Saturday, March 12, 2005

Gina Notes Maxine Hong Kingston for Women's History Month

Gina: I think we should all note Maxine Hong Kingston because she is a strong, brave voice and a writer who causes you to think about large issues and your own involvement in the larger picture.

Her works often reflect on her cultural heritage and blend fiction with non-fiction. Among her works are The Woman Warrior (1976), awarded the National Book Critics Award for Nonfiction, and China Men (1980), given the same award. She has written one novel, Tripmaster Monkey, a story depicting a character based on the mythical Chinese character Son Wu Kong. Her most recent books are To Be The Poet and The Fifth Book of Peace.

On December 6, 2004 The Common Ills recognized The Fifth Book of Peace and Hong Kingston with an entry (  I'm going to swipe the excerpt quoted there and note it here:


Clifton, the driver, said, "When the VISTA job is over, and if the war is still going on, I'll resist the draft. I'm not a draft evader. I'm not a draft dodger. I don't believe in dodging and evading. I'm a draft resister." He looked Wittman eye-to-eye in the rearview mirror. "Do you get the difference? I keep my draft board and the SSS informed exactly where I'm at, and what I'm doing. My every activity on the outside of the army is political activity. Everything I do, I'm resisting. I'm practicing for my confrontation day with the army. I look forward to it; I'm not evading it. When my number comes up, I'm going straight to my induction center. They'll call out my name -- Anderson, Clifton. That's a crucial moment, when they call out your name. You're supposed to take one step forward. That one step is a very symbolic step. It means that you are volunteering of your own free will even if you've been drafted. You're assenting. I am a soldier. You're obeying your first order. I'll use willpower, that I not take that step. I'll resist. I'm practing not to take that step. My telling you about it right now is practice. I think about not taking that step. I am developing a resistance state of mind. Everybody else will step forward, so I naturally will want to step forward too. My good friends rehearse me; they call out, 'Anderson, Clifton,' and I freeze. You take a step, and that's the step that takes you from walking the walk of a free man to walking the walk of a Government Issue. The army may try to coax me or ridicule me or threaten me, but I'm forewarned and prepared. I will not step forward. Then they'll see that I heard my name but am purposefully not stepping forward, and they'll arrest me. They could jail me then and there. Or they could dangle me, send me home for two weeks or an indefinite time. I know a guy who didn't hear from them for nine months. They want you to stew over the possible consequences. Jail. A record. Unemployed from now on. Losing the vote. A lot of people can't take the suspense. They'll leave for Canada, or they'll induct themselves. Me, I'm withstanding the pressure. They call me up again, I'll resist some more. I'm resisting evil. 'In times of evil, resist evil, even if you have no hope to stop it.'"

That was from pages 136 to137.  I'm a long time fan of Hong Kingston's writing but I wasn't even aware that this book had come out (in paperback or previously in hard cover).  I rushed out to buy it and found the usual mixture of straight talk and deep thought.  She is a writer who matters because she tries to make sense of the world around us.  For that reason, she deserves to be noted.

Community Members thoughts on Air America

Martha: Thank you for linking to the Lizz Winstead petition. I would think that in the so-called age of online activism that petition would be all over the net. The fact that it's not troubles me and makes me wonder if we haven't set up our own gatekeepers as we've attempted to get past the Cokies [Roberts].

The petition is "To Air America Bring Back Lizz Winstead:"
Bring back Lizz! Rachel and Lizz were great together and we got alot of friends listening to Air America because of THEIR show. Air America has lost more than a few listeners now. When the news is so grim, it certainly is nice to swallow it with some humor. The way Liz and Rachel played off each other was great and it kept us tuning in. Unfiltered had a brilliant formula,of sucking the listeners in with humor and getting in plenty of important information too. Lizz was the most fun person to listen to at Air America. The back and forth between Rachel and Liz was relaxed, playful, and entertaining. Unfiltered was fun. Was. Past tense. We the listeners demand: Bring Lizz Back NOW!
The Undersigned

Rob & Kara: We're having a huge problem with Al Franken and want to share it with the community.
* Neoliberals coming on the show makes us gag but what's worse is when they aren't identified as such or when Al feels the needs to give them the stamp of approval. Here's a hint, if you're with the AEI, you probably shouldn't be on Air America.
* As noted by another member, the "We Will Brock You" theme that is played when David Brock [Media Matters] comes on is insulting to Brock and needs to be replaced.
* Franken's need to repeatedly spit upon a dead man speaks of his own issues; however, it should be noted his continuous remarks about Arafat (how good it is that he's dead) are neither funny nor worth hearing. For someone who gave a pass to Ronald Reagan, it's strange that a small fish like Arafat (by comparison to Reagan) would be someone Franken would continue to obsess over. The fact that he does calls into question all remarks he makes about Palestinians.
* Randi Rhodes has been sorely missed and we look forward to her return on Monday.

Maria: I signed the petition, thank you for linking to it. Unfiltered is unlistenable without Lizz Winstead. Rachel Maddow alone emphasizes all her worst qualities and her good qualities (banter, ease) are lost.

A number of you noted that Rebecca is covering the Unfiltered issue over at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and you've wondered why there is nothing on it here.

When I posted a week ago on it, I said that's all I intended to say on the issue but that you were welcome to share your own comments.

Some of you have in private.

I'm not sure of how much continued interest Air America will be to the community at this point (even those who didn't care for Lizz Winstead have noted that the manner in which Air America has handled her departure has damaged your faith in the radio network).

We'll do an entry here with me pulling from some people who wanted to be quoted and also with me raising some issues that you've wanted raised from private e-mails.

In the last long entry, we noted the importance of independent voices. [Note: This is the entry I fell asleep while working on last night. "The last long entry" refers to this entry.] A number of you feel that Air America has failed in that regard.

We're speaking of the network as a whole. Most of you who e-mailed on the subject of Air America this week have at least one show you continue to listen to.

With Danny Goldberg new to the network, it might be a good time to air some concerns and hopefully he or someone will address them.

The e-mail to this site on the Unfiltered issue is consistent in the opinion that Unfiltered needs Lizz Winstead or it needs to be pulled.

A lot of you use words like "betrayed" to describe how you feel regarding the way her departure was handled. The second most popular term is "ignored."

Air America would be wise to address this and deal with it.

Francisco: I want Lizz back. I won't listen to Unfiltered until she's back on the air. If she's not, they need to pull the show. And if they do that, they might want to consider why it is that there are only two colors on the network -- white and black. Obviously, I wonder where the Latinos are as a Hispanic male. But I also wonder where the Asians and others are. And two African-American males (one of whom is only a semi-regular) co-hosts and one African-American woman who reads the headlines does not cut it as inclusive.

Gina: I'm wondering where the serious debate is? That's not knocking the comedy segments. I appreciate them. But it seems like too often they look to see what the Democrats in the Senate want and then run with that. I think the network has suffered tremendously while Randi [Rhodes] has been out because she's not begging for talking points, she creates her own issues and addresses them with or without the approval of Democratic leadership. Laura Flanders can be counted on to do the same. But that's two voices out of how many?

Brad: Sam Seder's continued tendancy to cut off Janeane and women who appear as guests is irritating. If he thinks it comes off as flirtatious, I can't judge that because as a straight male, I have no interest in Seder. But I can tell you it is off putting to hear it over and over in interviews. He needs to work on it because it is an issue and it only happens with regard to the women. I can tell you that my girlfriend turns off the show, and she loves Janeane [Garofalo] when Sam starts in on that.

Margot: Lizz's disappearence has made me worry that no one is safe. And I'm really worried that having dumped Lizz, they'll now go after the other strong voices on the air: Janeane Garofalo, Laura Flanders, Mike Malloy and Randi Rhodes. The way this has been handled has made it very difficult for me to enjoy listening because I'm always wondering if the next time I turn the radio on, someone else that I trust will just be "missing."

Ruby: I can't take Al when he's nasty. I don't mean dirty. I mean when he gets really mean spirited and petty and that seems to be happening a lot more lately. I like him and I like the show but lately he comes off as bitchy, not funny.

Jimmy e-mailed this to Danny Goldberg and copied it to this site. He's given permission for it to be posted here:

Bring back Lizz!
Lizz Winstead made the show.
It's not Unfiltered anymore.
It's not funny.
It's not worth listening to.
Bring back Lizz!

Lori: What bothers me about Rachel is that she has to act like she knows everything . . . as she talks about a story I read a day or two ago. She's acting like she's just discovered the cure for polio and has to break it down for us simpletons. We're usually ahead of her. (And someone needs to write on cue cards in bold print when the article was printed. I'm tired of her bringing up on a Tuesday a story that appeared in the New York Times Sunday as something that's in "this morning's New York Times.") She makes too many mistakes. When Lizz was on, if one made a mistake, the other would catch it. Now it's just Rachel and no one catches the mistakes and they go uncorrected. It's a very poor use of a show that's supposed to inform. After the way they handled the firing or quitting of Lizz Winstead, they should never again do a segment called "Burying the lead." They've lost the right to do that segment because they've lost their credibility.

Tori: I can't take Al. He's a sexest who never stops whining. Aging, overweight men with bad hair cuts need to do a reality check before mistaking themselves as God's gift to women. His piece for Mother Jones was uninformed and sexist. The show has little to appeal to this woman and when he alternates mean-spirited with sobbing, he just comes off sounding ridiculous. The show needs to be a lot tighter.
This section from Al's Mother Jones's article sums up all that is wrong with his attitude:
This Hope-style bit never failed to get huge laughs and giant cheers. Each time the soldier kissed Karri, it was as if every soldier had kissed her. Sex, in general, seemed a safe bet as a subject for sure laughs. By and large, these are men and women in their early 20s, a time of life when I recall thinking about sex almost constantly.
I saw a lot of attractive women in uniform. I particularly liked an M.P. in Kuwait named Davis who was just a little mean. And who knows, maybe it was the uniform. Mark Wills' guitarist said he was picking up some desert fatigues for his wife.

