Saturday, January 03, 2009

US military shoots journalists, Leila plays Evillene

Waleed Ibrahim, Missy Ryan and Tony Austin (Reuters) report that US forces shot Hadil Imad, an Iraqi news "producer for Biladi television stations," wounding her and her condition remains critical. When? Iraq and the US only wanted to get honest about it today but it took place January 1st -- remember that? The day of the big 'transfer,' the big 'transformation.' Hadil remains in the hospital and, not only is she a journalist, she'd gotten married the week prior. The Iraq War, it's all about . . . Spreading love . . . Spreading love . . .

Turning to yesterday's bombing, Anthony Shadid and Saad Sarhan's "Peacemaking Event Is Attacked in Iraq" (Washington Post) notes:

Ahmed said Friday's gathering was convened to foster reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite tribes in a region once so violent that residents had nicknamed it the Triangle of Death. The Sunni tribal leader who was host of the lunch, Mohammed Abdullah al-Qaraghouli, was among the wounded, Ahmed said.

How many are dead? We'll go with 30 and with one-hundred and ten wounded but, as Timothy Williams and Riyadh Mohammed (New York Times) note, those numbers can't be confirmed. The reporters sketch out the attack:

Around 1:30 p.m., after lunch, some of the tribal leaders lingered, drinking tea, while others began to leave, said several guests, who would speak only on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation.
It was about then that one of the tribe's members, Amin Ahmed Edan Hasoon, who is well known in the neighborhood, entered the yard without being searched by guards, guests said. Moments later, he detonated an explosive vest he was wearing.
"I heard a horrible and shocking explosion, and there were people who had been standing in the yard and suddenly, no one was standing -- they were on the ground," said Abu Khalid, 33, a teacher and tribal leader who had gone to wash his hands when the bomb went off.
At Yarmouk Hospital in Baghdad, where many of the wounded were taken, the sound of sobbing men and women filled the corridors.

Ned Parker and Ali Hameed (Los Angeles Times) provide the following:

Saleh wanted the tribe's Shiite and Sunni members to find common ground, said tribesmen who attended the meeting. The tribe is predominantly Sunni, but, like many Iraqi clans, counts members of both sects.
Some said the idea had been broached of forming a political bloc at the meeting. The tribal leader did not suspect that one of his own relatives, a teenager named Amin Ahmed Qarqouly who sometimes slept at his house, would blow himself up as dozens were exiting, said Iraqi army Col. Akram Hamidawi. He said Amin, in a show of affection, used to refer to Saleh has his grandfather.
Saleh, the head of Yousifiya's Sons of Iraq, Sunni paramilitaries fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, was not among the dead, relatives and Hamidawi said.
Amin, who lived in Saleh's neighborhood, had been considered unlikely to attack his immediate family. He used to stop by the house so frequently that no one frisked him Friday when he came in through the back entrance, where women had been cooking. His mother and sister were among those attending the party.
Amin's father left before his son's attack and was wanted for questioning, Hamidawi said.

It is already the story of the month. It's violence. A large death and wounded toll making it one of the most violent attacks in recent months. The first big attack of the year. Taking place where alliances may have been formed ahead of the upcoming elections. (Provincial elections scheduled for January 31st -- which the UN has warned will see an increase in violence as they approach -- a warning echoed by both the US State Dept and Dana Perino at the White House.) The meeting was monumental prior to the attack, a coming together that no one would have expected until recently. So it has all the elements to be a huge story.

So you know McClatchy's all over it.




Uh, sorry, the dog ate their homework. Leila doesn't like unpleasant news. She's morphed into Evillene insising, "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News!" So Adamn Ashton turns out some bad garbage about the air space. And tosses out factoids like, "On Friday, a Swedish air carrier landed a European commercial plane at the Baghdad International Airport for the first time in 17 years." That's what they're focused on. Can't cover reality. Can't cover the violence. And yet they still want to pretend they do something that makes a damn bit of difference. Still want to point to the days when they were Knight-Ridder and didn't fall (totally) for the spin in the lead-up to the illegal war. The longer Leila fails to do her job the more likely it is that we'll revist the great myth -- pushed by the usual liars of Panhandle Media -- about Knight-Ridder's total bravery in the lead-up to the illegal war. If Leila Fadel intends to get away with sinking the reputation of McClatchy, we're more than happy to help her out.

I'm not joking about correcting that little fable -- or at least fleshing it out. A number of friends at other outlets are really ticked off that I never tackled that and I've side-stepped it for some time. But we can go there now. And, if we do, there are numerous editors and reporters at other papers that will be happy to contribute examples of how the myth isn't reality and Knight-Ridder won more praise than they actually earned.

Trade talk. Did you hear about the correspondent angling for another job? Interviewing left and right. No word yet on any offer but, sad news for them, their current employer knows about the interviews and is pretty steamed since they'd been led to believe they and the employ had a long and bright future in store. Here's the cosmic joke, prepare to laugh, while the news oulet now knows that ____ was applying everywhere, desperate to get out of their job, _____ still has no idea the current employer knows.

And staying with humor, Iraq's first prime minister after Saddam, Iyad Allawi, is in the news cycle. Khalid al-Ansary (Reuters) reports that "Former U.S.-installed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi" is offering a savage critique of the White House occupant and Nouri al-Maliki. "Utter failure," is how he characterizes the Bully Boy's policies. al-Ansary notes:

Maliki's government was characterised by "weak performance, erected upon political quotas, major government corruption and infiltrated state agencies," he said. "Four years passed ... and they can't build the police, army, national institutions."
"Ending Saddam's regime was essential, but replacing the Saddam regime with extreme chaos was not right," he said. "I did not imagine the political process would eat itself from inside or that it would abandon the rule of law and establish political sectarianism."

Did anyone hear Barack's radio address? Who wrote that thing? It's (unintentionally) hilarious. I'll save it for Third but we could do paragraphs and paragraphs on it right now, right here.

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Spin from Kal, spin from Nouri

A question first thing in the morning, who removed the "Kick Me!" sign from Kal Raustiala's back? We're all going to close our eyes for two minutes and when we open them, we expect to see the sign on Kal's back. He's always earned it. There's not a bigger fool in academica on the West Coast than Kal. He shows up today with a column for the Los Angeles Times entitled "Iraq withdrawal -- not so fast" and it might mean something if Kal bothered to grasp facts or the reporting others already did (AP owns the story on how mercenaries have wiggle room in the treaty masquerading as the Status Of Forces Agreement). Kal's not interested in facts, he's interested in whoring himself out for Barack -- something that should have concerned UCLA as far back as October 2007 but maybe when donations start getting withheld UCLA will finally address the issue?

Kal's not even aware (or chooses to ignore) of the most recent Congressional hearing on the treaty. Either he's a moron who just can't help it or he's one of the most disgusting liars in the world.

If it's the latter, the column's a piece of propaganda intended to get the ball rolling on why it's not Barack's fault that he never withdrew US forces from Iraq. 2012 may seem far away to some but never forget the beggars of Panhandle Media started the march for Barack before the 2006 mid-term elections (first out of the gate was John Nichols). They began making the 2008 elections the story before the 2006 mid-term elections. They have no shame or remorse over the non-stop lying and the lack of ethical standards. So get ready because Kal's main outlet is Panhandle Media. So if his piece propangada (and it reads like it -- not a single fact unearthed by Kal), get ready because the next four years are going to be all about how poor Barack wasn't able to withdraw US forces from Iraq.

Related, Wally and Cedric are working on their joint-post as I type this. You really need to read it. They're going after a related topic. And for here, I'll just note that when Barack is critized for his inaction or caving (since the election), his Cult screams, "You can't criticize him! He's not in office yet!" But they never object to excuses or praise being offered for him, now do they?

Meanwhile, check this out: "Today Iraqis have brought into force the provisions of the withdrawal agreement and complete sovereignty will thus be restored to the Iraqi people, the Iraqi government and the armed forces." That's the laughable Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation. Bully Boy's not by his side and Nouri was speaking to Iran's Press TV before his visit to the country (he's there now) and suddenly it's a "withdrawal agreement" again. That's so cute. Does he think the Iranians are idiots? Does he think they're unaware that from November 26th until he gave that interview he had stopped calling it that?

The interview is hilarious as Nouri talks out of his ass over and over, "Our constitution has determined that after today Iraq will no longer be the scene of wars and conflict and a source of regional instability and a place where foreign powers hold power and influence." So was Nouri ignoring the targeting of Iraqi Christians or did he grasp that his intended audience (Iran) didn't give a damn about the fate of Iraqi Christians either? And what this, "Our constitution has determined . . ." What a liar.

Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) is mentioned in the article and for those who have e-mailed asking why we don't cover that topic, (a) it is a highly charged issue, (b) the current State Dept appointees are trying to stay out of it due to its charged nature and the fact that they are only in their jobs for a few more weeks and (c) friends working on Barack's transition team state that issue will be addressed early on. It needs to be addressed. But with an outgoing administration and an incoming one, this is the sort of situation that requires some care. As a result, we're not covering that topic until after Barack's sworn in and I believe (I'll have to check my day planner) I agreed (with friends on the transition team) not to cover it until February 1st barring an attack on those refugees (MKO translates to Iranian refugees, Iran sees them as terrorists). I was asked -- when Aging Socialite's Cat Litter Box suddenly stumbled on the issue recently -- if I was I was sticking to my word? Of course. Besides (a) we don't follow Aging Socialite's Cat Littler Box (is it cruel to note that every day -- Monday through Friday -- they beg for links and don't get them? They did before they savaged Hillary and Bill with lies, no more) and (b) reading their yellow journalism coverage only underscores how delicate a situation it is. (And, no I don't feel bad for noting their non-stop requests. They were told months ago they weren't getting anything so stop asking. Also I know the Aging Socialite. No, I don't feel bad at all.)

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Iraq snapshot

Friday, January 2, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, slapping up against the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk, some US veterans of war have difficulties re-adjusting to civilian life, and more.

It's the new year so the press would traditionally contribute their 'looking back' pieces. But why do that and be bound by the facts when it's so much more 'creative' to look to the future and pen fantasies? In today's Washington Post, Anthony Shadid decided to inform that, "The war in Iraq is indeed over"; however, events on the ground begged to differ. Even ten years ago, a reporter trying to do what Shadid has done (war over by press fiat!) would have been the laughingstock of the press corps. Such are the times that Shadid is actually 'outshined' by the actions at another outlet. Leila Fadel. Yeah, she's back in Iraq. And offering all the 'value' and 'pertinence' as Yvette Mimieux did when she decided to team up with Ali Akbar Khan because what the world needed then (1968) was more bad music with poetry (Baudelaire) read over it badly. Flowers of Evil was what those 'geniuses' ended up with and it might as well be the title of Fadel's latest which contains this hidden 'gem': "It's difficult, however, for hope to return so quickly after so much bloodshed." Fadel is, no doubt, very proud of that line just as Yvette knew Flowers of Evil would set the world on fire. But, for the record, bad poetry doesn't have a damn thing to do with journalism. Fadel might try to squeeze that sentence into some sort of crack-pot, Chicken Sop for the whatever but it doesn't belong in reporting.

But we're not getting reporting, we're hearing the sounds of the Up With People singers warming up as they prepare for the ultimate wave of Operation Happy Talk. "There's no doubt," insists Fadel straining to hit notes beyond her range -- but, in fact, reporting is all about doubts. Reporting is all about questioning. Save this garbage for your EST seminar (Erhard Seminars Training) because it's quackery, it's not reporting.

Doubt it? Here's Fadel seeing 'change,' "U.S. officials already have moved out of Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace, which they'd used as their headquarters since U.S. troops took control of Baghdad, and are occupying a brand new, sprawling 104-acre U.S. embassy complex that's America's largest in the world." And this tells us what, Fadel?

It appears to tell us that the largest Embassy in the world is preferred to Hussein's musty, old castle. It appears to tell us that, as was stated long before construction on the Embassy began, the US would move into the Embassy as soon as it was possible. Delays came about because shoddy work was done. And, no, not all of it has been fixed. But those are details that escape Fadel who writes as if she's willing McClatchy's Baghdad operation to shut down. Leila, thinking "happy thoughts" might have allowed Peter Pan to fly, but there's no evidence to suggest it will do the same for a news outlet.

Once upon a time, reporters were expected to deal in facts. Today, it's all word games. Could someone give 'em all Scrabble for their down time and instruct that they practice their trade at all other times? Chief among the foreign outlets needing to unwrap a Scrabble board: AFP. The agency's Benjamin Morgan offers a lede about how Iraq's airspace ("a swathe" of it) is being handed back to it by the US. A swathe? Over 29,000 feet and higher was already controlled by Iraq. Thereby explaining that amazing space program al-Maliki launched. What? He didn't launch one? No, of course not. And it doesn't mean a damn thing that 29,000 to 24,000 feet were returned to Iraq as the new year began. Why is that? AFP quotes Amer Abduljabbar Ismail (Minster of Transportation) stating that "the complete control of our airspeace will not be finished until 2011, when the US military leaves." Poor, deluded, sick liar. The US isn't leaving in 2011 and, if they did, Iraq having control of it's air space wouldn't mean a damn thing because, as was repeatedly revealed in Baghdad press conference after conference this fall, Iraq air force will not be ready in 2011. They freely admitted -- American and Iraqi spokespeople -- that Iraq would require the US well past 2012.

So many novelists, so damn few reporters. It's as though the 90s trend which found the 80s literary set -- Jay McInerney, Tama Janawitz, Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, et al -- invading the feature profile resulted in a serious case of creative envy among the press corps. (I know and like Jay and will note that he had showed true talent in non-fiction writing. I know others who attempted that feat and will pointedly not bother to make a similar statement regarding the 'merits' of their contributions.)

