Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012: The Year of Avoidance

2012 can be boiled down as The Year of Avoidance.  Whether wanting some form of political rebate or taking part in a political bait-and-switch, the bulk of Americans seemed more than willing to practice avoidance.

Take the so-called 'fiscal cliff' that dominated the last weeks of 2012.  'Oh, my goodness, they can't reach a bargain! Oh, my, what will happen!'  The news media loved the drama -- a large part of which they helped create -- so they never got really good at explaining what was going on.

They also couldn't explain why, if this was so important, they were only now really focusing on it -- in alarming language -- at the end of the year?

In 2011, there was some concern about the US financial debt. There were also attempts to create concern, to foster concern and to use that concern to gut the safety net.  January 8, 2009, the New York Times would report Barack Obama, not yet sworn in as US President, was ready to take on "entitlements."  It only got worse.  As we noted January 16, 2009, "Turning to US politics, President-elect Barack Obama met with the Washington Post editorial board yesterday.  Here for Michael D Shear's text article, here for the sixty-one minute audio."  In the speech, he boasted of his "Fiscal Responsibility Summit" that would take place a month later.  But don't think he was concerned about corporations begging for tax dollars. He wasn't.  And even the ridiculous TARP (Healthy Banks Program) wasn't tracked.  Just elected US Senator Elizabeth Warren became a semi-left hero in 2009 for not being able to do her job.  Lois Romano (Washington Post) spoke to her about that in October of 2009:

ROMANO: There's a wonderful moment when he asks you where the $700 billion is, and you look at him and you say, "I don't know." So the question is: why don't you know?

WARREN: Well, we don't know where the $700 billion is because the system was initially designed to make sure that we didn't know.

And for that she became a folk hero.  It's a bit like applauding 'whistle blowers' who came forward after 9-11, after the crashes.  Warren isn't an idiot, she knew there was no way to track the money shortly after she took the position Barack appointed her to.  She's smart.  Smart enough to keep her mouth shut until all the money's out of the gate and it's too late to track it.  Some hero.

Speaking of zeros, here's Barack speaking to the Post on January 16, 2009:

We're also going to have a discussion about entitlements and how we get a grasp on those.  Uh and uh, you know, like i think everybody here is familiar enough with the budget problems to  know that as bad as these deficits that we're running up over the next --  that have already been run up -- have been and despite the cost of both TARP and the stimulus, the real problem in our long term deficit actually has to do with our entitlement obligation and the fact that historically uh if our revenues ranged between 18 and 20% of GDP they're now at 16. It's just not sustainable so we're going to have to uh craft  a uh what George Stephanopoulos called a grand bargain and I-I try not to use the word grand in anything that I say but uh but we're going to have to shape a bargain.  This, by the way, is where there are going to be some very difficult choices and issues of sacrifices and responsibility and  duty are going to come in because what we have done is kick this can down the road.  We're now at the end of the road and uh we are not in a position to kick it any further.

He spoke of the need for cuts, he hid them in "fiscal responsibility."

Social Security is not now, nor has it ever been, a threat to the US economy.  The press depends on advertising to exist.  With newspaper sales crashing, the outlets continue because they have advertising money.  Your dollar a weekday doesn't mean a thing to the costs of running a paper.  (Which is why the answer isn't firewalls as we move completely to digital.  A lot of liars tell you it's firewalls but that's greed talking.  Readers have never carried the costs of a major daily paper in the US.  The only ones who don't learn this fact are the ones who run radical papers like the US Guardian.  Those papers close shop eventually because readers can't support them.  Advertising has always supported the newspaper industry and the electronic news media industry.)

So if hedge fund companies taking out advertisements keep you afloat, you don't rock the boat.  If Wall Street wants pensions ended and 401Ks pimped, you start talking about how marvelous 401Ks are (they're not, a pension is always better, it's stable and reliable with no fluctuations).

Barack was helped by the press in this latest attack on Social Security which is only a surprise if you don't grasp that the press always helps with the hits on Social Security.  In My Times: A Memoir of Dissent, John L. Hess wrote about how the paper he worked years for went about lying to the people and attacking Social Security over and over.  If you haven't heard of the book, that's because it wasn't wanted.  Corporate media didn't want it and, in 2003, Panhandle Media didn't want it either.

