Sunday, January 05, 2014

Truest statement of the week

To Pine, Republicans and Democrats are interchangeable. He's quick to point out the erosion of privacy and the strengthening of the Patriot Act under President Obama.
"The head of our government can assassinate anyone, including an American citizen," he says. "We are striking countries with drones -- sovereign countries. What if Mexico decided to bomb San Diego because there was a drug cartel there?"
During a two-hour stretch with this reporter, Pine checked his iPhone exactly once -- to confirm the name of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who was killed in Yemen by a CIA-led drone strike.
"Was he an awful guy? Yeah. Was he plotting terrorism? Possibly. But we crossed the line by just outright assassinating him," he says.

-- Chris Pine, in Tatiana Siegel's "Chris Pine Reveals His Politics Amid High-Risk 'Jack Ryan' Play" (Hollywood Reporter).

Truest statement of the week II

New Year’s Day, Michael Moore grudgingly, in a New York Times op-ed, finds something positive in Obamacare -- not good enough, when comprehensive political-economic condemnation is in order. Liberals-progressives-radicals(?), toss out your rose-colored glasses -- Obama and the Democrats are complicit in war crimes and domestic spying, indeed, more than complicit, they have valid creds as authors and/or enablers of a Reactionary Posture nudging America further toward fascism, if by that we mean, among other things, a corporatism so complete as to leave America an hierarchical framework of drastic wealth-inequality, military-incentivized, ideological-driven, all to the point of the globalization of American hegemony. Stukas and half-tracks, concentration camps and gas chambers, monster parades, these represent old-style fascism, and are no longer needed to accomplish the same results of societal conformity and, ultimately, thought control, all on behalf of a voracious capitalism never certain of absolute security. 

 -- Norman Pollack, "Obama and the left" (CounterPunch).

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.

Our first edition of the year and what did we come up with:

Chris Pine.  Ruth brought this one to the table and we all agreed.
Mike brought this one and it's Norman's first for the year.  If 2013 is any proof, there should be many more truests from Norman.
Short and sweet.
This is a fairly standard review by Ava and C.I.  Why?  They're already asleep.  They spent the bulk of the edition asleep.  They have the worst colds and we're surprised they were able to contribute anything.
The assault of Anbar continues and there is at least one worthwhile report from a western news outlet.

We roundtable on the issues you raised in your e-mails.

Greg Mitchell is an ongoing embarrassment.

Ava and C.I. offered this -- they noted it wasn't done and they had nothing to add to it.  We tried adding to it but realized we were destorying it so we went back to their original draft.
Short post!
There are a lot of people who need to take a look at themselves.
We're all very happy for Lynne.

From Senator Bernie Sanders' office. 
Repost from Workers World.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it. 


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

Editorial: The US is (again) party to War Crimes

US Secretary of State John Kerry, in Israel today, pledged his support to thug and prime minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki.

Nouri's committed to killing 'terrorists' in Anbar Province and John Kerry backs him up.

'Terrorists' like the little boy below.

عناصر تقتل طفلا-8 سنوات- باطلاق الرصاص باحدى سيطراتهم في الصقلاوية. . .

The dead child wears the internationally recognized 'terrorist' uniform of pajamas with a smiling bear's face.

What's taking place in Anbar Province is collective punishment.

The Geneva Conventions don't just outlaw collective punishment, they make them War Crimes.  Article 33 of the Fourth Convention is very clear on this.

Collective punishment is what John Kerry has applauded, what the US government has now openly endorsed.

There's no pretty it up.

TV: CBS' Hostages wraps up

It starts with a tickling in the back of the throat.  What can it be?  Then comes the cough and the denial.  Followed by your whole body being seized and the feeling that you'll never recover. We're talking about winter colds but we might as well be talking about CBS' Hostages.


Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott star in the drama from Jerry Bruckheimer and a half dozen others.  This may be the first thing of any real value Bruckheimer has brought to TV.

Toni is Dr. Ellen Sanders who becomes the physician for President Paul Kincaid (James Naughton).  She's already married to real estate gadfly Brian (Tate Donovan) and they have two teenage children.  Brian also has a mistress, Samantha (Hilarie Burton).

You might wonder, "How did the Secret Service miss that?"

Four words: Tareq and Michaele Salahi.

After those two gate-crashed the White House in 2009, even the implausible becomes rooted in reality.

Which is good because the series requires you to take a great deal on face value.

Dylan McDermott plays Duncan who leads the home invasion of the Sanders and demands that Ellen will kill the president.  Dylan's direct team also includes Archer (Billy Brown), Sandrine (Sandrine Holt) and Kramer (Rhys Coiro).

Ellen can't believe what's happening, can't accept it.

Repeatedly, she will try to find a way out for her family but be betrayed or one-upped repeatedly as she learns no one around her is what they seem.