Really, Al? Everytime you kissed her it was as if every soldier had kissed her? Everyone?
And isn't it nice to know that when not onstage doing a sexist bit with a JAG actress, he has time to note our women in the military - provided that they are "attractive."
Or how about this:
The girls do a bump-and-grind dance in their tearaway burkas, then peel them off and continue in their Redskins cheerleader outfits as the guys go nuts.
Worked like a charm every time.
Yeah, those tits and ass shows must be something to be proud about, Al. By the way, when do male entertainers expose a little skin? Not you. Please, we don't want to make anyone sick.
But when do the women serving over there get a plate of scantily clad eye candy?
The best thing about his most recent USO tour was that we got Joe Conason substituting and the show was actually entertaining and informative when Al wasn't on the line from various locations.

Ben: Has Tom Hayden been banned from Air America? I'm sorry but I'll trust him over Al's friend Norm or any of the Newsweek cronies. In their rush to prove their patriotism, the network fails to address serious issues. They continue to give a stamp of approval to the occupation (with a few exceptions such as Laura Flanders and Sam Seder & Janeane Garofalo)
by repeatedly playing their "support" card. It is fine to humanize the tragedy that Americans are over there. It is another thing to glorify it. Al Franken comes off like a war monger. Rachel Maddow seems hell bent to prove looney Ann Coulter right that we're all sniffing the jocks of the G.I.s. The network needs to demonstrate a real committment to peace and a strong opposition to occupation or they're just as bad as every elected official who refuses to speak out. I also think it's rude for a guest to be on and as soon as he or she leaves (Kitty Kelley, Tariq Ali) have a host say, "Now I don't disagree with them." If that's the case, bring it up when they're on so it can be discussed. I wasn't aware that Tariq or Kitty were "controversial" figures in the eyes of some hosts until after the two had left the studio. That seems rather cowardly on the part of hosts.

Elaine: Why is it that a former soldier on Democracy Now! is expected to abide by the same rules as any other guest but on Air America they get talked up like they're heroes? Why is it that a man who admitted to abusing his wife in other formats was presented as a loveable Rain Man on Air America? I find it disgusting.

Roy: As a Gulf War vet, I find Al's "thank you for your service" line offensive. Al has not served in the military as he himself admits. If I hosted a show and said it, I would be speaking as one military person to another. When Al says it, it's like he's wet dreaming over guys in uniform.
Maybe Al feels his life has been pointless. And maybe it has. But until he's ready to say "thank you for your service" to every teacher, educator, activist, parent, etc. that comes on the show, he needs to drop that line because it makes him look like the dweeb rushing after the BMOC trying to kiss ass. It also sends the message that there is one and only one form of service to one's country. During the war I served in, many people spoke out. I remember Susan Sarandon did. When I got back, the first thing I wanted to do was go see a movie, sit in the dark, cool theater with a tub of popcorn and big Coke and just relax. My best friend, who didn't sign up, went with me. I don't remember what the movie was, maybe Thelma & Louise, maybe Bob Roberts. But my friend who hadn't served in the Gulf had a fit when we were in line. Started blubbering about how I didn't know it because I was over there but Susan Sarandon had spoken out agains the war! And we couldn't see her movie now! I told him to shut up. Susan Sarandon served her country by using her right to free speech and making her opinion heard. I get really sick of seeing and hearing people who think the only way you can serve is in uniform. Especially when that kind of talk comes from people who never wore a uniform. I came back to this country unsure about a lot of things. But I still knew what democracy was about and that it takes a lot of guts to stand up and speak out when everyone else is saying "shut up!" I expect a little more from a progressive network. Al had on Meg Ryan recently and I was really excited because I've always thought she was funny and hot. I hated that show because Al had to keep going on about how Meg had done things privately for John Kerry and that's how it should be done. The message seemed to be, don't be a Jane Fonda or keep your opinion private. I disagree with either premise. Every American needs to be willing to speak out publicly for what they believe in. Whether they are from Hollywood or some cushy boardroom. As for Jane Fonda, who nows how much longer we'd have stayed in Vietnam if it weren't for people willing to risk the attacks that come with speaking out? I watched the trailer to Monster In Law and I'll be there the weekend it opens. I also hope her book will be discussed here. I agree with her on most things. And I respect her because she didn't take the easy road or try to prove her patriotism by hiding behind somebody in a uniform. Free speech is the first amendment. Anyone using that right is serving their country. Al doesn't seem to get it.

Brenda: Al's like the little boy who was never any good at sports but grows up to make movies where all life's lessons are learned on the baseball field. By the same token, I have no problem with Randi Rhodes speaking of military life because she actually served. When Al gets misty-eyed over a military guest (or Rachel [Maddow]) it's irritating.

Joan: I want to know where the guests are? I would have thought the network would combat the mainstream media by making strong efforts to book (repeatedly) voices shut out of the mainstream. Instead they offer far too many mainstream guests and far too little progressives.

On Joan's note about progressives, I've never heard Matthew Rothschild (editor of The Progressive) or Ruth Conniff on the network.

Malcolm: Do you have buy air time on the network to get on? Where are the guests from In These Times or The Progressive?

Here's a list of people cited in e-mails who should be on (or on more):

Tom Hayden
Greg Palast
September 11th Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow
Kim Gandy (president of NOW)
Juan Gonzalez
Amy Goodman

Julian Bond
Nancy Chang
Dahr Jamail
Elaine Cassel
Benjamin Barber
Alice Walker
"Green Party member" (Chuck)
Matthew Rothschild

Barbara Ehrenreich
Gloria Steinem
Bob Somerby
Susan Faludi

Barbara Kingsolver
Eve Ensler
Julian Epstein

Theda Skocpol
Liza Feathersone
Jim Hightower

Maxine Hong Kingston
Chisun Lee
Jann Wenner
Janeane Jackson
Carl Bernstein
Code Pink ("with an action alert at least once a week")
Alexander Cockburn
Robert W. McChesney
Frances Moore Lappe
Arundhati Roy
Elisabeth OuYang
Jeremy Scahill
Andrea Zumach
Robin Morgan

Saying, "Oh we've had Medea Benjamin on X times" doesn't count. Not when you give an AEI spokesperson a weekly spot on the network.

When the network was about to start, an exec at Air America Radio bragged to New York Times' Sunday Magazine that they weren't going to be left, they were going to be middle of the road. If that's what they're (still) aiming for, then maybe Danny Goldberg will be happy with the middle of the road (I can't see that personally).

Fears of media consolidation come through in private e-mails as well. I'm not dismissing those, I just don't know how to address them other than suggesting that people work within their communities to purchase a station for community radio. (I don't claim to have all or even most of the answers. Someone out there with suggestions to share with the community is welcome to e-mail the site at

But there's a reality in the south that some people don't grasp. Maybe it's from commuting on trains and subways? In the south and in rural areas everywhere, public transportation is either non-existant or laughable. (Rita e-mailed Thursday that she wanted to do her part for the environment and thought she'd start taking the bus. Turns out it could carry her to work in the morning but it couldn't bring her home in the evening because she got off at seven p.m. and the buses have already stopped running.) People are in their cars. They're listening to radio. If they want some sort of news, they're aren't a lot of choices.

I'll give AAR credit for its expansion (especially if they continue to build southern markets) because your average person driving to work in the southern states doesn't have sattelite radio in their car and they're listening to what's offered. Picking up even a small percent of those listeners will make a difference.

A very good friend shared a horror story with me in October. Her friend, a new age hippie, was voting for the Bully Boy. Anti-death penalty, anti-corporate welfare, go down the list, this woman, four years ago, was strong left. What happened? She moved to Colorado. She lives in a remote area. She has to drive an hour to take her child to school, an hour to bring her child home from school. That's four hours (hour there, hour back, hour there, hour back) each day.
She didn't care for the music played. She'd stopped buying CDs (in her area there's really not anywhere to buy them anyway). So she would get in the car and listen to the radio.

She couldn't take Rush, et al. But she found "caring" Christians on the radio who spoke of God's love and the need not to vote for Kerry. I don't think most people realize the kind of garbage that so-called Christian radio is pushing on the air waves. And I'm not talking about a Pat Robertson type, I'm talking about much lower level, less famous personalities.

You turn on the radio and there's this gentle voice saying "God loves you." You don't want to listen to Rush or Hannity or whomever and you can be lulled into thinking this is a compassionate person. So by the time they're telling you that Teresa Heinz Kerry is pushing legalized heroin (a claim my friend's friend insisted was truth "or they couldn't have said it on air!") or some other nonsense, you've already bought into their scheme of things.

Nationally known fright-wing radio hosts are something people on the coasts and the north can roll their eyes over. But there's another reality on the air that many people never hear or know of.

So if Air America can get into those areas, good for them and more power to them.

But they've damaged themselves with the way they've handled Lizz Winstead's departure. And they've hurt themselves by providing regular slots for the likes of AEI spokespersons and Peter Beinart or Simon Rosenberg for that matter.

If they're goal is to be NPR with skits, they're on the correct road. If they're wanting something more than that, they need to tighten up the way things are going. They also need to make sure their hosts are more informed about what others are doing on their shows.

