Saturday, January 01, 2011

Iraqi women

When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki introduced what he called a national partnership government two weeks ago, he included allies and adversaries, Arabs and Kurds, Shiite Muslims and Sunnis. One group, however, was woefully underrepresented.
Only one woman was named to Maliki's 42-member cabinet, sparking an outcry in a country that once was a beacon for women's rights in the Arab world and adding to an ongoing struggle over the identity of the new Iraq.
Whether this fledgling nation becomes a liberal democracy or an Islamist-led patriarchy might well be judged by the place it affords its women.

So opens Shashank Bengali and Sahar Issa's "2011 looks grim for progress on women's rights in Iraq" (McClatchy Newspapers) and at least one outlet surveyed the horizon. Throughout the illegal war, Iraqi women have shown the guts and courage to protest but the US hasn't been at all concerned with supporting them. In January of 2004, Anne Garrels (NPR's All Things Considered) reported on Iraqi women protesting as their rights were stripped away by exiles/thugs appointed by the US. Garrels notes that the women said the change "will split society" and lead to sectarianism and extremism. And that should have been that. Paul Bremer could knock it down. But he didn't. And the US didn't apply pressure, didn't give a damn about Iraqi women. Over a year later, Iraqi Women Gathering was still organizing protests against this. Where was the US government? Still celebrating those laughable 2005 elections? Houzan Mahmoud wrote a column which ran in the Seattle Post Intelligencer's January 30, 2005 edition and shared her thoughts about the election in her country:

In reality, these elections are, for Iraq's women, little more than a cruel joke. Amid the suicide attacks, kidnappings and U.S.-led military assaults since Saddam Hussein's fall, the little-reported phenomenon is the sharp increase in the persecution of Iraqi women. Women are the new victims of Islamic groups intent on restoring a medieval barbarity and of a political establishment that cares little for women's empowerment.
Having for years enjoyed greater rights than other Middle East women, women in Iraq are losing even their basic freedoms -- the right to choose their clothes, the right to love or marry whom they want. Of course women suffered under Saddam. I fled his cruel regime. I personally witnessed much brutality but the subjugation of women was never a Baath Party goal. What we are seeing is deeply worrying: a reviled occupation and an openly reactionary Islamic armed insurrection taking Iraq into a new dark age.
Every day, leaflets are distributed across the country warning women against going out unveiled, wearing makeup or mixing with men. Many female university students have given up their studies to protect themselves against the Islamists.

In August of 2005, Spark Newspaper reported:

July 19 about 200 Iraqi women and a few men took to the streets in Baghdad to protest parts of a draft of the new constitution, scheduled to be completed mid-August. The protesters were from women's rights groups and included secular Iraqi women politicians.
The draft of the entire constitution is religious and sect-based. It gives lip service to equal rights for women – but only as long as those rights do not violate Shariah or the law based on the Koran. If these changes are implemented, it would severely set women backwards in important ways.
The women are outraged by Article 14, which includes a provision that women, regardless of age, would need their family's permission to marry. Under Shariah, a man could get a divorce just by expressing his wish three times in front of his wife. Women would also be denied inheritance rights.
Article 14 would replace a personal status law enacted in 1959 and continued up until the U.S. took over. It is one of the more progressive laws in the Middle East in acknowledging women's rights. It gives women the right to choose a husband and requires divorce cases to be decided by a judge. Article 14 would chuck that body of law and require cases dealing with marriage, divorce and inheritance to be judged according to law practiced by the family's sect or religion.
The draft appears to deepen the divide between Sunnis and Shiites, without acknowledging legal rights for mixed marriages. Women also protested a proposal to phase out a current measure requiring that one-out-of-four parliamentary seats go to women.

Where's the concern? Where has it ever been? We saw a lot of grandstanding last month from the likes of Naomi Wolf and others tossing around this and that but they've never really weighed in, have they, on the stripping of Iraqi women's rights? When you consider how much the Iraq War lined Naomi Klein's cage, her silence on the subject is especially chilling.

Fang Yang (Xinhua) reports a Salahuddin bombing targeting Balad's prosecutor Hardan Khalaf Jasim left him injured, wounded eight more family members and claimed the life of his nephew. Since yesterday, Kat's offered "Happy New Year" and:

And we're also noting the Independent, GI attorney and NLG member Jim Branum and Jane Fonda.

The e-mail address for this site is

Read more:

Kat's Korner: 2010 in music

Kat: 2010 was when the bulk of music was like the Iraq War, the same old thing, the same results and no advancements. This was best exemplified by the 'newest' album from Carole King. In 1971, she released the classic Tapestry and no one should try to deny that album's beauty or greatness. Revisting it once? Sure. Roger Waters re-did Pink Flody's The Wall, after all. But despite a decade of hit making before she ever recorded Tapestry, Carole decided to spent the last decades of her career telling audiences that all she ever had to offer was one album.

That message was not sent in 1978 with Her Greatest Hits which features four tracks from Tapestry paired with eight other solo hits -- but then, Lou Adler was in charge of that album. Left to her own devices, Carole's become annoyingly one note. Doubt it? In 1994, 16 years later, on a 15 track live album entitled In Concert, allegedly to promote her new studio album (Colour of Your Dreams), she devoted 9 tracks to Tapestry. Nine out of fifteen songs. Things were better in 1978 (when Adler was in charge of selection). In the midst of her fourth decade of hit making and nine songs were from Tapestry? The same year, her 'boxed' set was released. A Natural Woman: The Ode Collection (1968-1976) was a two-disc set and the full Tapestry album was included while other albums were only represented by a track or two. This was quickly followed two years later with Carnegie Hall Concert: June 18, 1971 -- a Sony "Legacy" release which she may have had no say in and which, promoting Tapestry, would require a number of Tapestry songs to appear. Ten of the seventeen songs are Tapestry tracks.
In 2001, Carole finally went back into the studio to make Love Makes The World Go Round -- reminding (briefly) fans that she could do more than live albums and greatest hits.

But that was it for Carole and new songs and 2005 found her boring us with the hideous Living Room Tour album where, among other crimes, she completely distorted the meaning of "Sweet Seasons" with a lyric change that, she explained, made politicians more comfortable. Never having wanted to 'rock out' with John Kerry, I just wanted my money back. This 21-track album contained eight songs from Tapestry. (Some might argue 20-track album. "Welcome To My Living Room" is one minute and fifty-eight seconds of the kind of bad chords and banter Lily Tomlin intentionally hits on the piano when playing lounge act Bobbie Jeanine) It also found her returning to "Chains." Someone needs to explain to Carole that just because the Beatles recorded this song she wrote with Gerry Goffin does not mean anyone needs to hear it again. She performed it poorly on the 1982 One to One tour (while wearing a poodle skirt) and she's performed it poorly ever since. She really needs to stop recording this girl group novelty that never had much going for it in the first place. If she still can't get it, the Beatles recorded it on their first album and, while listenable, no one mistakes Please Please Me for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band, Revolver, Abbey Road, 1968's The Beatles or Rubber Soul. Here, it's not as embarrassing as the version on 1994's In Concert (a minor girl group song sang weakly with Slash overdoing it on electric guitar does not make for pleasant listening), but it's as embarrassing as her 1982 performance of it. Carole, step away from the childish song.

Which brings us to this year when she released her fourth live album in the last 16 years. Live at the Troubadour is a 15-track album which only contains six Tapestry tracks and that might seem like a big thing . . . Except she does the album with Jame Taylor so they more or less split the (bad) album. The only non-Tapestry song of Carole's to appear on the album is the Drifters' "Up On The Roof" which James Taylor muzacked to death in the 70s. Does the woman have no management? Is no one looking out for her interests? For 16 years her output has put forward the notion that all she has to offer is one album, that she's a one trick pony. It's as big a lie as the Iraq War.

