Monday, December 20, 2010

The frenzy over celebrity, the silence over a political prisoner

On Dec. 16, President Barack Obama reported on the findings of the intelligence analysis of the war in Afghanistan. Through all the rhetoric of "progress" in the country, one fact was made crystal clear: the war will rage on, with heavy combat and increasing casualties, for many years to come.
While inside the White House the politicians attempted to dress-up the grim findings, outside the White House the truth about the war was being told by hundreds of veterans and supporters who occupied the fence directly in front of the White House and refused orders by the police to disperse.
Organized by Veterans for Peace, March Forward!, the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and several other organizations, the action was the largest veterans-led civil disobedience since the wars began 10 years ago. Veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, World War II and other conflicts were among those arrested.
Those arrested included Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition; Mike Prysner and Ryan Endicott, both Iraq war veterans and March Forward! organizers; Mike Ferner, president of Veterans for Peace; and Daniel Ellsburg, who leaked the famous Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War.

The above is from the Party for Socialism and Liberation's "Veterans lead dramatic act of civil resistance at White House" about the Thursday protest held outside the White House. Tim King (Salem-News) also reports on the protest and he notes journalist and author Chris Hedges' speech:

Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves.
Hope does not separate us from them.
Hope sees our enemy in our own face.
Hope is not for the practical and the sophisticated, the cynics and the complacent, the defeated and the fearful, hope is what the corporate state which saturates our airwaves with lies hopes seeks obliterate.
Hope is what this corporate state is determined to crush. 'Be afraid' they tell us, 'surrender your liberties to us so we can make the world safe from terror, don't resist, embrace the alienation of our cheerful conformity, buy our products, without them you are worthless, become our brands, do not look up from your electronic hallucinations, no, above all do not think, obey'.

There's one reason to listen to Law and Disorder Radio today (WBAI today at 9:00 a.m. EST, throughout the country the rest of the week): former guest host Dalia Hashad returns for a segment. I've worded it that way because I'm not interested in crap. Though Michael Ratner corrects him, Michael Smith goes off on the women who are said to have been raped by Julian Assange. Michael Ratner does correct him on it but it's embarrassing (at best). It's also offensive to hear WAR presented as a feminist group by Michael Ratner. As noted in "TV: The Craziest Sitcom," Ava and I contacted every feminist we know in England -- over thirty name feminists -- and only one of them was vaguely familiar with WAR and she informed us that they were a joke and a female Marxist group, not a feminist group.

Feminists can be Marxist. But females who identify solely as Marxist and not as feminists -- you can tie in with the 'helpers' in this country -- don't exist for feminism, they exist for men and to 'struggle against the system' which is not patriarchy. They're male defined and male objectified, they're not feminists. They aren't honest and that alone is reason not to trust them. It reminds me of the mood post-1988 when, following Rev Jesse Jackson's second run for the Democratic Party's nomination for president, there was a real move among a number in the African-American community to start a third party and along comes professional liar Francie Fox Piven to insist first that they can't -- which did not go over well -- and then, in 1990, that, well, golly, they could, but just make sure it doesn't challenge Democrats in presidential elections. Who the hell asked her? Francis Fox Piven is one of the world's worst liars and fakes. She's not about democracy, she's not about equality, she's not about honesty. She's a trickster and a liar. And I think it's fair, for those who really know her, to refer to her as a racist. My thoughts on that are only 'controversial' among the Anglo White left out of NYC. It is Francie's generation that gave Reds a bad name. When she's dead, people will finally talk honestly and openly about all the damage she did. (And young people today will wonder why the Anglo White left spent so much time last year trying to mount outrage that Francie was videotaped? Why all the energy was wasted on her.)

And as Ava and I pointed out, it's incredibly sexist and incredibly telling that just because a group is against rape that they must be feminists. That's ridiculous. Rape is a crime, a large number of men and women are against it. They're not required -- nor are they all -- feminists. Buy a clue. How very telling that all these years later, a woman who objects to rape has to be a feminist in the eyes of so many.

If you have a problem with that segment, take it up with Law & Disorder Radio. I'm only noting the program this morning because of the fact that Dalia's on. I find it appalling that members of CCR would participate in that discussion. Michael Smith needs to do a self-check and he's not the only one. That was embarrassing and insulting and far beneath Michael Smith. It's shameful of him -- but this is why these women who are not feminist exist -- to hide behind WAR and imply that the two women are liars and that they hurting real rape victims. To call the two women "liars"? That's hurting women who are raped. You don't know a damn thing and you need to shut your damn mouth. I hope that's clear enough. Also, to be very clear, I'm not promoting the claim that the US has a secret grand jury working on charges for Assange. We didn't promote the pleasing tale that "charges are imminent against Karl Rove!" that many, many outlets did. Karl Rove never got charged. Apparently was never going to be charged. But the same fervor behind this 'secret grand jury' (which may or may not exist) was behind the lie that Karl Rove was going to be charged (in Plamegate). Paranoia doesn't help any of us look sane, sound or reasonable. Nor does it help you shine a light on real issues and events you supposedly are trying to draw attention to. There may be a grand jury, there may not be one, we'll try to stay grounded in fact and leave the wild-eyed claims to others. Repeating, were Dalia not on the show today, I wouldn't even note it. We'd just step away from the crazy. But she's a community favorite and she's that for being a strong voice.

It's a real shame that Law and Disorder Radio made time yet again for Julian Assange -- who is not a whistle blower and not really much more than a celebrity (he is not WikiLeaks, he is one aspect of WikiLeaks) while they still haven't told you that Lynne Stewart has been pulled out of New York -- where her family is -- and punished by being put into a prison too far from her family for easy visitation. She's been relocated to a Texas prison. Lynne Stewart's a political prisoner and she's a brave woman and maybe we could get an update on her as opposed to incessant hand writing over Julian Assange? Also if Julian shot you down as a legal representative this month, why don't you find a new topic? Just asking the obvious. The obvious also includes that Lynne has helped millions and that very few are willing to stand up and help Lynne.

It's rather telling and symptomatic of a large portion of the left that they want to work themselves into a frenzy over what might happen to a man (Julian Assange) when a woman's rights have been stripped, she's been punished for doing her job as an attorney, she's been punished for standing up for justice and her punishment and suffering continues but we don't obsess over it, we don't make time for it, we don't see the MSNBC crew defending her or updating on her and our so-called 'brave' left can't make time for her. But, look, over there, a man's accused of rape! Hurry, we can defend him by beating up women!!! Everybody join in!

Julian Assange is now resting on a sprawling British, countryside estate. Lynne's in a Texas prison, far, far from her family. I think we've spent quite enough time this month worrying what MIGHT happen to Julian Assange as opposed to what is happening to actual political prisoners.

Bonnie notes that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Not Quite There" went up last night. Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan notes:

This Sunday's Soapbox (The final one of 2010
--where did this year go?), may be the most important show we have ever aired.
I speak to four people who are working with survivors of the BP Gulf Oil Spill that is far from over--in fact, for 10-20 million residents of that region and over six-billion people on this planet, it is just beginning.
Please listen beginning at 2pm Pacific on Sunday (at: to a show that even fired up my engineer, Scott, who has been in this business forever, so much so, that he is sending press packets, with the show included, to the White House!
The problem is as profound as terrible health problems for the residents and interrupting the Gulf Stream to as simple as changing our own habits in our personal lives with regards to the usage of fossil fuels.

If you missed the broadcast, use the link to the soapbox to hear an archived broadcast.

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