As predicted by members last Sunday, Rachel Maddow would destroy all the hard work done by Laura Flanders on the previous weekend. Maddow didn't know anything her own network had done on the story of Giuliana Sgrena. It was embarrassing to hear Maddow repeat all the spin from "mainstream media" as though it were fact while revealing that she was completely ignorant of the reporting done on her own network.

There is no excuse for that. Not "I was off this weekend!" not "I didn't know!"

When your network is breaking news, you should know about before you attempt to address the same topic. We'd criticize it if Diane Sawyer did that on some story Peter Jennings had broken and we'll criticize it here. Maddow needs to be better informed according to many members.
But she certainly needs to know about the big stories others are covering at her own network.
(Something that Winstead could -- and usually did -- interject on when she co-hosted Unfiltered.)

They are individuals and they don't need to work from the same list of talking points, that's agreed. But as Brad points out in his e-mail:

The firing of Lizz was the last straw for me with regard to that network. And I put up with a lot. I put up with Randi Rhodes and Laura Flanders and Mike Malloy being the only ones focusing on Ohio right after the election. I think Janeane [Garofalo] brought it up a few times but guests and Sam shot her down on that. You had Al shooting it down and mocking it. Unfiltered didn't seem to know from one day to the next whether it was a story and where they stood on it. Marc and Mark seemed equally lost. This was a big issue to the base. If Al wasn't interested in it, he should have shut his damn mouth instead of making 'tin foil' jokes about it.
It was embarrassing to listen to. I didn't see it as freedom of speech and "all opinions are welcome here." I saw it as open war among certain personalities. I saw it as attacking Randi or Laura by Al and I saw it as a lot of other people sticking their finger up in the air to determine which way the wind was blowing. When I want deep coverage of the Senate, I know to go A Winding Road. When I want the scoop on Gannon and Talon, I know to go Why Are We Back In Iraq? When I want to laugh and chuckle at the idiots who think they're left, I know to go to Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. And I never come here and find you tearing down the work they're doing. If it's something you or a member is interested in, it'll be addressed here. If not, it's left unstated. That's the way Air America shows should be. It should not be Al mocking the work done by Laura and Randi. It should not be Rachel not knowing what Laura's spent the weekend tracking and adding to. After the firing of Lizz, only the most idiotic listener will ever again buy the nonsense that "we're a family." But that doesn't mean that you can't work like a team. And Al needs to be told to shut up already. More often than not lately, he's not funny, he's just mean. And he needs to quit dragging on all those right wing guests and panting over some guy who served as Nixon's whatever. It's disgusting and it's embarrassing. Until Lizz was fired, Air America played nonstop every day at my work. And we'd all roll our eyes and groan when Al was on air. We were hoping he'd run for the Senate just so he'd be off Air America. One co-worker who is gay tore into Al one day when Al basically presented the "they can do whatever they want, I just don't want to know about it!" pose. That position, render people invisible, has no place at a radio network aspiring towards being progressive.

These are the comments that come in here. They're the opinions of members. Air America would do well to decide what exactly they stand for. As a weak-ass version of the left, they'll still get some sort of message across. But if they truly believe in being progressive, they need to work a lot harder.

Joan: I don't always agree with Randi Rhodes because I'm way to the left of her but I do listen to her and respect the fact that she knows her sh*t. She can cite this and that and this and that and she knows what she's talking about. Too often I hear Al or Rachel or Sam stumbling around on air trying to think of the correct attribution for a reference and they finally tag it something but it's not correct. If you're going to discuss a story or an article, you should have it front of you. Take Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero." How many times did Sam reference that article and get it wrong repeatedly. It didn't appear in The Atlantic. It appeared in Harper's. Once, okay, you're nervous on air and thinking on your feet. Over and over, before you have her on as a guest, when you have her on as a guest, when you have her on as a co-host, after you've had her on as a co-host, to keep making the same mistake repeatedly demonstrates a real problem and a carelessness towards your job. And the woman's name is "Nay-oh-me." Not "Nigh-oh-me." But Sam can't even get that right. And don't tell me that's got to do with the way people pronounce things. It's her name, it should be pronounced correctly.

When this community started, I said of Air America, if something doesn't speak to you, don't listen. I avoided mentioning Al Franken because he doesn't speak to me. I mentioned Unfiltered because it did speak to me. (It doesn't without Lizz.) We'll continue to highlight voices and programs that speak to us on that network. But the way Lizz Winstead was "disappeared" is an issue and it's upset many members. Since some members wanted to be quoted, it was important that we address the issue of the radio network. Other members had expressed concerns but didn't want to be named so I attempted to cover their concerns here.
With Danny Goldberg now taking the helm, this seems the appropriate time to discuss what's not working. (We've discussed what works for months.) This isn't criticism from members who've never listened, this is criticism from members who've logged a great many hours with Air America and are feeling disappointed with the results.

I'll also offer my own personal view here at the end (only the strong survived to read this far).
AAR's greatest accomplishment could be in giving powerful voices too often ignored by the mainstream media regular recognition. This would mean that the mainstream media might be forced to start recognizing them. I think Katrina vanden Heuvel's regular Thursday appearences on The Majority Report have aided her in being recognized by the mainstream media. They could make a point to do that with other voices. They could also regularly include voices like Tom Hayden or Robin Morgan or other established voices that are still around but largely ignored by the mainstream media. This would serve the purpose of creating a community of voices. I used to wonder if Matthew Rothschild was just press shy. While he does The Progressive Point of View (which Air America doesn't carry) and his own half hour radio show on weekends, perhaps he wasn't up to being interviewed. Then he pops up with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! and that theory floats right out the window. (January 25, 2005 discussing the Biblical subtext in the Bully Boy's inauguration speech.) That the network is approaching the one year mark and hasn't provided him as a regular guest is puzzling.

[Note, the bulk of this post was written before falling asleep Friday night/Saturday morning. If you sense a change of tone or direction, that's probably where I picked up tonight. We will be posting Gina's Women History Month note but for those wondering, yes, I am assisting the Third Estate Sunday Review tonight. When I broke away to come finish this and post, Rebecca said to pass on that she will have a late entry up in a few hours that will be brief but she will be posting.] [Rebecca is also assisting Third Estate Sunday Review.]

Jehl and Files are worth reading in this morning's New York Times Glanz slips in that Sgrena & Calipari were part of a convoy

Liang e-mails wanting to highlight John Files' " U.S. to Pay Hungarian Jews in 1945 Looting."

From the article:

The United States government and a group of Hungarian Jews have agreed to a $25.5 million settlement for the looting of the Hungarians' valuables by American soldiers during World War II, lawyers for the group said Friday.
[. . .] "a symbolic acknowledgement of an isolated and unfortunate chapter in the Americans' role in the Holocaust."
"But the acknowledgement matters," he ["Gideon Taylor, executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany . . ."] added. "History matters."

Liang: While I'm glad that Hungarian Jews will be getting repayment it seems to me that there's a definition of propetry and damage that operates in some cases but not in others. I'm thinking of the court decision to toss out the Agent Orange lawsuit this week."

For those not familiar with the case Liang's referring to, from Thursday's Democracy Now! Headlines:

Judge Dismisses Agent Orange LawsuitIn New York, a federal judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit concerning the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. A group of Vietnamese citizens had accused U.S. chemical companies including Dow and Monsanto of committing war crimes by supplying the military with the chemical agent. During the war the U.S. military sprayed over 3,000 Vietnamese villages with Agent Orange affecting between two and five million people.

Roy e-mails regarding James Glanz' " Italian Was Killed at Iraq Checkpoint Set Up for U.S. Ambassador's Trip ."

Roy: So when people like Mike Malloy and news papers discuss the John Negroponte connection the paper of record weighs in two days later with an overlong piece that's justifying and over-explaining Negroponte (in group therapy they call that "rescuing") that minimizes and rationalizes his involvement? I've yet to see NYT state clearly that we did know [Giuliana] Sgrena was going to the airport but we can minimize and rationalize for Negroponte and offer sob-stories about how confusing it all was. I also find it interesting that Negroponte is mentioned four times in this article (personalizing him for the reader?) while Sgrena and Nicola Calipari each are only mentioned once. (Calipari died but apparently he's a footnote to the story.)

It would appear that Calipari was a footnote in this article, I agree. I'll also note one other thing. Though the Times referred to a "car" (single) repeatedly (starting with their original reporting of the incident) someone slipped up and allowed this to appear today:

American soldiers say the Italian vehicles were traveling at a fast speed . . .

The Italians reject that (as well as the allegations that follow) but note vehicles. Plural. It was a convoy and for whatever reason the paper has elected to ignore that in previous reporting as we pointed out last Saturday.

Roy notes the "'a reporter' nonsense" in his e-mail. ("A reporter" had a similar experience on Friday 'proving' it's confusing at the check points.) I agree that it's nonsense and doesn't belong in the story. John F. Burns has already dealt with the nature of checkpoints (in an article we didn't highlight because unless you bring them up, we're not discussing the stories filed from Iraq that the New York Times runs). Whether "a reporter" is 'this reporter' (Glanz) or not, the story has a "it happens to embedded reporters too!" attitude that detracts from the story (my opinion). As a feature or an op-ed it might work, as a news story, it doesn't cut it.

Isn't it funny this continued discussion on something the Times rushed to assure us last Saturday "political analysts" were saying was pretty much insignificant?