See, it didn't just expose the Times and the Wall St. Journal, it also exposed 'leftys' like The New York Review of Books and people like Ken Auletta (who now works for the 'left' New Yorker).  It exposed hard truths.  For some reason I can't understand, the NYC left has dictated that Jimmy Carter is off-limits to criticism.  So, for example, we trace deregulation back to Bill Clinton and give Carter a pass even though it started under him (and his guru on the issue Albert Kahn).  Apparently, as long as Carter's pleasing on the Palestinian issue, what passes for the left's brains in NYC has agreed to table all criticism of one of the worst presidents the country has ever seen.

Carter was behind the first attack in 1977.  By refusing to tell those truths, Panhandle Media keeps Americans ignorant about the decades long war on Social Security and about how there are few public figures -- media or politicians -- who have clean hands.

Barack followed Jimmy and Bill's playbook of set it up -- and set it up early -- by talking 'fiscal responsibility.'  And create the idea that there's a huge problem and it's got to be solved, it's almost a crisis!

And with the media's help, no one pointed out that Barack tied America to the train tracks.

grand bargain

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Grand Bargain."]

The 'fiscal cliff' (this century) was created by Barack.

He followed his 'fiscal responsibility summit' in February 2009 with the creation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (aka the Catfood Commmission) in 2010.  By the end of that year, their calls for cuts to Social Security found support with, no surprise, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase as well as I'm-against-it-now-I'm-for-it Nancy Pelosi who, having squandered and demoralized her party, was losing her post as Speaker in the House because Democrats had lost too many seats to Republicans to retain control of the House of Representatives.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research's Dean Baker was the most vocal opponent to the Catfood Commission.  He continues to watchdog it and the media (pointing out last October that while the media insists that the Commission issued a report, it never did anything such thing).The Commission existed to stress a problem that didn't exist.  The US government has not defaulted on any loans and, if indeed, revenues are short, that's why you have taxation.  You get rebellions when you overtax the people.  More troublesome to the Democratic and Republican Parties, you get less millions in donations from Big Business when you even float the idea of returning to a just tax.  Even now, it's 'rich individuals' -- however you define them.  When the answer is, and has been for decades, to return to the corporate taxes in place as late as the Kennedy administration.

Don't expect the newspapers and TV channels dependent upon advertising to tell you that fact.  It was left to Baker to point out what the media wouldn't, that the Catfood Commission wasn't even following the advice of the International Money Fund. From November 2010:

Simpson and Bowles apparently never considered a Wall Street financial speculation tax (FST) as a tool for generating revenue.  This is an obvious policy-tool that even the IMF is now advocating, in recognition of the enormous amount of waste and rents in the financial sector.  Through an FST, it is possible to raise large amounts of revenue, easily more than $100 billion a year, with very little impact to real economic activity.  The refusal to consider this source of revenue is striking since at least one member of the commission has been a vocal advocate of financial speculation taxes.  It is also worth noting that Mr. Bowles is a director of Morgan Stanley, one of the Wall Street banks that would be seriously impacted by such a tax.

Having failed to scare the public into supporting a commission determined to destroy the safety net, the Congress passed (with White House backing) and Barack signed off on a piece the Budget Control Act of 2011 back in August 2, 2011.  It had two 'solutions.'  A Super Congress (Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction) would resolve the issue of cuts or automatic cuts would kick in (this is sequestration).  If automatic cuts kicked in, those cuts would start January 2, 2013.

None of this developed overnight.  It was all planned.  Yet in the presidential debates, or what passed for them, Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney didn't want to talk about them and no moderator wanted to ask about them.  Those debates took place in October.  Grasp that and then grasp how the media, the White House and the Congress have created a sense of drama and surprise while the Democratic and Republican officials each rushed to play the unknowing victim after they themselves tied to the country to the rail road tracks.


[Barack meets with Speaker of the House John Boehner July 3, 2011 to hammer out the creation of the 'fiscal cliff.']

That's a long explanation because we don't cover that topic here.  (Trina does cover it and did a great job in 2012 preparing people for what was coming and for not taking part in the hype, such as here.) With video and images, the heart of above could be told in less than two minutes.  But you don't see the media doing that.  You see them playing along and pretending.  They collectively avoid their responsibilities and obligations as much as any political party.

With our modern day Jimmy the Greek dictating the 'news' cycle in 2012, we all suffered and Nate Silver would do the world a huge favor if he'd retire or just disappear.  Elaine pretty much stood alone in noting the damage his daily handicapping was doing to the news cycle.  Instead of issues, it was a horse race, more so than ever.  Who's up and who's down.  What would the election mean to the American people?  No time for that but guess how many points one side is up and how many points the other side is down?  Chris Matthews, what does that mean?  Rachel Maddow, why do we have this change in polling?  Nothing but gas baggery.  You could -- and they did -- talk it off the top of their heads, no research needed at all.