The Green Zone and Basra airport 'handovers' are worth one sentence outside the real estate listings. If that. Timothy Williams (New York Times) wisely does not attempt to make it the thrust of his report and includes some details on the area that is thought to be the one to watch (including thought to be the one to watch by Barack's transition team):

Mosul, located about 250 miles north of Baghdad, is in a region contested by Sunni arabs and Kurds, and where Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown Sunni extremist group that American intelligence agencies say is led by foreigners, has been active.
The city's Christian minority was the focus of repeated attacks last year, forcing thousands to flee, although many have returned.
Nineveh Province is also the buffer zone between the central government in Baghdad and the semiautonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq's far north. About 5,000 American soldiers are stationed there.

Reuters reported this morning that tribal Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Salih was entertaining a group of "Sunni Arab tribal leaders" for lunch when a bomber arrived and detonated his or her bomb -- killing his/herself and wounding somewhere between 42 and 100 people (depending on the source). And the death toll? BBC reports at least 30 dead. Anthony Shadid and Saad Sarhan (Washington Post) report, "Iraqi officials said the assailant, a relative of the sheik, was a familiar presence around the house, making it easier for him to pass unsearched through an entrance usually reserved for women in the conservative town of Yusufiya, about 12 miles south of Baghdad." And, yes, it does have to do with upcoming elections (scheduled for January 31st). Sami al-Jumaily (Reuters) explains the get-togehter was "a feast for Sunni Arab electoral candidates and tribal leaders". When you read the garbage about war over and the latest waves of Operation Happy Talk get up to the neck, remember what the 'reporters' forget: The UN has warned repeatedly that violence will increase as the provincial elections approach. Even the US State Dept has echoed those warnings.

In other reported violence . . .


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left four people wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing that left two people wounded. Reuters notes a Mosul bombing the injured a police officers.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person shot dead in Mosul. Reuters notes an armed attack on Mussayab checkpoint where 3 guards were killed and six more were left wounded.

Richard Sisk (New York Daily News) reported Wednesday night, "Two U.S. troops died of combat wounds in Iraq Wednesday and a British Royal Marine was killed in Afghanistan to end a year that put the two wars on different trajectories. The latest casualties brought the U.S. death toll in Iraq for 2008 to 314, the lowest total since the 2003 invasion, when 486 were killed. A total of 4,221 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq. " The Iraq deaths were noted in Wednesday's snapshot. We're noting Sisk here because he's the only one who treated the deaths as worthy of a report -- as opposed to an aside in the midst of a report on something else.

The transition to Iraqi control is . . . stuck in the mud. Ned Parker and Ali Hameed (Los Angles Times) report that January 1st came and went with little change, "On the first day of the new era, the Iraqi soldiers were still following U.S. soldiers' instructions on what route to take and whom to talk to. The Americans motioned when to ask residents for information about recent Sunni militant attacks or to tell residents that Iraqi forces, not the Americans, were now in charge here.The early-morning patrol underscored the delicate nature of what everyone calls a transition, where the American officers refer to their job as partnering with Iraqi combat units, now that a U.S.-Iraq security pact has gone into effect." The 'transition' is not unlike the November 'handover' of the "Awakening" Council from US to Baghdad control. All this time later, over a 1/3 are still under US control and the word is it will be "months" before that 'transition' is complete.

In the US, Lizette Alvarez (New York Times) teams with Dan Frosch for the beat she's long covered. The latest installment is "A Focus on Violence by G.I.'s Back From War." From the article, and focusing on Colorado:

Nine current or former members of Fort Carson's Fourth Brigade Combat Team have killed someone or were charged with killings in the last three years after returning from Iraq. Five of the slayings took place last year alone. In addition, charges of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault have risen sharply.
Prodded by Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado, the base commander began an investigation of the soldiers accused of homicide. An Army task force is reviewing their recruitment, medical and service records, as well as their personal histories, to determine if the military could have done something to prevent the violence. The inquiry was recently expanded to include other serious violent crimes.
Now the secretary of the Army, Pete Geren, says he is considering conducting an Army-wide review of all soldiers "involved in violent crimes since returning" from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a letter sent to Mr. Salazar in December. Mr. Geren wrote that the Fort Carson task force had yet to find a specific factor underlying the killings, but that the inquiry was continuing.
Focusing attention on soldiers charged with killings is a shift for the military, which since the start of the war in Iraq has largely deflected any suggestion that combat could be a factor in violent behavior among some returning service members.

Past work by Alvarez on this issue includes the February piece she and Deborah Sontag did entitled "When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly," her July piece "After the Battle, Fighting the Bottle at Home," her January article with Sontag "Combat Trauma Takes the Witness Stand" and her August "War Veterans’ Concussions Are Often Overlooked."

While the assault on Gaza continues and US president-elect Barack Obama continues to remain silent, 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney writes (at Dissident Voice) of the assault on the vessel Dignity -- which carried her, medical personnel and medical supplies -- by the Israeli navy:

It's official now. We've been told that the sturdy, wood construction of our boat, Dignity, is the reason we are still alive. Fiberglass would probably not have withstood the impact of the Israeli attack and under different circumstances, we might not be here to tell the story. Even at that, the report that came to us yesterday after the Captain and First Mate went back to Sour (Tyre) to inspect the boat was that it was sinking, the damage is extensive, and the boat will take, in their estimation, at least one month to repair. Tomorrow, we will bring the Dignity from Sour to Beirut. And now, we must decide what to do and from where we will do it and how we are to get back to wherever that might be.
My personal, and I know the group's, thanks must go to Al Jazeera, that allowed three of their reporters to be onboard with us on our voyage. As a result, Al Jazeera carried the story of the Dignity live, from castoff in Cyprus when our spirits were high, right up through the menacing maneuvers of the huge, super fast Israeli ships before they rammed us, the Israeli calls on the ship phone after the ramming calling us terrorists and subversives and telling us to return to Cyprus (even though the Israelis later claimed that they didn't know who we were, they knew enough about us to tell us where we had come from), and the fact that we didn't have enough fuel to follow their instructions, right up to their threat to fire at us if we didn't turn around, ending with our beaten-up boat limping into Sour harbor in Lebanon. Al Jazeera carried our story as "breaking news" and performed a real service to its audience and to us. Al Jazeera called the Israelis to inquire about the incident right as it was happening and I am sure the Israelis were prepared to leave none to tell the story. Al Jazeera told the story and documented it as it was happening.
One of those Al Jazeera reporters with us was Sami El-Haj, who was detained in Guantanamo by the United States for six incredibly long years. What an honor to even exchange glances with such a humble man who had endured so much pain at the hands of the U.S. government. I apologized to him that my tax dollars were being used in such a despicable way. And Sami's crime according to the U.S.? Born in Sudan, and reporting for Al Jazeera in Afghanistan, Sami was the wrong color, the wrong nationality, the wrong religion, reporting for the wrong news outfit, telling us the truth about a wrong war. And for that he survived incarceration for six long years. Sami El-Haj, Guantanamo prisoner number 345.
Another incredibly committed journalist who was with us was CNN's Karl Penhaul. Karl reported the truth even when his own station was repeating Israeli disinformation. The fact that we were traveling with these alert journalists added to the flat-footedness and obvious crudeness of the Israeli response. Sadly, Israel has changed its story too many times to count, and that's because they are not telling the truth.
We lived to tell the story. Karl's incredible reporting, just a portion of our story, can be seen on
CNN where there's also video and a photo of our damaged boat. A little more of the story and film of the extensive damage can be seen.

Those 'left' voices claiming to give a damn about the Palestinians -- you can find them at any outlet, this is the only story they can cover these days -- how many of them voted for Cynthia McKinney? Or Ralph Nader? Not too damn many. Most deluded themselves that Corporatist War Hawk Barack Obama would bring 'change' and he did! While George HW Bush golfed in Kennebunkport as a MidEast slaughter was ongoing, Barack took his game to Hawaii. 'Change' you can choke on. While Barack plays mute, Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued this statement Wednesday:

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari "We Support any Effort Agreed by Arab States Concerning the Israeli Bombing"
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari stated that Iraq supports any effort by Arab states on the Israeli shelling of areas in the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas in a statement to Al-Jazeera on Saturday and that the Iraqi stance is with Arab solidarity and what the Arab countries agreed upon. Minister Zebari added that Iraq would be in favor of any decision in this regard. Israel launched air raids on positions in the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas and killed two hundred people.

Public TV notes. Washington Week begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (check local listings) and sitting down with Gwen will be Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times), Dan Balz (Washington Post), David Wessel (Wall St. Journal) and Alexi Simendinger (National Journal). Topics will include Barack, Blagojevich and, possibly, who Gwen will cook home meals for if Condi returns to the West Coast? To Condi on the West Coast waiting . . .

Meanwhile NOW on PBS (check local listings, begins airing tonight in most markets) offers

With the economy in a downward spiral, more and more people are taking advantage of credit card offers to make ends meet, but are the credit card companies actually taking advantage of their customers?
In the week in which federal regulators adopted sweeping new rules for the credit card industry, NOW meets families struggling to pay off their credit card debt. Such debt has become significantly larger thanks to questionable industry practices like doubling and tripling interest rates, increasing fees and penalties, and shrinking credit limits.
We meet people like Andrew Spurlock and his wife Michelle, who are raising three children while watching the interest rates and fees on their credit cards skyrocket. Michelle was horrified when her interest rate jumped from seven percent to 30 percent from one day to the next, despite claiming she always paid her monthly minimum. Michelle and her husband are fighting off financial ruin as they struggle to pay off their debt.
Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren, an expert on debt and the middle class, says credit card companies are deceiving customers in order to maximize profits. "You would think that if you upheld your end of the contract that the contract would be binding. But in the case of credit cards, you would be wrong," Warren, tells NOW.
This week, NOW takes a hard look at the small print in credit card offers, and at Congressional legislation aimed at regulating the industry.

Meanwhile on broadcast TV (CBS) Sunday, 60 Minutes:

Is It Murder?
With drunken driving fatalities staying constant despite all the campaigns against the crime, some prosecutors are pursuing harsher penalties against perpetrators, including long prison terms for those who caused deaths. Bob Simon reports. Watch Video
Mind Reading
Neuroscience has learned so much about how we think and the brain activity linked to certain thoughts that it is now possible – on a very basic scale - to read a person’s mind. Lesley Stahl reports. Watch Video
The Mad Scientist Of Football
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach made up for a lack of money and top talent by creating an innovative offense that’s changing the game of college football and beating bigger schools which regularly attract the best talent in the nation. Scott Pelley reports. Watch Video
60 Minutes, this Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Kennedy Center Honors:
Streisand and FreemanBarbra Streisand and Morgan Freeman are among this year’s honorees by the Kennedy Center. Mike Wallace interviewed Barbra Streisand in 1991 and Morgan Freeman in 2005. Streisand Video Freeman Watch

Public radio notes. The following programs will air on WBAI, the first on Monday:

Monday, 2-3pm
Cat Radio Cafe
Author Edmund White on his play "Terre Haute," based on imagined conversations between literary lion Gore Vidal and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy Mc Veigh; playwright Andrea James and actors from "Yanagai! Yanagai!" a protest play from aboriginal Australia; and actor/director Roger Hendricks Simon on his award-winning independent film "The Sublet." Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer

Broadcasting at WBAI/NY 99.5 FM
Streaming live at WBAI
Archived at Cat Radio Cafe


Monday June 16th 7 PM-4 AM • Listen to part 1 • Our yearly commemoration of Leopold Bloom's walk through Dublin includes readings from "Ulysses" and other works in the Joyce canon, as well as excerpts from Beckett and Irish song. With Alec Baldwin, Anne Meara, Alvin Epstein, Bob Dishy, Kate Valk, Jim Fletcher, Aaron Beall, Brian O'Doherty, Emily Mitchell, John O'Callahan, David Pincus, Zeroboy, Judy Graubart, Janet Coleman, David Dozer, Kate O'Brien, playwright Richard Maxwell and director Caraid O'Brien as Molly Bloom. Produced by Peabody Award winner Larry Josephson for WBAI.

2008 is over. Today the Los Angeles Times offers "2008 year in review." In this community, 2008 has been covered by the following: Betty's "Thinning out the herd (2008)" went up Thursday as did Kat's "2008 in music" and the "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review)." "2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" -- Martha and Shirley's book commentary which went up Tuesday and Ruth's "Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report" went up Wednesday. And Sunday, Third offered the following "Editorial: Democracy or fan club?," "TV: 2008, the lows and really lows," "The 2008 Bronze Boobies," "Best and worst in hardcover music journalism," "Music 2009" and "2009 in DVDs."

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The never-ending transition

On the first day of the new era, the Iraqi soldiers were still following U.S. soldiers' instructions on what route to take and whom to talk to. The Americans motioned when to ask residents for information about recent Sunni militant attacks or to tell residents that Iraqi forces, not the Americans, were now in charge here.
The early-morning patrol underscored the delicate nature of what everyone calls a transition, where the American officers refer to their job as partnering with Iraqi combat units, now that a U.S.-Iraq security pact has gone into effect. Under the agreement, which replaced the U.N. mandate that made U.S. forces responsible for Iraq's security, the Americans must now ask the Iraqis permission for any operation. The pact calls for U.S. forces to leave cities by the end of June and to withdraw from the country by the end of 2011.
Both Iraqi and American soldiers on patrol said that the leadership of raids now varies from mission to mission. Sometimes the Americans lead, other times the Iraqis.