From last Saturday's entry:

There's outrage being expressed over this but you won't find it in the Times. You won't find reference to Reporters Without Borders eithers. But you will get this gem of bad reporting:
Political analysts doubted that the shooting would strain the relationship between Italy and the United States, or threaten the mission of Italy's roughly 3,000 troops in Iraq.
Political analysts? Robert Novak's in the Green Zone? What the hell?
You've got Wong reporting largely from the Green Zone, Horowitz from Rome, James Glanz tossing in from Baghdad, Kirk Semple from London and Steven R. Weisman and Thom Shanker from D.C.
Who spoke to "political analysts?" Who are these political analysts?
They serve the purpose to allay concerns and tell the reader "Nothing to see here, move along." That may be the reason they are included. But what political analysts from what countries? There's no need for anony-mice to sneak into this story to provide that irrelevant bit of info.
Ben: I thought the NYT was supposed to have struck these anonymous sources? I also find it very interesting that the reporters tell us that these check points shootings "of innocent vehicles . . . have taken place in recent months, and have been documented by reporters and photographers."
Exactly where in NYT have these photos been shown? I'm not remembering any
"Photographs . . . showed the surviving children covered in their parents' blood" in NYT. I am remembering tons of unnamed sources rushing in to tell us "everything's cool, everything's fine, stay the course! stay the course!" repeatedly. I'll assume these anonymous sources are from the State Department and that they and the paper are attempting to minimize the ugly truth before it can break out.
Considering the way the story of Giuliana Sgrena's kidnapping has played out in Italy, who indeed are these 'wise' political analysts that say there will be no impact from this? Who are these big smarties, these anony-mice, so quick to rush in with words the Bully Boy administration no doubt finds reassuring? The coverage of the kidnapping has been strong in the Italian press but our 'wise analysts' shake their Magic 8 Ball and deliver instant 'wisdom' to us via the Times.
Look Giuliana Sgrena is already speaking and the reaction, as reported elsewhere, suggests anony-mice need to scurry for cover right about now.

Maybe they need to rethink the names in their roladoxes?

A number of you are e-mailing about an editorial in this morning's Times. If you want to address the opinions offered (and the interpretation of facts or "facts") please do so. We don't address them here. (Noting that Jane Mayer wasn't credited although she was quoted twice, was not an analysis of the editorial, in my opinion, or intended as such. It went to the issue of crediting people for the work they've done -- especially when you elect to quote from their work twice.) I will note this editorial runs on Saturday when the editorials have their smallest audience and that it's really not meant to speak readers as much as it is to someone visiting our country (my opinion on the second point). (You could also argue it's meant to counter that visit.) One person who did say she could be quoted but doesn't want to be identified saw it as "another in a long line of the elite NYT looking down its snooty nose at working class Catholics through disrespectful slants, misreadings and a sneering tone."

Again if anyone wants to have at it (or if many want to) the site address is but I try not to get into a yes, it is/no, it's not discussion re: editorials. I have stated I generally agree with the editorials so if anyone's wondering if this is one I generally agree, no, it's not. With any luck, the editorial will backfire in whatever aims the board had when they wrote it.

Note Douglas Jehl's front page story "Army Details Scale of Abuse In Afghan Jail:"

Two Afghan prisoners who died in American custody in Afghanistan in December 2002 were chained to the ceiling, kicked and beaten by American soldiers in sustained assaults that caused their deaths, according to Army criminal investigative reports that have not yet been made public.
One soldier, Pfc. Willie V. Brand, was charged with manslaughter in a closed hearing last month in Texas in connection with one of the deaths, another Army document shows. Private Brand, who acknowledged striking a detainee named Dilawar 37 times, was accused of having maimed and killed him over a five-day period by "destroying his leg muscle tissue with repeated unlawful knee strikes."
The attacks on Mr. Dilawar were so severe that "even if he had survived, both legs would have had to be amputated," the Army report said, citing a medical examiner.

[. . .]
The reports, from the Army Criminal Investigation Command, also make clear that the abuse at Bagram went far beyond the two killings. Among those recommended for prosecution is an Army military interrogator from the 519th Battalion who is said to have "placed his penis along the face" of one Afghan detainee and later to have "simulated anally sodomizing him (over his clothes)."

The article is based upon reports obtained by Human Rights Watch which doesn't highlight them on their web site's front page.

From Jehl's article:

American military officials in Afghanistan initially said the deaths of Mr. Habibullah, in an isolation cell on Dec. 4, 2002, and Mr. Dilawar, in another such cell six days later, were from natural causes. Lt. Gen. Daniel K. McNeill, the American commander of allied forces in Afghanistan at the time, denied then that prisoners had been chained to the ceiling or that conditions at Bagram endangered the lives of prisoners.
But after an investigation by The New York Times, the Army acknowledged that the deaths were homicides. Last fall, Army investigators implicated 28 soldiers and reservists and recommended that they face criminal charges, including negligent homicide.

Human Rights Watch does have "Enduring Freedom:" Abuses by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan available online (from March, 2004). From the section on deaths while in US custody (scroll down two-thirds of the way):

Deaths in U.S. custody
Two Afghans died while in detention at Bagram airbase in December 2002.111 Both deaths were ruled homicides by U.S. military doctors who performed autopsies.
One of the prisoners, Dilawar, aged 22 and from near Khost city in southeastern Afghanistan, died on December 10, 2002 from "blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease," according to his death certificate prepared by a military pathologist, which was obtained by the New York Times.
112 The other detainee, Mullah Habibullah, aged approximately 30 years and from the southern province of Oruzgan, died earlier, on December 3, 2002. A military spokesman at Bagram confirmed to reporters from the New York Times that Mullah Habibullah’s death was ruled a homicide by a military pathologist, the cause being "pulmonary embolism [blood clot in the lungs] due to blunt force injury to the legs."113 Both military pathologists, when contacted by Human Rights Watch in November and December 2003, turned down requests to be interviewed.
Military officials at Bagram said in March 2003 that the military had launched an investigation into the deaths. But as of this writing in February 2004, they have not announced any results.
In June 2003, another Afghan died at a detention site near Asadabad, in Kunar province.
114 U.S. military officials in Afghanistan and in the United States have refused to provide any details about this death.
Human Rights Watch has written repeatedly in 2003 and 2004 to officials in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (which CENTCOM officials have said is responsible for the Bagram investigation) asking for information about all three of the detainee deaths. Officials from both offices have replied and stated that the investigation into the Bagram deaths is ongoing and that no information is available. As for the Asadabad death, both offices have refused to release any information at all -- not even a statement that an investigation is ongoing.

Dilawar and Mullah Habibullah are mentioned in Jehl's report today (and in the pull quotes from his article).

Sunday Chat and Chews note

In an e-mail, our friend Luke of wotisitgood4 advises that in addition to The Daily Howler and Liberal Oasis, Sunday Morning Talk also covers the Sunday Chat and Chews. That's another resource so check it out.

Saturday morning note

On the minus side, there was no post for Women's History Month last night. On the plus side, there's a fairly long entry that's almost completed (on another topic). For the second time I'm aware of, I've fallen asleep at the computer while working on an entry. (Second time I'm aware of, though they may all read like I was asleep when I wrote them.)

This being Saturday, I will be busy reading drafts and offering input to The Third Estate Sunday Review. But there will be a post featuring your comments and some of my own going up later tonight because it's already at least half or two-thirds written.

There's also no reason we shouldn't be able to have two Women's History entries/notes today.
We already have one from a member (Gina's -- which I intended to post after I finished the entry and before I went to sleep) [for newer members; we operate here under my selfish belief that the day doesn't end until I say so -- seriously, were you to read my journals, for instance, you'd see that a 2:00 a.m. of a Tuesday morning entry would be labeled Monday because I hadn't yet gone to bed and that attitude's been carried over to this site by me]. So if we don't already have an entry sent in by a member ( and another doesn't arrive by this evening, we'll have Gina's and something I put together.

My apologies to Gina (when I posted the thing on Amy Goodman -- speaking in Miami, Florida this Sunday -- I saw we were already on Saturday and could have quickly copy and pasted Gina's entry then).

Other than Ava, I haven't been in contact with anyone at The Third Estate regarding the edition they'll be putting out this Sunday so I'm unaware of how far along they may or may not already be. This may be a scramble day or it may be something else.

(Disclosure for those who have doubted that I'm not watching TV. I watched Reba two Fridays ago to help with an TV entry and this past Wednesday I was watching Smallville -- almost called it Lois & Clark -- while speaking with Ava since that will be the subject of the TV review coming up on Sunday at their site. I have no problem watching TV if there's something worth watching -- that doesn't mean educational, it means something well done -- but I wouldn't have watched either show were it not to help with the TV reviews. I did catch the thing on the women's movement on PBS -- that might have been Independent Voices -- due to a friend calling and telling me to turn on PBS. In the evenings, I'm listening to Janeane Garofalo and The Majority Report more often than not -- Laura Flanders on the weekend -- or music.)

Last time I fell asleep at the computer, a member e-mailed wondering what sort of comfortable chair I was sitting in (since they could never get that comfortable in the chair they were using).
That was back from the days when I could reply to every e-mail. So in case an e-mail like that comes up (or more than one), I'll attempt to head off that topic by explaining, it's not a comfortable chair. It's a metal stool that swivels (like a really high bar stool) with a single pole from the base to the chair seat. More often than not, my legs are wrapped around it in some insane manner (anyone who's studied piano will probably understand that).

Moving on to this morning's New York Times (and I'll flip screens to check e-mails as we work on the first entry).

