his (bad) name with and (wrongly) won an award for.

But Dexy proves today that he could be a reporter if someone would take him by the hand and walk him through real slow.

Question? What's the compensation for a human life? That's not a spiritual or philosophical question, I'm just curious how much money the American government is paying out. (I'm too tired for spiritual or philosophical this morning.) David S. Cloud's "Compensation Payments Rising, Especially by Marines" informs:

Almost half of the more than $19 million in compensation that the American military allocated last year to compensate for killing or injuring Iraqis and damaging property came from Marine-led units in Anbar Province, Defense Department records show.
The $9.5 million in "condolence payments" by the Marines reflects the persistent fighting against insurgents in violent Anbar, but it also provides a reminder of the heavy toll that the conflict has taken on civilians, mostly from insurgents but also from American units.
The figures, contained in a detailed Defense Department report provided recently to Congress, do not include $38,000 paid to relatives of 15 Iraqis killed by marines at Haditha in November, because those deaths occurred after the end of the 2005 fiscal year on Sept. 30. That case, in which 24 Iraqi civilians were killed, is under investigation.

$38,000 for 15 people? (Why did the Times make me count and do math this morning?) It comes to around $2,500 a person. That's the dollar amount we've placed on the life of an Iraqi. I have a friend who breeds dog and you couldn't buy one from for that amount.

Ron has a joke today (or possibly earlier this week) that Tina e-mailed about asking what it meant? I didn't honestly get it until I read Adam Nagourney's article. I get it. Worse yet, we get it. So in the city only the foolish want to visit (Las Vegas), where dreams die quickly, Adam Nagourney finds his natural resting place. It's almost poetic.

Let's deal with Nagourney. What a fool. How out of it can he be. He teases a mention of Maureen Dowd. Considering that the paper has only ONE female columnist, the only thing his attempt at a blind item (he outs her after two sentences) reveals is that he's so far removed from reality that he's failed to note the continued sexist policies at his own paper. Not once but twice in since 2003, the paper's had to fill a national column spot -- William Safire and Bill Keller.
In both cases, they went with men (David Brooks and John Tierney). Just as the paper reserves one and only one slot for a male of color, they reserve one and only one slot for a woman. There's a great deal of talk about how it was the best person for the job but women weren't seriously considered. Unless Dowd leaves, they won't. When she does they'll get the spot Anna used to occupy that . . . go on back down the chain.

Opening up a golf club, the paper could fight for that. Opening up the Times opinion slate, not a chance in hell. Considering that the Times trades in the written word, so presumably places a high value upon it, it's really insulting that they think a woman can be a golfer, she just can't write. It was the equivalent of the sexually segregated Augusta protesting the Times for their lack of women writing national columns. (Hurt feelings will cause some to snipe, "We have one!" Yes, you do. You've had one for decades. It was progress once upon a time, now it's just embarrasing.)

If Dowd and Bob Herbert were good "company men," they'd arrange it so they left at the same time. That way the paper could consolidate the two slots and free up one to offer the opinions of another White Male. Because goodness knows, they just don't get enough space. (That was sarcasm.)

On Nagourney's article? Dowd's the only woman present that he notes. Apparently the attitude of the paper seeps into all coverage. Mark Warner's the "guy" of some attending. That's cool with Nagourney, Warner's his "guy" too.

When Lieberman was taken out in 2003 and became the (deserved) punching bag, there were a lot of fears for the DLC, fortunately Warner comes along and no one talks about it. Lot of silence going on. Don't expect it to be reported. No reporters are apparently in Vegas.

There's Nagourney (a DLC flack) and there are people who hopefully are just columnists because reporters don't mingle like that with the subjects they cover. ("Come to my reception!") Nor do reporters, real ones, work for campaigns. But you can't cut off the head of Cokie without a million more sprouting quickly from the neck. Fortunately, according to Nagourney, a training is offered in tele-punditry. (Unfortunately, photogenics can't be taught, you're either born with it or you're not. Ask Adam Nagourney what happens when you're not blessed.)

Mark Warner? Isn't the objection to Hillary from those who don't give a damn about abortion (all the ones cheering on the Democratic Party these days, basically) that she's a war hawk? Hillary should have (as we've noted here before) grasped that no matter how "manly" she tries to be, some man will always come along to get the applause. Just as one Cokie's been traded out, we're seeing Warner pushed for his stay-the-course nonsense.

Well we all lived through the nonsense of Simon Rosenberg "man of the people" and we all survived. Rosenberg might have been a little miffed that he didn't become the head of the DNC but surely all those telecom monies made up for it?

Check out:

"THIS JUST IN! IRAQ PRIME MINISTER NOURI AL-MALIKI FLIES JETS!" (Wally with another Bully Boy Press exclusive)
"Violence continues in Iraq" (Mike with news of a study group on Iraq)
"did you get the memo?" (Rebecca on why she's not joining the fight to "save" NPR/PBS)
"Meandering" (Elaine noting a number of things)

The e-mail address for this site is

Ruth's Public Radio Report

Ruth: During my vacation, I spent a great deal of time thinking about the public radio report. That included weighing the advice from Rebecca and others. So there are a few changes. Iraq has always been an issue at this site and I will probably be focusing more on it when noting programming.

Rebecca's post that spoke of her grandmother's scrapbook of clippings from the local paper about WWII, while it was ongoing, reminded me of how little news we are getting on Iraq when you consider that this is an ongoing war that has now lasted three years, is headed for the fourth, possibly the fifth, the sixth . . . The press is not treating it seriously.

In future reports, I will probably be far more likely to highlight discussions of the war than anything else.

For this report, Iraq is a topic I will be noting; however, I am also going to note the issue of female guests. As a longterm feminist, I remember the joys of finally seeing women break through in many fields. It mattered then and it still matters today.

But some make themselves useless. For feminism, that is not a bad thing. It serves to remind us all that a woman can be everything a man can be. Commanding, on top of their game, brilliant -- to be sure. But the list also includes "useless."

Ruth Conniff cast herself in that role Friday. Ms. Conniff appeared on Kris Welch's Living Room on KPFA Friday. Ms. Welch specifically asked Ms. Conniff about the 2004 election results. Ms. Conniff did not to respond to the question. I have no use for that. I have no use for people who cannot speak up. If Ms. Conniff feels the election was not stolen, that is her right and I would have listened to her reasoning. Instead, she spoke of everything but the 2004 election results. Possibly she misheard the question?

With too much too cover, I will not waste my time, or any member's time, by recording lengthy statements from those who, for whatever reason, cannot address an issue put to them.

On Iraq, Robert Parry, another guest, spoke of what he was saw around the country, what he heard. Ms. Conniff spoke in generalities about the war ("professionalized military . . ."). It was as though it was being spit out by a machine. Our time is too valuable to waste with robotics.

The question was about the war and how it had not made the top ten of's poll. There is a reason for that. It has been covered most recently in John Walsh's "MoveOn Rigs Its Own Vote; Betrays Its Membership" (CounterPunch). has a history of silencing the war issue. That includes the March 2005 protests, the second anniversary of the illegal invasion, where, under pressure, they suddenly hooked up at the last minute with Sojouner's to do something, anything.

Mr. Parry spoke of what he saw in this country and how it was innaccurate to claim that the war was not an issue to people. Ms. Conniff's answer would not offend since it gave them every excuse and plenty of cover to hide behind. It had nothing to do with reality or people (represented as "the people," far removed). Ms. Conniff mentioned only one actual person, a neighbor. Goddess of the hearth at this late date? Sounding like a cross between a Bronte shut-in and June Cleaver, Ms. Conniff, after dispensing with her coffee clatch, went on to provide dull remarks. If that is what I enjoyed hearing, I would be doing Ruth's Meet the Press Report.

I have no time or interest in noting her superficial remarks on Al Gore (with giggles) that did not address the press attacks on him in 2000 but did endorse them. She honestly struck me as the sort of pundit that Bob Somerby rails against regularly.

Former Vice-President Gore is not above criticism. But silly giggles and remarks that follow what Mr. Somerby has dubbed the "script" are of no use to me. Being a woman, and a Ruth, I was sad to find that Ruth Conniff was of no use to me. That was, however, the reality.

I made a million excuses as I listened. Possibly if Andrea Lewis was interviewing her one on one . . .? If the other two guest had not been males then . . .? Maybe she was nervous?

She was on the air with Ms. Welch who is not a shy broadcaster. People do not need to choose their words carefully with Ms. Welch -- who can handle a lively debate. Ms. Conniff is responsible for her own remarks and her own presentation. There was nothing of value and nothing that went beyond the "script."