2010's best albums offered something more than that expected and trite.

joanna newsom

1) Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me. [All linked album titles go to my original review.] The best album of the year. This album just does not go old. I can still new notes to marvel over, new lyrics to ponder. This is a masterpiece but, hopefully, Joanne Newsom won't spent the next forty years re-recording this album live over and over.


2) Neil Young's Le Noise. Since 1994, Neil has repeatedly made clear he's the best male singer-songwriter of his generation. Rust never sleeps, he once told us, and Neil never rests. If you haven't heard the album yet, check out his video for "Love and War." That track alone should grab you.

3) Heart's Red Velvet Car. If anyone had a right to coast this year it was the sisters Wilson. Ann and Nancy have taken their share of lumps over the years from male and male-defined critics (Rolling Stone will forever be infamous for making a critic re-write a review of a Heart album that Jann & company felt was too positive to "a chic-led band") and managed to hang in there which is success all by itself. So they could have done a "Living Room" album, a live thing recapturing their best album from the seventies. Instead, these working moms (both have two children) went into the studio and rocked it so hard they put most of the male bands recording in the last ten years to shame. Red Velvet Car doesn't just remind you how great Heart was, it raises the bar by demonstrating how great Heart is. My favorite track is "Sand" and you can check out this video of Heart performing it live as well as a live performance of the title track here.

4) Sade's Soldier of Love. Is she the Dusty Springfield of this century or the Johnny Mathis? Who knows but Sade and her band make the most romantic music around: the foreplay and the moment after. She and the band are the musical equivalent of Halley's Comet or the Giants winning the World Series -- enjoy them while you can because you won't see them again for a long time. The title track was a huge R&B hit in the US, "Babyfather" and "The Moon and the Sky" were top ten and top twenty hits on the US jazz charts but the best song on the album has to be "In Another Time."

Ever Since You Never Heard Of Me

5) Melanie's Ever Since You Never Heard Of Me. The album of life, death, birth and destruction from America's homegrown mystic. The thirteen track album came out this fall and will blow you away. "Motherhood of Love" was inspired by the hugging saint (as Melanie explains at the live linked video) and it and "Smile" are infectious. The whole album is but those are the only videos I could easily locate of tracks from this album. Listen to this album once and see if you don't end up loving it. (And then make a point to share it with your friends.)

6) Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs -- At the start of September, C.I. dragged us to a Phoenix concert and I was thinking, "Pariah Dogs. Oh, this is going to be rich." Days later, I'm back home and dragging Toni, Maggie and Dak-Ho to the Santa Barbara Bowl to see the same group. Except for wearing a vest during some of the Santa Barbara gig and a darker shade of pants (same derby, same shirt, for any wondering), the concernt was pretty much the same high energy performance and laid back stage patter (playing casinons was a topic at both). That's not an insult. The Bowl's an outdoor shed and, especially before the sun goes down, the audio dynamics can be a nightmare depending upon your seat. After, Maggie noted, "Well he parts to the right" (the boys are confused, the little girls understand), I should have known that Maggie was going to zoom in on him. I was spreading the word about his concerts two days later when I got an e-mail Maggie had sent to everyone in her address book. It was a review of his Santa Barbara concert and of the new album God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise. "Damn her and her crotch obsessions!" I cursed. There was no way I could do better than Maggie, I felt, and even if I did the same level, all of our friends would be comparing our mutual output. (For any who wonder, Maggie was not attempting to compete or duel with me, she was trying to get the word out for the Berkeley concert Ray and company were doing that Friday.) I made a mental note then to include the album on the year's best of and if you haven't heard it, it's past time you checked it out. Though you'll miss the physical impact and the jaunty tilt of his derby, you can visit this NPR page to stream a live concert.

Natalie Merchant Leave Your Sleep

7) Natalie Merchant's Leave Your Sleep was a risky, artsy move that could have come off pretentious. Instead her first album in seven years found her offering two discs of nourishment that you could lose yourself in. "Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience" hooks you in from the first notes.

8) John Mellencamp's No Better Than This. Again the theme of the best of 2010 was artists who didn't settle, they upped the ante and stood in top form. Mellencamp was unfairly seen by some critics in the 80s as a low-rent Bruce Springsteen, getting him lumped in with Bryan Adams and assorted others. I never felt that was accurate and that 1985's Scarecrow (and specifically his duet with Rickie Lee Jones on "Between A Laugh And A Tear") demonstrated he was a one-of-a-kind artist. This year he demonstrated it again with this thirteen-track album. Check out "A Gracefull Fall." If you can stomach Terry Gross, check out this interview she did with Mellencamp about the album (link has audio and text options). As I explained last month, I love this album, I just didn't have the time to work on a review. Since I posted that, Wally's told me this is his favorite album of the year.

Kate Nash

9) Kate Nash's My Best Friend Is You. Album number two would have been a huge hit if Kate had served up "Foundations II." Maybe something along the lines of, "You're now an alcoholic and I've got a black eye, I fall on my bum and I cry, My fingertips are still holding onto the cracks in our foundations . . ." Instead, she shook things up and explored grooves and rhythm, producing the only dance album of note for me in the whole year. "I've Got A Secret" should have been the first single. Had that been the first single, My Best Friend Is You would have been more than the album everyone in the know talked about, it would have been a huge blockbuster in the US.

10) Esperanza Spalding's Chamber Music Society. This is on the list for her high notes (vocal) and her amazing talent on the (upright) bass. Though mainly billed as a jazz musician, I find her too organic to just place in a "jazz" cubby hole. I'd call her music genere "explorations." The William Black poem "The Fly" becomes "Little Fly" on this album and it's rivaled only by her own "Apple Blossom:" "And he laid her to rest beneath the blanket of white, Til they'd meet again in the springtime, Now he stands beneath the apple blossoms, Every year where they used to go walking, Walking, And from above she's always watching, But her body lies beneath the apple blossoms."

Click here for my 2004 music piece, here for 2005, 2006 in music, 2007 in music, here for 2008. and here for my 2009 piece -- plus my look at the decade. Ruth's look at 2010 in radio went up today as did Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "2010: The Urkel Moment," "2010 in books (Martha & Shirley)" and C.I.'s "2010: The Year of Enough."

2010: The Urkel Moment

The Urkel Moment.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts comic for the year 2010 "The Urkel Moment." Barack says, "2010. Did I do that?" Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

2010: The Year of Enough

2010 was when the people had experienced enough and made a point to say so. January 8th, careful listeners were put on notice when Joseph managed to get through on the caller line and informed Aimee Allison (KPFA's The Morning Show), that despite her (repeated and false) claims that everyone on the left had supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election, many did not drink the "Obama-aide" and that the "Obama-aide" was dispensed by "media types" who were far from honest. Whether he knew it or not, Aimee was one of those "media types" and she quickly attacked Joseph on air and hung up on him. Back then, that might have appeared to be winning behavior by the Cult of St. Barack. Of course, the reality is that as the year drew to a close, Aimee Allison found herself fired from KPFA.

If Joseph's was the battle cry that started the year for the left (grassroots section), the moment that summed up just how far the left had come in one year aired on another Pacifica Radio station, WBAI. December 27th, Law and Disorder Radio found hosts Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner speaking with Nellie Hester Baily, co-founder of the Harlem Tenants Council and co-host of Black Agenda Radio (Progressive Radio) with Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) and the host of WHCR's Inside Housing. Excerpt.