Amy Goodman in Miami Sunday

From the Democracy Now! web site, (actually from The Exception to the Rulers page of that web site) Amy Goodman's next speaking event will be this Sunday in Miami:

Miami, FL:
Sunday, March 13, 3:30pm
Dissent in America
Forum Sponsored by Partners in Protest
United Teachers of Dade Headquarters2200 Biscayne Blvd.Miami, FL 33137
Tickets are $30 for the weekendWork exchange and volunteer opportunities available
The Forum runs from March 11-13. For more information, go to

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Daily Howler & Bob Somerby as a starting point for the importance of independent voices

We're a resource/review, not a breaking news site or one that pretends to be a breaking news site. So it's always great when a member e-mails about a voice that speaks to them.

But we've got four members e-mailing this week about a voice that we added early on. (Our first linking was BuzzFlash & Democracy Now!; our second set was Naomi Klein, The Daily Howler Ms. Musing & Dahr Jamail.)

Bob Somerby provides a great resource at The Daily Howler. And most members were aware of The Daily Howler and reading it long before The Common Ills community ever existed. But it's great that a few members have learned of him here.

The point of this site is to be a resource/review. We've added a number of links and will continue to add. And there's always the chance that someone can end up lost. So if you read something anywhere that you think should be shared, e-mail about it (, whether it's someone we have a permanent link to on the left or not.

Sophia e-mails that she bookmarked The Daily Howler in 2001 and visits it Monday through Friday "with the hopeful checking on Saturdays for that rare Howler weekend post." She notes that "he always has a way of looking at a comment or an event that goes beyond the obvious."
Which brings up Ken's e-mail this week that "I don't know if you noticed or not, but Somerby and [Bill] Scher are disagreeing and you noted them in the same entry." People can have different views of the same thing. (And witness who saw the same incident and testify to the best of their ability in court often testify to different things.)

We're not all the same and we're not all going to agree all the time. Ken asks, "What will happen when you disagree with The Daily Howler?" We, as a community, disagree with The Howler over Lawrence Summer. That hasn't stopped us from noting The Howler. And I, personally, have disagreed with The Howler before and will again. I still visit the site every day (Monday through Friday) unless it's a day when I can't go anywhere online other than here to work on entries. Ken wonders also, "What happens if The Daily Howler disagrees with you and writes about it?" I don't see that happening (we're not on that kind of radar, we're a community, not a blog). If it did and it was a member's comments, they (and other members) would be allowed to respond here. If it has to do with some opinion I've had or written, I honestly don't know.

If I didn't link to it, I'd be accused of not noting what might be a valid disagreement/critique.
But we're not self-referential here. If someone wants to note that they e-mailed into a talk show (as Maria did) or that they called in or share any experience, that's their right. But we've (which means "I" -- but I'm not big on "I" talk) made it a policy not to note if we're linked or noted somewhere which has included deleting those comments from comments of members that have been posted. So I honestly don't know how to answer Ken's question. Anything that looks like self-hype or running a fan club for The Common Ills is something I'd be reluctant to have up here.

Ken closes with, "I'm not grasping why The Daily Howler is so worthy of attention, could you explain it to me?"

If you're seeing pull quotes from someone and the voice doesn't speak to you, then don't worry about it. (But remember that either a member or I'm choosing what to highlight. A pull quote isn't an entire entry.) There's no reason that every voice that speaks to Sophia will speak to you, or every voice that speaks to you will speak to me, etc.

We had a woman write in last week wanting to state that Krista had nothing to feel embarrassed about and that Yukos was important. She was basing her remarks on what she'd observed in Russia. She disagreed with Katrina vanden Heuvel. We didn't post it and if she's ever come back (she said the entry on Krista was the first thing she'd read at this site), she probably feels like she was ignored. I would have been happy quoting her but she didn't note her permission to be quoted. When you e-mail the site, you get an automated reply that notes you need to give state if you want to be quoted. That's your heads up to do an e-mail saying, "You can quote me" or "You can quote this part: ---."

Because Krista was bothered, I was tempted to write the woman and ask, "Do you want this to be shared?" But I had about 612 e-mails that day. And there's no way I can e-mail to everyone and ask, "Do you want to be quoted?"

I did note in an entry that a number of e-mails were coming in re: Krista and that if anyone wanted to be quoted, they needed to say so. (That was noted twice, but one time was after the woman's e-mail.) If the woman's come back, she's never written again.

But Katrina vanden Heuvel did not speak to her (judging by her comments). Were the woman a community member, that wouldn't bother me. We don't all have to agree.

So if Bob Somerby doesn't speak to you, it's not the end of the world. There's not a list of people you have to agree on. Hopefully, you'll find some voice sited her that does speak to you. (And you can influence that by e-mailing to highlight a voice you find important.)

If Ken's asking for permission not to read The Daily Howler, he doesn't need permission. If someone doesn't speak to you, don't worry about it and try to find someone who does (and share that with the community). But if he's asking why I personally enjoy The Howler . . .

Somerby's a media critic and a valuable resource (my opinion). I've learned a great deal from The Daily Howler. (So much, in fact, that "a great deal" seems to be minimizing the impact.)
I believe he makes you think. (He makes me think.) And I think it's great that his writing is out there, on the record. I've cited before that The Daily Howler, Media Whores Online, News Dissector and Bartcop were important to me at a time when it seemed like so many had tossed out common sense. [Warning, you visit Bartcop at your own risk if you're in a work environment. That's true of all links.] Media Whores Online ceased to be and now you can't even find it's archives online. If The Daily Howler ever ceased to be, I'd hope that the archives would remain.

I think there's been some of the best and strongest media criticism coming from The Daily Howler. It's not jumping around to note this and that and this and that and this. Somerby has not been reluctant to critique anyone. He's also not critiquing the same obvious sources.
(Again, as stated earlier this evening, I believe he was the one who first started making the points about the appearence of a conflict of interest between Bob Schieffer and the Bully Boy.)

And I think he refuses to make nice. I think that's hurt him to a degree. Others who have offered shoddy or poor criticism have certainly garnered attention. I think he's been an independent voice who p*sses people off (which is something I personally applaud).

I can think of an appearence on Al Franken's show on Air America when Somerby was speaking about issues and apparently Franken either wanted to keep it light or didn't want to go there.
It's not a secret here that I don't care for Franken's show. I'll listen only if I have the time and someone I respect is on. I listened that day to hear Somerby. And I'd listen again if Somerby were booked again.

You'd think Bob Somerby would be all over Air America. He's a Democrat. (Politically, I believe I'm to the left of Somerby who strikes me as more of a mainstream Democrat -- my opinion.)
He's fought "the brave fight." He knows what he's talking about and can cite examples (and cite them correctly). You'd think that would mean he'd be all over the radio network.

The fact that he's not . . . (That'll be the next entry worked on after this posts.)

So if Ken's asking personally what I respond to in Somerby's writing it's the fact that he's smart, does research and doesn't operate under a system of "This person can be criticized but this one can't." He's an independent voice and I respond to that.

Ruby, Colin, Joanne and Diana each wrote in this week to say they wanted to pass on that he's a voice who speaks to them and one they've begun checking due to the highlighting of The Daily Howler. That's the point of this community, to bring to your attention someone you might not know about otherwise. And hopefully, they'll speak to you. But even if they don't, you're aware they're out there. That's the point.

God forbid we have another 9-11 incident. But if we do, we're going to need to know where the voices that speak to us are. Because they weren't on TV (unless you're lucky enough to get Democracy Now! on TV). They largely weren't on the radio. Dissent was silenced and opinion was managed. And it's a great disservice to democracy when that happens.

There are serious questions about 9-11. I've been sent things asking me to weigh in (and sometimes to slam someone for a theory). I don't know enough to weigh in. (Any member's welcome to share their own thoughts.) I do know we weren't provided with answers from any investigations.

I'm not going to slam anyone who's attempting to figure out the why or how of 9-11. They're doing more work than our government has. The limited scope of any probe has operated under the we're-not-here-to-find-fault.

Well was it an accident? Because there's no fault in a true accident.

But that's not what the mainstream reporting indicates. That's not what Condi Rice's testimony indicates (to me). The 9-11 families wanted answers (and fought for them). I don't think they got them.

I don't know if Richard Clarke's a hero or not. I do know that he gave an apology that had to do with responsibility and I'll give him credit for that.

We were told we had to come together. And apparently be stupid. (Which I believe is the point of Susan Sontag's infamous New Yorker piece that so many had a problem with. I didn't have a problem with it. I agree "let's not all be stupid together" or whatever the quote was.)

The stage managed "need" to "come together" prevented reality from being noted in the press reports of the recounts. (You had to dig in beyond the headlines to find the reality and also beyond the first few paragraphs in most newspaper reporting.) It also prevented questioning of the Patriot Act (which, my opinion, is one of the more shocking and shameful legislations to come out under the current administration). This "come together" manipulation prevented serious discussions prior to two wars.

We've lost interest (as a people) in Afghanistan so maybe that doesn't matter to many. But we pay some level of attention to Iraq. And serious questions weren't addressed because we were under the haze of "come together." (I'm speaking as a people and of the mainstream media.)
Cheerleading took the place of critical thought. And that's really sad because we're supposed to be a democracy and that means we share what we think, not just what's deemed "acceptable."

With the Kerry campaign, we saw a number of disturbing things. First off, we saw that we had to fight hard to avoid another "Gore-ing" (I saw that term first in Somerby's writing, so I'll give him credit for it). Kerry was "gored" but in different ways. We also saw a media that felt we were picking Miss Congeality as opposed to the leader of our country.