That was true of her comments on Al Gore, that was true of her answers to what Democrats need to do. Softly nudging Jeffery Golberg on the shoulder, Ms. Conniff did so in a recent column which she discussed on the program, may have seemed the height of radicalism to Ms. Conniff, but to me, it was just one more person desperate to be an insider, determined to ruffle no feathers in the silly world of Punditville.

A soft nudge was also what she gave Newsweek. Elaine noted that of Ms. Conniff's column. It was true of her remarks on the program as well. Newsweek has still not owned up to what they did. If Ms. Conniff elects to write a column about it and to address it on radio, it is incumbent upon her to note reality. Accepting that a correction has been issued when so much was left uncorrected is "pleasing." It is not, however, reality.

When a male journalist or pundit goes out of his way to be "pleasing," we generally assume that he is doing so because he thinks it will provide him access/status. When a woman does the same it may be for that reason and/or/more it may be because it has been ingrained in her psyche that her existance is based upon pleasing others. If that is the case with Ms. Conniff, as one a few decades older than Ms. Conniff, let me note that there is no destination to happiness at the end of Pleasing Road. Judging by Cokie Roberts, there is a lot of bitterness, a lot of hatred and a very soggy mind.

Just to cover the show, along with Ms. Welch, Ms. Conniff and Mr. Parry, John Nichols was on, briefly, as a guest. Mr. Nichols had a bad phone connection and another engagement so he was only on at the start of the discussion. This was a real shame because Mr. Nichols had things of value to discuss.

I have heard the frustration in the voices of Dalia Hashad, Michael Ratner, Michael Smith and Heidi Boghosian on Law and Disorder as they have tackled serious issues week after week. Just this week, Ms. Hashad said, "We have got to wake up in America." Ms. Conniff would probably reply, "Oh, hit the snooze alarm, I'm not done whipping up my blueberry pancakes from scratch and it's such a lovely day." The willingness of the hosts of Law and Disorder to share their level of frustration has not only made for wonderful broadcasting, it has illuminated the situations. Floating on a cloud, above it all, tossing off pseudo-inspiritational bits that have no bearing on reality may have a place and may be enjoyed by some attending a "How I Got My Man" or "How I Kept My Man" seminar. It offers nothing to the political conversation.

To those who yearn for shallow scripts, I would urge you to check out Ms. Conniff's comments. I, however, am an old woman and do not need some guru passing out platitudes.

A woman who wants to be a motivational speaker has every right to be that. I just do not need my critiques and analysis from them. Ms. Conniff was once on television quite often. She may still be. I can remember her from before the rise of the blonde right-wingers. She, and a few other women, would smile serenely and take pains to couch every argument. I had forgotten that until I heard her speaking to Ms. Welch. Suddenly, I remembered every soft-spoken, female guru dispensing love and goodness while a George Will or Tucker Carlson detonated a verbal bomb or while a Chris Matthews shouted over everything. It was useless.

Gloria Steinem is not someone I ever remember shouting a guest or interviewer down. But she is also not someone who fails to register human emotion. She has always been effective. Molly Ivins is another woman I have never failed to be impressed with. But for every Ivins and Steinem there were multiple women who saw their role as the help-mate to the nation, the nation's spiritual and moral advisor, and themselves as some sort of quasi-Miss Manners.

As political analysts or offering critiques of our times, motivational speakers serve no purpose. They are to politics what Petulia Clark was to sixties rock music. Playing the "good girl" may please whomever they cast in the role of "Daddy," but it does not serves the public conversation or understanding. Soft and gauzey "Women We Love" plays in Esquire but it is not of use to me.

Women I love? Women who are not afraid to speak their minds. Women who are themselves. That might mean loud, that might mean weary, that might mean funny, but it never, ever, means a robot. My generation rebelled against the role of the robatic wife who had no opinion to express that might go against accepted social norms and mores.

Women do not have to be Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause, standing on the sidelines, rooting on the drag race. That road led to unhappiness and spiritual destruction. I have always considered Ms. Wood's Deanie in Splendor in the Grass to be the natural outcome for Judy in Rebel.

This is not about the nature of the voice itself or about caring. Sister Helen and Jane Goodall always come off as two caring individuals. Neither woman, however, sticks to scripts or betrays her own platform.

Ms. Conniff was a guest for an hour, for the hour. I heard nothing but dime-store analysis dressed up in a motivational talk. Helpmate of the party isn't a role that interests me. If this house is on fire, you scream, "Fire!" You do not say, "I'll get the marshmellows." Like a Stepford Wife with a hobby, Ms. Conniff batted the Democratic Party with a tissue while Mr. Parry, feet firmly in the real world, spoke of real issues.

She not only found hope in the man Rebecca has christened Evan Blah, she felt the need to share that she had found hope. It was as though she was breathlessly exclaiming, "Did you see the clean hands on our mugger? Wasn't that delightful?" Having cast herself in the role of the party's helpmate, she is now left to explain away the bruises, cuts and other injuries that would have any thinking woman running to a women's shelter. Instead, Mr. Conniff asks only that when she next gets battered, her "man" not hit her in the face.

Where the blame lies for this inability to question those in power is anyone's guess but when it comes from a woman, there is an additional layer of questions.

As anyone who listens to Ms. Welch, even semi-regularly, knows, electronic voting is a big issue on her show. It is a big issue with her, with her guests and with her callers. To be asked point blank about voting and to non-respond by issuing a statement on grassroots and party's efforts to win the next election was not only bland, it was stupid. Ms. Welch had noted that the League of Women Voters in Florida will no longer register voters in that state due to the oppressive laws passed by the Republican legislature to surpress voter turnout. The issue of the outcome for 2004 was not, giggles from Ms. Conniff aside, about Senator John Kerry's effectiveness or lack of it in communicating.

There were no giggles regarding the Bully Boy. In fact, I do not even remember Ms. Conniff naming him. That is a script Bob Somerby's addressed quite often. For those unfamiliar with that script it boils down to: the press mocks, sneers and smears the Democratic candidate while never judging the Republican candidate by the same standard. An example I believe he has cited quite often is that Al Gore could be judged a liar via "clowning" but Bully Boy could do or say whatever he wanted and not face the same consquences. On this week's CounterSpin, Steve Rendall addressed how Jim Lehren of PBS' NewsHour does not feel it is his job to note when the Bully Boy lies. Somehow, however, it is the job of the press to create the myth of "Al Gore: The Great Liar."

In a giggling fit, Ms. Conniff actually offered one specific opinion during the hour program: Al Gore should not run for president because he is no candidate. Al Gore the candidate was a source of much mirth to Ms. Conniff. It probably keeps the laughs coming when you never challenge your peers but instead add to the nonsense, year after year, and fail to highlight very real issues. Here is one for Ms. Conniff, Al Gore got more votes in 2000.

Did the laughter stop? Good. I do not consider the attacks on women, the illegal war, the warrantless spying on Americans, Guantanamo Bay or other issues "laughing matters." Ms. Conniff's mistake may have been in thinking that she was on a Beltway program where easy answers could be dressed up with "my neighbor, who's serving in Iraq" bits of gossip from the neighborhood, but that was not the case. She would do better for others and herself by getting out into the real world. For instance, it would probably be a good idea to be able to talk about the Tuesday election in California when you are brought on a show whose topic includes that election. She had no insight to offer. Apparently the actual realities of the California election, which were addressed by Mr. Nichols and Mr. Parry in their own responses, are far removed from the Beltway and her own neighborhood.

At one point, Mr. Nichols stated, "If you want to be serious about politics, you have to be serious about where the new ideas are coming from." Though he was not addressing Ms. Conniff's contributions, he might just as well have been. What might this election tell us about the November general elections? To answer that question, you would have to know something about the results. (Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari discussed this at length on Wednesday's The Morning Show.) The fact that Ms. Conniff appears to feel knowledge of an election is unnecessary when offering her predictions may go a long way in explaining why she finds the thought of former Vice-President Al Gore so humorous.

On Tuesday, Danny Schechter was on KPFA's The Morning Show. With Philip Maldari he addressed the way the media santizes war crimes -- the topic of a recent article written by Mr. Schechter. Mr. Schechter noted the "risk adverse" nature of the media and how, at a Peabody awards ceremony, Brian Williams stated that our government failed us with regards to Hurricane Katrina. While there is safety in making that claim, the media refuses to speak the same truth about the illegal war despite the fact that the people are more and more aware of it. Mr. Malderi addressed the issue of embedded journalists identifying with the troops and being unable to address the realities of what goes on whether it is Haditha or Falluja. Mr. Schechter referred to this as media crimes. Mr Schechter discussed how power has shifted from the government "into the corporate world with globalization, with corporations dominating everthing" and the media is a part of that, the face of it.

