Sunday, December 29, 2013

Truest statement of the week

Two years after President Barack Obama declared that his administration had ended the catastrophic US war in Iraq “responsibly… leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant” government, the US has rushed emergency shipments of Hellfire missiles to Baghdad and appears to be preparing for a possible renewal of direct military intervention in the form of drone missile attacks.

-- Bill Van Auken, "US prepares strikes against Islamists in Iraq" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

Remember how our savior-seeking crowd cheered and chanted for Al Gore in 2006. Do you remember his very famous detailed and impassioned speech sponsored by liberal and conservative groups?  Gore said that although much remained unknown about the spying program, “what we do know … virtually compels the conclusion that the president of the United States has been breaking the law, repeatedly and insistently.” Oh, but he said even more: “…Article II of the impeachment charges against President Nixon was warrantless wiretapping, which the president said was ‘necessary’ for national security.” It can be an impeachable offense, Gore added.
Oh, how we cheered and clapped. Some even declared him the hero and the great savior who had finally arrived. Do you remember? So where is he now? Where has he been since the new Democratic Party King was elected and expanded the previous king’s illegalities and criminalities? Where is that great savior? What has he been saying and doing in the face of our new king’s quadrupled unconstitutionalities? Please raise your hand if you have seen or heard him since we electedhis king versus their king.

No, he is not dead. No, he is not in a jail or exile. He decided to live happily and comfortably after. And he is several hundred million dollars richer than when he was delivering those heroic speeches.

-- Sibel Edmonds, "From Gore to Greenwald: Establishment-Made Heroes" (Global Research, Boiling Frogs).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Yet another Sunday but the last one of 2013.  Happy New Year to all of our readers, those who love the site, those who like it and those who hate it but can't seem to stop reading for whatever reasons.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

The last edition of the year and what did we come up with:

WSWS Bill Van Auken gets another truest as the year draws to a close.
Sibel Edmonds' gets one as well.  We saw her article on Global Research's site so we linked to it and to Boiling Frogs, for any wondering why there are two links.

We had no editorial.  We assumed we'd do Iraq.  We are all tired. Exhausted.  It was Dona who said, "Person of the year?  When you think about it, that's really a commentary on the year itself.  Can we call it our editorial?"  We will. And Lynne is our person of the year.
I (Jim) knew Ava and C.I. would choose to go in a different direction after the massive popularity of their work last week but I wouldn't have guessed this.  It's a primer, it's a footnote, it's an examination and so much more.
Black Agenda Report, more than other outlet in 2013, was indespensible.  We thank Glen Ford, Bruce A. Dixon and Margaret Kimberley for their hard work and the high benchmark they set for everyone else to strive toward.
Napster had nothing on the NSA.  It's the end of the year. Last week, Ava and C.I. turned out an edition in about five hours.  That was with them doing all the fact checking as well as typing. We wanted it to be that kind of an edition. And we wondered how?  By doing a list of 2013!!!!  Sadly, that did not make the edition run any quicker.

I like this piece.  Rebecca, Betty, Ava, C.I. and I think Wally were the ones who came up with this and argued for it.  I don't think any other left outlet will write anything like this.  I think it will just be us.  Good for us.
Ava and C.I. had one message to pass on regarding last week when the rest of us took off and they were left to do the edition and read all the incoming e-mails ( What is the Toyota commercial everyone's griping about in e-mails?  It's this one and it's pretty much universally hated.

Dona said, "We forgot the whole Beyonce nonsense!"  And we had.  Betty's working on the topic at her site.  She looked at a draft she'd done and cut out some of it.  She then copied and pasted it and said we could have it.  This is Betty's rough draft writing with the rest of us smoothing it over.  Big thanks to Betty.
What a smug prick Henry is.  And this is how we justified no editorial.  The editorial would have been on Iraq.  Ty and Dona pointed out that we had this and that Ava and C.I. tackled Iraq in their media comentary.

Ava, C.I. and Mike insisted on this.  We had finished the edition and were about to publish as soon as Jess finished typing up Person of the year (the last thing we wrote).  That's when Mike asked if we were going to do anything on Nikita.  I said, "No.  Why would we?"  Ava and C.I. took up the issue then and this was really written by them and Dona with Ty agreeing to type it.

I wrote this early in the edition.  It's not done.  Why?  Ava and C.I. had finished their commentary before I was done.  Read this to grasp that after I started it, Ava and C.I. started their piece.  Now go eyeball their piece, don't read it, come back to my piece and grasp how quickly Ava and C.I. write.  They did all of that in the time it took me to do this tiny piece.
Repost from from Great Britain's Socialist Worker.
Repost from Workers World.

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

And those are just two archives.

We hope everyone has a happy new year and we pray for peace, democracy, justice and our beleaguered Constitution in the new year.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

2013 Person of the Year

Ed Snowden?


He took a dump and he left.

Good for him for getting out but now we're all dependent upon the hoarders of the information to oh-so slowly release it.

Miley Cyrus?

She's certainly replaced Britney Spears as most talked about celebrity of the year and done so without needing to seek treatment or care -- at least so far.

But while many found her various actions interesting or funny, we didn't find them that worthy.


The Mars Land Rover was astounding.

But no.

Political prisoner Lynne Stewart is the person of the year.

Too hot for the Glenn Greenwalds to write or blog about, Lynne is the woman who gave her all.

Even before Howard Zinn's first copy of A People's History of the United States was ever published, Lynne had already become The People's Attorney.

She was there for so many in their time of need.

She didn't run out of fear, she didn't waiver.

She was a defense attorney and proud to be one, proud to be the part of the justice system advocating for innocence, for understanding, for compassion.

She was born in Brooklyn but she spent her formative years in Queens. In the sixties, Lynne was a librarian at Harlem's PS 175 when she met substitute teacher Ralph Poynter.  He explained in 2012, "I have lived with her, fought with her and beside her, and loved her for almost 50 years."

And it really was one of the great romantic stories of the left.  Lynne, an Anglo White woman, and Ralph, an African-American man, meet in the mid-60s, at a Harlem school, fall in love and make a life and family together.

Ralph speaks a lot today of Lynne's strength.   She's spoken a lot of Ralph's strength.  Of how it made her want to become more active, of how it helped her go for the dream of becoming an attorney.  In 1977, she began practicing law in the State of New York.  They gave each other strength.

Mumia Abu-Jamal observes:

Lynne and Ralph ran --  for over 30 years --  a law firm of last resort, for the poor, working-class and political people who stood up to and resisted the Empire.

Now, in connection with the Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, Lynne allegedly broke a facially unconstitutional prison rule, and this became the pretext for jailing and disbarring one of the finest lawyers ever to walk the streets of the Big Apple.

What's he talking about?

To be person of the year, you need to be someone whose life sums up the times in which we live.

Lynne certainly does that.

She's in a federal prison now.

She's in a federal prison yet she broke no law.

For the 'crime' of issuing a press release, she is confined to a prison.  The 'crime' happened on Attorney General Janet Reno's watch.  Reno has her detractors who think she was far too tough as Attorney General.  She also has her supporters who see her as a moderate.  No one saw her as 'soft.'  Reno had her Justice Department review what happened.  There was no talk of a trial because there was no crime.  No law was broken.