For example, she learns about Duncan's deathly ill wife Nina (Francie Swift) which might seem to be leverage but Ellen's search quickly turns up more questions.  Including that Nina's mother is alive.  Something even Duncan and Nina didn't know.

Burton Delaney (Larry Pine) used to be an advisor to then-Senator Paul Kincaid.  He's now Duncan's father-in-law, part of the scheme to kill the president.


For Duncan, it's to get a bone marrow transplant for Nina.

Nina is the president's daughter.  He doesn't acknowledge her and does not know she exists.  He raped her mother and, when her mother was going to go public, he ordered her killed.  The mother's death was staged to let her start over.

That head turner emerges in episode ten.

There's so much more going on.

For example, First Lady Mary Kincaid (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Ellen's playing her.  The president possibly has a serious illness.  They can't test on him without raising suspicion.  So Ellen needs the First Lady to leave with bone marrow so that it can be tested privately.

Mary believes her and agrees.

Does Mary believe too easily?

Her sister is Vanessa (Joanne Kelly) who married President Kincaid's brother.  And now wants to destroy the president who she believes killed her husband  (his brother).  She's actually the one who, with Colonel Thomas Blair (Brian White), has organixed the plot Duncan's a pawn in, to kill the president.

These are difficult storylines to pull off and some lesser evolved at CBS (suits) feel the show would have done better by revealing a lot of us this in the first episode.

That's nonsense.  Not only do you need to meet the characters before learning about them, all that exposition would have left viewers yawning and snoozing if it.

Instead the show's revealed a little more with each episode.

And it has done so, pay attention Revolution, Blacklist and all the other shows that reduce women to second banana, with Toni Collette's Ellen front and center.

If you don't care about Ellen, you don't care about the show.

If Collette's character doesn't hold your attention, nothing else will work.

Including McDermott's Duncan Carlisle who  has gone from unfeeling criminal to a much more complex character.

All the characters have deepened.  Hostages is the rare television series that allows the actors -- and the audience -- to really explore. Monday night, it wraps up its 15 episode season one run.  If you miss out on it, you're cheating yourself on one of TV's richest dramas.  Catch the two hour season finale Monday night and you'll see what we mean.

Video report of the week

The assault on Anbar Province leaves the citizens terrorized by their own government.  AFP reports above.


Jim: It's e-mail roundtable time.  Topics were raised by readers in a series of e-mails last week. Remember our new e-mail address is Please note that is a change.  Participating our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; 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); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Okay, readers Marvin e-mailed Noel Sheppard's "Melissa Harris-Perry Cries During On-Air Apology to Romney Family" from NewsBusters and Marvin wanted Ava and C.I.'s reaction?

Ava: Melissa and her guests examined 'news' photos.  How a family Christmas card photo qualified was always beyond me.  But Mitt and Ann Romney's card of them with their children and their over 20 grandchildren made Melissa's cut.  Her guests pounced on a small baby -- an African-American child -- moking the baby and the baby's family.  An 'actress' was especially insulting but so was the guy who writes for The Daily Beast.  That's all I'm saying on it.  I'll let C.I. comment on something else about it.

Jim: C.I., you wrote about it last week.

C.I.: I did.  There was no excuse for it to have happened.  It was rude and insulting. And that goes to Melissa in that she hosts the program and that requires stepping in which she did not do.  I also noted that the photo could easily have been of Melissa at a family reunion on her mother's side, that she has a White mother.  I pointed out the Melissa did not make fun of the child in terms of race and that she looked very uncomfortable while her guests were making sport of the baby.  If NewsBusters has the full statement from Melissa, let's put it in.

Jim: Okay.  Here it is.

Good morning. I'm Melissa Harris-Perry. We have a lot of news and politics to discuss this morning. Before we get to that, I'm going to start with an apology.
Last Sunday, we invited a panel of comedians for a year in review program. It's what we call our look back in laughter. But in one of the segments, we looked at a number of photos that caught our attention over the course of the year. In that segment, I asked my guests to provide kind of off the cuff ideas for captions of the photos that we were seeing. Among the images we aired was one of the Romney family that showed Governor Mitt Romney's grandchildren, including his adopted grandson, who's African-American.
Now given my own family history, I identify with that picture and I intended to say positive and celebratory things about it, but whatever the intent was, the reality is that the segment proceeded in a way that was offensive. And showing the photo in that context, that segment, was poor judgment.
So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family. Adults who enter into public life implicitly consent to having less privacy. But their families, and especially their children, should not be treated callously or thoughtlessly. My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off-limits, and for that I am sorry.
Also, allow me to apologize to other families formed through transracial adoption, because I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule. On this program we are dedicated to advocating for a wide diversity of families. It is one of our core principles, and I am reminded that when we are doing so, it must always be with the utmost respect.
We're generally appreciative of everyone who offered serious criticisms of last Sunday's program, and I am reminded that our fiercest critics can sometimes be our best teachers.