In the last week before the election, when potential voters are paying the most attention, the Pew Research Center found that the media focus was not on issues -- when is it -- but on the polls.  So if you were on the fence or undecided that last week, the best the media could offer you was "Vote for Barack because he's leading in the polls!"  Can we consider the US media and American democracy officially in the toilet now?  (As Kat would point out in October, Diane Rehm provided horse race coverage and, on air, revealed she had no understanding of what that was.)

The media didn't tell a great deal.  Last week, they told you about protests in Iraq.  A few of them did.  A lot more on Sunday.  And they explained that protests had erupted this month in Iraq as a result of Prime Minister and thug Nouri targeting Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi.

dar addustour

kitabat 2

al mada

 all iraq news

Look at those protests from last week.  That's  Dar Addustour's home page, Kitabat's report, Al Mada's reportAlsumaria's report and All Iraq News' report.  Can you believe the crowds?

Oh, wait, that's not last week.

Those screen snaps were used in "Oh, look what the American press missed . . . again!" on December 12th.  They were the protests on December 11th. (Rafie al-Issawi was targeted by Nouri -- the mass arrests/kidnappings of his staff -- late on the evening of December 20th -- covered in the December 21st snapshot.)  The photos are from one day of protests, the protests took place more than one day and they were about Nouri giving a speech December 10th in which he attacked cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

The US government has decided to back Nouri al-Maliki.  They first made that decision in 2006 when the Iraqi Parliament wanted to name Ibrahim al-Jafaari as prime minister (it would have been al-Jafaari's first term as prime minister since Iraq had 'democracy' -- elections -- but he had been prime minister already under the early US coalition government).  Bully Boy Bush wouldn't stand for it and instead demanded Nouri al-Maliki be prime minister.

We are not fans of Bully Boy Bush, but at least the Bush White House took some responsibility for their puppet.  They kept him on a short leash.  He would attack, for example, Camp Ashraf twice after Barack was sworn in as president.  He didn't attack the refugees when Bush occupied the White House.  He knew there would be hell to pay.  That was not the only issue they pressed him on.  Though they stood by while he oversaw the ethnic cleansing of 2007, they did press him on human rights when they turned up in the media.  This isn't leadership and I'm not attempting to imply that Bully Boy Bush provided leadership.

I am pointing out that the disaster that was Bully Boy Bush did a better job policing his puppet than does Barack Obama.  But Barack Obama is the one who decided that what the Iraqis voted in March 2010 didn't matter, the fact that Iraqi vote did not go for Nouri's State of Law did not matter, that Barack's desire for Nouri to have a second term trumped the Iraqi people's votes calling for a different prime minister.

Nouri had already been exposed to be running secret prison and torture centers (by Human Rights Watch and Ned Parker of the Los Angeles Times).  Early in Barack's term, Nouri had targeted Iraq's LGBT community and the White House wouldn't say a word -- even with members of Congress formally, in a written letter, calling on the White House to speak out.  So weak was the White House response that this year, in February, Nouri could send his thugs into schools and demonizes LGBT youths and Emo youths in an attempt to get them killed by their peers.  That story became international news and, in the US, got coverage from 'outside channels.'  The big dailies weren't interested in covering the targeting.

Why is that?

It's avoidance and that's because the news industry does not serve the American people.

They made that point clear in 2012.  Repeatedly.

They might have made the point most strongly when the US government and Nouri's officials signed  the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department of Defense of the United States of America which was signed December 6th.  While we noted it that day and explored it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots, the media refused to cover it.  This document, just signed December 6th, calls for US troops in Iraq to do counter-terrorism operations and to do joint-patrols with the Iraqi military.

To most people, that might qualify as news.  For some reason, US newspapers and US news broadcasts didn't see it that way.  Avoidance.

Forget what the agreement says, a new agreement on defense between the US and Iraq?  Just the topic alone calls for news coverage.  But there wasn't any.

In all three of the presidential debates, Barack lied and usually his big lie was Iraq.  By the third debate, he'd lied about Iraq so often and so regularly that he apparently lulled himself and Romney into a deep sleep.