Nellie Hester Bailey: You are undoubtedly aware of the letter that originated with, I think his name is Paul Halle [John Halle]. He is a professor at Bard College. And this letter was sent out almost a month ago and it called upon basically the Progressive for Obama -- i.e. Bill Fletcher, Tom Hayden, Barbara Ehrenreich to look at Obama for what he is and, in fact, called upon them specifically to support the December 15th action Veterans for Peace, that was in Washington, DC, there was a demonstration in front of the White House about 131 people were arrested in that protest. [. . .] And Halle wants to get about 5,000 signators on that letter. He has close to 4,000 now. The response from Tom Hayden has been rather visceral: 'Who are you to talk to me like this?' Bill Fletcher is very upset. Yet they continue in this vein of Progressives for Obama to support his policy and not pull him back because what we need most of all for poor and working people and, in particular, African-Americans is for the blinders to be pulled off so that people can see actually what it is that we are dealing with and that President Barack Obama is no longer sugar coated as "the historic first," "he's our Black president,' 'no matter what he does, we're going to support him' when at the same time, as we see the collapse of the empire -- and I think there is an inevitability in all of that when you look at the unstatainable wars that we are engaged in, when you look at the move to the right domestically with that of the Republican agenda which means more civil rights oppression against the populace here, when you look at the economic demise of so many Americans which is why White America is so upset -- because they're standard of living has declined dramatically, when you look at the recent report, I believe, from the Center for Disease Control that now we have more than a 50% increase in the number of people who are uninsured [PDF format warning, click here]. And when you look at all of these factors and the work force has been reduced, we are expected to work long hours, we are expected to retire later in life. In fact, we are being worked to death and our kids are being sent to war, and, if you are an immigrant and if you want the Dream Act, if you want to become an American citizen, then prove to us that you are willing to die and, if you do die, then we will grant you citizenship. These are the realities, the undeniable realities that we are looking at when we look at and when we embrace the Obama administration. Now, what it is that we can do, we can support the initiatives of Halle, we can put those straddling liberal progressives on the sideline by saying, "You no longer can lull the people, or herd the people like sheep, into this nightmare of compromise which in fact is our demise from the Obama administration. What we can do, and this is a big problem we have in the African-American community because upon his election, one noted activist here in New York City said, 'You know President Obama gave us a wink-and-a-nod. You know, he knows, he knows. And we can expect the best out of him. And Michelle is going to make him do right. And Michelle will do --" I mean, this soap opera scenario and day dreaming which is just incomprehensible and particularly when you look at the left, we're talking about the Marxist left, that there was no class and race analysis about this man's presidency. How can one call themselves and declare themselves a Marxist and you support President Barack Obama? How is that possible? What was the failure of the left? Why was the left so blinded by this 'historic first'? 'First African-American president.' Well we had --

Michael Smith: You had Colin Powell, you had Condoleeza Rice --

Nellie Hester Bailey: We had Colin Powell, we had Condoleeza Rice as the first and we saw what fruit that bore. It was not a good fruit.

Michael Ratner: So why do you think it happened? I mean, I understand. Really your analysis is quite clear, quite sharp and one could even argue that the powers-that-be got Obama in to essentially supress the progressive movement and the African-American community --

Nellie Hester Bailey: Absolutely.

Michael Ratner: -- that would have actually diverted it and it created this whole tension about should we do this or not. But why do you think people missed it so much? Particularly, there are a lot of good people who you know. Your friends who were certainly on the fence if not worse in terms of their thinking this was going to be the great savior.

Nellie Hester Bailey: I-I'm at a loss. I mean, when you look at people whom I love dearly -- Amiri Baraka, I mean how do you explain that?

Michael Ratner: That one's a hard one.

Nellie Hester Bailey: Fletcher? Nnnnnhhh -- he straddled the fence here and there. Nnnnhhh, you know you can, okay. But people like Baraka? Some of the other noted left wingers, a long history, tradition of Marxist analysis -- How is that possible? One of the excuses we heard was, "Well the people are for him, we don't want to display this vanguard elitism." These forces, Progressives for Obama, need to step back and realize their responsibility to building a working class people, multi-racial movement to take on this system that is declining, that is in collapse, it is not sustainable. We see the desperation every single day. And it seems to me that if they cannot wake up at this point, then a large part of the movement that we're trying to build, that Michael talked about, we saw it from the very beginning, that you're talking about, that others are talking about, that we are all going to be doomed not unless conditions force the populace into the streets as we are seeing in Ireland, as we are seeing in England, as we are seeing throughout Europe, as we are seeing in Greece, as we're seeing in France. And if conditions don't drive people into the street, that there comes a point that they can no longer tolerate the assault on their lives and their civil liberties, then we are in fact doomed and I'm not too optimistic. But, as Che said, if you are a revolutionary, then we are full of optimism. So I am optimistic but it is a hard road ahead of us.

From silenced to a seat at the table, ENOUGH is the story of 2010.

It's the why for the mid-term results as leftists voted for third parties, Republicans or stayed home resulting in the Democrats experiencing the most crushing Congressional blow in over sixty years.

And yet so many didn't want to hear it. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi both saw the resounding "NO!" as a cry for more of their feckless leadership which has resulted in smoke & mirrors but nothing of substance.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed! Well . . . it was stricken from the books. Repealed? It was more like a giant gob of White Out had been plastered over the policy. The bill that passed both Houses made no statement of equality, made no statement that all Americans should be allowed to serve in the military. It just took away Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And, in order to get the votes required, it also allowed the hellhole that is Guantanamo to continue. The deadline for closing Guantanamo long ago passed. The Lilly Ledbetter Act? Incomplete grade -- even from Lilly herself. ObamaCare? A nightmare that's not going away anytime soon. The new powers Barack's claiming are as gruesome as any Bully Boy Bush claimed he possessed. Both the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War continue under Barack.

In other words, if you were even half-paying attention, it wasn't difficult for you to reach your own enough point. Which may have been why the Aimee Allisons worked so hard to make sure realities were obscured. Take Katrina vanden Heuvel, daughter of Diplotrash and CIA pioneer William vanden Heuvel, who repeatedly served as the left's biggest distractor. In July, writing about WikiLeaks Afghanistan War dump of approximately 92,000 documents, Katty-van-van expressed the fervent hope that the documents might allow Barack to see the truth about the Afghanistan War . . . from the government documents . . . the US government documents which, as president, he already had access to.

No, no one can be that dumb, not even The Peace Resister. But there she was a month later, when White House plus-size spokesmodel Robert Gibbs was attacking "the professional left" (the left that was criticizing War Hawk Barack), backing up Robert Gibbs with asinine statements such as: "As someone who would like to see Obama's presidency succeed, I think he needs a left that engages in the same blending of principle and pragmatism that convinced progressive Democrats choose him over Clinton and Edwards." Like Ann Coulter, Katty-van-van favors short skirts that her knobby knees and saddle bags just can't pull off, but this year was all about Katty showing that, like Coulter, she also loved to draw a line between 'loyal' Americans and 'disloyal' ones. Loyal ones, Katty would have you know, wants, dreams and creams for Barack to succeed. So should Barack scissor away at the safety net that is Social Security, Katty wants you to know, all loyal Americans will join her in rooting for his success. To do otherwise would, by her formula, be just to engage in "betrayal sweepstakes" (her term).

An ad-hoc letter entitled "An Open Letter to the Left Establishment" appeared online and it's opening paragraph is: "This letter is a call for active support of protest to Michael Moore, Norman Solomon, Katrina van den Heuvel, Michael Eric Dyson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Thomas Frank, Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher Jr., Jesse Jackson Jr., and other high profile progressive supporters of the Obama electoral campaign." The Nation, The Progressive and many other outlets worked overtime to ignore it. ZNet posted it but, before you applaud, under pressure from some named in the opening paragraph, Michael Albert pulled the letter, disowned his signature on it, offered a ridiculous explanation that he thought that first paragraph was saying the letter was from those listed -- in which case, he loved the letter -- and not that it was to them -- in which case he hated it. He hated, he explained, because he couldn't mind read and know what they thought about Barack. And apparently being de-spined also left him unable to click on links because the open letter allowed you to read the opinions of Katty, Solomon, et al.

While the letter rarely got attention online -- despite the blackout, it should reach 5,000 signatures in the next weeks -- where it did, you could usually find Carl Davidson -- such as here and here. Poor Carl, pathetic way back when and pathetic now. He never amounted to anything and so he serves as the Hazel to Progressives for Obama. In that role, he shows up everywhere to lie and lie some more.