The above is from Ned Parker and Ali Hameed's "Iraq-U.S. 'partnership' is in 'transition'" (Los Angles Times) and, as a friend with the paper laughed on the phone this morning, "Oh my [goodness]*, they sound like the trainees from hell." ____'s referrng to the Iraqis still looking for US direction -- not Parker and Hameed. January 1st didn't just pop up on Nouri al-Maliki.

This day was coming and, in fact, marked on the calendar. It's a lot like that big day in November when the "Awakening" Councils were turned over to Baghdad control. Only they weren't. They still aren't. Easily a third are still under US control and it will be "months" until that changes. Nouri's PalmPilot must be on the blink.

So Parker and Hammed report on the period of transition currently taking place -- and are too kind to note the obvious, the transition should have taken place weeks prior. You don't transition after the turn-over. You transition leading up to the turn-over.

al-Maliki's hardly the only one who's lied about how 'ready' the Iraqi military was but he's lied about it for two years now. This 'transition' may still be ongoing in February.

The paper's Tony Perry offers "Marines buy cows for Iraqi widows"

At the suggestion of an Iraqi women's group, the Marine Corps recently bought 50 cows for 50 Iraqi widows in the farm belt around Fallouja, once the insurgent capital of war-torn Anbar province.
The cow purchase is seen as a small step toward reestablishing Iraq's once-thriving dairy industry, as well as a way to help women and children hurt by the frequent failure of the Iraqi government to provide the pensions that Iraqi law promises to widows.

Helping women and children hurt by what? The pensions are an issue but the greater threat remains the rations. The White House is the one who repeatedly attacked the rations and tried to end them immediately. Too much objection to that so, instead, each puppet in Baghdad has whittled them down and whittled them down. And we're never supposed to notice the connection to this and the soaring malnutrition rates among Iraqi children. The fact that, during Saddam Hussein's reign, Iraqis got more staples each month isn't supposed to have a thing to do with the soaring malnutrition rates? This is the first year, in fact, that didn't draw to a close with news that the rations program was again being cut. Doesn't mean it wasn't, just means they haven't announced it yet if is being cut.

Yesterday IRIN published "Warning over plight of Iraqi widows:"

"Iraqi widows, especially internally displaced widows in camps, are having a tough time. Most have more than one child and are finding it very hard to feed them," said Mazin al-Shihan, head of Baghdad's Displacement Committee.
"We have reports that some… are being harassed and blackmailed by government officials… More attention must be focused on this segment of the Iraqi people before it is too late," al-Shihan told IRIN.
Citing figures and estimates from government bodies and NGOs, al-Shihan said Iraq had about one million widows, including those whose husbands had died of natural causes, but a further breakdown was not available.

Again the issue of the severe cuts to the rations program isn't raised. Instead, the 'answer' is to marry off the widows! That's what the man is proposing. IRIN quotes Hanaa Adwar (al-Amal) rightly noting that's "cruelty as the widow must get married to another man to get the government help".

Why is it that the government in Baghdad always 'helps' women by attempting to destroy their rights? This isn't unlike the push to 'detain' (imprison) any woman whose husband, father or brother is killed by Iraqi or US forces because she might become a 'suicide bomber.' Put her in a hole and call it a 'women's center'!

This is directly because the White House decided to get in bed with thugs. They have destroyed human rights throughout Iraq. And al-Maliki and any puppet in the immediate future will ensure that remains the case.

Am I going to note the year-in-review pieces in the community today? Yes, why? ____ asked if I'd note "2008 year in review" (Los Angeles Times). I'm noting that at a friend's request and do not think I agree with it. I haven't read the whole thing. I asked to hear the conclusion and died of laughter. Yeah, that's the problem, the US has been too pessimistic! Yeah, all that pessimism about 'cakewalk' in Iraq back in 2003 kept the US out of Iraq . . . oh, wait, that didn't happen. What 'delightful' nonsense and wonder if the editorial board will soon be busted for dealing hopium? Especially after the laughable 'election' processes of 2008, the idea that the US is just too damn pessimistic is hilarious. What The World . . . Needs Now . . . Is . . . more delusions? I haven't heard the rest of it (and don't plan to read it). I'm tossing it in because a friend asked for it. And year-in-review. Betty's "Thinning out the herd (2008)" went up Thursday as did Kat's "2008 in music" and the "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review)." "2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" -- Martha and Shirley's book commentary which went up Tuesday and Ruth's "Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report" went up Wednesday.

In today's New York Times, Timothy Williams offers "3 Policemen, 2 Others Killed as Iraq Takes Control of Green Zone and Basra Airport" which addresses the transfer. We'll note this on Mosul (where 3 police officers died) because it is an area to watch (and one that rarely gets covered by comparison):

Mosul, located about 250 miles north of Baghdad, is in a region contested by Sunni arabs and Kurds, and where Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown Sunni extremist group that American intelligence agencies say is led by foreigners, has been active.
The city's Christian minority was the focus of repeated attacks last year, forcing thousands to flee, although many have returned.
Nineveh Province is also the buffer zone between the central government in Baghdad and the semiautonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq's far north. About 5,000 American soldiers are stationed there.

Williams also informs that while the Green Zone has been turned over to Iraqis, Jalal Talabani has already called dibs on Saddam's palace for his staff.

Meanwhile Lizette Alvarez teams with Dan Frosch for the beat she's long covered. The latest installment is "A Focus on Violence by G.I.'s Back From War." From the article, and focusing on Colorado:

Nine current or former members of Fort Carson's Fourth Brigade Combat Team have killed someone or were charged with killings in the last three years after returning from Iraq. Five of the slayings took place last year alone. In addition, charges of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault have risen sharply.
Prodded by Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado, the base commander began an investigation of the soldiers accused of homicide. An Army task force is reviewing their recruitment, medical and service records, as well as their personal histories, to determine if the military could have done something to prevent the violence. The inquiry was recently expanded to include other serious violent crimes.
Now the secretary of the Army, Pete Geren, says he is considering conducting an Army-wide review of all soldiers "involved in violent crimes since returning" from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a letter sent to Mr. Salazar in December. Mr. Geren wrote that the Fort Carson task force had yet to find a specific factor underlying the killings, but that the inquiry was continuing.
Focusing attention on soldiers charged with killings is a shift for the military, which since the start of the war in Iraq has largely deflected any suggestion that combat could be a factor in violent behavior among some returning service members.

Past work by Alvarez on this issue includes the February piece she and Deborah Sontag did entitled "When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly," her July piece "After the Battle, Fighting the Bottle at Home," her January article with Sontag "Combat Trauma Takes the Witness Stand" and her August "War Veterans’ Concussions Are Often Overlooked." "Includes" that's not a complete listing.

Meanwhile Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued this statement Wednesday:

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari "We Support any Effort Agreed by Arab States Concerning the Israeli Bombing"
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari stated that Iraq supports any effort by Arab states on the Israeli shelling of areas in the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas in a statement to Al-Jazeera on Saturday and that the Iraqi stance is with Arab solidarity and what the Arab countries agreed upon. Minister Zebari added that Iraq would be in favor of any decision in this regard. Israel launched air raids on positions in the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas and killed two hundred people.

And while Iraq's Ministry can issue statements (that is not the Ministry's first statement on the slaughter), the US' president-elect remains silent. But he is ending his vacation today! So maybe someday, maybe someday.

[ADDED: *C.I. note: I have removed a word and changed it to "[goodness]" -- no, as a visitor asked in an e-mail, we do not make a point to take the name of anyone's higher power in vain. I was quoting a friend and quoted them directly without thinking. My apologies. And, yes, the friend quoted is the same one asking for the link to LAT's editorial. I thought that was clear but the same visitor feels I'm attempting to "hide" that. No, I was attempting to post the second morning entry as quickly as possible which is why the tags originally included Wally and Cedric but have now been removed. ]

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Truce by press fiat!

"The war has ended," said Heidar al-Abboudi, a street merchant.
The war in Iraq is indeed over, at least the conflict as it was understood during its first five years: insurgency, communal cleansing, gangland turf battles and an anarchic, often futile quest to survive. In other words, civil war -- though civil war was always too tidy a term for it. The entropy, for now at least, has run its course. So have many of the forces the United States so dangerously unleashed with its 2003 invasion, turning Iraq into an atomized, fractured land seized by a paroxysm of brutality. In that Iraq, the Americans were the final arbiter and, as a result, deprived anything they left behind of legitimacy.
Not to say that there is peace in Iraq. As many people are killed today as on any day in 2003 and 2004. Nor is there victory. For any Iraqi, the word, translated into Arabic, draws a dumbfounded look. Victory for whom? Certainly not the tens of thousands of civilians -- perhaps many more -- killed in the frenzied clashes of those once inchoate forces.
Rather, it is the day after.

The above is from Anthony Shadid's "In Iraq, the Day After" (Washington Post). Truce by press fiat, apparently?

Shadid, who can't help being an amalgam of three different Merle Haggard songs, appears to be gunning for a new title: Queen of the False Analogies.

Where the excerpt stops, Shadid wants to talk Lebanon and this and that. Can someone slap him and yell, "Snap out of it!"?

Lebanon is nothing like the situation in Iraq.

Nor is the illegal war over.

It is a new phase. The White House has armed and funded and rewarded a thug (al-Maliki) who is attempting to consolidate his power and there will be huge struggles (chaos and violence) as a result. That didn't happen with Lebanon and that's not 'crazy' talk. It's Senate on Foreign Relations talk and no one wanted to heed that April warning.

We were there that week for the Davy & Ryan Variety Hour. The press followed them as if it were a wolf pack. And, by the end of the week, when Petraeus and Crocker had left, the press followed suit. One of the most important Senate hearings of the week, one of the most important hearings on Iraq, got completely ignored by the press.

And, again, that's not 'crazy' talk, it's not 'conspiracy' talk. It's the statements of the then-chair. You might have heard of him: Joe Biden. Incoming vice pesident? Ring a bell?

Apparently the Washington Post was not delivered in Yusufiya today. That town outside of Baghdad is in the news this morning.

Reuters reports tribal Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Salih was entertaining a group of "Sunni Arab tribal leaders" for lunch when a bomber arrived and detonated his or her bomb -- killing his/herself and wounding somewhere between 42 and 100 people (depending on the source). And the death toll? BBC reports at least 30 dead.

But those 30 can take comfort in the fact that they died AFTER the war was over and that they died in a place just like Lebanon.

Bad reporting and false analogies will not end the illegal war. If we wanted to be really cruel we could do a hilarious riff on the grad student who only read one 'classic' from the canon and attempts to work that into every discussion repeatedly -- whether it applies or not. If we wanted to be really cruel, you understand.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

I Hate The War

Iraq and the New York Times. Thursday's paper offered Campbell Robertson and Stephen Farrell's "Green Zone, Heart of U.S. Occupation, Reverts to Iraqi Control." There are parts of that we may note in tomorrow's snapshot. Probably nothing from Campbell Robertson and Abeer Mohammed's "Iraq Seeks Bids to Develop More Oil Fields" which goes over the press announcement made Wednesday (noted in Tuesday's snapshot) and Wednesday's violence (noted in Wednesday's snapshot). No US deaths have been announced since the two noted in yesterday's snapshot.

This is talking entry. We'll probably take on the nonsense from __ tomorrow. It's really past the point that a reporter needs to admit they're wrong. When all of their competition continues to report differently, when it was obvious they were always wrong and when the stubborn nature of the head of that desk refuses to admit to reality, they really are just a joke.

I'm not in the mood for their garbage. I'm going back and forth on whether to note a New York Times story (the previous paragraph was not referring to NYT) about Roland Burris. Hold on, we'll note that. Backstory for those late to the party, Burris has been appointed to the US Senate. Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed Burris to fill Barack's seat. Despite the fact that Burris would be only the fifth Black person to be in the US Senate (and two date back to the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War), there are efforts to prevent him from being seated.

Monica Davey and Rachel L. Swarns offer "Tough Calculus for Blagojevich on Senate Seat" in today's New York Times. From that article:

On Wednesday, four black Democrats in the House said Mr. Burris should be allowed to join the Senate despite opposition to the appointment by Senate Democrats.
Some of those House members warned that black Democratic voters could be angered if Mr. Burris is prevented from taking the seat. Those who called for Mr. Burris to be seated were Representatives Maxine Waters of California, Donald M. Payne of New Jersey, Donna M.C. Christensen of the Virgin Islands, as well as Mr. Davis.
Senate Democrats said they were standing their ground in opposing Mr. Burris because he was chosen by Mr. Blagojevich.

First, "Senate Democrats" should have included "Non-Black Senate Democrats." There are no Black senators currently. Second, Maxine Waters is a leader. She is always among the first to step up on any needed issue and when she does other people follow. The four that have stood up, praise for them. But know that there will be more standing up. And, yes, if Burris is disrespected and denied his Senate seat, there will be fallout over this.

As we noted Wednesday, if the Illinois legislature didn't want Blagojevich to appoint a replacement they had only one option: Impeach Blagojevich. The courts had already made that clear to them. They refused to take the needed action. Blagojevich, as the state's constitution empowers him, made an appointment to the empty Senate seat.

As for the US Senate and 'leaders' like Harry Reid, it really doesn't matter what they want. It is a state decision and the legislature's refusal to take action allowed Blagojevich to utilize his powers and make the appointment. The Senate doesn't need to do a song and dance, they don't need to obstruct this historic moment. There is no question that Burris is qualified to hold the seat. He needs to be seated.