C.I.:   Everyone needs to decide for themselves how to respond to the above.  Speaking only for me, I accept her remarks as sincere and the story is over on this for me unless future actions mean we have to return to it.  As I wrote last week, to me, she looked clearly uncomfortable with the segment.  I don't believe she thought it would go the way it did.  Due to her own background, I especially don't believe she intended it to go that way.  For me, she's taken accountability and it's no longer an issue.  I'm not speaking for anyone else, just me.

Jim: So it's a non-issue now?

C.I.: In terms of Melissa, for me, it is.  But the guests?  No. They know what to do and how to act to get invited on MSNBC.  They were signing from the MSNBC hymnals and they've yet to make serious apologies.  I think this incident goes to the lack of character and the desire to divide and hate that is entwined in the DNA of MSNBC.

Ava:  I think it's time for MSNBC to pack it in.  It degrades NBC News and it's tone is unlike any other channel.  Even Fox News is not as bad as MSNBC.  You can sum up Fox News' attacks on Democrats as, "These people are stupid!"  MSNBC's attacks on Republicans is, "These people are liars and crooks and . . ."  At the heart of the Fox noise is this idea that the channel can educate and reform.  At the heart of the MSNBC noise is that these people must be eliminated and eradicated.

C.I.: Which is why, on Fox, they'll bring on Democrats and, on MSNBC, they won't 'soil' themselves by bringing on the Republican guests.

Kat: If I can jump in, I'd say Ava and C.I. have a good point here.  MSNBC is doing so much damage to the left.  It fails to bring on the true left, it's a channel for the Democratic Party and it spews such hatred.  I actually believe we were better off, on the left, without MSNBC.  Then Fox was the only one frothing at the mouth on TV.  So they looked extreme.  Now we have our 'attack dogs' and what we quickly notice is that all their barking is b.s. and they don't care about anything.  If the White House does 180 on something, so does MSNBC.  So they're loud and they're frauds.   And this helps the left how?  I'd argue it doesn't and that it's actually creating -- re-creating -- a climate similar to the late 70s -- only more so -- which helped bring about Republican domination -- three presidential elections in a row.  I'd say they also are trying to do things on TV that will not work on TV.  We can talk about that another time.

Jim: Alright.  Marcia's "Melissa Harris-Perry's latest disgrace" also covered Lie Face.  Marcia, your take?

Marcia: When you deny your own mother, you create these problems.  In the week that Juanita Moore died, this flared up.  Moore starred in the Lana Turner version of Imitation of Life.  She was the house keeper. In the movie, her daughter could pass for White and did.  Diana Ross and the Supremes' "I'm Living In Shame" is based on that plot.  Melissa had a White mother but wanted to be Black so she denied her mother.  That's what created this moment.  Maybe she learned from it?  I don't know.  I'll wait and see what comes next.

Jim:  Another thing making waves last week, as readers Marcus, Zach and Brady noted,  was Green Bay Packer quarter back Aaron Rodgers who was the subject of rumors that he was gay and who responded he "really, really like[s] women."  Mike wrote ""Gay cutie Aaron Rodgers"" about the whole issue.  Elaine, sum up Mike's post.

Elaine:  Being gay isn't a bad thing.  Rodgers is preparing for some major games and also has major money tied up in the perception that he's straight.  In addition to the monetary loss, trash talk could be difficult to deal with.  If Aaron Rodgers is straight, no great harm is done by the rumors -- as an athlete, he's used to using the boos from the opposition in a game -- but if he is gay Mike's point is that it's okay and it's even understandable that, ahead of the Superbowl play offs, Rodgers would lie if he was gay.

Jim: Dave Zirin of Hairy Back Press has a rant at The Nation where he insisits:

He said with gusto that he “really, really likes women,” as if they were his favorite cut of beef at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. He did not even throw down with a token “not that there is anything wrong with that.” (Straight men: the only three acceptable answers to “Are you gay?” are, “That’s my business,” “Not at the moment”, or “I fear I don’t have that privilege.”)

Jim (Con't): Actually, Zirin, he said "I really, really like women" -- not "likes."  Guess all that time spent popping zits on his ass blew out a few of Zirin's brain cells.  Mike?

Mike:  I don't like the idea that the hairy backed Zirin gets to tell anyone what they can or cannot say.  If Rogers is straight, he can say so however he wants.  His response did not insult gay people or preach homophobia.  It was not a 'butt holes are only for exists' or some such crap.  For Zirin to be offended?  He's needs to stop finger-banging himself when he's on the computer writing supposed professional columns.

Jim: Larger issues here?