That he came as close as he did in the election (and no, I personally do not believe the official Ohio totals) is amazing to me because we went from a period where we couldn't question the Bully Boy at all to a period where we could question in limited areas. (You saw the gatekeepers, the Cokie Roberts, playing manner cops letting you know what was and wasn't acceptable.)

That said, my opinion, you saw a disgusting Democratic convention. You saw the pens where people could go to protest. That's undemocratic and should never have been a part of the convention. (They existed at the Republican convention as well. If I seem less shocked by that, it's only because I don't expect much from the Republican party.) Outside of Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News on Pacifica and Lizz Winstead on Unfiltered, I didn't see or hear anyone drawing attention to those protest pens.

You saw an attempt to shut out Hillary Clinton. Oh, she'd be onstage . . . with a group of women.
But the individual speakers would largely be males. Love her, hate her, indifferent to her, that people had to register their objections to the sidelining of Hillary Clinton indicated how many problems there were going to be with this convention when it did take place. (For the record, Hillary Clinton did get to speak solo, for anyone who missed it.)

What did we have onstage? Rah-rah-rah, we're tough boys with big balls. And it came pretty close to looking like war mongering to some (including me). Even John Edwards . . .

Matthew Rothschild's real time criticism:

On foreign policy, Edwards was even more disappointing.
He managed to mention "a safe and secure Israel," but Palestine fell off his map.
Edwards even did a Bush imitation, telling "Al Qaeda and the rest of these terrorists: You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you."
He showed none of the subtlety or sophistication of Bill Clinton, who on Monday night grasped that the United States must get to the root of terrorism. Said Clinton, "we cannot possibly kill, jail, or occupy all of our potential adversaries."
But Edwards really bottomed out on Iraq. He actually said, "We will win this war."
How's that going to happen? And how many more U.S. soldiers are going to die as a result?
Edwards plucked at the heartstrings of America by invoking images of wounded soldiers who now "need their mother to tie their shoe. Their husband to brush their hair. And their wife's arm to help them across the room." But his vow to win this war, which has already taken more than 900 American lives and wounded thousands more, will only compound these human tragedies.
Edwards did not manage to paper over the differences within the party on this most crucial issue.
He exposed them for all to see.

Let's go Rothschild's real time critique of Kerry's convention speech:

By surrounding himself with his Vietnam "band of brothers," and by the introductions of Max Cleland and Wesley Clark, Kerry burnished his martial bona fides. (Not for nothing did he mention "blood" in his first 100 words.)
"I will build a stronger military," he said, vowing to add 40,000 active duty troops and to provide new weapons and technologies.
And, like John Edwards the night before, Kerry did his own Bush imitation. "I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security," he said.
That is the worst kind of mindless U.N.-bashing. There is nothing in the U.N. Charter that prohibits countries from defending themselves when their very survival is at stake. For Kerry to parrot Bush on this is to further deligitimize the United Nations, and to undercut Kerry's claim that he will work better with others.
Kerry did, however, draw some good distinctions with Bush, saying that Bush had distorted U.S. intelligence for political reasons. Kerry said he would "never mislead us into war," and he pledged to "bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: The United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to." (Historical aside: Did the United States have to enter the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, Korea, Vietnam, and the first Gulf War?)
But as to what to do now on Iraq, Kerry had little new or helpful to offer. "We need a President who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers," he said.
That's essentially Bush's plan, too. And it's not working. The allies don't want to send their troops in. So then what?
Kerry and Edwards are on record saying the United States cannot afford to lose in Iraq. As a result, under their Administration, it's likely they will continue the occupation of Iraq, and U.S. troops will continue to die there. And so long as the Iraqi government is perceived as a stooge of Washington, which it is, it will have no legitimacy, and the resistance will only grow.
Kerry, who said famously in 1971, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" will have a hard time answering that question for himself if he becomes commander and chief, which I expect he will.
On the war against Al Qaeda, Kerry missed two opportunities. First, to slam Bush for letting Osama bin Laden go when U.S. troops had him surrounded in Tora Bora. (Maybe it's too risky for Kerry to do so since Bush might drag Osama out by his beard for Halloween.) And second, to show how Bush's policies are really aiding Al Qaeda.
It's not enough for Kerry again to ape Bush by saying to the terrorists, "You will lose, and we will win." The ranks of terrorists are not finite. The United States must get at the roots of terrorism.
And right now, two U.S. policies are watering those roots: maintaining the occupation of Iraq, and supporting Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. As I've suggested, Kerry showed no promising way of ending the Iraq War, and he was totally silent on the question of Israeli policies (and when he has addressed this issue, he has backed Ariel Sharon to the hilt).
Nor, for that matter, did Kerry talk about the need to address global poverty or to bring together a world forum of Islamic religious leaders, who could offer a different path than fundamentalism to the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world.
Kerry talked about how he sees "complexities," but on the issue of Islamic fundamentalism, he didn't identify many.
On domestic issues, Kerry was much better.
His best point of the night was about dissent in America. At a time when people who protest against Bush are being accused of being unAmerican and when the Attorney General says people who criticize him are giving "aid and ammunition" to the enemy, Kerry defended our most crucial civil liberty.
"Our purpose now is to reclaim democracy itself," he said. "We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism. It is the heart and soul of patriotism."
He invoked the Constitution twice, once to take a swipe at John Ashcroft and again to tag Republicans for trying to misuse it for political purposes (a thinly veiled reference to the proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage).

This isn't an attack on John Kerry. But people involved with the convention should be questioned as should the people hired to run the campaign (many of who quickly surfaced after the election, to speak of how Kerry had 'problems' communicating with people -- no, that's the campaign staff's problem, they were hired to address that). (And no, that's not a slam at Mary Beth Cahill.)

While Kerry may have mentioned J-Ass (a proven applause line and one that would drive up donations whenever Kerry commented on the thankfully now former attorney general) and the attacks of dissent, the reality is Medea Benjamin was detained at the convention for unfurling a banner (pro-peace banner). She would have been arrested if they hadn't realized what a public relations nightmare that would be.

You saw Bill Richardson make a complete ass out of himself with his rude treatment of Amy Goodman. (It's a short segment so I'll only quote the ending -- due to fair use restrictions --
GOVERNOR RICHARDSON: I'm sorry. Please get that out of my way. Watch or listen to the segment.)

Mad Maddie Albright didn't do any better.

AMY GOODMAN: Secretary Albright--the question I have always wanted to ask' do you regret having said, when asked do you think the price was worth it--
MADELINE ALBRIGHT: I have said 5,000 times that I regret it. It was a stupid statement. I never should have made it and if everybody else that has ever made a statement they regret, would stand up, there would be a lot of people standing. I have many, many times said it and I wish that people would report that I have said it. I wrote it in my book that it was a stupid statement.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it laid the ground work for later being able to target Iraq and make it more acceptable on the part of the Bush administration?
MADELINE ALBRIGHT: What? You've got to be kidding.

Unless I'm mistaken, Mad Maddie is invited on television because of the position she held. She wrote a book that was sold on her career accomplishments. "You've got to be kidding" hardly seems like an approprite response to a policy issue -- especially one that she piped off on and, according to her, has since had to her make "5,000" clarifications.

If you watch the segment, you'll note that Mad Maddie has to have a buffer between herself and Goodman and that the closest she comes to eye contact is a sidelong glance. (Maybe she was doing her Cher impersonation?)

Now Richardson or Albright might argue, "Do you know what Amy Goodman did to Bill Clinton!"

Yes. She did an interview with him. And she asked tough questions. And as she pointed out, he could have ended the call anytime he wanted. (He called her.) (And instead of blaming Goodman for doing her job, someone might have blamed the fool who sat up the call to Democracy Now! on election day -- what Bill Clinton thought would be a get-out-the-vote pep talk -- since some idiot didn't realize that when the call was finally placed, Democracy Now! was already off the air for that day, which is why it ran the next day, after the election.)

You can listen to the interview online at Democracy Now! or you can read a transcript of it in Goodman's book (with her brother David Goodman) The Exception to the Rulers. (I'll give Clinton credit for staying on the line.)

There was an elected state official at the GOP convention that came off much better than Mad Maddie and Richardson did. (My apologies for not citing him by name but I'm going through the Democracy Now! archives and can't find the segment he appeared in.)

Medea Benjamin pops up in other media when she's protesting at the GOP convention. And certain broadcasters (not Amy Goodman or Juan Gonzales, or Janeane Garofalo) got very nervous is she attempts to discuss the Democratic convention.

We love you -- as long as you tell us what the GOP did wrong. (The GOP does plenty wrong -- I'm trying to think of something they have, as a party, done right recently and nothing comes to mind.) But we're not going to have discussions about the Democratic Party apparently.

If you were against the war and were for Kerry, you were told to silence your objections because it wasn't doing anyone any good (the candidate, the campaign, the cause). The result was a Democratic convention that very few seriously addressed in terms of what was on stage. (What went on off stage is not a press topic for the mainstream.)

When gotta-love-that-Bully-Boy finally started to crack, what we saw was a limited number of topics being deemed "appropriate" for discussion.

So I appreciate that Bob Somerby is an independent voice and I appreciate anyone who is. We need to be aware of them even if they don't speak to us. So if a member highlights someone and they don't speak to you, find someone who does and share it with the community.

More voices is always the answer. There are issues we're not always aware of and that's because we have a very limited range of voices. Now the right should build up their own set of voices and that's for them to do at their web sites. (And more power to them.) But we need to be aware of what's out there on the left.