It is amazing that while Harry Reid wants to deny Burris the Senate seat that is his, Bendy Reid has gone out of his way to instruct NY Governor David Paterson to appoint Caroline Kennedy -- the unqualified, inexperienced Caroline Kennedy. A qualifed person of color is being denied a seat and an unqualified spoiled rich White kid is having their ass kissed -- and both responses are from White Harry Reid.

It's disgusting and there will be fallout if there is an effort to deny the qualified Burris.

Did I mention this is a talking entry?

E-mails. I'm glad so many enjoy "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review)." I think I screwed up -- including the title -- but if you enjoy it, it's due to the format. That's what makes it work, the working in of the girl group songs (plus "Don't Bring Me Down"). That's why, when I had a dream a week or two ago with that format, I knew it was the one to go with.

Bill S. wrote the public account stating he had given up hope that anything would go up this morning. It did go up late. My plan was to start immediately after the New Year's Eve party and continue working on it until it was done. Plans changed. I left the party -- figure out why -- and didn't return until after seven this morning. At which point, I started working on the piece and got it posted a little after ten o'clock. I had kidded myself throughout the early morning sex marathon that, while I was doing that, Kat would be posting her music piece. I knew she wasn't going to. That's just the lie I told myself to play 'hookey.' I showered and then immediately got to work on writing the thing.

I didn't proof it when it was finally done, I just posted it. I then worked out for an hour and came back and fixed typos and extra words (example, "killing" appeared twice in the last sentence when it only should have once). Kat came over this afternoon with her piece more or less written already and just wanting to audition it. "2008 in music" is wonderful and I don't believe Kat changed a word from when she read it to what she typed. If she did, no changes were needed.

But wait! If you think that's all the year-in-reviews, stop. Tonight Betty's "Thinning out the herd (2008)." I don't know what she thinks of it but (excepting the sections on me which I won't comment on -- positively or negatively), I think it's amazing and everything she hoped when she was discussing her plans to write it. So please check out Betty's commentary.

Also posting this evening:

The Daily Jot
1 hour ago

Cedric's Big Mix
Unity train keeps on rolling . . .
1 hour ago

I hope everyone had a great new year or pleasant one, if the latter was their preference.

In many places, including the US, not everyone had a pleasant new year's. Certainly in Baghdad that wasn't the case since al-Maliki's puppet government made New Year's parties illegal. And, Reuters reports, a Mosul truck bombing claimed the lives of 3 police officers (and the driver of the truck) with five more people injured while 1 police officer was shot dead in Mosul. The 'fun' never stops in the illegal war that Bully Boy started and Barack intends to continue.

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

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4217. Tonight? 4221. Just Foreign Policy lists 1, 305,837 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war, up from 1,297,997.

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campbell robertson

thomas friedman is a great man

2008 in music

Kat: 2008 was not a good year for music. Surprising when you consider that the political chant for the year ("Yes, we can!") was nothing but a crib from the Pointer Sisters and, as usual, few even bothered to give credit. 2008 was meaningless. Over and over. Nothing built on breakthroughs from before, nothing broke worth noting.

Let's start with my pick for the best CD of the year, The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt. (All links go to original reviews unless stated otherwise.) Did the collection come out in 2008? No.


And I thought about selecting something else. But even the CDs I enjoyed didn't speak to the year the way the collection did.

First off, "When Will I Be Loved" would be used at one point in an online video to illustrate the non-stop sexism that Hillary faced from the media in the Democratic Party primaries. A brilliant call and, as 2008 found everyone making like Spanky with his own personal Woman Haters Club, a telling one as well.

I probably watched that video thirty times online when it was released which is saying a lot because there wasn't any time. We were on the road non-stop. And when we started spending the weekends in Puerto Rico in the lead up to their primary -- about six weeks before their primary -- we never even made it home. Usually Wally, Ava, C.I. and I are on the road during the week and get home time on the weekend. We didn't in the final weeks of the Democratic Party primaries. And that was probably how we ended up that first weekend in Puerto Rico with me having packed no music. At a gas station, they had some CDs. I grabbed Linda Ronstadt and, as a bonus, it was a bargain price.

That first weekend it was C.I., Ava, Elaine, Trina and me and the numbers would increase with each weekend. I was bummed that we only had one CD (Linda) and bummed that I'd forgotten to pack some. I cranked the car and we headed off in search of the first stop. With Linda blasting.

We didn't need to assign parts as we sang along, we all just seemed to instinctively know which sections our voices fit best on. We sang along with nearly every track (I believe "Adios" was the only song that a few didn't know the words to).

Poor, poooooor, pitiful me, POOR! POOR! PITIFUL ME!

You should have heard us attacking the chorus on that one. Or getting really quiet to sing along with Linda's cover of "Tracks Of My Tears." And you know we went to town on "You're No Good."

It became the must-listen to CD each weekend when we went to Puerto Rico. At one point, there were probably twelve of us, a group of women ranging from early twenties to "Ye Olden Times" (as Ruth jokes about herself), rolling down the road, jamming to the music and we knew the songs and we sang the songs. And we had so much fun.

And it really drove home in that moment how much the communal feeling has left popular music. The Very Best Of Linda Ronstadt is a bargain at any price and I recommend it highly just as the amazing collection of the incredible work Ronstadt has done. However, it really drove home how niche-marketed we've all become.

For being amazing music, for speaking to today in so many surprising ways and for the sense of shared community, The Very Best Of Linda Ronstadt is my pick for album of 2008.

And after that?

The second most amazing album this year was Augustana. If I had not seen them live three times in 2008, they might be higher up on the list; however, as great as Can't Love, Can't Hurt was and as much as I loved it, it is nothing compared to this group live. In a year that offered so little, Augustana was a holy offering -- if sacrament rocked. "Sweet and Low" was the best single of 2008.

There were three other bright spots in 2008 and they more or less all tie for third place. Aimee Mann offered up , @#%&*! Smilers which maintained her hold on the title of finest songwriter of her generations. Carly Simon released This Kind Of Love, a long overdue collection of new songs by the finest songwriter of her generation. Jack Johnson used Sleep Through The Static to finally prove that his fan base was correct and he could be all the amazing things they'd long said he was.

So that was my top three and took up positions one through five. It should be easy to fill out a top ten with five slots already taken, right? Wrong. Lenny belonged the list, no question. But rack my brain though I did, no one else qualified.

Lenny Kravitz' It Is Time For A Love Revolution was the last of the strong CDs, the last of the ones worth listening to for the year. Maybe that's not such a bad note to go out on because it is strong?

For many months, I toyed with reviewing the new Richie Havens CD. I like Richie Havens. And I really wanted to like the new CD. At first I thought it was me. Then, after several listens, I worried I was holding Richie up to an impossible standard of not tolerating the normal changes that happen to one's voice with age? Then Maggie told me, "Kat, his Jackson cover sucks." Like the child pointing out the ruler was nekkid, Maggie got right to the heart of it. Richie covers "Lives In The Balance." Why? Really, why? There's nothing new brought to it and it really doesn't fit Richie's CD. (Jackson Browne's "Anything Can Happen" would have fit the CD.) And, point of fact, as Maggie so aptly put it, his version of it "sucks."

They can't always be winners. David Bowie never liked Barbra Streisand's cover of his "Life On Mars" and Mick Jagger never liked Otis Redding's cover of the Stones' "Satisfaction." Jackson Browne may like Richie's cover of his song. If so, I'd suspect it's only because he's getting royalties off it.

Richie was disappointing. Three other acts were just awful.

Consider them the Suckfest Three.

"You are trying to destroy Coldplay!" opened an e-mail when I offered that the band can play but Chris Martin needs to learn to write a damn song. Viva La Vida sucked and I waited months to break that news. What passes for rock radio today was pimping the hell out of the CD and the music press was playing it as if Coldplay was the last chance for musicians. So I waited and waited and waited to break the news on what a sucky album it was. It was after it fell from number one that I told my truth but that was still too early for some. Coldplay is three singles plus "A Rush Of Blood Through The Head" and that's all they ever will be until Chris learns what's what. Embarrassing.

Which also describes Punk Chick Chrissie Hynde. Fawned and fussed over, begged to come out of her shell, Chrissie's spent the last two decades serving up s**t burgers and telling you they were vegan. She's gotten away with it because no one wants to scare off Chrissie. She might not ever record another album and where would be? We'd be left without her corny and melodramatic AOR power-ballads. And, as Break Up The Concrete proves, that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

And then there was Labelle. A vocal group making its comeback as . . . a lead singer and two backup vocalists. Back To Now also managed the feat of a female empowerment anthem that (a) insulted women and (b) ripped off Roberta Flack's hit "Oasis." For decades, fans waited for the three women to regroup and, when they did, they issued a Patti solo album that Nona and Sarah basically added "ooohs" and "ahhhs" to. Except for the "Oasis" rip-off, it works very well as Patti solo work. It just sucks a regrouping of one the most inventive vocal groups of the 70s.

And that's 2008. A year so bad that it was impossible to even get a solid top-ten-best out of. Past years had seen such strong work by Neil Young, Holly Near, Ann Wilson, Ben Harper and so many more. This year everyone appeared to be laying low and about half who showed up should have stayed home.


This was really my 2004 in music piece, here for 2005, 2006 in music, 2007 in music.

C.I.'s "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review)" went up this morning and it was fantastic. As was "2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" -- Martha and Shirley's book commentary which went up Tuesday and Ruth's "Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report" went up yesterday.

linda ronstadt

aimee mann


2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review)

2008 was the year of living hormonally, the year of the prolonged and revisted adolescence. As 2007 wound down, clues were present. Voices were breaking, hairs were sprouting, pimples were erupting, rumor has it Norman Solomon finally got his first period. It was all so intense and heady, the 'kids' just couldn't find time to call out Barack Obama's use of homophobia as a campaign tactic in South Carolina to scare up voters.

Well you know 'teenagers' and their fads. Always chasing one trend after another. Obviously, homophobia was no longer on their playlist, right? But then, March 7, 2008, eternal teen Amy Goodman served up "McCain Embraces Endorsement from Anti-Catholic, Anti-Gay, Anti-Muslim Televangelist John Hagee." Strange. As Ava and I observed in January:

Last week, she booked Kevin Alexander Gray. That January 15th segment was interesting for what it didn't go into.
Barack Obama put known homophobes on stage in South Carolina last October. Some gay groups protested ahead of time. Goodman never noted it. Homophobes went on to spew their homophobia from the stage of this Barack Obama campaign event. Still Amy Goodman didn't note it. "We got what we wanted," crowed the Bambi campaign in their only public statement and, you know this already, it never got noted on Democracy Now!
In the January issue of The Progressive, Kevin Alexander Gray contributes an article he co-wrote with Marshall Derks. The article, "Obama's Big Gay and Black Problem," was posted online at many websites. Despite the article now appearing in print in this month's The Progressive, Goodman never asked about it last week -- while speaking to its co-author. Is homophobia not an issue in Goodman's world? Is it not as important as racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination?

Wait. Homophobia doesn't matter in November and it doesn't matter in January but suddenly it matters in March? What gives?

Don't say nothin' bad about my baby
Oh, no
Don't say nothin' bad about my baby
I love him so
Don't say nothin' bad about my baby
Oh, don't you know
Don't say nothin' bad about my baby
-- "Don't Say Nothin' Bad About My Baby" written by Gerry Goffin & Carole King

Oh, of course, the difference was that they stayed silent when it was Barack. McCain they threw a fit over. Barack? They made like the Cookies singing "Don't Say Nothing Bad About My Baby."

John McCain picked up an endorsement from a homophobe and it was time for Amy Goodman and fellow bobby-soxer Sarah Posner to trash him but Barack puts homophobes (plural) onstage in South Carolina at an official campaign event allowing them to express their homophobia onstage at the campaign event and everyone acts like Barry just left his barn door open while they avert their eyes and pray someone leans in and whispers "XYZ" to him.

With John McCain, the left and 'left' maintained a standard (more or less) that they could point to after the election and say was perfectly in keeping with what they espouse. (That did not happen with Sarah Palin and they can't make the claim there.) But with Rockin' Barry? There were no standards and there were no attempts to maintain standards.

When he holds me tight,
Everythings right,
Crazy as it seems,
I'm his, whatever he is,
And I forget all of my dreams
-- "He's Sure The Boy I Love," written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil

One of the givens each year is that FAIR will scream and scream about someone being brought on by the MSM and no disclosure being made about a conflict of interest. They will pretend to be outraged. They will e-mail "Action Alerts!" Often, they will e-mail it twice because facts is hard and FAIR really has a problem these days getting their facts straight so a second e-mailing is often needed to say, "Oops! We got the contact info wrong!" or "Woops! That ran online and not in the paper!" But the issue at stake is that readers or watchers or listeners have a right to know if an 'expert' has a conflict of interest or may have a conflict of interest. Disclosing that, at the very least, allows the news consumer to evaluate the claims asserted by the 'expert' .

It is basic journalism and when disclosures are not made it is bad journalism. We covered this in 2004 regarding NPR's refusal to disclose that their guest weighing in on John Kerry's presidential campaign had a wife who worked for Dick Cheney. By NPR's own (written) guidelines, not only should that fact have been disclosed but the guest should never have been booked because, whether he was able to be objective or not, his wife's working relationship with Cheney produced the appearance of a conflict of interest. NPR and PBS are supposed to not only avoid a conflict of interest at all times, they are also supposed to always avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The overaged and underactive 'teens' of Panhandle Media are engaged in nothing but one long circle jerk so, while they hiss at Real Media every time it fails to make a disclosure, Panhandle Media repeatedly fails to disclose.