The Justice Department imposes guidelines -- not written by Congress, so not laws -- on attorneys.

These guidelines are what Lynne supposedly broke -- not laws -- when she issued the press release to Reuters.

Reno's Justice Department did not try to prosecute Lynne.

Janet Reno had the brains to know you don't go to prison for breaking a guideline.

So, under Reno, Lynne was made to review the guidelines and told not to break it again.

That was her 'punishment' under Janet Reno.

Bully Boy Bush comes into office and the already decided incident becomes a way for Attorney General John Ashcroft to try to build a name for himself. He goes on David Letterman's show to announce, after 9-11, that they're prosecuting Lynne for terrorism.

Eventually tossed in prison?

Even Bully Boy Bush allowed Lynne to remain out on appeal.  It's only when Barack Obama becomes president that Lynne gets tossed in prison.  It's only under Barack that the US Justice Depart disputes the judge's sentence and demands a harsher one (under the original sentence Lynne would be out now).

Lynne is person of the year for many reasons.  She certainly is representative of the American people in a time when the government tramples over Americans' civil rights and disregards the Constitution and think 'legal' is whatever the White House says it is.

She's person of the year also due to the fact that, as the Center for Disease Control notes, "12.7 million people learn they have cancer."

For Lynne, the cancer emerged after the charges.  This was part of the reason the Bully Boy Bush administration didn't demand she immediately begin serving her sentence but instead were willing to let her go through the appeals process and seek treatment for the cancer.

Barack, whose own (White) mother died of cancer, was far less sympathetic or kind.  We think of him as the more brutal Bush -- the Pubic Bush, if you will.

Now the cancer has returned.

In September, on Black Agenda Radio (airs each Monday at 4:00 pm EST on the Progressive Radio Network),  Glen Ford spoke with attorney David Gespass about efforts to help Lynne.

Glen Ford:  People's lawyer Lynne Stewart continues to fight for a compassionate release from prison where she's serving a ten year sentence for zealously defending her client.  Stewart is suffering Stage IV breast cancer but the Obama administration has turned down all of her pleas to be released to her family and doctors.  In Birmingham, Alabama, we spoke with David Gespass, a former president of the National Lawyers Guild.

David Gespass:  My initial position was she never should have been convicted in the first place and certainly should not have gotten the kind of draconian sentence she did.  But beyond that, I think even under the old guidelines, she was entitled to compassionate release given the severe nature of her health and the cost to the government to provide care that would otherwise be provided with her family at home.  Given the new guidelines -- and I think the only possible reason not to release her would be just pure vindictiveness. 

Glen Ford:  Lynne Stewart suffering Stage IV breast cancer is certainly no danger to anybody's community.

David Gespass:  And she was never much of a danger to begin with other than the fact that she was a really vigorous advocate for the clients that she represented.  At this point, she can't practice law because of the conviction.  There is nothing that could cause any harm by her release and an enormous amount of harm could be caused by her staying in prison.

Glen Ford:  Lynne Stewart is in prison because she was a zealous defender of her client.

David Gespass:  That's exactly right.

Glen Ford:  Isn't that the lawyer's job?

David Gespass:  Absolutely.  And I think her prosecution was a warning to defense lawyers that they should not do their jobs as vigorously as they are required Constitutionally to do -- particularly in cases involving allegations of so-called 'terrorism.'

Which is another reason Lynne is the person of the year.

This administration goes after whistle-blowers.  A corrupt administration fears truth tellers.

As Ralph Poynter explained in June of 2010:

Those who have the courage to speak truth are always in danger. Lynne Stewart has the courage to speak truth at a time and place and where denial is king.  And she is in danger of suffering a long slow death in the US penal system.  All that stands between her and this slow death is courage in the judicial system. All that stands between her and torture in a penal medical system is courage on the part of medical professionals. At a time when courage is dwindling we all must support courage and courageous people where and whenever they rise up. America needs courageous people as much now as in any time in history. 

In her late 30s, Lynne graduated law school. She was nearly forty and a lot of people in their forties with a law degree were probably eyeing an early out and hills of gold.  Not Lynne.

Lynne wanted to be in the court room, she wanted to pit her considerable skills and intellect against a prosecutor and argue the law.  Of course, she wanted to win for her clients.  But she also had a belief that lawyers who really care change the system just by participating.

She had hopes, she had dreams.

And she won some cases and she lost some cases.

The losses always weighed heavy on her and she always took it in a what-should-I-have-done-differently manner.  Lynne's never been one to pass up a chance to learn something new.

And an attorney like that, one who gets better with each case, when she's a defense attorney?  That's probably one of the most threatening things to a corrupt government.

Lynne was a danger . . . if you didn't believe in freedom.

Lynne was a danger . . . if you were opposed to justice.

Now, though she's broken no law, she's locked away in a federal prison.

Last August, Oren Yaniv (New York Daily News) reported, "The 73-year-old disbarred attorney was recently given 18 months to live after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer."

And yet she remains imprisoned.

In November, Lynne wrote:

Some of you have written asking where I get the strength to keep on.  My  simple and truthful and sincere and heartfelt answer is that I get it from the depth of love and respect from my beloved partner, Ralph, my dear children and their children, and  from all the people, that stay in touch with me, yes.    I receive regular and wonderful mail from all segments of the movement, from the young asking for advice "on being a lawyer like you", from octogenarians, nonagenarians and 70 + who have given their political all for their lifetimes and continue to do so, from the lawyers in the Guild, from the poets and the songwriters, the rappers and  the writers whose art is not separated from our movement for change -- So Many More. So impossible to include everyone but know that even if I am slow to answer, I read every word I receive and it sustains me and strengthens me and makes it possible to face each new day.  While the political landscape is gloomy at best, I always remember that in the 50′s, no-one imagined that the 60′s were right around the corner !  Onward !!

Barack could order a compassionate release in a minute.

Lynne committed no crime.  She has no history of violence.

She has cancer and its killing her.

This native New Yorker who rarely left her home state for more than a week's time has been confined to a Texas prison.

That's another reason she's person of the year.

Prison is not supposed to remove you from physical contact with your family.

But that's what the prison industrial complex now does.  Instead of being confined in a prison close to your home, you're taken a distance away.  The system that claims it wants to rehabilitate you is in fact attempting to weaken your family ties.

Lynne's an extreme example of that.  Her home is New York City.  No offense to Fort Worth, Texas, but why the hell is Lynne imprisoned there?  Because that was as far from New York as the government could take her?  There were no empty cells in Alaska?

Lynne is America.

She is us at our best.

Fighting, believing we can make life better.

Participating in the system because you think you can make a difference.

Her attitude is the reason we get out of bed in the morning.

What's being done to her?

That's America as well, the dark side, the side ruled by fear.

Lynne's not a terrorist.

But we can be -- and often have been -- tricked to fear.

And that trick is what fueled the unfair and unjust verdict against Lynne.

It's what feeds and fuels genocides, it's what breeds hatred.

These are very difficult days for Lynne.

But she keeps fighting and she keeps smiling.

And if you pay attention, she breaks your heart a little each day because you wonder how can she keep hoping?

So many would give up, refuse to get out of their bed or leave their cell.

But that's not Lynne and it's never been Lynne.

She'll fight to the end because she believes there's a chance things can get better.