Rebecca:  First off, if you were to bet, the winning bet would most likely be that Aaron Rodgers is gay.  Mike's piece was in response to what Dave Zirin ignored -- and Dave published four days after Mike.  It wasn't the "I really, really like women" that was offensive.  Mike had no problem with it and outside of Zirin's sex dungeon, no one did.  The problem was the homophobia that greeted Aaron's remarks.  That's why Mike wrote his piece.  Everyone -- including NBC Sports -- was sighing with relief and running their pieces that (a) made clear the press wants hims straight -- or at least straight to the outside world and (b) they would preach homophobia to enforce the straight line.

Ty: Exactly.  Dave Zirin is calling out Aaron Rodgers when he should be calling out the press.  Mike called out the press, he had the guts to.  The sports world ignored the rumors and only covered them when Aaron denied them and then covered them in an insulting manner.  We don't want a gay Aaron!  That's what the press made clear.  And they'd toss in insults like, it doesn't matter.  Of course it matters or you wouldn't be writing about it.

Marcia: But, sorry to jump in Ty, they didn't write about it.  As Ty points out, the rumors were all over the net.  Aaraon Is Gay, they screamed.  And the sports writers ignored it until they could trumpet: "He's not gay!"  And then they said it didn't matter.  But clearly it did matter because they were silent prior to his announcement.

Rebecca: Ty and Marcia are correct.  And Kevin Lanflisi needs to be addressed.  Outsports has done a piece on 'poor Aaron' attacking Lanflisi and that bulls**t has to be called out.

Mike: Kevin Lanflisi lived with Aaron Rodgers for over five years, I think it began in 2008.  To the public, Kevin was Aaron's friend and assistant.  They went out publicly very often.  Kevin no longer lives with Aaron and made a series of Tweets in November -- many that have since been deleted -- which could be read as, "Aaron and I have broken up because he promised he would come out and he did not."

Rebecca: And Outsports is the worst in the world, the most homophobic site int he world.  They want to drool over straight players -- even if they know they're gay -- and when any boyfriend outs an ex, they have a stomping fit.

Ty: I agree.  I just pulled up what Rebecca's talking about.  Cyd Zeigler is a little bitch.  A stupid little bitch.  First off, he's not writing Mike didn't cover at the start of last week.  How hard this could be for Aaron?  Mike already pointed that out.  Mike didn't attack Kevin, though.   Little bitch Cyd is a fan boy jerking off, not a journalist.  He calls this "an attempted outing" and says it serves no good and then attacks another man who may have been a boyfriend who 'outed' a player.  Here's reality, if I'm involved with Aaron Rodgers and we break up, I can say whatever the hell I want and if I was promised by Aaron that he would come out and then he didn't, I can talk about that too.  Because it was 'our' life.  Cyd doesn't get that because he's a stupid ass fan boy who just identifies with players.

Jim: Rebecca?

Rebecca: Kevin's the reason I think it's likely true.  And the way the press has treated Kevin.  Basic journalism is to contact Kevin for a response.  If you can't get ahold of him or get a response from him, basic journalism is noting that in the article.  Instead, they're disappearing Kevin.  Which would indicate Kevin told the truth in his Tweets.  Or inferred the truth since he never came out and said, "Aaron and I were sexually involved."

Jim: Gay or straight, did Aaron Rodgers make a mistake speaking about this?

Rebecca: Yes.  It was an issue on gossip sites so people interested in gossip were following it.  But his statement meant that it became an issue on sports sites and the homophobic nature of so many of the writers for sports' sites meant that it became, for many readers, a case of 'where there's smoke, there's fire.'

Jim: Another big issue last week was faded celebrity Ani DiFranco who wanted to hold a songwriting retreat on a plantation.  Taylor, Seth, Joanne and Amanda wrote in about this topic.  Ani acknowledged that, before the uproar, she learned this had been a slave plantation.  It was more than that.  It's a place that preaches today that slavery was good.  A huge outcry ensued and Ani finally cancelled her event and announced it in a wordy post which lashed out at others while claiming she wanted to listen.  This was followed, on Thursday, with a better statement which at least seemed sincere.  Betty covered the scandal in "Ani DiFranco is the new Paula Deen," Kat in "Ani DiFranco?," Ann in "The Good Whitey" and Cedric and Wally with "Ani DiFranco regroups and rebooks" and "THIS JUST IN! ANI'S RETREAT GOES ON!"  Betty?

Betty: I wish I'd been called last.  I think Kat had a great point -- like Ann points out and underscores.  A sub-set of White people attacking Ani were attacking her to make themselves look better. Certainly, the Nathan Goodman who Ann calls out had nothing to add to the conversation and quickly wrote a post just so he could play The Good Whitey.

Ann: Nathan, a White man, had nothing to say.  He just repeated what had happened, made a historical remark or two and that was it.  He's quoting Jezebel when he should be quoting African-Americans.  If he'd written a "I was a big Ani fan and this upset me" post, it would have made some sense.  Instead, he's beating her up to make himself look good.  Which was the other interesting thing because, as Kat had pointed out, that really describes what Ani's been doing for the last five years.  So they flipped the script and used it on her.