When the letter is the topic, Carl shows up to insist that Progressives for Obama were never endorsing Obama or saying he was groovy or swallowable, just that he was a better choice than McCain-Palin.

Carl's lies are as disgusting as his looks. Early on, I was supposed to be a Progressive for Obama signee. I hadn't been asked. It had just been assumed. (I was not the only one whose name they tried to force on their ridiculous 'organization.') When I was informed at the last minute, I made very clear that my name was not to be put on their online letter and that I did not support their garbage. When I was told, "I'll try to get you off the list . . .," I responded, "You will get me off the list or I will expose ____'s sexual assault on _____ ______ and ask why so-called left leaders continue to embrace him." (_____ was a signee of the group's letter. ____ is not Carl Davidson.) That was a very loud conversation and, consulting my date book, I see that it took place long before the primaries ended. That's because Progressives for Obama actually came into being after certain no-names saw their endorsements of Barack fail to woo voters in California (Hillary carried the California primary). Carl's a damn liar.

Damn liar? What's that smell?

Oh, it's Tom Hayden. The man, whom the left kicked to the curb in the early 70s only to see him buy his way back in (on someone else's dime -- Tom's purse poor, even when extorting), used the Iraq War to try to give his name meaning after his divorce from (and Brinx Robbery of) Jane Fonda meant his name was mud and he couldn't even hold on to his state legislature seat or get elected a mayor. It was over for Tom. He would rewrite the sixties repeatedly in book form but that's all he had to offer until Bush declared war on Iraq. Like Norma Shearer sizing up Irving Thalberg, Tom just knew the Iraq War was his road to renewed fame.

He got a little attention for a brief moment but his day in the sun is pretty much done. And that might explain the attitude he sported when attacking John Halle over the open letter:

So I started reading this letter which sounded pretty good and it looked like I signed it, so I read further and discovered that it was to as a member of a group I didn’t know I belonged to called the "Left Establishment." As I kept reading, it was a vile, toxic diatribe ending with a demand that I, along with the rest of the "Left Establishment", endorse a demonstration this week in Washington featuring civil disobedience at the White House fence.
To whomever sent the letter, I have to say I'm sorry that I just don't respond positively to nasty invitations. I hope you can understand. Calm down and tell me who you are before the conspiracy theories mushroom.

When Tom goes off on an everyperson or civilian, he's really hoping that those of us at his wife's Santa Monica home in the eighties or at his wife's Santa Barbara ranch never speak up. In 2006, Tom got a little bit honest with a column that ended up all over the internet explaining a little of how he was a lobbyist for the Israeli government while in the state legislature (by that, I mean he was doing their bidding). Call it The Semi-Confessions of St. Tomastine. Tom-Tom left out how his own paranoia and hatred drove his decision to back the Israeli government. As anyone who knew Tom during that period will recall, he used to babble on and on about the Trilateral Commission and those "damn Saudis" and much more. Tom was anti-Arab, whether he'll cop to it today or not. And I bring that up because this loon, this nut job, wants to accuse John Halle of "conspiracy theories"?

No one does conspiracy theories better than Tom Hayden and what's really sad is that he's just as nutty straight as he is when he's stoned or drunk. The benefit of having know Tom for decades is that I have millions and millions of stories to pick from -- many documented in real time in my journals, often with a letter about him or from him attached to a certain page -- and I'll continue to share those each time Tom-Tom wants to attack someone who doesn't deserve it.

It's amazing that Tom rips apart John Halle and then claims we need to pull together. It's so cute how we always need to pull together after men like Tom have had the last word. That's how they expect it to work anyway.

John Halle and the others behind the open letter really touched a nerve. They did so because these left leaders that we never elected seem to think they cannot be criticized. (Tom should damn well know that's not the case or has he forgotten getting kicked out of the commune? If he's forgotten, I can spend a whole week writing what he's somehow refused to tell readers of in his many My Life In The 60s books.) Reality tends to drag these 'leaders' down. Since they never actually became leaders due to hard work, they're threatened that they could lose the status money purchased for them at any moment. So they spend forever dickering over silly little things, like Katrina's nonsense with the New York Times after the paper had the temerity to note that the circulation of the magazine had dropped significantly. Before Katrina next dickers she might want to be sure that the half-offs and freebies are not counted in paid circulation because that would actually be -- pay attention, Katty -- breaking the law. All it's going to take is someone saying "Enough."

These lesser lights always had the road paved for them by someone else but want to pretend like they've struggled (hint: Radcliffe graduates rarely struggled) and that they earned their spots. But if Katrina, Matthew Rothschild or any of the rest actually had to fight, they'd be able to take stands today. In the case of Rothschild, his Multiple Personalities should have seen him institutionalized some time ago.

In the current issue of The Progressive, he co-authors a no-more-easy-praise-for-Barry piece. Yet no sooner was that on news stands than he was praising Barack online for Don't Ask, Don't Tell. (No links to Matthew. With The Nation, I just don't want to link. With Matthew, he and the webmaster need to figure out what the f**k is wrong with their website. Every page you click on currently has a problem and never the full text of what you're supposed to be getting.) Or take post-mid-terms when Matthew was declaring that the state of Wisconsin had all but committed a crime by not re-electing Russ Feingold only to, weeks later, insist that no one -- not even Sainted Russ (I know Russ and I like Russ and I wish he were still in the Senate but don't see his loss as the end of the world) should challenge Barack. Why was that?

Matthew argued that for Barack to face a primary challenge "would be extremely divisive" to the Democratic Party "and it would drive a wedge between the largely white left and the overwhelming majority of African-Americans at the grassroots". Betty's "Kiss my Black ass, Matthew Rothschild" and Marcia's "Matthew Rothschild patronizes Black people" drove home that Matthew needed to stop being so patronizing and assuming African-Americans couldn't grasp politics. In "The Black Roundtable," Isaiah would note that Rothschild's sudden concern for the feelings of Black America were concerns he never expressed toward women when he was ripping Hillary apart through out 2008 and Ann would get right to the point and ask why the hell Matthew Rothschild thought he had a right to have a say in a Democratic Party primary when he is a Socialist?

Good question.

Matthew is declaring that Barack must be gifted with the 2012 nomination (as he was with the 2008) and there's no reason to gift him or anyone else. That's not politics. And it's past time people stopped infantalizing the electorate.

This smug 'we know best' attitude is what's destroyed so many of the left 'leaders.' At a time when the American people want to see them stand up, they remain supine having hocked their spines to the Democratic Party. It's why the US Socialist Worker is such a damn embarrassment. Self-identified Socialists who are not hiding in a political closet have spent two years propping up Barack and his Corporatist War Hawk administration. Pressed to act tough, they will trash Hillary -- often with the sort of sexism Nicole Colson pioneered (but denies any knowledge of today) during the primaries. But with very few exceptions (Lance Selfa and Lee Sustar are two exceptions), they cannot call out Barack for his disastrous and lethal policies.

They can -- and do -- turn their ire on the people -- and then whine that Socialism should be more popular than it is. Hint: When you attack the working class regularly, you run off the working class as readers.

What the Socialist Worker best telegraphed was just how saturated with their own perceived self-importance so many elements on the left are. To read the bulk of the articles at Socialist Worker over the last two years was to be greeted with how stupid, how racist, how awful people were. Over and over. What the hell is that?

The left 'leaders' and outlets really thought they could sell I-am-so-exceptional and that people would pay for it?

Do they not understand the first thing about Marx and Lenin?

Probably not. Because, more and more, the left's cry of "Marx said . . ." seems less about what was actually said and more that a man said it.

The phallic worship of the left may be the most damaging element today. It was this element, after all, that ran amuck in 2008 dismaying many as suddenly sexism and homophobia were not abhorrent practices to be called out but tools one uses to elect their favorite man. In 2010?