John F. Burns, of the New York Times, was discussed and how controlled what he sees is. "His coverage has spun into a need to accept the war for removing Saddam," Mr. Schechter noted following Mr. Maldari's comments about how limited Mr. Burns' access and mobility is in Iraq. Mr. Schechter addressed the covert operations, the outsourcing of the war and a great deal more including the issue of traction for a news story noting that, "a story only rises to the level of everybody knows about when a lot of people pile on it."

In a half-hour interview, in any two minutes of the half-hour interview, Mr. Schechter offered more reality than Ms. Conniff managed to. I do not believe Mr. Schechter was attempting to inspire, I do believe he was attempting to inform -- which he did consistently. He has a new documentary that will be out shortly entitled In Debt We Trust focusing on the credit squeeze in America.

WBAI's Law and Disorder offered a discussion with Anthony Arnove, author of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, for the last half of the hour long show. Topics discussed included the illegal occupation as the root cause of chaos and violence in Iraq, the need to combat empire, the need to link civil rights to the movement, the need to address the administration's plans for Iran, the counter-recruiting movement . . . Strangely enough, despite the fact that the hosts are no fans of the Clinton administration, they did not make time to giggle over Al Gore as a candidate. Possibly, having real issues and real priorites prevented them from having the need or desire to embarrass themselves?

That allowed them to offer real contributions to the discussion of the war -- something far removed from "Well, golly, people aren't effected by it and we have a professional military and, what else is on the check list all the pundits check off, oh, yes! Also . . ." Instead we got real moments that mattered such as this exchange between Ms. Hashad and Mr. Arnove.

Ms. Hashad: Several weeks ago we were out at an anti-torture protest in Portland, Oregon . . . and we spoke to this woman who was there, who had just quit her job to protest full time against the war in Iraq. She said, "My brother is over there now and, if he dies, I'll just lose my mind. This is the moment. This is the time. If I don't quit my job and devote myself to this fully, I will never have the opportunity to go back and correct that mistake."

Mr. Arnove: That's very powerful. I think a lot of people are sensing that this is the moment. The thing is, I think we just need to find ways of effectively channeling that.

Possibly, Ms. Conniff felt that giggling over Al Gore and avoiding the issue of the war, while justifying the avoidance of it by the elected Democrats -- sharing how it is not hitting home (that's a very interesting neighborhood she lives in) -- is what she sees as an effective way to channel this moment? I do not and I do not have time for those who do.

Please check Kat's "Guns and Butter, Betty's latest chapter and more" for coverage of Guns and Butter, Mike's "Law and Disorder and more" and Cedric's "Law and Disorder on Ahmed Omar Abu Ali" for coverage of Law and Disorder, Elaine's "Rare morning post" for coverage of WBAI's Cat Radio Cafe, and Rebecca's covered KPFA's Flashpoints all week.

Coming up on KPFA:

Sunday Salon
Sunday, June 11th, 09:00a.m.
Hour 1: The controversial California High School Exit Exam;
Hour 2: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East

Act One Radio Drama
Sunday, June 11th, 7:30p.m.
Aliens in America, written by contemporary satirist Sandra Tsing Loh.

Against the Grain
Monday, June 12th, 12:00p.m.
Aaron Glantz, author of "How America Lost Iraq," talks about the massacre by US troops of Iraqi civilians in Haditha.

[Elaine note: Typo corrected by Elaine per Ruth.]

Kat's Korner: Kites are something

Kat: If you're one of the small number dedicated to the belief that Free Design's first album Kites Are Fun is a masterpiece of artistic achievement, you can stop reading now. It's not and nothing I have to say will please you.

"Small number?"

Free Design was a group that emerged in 1967. They had some local success but were largely undermined by a lack of strong distribution. For the first album, that was far from the only problem.

I actually enjoy Kites Are Fun. I enjoy it the same way as I do the closing songs in those big studio films of the late sixties where some guy has had a coming of age experience or a some mismatched couple is playing us against the world. The song is pure vocal and it's lah-lah-lah as the credits roll and maybe someone runs across an empty beach or up a hill. It's the sound that Simon & Garfunkel should have demolished with their more complex work on the soundtrack to The Graduate -- yet somehow the earlier sound managed to hang around for a few more years.

On a shady, lazy day, I enjoy putting on this album, the vinyl version. I wasn't even aware the album had been released on CD until an e-mail came in asking if I had any thoughts on it?

The good news first. Wonderful remastering by Light Sound Attic. There's a booklet that will please the dedicated but probably not many others.

At this point in time, Free Design was three people: Bruce, Chris and Sandy Dedrick. Sandy, the sister, is easy to pick out in the photos. If you don't know the group, you may look at any of the four photos inside the booklet (there are also reproductions of album covers) and wonder, "Wait, which one is Chris? Which one is Bruce?"

1967 was the year Lou Adler, Michelle & John Phillips and others staged the Monterey International Pop Music Festival. Janis Joplin, the Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix would be among the ones who would rip apart the stage and capture the fascination of America's record buying public. That's important to remember when trying to figure out why Free Design never made it to the ranks of hitmakers -- let alone super groups.

The original cover (also used as the cover for the remaster) shows you the three siblings wearing what might have been considered "with it" clothes in the early sixties. By 1965, forget 1967, the only word for the look was "square." (The group would change their look on later albums.) Looking like the last refugees from the folk coffee house circuit, the boys sport turtle necks and Sandy, in a striped shirt, wears her long hair as if she'd just had her photo taken for the 1963 yearbook.

1967 was a year when image mattered. When cues were sent via image. Janis was letting it all hang out and adorned in feathers and fringes. The Mamas and the Papas had long since smashed the cookie cutter mold with their outfits. Here's a vocal group where the men are wearing turtlenecks and chinos with hair cuts that Mike Love would term "conservative." The times, the hair was flowing. Along comes Free Design with a look that no one was wearing. It hurt their credibility.

Another minus was Sandy being surrounded by her brothers. Free Design was going for an intelligent crowd -- read "older" than those who might spin the Archies. Just as, in the seventies, Donny & Marie were dubbed "sexy" only by the young; those actually having sex were kind of grossed out by the closeness factor of the squeaky clean Free Design. You better believe that hurt.

Know what else hurt? The new liner notes tell you how artistic and talented Free Design was.
It wasn't that talented. They could hit notes. There's no question of that. But mechanics doesn't mean great singer.

A great singer doesn't sing "kites are fuuNNNNNNN . . . kites are fuuNNNNN" because a great singers knows that vowels sing, consonants don't. But there's Free Design on the closest thing they had to a hit singing "NNNNs" over and over.

If you're confused, the Beach Boys sang "fUn, fUn, fun, 'till her daddy . . ." They didn't sing "fuNNNN, fuNNN, fuNNNN, 'till her daddy . . ."

For all the praise heaped on the group's debut album, all the talk of how talented they were, how trained, how their background is strongly in music, they didn't know the first thing about singing. That's a problem when you're a vocal group.

At a time when Hendrix and Pete Townsend were about to change the landscape with the guitar work, the da-da-da, crisp, quick, stacatto vocals backed up with a gentle acoustic/chamber music sound were as retro as Tiny Tim. (But he had a visual which helped carry him to fame.)

Songwriting? "When Love Is Young," credited to "S. Zynczak & S. Dedrick," is the strongest original composition. Not, as we're led to believe "Kites Are Fun." The latter track is supposed to now be seen as the sort of thing Brian Wilson could have written. Possibly . . . on a really, really bad day.

If the only thing amazing about Wilson's growth as a songwriter had been that he had started writing about childhood, he wouldn't be remembered today. It was how he wrote about it.

I like flying
Flying kites
Flying kiiiiites
Flying kiiiiiiiites
Kites are fuNNN
Kites are fuNNN
See my kite is fuNNN
See my kite is green and white
Laughing at it's distant flight
All that's between us is a little yellow string

That's not a song, it's a commercial for a hobby. The apparent 'rebellion' comes in one line, repeated throughout, of how, tragedy, "Mom and Dad and Uncle Bill don't realize" that, of course, kites are fuNNN.

It's a piece of fluff, fun fluff, but it's not even a distant family relation of the songs of Brian Wilson.