From the the CNN transcript:

ROMNEY: Number two, with regards to Iraq, you and I agreed I believe that there should be a status of forces agreement. (CROSSTALK)
ROMNEY: Oh you didn't? You didn't want a status of...
OBAMA: What I would not have had done was left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. And that certainly would not help us in the Middle East.
ROMNEY: I'm sorry, you actually - there was a - there was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces agreement, and I concurred in that, and said that we should have some number of troops that stayed on. That was something I concurred with...
OBAMA: Governor...
ROMNEY: ...that your posture. That was my posture as well. You thought it should have been 5,000 troops...
OBAMA: Governor?
ROMNEY: ... I thought there should have been more troops, but you know what? The answer was we got...
ROMNEY: ... no troops through whatsoever.
OBAMA: This was just a few weeks ago that you indicated that we should still have troops in Iraq.
ROMNEY: No, I...
ROMNEY: ...I'm sorry that's a...
OBAMA: You - you...
ROMNEY: ...that's a - I indicated...

Trying to fact check it,  only Glenn Kessler (Washington Post) really got it right.  Barack had attempted to get a new Status Of Forces Agreement.  Not only that, as Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, and General Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint-Chiefs, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee in November 2011, the White House was continuing to pursue a new agreement and Panetta told the senators he was sure that they would reach an agreement in 2012.  (His prediction ended up being correct, see the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department of Defense of the United States of America.)  (For community reporting on that Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, see the November 15, 2011 "Iraq snapshot," the November 16, 2011 "Iraq snapshot," the November 17, 2011 "Iraq snapshot," Ava's "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava),"  Wally's "The costs (Wally)" and Kat's "Who wanted what?")

But Glenn Kessler was only partially right.  He couldn't be completely right about Iraq because there was an important development on Iraq reported a little over a week before the first debate that no one seemed to catch.

Ava and I repeatedly noted how the media avoided one story, how the moderators avoided asking about one story in three presidential debates over and over.  From our commentary on the third debate:

In the meantime, in the real world,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported September 26th:

["]Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.["]        

Tim Arango reported it and everyone but Tom Hayden ignored it.  The moderators avoided it in three debates. "A unite of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq" and the moderators ignored it and allowed Barack to lie repeatedly about how he ended the war and brought all the troops home.

Panhandle Media didn't give a damn.  Columbia Journalism Review got trapped in a web of its own making.  Let's do the set-up.

ambassador to swingtown

Brett McGurk (above in Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Ambassador to Swingtown") was nominated by Barack Obama to be the US Ambassador to Iraq.    In the June 5th snapshot, we became the first to write about the e-mails between McGurk and his current wife Gina Chon when the two were married to other people and he was in Baghdad working for the US government while she was in Baghdad as a reporter for the Wall St. Journal.  Betty summed up the issues involved:

She was supposed to be a reporter for the "Wall St. Journal." They sent her to Baghdad to cover the Iraq War. It was 2008 and she was married but she had to get off, she really had to get off. So she hooked up with U.S. official Brett McGurk and began f___ing. He was her source. 
 She let him read her reports and make changes before she submitted them. She managed to keep that a secret. Even after she got back to the U.S. Even after she divorced her husband and hooked up with McGurk who was no longer a government employee. 
 Last week, her nasty e-mails became public. 
 The paper learned what a liar she was. That is when her "half-truths and outright lies" were exposed. That's when the paper told her she could announce she was leaving or they'd fire her.

That's pretty damn clear cut.  You don't sleep with your source.  You don't sleep with a government official over issues you're supposedly writing about.  You don't share your copy with a government official before publication.  These aren't new 'rules,' these are the basic of journalism ethics.

Had Chon and McGurk been exposed in 2008, Chon would have been dragged through the mud because when Bush was in the White House, FAIR, Democracy Now!, CJR, The Nation and others loved to grandstand on ethics.  They have none themselves, of course, which is why they avoided calling Chon out once Brett became a Barack nominee.

CJR tried to ignore this story.  But they set themselves up so they had to weigh in:

A concerned CJR reader, Martha, commented that we were ignoring a more important racy email story. A Wall Street Journal reporter resigned on Tuesday after a flirty email exchanges with a US official --a source at the time, now her husband --were made available on the Internet. Sigh. 

Erika Fry's writing that, FYI.  And the "concerned CJR reader, Martha" is our own Martha who, among other things, covers books each year with Shirley -- see most recently "2012 in Books (Martha & Shirley)."  Sigh,  Fry, you got caught.