WikiLeaks had many newsworthy releases this year. That did not mean Julian Assange was above reproach or a saint . . . unless you were part of the phallic worshiping left.

Dave Lindorff, Michael Moore (who had the good sense to walk it back), Naomi Wolf, Naomi Klein, Nicole Colson, Keith Olbermann, Ray McGovern, Barbara Ehrenreich, Tom Hayden and all the others who had used sexism and homophobia to advance Barack suddenly showed up in December 2010 to attack two women who may have been raped. They ridiculed the claims by one woman that she was forcibly held down and the other that she was asleep when she was penetrated. They attacked the women. They trashed the women.

And their arrogance was as appalling as the message that they were sending to the survivors of rape and potential victims in the future. [See Ann's "This rape survivor says: Naomi Wolf, go f**k yourself ," Mary Elizabeth Williams' "This week in crazy: Naomi Wolf" (Salon), Maia's "Rape myths and Julian Assange" (The Hand Mirror), Libby Brooks' "No one gains from this 'rape-rape' defence of Julian Assange" (Guardian), Kate Harding's "The rush to smear Assange's rape accusers" (Salon), Jill's "Some thoughts on 'sex by surprise'" (Feministe), Laurie Penny's "Tell me what a rapist looks like" (New Statesman), Esther Addley's "How the rape claims against Julian Assange sparked an information war" (Guardian). That's some highlighted writing, it is not all the strong writing by strong women -- and some strong men as well -- on this subject.] And their arrogance continues. Over two weeks ago, Ava and I outlined how Women Against Rape is a group of Marxist women in the UK, they are not a group of feminist women or of Marxist-feminists. But they wrote a letter (the sort of 'action' their faux group can get behind) and suddenly they were providing the same cover Naomi Wolf earlier had to allow the attacks on the two women to continue. This week, Katha Pollitt has revealed that WAR is also a group that distorts facts:

In a much-cited letter to the Guardian, Katrin Axelsson of Women Against Rape argued that Sweden's low rape conviction rate proved that Assange was being set up – in 2006, she claimed, only six people were convicted out of 4,000 reported. Not so.
"I don't know where they got those figures," Amnesty International's Katarina Bergehed told me by phone from Sweden. "In 2006 there were 3,074 rapes and 227 convictions." (Sweden tracks rape by individual acts, not by number of victims, so the prevalence of rape is less than it looks.) Bergehed should know: she wrote the Swedish section of the Amnesty report on sex crimes in the Nordic countries that Assange supporters cite as proving that Sweden is the worst place in Europe for rape victims.

Where are the corrections? Nicole Colson and others, where are your corrections?

Oh, that's right, they don't do corrections.

It takes less than two minutes to say, "I was wrong. My mistake, my error. I apologize." I know it takes less than two minutes because I'm forever saying those words here. And life does go on. But the difference is, I'm not trying to steal someone's vote or trick them. I have no need for anyone to either see me as a leader or think I am infallible. It's a shame those who want to be, to use John Halle's term, "the establishment left" can't own their own mistakes.

Ideally, a leader highlights an issue or a protest or event. Cindy Sheehan does that and does it very well. She'll also own her own mistakes without prompting. That's something else that a real leader should be able to do. The fact that so many refuse to do so goes towards the rising level of "Enough!" in this country.

As does the desire by so many to put one over on the grassroots because they just know the roots, the working class, just not smart enough. Interestingly, when, for example, Danny Schechter complains that Amy Goodman said her audience wasn't smart enough to follow his economic topics, he was calling her out for patronizing her audience only to turn around and do the same himself with regards to Barack.

Some read about that and laugh at just how out-of-touch they all are. Others don't read it but sense it. You can't put one over on the people forever. You can temporarily trick people -- as many con artists have. But you can't fool the people indefinitely . . . as George W. Bush found out some time ago . . . and as Barack Obama has discovered more recently.

We do catch on. We have busy lives and we consume information in a system that works overtime to distract us. But common sense and perspective are hallmarks of the human condition and they do kick in. Equally true, fads passed off as "movements" are doomed to meet the same quick death as fads passed off as fads.

The most undemocratic of democracy philosophers Plato advocated for many things in The Republic (as Karl Popper so often noted). But whether it was the cave analogy or the philosopher-kings, the premise behind it all was, "Let's trick the people." That's why Karl Marx was such a revelation as a philosopher. Here was someone who trusted the people. Not the elites, the people. The book was not written from a perspective of, "I am better than the workers." So it's been so disappointing to see the left establishment (Marxist and non-Marxist) spend the last two years writing so many paens to how great they themselves were and how awful everyone else was. Around the time Kate Clinton was slamming The Kids Are Alright for not being a documentary about her own life, we were left with more and more with the impression that the left establishment was a bunch of whiney ego-maniacs who were forever self-stroking.

As real issues were denied and and outrages ignored, the left establishment saw to it that the gulf between them and the people they'd love to influence only grew greater. And, as Ruth points out, they only underscore how unnecessary they are as they pen yet another conventional wisdom column and want to insist that you donate money because their musings are, golly, almost like investigative reporting -- they're exploring the interiors of their souls!!! -- and that should be funded.

In January 2009, these 'leaders' were full of themselves and convinced that a major shift in American politics had taken place, that Barack would be riding high forever and that the Republican Party was doomed. Two years later and their psychic abilities are as much in question as their own methods. So it's no real surprise that they fail to heed the signs of their own demise as they continue to ignore the people's "ENOUGH!" refrain.

2010 in books (Martha & Shirley)

Martha & Shirley here with our look at the year in books. This was a good year for books in this community and we had, for the first time since 2007, much more than ten getting a large number of votes.

debroah amos

The clear winner, we'll call it book of the year, was by NPR's Deborah Amos. Though we won't accuse C.I. of attempting to influence the outcome of the poll, we will note that many voting for this book as their favorite wondered why, as C.I. pointed out, Thomas E. Ricks regularly ignores this book? Why? Because Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East deals with the realities of the Iraq War and that's too much reality for Tommy Ricks. Amos' book is moving throughout but especially when she's charting what refugee status means for a number of Iraqi women -- late nights in clubs attempting to turn a trick in order to support their families. Amos is covering the realities of the Iraq War that so few have. Make a point to pick this book up. However, considering how this was the clear winner -- it wasn't even close -- most of you already have picked the book up.

chris hedges

At number two? "The election of Obama was one more triumph of illusion over substance. It was a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by a corporate power elite. We mistook style and ethnicity -- an advertising tactic pioneered by Calvin Klein and Benetton -- for progressive politics and genuine change. The goal of branded Obama, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand for an experience. And that is why Obama was named Advertising Age's marketer of the year for 2008, beating out Apple and Zappos." That gem, noted by Brady and by Susan in separate e-mails, is from page 199 of Chris Hedges' Death Of The Liberal Class.