With few exceptions, that's the entire album. Along with "When Love Is Young," the song "Make the Madness Stop" is evidence of songwriting talent. "Kites Are Fun"? It may have made Alex Wilder, writing many years later in the New York Times, "weep," but it will more likely lead you to roll your eyes or burst out laughing.

"Corneilus (Keigo Oyamada)," writing in 2003, tries to group them in with the Beach Boys and the Carpenters. That may be the first comparison of the Beach Boys and the Carpenters I'm aware of. The comparison is ill suited on every level; the Beach Boys were aiming for the kids, the Carpenters (a favorite band of Tricky Dick's) were parent-pleasing.

So is Free Design. You can picture a mother picking up a vinyl copy while taking the Singer in for repairs and saying to her teenage son (who carried the sewing machine into the store), "Why can't you be more like these kids? Look at them. They bathe, they have short hair. They're so clean cut!" And you know what, it was probably those moments more than sorry distribution (the album actually was distributed at Singer sewing machine stores) that killed any chances of success for this album.

"So you're saying avoid at all costs?"

No. It's a nice piece of fluff. They'd change up on later albums (adding a sister and losing a brother). I might try to note one or more of those albums in the future (maybe the pyschadelic children's album they did). In terms of this album, if you get the giddy rush you're supposed to when some big-budget, youth-geared film rolls the credits, you'll get a rush from this album.

My brother gave me this album. He'd just turned 13 and was being picked on for having it in his collection. I'll never forget his face as he handed it over and asked me to take good care of it. Reminded me of the face of my sister when she decided she was too old for Barbies. Kites Are Fun is a wonderful toy. You can have fun with it. It's just not art. No matter how hard the liner notes try to convince you otherwise.

In fact, dropping back to the general time period these notes were written in, what it reminds me of is all the children of stars that were attempting to become famous. Most didn't have the goods to (and faded into other work) but since they couldn't do anything but hype the supposed talent, the press would tell you about their "pedigree." The liner notes for the CD attempt to do the same. They try to convince you that this was just too good, too wonderful, too classically trained for success.

That's not reality. Which, if you think about it, makes the liner notes perfect for this CD release.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Haitian Cultural Village; Amy Goodman, Pete Seeger & more salute Father Daniel Berrigan


For Immediate Release
Contact: Art Jadrix


Riverside Theater Features Music, Dance and the First New York Showing by the Visionary Haitian Artist Jadrix

On Saturday, June 10, The Riverside Theater's 8th Annual New York Family Arts Festival will feature a diverse showcase of Haitian culture featuring Bonga and the Voudou Drums of Haiti, dance, crafts, food, as well as the first New York showing of the paintings of a visionary Haitian artist known as Jadrix.

"Jadrix is already developing an internatonal profile," says personal representative and art dealer, Susan Lavin. “A film about him was made in Paris and will be released in December. Art collectors hold parties to showcase the powerful look of his paintings,

"Thanks to the organizers of this vibrant day long event, Jadrix’s work will be shown publicly in New York for the first time in a prominent venue. This is a great achievement for an artist who has fought against grinding poverty to pursue his vision and create highly emotional work."

The showing of Jadrix's work is in conjuction with a day long event at Riverside Theater (in the historic Riverside Church) 91 Claremont Avenue (120th Street). It begins at noon with Haitian Roots Music and will include an instrument making workshop, a drum and percussion workshop, a dance workshop and concert featuring Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti starting at 6 PM (RSVP For workshops at 212 870 6784)

For more about the art of Jadrix, contact Susan Lavin at 646.853.3553 or

The Family Arts Festival is sponsored by JPMorganChase, The New York Times and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.


TOMORROW! (Saturday):
* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:

Sat, June 10 *
Birthday Celebration for Father Dan Berrigan, Amy Goodman Hosting
With Amy Goodman, Pete Seeger, Howard Zinn, Liz McAlister, Ramsey Clark and
other very special guests, for an evening of poetry, song and community,
celebrating the 85th birthday of Fr. Daniel Berrigan. The radical priest,
poet and anti-war activist helped ignite a generation of dissent against the
war in Vietnam, and with unmatched persistence, has remained an advocate of
active non-violence.

June 10th, at 7pm
St. Ignatius Church,
980 Park Ave. @ 83rd St.
$25 to $50 suggested donation, no one turned away.
For futher information call 212-726-0664.

If you're unfamiliar with Berrigan, Thursday Amy Goodman interviewed him for Democracy Now! and you can listen, watch or read (transcripts) via the link below:

Holy Outlaw: Lifelong Peace Activist Father Daniel Berrigan Turns 85
We speak with Father Daniel Berrigan, one of the country's leading peace activists of the past half-century. Hundreds of people are gathering in New York this weekend to celebrate his 85th birthday. We discuss his life as a Jesuit priest, poet, pacifist, educator, social activist, playwright and lifelong resister to what he calls "American military imperialism."

Other upcoming events:

* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Tues, June 13 *
The New Class War in America. With Paul Krugman, Greg Palast, Randi Rhodes
and Amy Goodman
New York Society for Ethical Culture,
2 West 64th St. at Central Park West,
New York City (subways 1, A, B, C, or D to Columbus Circle)
Admission: $10 Donation
For more information: To purchase tickets in advance please visit

* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Thur, June 22 *
A Reading from Voices of a People's History of the United States
New York Society for Ethical Culture,
2 West 64th St. at Central Park West,
New York City (subways 1, A, B, C, or D to Columbus Circle)

* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Fri, June 23 *
TIME: 7:30 PM
Amy Goodman Speaks With Italian Journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who was
kidnapped in Iraq in February of 2005
Columbia University, Lerner Hall
For more information:

Marshall e-mailed about Robert Jay Lifton. Rod had passed on that an interview with Lifton was the scheduled topic for Friday's Democracy Now! If you listened, watched or read Friday's show, you ended up with something else. It's a news program and scheduled topics will change.
The show goes out live each morning (you can watch it or listen to it live online at 8:00 am EST each Monday through Friday). (Except on holidays.) There are additions and deletions made while that broadcast is happening. And, during pledge month, when Goodman's broadcast day doesn't end with the program's sign off, they will sometimes do additions to the program. For example, the Lay and Skilling verdict broke in May, a pledge month, and something was dropped from the DN! that had been broadcast that morning for the second broadcast on KPFA as Goodman did a live hookup with Houston to provide coverage of that verdict.

It's a news program and scheduled topics are always subject to change. When Ava and I reviewed Dateline, we noted that, as announced on that show, the coming Friday would be a look back at OJ Simpson. By mid-week, a news story (an actual one) had broken and the scheduled topic changed. (Please don't read that comparsion to be a suggestion that the two programs are equivalent. Wonderful people at Dateline, but as Ava & I note, it's the kiddie table.) That's what happens. Marshall's a self-described "big fan" of Robert Jay Lifton and I'm sure he's been rescheduled and not forgotten. And I'm sure it will be a wonderful interview when it airs. But, considering the tone and tenor of Thursday and Friday elsewhere, I'm glad that ended being rescheduled because there were issues that needed to be addressed and Democracy Now! addressed them.

Marshall had another question which was about my forgetting to include Margaret Kimberley's "Baby Killers at Haditha" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator) in Thursday night's entry.
As I noted in my column in the gina & krista round-robin, I didn't forget. Blogger/Blogspot was acting up the last few days. There were two more things I had hoped to include in that entry and both got pulled. In the middle of doing the commentary section, I got the "unable to connect to Blogger" message. I hadn't saved the entry. As soon as that message disappeared (which would mean I was connected again), that entry was going up. I'd wanted to write something about Kimberley's column and the second highlight. When the message went away, I immediately deleted both from the post (I add the highlights first and then write around them) and posted because Blogger/Blogspot was in and out all day Wednesday and Thursday for me. (For others that was true of Tuesday and/or Monday as well.) Thursday's DN! entry went up later than it should have. The e-mailed post would not hit the site. When that happened repeatedly, I ended up attempting to log in and repeatedly and could not get into the program. When I finally did, I copy and pasted with no bolds, no italics, and immediately posted to get it onto the site. It was a window of opportunity that would probably close. Which it did before it could be indexed. Repeated attempts by Jess finally allowed him to log in enough to put things in bold and italics. On those later windows of opportunities, the e-mailed posts began hitting the site (which is how we ended up with four of that entry at one point). In that post, I'd wrongly credited a Sandra Lupien news item to Amy Goodman. Angie who listens in Houston pointed out that Goodman did not say that on the KPFK broadcast (thank you Angie) and I realized I'd wrongly confused them. Getting in to do that correction was a nightmare. Correcting it at the mirror site wasn't a problem. But with Blogger/Blogspot, I'd log in (if I was lucky) and sometimes be able to go to the page where you pull up posts for editing. At which point, I'd be knocked out and get the message that Blogger/Blogspot was "down."