But look at how  Fry tries to reason her way out of it:

Gina Chon, the Journal reporter, made an obvious ethical lapse in 2008 when she entered into a relationship Brett McGurk, a US official in Iraq, the country she was covering and failed to disclose it. She made another, arguably bigger one when she showed him her stories before they were published.
It was dumb, dumb, dumb for Chon and especially McGurk (at .gov) to send so many emails with so many cringeworthy references to ‘blue balls’ from their work accounts—the equivalent of sending booty calls out on company letterhead.
But that was in 2008, and they’re married now. It’s really something that, because of McGurk’s pending ambassadorship, the inappropriate BlackBerry exchanges that got their courtship started back in 2008 are public and professionally catastrophic for Chon and McGurk today. For what it’s worth, The Wall Street Journal has said that Chon’s relationship did not affect her reporting. How much about this does the public really need to know?

Oh, it was four years ago so it doesn't matter?  Is that CJR policy now?  And will it be policy when someone's next revealed as plagiarist?  Will we impose the 'it was four years ago' rule?

And excuse the hell out of me, you dumb, disgusting scribe, the public has the absolute right to know when a reporter is sleeping with their source.  The Wall St. Journal did not find that her relationship hadn't effected the reporting, that's why they forced her to resign.  She shared copy with McGurk before it was published.  She shared copy with the government before it was published.

If you're too much of whore, Erika Fry, to cover the media, then find yourself another job because you and CJR are a huge embarrassment to journalism -- possibly even more so than Gina Chon.

I had walked away on CJR parodies at Third.  We'd done that and then some.  But then came Erika Fry's unethical nonsense and Ava and I parodied the idiot in "THE BLINDSIDE" of Third's "COLUMBIA JOURNALISM RIDICULOUS" (which is the most popular article at Third in 2012 that wasn't about TV, Jim asked me to pass that on).  Chon breaks every known rule of journalism, gets exposed (finally) and Columbia Journalism Review wants to look the other way because she's the wife of Barack nominee.  Avoidance.

On September 11, 2012 -- the eleventh anniversary of 9-11 -- in Benghazi, Libya, 4 Americans were killed: Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith.  To ask questions about the attack on the US Consulate was 'political.'  It was political because it was embarrassing to Barack Obama.  Diane Rehm was fond of telling people it was politics and not about the deaths.  The deaths of four people only one of whom she could name: Ambassador Chris Stevens.  This month, Diane allowed a guest -- a guest, not a caller -- to announce that Chris Stevens caused his own death.  Diane didn't object to that offense.

See, she never gave a damn about any of the four, not even Chris Stevens.  All she gave a damn about was Barack Obama.  So she allowed her guest, Al-Arabiya's Hisham Melhem, to declare that Chris Stevens died because of his own actions on the second hour of her December 21st program.

By refusing to call it out, I believe Diane Rehm has lost the 'it's all politics' card.  Chris Stevens did not kill himself.  That she allowed that offensive remark to be stated and didn't immediately reject it (or later reject it) says a great deal about her and about NPR.

But shame was all around when it came to the coverage of what happened in Benghazi.

We actually attended Congressional hearings on Benghazi.  We reported on the first one with the following "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot," Ava's "2 disgrace in the Committee hearing," Wally's "The White House's Jimmy Carter moment" and Kat's "What we learned at today's hearing."  The US State Dept supplied four witnesses to provide testimony.  We took notes, we reported on the hearing and, after the hearing, we based our comments and analysis on what those four government witnesses testified to under oath.

Others felt that facts did not matter and that the best way to handle Benghazi was to whore for Barack.  There was no protest in Benghazi before the attack.  That's now been established as fact as the report from the State Dept's own internal investigation (released December 19th) makes clear.  It was fact also in that hearing above.  But some people felt they could lie. When the report came out further establishing that there was no protest (despite White House claims -- Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, was always very careful with her words and did not claim a protest took place)  Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BAD NEWS FOR BOBBY!" and Cedric's "Somerby's big lie gets rejected" nailed one big liar, Bob Somerby, who had been attacking women again (such as Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post) in terms he doesn't use to attack men.  As Elaine noted, he'd never correct himself at his website.  He still hasn't.  Week after week, before the report came out, for months, he has insisted there was a protest outside the Benghazi Consulate.  There was no protest. Those of us who attended the very first Congressional hearing on the matter knew that because it was addressed in the hearing.  But facts don't matter when it's time to whore apparently.