Tariq Ali's new book

Number three is Tariq Ali's The Obama Syndrome: Surrender At Home, War Abroad. And for those who wonder, four more votes and it would have tied with Hedges' book (five more votes and it would have beat it). In this tight and well executed book -- one that Trina advocated for strongly in "Books: The Obama Syndrome" (The Third Estate Sunday Review) -- Ali pens the truth so few in the United States are able to. It's not a book of excuses or minimizations. It's a book that lets the chips fall where they may as Ali tells his truth. And, as Trina put it, " I'll let others go into the politics and all of that and I'll stop hogging the discussion by noting that he's someone who not just has something important to say but also has a wonderful way of saying it. We have a lot of writers on the left that we read for the information who would never be read for style. Tariq Ali truly is a writer. He has tremendous talent and style and is such a pleasure to read."

carrie fisher

Number four was a surprise to us, Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking. We love this book. So does the community. In fact, they voted it the best book of 2009. Enough people hadn't read it last year, saw it at the top of the 2009 list, read it this year and said, "This is the best book." And Charlie. Charlie read it last year and voted for it last year. He's re-reading it over and over and made it his number one pick for this year again arguing that, "It's worth noting two years in a row." We agree. We're also thrilled that last year's list had an impact.

jerry lembcke

Number five is Jerry Lembcke's Haoni Jane: War, Sex & Fantasies of Betrayal. This book's title hurt it, sorry if that truth hurts. Kayla bought it at her Borders' only to have the female clerk ask her why she hated Jane Fonda. Writes Kayla, "It could have been worse. The clerk could have said, 'Oh, I hate Jane Fonda too!' But I'm standing there trying to explain that this is a book about Jane Fonda's activism and how it was distorted and the book's attempting to reclaim reality but the woman's just looking at the cover and shaking her head." Kayla's experience was a common one at bookstores and libraries. With that in mind, if you haven't picked up the book yet, please do. From page 160:

The celebration of women's independence and power through the lenses of America's defeat in Vietnam and the dissolution of Western colonialism was an easy addition to the many other sociopolitical realignments taking place in the late twentieth century. But even more than gains of, say, national sovereignty in Asia and Africa or voting rights for African Americans, the gains made by the American women's liberation movement during the 1960s and early 1970s were perceived by many men to have come at the expense of their own social and economic standing. Coming as they did during the war years and integrally linked as they were to gender relations within the antiwar movement, it was no surprise that those hurt feelings would combine with resentments stemming from the lost war with their own sexual and gender connotations specific to the war and the way each side fought.

Gloria Feldt

Number six was concerned with the status of women currently, Gloria Feldt's No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. This was actually our own number one pick (so never accuse us of rigging the results!) and we'll sum the book up as: If you're ever going to confront systematic discrimination in our society, you're going to need to know it's history and your power. This book is the workout for your activist self.

Pat Benatar

Number seven is Pat Benatar's Between A Heart And A Rock Place. 80s rock queen Pat looks back on a past she can not only remember but also illuminate. Reading the book reminds you that it took an artist to produce the music she did and also informs you of just what a behind-the-scenes struggle that was.

The Mendacity of Hope

Number eight is Roger Hodge's The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism. Third's "Book discussion" found everyone making solid points -- some pro, some negative. We believe that's the standard community reaction to the book.

Number nine is Sara Paretsky's latest V.I. Warshawski mystery Body Work. Read it and see why so many loved it. And from her website:

Body Work by Sara Paretsky


New Year's Day, at 6:30 p.m., tune in or stream WFMT for a celebration of women's lives, including Elaine Strich, Veuve Clicquot, the women of the Plaza del Mayo--and Sara Paretsky, who will be toasted by Nicole Hollander.

Body Work, V I Warshawski's new adventure is in bookstores everywhere . You can read Chapter 1 right now. The NY Times named it one of the top mysteries of 2010.

Sara has been named the 2011 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America; the ceremony will be April 28 at the Grand Hyatt in New York

The WFMT broadcast is today and that's 6:30 p.m. EST.

Jane Fonda

Number ten? Thanks to sight-impaired community members and their loved ones for raising the issue of audio books. We're honestly embarrassed that we've never thought to explore that issue. Those using audio books -- sight impaired and non-sight impaired -- banded together as a block this year to make their own list and to whittle it down to their number one choice. It is Jane Fonda's My Life So Far. The book came out in 2005. It is their choice because it is enjoyable and because it is over forty hours long. Said Selena, who is sight impaired, "There are good audio books that really get to a story and there are the ones that just breeze through. But, and this was the point so many of us had, there are very few where the author shows so much commitment. Mine was an iTunes download and is forty-four hours. Others have downloads that are as much as fifty-one hours. We feel that we not only got a real sense of the printed book, we got a great deal more than those who read the printed book. This was a real treat and a real honor and we'd love to see more audio books like this in the future."

Martha & Shirley have also done the year in review of books in 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

Ruth's Radio Report: 2010

Ruth: The year in radio? It started promisingly enough with the demise of Air America Radio. The original line up had promised a lot of humor to mitigate the non-stop Democratic Party rah-rah cheer leading. Sharp humor vanished around the time Lizz Winstead left (a year into AAR's broadcasting life) and we were left with dumbed-down smut in most cases most infamously when Al Franken wanted to speculate to the elderly Essie Mae Washington-Williams on where her parents Carrie Butler and Strom Thurmond made love (the garden was one location tossed out by Mr. Franken).

In its last years, even dumbed-down smut was too much for AAR. Failed actor and failed radio host Sam Seder appeared to operate under the belief: "He who yells the loudest wins." At the end, the network suffered from what can only be described as "stunt casting." Montel Williams, Lionel, and Ron Reagan Junior? Long gone were any hopes of developing radio talent.

With AAR off the air, that just left Pacifica -- the network forever at war with itself.

The big prize was, of course, KPFA which always pulled in the biggest bucks. That helped to conceal the financial problems Pacifica was suffering from -- problems a number of on-air hosts helped create and spent forever denying.

WBAI attempted to correct its course with a minimal of on air carping. They quickly and thankfully let go of their program director who saw his role as providing on air election endorsements which should have been his grounds for dismissal. Instead, he was dismissed for the fact that no one was listening to WBAI anymore and so no one was donating money. (WBAI, like all Pacifica radio stations, depends upon listener donations.) He did not go quietly but he did go and quickly set up his online presence, a sort of pathetic "I will get my job back!"

He issued claims -- laughable ones -- that the new "repressive" management ("regime," he called them) intended to strip away men of color and all women. For that to be frightening, WBAI would have to offer a number of persons of color including women and, truth be told, it really does not. It was a little duchy where the program director doled out slots to his favorites and ensured that only his pets were rewarded. But sure enough, the usual group of idiots -- call them The Kimmys -- showed up online insisting, "Racism!"

It is so very strange that The Kimmys screaming racism when the program director was finally let go were silent, year after year, while the program director allowed a dead (White) man to eat air time. Though he died in February 2006, Al Lewis continued to hog the air on WBAI each Saturday until the program director was gone. Why did anyone need to hear that nonsense? I had a semi-favorable opinion of Mr. Lewis while he was alive but, three and four years after his death, when his not-so-outstanding program continued to occupy prime Saturday afternoon radio space, I no longer cared for him. Nor did I grasp the importance of a cheaply made topical show airing repeats years after it was, to put it mildly, no longer topical.

From his website, the former program director issues various "dispatches" claiming a coup has ousted him. It is, in fact, this claim that so clearly underscores how right the decision to fire him was. A coup? To claim he was ousted in a coup would indicate that he had some right to WBAI which he did not. Basically, the former program director was insisting that WBAI belonged to him, like the possessed Regan in Exorcist 2: The Heretic rasping, "She's mine always, always." He was an employee of the radio station and if he was not doing his job (bringing in listeners and money), then he needed to be fired. But termination due to incompetence becomes, in his mind, a coup. How very telling about the kind of crazy Pacifica can attract.

Brian Edwards-Tiekert had his own kind of crazy. In September of 2008, in the role of KPFA Treasurer, Mr. Edwards-Tiekert publicly called for lay offs noting, "What I dread even more is the day that everybody at the five stations and Pacifica shows up to work to collect their paycheck for their last two weeks of work, and here's 'Sorry, we don't have the money for you, our bank account's empty. . .' And if we don't make the cuts now, and honestly some of these cuts should have been made one or two years ago, that's the real prospect we face, because we're running out of cash."

No steps were taken to address those issues in the remainder of 2008 or in 2009. Mr. Edwards-Tiekert's friend Sasha Lilley was acting program director of KPFA at the time. Her accomplishments -- despite online lies -- did not include interrupting Pacifica programming for three days to cover Winter Soldier. First of all, her role at KPFA did not give her the power to interrupt what other stations aired and, second of all, only one Pacifica station aired all three days: KPFA. WBAI, for example, chose to ignore the Saturday hearings to air Al Lewis' tired and canned programming from the years before he died along with some bad music programming. Ms. Lilley's online resumes repeatedly make grand claims that do not hold up leading many to wonder if, for example, she edits her own Wikipedia entry?