Jim: Cedric and Wally?

Cedric: It was rife for humor, the whole embarrassing incident.  We avoided it and probably would have continued to do so were it not for Kat's post.  But she was so dead on in that we decided to do a humor post.

Wally:  We send up her communiques with her fans.  How very sad, by the way, that Ani now communicates with her fans via press releases.  The formalization of that communication just goes the wide gap between Ani and her fans today which probably explains how her booking a plantation started and the problems began.

Cedric: Absolutely.

Jim: Ruth, Trina, Stan and Isaiah, you get to respond to Fred's question: "What's going to make 2014 different than last year?"

Trina: The bloom is off the rose.  I think it will be much more difficult for Barack to trick people -- even his devoted followers at The Nation and elsewhere.

Ruth: I think Trina is on to something.  I think we have awakened to not only President Barack Obama but also to his enablers like Amy Goodman.  They will still try to trick us, but I think they will have to work harder to succeed.

Isaiah: I don't.  I think we're still willing to stomach the stupidity of Bob Somerby which argues the pres was wonderful and perfect until they said mean things about his college roommate Al Gore.  We do realize, don't we, that Bob Somerby's refused to cover the illegal spying or anything that matters.  Yet the prattling fool is still applauded by some.

Stan: That's a good point.  Bob Somerby is a worthless whore and he attacked Ambassador Joseph Wilson, called him a "liar" and worse and got away with it and got away with hiding that he was friends with 'journalist' Matt Cooper who was part of the leaking of the fact that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was CIA.  So, yeah, he's right up there with Judith Miller but he's still considered semi-reputable.

Jim: Okay and we'll end the roundtable on that note.  This is a rush transcript.


Baby Cum Pants Greg Mitchell

Baby Cum Pants is an Ava and C.I. term for idiots who jizz in their pants -- they're pre-premature ejaculators.

This week's Baby Cum Pants is Elderly Greggy Mitchell who continues to stink up The Nation magazine.

Baby Cum Pants nearly destroyed Editor & Publisher -- after he left, it managed to rebound in spite of his mismanagement.

Today, Greggikins wanted to weigh in on Iraq.

At last.  Some hard hitting commentary.  Calling out death and destruction.

Oh wait, Baby Cum Pants blew his load in his adult diaper and has nothing to offer.

Nothing but garbage where he treats the terrorizing of the people of Anbar as (his words) "the blockbuster movie sequel."

The sequel?

Forget this isn't a damn movie, this is life and death, what sequel?

The 2004 assaults on Falluja (there were two) were brutal and they weren't movies.

Yes, The New York Times tried to turn the November 2004 attack on Falluja into a video game.

But even at this late date, can't we expect more from The Nation?

To read the truths Mitchell can't or won't tell, check out Dirk Adriaensens "2013: Another year of slaughter in Iraq claims the lives of at least 21 media professionals" (BRussells Tribunal).

Do you ever wonder why we're getting no where? (Ava and C.I.)

As 2014 kicks off, we could all grab some basic facts that would help us be more aware and more effective in 2014.

As the year wound down, Norman Solomon noted that MoveOn carried more water for the White House than even The New York Times:

And so, the same day that the Times editorialized to excoriate President Obama for his latest betrayal of civil liberties, MoveOn sent out a huge email blast sucking up to Obama.
The Times was blunt in its Saturday editorial: “By the time President Obama gave his news conference on Friday, there was really only one course to take on surveillance policy from an ethical, moral, constitutional and even political point of view. And that was to embrace the recommendations of his handpicked panel on government spying -- and bills pending in Congress -- to end the obvious excesses. He could have started by suspending the constitutionally questionable (and evidently pointless) collection of data on every phone call and email that Americans make.”
But, the newspaper added: “He did not do any of that.”

As the Times editorial went on to say, “any actions that Mr. Obama may announce next month would certainly not be adequate. Congress has to rewrite the relevant passage in the Patriot Act that George W. Bush and then Mr. Obama claimed -- in secret -- as the justification for the data vacuuming.”

We like Norman and we agree with the above but, honestly, his re-emergence as a voice of meaning comes after far too many years of running defense for Barack Obama's administration.

The Progressive magazine just wrapped up a fund raising effort where they beseeched you to help them "beat back the right wing."


That's the goal for the left?

Stasis is the most we can hope for?


That's really something when Republicans are in the White House, outlets like The Progressive tell us that we need universal, single-payer health care, that we need to repeal the PATRIOT Act,  to end illegal spying and, on and on, the list went.

Today, the sad magazine lowers expectations and claims 'success' is beging back the right wing.

That's why we get no where.

We have dreams and goals while Republicans are in power and then so many of us turn into cheap whores the minute Democrats are in power.

Matthew Rothschild is the best example of a left whore.