I doubt very seriously that Somerby (to try to stay focused on the supposed topic) would agree with every issue I feel passionately about. That's not why he's highlighted. He's highlighted because he's going to speak his mind and he's not go shut up just to get along. (He is also of the left or he wouldn't be highlighted at this site to begin with.)

If I had the time (any time), I'd be visiting Bartcop every day. But that doesn't mean I agree with everything he writes. He spoke to me because he was true to what he believed in. Media Whores Online spoke to what they believed in which is why I visited their site even when I disagreed with something they had posted.

Let's hope another event like 9-11 never happens. But if it does, we'll need to look somewhere other than the mainstream media. And in terms of issues effecting our lives daily, we need to look somewhere else as well.

There are many members who e-mail that they only come here and go to A Winding Road, Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and The Third Estate Sunday Review because they're concerned by site trackers and data mining. (We don't have a tracker up at this site and we will never will out of respect for people's right to privacy. If Google has something here, I'm unaware of it and have no control over it and certainly didn't ask for it.)

So they really depend on the pull quotes highlighted here. If you're e-mailing to say that someone has a great piece, you're welcome to say which section you want pull quoted. (Many already do that.) The alternative is to just go by my judgement. In which case, we're getting more voices, yes, but a limited scope/range of the discussion.

And we have ten members who've volunteered to be on this month's committee to evaluate any suggestions for a permanent link to a blogger. So if there's someone not linked to that you think should be, e-mail the site. (The ten this go round are Liang, Rob, Eli, Francisco, Marcia, Erika, Cedric, Dominick, Krista and Keesha. Why ten? If it's a five-five split, it's not someone we need to highlight. And yes, they will determine it. Whomever they select or don't select will be the final word.)

Democracy Now! Exclusive: Arab American Publisher Says Bush Told Him in May 2000 He Planned to "Take Out" Iraq

Arab American Publisher Says Bush Told Him in May 2000 He Planned to "Take Out" Iraq

OSAMA SIBLANI: I met with the President, and he wanted to go to Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, and he considered the regime an imminent and gathering threat against the United States.
AMY GOODMAN: You met with the President of the United States?
OSAMA SIBLANI: Yes, when he was running for election in May of 2000 when he was a governor. He told me just straight to my face, among 12 or maybe 13 republicans at that time here in Michigan at the hotel. I think it was on May 17, 2000, even before he became the nominee for the Republicans. He told me that he was going to take him out, when we talked about Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

[The segment is read, listen and/or watch. Marcia wonders if the mainstream media will even note this. Let's watch and see.]

The Sunday Chat & Chews (and Meet the Press, fix your web page)

I don't care for the Sunday chat & chews but since three members asked . . .

We'll start with Face the Nation because my friend at CBS says some people didn't care for the fact that it was pointed out what a "sh*t poor job" they do online with regard to Face the Nation.
In a phone call he advised me that the guests for this week were posted (and they are):

Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State

Sen. Richard G. Lugar
Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee
Republican - Indiana

Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Ranking Member, Foreign Relations Committee
Democrat - Delaware

Meet the Press (NBC) forgets that it's the "press" and does another "Meet the Russert" this Sunday:

Secretary of State
D - NebraskaSEN.
R - Rhode Island
(R - VA)
Chairman, Government Reform Committee
(D - CA)
Ranking Member, Government Reform Committee

Over at ABC's This Week:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Jose Canseco, for[mer] Major League Baseball slugger
Jeffrey Sachs, author of "The End of Poverty"

Let's note the obvious, Condi is on all three. Is that not a diversity in the guests!

I mean, come on, it's the same old, same old.

Bill Scher at Liberal Oasis will tell you exactly what happened on each show come Monday.
If there's any especially jaw dropping moments (good or bad), Bob Somerby will highlight them at The Daily Howler. Life is too short, so I honestly can't grasp why anyone would want to park themselves in the front of their TV for a half hour (Face the Nation) or more (Meet the Press, This Week.)

I mean, okay, Cokes Roberts and Sam Donaldson have been taken out of the mothballs and will be back on the This Week roundtable this Sunday. Gramps and Grandma will be clucking like crazy.

Now I know it can be fun to watch her play clutch-the-pearls journalism. And members have spoken of the fun of watching slight changes to her hair style or her increasingly heavy jowls ("like a basset hound!" notes Barbara).

But Cokie Roberts examplifies these programs -- you spin and lie and pass it off as conventional wisdom. Yes, she's older, she's harder on the eyes. Yes, she's like Lucille Ball going into Life With Lucy and you can't take your eyes off her own personal train wreck.

But is life that unimportant that you'd trade in valuable time to sit through this nonsense?

All the shows have long forgotten the point of "we the people" and are about the beltway, by the beltway and for the beltway. No one will disagree or argue a point from the center or the left.
(Some from the right do refuse to "play nice" from time to time.) It's all so "genteel," so "we are all so above you."

And it's all such total crap and a waste of time.

I'll read Liberal Oasis and The Daily Howler and spare myself the torture. But some of you find it humorous (hopefully that's all you find it because there's no true information on those shows) so have at it.

It gives people the appearence of being "informed" only because none of the pundits are tracked or held accountable when their "conventional wisdom" fails (as it does more often than not).

Let's note some e-mails.

Ralph e-mails wondering why the baseball player is on? (By the way it's listed as "for" and I've added "mer" to the listing.) Because George Will long ago realized how effite he and his bow tie and his pursed lips came off on TV so he began making himself into a commentator on 'America's past-time.' As such, when there's anything remotely "newsy" in the world of baseball, it's time to trot them onto the show so Will can aspire to likeable. He never pulled it off in the past, but, hey, law of averages dictates that he will at some point.

Lyle points out that "Tim Russert can really go after a guest who won't answer." Yes, Lyle, you are correct, if a Democrat comes on, Tim Russert can be very hostile. And if a Republican wants to dance around the issue, Timmy's right there to play footsie. Pay attention to these shows (and read the commentaries at The Daily Howler and Liberal Oasis) and you'll realize how awful they are. With regard to Meet the Press, if Russert ever got too demanding when a new contract was being ironed out, the smartest thing NBC could do would be to air old (pre-Russert)
episodes of Meet the Press on MSNBC so that people could realize how far off course the show has gone under Russert.

Betty points out that Barbara Boxer was on with Blinky last week on Face the Nation. Yes, she was. And no, I didn't watch. If she's on NPR with Terry Gross, I'll listen. But she's not going to get far with Blinky moderating. And on Blinky (that's a nickname he has, by the way -- not from me, from some at CBS) . . .

Me, personally? I don't want an intense close up of a live rabbit staring at me from my TV screen. And though he's apparently striding through the halls of CBS with a puffed-up sense of purpose, he's the replacement brought in not out of popularity or credibility but because he's regular (he's the fiber of CBS apparently) and they can toss him out there for a bit while they retool. He's temporary (and possibly very temporary, the reaction thus far hasn't been favorable but that might be due to the fact that Rather just left). Blinky doesn't come across well on TV. But as Democracy Now! noted Thursday:

Questions Raised Over CBS's Schieffer's Ties to Bush
In other news, after 24 years Dan Rather signed off Wednesday night as the anchor of CBS News. The network has named Bob Schieffer to serve as his interim replacement. Schieffer is the host of Face the Nation and the network's chief Washington Correspondent. Questions have arisen over Schieffer's personal ties to the Bush administration. Schieffer's younger brother, Tom, is U.S. ambassador to Australia and Bush recently nominated him to serve as ambassador to Japan. Tom Schieffer and the future president served as partners of the Texas Rangers baseball team in the early 1990s. During that time Bob Schieffer became friends with the future president and attended dozens of baseball games with him.

And Bob Somerby may be the first one to really raise that issue (he's certainly documented it at length) and Somerby continues to do so. Today commenting on how CBS ignored the story of Bush & National Guard obligations, Somerby notes:

Of course, it wasn’t mentioned on the CBS counterpart, Face the Nation. The liberal net had Schieffer in charge of that show -- and Scheiffer was a close friend of the candidate, although he absent-mindedly never remembered to say so when he covered his buddy’s campaign. So it went as the liberal network worked to stop Candidate Bush.

The Daily Howler has a searchable archive (by keyword) so just go to The Daily Howler and type in Scheiffer's name (you can probably just type in "Scheiffer") and you'll put up a great deal. (I'm remembering the 2004 debates period having a lot of comments about Scheiffer from Somerby.) You can also search "Cokie Roberts" and "Tim Russert" at Somerby's site. It's one thing to be a passive viewer taking each week's offering. It's another to read the analysis and start thinking about what "information" is exactly being imparted.

But maybe someone finds George Will sexy (hey, women fall in love with prisoners they don't even know on really bad made for cable movies all the time so somewhere, some woman or man, could find George Will sexy -- law of averages). Or maybe Cokes reminds them of that overgrown dog they had as a child that's long since passed. Maybe something's giving you an entry into something else. If so, use it. Grab any starting point that helps you.

But to Ralph, Lyle and Betty's request that I start providing commentary on the Sunday Chat & Chews, forget it. Life is too short (and I waste enough of it on the New York Times). Bob Somerby and Bill Scher have stronger constitutions than I do so utilize their commentaries. If some member is a brave soul and wants to write up something on any or all three shows, feel free and e-mail it in ( so we can share it with all the members.

But I've got better things to do. Oh, having taken a slap at Face the Nation's web site (deservedly slapped), let me look at Meet the Press to see if they ever fixed a problem at their web site.