I personally think that is underestimating, Ms. Lilley, I believe she also wrote it.

Ms. Lilley came to prominence at KPFA by assuring everyone that she was a radical Communist and using her own mother to back up that claim. Once in power, Ms. Lilley was about as radical as U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, which is to say, not very much at all. One of the things her online resume claims is that she put the voices of Hurricane Katrina survivors on air as they gave testimony. That is true but I am not sure how this qualifies as a "proud moment" for Ms. Lilley.

Like so many who run and ruin KPFA and Pacifica -- allegedly "free speech radio" -- Ms. Lilley has attacked the 9-11 Truth Movement. If a program dared to include them, Ms. Lilley wanted it dead. (She desperately wanted to kill Bonnie Faulkner's Guns & Butter, for example. And when confronted with that on 'reports to the listeners,' Ms. Lilley would get defensive and attack the program, Ms. Faulkner, and the caller.) I do not understand why allegedly free speech radio cannot allow for a free exchange of ideas and allowing the best argued ones to win out in the public square. But if you agree with Ms. Lilley (and many did), explain to me why she brags about testimony she aired that argued, THAT STATED, the U.S. government blew up the dams?

Did the U.S. government do that? I have no idea but would tend to guess "no." I would have no problem with that opinion being aired, however, it all opinions were allowed. But, as I noted before, Ms. Lilley refused to allow all opinions on other issues.

Lem-Lem Rijo, the Alderman to Ms. Lilley's Nixon, was the Interim General Manager during most of Ms. Lilley's reign and the best that can be said about Lem-Lem was she was hysterical in the reports to the listeners. She was not attempting to be, true, but a belly laugh earned intentionally or not is still a belly laugh. A good question, for those who check out her resume, is how the hell she ended up in a post she was so clearly unqualified for? (Answer: Ms. Lilley's cabal worked to install Ms. Rijo.)

Ms. Rijo's biggest contribution to the 'struggle' was ensuring that cries of "racism!" when KPFA finally addressed the problems would be met with laughter. That is because it was Ms. Rijo who went after the pregnant, African-American Nadra Foster and then went on to call the police. In the melee that ensued, bad public relations abounded for the station and Ms. Rijo was mistaken to think her August 22nd e-mail to KPFA staff disowning her own actions and pushing it off on the police was going to play well. (Ms. Lilley has worked over time to white wash her own involvement in the assault on Nadra Foster but this eye-witness real time account demonstrates that not only was she in the know, she was joined with Ms. Rijo in sicking the police on the pregnant woman.)

KPFA finally addressed The Morning Show and, sure enough, White male Brian Edwards-Tiekert began screaming racism and sexism as he was informed he was fired. It was laughable. As was his expressed indignation since, as part of the cabal with Ms. Lilley, he had been active to cut (and, yes, end) the number of hours Nora Barrows-Friedman could have at KPFA. In what would be the end of her reign (though she did not realize it them), Ms. Rijo did the dirty work Ms. Lilley, Mr. Edwards-Tiekert and others wanted done (click here for Ms. Barrows-Friedman's account). Mr. Edwards-Tiekert -- or is that Ms. Edwards-Tiekert -- made no cries of "sexism!" when Ms. Barrows-Friedman was railroaded out of KPFA.

Unlike Mr. Edwards-Tiekert, Ms. Barrows-Friedman's work actually made a difference. Mr. Edwards-Tiekert was among the 'activists' posing as reporters who attended a climate change function -- attempting to influence it along with a number of other Marxists -- and though the funding for that costly trip was always murky (Mr. Edwards-Tiekert has denied that KPFA picked up the tab), it was the extent of 'reporting' from desk jockey Mr. Edwards-Tiekert. By contrast, Ms. Barrows-Friedman reported from rallies within the U.S. and, more importantly, regularly reported from the occupied territories, being one of the few reporters covering the Palestinian situation. At one point, before the rise of Ms. Rijo and Ms. Lilley, KPFA attempted to utilize Ms. Barrows-Friedman as the asset she was, putting her on The Morning Show as a guest only to see Philip Maldari (part of the KPFA Lilley-Rijo cabal) go ballistic and nasty on her, on air. It was not good radio but it did show the very real divisions at KPFA. Desk jockeys and those who stole copy from Associated Press without crediting A.P. (Aileen Alfandary excelled at this theft and it will probably take A.P. suing her for KPFA to finally get rid of Ms. Useless) were promoted and featured, those doing the actual work were penalized.

In November, the useless Mr. Edwards-Tiekert and Aimee Allison of The Morning Show were laid off and The Morning Show was axed. This was a good move. As most who follow radio ratings know, the morning drive-time is traditionally the highest rated segment of any radio station. Despite that reality, Mr. Edwards-Tiekert attempted to insist that The Morning Show was 'unique' in having so many listeners. It was not unique at all. More worrying was his claim that the program only spent a third of the money it brought in as donations. A third? This cheaply made show which generally featured authors promoting books as call-in guests and friends of the hosts should not have required any real expense to air. If a third of the money raised was being spent on the program (I am always doubtful of Mr. Edwards-Tiekert's claims) than that was outrageous.

Reality that he did not speak of was that The Morning Show was regularly losing listeners. A huge dip had taken place. The listeners were not going to come back to The Morning Show. In the Bay Area, there is very real hostility towards KPFA and towards Ms. Allison.

Aimee Allison presented as an anti-war voice and a Green. But once on KPFA, this alleged Green began using her air time to campaign for then-presidential candidate (and later Faecbook 'friend' of Ms. Allison's) Barack Obama. Ms. Allison repeatedly indicated that she did not grasp journalism. In the summer of 2008, she brought on Norman Solomon. This was 'ground breaking' only because, for the first time all year, Ms. Allison finally identified Mr. Solomon as a delegate for Mr. Obama. That revelation, that disclosure, came about only after months and months of objections to KPFA that The Morning Show was repeatedly featuring 'independent analyst' Norman Solomon while refusing to tell listeners that he was first running for and then elected as a pledged delegate for Barack Obama to the Democratic National Convention. Mr. Solomon knew the disclosure was supposed to be made and made sure to do so . . . In his syndicated newspaper column. He was not about to risk losing his own money. But he was more than happy to lie to KPFA listeners and Ms. Allison was more than happy to assist him in lying.

That disclosure took place when Ms. Allison 'moderated' a segment which found Mr. Solomon 'debating' Will Bowers from PUMA ("Party United My Ass" or "People United Means Action"). As Ava and C.I. reported of that segment, "Aimee also can't be forgiven for doing nothing during the interview. She wasn't a moderator. She wasn't anything. She allowed Norman Solomon, a guest, to act as if he was a prosecutor. That's not moderating, that's not hosting. It's just embarrassing. [. . .] Aimee just sat back and let it all happen. Here's a tip to Aimee, new at broadcasting, when any guest is being attacked while you're moderating -- even if it's Charles Manson -- as host, it is your job to step in and say, 'Let the guest speak.' That's why you're there. If that's too difficult for you, you don't need to be a host."

And she did not need to be one. This is the woman who, on KPFA airwaves, called for the burning of The New Yorker. On "free speech radio," Aimee Allison called for an issue of The New Yorker to be burned because she did not enjoy its satirical cover. That was also in 2008. As a charter member of the Cult of St. Barack, Ms. Allison stopped making sense long, long ago. She did find time, over the last two years, to repeatedly whine on air that Mr. Obama was not being given a chance. That is hosting? Maybe on Air America Radio but not on Pacifica Radio.