So on "And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)" as well as both morning entries Friday, when that message went away, all three posts went up, whether they were in 'final' form or not.
We will highlight Kimberly's column again (plan is tomorrow but it may be Sunday) but with the problems going on, it wasn't happening Thursday and had nothing to do with the quality of her column. Marshall was afraid some e-mails had come in complaining about it -- they had from visitors -- and it had been dropped for that reason. Those e-mails come in all the time. The worst are the ones who can't grasp that a link and an intro means the excerpt is written by Kimberley so they feel the need to take me to task -- "How dare you write . . ." -- because there's clearly something about Kimberley's strong writing that greatly bothers some elements on the right. We note her every week and that's because she's worth noting.

Anne wondered if Robert Parry was being overlooked? Not noted, yes. Not because I'd forgotten or Zach had stopped highlighting. That had nothing to do with Parry's writing but with the Blogger/Blogspot problems, there wasn't time. His site uses a font that requires editing here before it can go up or else instead of *'* and *"* we'll see squares in the place of parenthesis, etc. There wasn't time, with the Blogger/Blogspot issues, to do those kind of corrections to his font. I explained to Zach ahead of time (because he highlights Parry regularly in his e-mails) that it would either be on hold or he (Zach) could correct it when he copy and pasted in his e-mails. He tried correcting it once and gave up because it does require catching them all.

For future reference, if the problem happens again, we'll just put him and people can live with square symbols showing up. Parry and others at Consortium News also lose out on mornings when I'm rushing (for the same reason -- the time it takes to catch those changes, and make sure they were caught).

Cameron wondered who highlight Danny Schechter this morning? I did. When I say "I will highlight . . ." that means I'm doing so. If I say "we" that means a member's noted it and didn't want their name up or that multiple members have noted it (or that members and visitors have noted it). If I say "I will highlight," it means it me doing it. I think that's the first time I've done that this year. I don't do it often because we have more highlights than we ever note. Members usually are the ones highlighting. I included Danny today because members were complaining (rightly) about the nonsense that they were seeing online. They were bothered by it, I was as well. Then I went from bothered to depressed as I worked through the e-mails and saw it over and over. Surely someone we highlight wasn't throwing common sense out the window, wasn't dropping news to rush forward with the Bully Boy script? I thought of Danny, went to the site and he was still News Dissector, still approaching it as a journalist. So I made the decision to include him. (And I'm sure Martha or Eddie, to name two who check his site, but later in the day, would have caught it as the day went on.)

What Cameron didn't ask and what I will note here is that the first two highlights of the first entry this morning were from James. Again, there were still problems with Blogger/Blogspot this morning and when the message disappeared (about not being able to connect to Blogger/Blogspot) the entries went up then. Finished or not. I didn't realize I hadn't credited James when that was published. Shirley noticed that. We figured out the wrap around sentence and she went and added it. (She also corrected my typos -- no surprise to long term members. Or corrected the ones she noted.) Apologies to James for my error. Thanks to Shirley for correcting it and thanks to her, Martha, Jess and Ava for helping with the e-mails this week. Because of Gareth's 'outreach program' -- noted in the gina & krista round-robin two Fridays ago and he's writing about it for Sunday's Polly's Brew this weekend -- we've added more European members and, in addition to that, we've also had a huge increase in the number of e-mails from visitors.

I don't reply to all e-mails and members know that already. I can't. I don't have the time. With everyone helping, every e-mail doesn't get a reply nor does every e-mail that might require a reply get one. A visitor who didn't get a reply wrote to say he didn't want to be a member but "put me down" for the gina & krista round-robin. That's a member's thing. That's closed. It's not open. Same with Polly's Brew, the UK Computer Gurus bi-weekly newsletter and same with Kayla's upcoming newsletter. But, more importantly, I don't "put" anyone "down" for that.

I do a column for the round-robin and for Polly's Brew. Kayla asked if it was possible to do one for her's as well and it is. If there's a roundtable, I will always make time if I'm asked. That's about it unless something else is asked. Those are done by the people doing them. When Gina and Krista started theirs up, they noted they would close off at a certain point. I did make a special plea for Cedric's friends (Three Cool Old Guys) and it wasn't a problem to include them. (The community was familiar with them due to Cedric.) They had missed the cut off date (because they didn't have computer access). But even then, that was a "plea" -- a request. I don't make the decisions, the people doing those newsletters do.

Krista (noted with her permission) highlighted an issue (which I still think was an issue) before the round-robin began. That issue was later pooh-pahed by a voice we often highlight here. I still think it's an issue. But Krista felt badly (she still does and thinks she wasted members time
with her highlights on that -- I still disagree and think it was an issue and am glad we noted it).
After that, she really didn't want to share for the longest. When the UK Computer Gurus started their newsletter, she and Gina began thinking that they could do something similar. That's how it started. That's why it is the way it is. As Gina has always said, this site is a private conversation in a public place. Anyone can listen in. The round-robin is a private conversation in a private place. It's closed. They decide who receives the round-robin. With the exception of Three Cool Old Guys, I've never asked them to consider adding anyone.

Members write things (and draw things and share photos) each week there. (The same with Polly's Brew but Polly created that for the European community members.) That is private. It's not open to visitors or drive-bys and never will be. Though this site will probably end in November of 2008 (I say "probably" because no one believes and because some members say they'll convince me otherwise by the time Nov. 2008 rolls around), Gina and Krista have already noted the round-robin will continue. That is their thing. I have no control over it. I'm not editor or publisher, they are responsible for it.

One of the reasons Beth's column (Beth's our ombudsperson) moved over there was for that reason. When the password for this site changes, Beth gets it within twenty-four hours. She can always post here if she wants. She prefers to address members issue and says she'll do a column here once a year and probably no more than that. When she does it here, she addresses the concerns from visitors e-mails I've passed on. But her focus is what members are asking about or commenting on. If she needs a comment from me, I give her that over the phone, otherwise, I'm learning what the column is about as I read it on Friday morning the same as any member.

There are a few members who didn't sign up for it at the time and there are members who joined too late to sign up. Each year, Gina and Krista will consider adding people to the list. That's their decision. I have no say in the decision. With members who don't get it, when there's a poll (such as whether to drop the Iraq snapshot or the highlights -- membership voted 88% to keep the Iraq snapshot), they are advised of that so they can weigh in.

The e-mail address for this site is (No tags, I'm tired.)

The e-mail address for this show is

Teniente del Ejército se niega a ser trasladado a Irak

Francisco: Hola mi amigos y amigas. Aqui estan 10 noticias de "Democracy Now!". Buen fin de semana.

Teniente del Ejército se niega a ser trasladado a Irak
Mientras tanto, un oficial del Ejército estadounidense anunció que se niega a ser trasladado a Irak, lo que estaba programado para fines de este mes. El oficial, primer teniente Ehren Watada, dice que primero pidió autorización para renunciar a su cargo en enero. En dicha ocasión, Watada escribió: "Me opongo por completo a la permanente guerra en Irak, al engaño utilizado para librar esta guerra, y a la ilegitimidad que ha invadido todos los aspectos de nuestro liderazgo civil". Se cree que el teniente Watada es el primer oficial en actividad en negarse a ser trasladado a Irak desde que comenzó la invasión. Se espera que quienes lo apoyan lleven a cabo hoy conferencias de prensa simultáneas en su estado de origen, Hawai, y en Olimpia, Washington. Funcionarios militares le dijeron a Watada que no puede asistir a la conferencia de prensa porque tiene prohibido hablar en público sobre su caso mientras esté cumpliendo servicio en la base.

Estados Unidos muestra fotos del cadáver de Zarqawi
Las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses mostraron el jueves imágenes del cadáver de Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, el hombre más buscado de Irak, poco después de anunciar que había sido asesinado en una ataque aéreo. Las fotos mostraban a Zarqawi con cortes y moretones visibles en su cara. Los gobiernos iraquí y estadounidense dicen que fue asesinado cuando aviones de combate estadounidenses arrojaron un par de bombas de 227 kilogramos en un refugio en las afueras de la localidad de Baquba. Para muchas personas, Zarqawi era la cara de la resistencia iraquí; fue acusado de llevar a cabo innumerables bombardeos, asesinatos y otros actos de violencia, incluyendo la decapitación de rehenes en Irak.