Her life is the story of America.

A compassionate release means a better America.

Whatever happens, she has exemplified the country and its messy search for identity and meaning.


If Lynne's going to get a compassionate release, these are the three numbers to call:

President Obama-202 456 1111,

Att.Gen.Holder-202 353 1555

B.O.P. Dir. Samuels-202 307-3250/3062

Media: The Collapse of Indymedia and its Queen

The Battle in Seattle was supposed to have changed everything.

It really didn't.

It launched a media movement that was falsely branded as "DIY."  Do It Yourself.

It has failed so much that there is now a company called DIY Media -- the movement lost its own brand.

So now the tricksters head to places like Full Sail University and try to pimp "YOU are the media!" or "You Are Your Media."  It wasn't supposed to be this way.

For example, Crapapedia notes:

The Independent Media Center (also known as Indymedia or IMC) is a global participatory network of journalists that report on political and social issues. It originated during the Seattle anti-WTO protests worldwide in 1999 and remains closely associated with the global justice movement, which criticizes neo-liberalism and its associated institutions. Indymedia uses an open publishing and democratic media process that allows anybody to contribute.

So much time and energy (and a little money) was put into creating Indymedia in the US.

And it's all pretty much gone.  Each year of Barack Obama's presidency has seen more and more Indymedia sites in the US stop publishing and disappear.  Currently, even the main US collective is down.

The main collective existed as a 'best of' all the other US IMC outlets.  (Indymedia's more formal name is Independent Media Center.)  Being a 'best of' means US IMC grabbed content from the others.  If you visit the cache version of their last published main page, you'll see they were still publishing in September . . . of 2012.  They featured "Chicago Teachers Union strike ends, but concerns remain" (from Chicago IMC).  Chicago Indymedia continues to publish (with stories that went up this month).

In 2012, US IMC also featured DC and NYC IMC stories.  DC Indymedia continues to publish (with stories from this month).  NYC?  Their most 'recent' story on their main page is from March of this year.

At one point, back when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, there were 57 US IMC sites:

austin indymedia
big muddy
hudson mohawk
kansas city
minneapolis/st. paul
new hampshire
new jersey
new mexico
new orleans
north carolina
north texas
rogue valley
saint louis
san diego
san francisco
san francisco bay area
santa barbara
santa cruz, ca
tampa bay
united states
western mass

Those 57?  Most are now other sites (including one that will corrupt your computer so we've removed the links but you can Google them yourselves) or no sites at all.   Many are archived sites.  We especially like the site that stopped publishing 'temporarily' in 2008 and never came back.

How many are still publishing today?

We're going to be generous an include anyone that published at any time this month.

From 57 to only 9 besides DC and Chicago.

And who are the 9?

Boston Indymedia published this month, Colorado Indymedia, LA Indymedia, Atlanta Indymedia, Philly Indymedia, Portland Indymedia, Rochester Indymedia, Indybay IMC, and Santa Cruz Indybay did as well.

What we know about those sites?  The key thing for those 9 is that there was conflict and fighting, disagreement, often open disagreement and that apparently allowed them to thrive because they really were about free speech.  Indybay?  It was one of two San Francisco sites.  The other one -- which e-mailed The Common Ills in 2005 asking that TCI stop noting Indybay (didn't happen) -- is gone.  Indybay was the one that welcomed discussions and disagreements.  Or take Colorado, for example, which had some posters  walk out when Libertarians wanted to post.  Portland was the most attacked by the 'respectable' IMC sites -- like NYC.


Portland practices free speech.  That means you can publish on that site even if you're going after a sacred cow.  In a free for all over a sacred cow being called out, a lengthy comment included this, "It's not easy to referee an open (or should I say semi-open site?) site.  But we shouldn't allow Portland to be sterilized like most of the other IMCs. When you neuter the debate (or arguing if you prefer) you've removed the function of the site."

Portland Indymedia refused to neuter the debare and that's probably why it is among the few still around.

The sacred cow being gone after in that discussion of a 2006 article?  Amy Goodman.

She was the poster child for Indymedia -- she made herself that.

Because Seattle 1999 created a media boomtown.  Many journalists or 'journalists' suddenly wanted to be presented as the most independent in the world.

Let's drop back to Seattle.  Here's Ty explaining it:

The World Trade Organization scheduled their Ministerial Conference in Seattle in 1999. The conference was to begin on November 30th; however, activists turned out in huge numbers and shut the conference down. The Seattle protests were seen as the start of a a new era of activism. In many ways, September 11, 2001 would be used to attack them as if al Qaeda in Iraq were somehow activists. Many tactics of suppression and distortions and attacks followed 9-11. 

And the youth activists in Seattle reminded America what activism was -- so much more than signing a petition.

It tapped into something and a lot of journalists and 'journalists' wanted to ride that wave.

1 exception

Amy Goodman used the wave to get press coverage -- from everyone including The New York Times -- and get various covers from left media.

And, best of all, get covered by friends -- who didn't disclose the friendship but did re-write history.

Friends like the media gadfly, daughter of a semi-famous woman.  The still-done-nothing daughter wrote a gushing piece on Amy Goodman 'forgetting' to include that they were friends.  Forgetting a lot in fact.

For example, she claimed Goodman created Democracy Now! in 1996.

No, Pacifica Radio created the program in 1996 and it had the following people as hosts: Larry Bensky, Julie Drizin, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez and Salim Muwakkil.  Amy Goodman used strife at Pacifica to take over the show and would use her friends (Pacifica board member Leslie Cagan, for example) to get ownership of the show and a contract worth millions.

No one working in public media deserves to be paid millions.  They don't even deserve $100,000 a year. Public radio, for example, exists to inform the public and when you're spending more on personalities than on news gathering, you're not doing public radio.

What is Amy Goodman doing?

It's not journalism.

As we've noted before, prior to 2008, the 9-11 Truth Movement was the only one offering a sustained critique and analysis of her work.

In 2008, we joined in.  We were the ones pointing out that Amy knew Melissa Lie Face Harris Lacewell (Perry) and knew Melissa was working on Barack Obama's presidential primary campaign yet she just told her audiences that Melissa was a college professor, an independent one who happened to be in New Hampshire and was going to share what she saw.

What Melissa shared was endless praise of Barack.

Goodman was required to disclose to her guest was working for one of the candidates.

Goodman failed to do so.

We noted how when Barack was speaking out against NAFTA and AP broke the story that Barack was actually telling Canada NAFTA would stay law, Goodman worked overtime to ignore the issue and brought John Nichols on so that she and he could engage in 'news' that it was really Hillary Clinton.  (No, it was't Hillary.  Nichols and Goodman lied.)

We noted how she distorted PUMA on air -- and did so to cover up for Barack supporter who'd just revealed herself to be a liar.  There was Amy to distract.

We noted how she used her show to promote Barack as a candidate and how that effected who got booked and what questions they were asked.

We continued documenting how she ran from Iraq as soon as Barack became president and how she was nothing but a used out whore for the White House.

Then came Libya and, with it, Amy Goodman's selling of war.

And with that, her humped back was broken by a straw and reality emerged.