I can be wrong and I often am. I have no problem admitting it when I am wrong and January 2008 found me saying "You were right, I was wrong" over and over because I'd spent the last months of 2007 insisting that, no, Amy Goodman would not slant her program to a Democratic presidential candidate. The fix was already in with Amy Goodman and she was booking Barack supporters non-stop. They never disclosed that. They'd find some way -- while discussing an unrelated topic -- to suddenly turn the topic to Barack and they'd act like they were disinterested parties. They wouldn't mention that they were supporting Barack via money, volunteer work or both.

When this repeatedly happened, I repeatedly (and wrongly) told friends, "I'm sure she's not planning this." Elements of the left were always going to side with Barack early on because there was a lie -- produced by fringe radicals on the left (hello, Carl!) -- that Barack was secretly a Socialist. Barack was and is a Corporatist War Hawk. I also wrongly thought that any elements of the left (other than Carl) would quickly grasp that reality after the wave of hype susided. I was wrong there too since this summer found an agitated Philip Maldari floating just that on KPFA thereby proving that only the dumb die hard.

In January Goody brought the Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford on the program to discuss Barack and that was a good thing because, strangely, there had never been someone publicly critical of Barack brought on as a guest to the five times a week, hourly program. But while Barack supporters were all over the show and on solo segments or segments with other Barack supporters, bringing on Glen Ford required Goody pair him with the Barack Cultist Michael Eric Dyson. That was strange also due to the fact that, throughout 2007, Amy Goodman offered a plethora of Hillary Haters who never required 'balance' and she continued to do so as January began.

In that month alone, prior to Glen Ford, she'd already offered Robert Parry, apparently enroute to the padded room he now inhabits, insisting that 'evil' Hillary would do just what her husband did because wives behave exactly like their husbands. If, indeed, that's the case, better get the Thorazine ready for Mrs. Parry. There was never an effort made by Goody to stop the foaming at the mouth Parry and say, "Hold on a second. You have spent this decade and the bulk of the nineties writing one article after another in defense of or in praise of Bill Clinton. Why are you suddenly so scared that your deranged fantasy of Hillary being just like Bill will come true?"

You don't ask those questions. To you or me, those questions may seem basic. It's not every day, for instance, that journalist Robert Parry morphs into nutty Christopher Hitchens. But what you're forgetting is that adolescence is all about recreation. It's all about finding another identity. New hair styles are tried, new clothes, new friends, it's all about reinvention. And who but a sane person would attempt to deny Bobby Parry his shot at a second adolescence? And there were so many more important questions to ask.

Is she really going out with him?
Well, there she is. Let's ask her.
Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?
Gee, it must be great riding with him
Is he picking you up after school today?
By the way, where'd you meet him?
I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That's when I fell for (the leader of the pack)
-- "The Leader of the Pack," written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Shadow Morton

Goody had another Drooling Over Barack Teeny Booper in January: Allan Nairn. Nairn wanted the whole world to know that, if asked, he would gladly be pinned by Barack but he would even settle for Barack's letterman's jacket. Here's the moment that resulted in Allan becoming a 2008 homecoming nominee:

He actually doesn't need to finance his campaign, to go to the hedge funds, to go to Wall Street. But he does anyway. And he does, I think, because if he doesn't, they wouldn't trust him. They might think that he's on the wrong team, and they might start attacking him. He is someone who, in terms of the money he needs for his campaign, he could afford to come out for single-payer healthcare, for example, but he doesn't. He doesn't need money from the health insurance industry, that's wasting several percentage points of the American GDP in a way that no other industrial rich country in the world does, yet he chooses not to do that, because he doesn't want to be attacked by those corporations.

This was back when everyone (except The New York Times) was lying about Barack and pretending he was being made by small donors. He was a corporatist even then and, hopefully for Allan, the blood of East Timor (Barack buddy Dennis Blair) will wash off the white formal he wore as a duchess to the Barack Ball.

During all the above, I kept insisting Amy Goodman wasn't planning this (and more -- we could do 30 entries just on Goody's behavior in the first two weeks of January) and it was just happening. I can be a real idiot sometimes. And I certainly was there. What finally had me leaving the Land of Denial was when Goody booked Lie Face Melissa Harris Lacewell.

You may think, "Oh, yeah, the cat fight Goody tried to get going between Lie Face and Gloria Steinemn." No. The week before that Lie Face Melissa appeared on the program. She was in New Hamsphire and speaking to Goody endlessly as an impartial observer, just a college prof, no vested interest. Just offering observations. Strangely, she had none of Hillary. Strangely, Lie Face Melissa acted as if Hillary didn't exist. But Missy Lie did find time to gush, "I was in Nashua at Barack Obama's really packed speech. And we got there about two hours early and stood in line. I had my five-year-old daughter with me, and she stood in line that whole time. Along with me was lots of other older people who were using canes, young people, infants. And it was an incredibly moving and powerful experience. And also, again, just sort of--it was a cross between, you know, the 'I Have a Dream' speech and a high school football pep rally. It was a bizarre, but really kind of exciting mixture."

Why was that a problem?

Melissa didn't happen to catch Barack. Nor was it her daughter's first time hearing or seeing Barack in person. Melissa had been campaigning for Barack since 2007 and had bragged publicly about that in many outlets (including on PBS in 2007).

That's a cute little trick. Getting yourself booked as an 'objective' commentator, pretending to be that, and using your time to promote the candidate you're working for. It's outrageous and unethical. Some may remember that James Carville and Paul Begala were pulled from CNN as commentators early in the year. That resulted from an Astro-turf campaign by Team Obama where a few posed as 'many' and insisted in e-mails that Carville and Begala were biased towards Hillary. Neither man was working for Hillary's campaign. But CNN got fooled and fell for it, thinking there was an outraged public. Yet Barack campaigner Melissa could be brought on as an 'objective' critic?

Well, maybe, Amy didn't know? I was still insisting that. I knew Amy knew Melissa but maybe she somehow missed that Melissa was campaigning for Barack. No, a friend supplied mountains of proof including their little get together immediately prior to Melissa appearing on Democracy Now! the first time. Amy Goodman knew Melissa was supporting Barack and campaigning for him. She knew exactly what she was doing.

She allowed Lie Face to gush about Barack on her program and never felt she owed her audience the basic respect, the basic journalistic responsibility, of informing them that the 'objective' gas bag gushing over Barack was, in fact, campaigning for him.

You've got to swing your hips now
C'mon, baby
Jump up
Jump back
Well I think you've got the knack
Now that you can do it,
Let's make a chain now
-- "The Locomotion," written by Gerry Goffin & Carole King

Naturally, FAIR didn't touch it. No one was ever supposed to notice -- but Amy wanted to be 2008's Geraldo and brought Melissa back on with the hopes of starting a cat fight between Melissa and Gloria Steinem. And in that broadcast, Melissa (already goaded by Amy before the show) went full-blown nuts and started hollering about all the work she'd done for Barack's campaign -- hollering on air.

Melissa's campaign expertise -- no surprise -- included Astro-turf campaigns. She launched one against Tavis Smiley but, ha-ha, she's just a very ugly Lie Face who writes bad 'books' and Tavis has a career. Melissa Unbound has no ethics and her Democracy Now! crap was nothing compared to the stunt she'd pulled on The Charlie Rose Show in March. Lie Face would take part in a journalistic panel and, all on her own, bring up that some people were upset with Tavis. She would forget to discuss her part in it which also included her threatening February blog post "Who Died And Made Tavis King?"

Melissa Harris Lacewell violated every PBS ethical guideline in that moment and should never be invited back on. But everyone looked the other way. They had to. They had to look the other way just to book the demented woman on the show. It was a journalistic panel. Melissa is not a journalist. No other panel participant was working for a candidate's campaign. But that never got disclosed. Charlie Rose, like Amy Goodman, didn't feel his audience deserved the truth and he felt he could wipe his ass with the PBS ethical guidelines.

The first half of the year found Amy Goodman doing a little sleight-of-hand that many never noticed. The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild also specialized in it during this period. Here are two questions he asked novelist Sara Paretsky ("Sara Paretsky," The Progressive, March 2008, pp. 31 - 34) and see if you catch it now:

* What is your view of Clinton and Obama?
* On the other hand, Bleeding With Kansas deals with the tragedy of the Iraq War, and Hillary Clinton voted for it. How do you wrestle with that?

Paretsky was asked that second question because she said something good about Hillary. You need to grasp this trick because it will be used again in the future just as it was used throughout 2008. Amy Goodman and Matthew Rothschild used it repeatedly. (Rothschild also hosts a weekly radio program and that's where the bulk of his "Progressive interviews" actually come from though there's no effort to reveal that in the pages of the magazine.)

Over and over Amy Goodman played that trick.

Barack's 'fabled judgement' is a fantasy and, yes, a fairy tale. Why the campaign 'recreated' the speech in audio form online this year was a bit of a puzzler unless you saw the video. There was Barack giving that 2002 speech in front of a tiny, tiny group of people. He looked nervous, he paused frequently (and did his uh-uh-uh mannerism). His big speech was a joke and if the Hillary campaign made a big mistake, it was in not putting that video on TV during the primaries.

Team Obama was willing to absorb any criticism of vanity and recreate audio for that 2002 speech because Barack's performance was appalling. He was on the defensive (in front of an anti-war group of people) and he didn't attract a large following. If you've ever given a toast at a small wedding reception, you've spoken in front of more people than Barack did. And chances are, you didn't come off as apologizing for the words you were speaking.

But the 2002 speech was cited as proof of his 'judgement.' (It's a War Hawk speech for any who bother to read the text.) And to back up that alleged 'judgment,' the Matthew Rothschilds and Amy Goodmans repeatedly asked any Hillary supporter that manged to enter their sphere how they could vote for Hillary after her 2002 vote?

Logic didn't exist. Intellectual honesty was on holiday. It's probably too much too expect either from overgrown adolescents anyway. However, in the real world, if you're opposed to something in 2002 and want credit in 2008 for speaking out against it, then you better have stayed against it from 2002 through 2008. Meaning, once you got to the Senate, if you know the Iraq War is wrong, you damn well better not have ever voted to support it.

But what does reality matter when you know, you just know, what's in Barack's heart? When you're so in love, you just know the two of you match up?

When he's near me, I'll kiss him,
And when he leaves me woo-ooh-ooh
I'll miss him
Though sometimes we'll fight, I won't really care
And I'll know it's gonna be alright
cause we've got so much we share
-- "Walking in the Rain," written by Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

What the Barack groupies making like the Ronettes couldn't grasp, anyone paying even half-attention should have. Some member of Congress in 2002 voting on the authorization, as Elizabeth Edwards repeatedly explained, could be voting for a number of things including halting the march to war, including the need for UN authorization. Someone who spoke out in 2002 (however weakly) and wants credit in 2008 needs to be able to point to a record of opposing the illegal war.

Because, pay attention, it's worse to have supported it if you knew it was wrong.

If Hillary and John burn their fingers on the stove because no one ever told them to keep their hands off the burners, that's dumb. If Barack gives a speech in 2002 about keeping your hands off the burners and then gets into the US Congress and proceeds to put his hands on the burners, that's insane and it's not a mistake, it's a sell-out.

There was never any grand judgment by Barack. It was the greatest spin of the campaign. Bill Clinton spoke the truth (use the links):

"But since you raised the judgment issue, let's go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. 'It doesn't matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I'm the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.'
"First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn't co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way.
"Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, 'Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your website in 2004* and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since?' Give me a break.
"This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen...So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?
"Or what about the Obama hand out that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook? Scouring me, scathing criticism, over my financial reports. Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon.
"So, you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want. It wasn't his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly that we didn't do better in Iowa. But you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that's in the media, doesn't mean the facts aren't out there. "

The only thing Bill got wrong was ("*") Barack took the speech off his Senate campaign site in 2003.

Had any grown ups been in charge, we might have gotten the exploration we needed: "Barack Obama, you say you were against the Iraq War in 2002. So you came to the Senate in January 2005, knowing -- as you tell the story today -- that the war was wrong. Could you explain how, knowing this, you repeatedly voted to fund the war until the summer of 2007?"

Barack wanted (and got) credit for knowing the war was wrong. But no one ever pointed out that to support something you know is wrong doesn't demonstrate leadership, doesn't demonstrate conviction and indicates you're an empty suit that will say and do anything to get elected. It's rather obvious unless you're deceiving yourself or telling yourself that you'll change him.

Though I know you're the kind of boy
Who only wants to run around
I'll keep waiting and someday darling
You'll come to me when you want to settle down.
-- "One Fine Day," written by Gerry Goffin & Carole King

It took a lot of little girls in love with Barack posing as journalists to pull this stunt off. It took liars like John Nichols of The Nation.