Yep, it's still there. A friend pointed it out to me two years ago (and Meet the Press has been informed of this mistake repeatedly). I'll post it here and see if you can catch it:

From the very beginning, "Meet the Press" has been an equal opportunity, inclusive and groundbreaking news program. A proud part of that history was the involvement of women journalists. In fact, the co-creator of "Meet the Press" and the show's first moderator was noted journalist Martha Rountree. The first female guest interviewed on "Meet the Press" was Elizabeth Bentley, a former Soviet spy, on September 12, 1948.
Since those beginning days, "Meet the Press" has interviewed First Ladies Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Laura Bush appeared on "Meet the Press" the first three years of her husband’s presidency. Other notable women appearing as guests over the years on "Meet the Press" include: Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Jane Fonda, Phyllis Schlafly, Geraldine Ferraro, Gloria Steiner, Elizabeth Dole, Madeleine Albright, Tipper Gore, Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Shirley Temple Black and Caroline Kennedy.

Need some help?

Since those beginning days, "Meet the Press" has interviewed First Ladies Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Laura Bush appeared on "Meet the Press" the first three years of her husband’s presidency. Other notable women appearing as guests over the years on "Meet the Press" include: Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Jane Fonda, Phyllis Schlafly, Geraldine Ferraro, Gloria Steiner, Elizabeth Dole, Madeleine Albright, Tipper Gore, Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Shirley Temple Black and Caroline Kennedy.

Do you know Gloria Steiner? Neither do I. That's because it's Gloria Steinem.

Again, this has been that way for two years. And Meet the Press has been informed of it. But they haven't seen fit to correct it. Maybe that's the current team's little dig at Steinem? Or maybe it's just reflective of how sloppy an arm of a major news division can be.

I have no idea when the page first went up. But, again, two years ago a friend pointed it out to me. I know of ten attempts to get Meet the Press to correct this error. (And I'm sure there are many attempts I don't know of.) Two years and they still can't fix their mistake.

And we're supposed to trust them on the larger issues?

Before anyone says "Glass houses!" I make typos all the time and don't deny it. However, I'm not a division of NBC news. And anytime a typo or mispelling of someone's name is pointed out, we do go back and correct it. Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now! is "Juan Gonzalez." And when that was pointed out, we went back to the Year-in Review and corrected it from the misspelling of "Juan Gonzales." We also posted on that mistake when it was pointed out. I'm sure there's a "Juan Gonzales" up in some entry still -- find it, e-mail the site and it will be corrected -- but this is the "about Meet the Press" page. This isn't a rush transcript of an episode of Meet the Press. So it should have been fixed a long time ago. And, my opinion, should have never made it up to begin with.

The whole point of listing those women is to prove that Meet the Press provides "diversity" (it doesn't). So those women are being cited for a reason. It undercuts the reason (and their "notability") when the names are incorrect. To have posted it demonstrates that whomever was checking the "copy" knew little too nothing about the women involved. To have continued to allow the error to stand may indicate a lack of respect or just laziness.

It's Women's History Month, so maybe that will give them a reason to fix it? (Before anyone gets excited by the listing, note that they're going back to pre-Russert periods for many of the guests -- Jane Fonda is going back to 1979 or early 1980, for instance.)

Democracy Now: Madrid, Juan Cole and Osama Siblani; The Daily Howler, The News Dissecter and the ACLU

Democracy Now! usually gets Marcia's tag line of "Always worth watching" but she requests that today it be noted that it's "jaw droppingly incredible." (Watch, read or listen and you'll see why.)

Headlines for March 11, 2005
- Shiites & Kurds in Iraq Form Coalition Government
- 50 Die In Suicide Bombing At Shiite Funeral In Iraq
- Pentagon Considers Shipping Guantanamo Detainees Overseas
- Democrats Slam Pentagon Report On Military Abuse
- Senate Oks Overhaul of Bankruptcy Laws
- Judge Dismisses Agent Orange Lawsuit
- Court Hears Case Accusing Kissinger of Role in 1970 Killing
- Ex-NYPD Detectives Arrested For Mafia Ties

A Day of Mourning: Spain Marks Anniversary of March 11 Madrid Train Bombings
Across Spain today, people are marking the first anniversary of the March 11 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and left more than 1,800 wounded. We go to Madrid to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent, Maria Carrion. [includes rush transcript]

Juan Cole and Osama Siblani on Middle East Politics, U.S. Media Coverage of the Region, and the Arab American Landscape
We broadcast from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor - home to the first antiwar teach-in forty years ago this month. Also, the region surrounded by Detroit and Dearborn is home to one of the largest Arab communities in this country.
We spend the rest of the hour looking at issues surrounding the Middle East, both in terms of U.S. foreign policy as well as here at home and how Arab Americans and Arab immigrants have been affected by the Bush administration's so-called war on terror. We speak with University of Michigan professor, Juan Cole and Osama Siblani, publisher and editor-in-chief of "The Arab American" newspaper. [includes rush transcript]

Arab American Publisher Says Bush Told Him in May 2000 He Planned to "Take Out" Iraq
Osama Siblani, publisher of "The Arab American" newspaper, says George W Bush told him in May 2000 - before he was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate - that he is going to "take out" Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby continues to cover social security and continues to
rate the arguments put foward by people who are supposed to be conveying to Americans how
myth based the Bully Boy's argument is and how faulty. From today's entry:

Meanwhile, E. J. Dionne further deceived the Post's misused readers on this key matter (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/9/05). Try to believe that the fiery "liberal pundit" typed this absurd account:

DIONNE (3/9/05): As for personal accounts, their more forthright advocates acknowledge that paying for them will require either substantial tax increases or borrowing on the order of $2 trillion. Bush has finessed this nasty detail, hoping that such brave Republican legislators as Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Hagel would take the hit for delivering the bad news.

That is complete, total horsesh*t. In fact, Dionne achieves a twofer with this account. First, he grossly misleads the Pos'’s misused readers about the likely cost of transition. Second, he implies that Republicans who put the cost at two trillion dollars deserve high praise for being so "brave" and "forthright!" In fact, such Republicans are baldly misinforming the public, just like the Democrats who enable them. But so what? All around the liberal web, lackeys let this nonsense continue. No, they won't criticize those wonderful Dems; after all, some bloggers work for the Democrats now. And no, they won't challenge Saint Dionne. Some of them want to work for the Post (some publish op-eds for the paper right now), and they want to attend those insider parties, where fiery Washington liberals like Dionne swill wine and develop their swill. Who gets royally screwed in the process? You do, along with the rest of the public. So do your critical interests.
As polls have indicated, the actual size of those transition costs could drive a stake through the heart of this plan. But how is the public supposed to learn about the probable costs? Plainly, the Democrats are wholly inept, and the big news orgs refuse to report. And liberal bloggers? They refuse to complain! Go ahead, folks -- have a good weekend.

There's much more in today's entry (and we'll be discussing Somerby & The Daily Howler in another entry -- hopefully tonight but there are posting problems tonight like last night).

Danny Schechter's News Dissector blog is always a worthy read combinging all things domestic and international. Tori e-mailed today asking that one topic in today's News Dissector be noted:

As we think of those wars, think of the bloodshed that once again rocked Iraq, this time in Mosul. And also think of this story from Al Jazeera:
US detained children in Abu Ghraib
An 8-year-old was among the children detained by US soldiers at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib jail, a former prison commander has said.
Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski told officials investigating prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib that the child was crying and wanted to see his mother.
Karpinski's statement is among hundreds of pages of US Army records about Abu Ghraib the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released on Thursday.
The ACLU got the documents under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records about abuse of detainees in Iraq."

Tori also wants everyone to know that with the new design of Schechter's blog, you can post comments. I agree that's a great addition but don't know how many members here will be interested just because the community didn't like that feature for this site. However, if you are someone who doesn't like that feature and you haven't yet checked out Danny Schechter's blog, please note that he has a section at the bottom of each entry that revolves around e-mails sent to him. (That's a feature the community as a whole seems to prefer.)

Rob asks that we note this from the ACLU, "ACLU Says New Detainee Report Does Not Absolve Senior Officials of Responsibility for Abuses; Special Prosecutor Needed:"

Despite aggressive claims to the contrary by the Defense Department, an investigation into detainee torture by American military personnel released today did not and likely could not have absolved senior-level Pentagon officials of responsibility for the widespread abuse of men and women in American military custody, the American Civil Liberties Union said.
"Military investigations can only look down," said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. "An impartial and comprehensive investigation of senior-level Pentagon officials would require the appointment of a special prosecutor by the attorney general."
The Navy investigation was conducted by Vice Adm. Albert T. Church, the Navy’s inspector general, who, according to the former head of the Navy’s legal corps, would have had limited authority to actively investigate criminal conduct by his superiors.
The only way criminal conduct by senior-level civilian officials at the Pentagon could be properly assessed, Romero said, is through the appointment of a special prosecutor by the attorney general. Without such an appointment, criminal conduct by civilian political appointees at the Pentagon will forever go unpunished.
Last week the ACLU filed a civil complaint on behalf of detainees who were abused in Iraq and Afghanistan against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, alleging that he is legally responsible because he failed to exercise his command responsibility to prevent and stop abuse and torture. If military commanders have reason to know of illegal conduct by their subordinates, and they do not take adequate measures to stop it, they are liable for their subordinates’ conduct under Supreme Court legal precedent.
"Secretary Rumsfeld authorized techniques that were clearly unlawful," Romero said. "What’s worse is that he violated his command responsibility by ignoring the reports of torture that came to his attention in 2003 and 2004. Turning a blind eye to the torture that was going on under his command is not a sufficient legal or moral excuse."