Scott Creighton (Educate Yourself) noted:

Amy Goodman of Democracy NOW! has become one of the most disingenuous news figures this country has to offer and that’s saying a lot because there are numbers of them. She is not worthy of your trust, she is not worthy of your time, she is not worthy of your respect… anymore.  Such a sad legacy she now leaves behind after a long and storied career as a dedicated teller of the truth in spite of the power aligned against her.
For whatever reason, she has become just another prostitute in service of the globalists who are at this minute still attacking the people of Libya, still bombing them and their infrastructure, still laying siege to cities and populations who refuse to surrender to NATO powers,  and still planning how to dice up the people of Libya’s state assets to hand them over to their favorite corporate contributors.
And Amy Goodman is in their service, lying to her audience on a daily basis.

Bruce A. Dixon (Black Agenda Report) spoke for many when he wrote, "We have to wonder whether, at least as far as the war in Libya goes, whether Democracy Now is simply feeding us the line of corporate media, the Pentagon and the State Department's rather than fulfilling the role of unembedded independent journalists."  Truth & Justice Radio's  Stan Robison also had the people's megaphone when he declared,  "I've been a devout listener for about 10 years and I've urged others to listen/watch Democracy Now. But DN's blatant, outrageous, pro-US Libya propaganda in today's edition has finally put me over the top. I'm finally coming to terms with the sad fact that I'd better not trust Democracy Now any more for basic honesty or integrity."  Historian William Blum commented, "The heavy bias of Democracy Now in this area goes back to the very beginning of the Arab Spring. The program made some unfortunate choices in its mideast news correspondents, seemingly only because they spoke Arabic and/or had contacts in the region. Where have you gone Amy Goodman? RT (Russia Today) has stood almost alone amongst English-language television news sources in offering an alternative to the official Western line."  Nota Khan (12160) dubbed Amy Goodman a "presstitute" due to her whoring for empire.  Rhone Fraser (Edifying Debate) observed Goody's propaganda required vanishing Cynthia McKinney:

Since Cynthia McKinney returned from her fact finding mission in June of 2011, I have been frankly appalled by her being ignored by Amy Goodman’s program Democracy Now. In fact, ever since Goodman’s coverage of Iran in 2009, I have had serious questions about Goodman calling her news source as “independent.” In my opinion, Goodman raised a bit too much questions about the legitimacy of the 2009 presidential election in Iran, especially claiming that protesters numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

To be really clear, former US House Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the 2008 presidential candidate for the Green Party, was a guest on numerous topics for numerous episodes until Barack went into the White House.

Questions would continue to spring up.   Clay Clairborne (Linux Beach) would note how the same event would be 'reported' by Goody in different ways, "Orwellian re-writing of history, which is what Democracy Now engaged in on Thursday's show, must be strongly opposed whether it is done by the right or the left."  John V. Walsh ( would report on how Goody's frequent 'expert' guest Juan Cole was actually a CIA contract employee

It would seem then that the interaction between the CIA operatives and Cole was long standing and sufficiently intimate that the CIA spooks could be expected to know things about Cole’s lifestyle and personal life.  It is not that anyone should give two figs about Cole’s personal life which is more than likely is every bit as boring as he claims.  But his relationship with the CIA is of interest since he is an unreconstructed hawk.  What was remarkable to me at the time is that Goodman did not pick up on any of this. Did she know before of Cole’s connections?  Was not this the wrong man to have as a “frequent guest,” in Goodman’s words, on the situation in the Middle East?

The late Alexander Cockburn (CounterPunch) would remark, "On Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now one was far more likely to hear CIA-consultant Juan Cole issuing fervent support for the entire intervention than rather any vigorous interviewing  of informed sources  about what was actually happening on the ground in Libya."  Rumors would spin about Goody's own supposed CIA connections and, maybe if Cockburn had lived longer, he would have written about some of those rumors since he certainly enjoyed talking about how Goodman was supposedly recruited in college.

While Cockburn's death may have left her off the hook, Goody couldn't stop destroying whatever was left of her image.  Syria only made things worse for Amy Goodman.  Finian Cunningham (Global Research) explained:

One such “alternative” news service is “Democracy Now” hosted by Amy Goodman. Goodman is seen as something of a campaigning critical journalist shedding the light of truth on the depredations of the US government, corporations and the Pentagon. But a closer look at what Goodman’s “Democracy Now” is reporting on Syria shows that the purported critical broadcaster has become a purveyor of Western government propaganda. While the mainstream media’s propaganda function is obvious to the informed public, Goodman’s Democracy plays a more subtle role. Camouflaged with the trappings of critical, independent journalism, “Democracy Now” serves to sow powerful seeds of misinformation in a way that the “compromised” mainstream media cannot.

Professor James F. Tracy (Information Clearing House) observed:

Today Goodman’s vaunted program is contributing to the very violence being committed by Western-backed mercenaries against the Syrian people.
Goodman and similar Left media are engaging and convincing precisely because of their posturing against corporate media control, economic exploitation and war mongering. Occupying the outer contours of National Public Radio's milquetoast programming, Democracy Now’s self-described “independent” reportage takes on a certain aura of authenticity among its supporters—mainly progressives with concerns for social justice and human rights.

Such characteristics make Goodman and Democracy Now among the most effective sowers of disinformation. Further, their role in assuaging an educated and otherwise outspoken audience serves only to aid and abet the wanton military aggression Goodman and her cohorts claim to decry. In light of the program’s broader coverage of the “Arab Spring,” such reporting must be recognized and condemned as sheer public relations for NATO and the Obama administration’s campaign of perpetual terrorism and war on humanitarian grounds.

Again to Scott Creighton:

I don’t know what price it took to buy off Amy Goodman, but whatever it was, I hope Amy enjoys it a lot because she sold out her legacy of legitimacy. Her entire career is now nothing more than a bargaining chip she used to cash in big time. I hope and pray her audience has enough sense to abandon her once and for all for this shameless propaganda piece she aired on her show. The memory of her courage and dedication to the truth is now faded away completely and all that’s left is just the realization that they can get to just about anybody these days.
And Amy? Do yourself a favor. Do us all a favor. Just f[**]king retire before you help them justify another Shock and Awe in Syria or Lebanon or Iran, ok? We expect that s[**]t from Bill O’Reilly it’s kinda sad to see you doing it as well.

And Amy's bled listeners and viewers.

We pointed out in 2008 that her book 'writing' days were over because the sales of the clip jobs from the Donny and Marie of the faux left sold less and less each outing.

She went on to publish two more 'books' after we noted her diminishing returns  But not with major publishing houses.  As we'd noted in 2008 as her latest 'book' was published, they were done with her with that book.

So she signed up with the small publisher Haymarket Books -- which may have just beat self-publishing -- to publish a collection of her bad weekly columns (that she's not the sole author of).  Then came The Silenced Majority.

With a photo.

Of herself on the cover.


The Silenced Majority?

It's something to grin about?

It is if the whole thing, the whole 'indy' enterprise was about yourself a media celebrity and stuffing your pockets with cash.

With her books not selling, that's been a little harder to do.

So, like a good whore, she slides her hands down your pants and whispers:

Dear Democracy Now! Visitors: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. Our show is special because we make it our priority to go where the silence is. We put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site between now and the end of the year gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2014. Pretty exciting, right? Please do your part today. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2014.