When you want to smear Hillary, you go to Goody and that's what John Nichols did the first week in March. For those who have forgotten, Barack was distorting (lying) about Hillary and NAFTA while saying he had always opposed it and would oppose it and . . . The AP found out differently. Let's go to Hillary's campaign March 3rd for the summary of what was then happening:

NAFTA-Gate: False Denials from the Obama Campaign
Over the last few days, the Obama campaign has made a number of false claims about its communication with the Canadian government regarding Sen. Obama's position on NAFTA.
We now find that there is a memo from the Canadian government that makes clear that the Obama campaign did in fact communicate with the government, making assurances to the Canadian government that are different from what he has told voters.
The following is a compilation of the false denials:
2/27/08 -- "Earlier Thursday, the Obama campaign insisted that no conversations have taken place with any of its senior ranks and representatives of the Canadian government on the NAFTA issue." [CTV,
2/28/08 -- Burton: "Again, this story is not true. There was no one at any level of our campaign, at any point, anywhere, who said or otherwise implied Obama was backing away from his consistent position on trade." [ABC, < href="">2/29/08
2/28/08 -- Rice: "The Canadian ambassador issued a statement that was absolutely false. There had been no contact. There had been no discussions on NAFTA. So we take the Canadians at their word…period." [MSNBC, 2/28/08]
2/29/08: Anchor: "So, completely inaccurate, did not happen, end of discussion." Sen. Obama: "It did not happen." [WKYC TV, 2/29/08]
2/29/08 -- Goolsbee: "It is a totally inaccurate story…I did not call these people and I direct you to the press office." [New York Observer,
2/29/08 -- Burton: "There was no one at any level of our campaign, at any point, anywhere, who said or otherwise implied Obama was backing away from his consistent position on trade." [Politico,
Barack, Susan Rice and all the rest were lying. Austin Goolsbee had spoken with the Canadian government and told them that they shouldn't worry about Barack's anti-NAFTA talk, these were just words to win an election, he didn't mean them. In June, Barack would echo that himself. Nina Easton (Fortune) reported, "'Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,' he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA 'devastating' and 'a big mistake,' despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy." But that was in June, after the primaries ended. Prior to that, it was time for Barack's Teeny Boopers to protect him.

Keep your hands off my baby
I ain't gonna tell you but one more time
Woah, keep your hands off my baby
Girl, get it through your head
That boy is mine
-- "Keep Your Hands Off My Baby," written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King

Which is how John Nichols ended up on Democracy Now! the first week of March. Nichols was in Canada. And he just had to tell Amy (who'd ask him to discuss it before they went live) that he was onto a scoop about Hillary. It was Hillary who was talking to the Canadian government! Not Barack! It was Hillary! And Johnny Five Cents would be breaking the story.

The only thing he broke was whatever remained of his reputation. There was no story there. There never was. It was nothing but a distraction. Barack was taking a hit (one he deserved) so it was time for the Teeny Boppers to put on their poodle skirts and hit the streets. No one made a bigger fool of themselves than John Nichols. He (and we) should have been used to that.

December 10, 2003 found Five Cents and Goody doing their Gossip Girl chat. Five Cents was insisting that Wesley Clark was only running for the 2004 presidential nomination so that Bully Boy (GW Bush) would win and Hillary could run in 2008 (that's what "placeholder" means in that context, as Five Cents knows) and Goody was bat-s**t-nuts raving that what would happen was, in the summer of 2004, at the DNC convention, Hillary would be declared the nominee! Yeah, they've been nuts, deranged and Hillary Haters for some time. Strange that FAIR loves to hold the MSM gas bags up to ridicule when their predictions don't hold up but no one ever thinks to do it with the beggars of Panhandle Media. (That Democracy Now! segment is entitled "Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate in New Hampshire on Iraq, Domestic Policy Issues and Gore’s Endorsement of Dean" and no link to that trash. Google it if you want it.)

As bad as that moment was, there was so much more to come and let's stay with Johnny Five Cents. Nichols never managed to write that 'big scoop' on Hillary but he did manage to write a valentine to Samantha Power. March 7th's "Iraq snapshot:"

Meanwhile, it was not a good day to be Our Modern Day Carrie Nations or, as Samantha Power prefers to be called, "the humanitarian War Hawk." Last night, The Scotsman was making news with Power's insults of US Senator Hillary Clinton and "the poor" in America and, generally, just flashing that foul mouth everyone knows about but generally ignroes. The morning started with Sammy Power expressing 'sorrow.' She wasn't sorry and we're not going to play around with this story. Here's reality, the press was lining up this morning the stories on this and talking to one another (as they are prone to do) for background examples of other times Sammy Power has personally (and destructively) insulted Hillary Clinton. When it was obvious that those stories would come out if she stayed with the campaign she 'resigned.' At The New Statesman, she was flaunting her War Hawk nature in an interview (as well as that foul mouth). [Personal note: I'm sure I could match Sammy swear word for swear word, but I wasn't planning on becoming Secretary of State.] Lynn Sweet (Chicago Sun-Times) was one of the first out of the gate noting that Sammy Power "resigned as a foreign policy advisor to Sen. Barack Obama" this afternoon. Her calling Hillary a "monster" did matter, it was off sides -- both for a future Secretary of State as well as for a professor at Harvard. It's a shame Obama still lacks the leadership to take control of his campaign -- that would have required firing Power. Instead she resigned indicating that he's unable to run a campaign as well as unable to tell the truth. Power -- who also went to work for Obama in 2005 when he was first elected to the US Senate (November 2004) -- also had to deal with the BBC interview she'd given. Barack Obama has not promised to pull ALL troops out of Iraq in 16 months. He has promised the American people that "combat" troops would be removed. But promises, promises (as Dionne Warwick once sang) . . .

Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?

Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009. We can'te ven tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.

Which would mean Mr. Pretty Speeches has been lying to the American people. (Add the "AGAIN!")

Her rise was swift, her fall even faster. Our Modern Day Carrie Nations took part in the "Bring the troops home and send them to Darfur" nonsense. [For more on that nutso crowd, see Julie Hollar's "
The Humanitarian Tempatation" (Extra!).] Despite presenting herself recently as against the Iraq War from the start, the public record has never backed that up. But it is true that she wanted wars in Africa and was selling them under "humanitarian" guise. "Stop the killing!" she cried but if she really wanted to stop the killing, she might have tried to speak out against the ongoing genocie in Iraq (which has also produced the largest refugee crisis in the world). She didn't care about that. Probably because it demonstrates that sending armed forces in is not an answer. Again, if Barack Obama had any leadership abilities, he would have announced today that he fired his longterm advisor. He did not, she resigned. (She foolishly doesn't grasp that this is her Alexander Haig moment and there is no comeback.) Power was not a campaigner, she was a high level, longterm foreign policy advisor being groomed to be the next Secretary of State. As Krissah Williams (Washington Post) notes, Senator Clinton's response to Power's BBC interview was to note Power's agreement that Obama's pledge to have "combat" troops out in 16 months was never more than a "best-case scenario". Hillary Clinton: "Senator Obama has made his speech opposing Iraq in 2002 and the war in Iraq the core of his campaign, which makes these comments especially troubling. While Senator Obama campaigns on his [pledge] to end the war, his top advisers tell people abroad that he will not rely on his own plan should he become president. This is the latest example of promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another. You saw this with NAFTA as well."

Meanwhile Tom Hayden again offers Barack advice from the heart, from love. At
Common Dreams, Hayden feels that, "The only policy difference favoring Obama that goes straight to the issue of 'experience' is Iraq. It no longer is enough that Obama opposed the war five years ago, especially if it appears that there are no differences between the candidates now. For whatever reason, Obama has allowed Clinton to appear to take an identical stand on the war. Is that true? Or is it time for Obama to issue a further clarification of his position separating him from both Clinton and McCain? The peace movement and media can play a role here." Tom then asks, "Does Clinton propose a timetable for withdrawing combat troops, like Obama does?" Apparently Tom missed Sammy's interview -- Obama has no proposal. As Sammy notes, things change, who can say? Should we expect Hayden's endorsement of Hillary anytime soon? Or will he again plan to 'represent' the peace movement by covering for the 'anti-war' candidate -- one whose own foreign policy advisor (she was that when she gave the interview) informs is saying words he'd not planning to live up to?

The next morning, we were calling out John Nichols for his late night defense of Sammy Power. Nichols lied (Samantha Power had not known Hillary for years -- Sammy herself had noted on TV five months prior that she'd only met Hillary once) and he ignored -- ignored! -- the BBC interview. John Nichols, who attacked Barbra Steisand in print (2002) for the Iraq War vote (no, she didn't vote for it -- she's not in Congress -- nor was she in favor of starting the illegal war), now wanted to ignore the Iraq War?

Barack was running as the 'anti-war' candidate and here was his chief foreign policy advisor giving an interview (sound and video) where she stated his 'promises' about Iraq on the campaign trail were meaningless and, if elected, he'd decide what he'd do once he got into the White House. Where were the beggars of 'independent' media?

Nowhere. Doubt it? We charted it at Third with the March 9th "Editorial: The Whores of Indymedia." In March. long before the primaries ended, Barack's Cult could have gotten honest but they didn't. Remember that.

Self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders was among the worst. She'd show up every other week to cheer him on and assure the world that the left would hold his feet to the fire.

And . . . .

Never did.


But then, as Melissa Etheridge recently demonstrated, self-loathing lesbians aren't known for courage or strength.

But let's jump ahead to July 4th. The primaries (and caucuses) were over. From that day's "Iraq snapshot:"

Turning to the US presidential race. Barack Obama? Arab News notes, "For Obama, who recently changed his positions on campaign finance and a wiretapping law, the suggestion that he was also changing course on a central premise of his candidacy holds particular peril. While Obama has long said he would consult commanders in the field when withdrawing troops, that point might have been lost on many Democratic primary voters who supported his call to end the war." What's going on? A bit of reality on War Hawk Barack. Suzanne Goldenberg (Guardian of London) puts it this way, "Barack Obama was yesterday fending off charges from right and left that he had abandoned the core premise of his candidacy - the withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office - in an attempt to attract voters from the political centre." Suzanne's a little out of it. So were Katrina vanden Heuvel and Arianna Huffington on ABC's This Week last Sunday. Withdrawal in 16 months? That's 'so January 2008.' Barack promised withdrawal of all (combat) troops within 10 months in a speech in Houston, Texas. Always one to carry water for Barack, Tom Hayden immediately penned "End the War in 2009" (which popped up online at The Nation, Feb. 20th and elsewhere a bit later). Hayden: "In his victory speech in Texas Tuesday, Barack Obama promised to end the Iraq war in 2009, a new commitment that parallels recent opinion pieces in The Nation. Prior to his Houston remarks, Obama's previous position favored an American combat troop withdrawal over a sixteen-to-eighteen-month timeframe. He has been less specific on the number and mission of any advisors he would elave behind." (The Texas primary was in March. Barack was in Texas campaigning, for any more confused than usual by Tom-Tom's bad-bad writing.) Texas community members saw the 10 month 'promise' pushed in advertising as well as on the campaign trail. Those were his words (and Tom-Tom notes 'words matter') so let's all drop the nonsense that Barack's plan was 16 months (or at least leave the lying to Katrina who's become so very good at it). Goldenberg's uninformed, ignorant or lying -- take your pick. In her piece (dated tomorrow), she traces the uproar to Thursday when Barack said he might 'refine' his Iraq 'plan.' If that's when the uproar started, is Arianna Huffington psychic? Arianna was calling him out for 'refining' on Iraq Sunday on This Week. More water carrying from the allegedly 'independent' Guardian of London (which never wrote about the Downing Street Memos because 'independence' did not include informing people that Tony Blair lied England into an illegal war -- no time for 'truth-telling' while Blair was in office at any rate.) CNN reports that presumed GOP presidential candidate John McCain and the RNC are calling Barack a "flip-flopper" and they quote Barack's 'clarification' where Barack lies and says he has always said 16 months. No, Barack, you went to ten months in February. AP reports he celebrated the 4th of July in Butte, Montana (Kansas, he's done with you, he got what he needed) eating a hot dog. Tom Baldwin (Times of London) observes, "Grassroots activists whose energy and donations have helped to propel Barack Obama towards the White House are suddenly choking on the bitter pill of disillusion. In less than a month since clinching the Democratic nomination, he has performed a series of policy pirouettes to assuage concerns about his candidacy among a wider and more conservative electorate." Geoff Elliott (The Australian) points out, "Barack Obama has started a dramtic reversal of the policies that helped him defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination, softening hardlines stances on the Iraq war and troop withdrawals.
Campaigning in North Dakota, Senator Obama said that while the US could not sustain a long-term presence in Iraq, his trip to the Gulf nation this month might prompt him to "refine my policies" on the war."
John Bentley (CBS News) quotes Brian Rogers of the McCain campaign stating, "Today, Barack Obama reversed that position, proving once again his words do not matter. He has now adopted John McCain's position that we cannot risk the progress we have made in Iraq by beginning to withdraw our troops immediately without concern for conditions on the ground. Now that Barack Obama has changed course and proven his past positions to be just empty words, we would like to congratulate him on taking John McCain's principled stand on this critical national security issue. If he had visited Iraq sooner or actually had a one-on-one meeting with Gen. Petraeus, he would have changed his position long ago." Jonathan Weisman (Washington Post) terms it Barack exploring "the possibility of slowing a promised, gradual withdrawal from Iraq". NPR has two audio reports here. How bad it is? A friend just called to laugh at ____'s latest nonsense. In place of a now killed feature for Third, we may address ____'s latest nonsense and his plethora of lies throughout the campaign. Poor ____, it's even harder to airbrush out reality today than it was following his expulsion from the Red Family commune in his "smash the state" days (when he fancied himself Chris Jones in Wild In The Street).

It was so outrageous that Laura Flanders' "Some day, we'll hold his feet to the fire" buddy, Tom Hayden, posted that night to Aging Socialite's Cat Litter Box, outraged by Barack's behavior. While Tom had every right to be outraged, he had no right to rewrite history. As we documented in Third's "Letters to An Old Sell Out: Iraq," he tried to do just that. He'd finally stumbled upon (or would finally admit it) the March BBC interview Samantha Power gave.

Why, oh, why -- he bemoaned -- didn't the media cover this!!!! They did. Real Media covered it. The Washington Post and the Boston Globe covered it. It was only Panhandle Media that played dumb.