One minute, he's appalled by The Drone War.

The next he's applauding Barack for sending gay athletes to Russia.


Did the innocents killed by drones suddenly matter less?

Do we mistake anything Billie Jean King might do in Russia for Barack's bravery?

The left moved mountains to take down Bully Boy Bush and we have nothing to show for it.


That's a gift to the insurance companies, it forces all Americans to purchase insurance or pay a fine.

How is that a good thing or an improvement?

Before ObamaCare, Americans could buy insurance if they wanted.

All ObamaCare's done is take a choice and turn it into a mandate.

It is not single-payer, it is not Medicare for all.

It is nothing that the left wanted or fought for in the Bully Boy Bush years.

And that's going to be the signature 'achievement' of Barack's two terms?

As Louise tells Thelma, "You get what you settle for" (Ridley Scott's Thelma & Lousie from Callie Khouri's Academy Award winning screenplay).

And settle's all you can do when you define your entire being around defending a Corporatist War Hawk.

Last week, Iraq's chief thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki began his assault on Anbar Province.  The Friday before, Amy Goodman and her fellow whores devoted a segment to Iraq on Democracy Now!

If you watched that entire segment, you were surprised by what happened, you were surprised to learn the assault began with an attack on protesters, you were surprised by all of it.

Because, as we pointed out last week, the segment was worthless.

It was like sitting in on a bunch of college students trying to bluster their way through a discussion on reading they failed to do.

And this passes for 'information' and 'public affairs.'

When Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, we wouldn't have accepted that, we wouldn't have settled for it.

The fact that we do today explains why there is nothing the left can point to with pride from Barack's first four years in the White House.

When you're idea of 'success' is maintaining the status quo and beating back the right, you really shouldn't be allowed to define yourself as left because that's very much a centrist position.

And it leads no where.

Barack talks to America about what's on his mind

Barack Obama used this week's address to remind America of the time not so long ago when the whole world was fascinated with his moobs.

Homophobe of the week

A lot of sports outlets qualified but star f**kers OutSports won the title for a ridiculous editorial by Cy Zeigler which argues that when two men are involved and one is a celebrity, only the celebrity is ever allowed to speak.

If Kevin Lanflisi was involved with Aaron Rodgers, he has every right to talk about it, to Tweet about it, etc. as much as he wants and whenever he wants.


Homophobic Cy is the new Chastity Bono of the LGBT movement.

Remember the damage she did to gay rights in the 90s?

That's Cy today.

If you're new to the story,  The Fame Drivers has covered it -- including putting up the above photo that Kevin Tweeted.

Cy's in a state of shock for poor Aaron!

But can't stop to think of Kevin who's now, after five years of living with Aaron, crashing as his sister's place.

If it was agreed, by Aaron and Kevin, that Aaron would come out in the summer of 2013 and he then decided not to?

Kevin's got every reason to say whatever he wants to say.

And Cy needs to shut up instead of rushing to rescue the celebrity.

Cy's nothing but a star f**ker and a self-loathing gay.

Best news of last week

Our "2013 Person of the Year" is finally home.

Lynne arrives in New York!

January 1st, 2014

Photo by Matt Meyer.

Lynne never should have been prosecuted, found guilty or sentenced.

And that's a topic we hope history makes clear.

But that she's finally back with her family is something we and many more people take joy in.

Lynne will be speaking on WBAI this week:

UPCOMING COVERAGE of LYNNE on WBAI ~ Listen live in NY/NJ/CT @ 99.5 FM or STREAM at MISSED the show? See Archives @ Scroll down to date + time of show.
~ Mon., Jan. 6 between 7 & 8 PM – On WBAI’s Building Bridges: Your Labor and Community Report, Mimi Rosenberg will run part of her recordings of Lynne’s welcome for half of the hour.

~ Thurs., Jan. 9 between 8 & 9 PM – On WBAI’s Where We Live, co-producer Sally O’Brien will present her more in-depth coverage of Lynne’s welcome.

Is the NSA Spying on Congress?

From Senator Bernie Sanders' office:

Is the NSA Spying on Congress?

BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan. 3 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today asked the National Security Agency director whether the agency has monitored the phone calls, emails and Internet traffic of members of Congress and other elected officials.

“Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?” Sanders asked in a letter to Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director. “Spying” would include gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business?”

Sanders said he was “deeply concerned” by revelations that American intelligence agencies harvested records of phone calls, emails and web activity by millions of innocent Americans without any reason to even suspect involvement in illegal activities. He also cited reports that the United States eavesdropped on the leaders of Germany, Mexico, Brazil and other allies.