And if you've ever donated to the show, you got her December 26th "Urgent message" e-mail.

As with everything else about the creepy Amy Goodman, the e-mail was f**ked up.

"Happy Holidays"?

On December 26th?

How stupid is this idiot?


She's repeatedly called out unfair labor practices.  This month, Charles Davis' "The Exploited Laborers of the Liberal Media" (Vice) was published revealing the sweat shop Goodman runs.

Interns at Democracy Now! are unpaid for the first two months.  After that?  If they work over 20 hours a week, they will be paid for the 21st hour and any hours after.

They will be paid the grand sum of $3 an hour.

That's not even half the federal minimum wage.

These interns who are supposed to be gaining news experience?

They're also used for Amy's parties.

They're expected to serve and take coats and, most of all, not to eat the food.  After all the guests have left, The Goody Whore will provide (cold) pizza for the sweat shop labor.

The article reveals that Goodman pays herself over $100,000 yearly for serving on the board of the Democracy Now! 'foundation.'

And she has the nerve to ask people to donate $10?

She's part of the group that has put Pacifica at risk of bankruptcy and she wants you to give her ten dollars?

She's got a multi-million dollar contract with Pacifica and, thanks to personal friends like then-board member Leslie Cagan, and Pacifica doesn't even get ownership of these shows.

She's a fraud, she's a fake and people have finally caught on.

We call her Goody Whore and we do our best to ignore her.

But on Friday, the whore decided she 'cared' about Iraq.

The best way to prove that, for Goody Whore, was to bring on W.G. Dunlop and Raed Jarrar.

Jarrar left Iraq long ago physically and apparently mentally and emotionally.

For example, in December, Raed offered  22 Tweets and re-Tweets.  Exempting the ones promoting his appearance on Friday's Democracy Now!, how many Tweets or re-Tweets were about Iraq?

Only one.  And it was a re-Tweet.  Iraq's had a huge resurgence in violence in the last two years.  December's already at least the second most violent month (based on deaths) of the year.  But Raed never took the time to write a 160 characters or less Tweet on that.

If you go through his Tweets from September through November, you'll find no Tweet or re-Tweet on Iraq.

In fact, you have to drop back to May 1st to find the term "Iraq" on Raed's Twitter feed.  That's when he retreats about an attack on a US Iraq War veteran.

1145 people died from violence in Iraq in the month of July.  That is currently monthly total record (though December is not over yet).  Raed didn't Tweet about it.

In fact, you have to go back to March -- the 10th anniversary of the start of the illegal war -- to find Raed Tweeting about Iraq and then it's more about "pre-2003" than anything else.

Raed's nothing but a useless little bitch and he proves it all the time.

Over and over.

Raed's a blogger and he lasted blogged about Iraq December 15th . . .


Only Goody Whore would bring on the man who fled Iraq physically, emotionally and mentally as an expert.

It was so bad, it was embarrassing.

It was like sitting in an English Lit grad course where the topic was Edith Wharton and Raed's entire contribution was what he had gleaned from watching Martin Scorsese's film of The Age of Innocence.

It was Friday.  Protests in Iraq.

Never mentioned.

Even though the previous Sunday Nouri had threatened the protesters.

Even though he had attempted to attack them on Tuesday but a flurry of political meetings forced him to pull his forces out of Ramadi's sit-in sqaure.

Even though on the Friday Raed 'shared,' Nouri had already gone on Iraqi TV and announced that this had been the last Friday protest and that he would burn down the protest tents in Anbar.

W.G. Dunlap didn't talk about it either.

No one brought up Barack Special-Ops back into Iraq.

No one mentioned The Erbil Agreement.

It was superficial and uninformative.

A 10-year-old could have written all the information shared -- and a 10-year-old could have written it without ever breaking a sweat or cracking a book.

Goody Whore's destroying herself every day.

No real publisher will touch her.

Her fundraisers for the various stations fail to net what they used to.

Her audience has collapsed -- that's listeners, TV viewers, streamers, web visitors, all of it.

She's been exposed as the cheap whore she is and not as the 'brave' and 'independent' 'journalist' she pretends to be.

She rode the wave of interest in independent media.  She used it to enrich herself.

In co-opting a movement, she helped destroy it.

And with nothing to support her, she's caving through the ice before our eyes.   She's become Lillian Gish in Way Down East -- only no one's rushing to save her -- for obvious reasons.

2013 Outlet of the Year

The outlet of the year in 2013 was Black Agenda Report.

The news outlet covered nearly everything: Syria, Libya, US prison population, the lack of real US prison reform, pop culture and, yes, politics.

It was with politics that BAR especially made its mark.

The simple truth is, the U.S. is at war for continued hegemony over the planet, for the preservation of the imperial system and its finance capitalist rulers. In such a war, everyone, everywhere is a potential enemy, including the home population.
That’s why Bradley Manning and Julian Assange and, now, Edward Snowden are considered so dangerous; because they undermine popular consent for the government’s lies-based policies. The administration has sent its operatives to Capital Hill and all the corporate pseudo-journalistic outlets to explain how its mega-data mining of phones and the Internet has prevented “potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11,” including at least 10 “homeland-based threats,” as mouthed by National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander. The details are, of course, secret. 
-- Glen Ford, "The Lies of Empire: Don't Believe a Word They Say" .

Glen Ford, Bruce A. Dixon and Margaret Kimberley are not shy. They also don't speak or write from a position of weakness.

A Democrat in the White House does not mean BAR recalculates its ethical stands.

William Kristol called Barack Obama a “born again neo-con” after the president sought his advice when making the case for the over throw of the Libyan government in 2011. Kristol certainly ought to know who his compatriots are but the statement isn’t quite true.

No one becomes president who isn’t a true believer in the American empire of money and murder. They are all neo-cons, despite what they may say about immigration or gay marriage or health care. The differences at the top are small. The pinnacle of power is reserved for people who are aligned with the ruling 1% and who will use American power to dominate the world economically and militarily.
-- Margaret Kimberley, "American Hell for Syria"

They are arguing the same beliefs they advocated for pre-B.O.

And they have no problem calling Barack Obama out.

But first, supporters of Lynne Stewart, The People's Lawyer, serving a ten year sentence, who is suffering from Stage IV breast cancer got some bad news last week.  The judge who sent her to prison rejected her request for compassionate release saying he had no choice in the matter because the Obama administration had previously turned her down. 
-- Nellie Bailey, Black Agenda Radio, August 12, 2013

They do so on his failed promise to close Guantanamo, on his Drone War, on his illegal spying, on ObamaCare and so much more.

And they do so from a position of strength.

The NAACP LDF which represented the families of prisoners serving these unjust sentences knows very well that this is a political issue and a political struggle.
So why did the NAACP LDF fail to mention that their legal opponents in this case were President Barack Obama's and Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department, which opposed in court the application of the very law which the president signed and the attorney general lauded.

Let me say that again... First, it was the Obama-Holder Justice Department which first refused to retroactively reduce the unfair crack cocaine sentences under the law the president signed and the attorney general praised Secondly, it was the Obama-Holder Justice Department which went to court to keep those people in prison. They lost when the trial judge ruled they should be released. And third, the same Justice Department run by the same first black attorney general under the first black president appealed the order to reduce those sentences, instead seeking and obtaining yesterday's ruling by the 6th circuit court of appeals.
-- Bruce A. Dixon, "Obama & Holder Win Court Case, Keep Thousands in Prison Under Unfair 80s Crack Sentencing Laws"

And it takes real strength to call out Melissa Harris Perry, for example, because that means they'll be less likely to be invited on MSNBC.