Why, oh, why -- he whined -- didn't Hillary Clinton's campaign attempt to call it out? They did. They issued several press releases, a TV advertisement and brought it up regularly in press conferences. For doing that, they were slimed by the likes of David Corn.

Sammy Power, Corn-nuts insisted, was a living saint or at least the Flying Nun. Davids seemed to have a real thing for Sammy. Dumb Ass Davy D would never cover the BBC interview but he would whine on KPFA about poor Sammy and how she got treated by 'evil' Hillary. Davy D never looked like more of a dumb ass but then, when you don't know the actual name of the person you're defending, that tends to happen. Power, Davy D, not "Powers."

When my friends told me you had someone new
I didn't believe a single word was true
I told them all I had faith in you
I kept right on sayin'
Oh, no, not my baby
Oh, no, not my sweet baby
You're not like those other guys
Who lead you on and tell you lies.
-- "Oh No, Not My Baby," written by Gerry Goffin & Carole King

For a whole weekend Tom-Tom fretted. Then he was back on the bus singing "Oh No, Not My Baby." It's a funny, viral sort of protest Tom Hayden has. Like herpes, you never know when it will next flare up.


One of the saddest things about 2008 was seeing how their love for Barack destroyed so many. David Corn was a little too tight with some sources prior to 2008 (to put it mildly). But, overall, he was a basic reporter and one who could actually work in the MSM if he chose to do so. A claim the bulk of his peers can never make.

So it was sad to see David Corn make a complete fool out of himself (supposedly he's now on the mend, let's hope so) repeatedly. When not insisting only the most naive would be shocked by Samantha Power's words to the BBC and that 'everyone' already knew that, Corn could be found heckling during teleconfrences with the Hillary campaign. It was so bad (very early on) that a friend with the campaign called to ask if David was "for real?" Sadly, he was.

Worst of all was when he'd go back to Mother Jones (no link to trash and that's all Mother Jones now is -- may it recover quickly if it's able to) and blog about his 'manly' little moments. He was a regular George H.W. Bush in those instances. There was Corn-nuts, for instance, bragging about how he really tore into Howard for bringing up Barack's relationship with Weather Underground's Bill Ayers. He typed away (and loved his moment so much, he actually continued writing about it over and over as late as four days after) of how he confronted Howie and said no way, no how, not while Corn-nuts is around! How dare Howard bring Bill Ayers up when Bill Clinton pardoned two members of Weather Underground.

Bill Clinton pardoned no one in the Weather Underground.

Barack tossed that out in the last debate His Royal Highness deigned to do (the one he flopped in). Out of his ass into the mouths of his Cult.

The next day, Ava and I made it very clear ("There was no pardon, Barack") first thing in the morning and assumed that, during the day's news cycle, it would straighten itself out. Wrong before and I'll be wrong again. That night, we had to do the slow-walk through for those who couldn't do the basic work themselves. To their credit, ABC News corrected the error in less than six hours. David Corn?

Mother Jones got repeated phone calls about the error. The receptionist got snippy and refused to switch people over to editors. (She snarled at one community member that "they were all busy writing!") In three places at the Mother Jones website, the LIE was posted (by David Corn) that Bill Clinton pardoned two members of the Weather Underground. It took many, many phone calls before any action was finally taken. One of the three posts finally carried a note by David Corn where he did not admit to his error. He blamed it on others and then turned around and tried to minimize that by getting in a Marc Rich dig.

But we're going backwards and we need to move quickly to get the highlights in.

As early as January 10th, women got tossed under the bus joining the LGBT communtiy which had been tossed under in November by Barack. And the sexism would not be an undercurrent, it would be one of the dominant strands of the Barack campaign.

Thank goodness we had such strong feminist 'leaders' to raise objections. There was Jane Fonda . . . Oops. No. Jane made a rude insult (no, not the c-bomb she dropped on The Today Show) about Hillary and then, after getting chuckles, tried to deny having made it. (She made it.) Red Eve Ensler? She and her tag-along hissed and screeched at Hillary. Hillary, they insisted, was the wrong woman. It was a line of attack they'd repeat with Sarah Palin. Strangely, the two political closet cases never found a woman they liked. Maybe if Emma Goldman was still around? Cynthia McKinney was running for president but they weren't about to try the glass slipper on her foot. And while Eve and her roll dog had every right to weigh in during a general election, not being Democrats, they had no right to weigh in during a Democratic Party primary without disclosing the fact that they were not, in fact, Democrats.

If Barack had been forced to depend upon the support of Democrats, he'd never have been able to steal the vote. He Big-Tented by bringing in Republicans, libertarians, Communists, Socialists, faux-Greens and assorted others. That's why he only squeaked by to victory in November -- he'd kicked so many Democrats out of the tent in the process.

So Red Queen Eve didn't care for Hillary. And I-Need-Attention-Benjamin was always lurking ready to scream and hiss -- and, she hoped, get her name in the papers -- at any Hillary event. At which point did CODESTINK plan to call out Barack Obama?

Answer: Never.

Benjamin's roll dog is, of course, the woman who, like a nun giving herself to God, gave herself to cash and married okay but widowed better. Jodie Evans, the Barack supporter. Jodie Evans, the liar. Evans showed up online this month disputing claims that she or CODESTINK ever supported Barack in the comments to an article noting how pathetic she and CODESTINK had become. She thought she could get away with it and, in one of 2008's positive signs, she didn't. She was called out. She was confronted with her own record of supporting Barack publicly.

You can run, but you can't hide from the public record, Jodie. A fact many of the beggars should grasp already but will in the near future if they still do not currently.

So the women of CODESTINK -- allegedly so concerned about the Iraq War (so concerned that they've spent nearly four years giving more attention to the Iran War -- which still hasn't started despite their and Sy Hersh's claims that it was upon us any second) -- never had time to call out Barack. Medea didn't even go for some easy press coverage at this year's DNC convention the way she did in 2004. The Christ-child must never be questioned, after all.

When you complain and criticize
I feel I'm nothing in your eyes
It makes me feel like giving up
Because my best just ain't good enough
Girl, I want to provide for you
And do the things you want me to
Oh, oh, no, don't bring me down!
-- "Don't Bring Me Down," written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King

Barbara Ehrenreich (Socialist, not a Democrat, so she also should have also kept her big nose out of the Democratic Party primary) never missed a chance to attack Hillary. It got so bad that, thankfully, she destroyed her reputation with the Real Media (that was over her insanse 'religion' article -- so biased that it failed to note Barack had the same 'connections' Babsie was seeing for Hillary). Babsie's behavior was rather strange for an alleged feminist until you got that this was not a Democrat. But once you grasped that Babsie was one of the idiots who bought into the lie that Barack was a secret Socialist (and he'd go public right after the election!), you didn't need to waste any more time figuring her out.

There was Katha Pollitt. Of course, moments after calling out the sexism against Hillary, she joined Minnie Mouse and other 'noted' "'Feminists' for Barack" and endorsed him. That list was a regular Who's Who of the Politically Closeted, by the way. Again, if Barack had to depend on Democrats for support . . .

So feminist Katha hopped on board. And?

That was it for Katha. She would never again call out the sexism in the media. Why? She explained it when she surfaced to snarl at Tom Hayden for his own sexism posted at The Nation. April 24th, Katha posted "Why Tom Hayden Makes Me Scream" and, apparently so outraged, she didn't truly grasp what she was confessing to: "I want to do my bit for Obama, so I vowed I would give up attacking Obama-supporting progressives for the duration of the presidential campaign."

Feminism, according to Katha, is something you can dabble in. Feminism is, apparently, like a faucet and you can turn it on or you can turn it off. Katha went back to turning it off. While "doing my part" for Barack mattered to her, apparently feminism could wait.

Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan did speak out . . . for Hillary.

Both women were falsely labeled racist as a result. Labeling people "racist" was, in fact, the political game of 2008. Of course, no one was ever supposed to note that, in an educated society, calling Barack "Black" was racism. He's bi-racial.

But attacked, the two women quickly fell in line. Which is why they both embarrassed in the fall of this year when GOP presidential candidate John McCain picked Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

Gloria went on KPFK and played dumb when asked if the criticism that Palin should be home with her children wasn't sexist? Gloria LIED and stated she'd never heard any women making that claim. It was embarrassing and, to her credit, Gloria grasped that and more or less excused herself after the incident.

Not Robin Morgan. Queen of the Sour Grape Girls.

Robin -- like Gloria, not a Democrat but a "Democratic-Socialist" -- can and will stand up to any man in defense of women with one exception -- due to her fringe radical roots (well, she had child-non-star acting roots, then she gets her fringe radical base), she cannot abide being called a racist. It's the equivalent of "I double-dog dare you." You can call her any name in the book and it won't get a rise out of her. But even though she knew she was being baited with the false-charge of racism, it was all too much for her and, despite the fact that Barack was a supremely unqualified candidate, she spent the fall repeatedly attacking Sarah Palin -- whom Ralph Nader rightly pointed out to NBC was the only candidate with executive branch experience.

Yes, that is how bad 2008 was. Ralph Nader, whom Kim Gandy and others loathe, was acknowledging a woman's accomplishments when Robin and so many other women worked overtime to discredit the woman and prove they'd be loyal to the weak-on-choice, homophobic candidate who used sexism "periodically" when he "was feeling blue" on the campaign trail.

Robin repeated lies about Sarah Palin and she and Women's Media Center (no link -- no plans to link until they announce they're trojan-free and we might not link even then) let them stand. Though the commentaries are supposed to only represent the writer and not WMC -- the way they keep their tax status is by not endorsing a political candidate -- when Robin next showed up to attack Sarah, the WMC-er writing the intro forgot about the tax status and praised Robin's article in what was obvioulsy an endorsement of Barack.

Maybe Kim Gandy wrote the intro? She also had trouble grasping tax status. For example, she was everywhere (including NPR) talking about NOW's endorsement of Barack during the summer of 2008. Thing is, NOW didn't endorse.

NOW cannot endorse.

If NOW endorses they lose their tax status.

NOW Pac endorsed.

There is a difference. There has to be a difference or NOW loses it's tax status.

Kim repeatedly forgot that which is how she ended up e-mailing out a Barack endorsement and did so to the NOW mailing list, not the NOW Pac mailing list, and did so on NOW letterhead, not NOW Pac letterhead. Kim was on board! She was begging the DNC to embrace her. She's do anything -- including ignoring NOW membership -- to support Barack and beg, B-E-G, him to forgive her for endorsing Hillary.

I'll make you happy, baby
Just wait and see
For every kiss you give me
I'll give you three
Oh, since the day I saw you I have been waiting for you
You know I will adore you
Till eternity
So won't you please
Be my be my baby
Be my little baby
-- "Be My Baby," written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry

If anyone wanted to make a big deal out of it by filing a complaint, Gandy would be in a heap of trouble because she was not in fact a Ronette, she was the president of NOW and needed to maintain a wall between NOW and NOW Pac for both to meet the requirements of the differences in their tax status.

Over and over, throughout the year, e-mails came in expressing outrage over this beggar group or that. (Which is one reason donations started drying up for various 'independent' media outlets and organizations long before the economy started tanking.) The beggars thought they were being clever but the people were catching on.

For example, Norman Solomon repeatedly got away without identifying himself as a pledged delegate for Barack Obama when brought on KPFA to offer an 'objective' take on the then-continuing primaries and post-primary as well. But by the time the DNC convention was approaching, enough people had caught on that KPFA could no longer get away without disclosing Solomon's status. (That's not justifying KPFA. They should be ashamed of themselves for their behavior. But the people forced that disclosure.) Bit by bit, people caught on. Panhandle Media destroyed the audience they had been building since the start of the illegal war.

Remember those days? Where they catisgated the MSM? Where they insisted that they just did their jobs and were not at all biased the way the MSM was?

A lot of e-mails (from community members and drive-by visitors) indicated that a number of people would have been okay with one bias from the likes of The Progressive, The Nation, Pacifica, etc: A bias in favor of a third-party or independent candidate.

Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney were repeatedly cited -- and by non-supporters as often as by supporters -- as two that they would have understood the beggars slanting towards.

That's because they are the ones fighting the uphill battle. They truly are independent. And if 'independent' media wants to support independent candidates, that makes sense.

What did not make sense was to read. listen to or watch the excuses, the silences and the lies as Panhandle Media worked overtime to install Barack. (Though largely forgotten today, they proved they were not for the people back in January when they refused to cover the Michigan and Florida primaries. They dismissed them. That was not what all outlets were doing at that time. Diane Rehm -- who would go nutso later on -- was covering them and noting that 'of course' they'd have to be seated. Panhandle Media took their marching orders from the Barack Obama campaign.)

And let's stay with Ralph and Cynthia for a moment.

The Green Party sickened a lot of people in 2008 for a number of reasons. Many refused to support their own candidate, Cynthia McKinney. You had 'Greens' going on Democracy Now! saying they agreed with and 'supported' Cynthia and she was so wonderful but they were going to vote for Barack.

Kimberly Wilder writes On The Wilder Side. I believe (rightly or wrongly) that she's a good and well meaning person. I think she and her husband Ian are probably two of the most aware Greens. If the party was turned over to them, it would actually stand a chance of winning Congressional and White House races.

But look at what Kimberly did throughout 2008.

Online, she wasted the year from a political stand-point. She spent the bulk of the first half of 2008 repeatedly trashing Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama? Nope. No trashy for Barack. And when Barack was under pressure from the media, there was Kimberly serving up a defense of Barack. Sometimes it was Barack directly, sometimes it was the issue.

What the hell did that have to do with the Green Party?

Kimberly does not pose 'Green.' She is a Green. There are a lot of fakes out there. Kimberly's not a fake.