Mueren 31 personas por violencia; se prohíbe el tránsito de vehículos en Bagdad
Mientras tanto, al menos 31 personas murieron el jueves en tres atentados con bombas en Irak. En el peor ataque del día, trece personas murieron en un ataque contra un mercado de frutas de Bagdad. El gobierno iraquí impuso una prohibición de vehículos de un día en Bagdad, para prevenir represalias violentas por la muerte de Zarqawi.

Líderes del Senado y de la Cámara de Representantes acuerdan destinar 65.800 millones de dólares a las guerras en Irak y Afganistán
Mientras tanto, los legisladores culminaron un acuerdo presupuestario que destinará 65.800 millones de dólares para las operaciones militares en Irak y Afganistán. El acuerdo presupuestario surge mientras una nueva encuesta muestra que el 59% de los ciudadanos estadounidenses creen que comenzar la guerra contra Irak fue "un error".

Soldados estadounidenses acusados de nuevas matanzas de civiles
Mientras tanto en Irak, soldados estadounidenses son acusados de un nueva serie de asesinatos a civiles iraquíes. El miércoles, el Partido Islámico Iraquí -el principal grupo sunita de Irak- dijo que tenía pruebas de que soldados estadounidenses mataron a más de dos docenas de iraquíes en incidentes ocurridos el mes pasado. Según el grupo, el ataque en el que se registraron más muertes ocurrió en una casa en Yusifiyah, al sur de Bagdad, y dejó un saldo de trece muertos, hombres y mujeres.

Investigación indica que catorce países europeos están involucrados en operaciones de la CIA
El principal organismo de vigilancia de los derechos humanos de Europa determinó que catorce países europeos estuvieron implicados o fueron cómplices en las operaciones secretas que realizó la CIA desde los atentados del 11 de septiembre. Dick Marty, presidente del Comité de Asuntos Legales y Derechos Humanos del Consejo de Europa, acusó al gobierno de Bush de adoptar un enfoque jurídico que es "completamente ajeno a la tradición europea". La investigación de Marty se centró en la práctica de Estados Unidos de rendiciones extraordinarias en la que funcionarios de la CIA secuestran a individuos y luego los trasladan a otros países para interrogarlos. Según el informe, España, Turquía, Alemania y Chipre proporcionaron lugares para las operaciones de traslado. Italia, Suecia, Bosnia y Macedonia permitieron el traslado de residentes desde su territorio. Gran Bretaña, Irlanda, Portugal y Grecia, proporcionaron aeropuertos utilizados por la CIA, mientras que Rumania y Polonia permitieron que la CIA operara prisiones secretas dentro de su territorio.

Activistas por la paz de Vermont interrumpen discurso de Negroponte
En Vermont, dos activistas por la paz fueron arrestados el lunes por interrumpir el discurso inaugural del Director Nacional de Inteligencia, John Negroponte, en la Academia St Johnsbury. Momentos después de que Negroponte comenzara su discurso, un manifestante se puso de pie y exclamó: "En nombre de la democracia me opongo a que hable este hombre. Tiene las manos manchadas con sangre por su trabajo en América Central e Irak. No debería estar en el estrado, debería estar en prisión. Es un criminal de guerra". Mientras el manifestante era escoltado hacia la salida, Negroponte dijo: "Ahora es mi turno". Pero antes de que pudiera continuar, otro manifestante se puso de pie y lo acusó de supervisar la tortura, los asesinatos y las violaciones en Honduras.

Estados Unidos se niega a ayudar a víctimas vietnamitas del Agente Naranja
El Secretario de Defensa, Donald Rumsfeld, está viajando por Asia esta semana. Durante su visita a Vietnam, oficiales militares estadounidenses reconocieron que Washington no indemnizará a millones de vietnamitas que sufren los efectos del Agente Naranja, utilizado por las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses durante la Guerra de Vietnam. Mientras tanto, Rumsfeld viajó a Indonesia para conmemorar el reestablecimiento de los vínculos de Washington con el gobierno de ese país.

Censo en Nueva Orleáns indica que población negra disminuyó 15%
En Nueva Orleáns, un nuevo censo de los cuatro meses siguientes al huracán Katrina concluyó que la población de la ciudad se volvió mayoritariamente blanca, envejeció y se empobreció. La población del área metropolitana de Nueva Orleáns disminuyó en más de la mitad. La población negra se redujo de 37 a 22 por ciento, mientras que el porcentaje de personas blancas aumentó de 60 a 73 por ciento.

Billy Preston murió a los 59 años
Billy Preston, el prolífico tecladista conocido como el "quinto Beatle", murió el martes a los 59 años. Preston tocó en varios éxitos número uno para los Beatles y los Rolling Stones, y tenía tres simples número uno de su autoría. Tocó en lo que terminó siendo el último recital de los Beatles, la famosa actuación en el techo de un edificio en 1969.

Francisco: Hello friends. Here are ten headlines from this week's Democracy Now!

Army Lt. Refuses Iraq Deployment
Meanwhile, a US army officer has announced he’s refusing his deployment to Iraq slated for later this month. The officer, First Lt. Ehren Watada, says he first asked for permission to resign his position in January. He says he wrote: "I am whole-heartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership." Lt. Watada is believed to be the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq since the invasion. Simultaneous news conferences by his supporters are expected to be held today in his home state of Hawaii and in Olympia, Washington. Military officials told Watada he cannot attend the news conference because he is barred from speaking publicly about his case while on duty at the base.

US Shows Images of Zarqawi's Body
Shortly after announcing he had been killed in an air strike, the US military displayed images Thursday of the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- Iraq's most wanted man. The pictures showed Zarqawi with visible cuts and bruises to his face. The Iraqi and U.S. governments say Zarqawi was killed when U.S. fighter planes dropped a pair of 500 pound bombs on a safehouse outside of the town of Baquba. To many Zarqawi was the face of the Iraqi resistance. He was accused of carrying out countless bombings, murders and other acts of violence including the beheading of hostages in Iraq.

31 Killed in Violence; Vehicle Traffic Banned in Baghdad
Meanwhile, at least 31 people were killed Thursday in three separate bombings across Iraq. In the day’s worst violence, 13 people were killed in an attack at a Baghdad fruit market. The Iraqi government has imposed a daytime vehicle ban in Baghdad in anticipation of violent retaliation for Zarqawi's death.

Senate, House Leaders Agree on $65B for Iraq, Afghanistan Wars
Meanwhile, lawmakers have finalized a budget agreement that will provide $65.8 billion dollars for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The budget agreement comes as a new poll shows a record 59 percent of Americans believe going to war against Iraq was a "mistake."

US Troops Accused of New Civilian Killings
Meanwhile in Iraq, US troops are being accused of a new round of killings of Iraqi civilians. On Wednesday, the Iraqi Islamic Party, Iraq’s main Sunni group, said it had evidence US troops killed more than two dozen Iraqis in incidents last month. According to the group, the most deadly attack occurred in a house in Yusifiyah south of Baghdad -- killing 13 people, including women and children.

Probe Says 14 European Countries Involved in CIA Operations
Europe's leading human rights watchdog has determined that 14 European countries have been involved in or complicit in secret CIA operations since the Sept. 11th attacks. Dick Marty, chairman of the Council of Europe's committee on legal affairs and human rights, accused the Bush administration of adopting a legal approach which is "utterly alien to the European tradition." Marty's investigation focused on the U.S. practice of extraordinary rendition where CIA officials kidnap individuals and then transport them to other countries for interrogation. According to the report, Spain, Turkey, Germany and Cyprus provided staging posts for rendition operations. Italy, Sweden, Bosnia, and Macedonia all allowed the rendition of residents from their soil. Britain, Ireland, Portugal, and Greece all provided airports used by the CIA. And Romania and Poland allowed the CIA to operate secret prisons on their soil.

Vermont Peace Activists Disrupt Negroponte Speech
In Vermont, two peace activists were arrested on Monday for disrupting a commencement address given by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte at St Johnsbury Academy. Moments after Negroponte began his address, a protester stood up and yelled: "In the name of democracy I object to this man speaking. He has blood on his hands from his work in Central America and Iraq. He shouldn't be at the podium, he should be in jail. He is a war criminal." As the protester was being escorted away, Negroponte said "Now it's my turn." But before he could continue, another protester stood up and accused Negroponte of overseeing torture, killings and rape in Honduras, where he served as ambassador in the 1980s.

U.S. Refuses to Help Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is traveling to Asia this week. During his stop in Vietnam, U.S. military officials admitted that Washington will not compensate the millions of Vietnamese suffering from the affects of Agent Orange, used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Meanwhile Rumsfeld traveled to Indonesia to mark the restoration of Washington’s military ties to the Indonesian government.