Ms. Allison was so determined to whore whatever was left of her once-good name that she taped and posted a video to YouTube in support of 'my president' for the drone attacks on Pakistan. That the woman was not fired immediately is amazing. Pacifica Radio does not support drone attacks regardless of which asshole is the one ordering them. It does not support war. It was built to be resistance to war. Ms. Allison should have been fired immediately.

She also got rude with callers when they would complain about her non-stop on-air lust for Mr. Obama. As Third reported in January 2010:

You [Aimee Allison] made this an issue on Friday when Joseph called in during the second half-hour of the show. Your segment, you stated, was "What are progressives doing wrong or why?"

Joseph (a rare African-American caller to get through on The Morning Show) was explaining that not everyone drank the "Obama-aide" and that the problem was the people who blindly went along including "media types." Did Aimee Allison fear Joseph might name her?

Apparently so because she rudely cut off Joseph (in a manner that has many noting the racist overtones involved in that you're-not-important-enough-to-speak manner she presented).

"Let me ask you, Joseph," she said in her snottiest, most know-it-all voice, "does 'I told you so' make you feel good? Does it make you want to organize more? Does it make you positive or does it make you cynical or demoralized?"

Let us ask you, Whore Aimee, does being a catty piece of trash on air to Joseph let you pretend like you didn't WHORE it all through 2008 and 2009 for Barack?

Let us ask you, Whore Aimee, do you think the left can move forward before those who sold out the peace movement -- that includes you -- take public accountability for their actions?

Let us ask you, Whore Aimee, where the hell do you get off jumping all over (attacking really) a caller, especially an African-American caller -- the very segment of listeners KPFA's most recent station report insisted needed to be increased?

Let us ask you, Whore Aimee, do you realize you have the blood of Iraqis on your filthy hands?

We have no idea why so many of the Communists and Socialists of KPFA signed off on the Barack Obama campaign and then his neo-liberal agenda. But they did. And when challenged, they attacked. (Everyone at KPFA is not a Communist or Socialist -- Ms. Lilley's cabal, however, was primarily composed of them.)

That is how they ran off the listeners. The Iraq War increased KPFA's audience. Then Ms. Lilley and Ms. Rijo came along and were not interested in the Iraq War. (Check out the program, Against The Grain, that Ms. Lilley co-hosts and you will see that, since 2006, it has rarely offered more than four episodes a year on Iraq -- this despite airing three time each week.) As listeners scratched their heads over that, they were quickly confronted with Barack Obama: Peace Hawk. KPFA listeners never bought that as a group. Even during the primaries, the listeners knew better. But KPFA insisted upon lying to listeners and the listeners decided they had better ways to spend their time and money.

As Kris Welch, Aimee Allison, and so many other TIRED WHORES made it all about selling ObamaCare -- and selling out single-payer, universal health care -- and defending Bambi from whatever real or perceived attack of the day, listeners just were not interested. It is not a surprise. They rejected this sort of propaganda when the MSM was selling it on Bush, of course they would recoil from it on the station they financially supported even if the president was "a Democrat!"

Ms. Allison could not make it through a basic segment without stammering and stumbling and, worst of all, revealing that she had done no prep-work for the segment. "I did not know you" was a regular feature of an Aimee Allison interview. "I did not know you wrote a book," for example. Her entire prep-work appeared to consist of being told the guest's name which she might then or might not pronounce correctly. (For more on that, visit Ann's blog and especially read this and this.)

KPFA needs to make changes to save the station.

Despite the best efforts of Mr. Edwards-Tiekert to attack the station and lead a revolt against the station (he is currently attempting to organize certain guests into boycotting the station), no one gave a damn. He thought it would be a replay of an earlier time. But the difference here was that KPFA had huge listenership and they ran it away with the likes of Mr. Edwards-Tiekert and Ms. Allison. No one is going to take to the streets to defend bad programming that they already ceased listening to -- a fact that continues to escape Mr. Edwards-Tiekert.

At some point, Pacifica will have to do some real work. That will require making it clear to hosts and on-airs that they do not own the airwaves. Hosts and on-airs are fond of snorting that back at the listeners -- the ones who pay the bills. But they seem to think they own the airwaves. Which is why, when the new Morning Show debuted this month, listeners had to suffer through Aileen Alfandary offering an editorial masquerading as news about the former hosts of the program and it is why Sonali Kohlhatkar (Uprising host) got so many complaints as she attempted (she has since dropped it due to the compalints) to turn her show into "Save Brian and Aimee!" If she gave a damn about either, Ms. Kohlhatkar could kindly suggest that, in this economy, they really need to look for new jobs and accept that they have been fired.

Until that is addressed -- and it needs to be -- look for every free second to be more Larry Bensky whines about what used to be and how great they were and blah, blah, blah. Here is some reality that Pacifica -- including the embarrassing Matthew Lazar -- does not like to note: The Battle For Seattle.

Pacifica did not lead on that. They did better than corporate media but they are supposed to do that, right?

Who led on it? The newly created IndyMedia which existed on a shoe string. And yet, with a huge budget, KPFA was not able to provide coverage. They wasted it all on overhead. With the exception of the Flashpoints crew, they did not go to protests and cover that, they did not do anything. They just featured tired hosts (who need to be termed out) like Kris Welch talking to the same guests you heard on every other KPFA program about the same topics you heard on every other KPFA program. It was cheap and cheaply made. There was no excuse to waste money on that programming. In fact, there was no excuse to air that programming. They should have saved their money and just aired the same program over and over for twenty-four hours since that is what the KPFA schedule basically was. (Notable exceptions would include Flashpoints and Guns & Butter.)

Back during the confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, KPFA and other Pacifica stations aired some live coverage. Those who caught the broadcasts will remember hosts Larry Bensky, Mitch Jesserich, and Deepa Fernandes. You should also remember how Mr. Jesserich basically made it through the coverage repeating, "So true, Larry, so true." Ms. Frenandes had actual observations she wanted to share and, at the time, I put the treatment of Ms. Frenarndes off to Mr. Bensky's well known love affair with his own voice.

But here we are over four years later and Mr. Bensky is still allowed to whine into the mircophones from time to time with his dull stories and Mr. Jeserich anchors the network's biggest money waster (Letters From Washington, aka How I Learned To Stop Being Liberal And Spread For Barack Obama) and where is Deepa Fernandes?

The woman was supposedly what Pacifica wanted. She was an expert on the immigration raids of the last decade having published a book on the topic Targeted: Homeland Security and the Business of Immigration. And yet she no longer hosts or co-hosts a Pacifica program.

Ms. Fernandes is an insightful, intelligent and engaging person. She is also a woman of color. How telling that she was treated so poorly during the live coverage and how telling that it is White male Mitch Jeserich who is given an hour of airtime each Monday through Friday to offer what Leigh Ann Caldwell provides for Free Speech Radio News in less than two minutes.

Pacifica either needs to stop claiming it wants diversity or stop filling every open spot with yet another White male. [An hour of evening drive time has now been created for manly Robert Knight on WBAI Monday through Friday. Mr. Knight uses that hour for such 'noble' and 'enriching' purposes as allowing allow crazies to repeat the sexist reporting of Holocaust deniers because attacking women stating they have been raped is the way sexists roll. Read Kate Harding's "The rush to smear Assange's rape accusers" (Salon) for more on the 'reporting' of that bunch of crazies. WBAI offers Joy of Resistance . . . a few times a month. It is the only WBAI program that managed to call out the smearing of the two women in "The Assange Saga" which only demonstrates that Mr. Knight's version of sexism is amply represented already on WBAI. This parenthetical was rewritten January 8, 2010 after prodding from Mr. Knight himself. For more on that prodding, see "Robert Knight is upset."]

For now, Pacifica has taken some much needed steps which should allow it to avoid the financial fate of Air America Radio. More steps are needed and that includes asking serious questions. First and foremost: "How is this program different than something we already air?" If the answer is that the program is not different, the smart thing to do is to end that program and provide something that is different.