But she wasted 2008. She ticked off a lot of people who e-mailed (some visitors, some drive-bys). Though I did not have time to respond to the bulk of e-mails that came in, I did ask that those e-mails get responses if only to note, "She's not a faux Green."

I'm not a Green, I'm a Democrat. And maybe I'm missing something from the outside. If so, she can point it out to me at her site.

But Greens get no attention from the media. There is no reason for a Green site to ever promote a non-Green in an election year. If you've got time to defend Barack, that's time you should have focused on Greens running for Congress if there was no news of Cynthia's presidential campaign.

In her defense, by writing of 'hot topics,' she might have been hoping non-Greens would drop by and, checking out the site, learn of Green candidates. For that to work, she would have had to stress them in every post she did. That did not take place.

Here's what else didn't take place: An online petition for Bill Moyers Journal to book Cynthia McKinney.

PBS is public television. Bill Moyers made 2008 all about electing Barack Obama. The man who never had time to note the historic moment for women as a result of Hillary's primary campaign, never had time to note it in terms of Cynthia's presidential campaign or Sarah's vice-presidential campaign. But when the primaries were ongoing, every week was Bill doing his superficial look at race to prop up Barack.

PBS cannot do that. They cannot shut out other candidates and only cover one. A petition should have been started.

In 2012, Greens better be ready to make those demands. No more, "Oh, I wish they'd cover my party." Amy Goodman gets praise from Greens and she shouldn't. There was only one headline -- from July to the election -- where she managed to work in Cynthia and Ralph into a Barack headline. Every headline on an issue should have included Cynthia and Ralph each day. She usually managed to contrast McCain and Obama multiple times daily.

For the Democratic Party convention, Goody expanded her bad show to two hours daily. She offered ten hours of soft coverage for the DNC. (Yes, there were a few hisses in the 'coverage' Goody offered but they were all aimed at Hillary.) The Green Party had already held a four day convention. Did Goody expand to two hours a day? Did she offer a full week of Green Party convention coverage? No. Here was Amy Goodman's entire Green Party convention coverage:

And the Green Party has nominated former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney to be the party's presidential nominee. The Greens also nominated hip-hop activist and organizer Rosa Clemente to be McKinney's running mate. McKinney spoke on Saturday at the Green Party convention in Chicago.
Cynthia McKinney: "And when I got to Washington, I saw that public policy is really made in a room at a table. There were real seats at the table. Well, imagine what has happened to public policymaking now. There is a real room with a window and a door, and there's two seats at the table. The window is for us to look through, while our representatives make policy for us, so we can see what they're doing. At the table, one seat is for the Democrats, one seat is for the Republicans. Now, we don't know who did it, but one of them put a lock on the door and slipped a key to the corporate lobbyists who can come and go at will and whisper what they want to Democrats and Republicans, and the result is that we the people, who pay for those seats and determine who sits in them, want one thing, but because the corporate lobbyists can come and go at will, our values get overridden and our representatives give us something else. That's how we end up with everyone saying they're against the war and occupation, but war and occupation still gets funding. That's how we end up with everyone saying they're against illegal spying on innocent people, yet end up with a telecom immunity bill being signed into law. That's how we end up with everyone saying they're in favor of universal access to healthcare and no one supporting what the physicians, nurses and healthcare really want, and that’s a single-payer healthcare system in this country."

As Ava and I pointed out, a headline. Free speech radio and TV is supposed to be free speech. Real Greens need to start calling this s**t out and stop kissing the ass of Amy Goodman. This was not the first year she pulled that stunt, she's done it repeatedly.

They also need to hold their own accountable. They need to, for example, make it clear that Medea is not a Green, that Greens do not belong to organizations for the Democratic Party. She's far from their only problem. KPFK attempted to do roundtables for their news program. They booked a group of people for each one and they made sure that political parties -- not just Republicans and Democrats -- were represented on the roundtable.

But what was the point?

KPFK's good intentions are shot to hell when the Green they book can't shut up about how groovy she thinks Barack is and how wonderful it is that a 'Black' man is running and blah, the hell, blah, blah. While busy plugging the bi-racial Barack, someone should have interrupted her and explained that her own party had a Black candidate, Cynthia McKinney.

During an entire roundtable, the woman (we're being kind and not naming her) praised Barack and never mentioned Cynthia or Cynthia's running mate Rosa Clemente. Greens being excluded from the table is a very serious issue. But it's also true that Greens being invited to the table need to act like Greens. When they don't, the party needs to call them out.

Kimberly Wilder may not want to be the one holding her own party accountable. That's her business. But someone's going to have to step up and get the ball rolling. Regularly. (John Walsh writes the occassional article on the Green Party. I'm talking about a daily critique.) Until that happens, until these faux Greens grasp that they will be held accountable, nothing's going to change.

And that's the fault of a mind-set that settles for crumbs when they should be demanding equality. Absolutely, they should demand it from PBS. But they should be demanding it from Pacifica as well. Never again, should they settle for their party being sidelined or be glad that Amy Goodman finally managed to book Cynthia or Rosa while having on Barack supporters every day of the week.

Ralph? He ran an amazing campagin and, of all the non-two party candidates, he received the most votes. His campaign's only serious mistake was in not grasping how to peel off voters. Early on, Matt Gonzalez went on Democracy Now! and sung Barack's praises while hissing at Hillary. (Gonzalez would later pen a column calling out Barack and would also give speeches on that topic.) This is where, and this applies to Greens as well, someone should have had a thinking cap.

The media had already declared Barack the winner of the Democratic nomination. Do you really think saying Barack's groovy will move Barack supporters to vote for you? No.

But disgruntled Hillary supporters? They were a group that was open to you.

Instead of appealing to them, a wall was created. At times, it went down, but most of the time it was high and sturdy. And not helped by essays at the campaign site by volunteers who didn't seem to grasp that when Hillary lost the nomination and was not picked as Barack's running mate, there was NO reason for them to be writing about her unless they were intending to tell Hillary voters: Get the hell out of here, we don't want your votes.

Right before the election, Ralph was stating he thought he could pull a number of Hillary voters in New York (state). He couldn't. By that time it was too late. There had been too many Hillary slams at his campaign site (in essays and comments). In 2012, grasp that someone will emerge victorious in the Democratic and Republican Party primaries and that those who supported another candidate could be likely voters for you.


I do not like John McCain. I do know and like Cindy McCain. I was not voting for John McCain and made that clear in 2004 here and repeatedly over the years since. But I do understand the jaw-dropping reaction to the garbage that Goody, Rothschild and so many others put out this year.

John McCain is not four more years of anyone. McCain -- for his faults and his pluses -- is his own person. But the big lie was that he'd give you four more years of the current administration.
That was never going to happen. McCain's actually educated whereas the current occupant of the White House got through college on a pass.

I would not agree with the bulk of his program suggestions and would be railing against them, but they would not be the same ones that we've seen for the last four years.

McCain does have independence. And it's cute the way Saturday Night Live worked overtime to turn "maverick" into a joke but didn't bother to do something similar with "change." McCain's maverick status may or may not be a press creation (I believe it is a press creation) but it's amazing how quickly it was destroyed and turned into a joke while Barack's never defined change just lingered.

Equally true is that McCain was almost the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate in 2004. He was felt out on that. There have also been repeated attempts to get him to switch to the Democratic Party. And now this person was going to be likened to the worst White House occupant ever?

It wasn't logical so thank goodness the egg heads of Panhandle Media were all embarking on a second adolescence because, otherwise, they might have had to explore that instead of their feel-good gas baggery.

After the election, an adult voice finally materialized. Joan Didion (link goes to New York Review of Books podcast):

What troubled had nothing to do with the candidate himself.
It had to do instead with the reaction he evoked.
Close to the heart of it was the way in which only the very young were decreed of capable of truly appreciating the candidate. Again and again, perfectly sentient adults cited the clinching of arguments made on the candidate's behalf by their children -- by quite small children. Again and again, we were told that this was a generational thing, we couldn't understand. In a flash we were sent back to high school, and we couldn't sit with the popular kids, we didn't get it. The "Style" section of The New York Times yesterday morning mentioned the Obama t-shirts that "makes irony look old."
Irony was now out.
Naivete translated into "hope" was now in.
Innocence, even when it looked like ignorance, was now prized.

And that could only happen when logic, reason and perspective were tossed out the window. When ethics no longer mattered and an alleged 'independent' media could cheerlead one candidate -- refusing to ever call him out, making excuses for him and attacking all of his challengers.

Even now you see it continue. Barack jumped on Hillary and Joe Biden's bandwagon in calling out the White House attempting to push though a treaty disguised as a Status Of Forces Agreement. He maintained it would not happen. It went through and not a peep from our so-called 'independent' media about how Barack caved again.

The FISA cave got attention. The SOFA cave? None. And maybe the refusal of Panhandle Media to report the realities of that treaty has to do with their not wanting to rock Barack's boat?

Self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders ended 2007 without ever calling out Barack for putting homophobes on stage in South Carolina. Now she's ended 2008 without ever writing a piece calling him out for inviting homophobe Rick Warren to play 'Holy' at the inauguration. And while Laura stays silent, idiot Melissa Etheridge steps up to offer excuses.

Melissa love her some homophobia when it comes from her 'fan' Rick Warren. It's a-okay that a homophobe (and sexist) presides at the inauguration.. Strange because Melissa didn't even want to be near a homophobe in print when it came to her own family in 2000. As she wrote in her bad (and comically titled) book The Truth Is . . .:

I liked that we chose Rolling Stone as the place to share our story. It's a liberal magazine and there was no fear of someone going to interview the Reverend So-and-So about same-sex marriage and parenting. I knew Jann would handle the story right.

But when it's Barack, no concerns about whether or not he "would handle the story right." It's hypocrisy and it's appalling. It's not going to end the illegal war and it's not going to accomplish a damn thing.

Nor is, "Oh, Barack's website is taking a poll! Everyone go vote right now!" That's not political action. It's not even mature action. It's believing that Barack Obama is sooooooo stupid that, without you voting in an online poll, he won't know, for example, that single-payer health care is supported by many Americans.

Yeah, that's been the problem. There's never been a poll that's explained the intense support for single-payer. (That was sarcasm.)

It's busy work, a make-work project, that allows you to kid yourself that (a) you're doing something and (b) it's holding Barack's feet to the fire!

No president ever acts out of the goodness of heart. They act because they're forced to. Pressure does not come from being an 'insider' and rubbing shoulders with the administration. (That does, however, weaken movements -- see NARAL, NOW and assorted otehrs.)

Pressure is not now or ever, "I really, really like you and, golly, if you could please advocate for ____ -- but, you know, I love you so much, it's okay if you don't."

He hit me and it felt like a kiss
He hit me but it didn't hurt me
He couldn't stand to hear me say
That I had been with someone new
And when I told him I had been untrue
He hit me and it felt like a kiss
He hit me and I knew he loved me
-- "He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss," written by Gerry Goffin & Carole King

That sort of behavior is a sickness.

2008 saw that sickness over and over as Barack repeatedly tossed population segments under the bus, repeatedly caved and sold out and was never, ever held accountable. But, hey!, he might have a liaison to the 'progressive' community!

Many years ago, John Lennon -- a huge fan of the girl group songs and co-author of similar ones in the early days of the Beatles -- noted that it was not only impossible to maintain the heightened reality at the core of so many of the songs due to energy levels, it was also impossible because, at some point, you grew up and grasped that the end of a love affair was not, in fact, the end of your life. You added your second or third lover and grasped that the "WOW!"s of that first affair were not exclusive to that one relationship. John noted that, as the bulk of the population (baby boomers) left their teens, the music had to grow up with them because no one was going to be rushing to hear 800 different versions of "Chains" in 1967.

Likewise, the Barack groupies will have to grow up at some point. Whether they do so in 2009 or after he's on his way out of office will determine whether the people force the change they need or spend the next years cheerleading blindly out of fear that they might hurt their Dream Lover.

The Girl Group Era lasted a very brief time (The Supremes or Diana Ross & the Supremes are not technically part of that era -- they hit after the British invasion and the Girl Group Era ends with the British invasion). And, as John Lennon pointed out, they couldn't last forever or even for long. A 14-year-old may identify with "Not Too Young To Get Married" (written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Bary), but a 24-year-old screaming "Yes! True that!" will look pretty stupid. 2008 was when the left and 'left' made like hormonally charged adolescents screeching "BARRY!" at the top of their lungs and having fainting spells. Every day was Ed Sullivan. Generally speaking, the frenzy usually dies out at some point. Those who think I'm wrong (and I could be) would be wise to invest in pimple cream because you could make a killing in 2009.


Carole King and Gerry Goffin (Goffin & King), Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann (Mann & Weil) and Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry (Barry & Greenwich) are the three songwriting teams whose work is quoted throughout this. Phil Spector (like others) often took credit he didn't earn. The song credits listed above are the official ones but that doesn't mean they're the genuine ones. Noted because Cynthia and Barry have especially been publicly vocal about Phil's little theft stunt over the years. Nothing I've written above is meant to diminish the three songwriting teams' considerable talents. They were amazing song writing teams (and Cynthia and Barry remain an amazing songwriting team to this day). Their songs from (roughly) 1960 to 1964 captured an intensity of feelings on a regular basis, the sort of intensity that, prior, had only popped up every few months (for example, "Earth Angel"). Before Motown became the Sound of Young America, the three groups of writers were contributing to the soundtrack of young America.

"2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" -- Martha and Shirley's book commentary -- went up Tuesday and Ruth's "Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report" went up yesterday.