A lot of people had a lot to say that wasn't factual or accurate and we never saw them attend any of the hearings including the December 19th hearings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- for community coverage, see the December 19th "Iraq snapshot," the December 20th "Iraq snapshot," Ruth's "Brad Sherman,"  Ava's "Howard Berman's fuzzy figures (Ava)," Wally's "Waste at the State Dept. is okay (Wally)," Ruth's "Gary Ackerman, Embarrassing Ass" and Ava's "Benghazi questions must still wait."

Ruth has owned the topic of Benghazi in this community and she made a really solid point that no one else caught.  December 19th, she pointed out that US House Rep Karen Bass had previously said that judgments should be held until the facts were known and that then it would time for the chips to fall.  But once the report was released, Bass no longer cared about accountability and announced in the hearing that the focus should just be on how to prevent it from happening again.  So when the election's approaching, you pretend you're waiting on answers and will then demand accountability but when the answers arrive, after the election, you find another excuse to avoid accountability?  Apparently Bass didn't understand the part of the US Constitution where Congress provides oversight of the Executive Branch.

While Ruth owned the topic, other community members also covered it.  Marcia deserves special praise for being the first to call out the press coverage of "that killed Chris Stevens and three others" -- as if providing three more names was too damn much for the media.

The mishandling of Benghazi was hardly the only thing Barack deserved criticism for.  There was also the Drone War.  As Mike explained:

Barack's a killer.  He needs to be put on trial.  He shouldn't be running for re-election.  And all the whores making excuses for him should be ashamed of themselves.
People are dying because of that bastard's drone war.
This time 4 years ago some of the worst Barry whores were whining about the Iraq War.
It was just whining.  They didn't give a damn about the Iraqis.  And they don't give a damn about the people of Pakistan.  They're just little liars who hated George W. Bush because he was a Republican and used anything they could to destroy him.
They're whores, they should be ashamed of themselves.

One of the saddest things about the 2012 election was that American voters (by a tiny sliver), re-elected Barack.  That is an endorsement of the Drone War, of torture, of Guantanamo, of illegal spying on American citizens, of a presidential kill list and so much more.  Or maybe it's just recognition of some bad presidential campaigns?  (Ava and I analyzed some of the presidential campaigns the morning after the election.)

And it's tempting to blame the voters.  But it's not they're fault that the media repeatedly misinforms them.  As Stan noted last week:

Kevin Zeese's "Politics As Usual Doesn't Work" and Scott Harris'  "Is Obama About to Betray Those Who Re-Elected Him Less Than Two Months Ago?" and both explain how Barack (and Nancy Pelosi) is about to harm and gut Social Security.
I went to lunch with a co-worker yesterday.  She's a very nice person. She's also not political.  She watches shows about taxidermy and hoarding and whatever else passes for 'reality' on TLC and similar stations.  She's funny and has a good sense of humor.  She's getting ready to retire, however, so I discovered, she's finally paying attention to the news.
We're government employees which means we get pensions.  And it's not a big pension.  So we'll need Social Security as well.  And so she brought up how Barack was fighting to save our Social Security -- fighting the Republicans.  I said, "No, no, no."
And I explained to her what was going on.
But that's not what MSNBC told her!
She finally decides to pay attention to the news and she does it by going to the MSNBC talk shows?
So I'm printing up those two articles because they talk about the events (especially with regard to Pelosi and the inflation issue) that I was talking about to her at lunch and she was like, "Stan, I think you've heard wrong or misunderstood because I watched MSNBC for three hours last night and this is not what is going on." 

On all issues, the game is avoidance.

And it's not just media and politicians, it's the whole damn establishment.  Around the world Noam Chomsky is admired, for example.  The Iraq Times, for instance, just ran a piece on him recently.  But as Rebecca's documented, he keeps whoring for Barack.  Here's old whore Noam yammering away just weeks ago:

Obama’s policies have been approximately the same as Bush’s, though there have been some slight differences, but that’s not a great surprise. The Democrats supported Bush’s policies. There were some objections on mostly partisan grounds, but for the most part, they supported his policies and it’s not surprising that they have continued to do so. In some respects Obama has gone even beyond Bush. The NDAA, which you mentioned, was not initiated by Obama, (when it passed Congress, he said he didn’t approve of it and wouldn’t implement it) but he nevertheless did sign it into law and did not veto it. It was pushed through by hawks, including Joe Lieberman and others. In fact, there hasn’t been that much of a change. The worst part of the NDAA is that it codified – or put into law – what had already been a regular practice. The practices hadn’t been significantly different. The one part that received public attention is what you mentioned, the part that permits the indefinite detention of American citizens, but why permit the indefinite detention of anybody? It’s a gross violation of fundamental human rights and civil law, going all the way back to the Magna Carta in the 13th  Century, so it’s a very severe attack on elementary civil rights, both under Bush and under Obama. It’s bipartisan!
As for the killings, Obama has sharply increased the global assassination campaign. While it was initiated by Bush, it has expanded under Obama and it has included American citizens, again with bipartisan support and very little criticism other than some minor criticism because it was an American. But then again, why should you have the right to assassinate anybody? For example, suppose Iran was assassinating members of Congress who were calling for an attack on Iran. Would we think that’s fine? That would be much more justified, but of course we’d see that as an act of war. The real question is, why assassinate anyone? The government has made it very clear that the assassinations are personally approved by Obama and the criteria for assassination are very weak. If a group of men are seen somewhere by a drone who are, say, loading something into a truck, and there is some suspicion that maybe they are militants, then it’s fine to kill them and they are regarded as guilty unless, subsequently, they are shown to be innocent. That’s the wording that the United States used and it is such a gross violation of fundamental human rights that you can hardly talk about it.

Do those things matter?  If they do, you stand opposed to them.  If they matter, you don't support Barack.  But Noam endorsed Barack in October.  After Rebecca called him out on being an old, dirty whore, he tried to do some damage control.  Rebecca called that out as well.  And she was right to do so.

When, despite the crimes Noam lists, he turns around and endorses Barack, asks people to vote for Barack, how is the average American -- overworked and struggling to keep their head above water -- supposed to know what's going on?

Avoidance.  Avoiding dealing with reality, avoiding calling out that which needs to be called out.

In November, shortly after the election, Law and Disorder Radio featured attorneys Michael Smith and Michael Ratner discussing Barack's re-election.  Excerpt.

Michael Smith:  What if Obama wasn't re-elected and the new president personally has a kill list?  And he's being advised by one of the top CIA guys who was in charge of the torture program five years ago?  They're killing, from the sky, not only foreigners but American citizens.  You would have a huge constituency opposing that.  You're not supposed to murder people without due process, particularly American citizens.  But that's the very thing that Obama is doing.  It's like people are in a trance. No one's even criticizing it.

Michael Ratner:  I agree completely, Michael.  I mean we have no real constituency left on these issues.  We can't get the people out on them.  I mean, we're trying and I think it'll change over the next couple of years.  But it is amazing how his election has disabled both African-Americans as well as, uh, [pauses] --

Michael Smith:  Liberals, progressives.  A very large part of people we had hoped to count on have taken themselves out of the ballgame on this.

Michael Ratner: I mean, that's not necessarily a reason someone shouldn't have voted for him.

Those aren't reasons people shouldn't have voted for him?  Seriously?  Killing American citizens isn't reason enough not to vote for Barack?

How far will you go to whore?

Clearly, Ratner and Smith will go very far.  I wanted an easy Monday but made the mistake of promoting the latest broadcast of Law & Disorder.  I was told that Iraq (specifically the torture of Iraqi women in prisons and detention centers) would be discussed.  It was not discussed.

What we got instead was b.s. and sexism.

Sexism.  Two weeks ago, Ann became the first to call out right-wing, Iraq War hawk Glenn Greenwald on his attacks on Kathryn Bigelow's new film Zero Dark Thirty -- a film he had not seen.  (Disclosure, I've known Kathryn for decades now.)  Ann's an educated woman so she immediately grasped you really can't slam a film you haven't seen.  It was too much logic and thought for most of the left writers to absorb and always willing to slam a woman (see "Media: The allure of Bash The Bitch"), a large number of men (and disgraced former reporter Jane Mayer) joined in the attacks.

It's amazing that anyone would listen to Glenn Greenwald -- he supported and voted for Bully Boy Bush and he championed war on Iraq -- but it's especially appalling that the left has decided to embrace him.  His sexism is well known.

Had Greenwald a history of critiquing film -- or had he called out the disgusting Homeland on Showtime (which does endorse torture and did so in it's original form -- as a TV show on Israeli TV that justified the attacks on Palestinians) -- you might want to excuse him.  But Greenwald doesn't offer film critiques.  Now he's going after Bigelow?  He's leading a crusade against this female director?

It's sexism and goes to his long, long pattern of sexism.