Sanders emphasized that the United States “must be vigilant and aggressive in protecting the American people from the very real danger of terrorist attacks,” but he cited U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s recent ruling that indiscriminate dragnets by the NSA were probably unconstitutional and “almost Orwellian.”
Sanders has introduced legislation to put strict limits on sweeping powers used by the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to secretly track telephone calls by millions of innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

The measure would put limits on records that may be searched. Authorities would be required to establish a reasonable suspicion, based on specific information, in order to secure court approval to monitor business records related to a specific terrorism suspect. Sanders’ bill also would put an end to open-ended court orders that have resulted in wholesale data mining by the NSA and FBI. Instead, the government would be required to provide reasonable suspicion to justify searches for each record or document that it wants to examine.

To read Sanders’ letter, click here.

Lynne Stewart freed (Dolores Cox, Workers World)

Repost from Workers World:

The struggle freed Lynne Stewart!

By on January 3, 2014
Lynne Stewart
Lynne Stewart

New York, Jan. 1 — There she was standing, then walking slowly towards us, unshackled, without handcuffs or belly chain, and with a gigantic smile on her face. She was a sight for sore eyes, her inner and outer beauty reflected. Lynne Stewart’s family — her two children, who are attorneys; a daughter, who is a hospice doctor; grandchildren and great-grandchildren — along with her many supporters and attorneys were there. WBAI radio producers, independent photographers and videographers, Prison Radio’s Noelle Hanrahan, and Amy Goodman of “Democracy NOW!” had also gathered inside LaGuardia Airport, waiting for what seemed like forever, to welcome Lynne home. There were 75 to 100 supporters there.

We had been waiting anxiously to see for ourselves what seemed to be too good to be true. Our Lynne, the people’s lawyer, woman warrior and courageous freedom fighter, finally was coming home.

And then, she emerged. It was a day that many feared would never come.

We had been admonished several times by airport personnel not to block the elevator, staircase or passageway. But at the sight of Lynne and her spouse, Ralph Poynter, we could no longer contain ourselves. We rushed towards her, carrying cameras, signs and flowers as we chanted. With our big smiles and crying tears of joy, we surrounded her. Many hugs, kisses, “congratulations” and “thanks” were exchanged. Passersby whispered, “I wonder who that celebrity is they’re all greeting.”

When asked how she felt, Lynne said, “There ain’t nothing like freedom.” She talked about being very tired, and said that she was surprised about her release, and that she was getting to the point of giving up hope. She was notified of her approved release on the morning of Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve, by a phone call from her lawyer,  in France, and by prison officials. Everything happened quickly at that point.
Lynne laughed and stated, “When the warden told me I was leaving that day, he literally threw me out of prison.”

What had occurred during the previous 24 hours seemed unbelievable. First, we, her supporters, heard on the morning of Dec. 31 that the U.S. Justice Department had ordered that 74-year-old Lynne Stewart be granted a compassionate release due to her terminal illness. Her 10-year sentence for “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization” was also reduced to time served.

Since 2012, breast cancer has metastasized throughout Lynne’s body, due in part to delayed medical care in prison. Lynne had filed a written request for medical release at the beginning of 2013. Her doctors now say she has approximately 12 months to live.

During the course of one day, we witnessed what the Justice Department, the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Manhattan federal judge could have done a year ago or at least six months ago — namely, freed Lynne Stewart. They may have just decided that they didn’t want her to die in prison. That might incur some bad publicity for a so-called “democratic” country.

Former slave and activist Frederick Douglass described this oppressive state in his 1852 Fourth of July speech: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim … your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; … your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; … to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes. … There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than … the United States, at this very hour.”

Lynne Stewart’s case part of global struggle

Lynne’s case is known internationally; it’s part of a global movement for social justice. We know that expecting the heartless to have a heart or evildoers to have a conscience is beyond reason and logic. The powers-that-be are utterly shameless.

As Dec. 31 unfolded, we learned that Lynne’s release from prison was imminent. Meanwhile, Ralph was airborne and on his way to Fort Worth, Texas, to visit Lynne as he had done routinely since her imprisonment there. It was not until after his plane landed, when he was on his way to the car rental desk, that he got the call informing him of Lynne’s fully approved compassionate release. One can only imagine how shocked he was when he got to the prison and saw Lynne sitting in a car in the parking lot.

By 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Ralph walked into his hotel room with Lynne at his side. This moment was captured by fellow activist and producer Bob Lederer on the air at WBAI radio, when he telephoned Ralph to interview him about the day’s events. Unknown to him and the listeners was that he would also be speaking on the air with Lynne herself.

We were fortunate enough to see how Lynne’s release impacted Ralph the next day, when the plane carrying him and Lynne landed in New York City. Ralph was standing tall with Lynne, grinning from ear to ear. Lynne described her freedom and coming home as “sunlight bursting on me. Yesterday at this time I was deep in the dungeons. Prisons are loveless,” she said.

Lynne repeatedly expressed her gratitude for “the tremendous support from tens of thousands of people in New York, in the country and worldwide.”