But, again, position of strength.

Barack takes the White House and BAR finds itself 'needed' (and wanted) on Democracy Now! and other programs less and less.

Not a problem.

Don't wait to be a guest, create your own show.

Black Agenda Radio, hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey (first airs each Monday at 4:00 pm EST on the Progressive Radio Network).  And they're also on Facebook and Twitter.

The United States, itself, has never paid much attention to international standards when it comes to prisons. It locks far more people up for far longer periods of time than any other developed country. On any given day, 50,000 to 80,000 U.S. prison inmates are held in solitary confinement, some of them for decades at a stretch – a form of torture according to most international standards. Violence in U.S. prisons is endemic, especially rape. Through its sheer size, alone – encompassing one out of every four prison inmates on the planet – the U.S. prison Gulag contains the greatest concentrations of prison evils in the world. The U.S. serves as an example of how not to treat prisoners, and how not to treat Black people, who are far more likely to wind up in U.S. prisoners at some point in their lives. But, the United States somehow thinks it has something to teach Black people in Haiti about prisons.
-- Glen Ford, "U.S. Gives Haiti the Gift of Prisons."

They're not on Wikipedia.

Which would have surprised us were we not already aware how sexist and racist Crapapedia actually is.

Obama chose to expand his remarks beyond the early Sixties period, past the triumphs of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, to give a mini-lecture on what went wrong, in his estimation, with the Black Freedom Movement. The result was a brief but vicious slew of slurs against African Americans – the kind of slander you expect to hear on FOX News, or from a half-drunk white guy at a country-western bar. According to Obama, Black folks lost their way when “legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior.” What the hell does that mean? Which particular incidents is he referring to in which Blacks used police brutality to somehow mask criminal activity. If he means the Black Panther Party, which I suspect, then the president should say so, and open up a discussion of who the real criminals and assassins were, in the late Sixties and early Seventies. But, like any cheap white politician, Obama spews a mouthful of bile and then moves on to the next rant.
-- Glen Ford, "Obama's Anti-Black Rant."

Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberly came to prominence online at The Black Commentator (which was founded in 2002 by Ford, Susan Lubitz Gamble and Peter Gamble).  And, as they note in the about page, "In the fall of  2006, Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon, Margaret Kimberley and Leutisha Stills of CBC Monitor left Black Commentator, which Ford had co-founded and edited since 2002, and launched Black Agenda Report."

The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, Democracy Now! and so many more could learn so much from Black Agenda Report -- including how to put down the pom-poms and take to the field yourself.

In 2013, Black Agenda Report was informative, explosive, ethical and politically entertaining.

It's quickly become the smart site for those who value information over indoctrination.

And it's our pick for 2013 Outlet of the Year.

2013 Illegal Downloader of the Year

Beyonce Knowles' latest is being illegally downloaded by the millions.

But that's nothing compared to the NSA.

Every bit of meta data they can grab around the world -- from cell phones, from laptops, from devices -- they're grabbing.

It's as though the US government really cracked down on Napster in 2001 because the NSA was jealous over its ability to share information.

Today, the NSA sucks up everything, the original blow job queen.

And then they lie about it.

The latest revelations of the spying are from Der Spiegel. RT notes:

The top secret unit has succeeded in gaining access to 258 targets in 89 countries. In 2010 alone, it conducted 279 global operations, according to the documents.
Der Spiegel reported that TAO specialists have directly accessed the protected networks of democratically elected leaders of different states. They infiltrated networks of European telecommunications companies and gained access to messages sent over Blackberry's BES email servers – which are considered to be securely encrypted.  

With one federal court declaring the actions of the NSA illegal and another saying the actions are legal, maybe the answer is to be thuggish like the RIAA?

Let's all slap copyrights on all of our electronic exchanges and then demand the NSA start paying us or be prosecuted for illegal downloading?

2013 Ingrate of the year

Chelsea Manning.

Good manners do matter.  Considering that Chelsea kept her mouth shut for years and had nothing to say to support the people who defended her, who defended her as Bradley Manning and who defended her as Chelsea, she really demonstrated ingratitude in 2013.

We got a statement from Chelsea announcing she was a woman trapped in a man's body.

Remember that?

That was the first statement from Chelsea since she'd been taken into custody by the US military in 2010.

On August 22, 2013, over three years after many on the left and many Libertarians on the right had been defending her non-stop, Chelsea finally has a public statement.

A two-paragraph statement.  The first is an insincere thank you that didn't begin to acknowledge the millions around the world who took part in defending her for the last three years.  The second paragraph was the point of her announcement: declaring her womanhood.

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back. 

What the f**k was that?

We've got no problems with transgendered people but that was not the announcement of a transgendered political prisoner. It was the glossy, fab announcement from a celebrity!!!

Martha Stewart behind bars couldn't have worded that second paragraph better.

Some wrote Chelsea off immediately after that.

Others wondered if hormone therapy began in 2013, would Chelsea live Tweet it?

Maybe Instagram it?

August 22nd, Bradley Manning died and Celebrity Chelsea was born.

You can't be a celebrity without a celebrity feud.

October 9th, Ms. Chelsea (as she wishes to be called) issued her second statement, this one slapping down Ann Wright.

Ann Wright had accepted an award on Ms. Chelsea's behalf and Ann read a statement from her.

Turns out Chelsea Manning didn't write the statement.

Chelsea's also kind of a dumb ass.

She takes Ann to task for the statement.

No, Ms. Chelsea, hold your attorney accountable, he's the one who provided Ann Wright the statement she read on your behalf.

In the end, Ms. Chelsea is just another pro-war bitch.

You can get that from her statement where she rejects peace and anti-war labels and insists that she did it -- released all those State Department cables to WikiLeaks -- for transparency and that, golly gosh, she believes "it is also perfectly reasonable to subjectively interpret these documents and come to the opposite opinion and say 'hey, look at these documents, they clearly justify this war'."

She may or may not lose her penis while in prison but she's already lost her credibility.

Poor Ms. Chelsea, a few decades earlier she could have starred in an Andy Warhol underground film.  Today, she's just a woman going overboard to look feminine when not flaunting her ingratitude.

2013 Creep of the Year

Since 1999, Japan's been making the Tundra pick up.

This year, the 'geniuses' of Toyota think they have a winning ad for their truck.

A fat, ugly, loud mouth, balding, 50-ish man goes into a dealership with his teenage son.

Fatty flirts with the woman behind the counter and makes fun of his son.

Laughs about his son.

Does that go over big in Japan?

Because here in the United States, it's scoring with some losers who can identify with the father but it's pissing off a lot of young people.

Young people aka future customers.

Toyota really needs a run on the Tundra's right now to justify that annoying commercial featuring The Creep of 2013.

2013 Trend: Closeted, Butch, Black Lesbians

Did they snarl, "I'll cut a bitch!  I will!"

Or was it just implied as they tried to shut down facts about the woman who makes their panties damp?