Michael Ratner's got a pattern of sexism too.  He and Smith giggled 'honey pot' and other crap when they attacked the two women who may have been raped by Julian Assange.  Michael Ratner can't shut up about Assange and let's hope he bills him for all the times he brings up Assange over the public airwaves (he is one of many attorneys badly representing Assange).  He hosts a show that once had four hosts -- two women and two men.  It long ago dropped down to two men and one woman.  Heidi Boghosian is a very sweet person.  It might serve the show better if she weren't.   Meaning?  She's repeatedly talked over by the two male hosts who never seem to get that this behavior is sexism.  The Michaels don't talk over one another.  But if Heidi's explaining a legal point (all the hosts are attorneys), one of the Michaels (usually Ratner) will jump in, interrupt her and change the topic.

Michael Ratner, that's sexism.  I'm surprised you're unfamiliar with that.

Like Glenn Greenwald, Law and Disorder does not have a history of addressing films.  But today, in what was supposed to be the report on Iraq (a big screw you to Iraq from the radio show, in fact), we had the two Michaels blather on about a film that they hadn't seen.

This didn't stop Smith from identifying it as "that Hollywood movie that excuses torture."  Smith also felt the need to tell you that "this movie puts forward the proposition that torture works."  That's strange because I read the script before the film was made, I've seen the film and I don't see that in the movie.

Michael Ratner "this movie has done more already to legitimize torture than every thing Karl Rove ever did in his life."

Oh, heaven help us all.  The movie, first off, it's not in wide release until January 11th.  Few people can see it currently.  Now what's currently legitimizing torture is a TV show called Homeland.  The heavily praised and lauded show endorses torture.  That's Ava and my opinion -- we tackled the show over the summer -- and others have since agreed -- such as  Jordan Chandler Hirsh and Jeremy Dauber (The New Republic).  Now there is a difference, those of us criticizing Homeland actually watched it.

Ava and I called it out, we didn't scream for censorship or that it didn't need to be on the air but we're Democrats not closeted Communists from the 20th century who were weaned on sexism and hate women.

Here's a little tip for closeted political cases who just know they're going to lead a revolution -- though the days remaining for them to do grow less and less:  You can't lead a parade of one.

It's not a parade, it's just you walking.

In other words, in the 21st century, no one's going to giggle as you attack women.  No one's going to give you a pass because you were a Trotsky-ite once upon a time or because you did this radical thing or that.  No one honestly gives a damn about your tired past.

People today are focused on today. They're focused on their own lives.  There are immediate concerns in this world.  You're nostalgia sickness for a time that never was isn't helping advance anything.  But your blatant sexism is harming.

If you don't doubt it, Michaels, grasp that people tuned in Monday morning to hear what was happening to Iraqi women, the torture in prison and jails.  They didn't get that, did they?

Your sexism ensured that they didn't.  And your sexism was hard to ignore when Heidi wasn't on the show and when both guests were men.

You can (and they have -- after complaints went in to the show) change your website, but you can't change what went down.

Two male hosts, ignoring the news to bash a woman for directing a film they hadn't seen.

Do you two really think that helped anyone?  It certainly didn't help your image.

It certainly didn't help you be heard by anyone.

You need to check your sexism.

And when you're done with that, you need to ask yourself why you're more comfortable ripping apart Kathryn Bigelow and her film then you are in taking on Barack Obama?

For example, you're quite clear in expressing that no one should see Kathryn's film.  But killing American citizens without due process, you argue, isn't reason enough not to vote for Barack.

An artist, you attack.  A president you handle with kid gloves.

Again, the term is: Avoidance.

And that's all 2012 was.

law and disorder radio
michael s. smith
heidi boghosian
michael ratner

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends


Previous year-in-review pieces include:

  • 2011: The Year of the Slow Reveal
  • 2010: The Year of Enough
  • 2009: The Year of Living Sickly
  • 2008: The Year of Living Hormonally
  • 2007: The Year of Living Useless
  • 2006: The Year of Living Dumbly

  • Other 2012 year in review pieces include Kat's "Kat's Korner: 2012 In MusicRuth's "Ruth's Radio Report 2012,"  "2012 in Books (Martha & Shirley)" and Ann's  "2012 Best in Film (Ann and Stan)" and Stan's "2012 Best in Film (Ann and Stan)" which we reposted "2012 Best in Film (Ann and Stan)" and Third's "TV: The New Conformity," "2012 Killer of the Year," "2012 TV Person of the Year," "2012 Movie of the Year," "2012 Person of the Year," "Kennedy Trait of 2012: Racism," "2012 Book of the Year," and "2012 Trend: Bad attempts at make overs."