New Orleans Census Shows 15% Drop in Black Residents
In New Orleans, a new census covering the fourth months following Hurricane Katrina has found the city has become considerably whiter, older and less poor. New Orleans' metropolitan area has shrunk to more than half its size. The black population has dropped from 37 from 22 percent, while the percentage of whites has increased from 60 to 73 percent.

Billy Preston Dies at 59
And Billy Preston, the prolific keyboardist known as the "Fifth Beatle", died Tuesday at the age of 59. Preston played on several number one hits for the Beatles and Rolling Stones, and had three number one pop singles of his own. He played at what turned out to be the Beatles' last concert, the famous rooftop performance in 1969.

Democracy Now: Michael Berg, Arun Gupta (Robert Parry/Ruth Conniff on KFPA's Living Room)

31 Killed in Violence; Vehicle Traffic Banned in Baghdad
Meanwhile, at least 31 people were killed Thursday in three separate bombings across Iraq. In the day's worst violence, 13 people were killed in an attack at a Baghdad fruit market. The Iraqi government has imposed a daytime vehicle ban in Baghdad in anticipation of violent retaliation for Zarqawi's death.

US Shows Images of Zarqawi's Body
Shortly after announcing he had been killed in an air strike, the US military displayed images Thursday of the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- Iraq's most wanted man. The pictures showed Zarqawi with visible cuts and bruises to his face. The Iraqi and U.S. governments say Zarqawi was killed when U.S. fighter planes dropped a pair of 500 pound bombs on a safehouse outside of the town of Baquba. To many Zarqawi was the face of the Iraqi resistance. He was accused of carrying out countless bombings, murders and other acts of violence including the beheading of hostages in Iraq.

Senate, House Leaders Agree on $65B for Iraq, Afghanistan Wars
Meanwhile, lawmakers have finalized a budget agreement that will provide $65.8 billion dollars for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The budget agreement comes as a new poll shows a record 59 percent of Americans believe going to war against Iraq was a "mistake."

House Passes Controversial Telecom Bill
Meanwhile in the House, lawmakers passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act, known as the COPE bill. The controversial telecommunications legislation would permit phone and cable companies to operate Internet and other digital communications service as private networks, free of policy safeguards or governmental oversight. The bill would effectively end what is known as "net neutrality" which is the concept that that everyone, everywhere, should have free, universal and non-discriminatory access to the Internet. The bill would also cut back the obligation of cable TV companies to devote channels to public access and fund the facilities to run them. And the COPE bill would replace local cable franchises with national franchises.

Ohio Sec. of State Accused of Disenfranchising Voters
In Ohio, the state's top electoral official is being accused of trying to fix the upcoming November elections. Democrats and voter-registration groups charge Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has drafted draconian rules that could easily lead to penalties against people who register voters. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- known as ACORN -- says the rules are so vague the group has cut back its voter-registration efforts while lawyers review the new guidelines. Democrats say Blackwell is attempting to prevent black, low-income and Democratic voters from voting in his upcoming gubernatorial race against Democratic Congressmember Ted Strickland

The above five items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Tina, KeShawn, Brandon, ??? and Portland. Democracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):

Headlines for June 9, 2006

- US Shows Images of Zarqawi's Body
- Bush, Iraqis Praise Zarqawi Killing
- 31 Killed in Violence; Vehicle Traffic Banned in Baghdad
- Israeli Strike Kills Senior Hamas Leader
- CIA Support for Somali Warlords Draws Internal Criticism
- Hawaiian Self-Governance Bill Fails in Senate
- Senate Rejects Estate Tax Repeal
- House Passes Controversial Telecom Bill
- Ohio Sec. of State Accused of Disenfranchising Voters
- Delay Bows Out With Defiant Speech

Zarqawi's Death "Another Step in the Endless Cycle of Violence" -- Father of Beheaded Iraq Hostage

We get reaction on the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi from Michael Berg, whose son, Nicholas Berg, was captured and killed in Iraq two years ago. It is believed he was beheaded al-Zarqawi.
AMY GOODMAN: Michael Berg, do you believe that Zarqawi beheaded your son personally?
MICHAEL BERG: I don't know, and I say that because I have been lied to so many times by the F.B.I., the State Department, and by George Bush -- we've all been lied to by George Bush -- that I neither believe nor disbelieve anything that I hear they said or that I hear them say. So I really can't -- I really don't know. I don't even know if Zarqawi was alive at that time or whether he's been dead for a long time, whether he ever existed.
AMY GOODMAN: Why are you -- why do you have these questions?
MICHAEL BERG: Again, because I've been lied to so many times. I don't believe anything the American government says. I don't believe anything the F.B.I. says. I don't believe anything the State Department says because I have been lied to by them. The F.B.I. came to my house on March 31 and said, "We have your son." On May the 11th, they denied they have my son. The State Department sent me an email. I still have the original email saying, "your son is being held in a military prison in Iraq." A couple days later, they said -- a couple of weeks later they said that that was wrong, that he wasn't held in a military prison. George Bush lied to us about weapons of mass destruction. He lied to us about the Al Qaeda presence in Iraq before he destabilized the country, and he lied to us about Iraqi involvement in 9/11. How can I believe anything that any of these people say? The whole thing can be orchestrated. Maybe many people are Zarqawi, maybe not. I don't believe, nor do I disbelieve.

In Death, Zarqawi's Influence Remains A Matter of Debate

We continue our coverage of what Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death will mean for Iraq. Indypendent editor Arun Gupta, editor with the New York City Independent Media Center's newspaper, The Indypendent, joins us with his analysis.

Student Takes on McCain Over Iraq War Support at New School Graduation

We play what may have been the most controversial speech at a college campus this spring when 21-year-old student Jean Sara Rohe blasted Sen. John McCain (R - AZ) -- who delivered the keynote address at the ceremony -- over his support for the Iraq war.

House Passes Controversial COPE Telecom Bill, Rejects Amendment to Protect Net Neutrality

The House voted on legislation yesterday that could determine the future of the Internet and public access television in this country. We examine the implications of the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act -- known as the COPE bill -- with Anthony Riddle of the Alliance for Community Media. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think this is payoff to the telecoms for cooperating with the government and the N.S.A., and handing over the phone logs of tens of millions of Americans?
ANTHONY RIDDLE: I don't want to sound cynical, but I think that's absolutely what happened. I think, you know, the government goes and they say, you know, we've got this massive legislation that's really important to you, this is what you really want, you wrote it, we can pass it, this is what we need of you. You bring up a really good point, because what we're talking about is handing over the complete communication system to people who have no regard for your privacy, who will hand stuff over without warrant or anything. I think people really need to be up in arms about this.
AMY GOODMAN: When does the Senate vote?
ANTHONY RIDDLE: We keep hearing different things, it's hard to tell. I know they all want to get out before summer starts so that they can get back and campaign, because it's campaign season. But if the people check in really heavily on net neutrality, on public access --
AMY GOODMAN: Where do they find that information?
ANTHONY RIDDLE: They can go to the Alliance website, which is, they can go to, and they can also go to the Free Press site, which is Save the Internet. We implore all organizations -- we've even got the Christian Coalition and the N.R.A. involved in this, because everybody understands that if you have anything that's remotely not mainstream, that this can be blocked if these measures go through.

A Mother Under Occupation: Palestinian Journalist Laila El-Haddad on Life in the Occupied Territories

We speak with Palestinian journalist and mother, Laila El-Haddad about life in the Occupied Territories. El-Haddad writes for and maintains her own blog titled "Raising Youssef: A Diary of a Mother Under Occupation." She lives in Gaza and the U.S.

Iraq snapshot.

Guess what? Chaos and violence continue.

As Amy Goodman noted, Baghdad had a traffic curfew Friday. The AFP notes that traffic curfew applies "from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm local time" and that the curfew also applies to Baquba. China's People's Daily notes "[a] night curfew for traffic and people movement was also imposed in Diyala province from 8:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) to 6:00 a.m.(0200 GMT) for three days".

Yesterday, on KPFA's Flashpoints, Robert Knight noted the "bruised but remarkably presevrved corpse" of what is alleged to be al-Zarqawi. (Those without audio options can read Rebecca's summary.) Did someone panic as people started noticing? Who knows but today's spin is that al-Zarqawi lived through the bombing and died on the stretcher. That's the spin and it's all over. No one, apparently, can write of it without noting it. Here's what few are noting: Bully Boy was "smiling and joking with aides" before he put on his let-me-look-constipated-so-people-think-I'm-concerned face (Julian Borger, Guardian of London). KUNA reports it might not have been as fun today for Bully Boy's father -- Poppy Bush "arrived at the Yorkshire Events Centre, northern England" where he was greeted by peace activist Lindis Percy who "unfurled a United States flag and accused Bush Senior's son of doing terrible things in the world."