Who knows?

The reality that Beyonce has a huge number of lesbians fans is not shocking or surprising.  Lesbians like to dance as much as anyone else.

But what was shocking was the closeted group, butch women who are predominately Black and who aggressively tried to turn Beyonce into a feminist.

They tried this repeatedly.  By the final month of 2013, they were all over the place -- even at Ms. magazine's blog -- pimping Beyonce's 'feminist statement.'

But the closet cases were lying.

The only thing that finally shut them up was "Editorial: The 'pro-woman' propaganda dumped on the feminist movement" which explained how two weak ("I guess I'm") statements in reply to a question on feminism were grafted onto Beyonce's earlier defense of her right to have her tits and ass hang out of her stage clothing to make a 'feminist' 'statement.'

That sent the group of butch gals back to their closets.

They finally shut the hell up.

Something we'd suggest they do more often.

Just because Beyonce makes your snatch wet doesn't make her a feminist.

Because she uses her album to endorse violence against women, to tell people (especially young girls) that Ike Turner beating Tina Turner was about love and romance and sex?

No, that makes her an anti-feminist.

You can eat her out until your jaw falls off but Beyonce is not a feminist.

You can't promote violence against women and be a feminist.

In 2014, when that woman you've always wondered about -- the one who always making a big deal about how she's straight but really doesn't come off straight -- when that woman starts spinning Beyonce as the world's greatest artist, just grasp that, as you suspected, she's really just attracted to Beyonce and, honestly, she's as embarrassing as Keith Partridge (David Cassidy) smitten with Dora Kelly (Robin Millan) in the "Dora, Dora, Dora" episode of The Partridge Family.

Don't begrudge Beyonce her closeted lesbian fans.  Soon, that's all she'll have left -- she's already losing teen boys.

2013's Dupe Of The Year

Communist Henry Lowendorf is just another Barack Obama fan boy.

Henry fronts the US Peace Council -- a dupe front group.

Henry got confronted in October on his faux peace group's silence on Iraq:

How is it that Iraq doesn't even make your website.

You're clearly ignorant of the fact that since the drawdown (falsely portrayed as a withdrawal), Obama has sent more US troops into Iraq.  You're ignorant despite the fact that it happened before the 2012 presidential debates started.

Your ignorance allowed it not to be addressed in the debates.  

Your ignorance also includes the military agreement that Iraq and the US signed in December 2012.

The Iraq War continues, the monthly death tolls have increased.  US forces are training Maliki's deadly SWAT teams -- the ones responsible for killing over 50 people at a sit-in last April -- including 8 children.

8 children.  UNCIEF can issue a statement but you can't find time to cover it.

The only person doing the work of late is C.I. of The Common Ills.

You're just whoring while hiding behind 'peace.'  When you stop whoring and start fighting imperialism, let me know.

That was sent by our own Ann.

And Communist Henry tried to joke his way out of it in a weak ass reply.

The only joke is you, Henry.

As Jamal Doumani (Arab News) points out:

To add to the mix, in a fit of collective amnesia, the American people, along with their media pundits, have opted to altogether forget Iraq, forget that they had fought there for almost nine years, at a heavy cost to them in life and treasure. As Chas Freeman, the former US ambassador to the Kingdom has said, on more than one occasion, “We did not invade Iraq, we invaded the Iraq of our dreams.”

The dying continues in Iraq and Henry and his organzation ignore it.

That makes them the joke, the sick joke.

TV Program of 2013

On the last Friday of this year, The CW aired the final episode of Nikita.

And, in season four, Nikita became the show of the year.

The spy saga focused on the efforts of Maggie Q's title character to bring down the rogue government spy agency Division.  In season two, especially, this involved the pursuit of black boxes which stored data about Division's illegal activities.

There was also a senator who it was thought could help.

The senator was killed.

Nikita and company spent more time trying to keep the public from finding out about the black boxes and the data they held than almost anything else.

Along the way, the show noted the impact the Occupy movement was having.

In season three, Nikita and company took over Division.  But things did not get better.

And the idea that someone could save them became even less likely.

In the final season, season four, a new senator appears, one who can help.

He tells Nikita they can work this out quietly.

But she's learned over the years that it doesn't work that way.

Everyone let in on the secret actions either gets killed or gets co-opted.

Freedom is only possible by putting it all out there, informing the press, informing the world.

As an added bonus, computer guru Birkhoff takes Shadow Net, the thing he's used to help Nikita throughout the series run, and makes it available to all so that everyone can be secure online and dubbing it "open source anarchy."

Over four seasons, Nikita and company struggled with the issues the country struggled with.

And we could all learn a lot from the show and from Nikita's eventual conclusions that information shared free people while information hidden imprisons us all.

Jim's World


As I look back on 2013, it's humbling.

I took last week off and thought I had a Jim's World kicking around in my head.

Then I checked the numbers for the December 22nd edition -- the one Ava and C.I. steered, edited, put forward the story ideas, executed them with others or by themselves.

Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Let's Keep It Real and Not Genteel: Class, mom..." did the usual outstanding Ava and C.I. numbers and I'm thinking good and . . .

"TV: Feminism is telling painful truths" -- they did a second TV article.

This is the most popular thing they've ever done.

Not just this year.

Not just in one year.

2007's "TV: Aftermath leaves an aftertaste" is in their all time top five in terms of page views.  It was popular in 2007.  Probably their tenth most popular.  But in the time since, it has continued to be popular.  So much so that it is in the top five of all time most popular.

Well last week's "TV: Feminism is telling painful truths" wasn't just the most popular article of the week, it wasn't just Ava and C.I.'s most popular piece of December or even of 2013.  This thing, in one week, became their most popular piece of all time.

Talk to them about this week's feature -- still unwritten as I type this -- and they avoid making eye contact.  That's because they don't follow the numbers . . . except we took off last week -- Dona, Ty, Jess and me -- the whole week.  That meant Ava and C.I. were left to do corrections.  And you can't pull up a published piece without seeing the number of views on it.  As Elaine explained in "Best piece of feminist writing," Ava and C.I. saw the numbers and were basically in shock.

Some people see numbers like that and love it.  Ava and C.I. see numbers like that and immediately feel this need to flee, this feeling that they can never top numbers like that.  The response to their writing is just too much for them to process.  We all know not to tell them their numbers.

If we do, they go into panic mode and deliberately write their next TV piece in a different manner, one used to scale back expectations.

While that was the break out hit of the edition, it's also true that the numbers were off the wall for everything.

How does it feel to know the most popular edition is the one you didn't work on?

It's actually okay.

First off, Third didn't just emerge last week so we've all built the level we've reached.

Second, that edition wouldn't have happened with me on it.

I would've had other suggestions and ideas.  This was Ava and C.I.'s edition.  We knew from past years that they could handle the edition themselves and that the readers would be happy.

I don't think anyone could've guessed they'd be as happy as they were but . . .

The second most popular feature was "Editorial: The 'pro-woman' propaganda dumped on the feminist movement" -- and it's now the most popular editorial we've ever had.

That came about because Beyonce was fabricated as a feminist by some in the press and they did that by taking strong statements she made defending the clothes she wears on stage and in videos and passed those remarks off as her response to being asked if she was a feminist.

