Thursday, August 11, 2011


Starting with a community note: If you are a community member and you donated to KPFA last week because of the Libyan War coverage, e-mail me how much you donated and where to send the check. I will personally cover your donation. There are a growing number of e-mails expressing outrage about donating to KPFA for the Libyan War coverage guest host Kevin Pina and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya were doing. They provided the coverage each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on Flashpoints. Dennis Bernstein returned last week and listeners got Tuesday and Wednesday coverage last week but, typical, by Thursday Dennis was off on a flight of fancy. They're no longer covering the Libyan War -- despite the fact that coverage of the Libyan War is why Pacifica Radio is supposed to exist.

As I noted last week, a friend with KPFA asked me to note that it was pledge week and if I would encourage people to donate. The station needs money badly. I did do that little pledge here -- with caveats. If you are a community member and you donated to KPFA because of the Libyan War coverage, the now non-existant Libyan War coverage, e-mail me what the amount was and where you'd like a check sent. Ideally use one of the two private e-mail accounts. I'll ask Shirley and Eli to just work those today and tomorrow so we can get this issue taken care.

I am very, very sorry that I pitched KPFA for the Libyan War coverage -- coverage I was promised would be continuing -- and some of you donated and now there's no Libyan War coverage. They're so uninterested in the region that last night Voices of the Middle East and North Africa didn't even air so that one of the disgruntled regime that nearly brought KPFA to bankruptcy could yack on the airwaves in between a movie being played. (Don't you love movies played on radio?)

A number of you are expressing outrage about the crap Dennis has offered instead: Catherine Austin Fitts. A number of e-mails refer to her along the terms of "Reagan administration refugee." She was not of the Reagan administration. She served in George H.W. Bush's administration.

There's an economic crisis. It's the crisis of now for many Americans. The crisis of now. When you're already talking above people's heads because you think your insider baseball chatter makes you (Dennis and Catherine) look smart, you risk losing the audience. When this country is dealing with a crisis of now and your forever going back a two decades (at least), you're losing the audience. It's bad radio on every level: A failure to connect with the listener, a failure to make the issue contemporary and timely and a failure to grasp how dull the two of you sound droning on for an hour (with 'questions' from the listeners if and when you get around to them).

As I understood the problem yesterday, it was the lack of Libyan War coverage everywhere. That's why yesterday's snapshot started with Libyan War coverage. Reading over e-mails this morning (usually the only time I go into the e-mails during the week), I see it much more than that, it is a specific complaint about Flashpoints walking away from the Libyan War. I am responsible to the community. If you are a community member, e-mail me how much you donated and where you want the check sent to. (I'm not responsible to the world. If you're not a community member, this doesn't apply to you, you're listening in on a private conversation in a public space.)

Yesterday it was still news in Australia that the last 33 Australian soldiers were finally leaving Iraq. Yes, Kevin Rudd lied and said "Elect me and all soldiers come home." Why do you think it was so easy to defeat Kevin Rudd in the first place (Rudd didn't even make a full three years in the post). Jeremy Thompson (Australia's ABC) reports that John Howard's words may come back to haunt him. Howard was prime minister before Rudd. As Tony Blair and Bully Boy Bush lied to their own nations in the lead up to the war, so Howard lied to Australians. Now MP Andrew Wilkie wants Parliament to launch an inquiry into the war and wants Howard to testify before it. The article notes of the start of the illegal war, "At the time, Mr Wilkie was an intelligence officer with the Office of National Assessments (ONA) and resigned his post because he said the Government had no evidence Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction." David Ellery (Canberra Times) explains, "Mr Wilkie said yesterday that Mr Howard and former Coalition foreign minister Alexander Downer must be made to explain why they took Australia to war based on a lie in 2003. He wants an inquiry similar to the one being conducted by Sir John Chilcot in Britain." AAP adds, "No light had ever been shone on the behaviour of Mr Howard and former foreign minister Alexander Downer." News9 reports that Tony Abbott, opposition leader in Parliament, is already shooting down the idea of an inquiry. Meanwhile Dennis Jett (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that the US has had no inquiry:

Various Senate committees and special commissions put out reports five or six years ago, but they were set up to have a balance between Republican and Democratic politicians and given narrow mandates. The results were invariably weasel-worded conclusions that evaded the truth and provided little insight and no accountability. To the extent any blame was assessed, it was directed at unnamed bureaucrats. Instead of bearing any responsibility for the war and its aftermath, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Tenet rake in seven figure advances for their books and six figure fees for giving speeches to friendly audiences.

So why is there no interest in finding out what lessons can be learned from the Iraq experience, what went wrong and who is responsible? The four failures identified by the Chilcot committee apply even more to Bush since Blair was only acting as Bush’s poodle. Does America suffer from NADD—national attention deficit disorder? Or is there another reason.

The war was unnecessary because Saddam Hussein had no WMD. And he wasn’t going to get any because the UN inspectors were doing an effective job. The war was illegal, because, as the legal experts in the British Foreign Office concluded, it was against international law. Bush used violations of Security Council resolutions to justify invading Iraq. He never bothered to ask the UN for the authorization that would have legitimized the invasion, however, because he knew he could not get it.

And the war was immoral because, despite all the Pentagon’s high tech, precision weaponry, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians died. So many that Bush may well be responsible for killing more Iraqi civilians than Saddam Hussein ever did. General Tommy Franks, who directed the invasion and also profited from his own book deal after the war, once said, “we don’t do body counts.” Clearly an accurate estimate was not in the interests of the Bush administration, but why is there no attempt to find out now?

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, On The Wilder Side, and Random Thoughts -- updated last night:

Turning to the US, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and she has an event with veterans today:
(Washington, D.C.) -- On Thursday, August 11th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, will hold a listening session to hear from area veterans on local challenges and to discuss her efforts to improve veterans care and benefits nationwide. This will be Senator Murray's first discussion with local veterans as Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. Senator Murray will use the struggles, stories, and suggestions she hears on Monday to fight for local veterans in Washington, D.C.

WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray

Local veterans

WHAT: Veterans listening session with Senator Murray

WHEN: Thursday, August 11th

9:00 AM PT

WHERE: VFW Post 239

190 S. Dora Avenue

Bremerton, WA 98312


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