While Bully Boy got his chuckles on Thursday and Poppy got the "boo"s on Friday,
Muthana al-Badri was kidnapped. Reuters notes of Badri that he is, "in his 60s, has always worked for SCOP." (SCOP is "Iraq's State Company for Oil Projects".)
In other oil related news, the AFP reports that three oil engineers and two other people were killed "on the road between the refinery town of Baiji and the northern city of Tikrit," while in Kirkuk "gunmen attacked soldiers guarding a piepline" (one civilian dead, three soldiers wounded). This as the AFP reports: "World oil prices climbed as concerns resurfaced over tensions in crude-producing countries Iran and Iraq".

Australia's ABC reports the death of "34-year-old Australian" from a roadside bomb -- also dead were three people traveling with him all dead. The man has not been identified but, in a later ABC report, they identify him as a "security worker" and he hailed from Queenslander and Australia's prime minister John Howard states, "We do recommend that Australians stay away from Iraq for very obvious reason."

CBS and the AP note CBS journalist Elizabeth Palmer's report of a "firefight" in Ghalibiya that led to at least five civilian deaths and "five houses . . . demolished."

Meanwhile Reuters reports that the Iraqi police announced today the Thursday death of Zuhair Muhammad Kshmola who was "the brother of the governor of Mosul province." The Associated Press provides the update: "Gunmen opened fire on Friday's funeral procession for the brother of the governor of the northern city of Mosul."

Reuters notes that "two civilian trucks" headed "for the U.S. base in Ramadi" was attacked and the drivers kidnapped. And just as kidnappings are a regular event in Iraq now, so the discovery of corpses. The AFP reports that "five corpses, including one of a woman" were discovered in Baghdad.

So much for what, as Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show today, Iraq's brand-new interior minister (Jawad al-Bolani) termed, only yesterday, "a new beginning for Iraq."

Finally, CNN reports that the body of Hashim Ibrahim Awad's body is in the United States. Awad died in the April 26th incident that his family described to Knight Ridder's Nancy A. Youssef as: ""U.S. Marines took him from his home in the middle of the night and killed him. The Marines then used an AK-47 assault rifle and a shovel taken from another home to make him look like a terrorist." CNN reports that the body was exhumed, with the family's permission, "for forensic analysis."

Two highlights.

Stan notes Dahr Jamail and Jeff Pflueger's "Propaganda and Haditha" (Truthout):

Propaganda is when the Western corporate media tries to influence public opinion in favor of the Iraq War by consistently tampering with truth and distorting reality. It is to be expected. And it is to be recognized for what it is. On occasions when the media does its job responsibly and reports events like the November 19, 2005, Haditha Massacre, it must also be willing and able to anticipate and counter propaganda campaigns that will inevitably follow. It is to be expected that the responsible members of the media fraternity will stick to their guns and not join the propagandists.
This piece is a summary of five most commonly deployed crisis management propaganda tactics which the State and Media combine that we can expect to see in relation to the Haditha Massacre. Listed in a loose chronological order of their deployment, the tactics are: Delay, Distract, Discredit, Spotlight and Scapegoat. Each of the five public relations campaigns will here be discussed in the context of the Haditha Massacre.
Al-Jazeera channel, with over 40 million viewers in the Arab world, is the largest broadcaster of news in the Middle East. It has been bearing the brunt of an ongoing violent US propaganda campaign. Their station headquarters in both Afghanistan and Baghdad were destroyed by US forces during the US invasions of both countries. In Baghdad, the attack on their office by a US warplane killed their correspondent Tareq Ayoub. Additionally, al-Jazeera reporters throughout Iraq have been systematically detained and intimidated before the broadcaster was banned outright from the country. These are somewhat contradictory actions for an occupying force ostensibly attempting to promote democracy and freedom in Iraq.
On November 19, 2005, the day of the Haditha Massacre, al-Jazeera had long since been banned from operating in Iraq. The station forced to conduct its war reporting from a desk in Doha, Qatar, was doing so via telephone. Two Iraqis worked diligently to cover the US occupation of Iraq through a loose network of contacts within Iraq. Defying the US-imposed extreme challenges, al-Jazeera, by dint of its responsible reporting, had the entire Haditha scoop as soon as it occurred, which they shared with Western and other media outlets, while the latter were content to participate in delaying the story nearly four months by regurgitating unverified military releases.
Two days after the massacre, was the only free place on the Internet that carried al-Jazeera's report translated into English (it could be viewed at for a fee).
The anchorperson for al-Jazeera in Doha, Qatar, interviewed journalist Walid Khalid in Bahgdad. Khalid's report, translated by, was as follows:
Yesterday evening, an explosive charge went off under a US Marines vehicle in the al-Subhani area, destroying it completely. Half an hour later, the US reaction was violent. US aircraft bombarded four houses near the scene of the incident, causing the immediate death of five Iraqis. Afterward, the US troops stormed three adjacent houses where three families were living near the scene of the explosion. Medical sources and eyewitnesses close to these families affirmed that the US troops, along with the Iraqi Army, executed 21 persons; that is, three families, including nine children and boys, seven women, and three elderly people.
Contrast this to the reportage of the slaughter by the New York Times, the "newspaper of note" in the United States. Unquestioningly parroting the military press release, their story of November 21, 2005, read: "The Marine Corps said Sunday that 15 Iraqi civilians and a Marine were killed Saturday when a roadside bomb exploded in Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad. The bombing on Saturday in Haditha, on the Euphrates in the Sunni-dominated province of Anbar, was aimed at a convoy of American Marines and Iraqi Army soldiers, said Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool, a Marine spokesman. After the explosion, gunmen opened fire on the convoy. At least eight insurgents were killed in the firefight, the captain said."
The organization Iraq Body Count (IBC) immediately endorsed this, clearly demonstrating how its tally of Iraqi civilian deaths due to the war is way below the actual numbers. Exclusively referencing samples from the Western media that willingly embrace the official propaganda, IBC can hardly constitute an unbiased or truthful source of information.
In April 2006, their database of media sources cited an AP story and a Reuters story from November 20, 2005, along with a March 21, 2006, London Times article. This is how IBC distilled the stories; "Haditha - fighting between US Marines and insurgents-gunfire" and the number of civilians killed was recorded as 15. It is difficult to understand why IBC has once again opted to cite US fabrications mindlessly repeated by the Western media rather than take into account the readily available English translation of al-Jazeera's Haditha report.
On June 6, 2006, the Haditha Massacre is recorded by IBC as "family members in their houses and students in a passing car" and the declared number of victims is 24. One cannot help wonder how many uncorrected, unverified and unchallenged pieces of US military propaganda lurk in IBC's database. Haditha could be just the tip of the iceberg.
It wasn't until four months after the event that the Western corporate media started to straighten out the story. On March 19, 2006, it was Time Magazine that "broke" the Haditha story in a piece titled "Collateral Damage or Civilian Massacre in Haditha." The primary sources for this piece were a video shot by an Iraqi journalism student produced the day after the massacre and interviews conducted with witnesses. Another glaring evidence of how a few simple interviews with Iraqis and some readily available photographs and video can drastically correct the glaring errors in the Western media's representations of the occupation.
It is significant that this "exclusive" story came from the same publication that graced its cover with George W. Bush as the 2004 Person of the Year for "reframing reality to match his design." That brazen advertisement for the most unpopular re-elected US president in history more than establishes the fact that the magazine has an agenda that has less to do with responsible journalism than it does with influencing public opinion. That Time set its clocks back four months in regard to Haditha, when evidence was readily available the day after the event, only supports the charge that it willingly participates in US state propaganda. Journalists should aggressively expose the truth that Time, like its acclaimed 2004 person of the year, also reframes reality to match its design. If journalists do not look at Time's story with a skeptical eye as an exercise in PR before jumping on the Haditha bandwagon, they too risk shortchanging the public's trust with a meaningless opportunity to participate in a PR crisis anagement campaign.

Zach notes that Ruth Conniff (The Progressive) and Robert Parry (Consortium News) will be talking with Kris Welch on today's Living Room (noon Pacific, two p.m. Central, three EST). Living Room broadcasts on KPFA, you can listen online (no registration, no fee required).