Safe at home with her son in Brooklyn, where she will live, surrounded by a loving family and friends, Lynne described her four years in prison as horrible. She told of how she barely survived the life-threatening chemotherapy treatments. She stressed that she won’t forget the women that she left behind in the prison, and that she’ll fight for criminal justice system reforms.

We also reflect back to this past summer and the many weeks that Ralph stood in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., in the rain and sweltering heat, with his signs, banner and leaflets; speaking to anyone who would listen about Lynne’s plight. He and a group of supporters protested in front of the U.S. Justice Department against the director’s refusal to approve Lynne’s request for compassionate release.

Ralph said he saw no acceptable alternative other than to fight like hell for Lynne’s release. His unwavering love, spirit, strength and determination were contagious. How could anyone knowing him or Lynne not join in the struggle? Or not give up?

Jan. 1 began a new year. What better way to start the year than to see the fruits of our labor realized? To have achieved a tortuous, long-fought-for victory? To see our hopes become a reality?

We dreamed what seemed the impossible dream, and saw it come true. The day seemed surreal. But we were believers once again.

Ralph joked about renting Yankee Stadium to celebrate Lynne’s return home. That idea notwithstanding, Lynne says we will definitely have a celebration party.

On Jan. 2, Lynne reported in person to the Office of Probation, which was mandatory within 72 hours of her release. All of the conditions of her release are not yet known, yet their ramifications may put her in the position of walking a tightrope. When Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio arranged for Mumia Abu-Jamal to speak to Lynne by phone, she could not speak to him for fear of violating conditions of her release. To paraphrase a saying, “freedom ain’t necessarily free.”

Lynne’s courage and principled stand have been inspirational. Ralph and Lynne took a firm stand against the government and the powers that be. Their position allowed us to stand, too, and fight back with and for them.

The road ahead will be anything but smooth. Lynne faces more medical treatment as she literally fights for her life. She will have to make appointments with Sloan-Kettering, the leading cancer center in New York City, and submit her medical records to them.

She says she “looks forward to beating the odds. I’ve fought lions and tigers, and I won’t let cancer get me.”

As we celebrate a victory over a tragic injustice, there are so many more victories to achieve. We must free all our political prisoners. Lynne urges us to take action on their behalf. She states, “Fight on, resist, resist. It makes life worth living. Power from the people made [my] release happen.” She adds that she’s “skeptical, but hopeful of better future changes.”

A better world is possible and we must make it happen. La lucha continua!

Cox is a long-time activist with the International Action Center, which has fought for Lynne Stewart’s freedom.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"2013: The Year of Exposure," "Kat's Korner: 2013 In Music," "Ruth's Radio Report 2013," "2013 in Books (Martha & Shirley)," "10 Best Films of 2013 (Ann and Stan)," "Rebecca offers up the 10 most f**kable men of 2013...,"  "10 most f**kable men of 2013,"  "10 Best Films of 2013 (Ann and Stan)" and
"10 Best Films of 2013 (Ann and Stan)" -- C.I., Kat, Ruth, Martha and Shirley, Ann and Stan and Rebecca cover the year.

"Iraq and the lies some tell,,"  "The ongoing tragedy in Iraq," "The one-sided New York Times,""Ralph Nader, shut your stupid mouth," "Nigella and Iraq"and "Iraq (again)" -- Mike, Betty, Ann and Elaine cover Iraq

"American Hustle's racism," "Why couldn't Streisand have shut her mouth?," "Bieber documentary," "Bette Midler as Mae West?"  and "Burt Lancaster" -- Marcia, Stan and Kat go to the movies.

"Lynne Stewart is home with her family" -- Marcia notes the good news.

"Chris Pine and other things" -- Ruth weighs in.

"Trashy MSNBC, Trashy Melissa Lie Face Harris"
"The new year"

"He struggles to wrap his mind around it"  and "THIS JUST IN! HE'S PERPLEXED!"  -- Cedric and Wally cover the latest nonsense from Barack.

"WSWS needs to fire two writers" -- Betty weighs in.

"community returns to being a crappy tv show" -- Rebecca covers TV.

"My worst habit of 2013?" -- Trina reflects.

"What did Shia LaBoufe do?"  Ruth points out the lousy  job 'new media' does.

"The Good Whitey," "Ani DiFranco regroups and rebooks," "THIS JUST IN! ANI'S RETREAT GOES ON!,"  "Ani DiFranco is the new Paula Deen," "Ani DiFranco?" and "2 idiot singers (and their fans)" -- Ann, Cedric, Wally, Betty, Kat and Rebecca cover Ani DiFranco.

"60s alternative music?" -- Ruth notes music.

"Gay cutie Aaron Rodgers" -- Mike covers the Aaron Rodgers controversy.

"Let it snow?" -- Trina notes the never ending snow.

"The terrorist White House" -- Elaine notes the realities.

"Lynne Stewart is home with her family" -- Marcia covers the good news.

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