Poor little Beyonce Fan Girl Liars, C.I. subscribes to the Vogues.  The Vogues.  Not just the US one, the British one, French Vogue, a Spanish one (I think from Spain), a Japanese one, etc.  So she and Ava went into the library in C.I.'s home to pull the British Vogue from this year where Beyonce made this amazing feminist statement.

And that's when they apparently became the first American feminists to actually read the issue -- everyone else basing their 'coverage' either on a Telegraph of London summary by a man or The Huffington Post's summary based on their video clip of a British man speaking.

No one, sadly, thought to consult the actual source document.

No one except Ava and C.I.

And that's why the edition worked.

That's why their writing works.

They'll be planning a feature or in the middle of writing it when something strikes them as strange.  So they'll make calls or do research and then they'll find out, woops, what we're being told isn't accurate.

They did a great job last week and that really is what the best Third pieces have been this year: whether Ava and C.I. worked on them or not, the best pieces were always the one where we questioned the narrative instead of merely repeating it.

Nelson Mandela's victory is sweeter when it's not sugar-coated (SW)

Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Nelson Mandela's victory is sweeter when it's not sugar-coated

A new biopic is forthright about Nelson Mandela’s role in armed struggle but reduces the movement’s radical hopes to a caricature, says Ayodele Jabbaar

Idris Elba and Naomie Harris as Nelson and Winnie Mandela
Idris Elba and Naomie Harris as Nelson and Winnie Mandela

The story of Nelson Mandela’s life and the struggle against apartheid is a captivating one. And that’s what makes the new film based on his autobiography well worth watching despite its flaws.

The film starts with Mandela (Idris Elba) as a young lawyer, initially quite reluctant to get involved with politics despite making friends with a number of leading activists.

But after a bus boycott in 1948 he gets involved in the anti-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) and quickly assumes a role in his leadership.

Horrified by the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, when police turned their guns on a crowd of protesters and killed dozens, the ANC turned towards armed struggle.

The film doesn’t shy away from showing him make the decision to fight, going underground, taking part in terrorist attacks on power stations and going to train in North Africa.

This revolutionary violence of the oppressed can’t be compared to the violence of the state that oppresses them.

Mandela himself makes a similar point years later, when the apartheid government asks him to make the violence stop. He lays the blame for violence with the South African government.

Naomie Harris plays Mandela’s second wife Winnie Mandela. Unlike his first wife and his mother, who tried to keep Mandela out of politics, Winnie seems more representative of the young South Africans who weren’t afraid to fight.

Winnie joins the struggle—and is brutally persecuted for it herself.


While Mandela suffers humiliation and hard labour at Robben Island prison, she too is repeatedly arrested, beaten, jailed and even condemned to long periods in solitary confinement.

Poignant scenes show the effect this life has on them both, their marriage and their family.

When Mandela sees his teenage daughter for the first time since she was a toddler, it really brings home the sacrifice involved in their struggle.

But the film is quite unfair in its treatment of the tensions within the movement.

While the ANC governments since apartheid have been strongly neoliberal, there were many who hoped for a more radical break with capitalism.

But the filmmakers put the emphasis on a supposed choice between hatred and revenge or conciliation.

Winnie, standing in for the radical wing of the movement, comes off as embittered by her persecution.
Mandela’s repeated refusals to break his links to the Communist Party are not shown at all.

This major blind spot is frustrating, and the decision to cast two black British actors in such major African roles can be a distraction.

But this film is still a good antidote to the hypocritical politicians who want to reinvent Mandela the freedom fighter as a saint who always turned the other cheek.

Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom is released on Friday 10 January 2014

Mandela, sanitized (Mumia Abu-Jamal)

Repost from Workers World:

‘Mandela, sanitized’

By on December 21, 2013

Taken from a Dec. 8 audio column recorded by political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal on

He was born Rolihlahla in July of 1918 in a nation of which he was not truly a citizen; into a country called the Union of South Africa, a part of the British Empire.

The world would come to know him as Nelson, a name given him by a grade school teacher. Nelson Mandela.

At long last after 95 years of life, Mandela has returned to his ancestors.

Between birth and death he has blazed an amazing life, of love and revolution, of struggle and resistance, of prison and isolation, of freedom and now death.

At his passing, American media have painted him as a kind of African “civil rights” leader; perhaps “Martin Luther King the Fifth” with a halo of white hair. An American president issued a statement lamenting his “wrongful conviction.”

In fact, it is dangerously misleading to make of Mandela a “King” or a “Malcolm.” He was neither.

He was, himself, an African lawyer who used every tool available to him — legal when he could, illegal when he must — to resist a system that crushed African lives like peanut shells. He was a revolutionary, an armed guerrilla and the commander of a guerrilla army — Umkhonto we Sizwe (or Spear of the Nation) of the African National Congress.

The South African government after 1948 became an instrument of the terror and torture that only a paranoid people like the South African Boers could muster. Under the banner of the National Party, the government erected the odious barrier of apartheid (Afrikaans for “apart-ness”), which took white supremacy and Black subordination to truly insane and dehumanizing levels.

South Africa became the embodiment of legalized white racism and blindingly brutal oppression designed, principally, to extract and exploit Black labor at the cheapest price. At every opportunity, it strove to sow humiliation, pain and violence in African lives. It corrupted every facet of African life, economy, education, health, jobs and family, to white ends.

When Dr. Nelson Mandela was thrown into prison, it was after being convicted of sabotage (as part of his paramilitary efforts), and he was sentenced to life.

The growing anti-apartheid movement and the subsequent divestment campaign, which forced Western institutions to disinvest in the apartheid regime, convinced the leading sectors of white South African power to take to the negotiating table and to transform their politics.

They did so with one important proviso: They turned the political machinery over to the ANC and they removed the economy from political control.

Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of post-colonial Ghana, once said that “political independence without economic independence is but an illusion.” Nkrumah’s adage was proven true after South African independence, which opened the door to elected office, but closed the door to South Africa’s vast wealth by putting it in private hands.

Dr. Nelson Mandela was hired to consolidate this state of affairs and today, South Africa is one of the most economically unequal nations on earth exceeded, perhaps, only by that of the United States.

That said, what Mandela did was lead a nation known as an international pariah and transform it into one of the world’s most respected nations. He closed the door of history on a country that seemed to be seeking to succeed the Nazis in its racism and hatred.

A child born to the royal house of an African tribe — in a land claimed by the British Empire, in a nation where race and complexion entitled one to privilege or oppression — opened the door to a new nation by leaving the political prison house to enter the presidency.

This is the stuff of high drama, of dreams made real, of epic losses, of aching loneliness, of doing the right thing at the right time.

My brother-in-law and American diplomat once told me that South Africa was the most beautiful country he had ever seen, but that its racist politics and practices made it one of the ugliest.

Dr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and the vast, global anti-apartheid movement, helped bring its beauty back. Mandela inspired millions, both in and out of South Africa. He inspired millions of whites and Europeans by what they called “reconciliation,” but what they meant was that he and his government allowed them to keep their ill-gotten gains and lands.

Africans received pride and political domination; whites received wealth, land and economic privilege. Once again, Blacks paid the price for social peace and political compromise.
Apartheid may be gone but privilege ain’t. To millions of South Africans the long walk to freedom still ain’t over.

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