Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Enough of the Mindless Blather, Already

I wasn't planning on blogging tonight because I was hoping to (a) get a little done on my latest review and (b) relax. But Ty showed me a piece that really pisses me off. It's by Matthew Rothschild, or as I like to think of it, the latest in the screech parade.

Knowing apparently very little about what he's writing (but he watched the laughable program on Monday) but sure as hell that he knows it all, he spits on those questioning the 9-11 narrative. He offers as his proof that NORAD tapes that recently emerged while failing to note that their emergence revealed lies in the earlier 9-11 story.

It's ironic, Bully Boy used 9-11 to politicize the event and divide the country while Matthew Rothschild is only one of many who wanted to use the day to split the left. I told C.I. how pissed off I was by Rothschild and was told (a) if the column was known of, the comments wouldn't have gone up about the radio show and (b) I should write whatever I wanted and the community stands together "and behind you."

I appreciate that. I appreciate C.I.'s attitude which has always been, "I don't know what happened, I wasn't there." But Matthew Rothschild apparently knows everything and wants to shut down any discussion.

He steals from Alexander Cockburn with his sarcastic comment about "Of course, any conspiracy theorist worth his or her salt will claim that all these people are in on the plot.
And that I am in on it, too." No, you wouldn't be smart enough to be on in anything.

How mad am I? C.I. said, "Look, Kat, we can pull it. We can pull the link, don't worry about it."

Why am I mad? Because Matthew Rothschild who's written nothing on this subject wants to come along and tell us -- what? Forget questioning?

No, what he's saying is that if you're questions are different than his, you're an idiot. You're a fool and he knows best.

This from the man who employs two of the biggest blathers online. Soccer Mama Ruth Conniff who in June couldn't grasp the American people's disgust with the war. And Dumb Ass who interviews the Dahli Lama. Oh thank God, The Progressive is there to offer us the political wisdoms of the Dahli. Next up, the secrets of success from Tony Robbins.

It's ironic that this is the longest piece I've seen from Rothschild. Supposedly, he has important to focus on; however, the reality is, he jots a little hear about an arrest or employment issue and he jots a little there. If Iraq is so all important to him, I can't tell it from the website or the magazine.

If he thinks he's funny, he's not. Ava and C.I. could demolish anyone and any subject without breaking a sweat. If they wanted to tackle the 9-11 theorists, they could do it and they'd even make me laugh. Because they are funny.

Matthew Rothschild is probably a very nice man. But I'm not going to look the other way while he attempts to trash people who have asked questions while most haven't.

If he's not interested in it, I'm not surprised. He's never addressed it. But for him to write his lenghty rant (the lengthiest thing I've seen his name put to in some time) attacking people who are asking questions, is just too much for me.

This sort of "looney" talk greeted the people who said Allende had been killed with US backing, who said that Nazis were brought into the US after WWII by the government (and, as the New York Times revealed not that long ago, they were). My attitude has been share your ideas and I'll listen. Which is the other thing Rothschild doesn't understand (because he doesn't know what he's writing about), there's not one universal theory. "Here’s what the conspiracists believe:" he writes reducing a complex issue of questions coming from a variety of movements and groups down to one universal group. No doubt while Steven Jones' university job is in jeporady, Rothshchild's rant will be pointed to in a manner of "even the left thinks he's a crackpot." McCarthyism Watch, anyone?

While Ruth Conniff's sucked up to the beltway for month after month and written about any "woman's" issue that concerned children (and only that -- she also favors restricting abortion rights), I don't know that I'd be getting on my high horse were I the editor of his magazine. I don't know that if I continuously failed to give a voice of platform to young Americans, if when I finally wrote of the immigration rallies, I turned it over to middle-aged man to write of . . . middle-aged men, I'd think I had enough time to waste by penning a lengthy rant.

Maybe he's scared to death of the upcoming event in California? Who knows. But let's be really clear here that The Progressive doesn't cut it more often than not. Is it a domestic magazine? Where's the peace movement then? Is it an international political magazine? Why's it blowing off readers by interviewing the Dahli Lami? Is it an interview magazine? Then why do they reduce lengthy radio discussions to simplistic nonsense (take the Gore Vidal cutting most recently). I didn't write in to protest Ruth Conniff's interview with Lewis Lapham. There was a reason for that, I know not to be impressed with her increasingly limited view.

Now Matthew Rothschild could have written an "I don't believe in the various theories" and I wouldn't have had a problem. For one thing, he would have grasped that there were "various" theories. But that's not what he did. What he did was stomp his feet, scream "Stop it!" and go on to insult people that his magazine has never supported or covered. At this late date, why?

Why even bother? If he thought anyone might have mistaken him for someone open to discussing the events, he was mistaken. Not readers of the magazine who know this is a non-topic that will never be touched upon there.

Do I think this was a "conspiracy"? No. I don't think he's smart enough to plan a conspiracy. I think it's a case of a number of people attempting to establish their 'cred' with the mainstream. Lord knows Ruth Conniff would love to be back on the gasbag circuit so she could giggle and be as ineffective today as she was during the Clinton-era.

Ruth, the good Ruth, our Ruth of Ruth's Report, wrote of the nonsense that is Ruth Conniff. I asked C.I. when that was and was told that was one of the reports Ruth asked be posted but not read (by C.I.) -- who really doesn't read something when asked not to. But I was steered to "Page 65 of James Wolcott's Attack Poodles:"

The spiral staircase of punditry is strewn with the skeletal remains of writers who couldn't quite make the climb to the top. In the mid-nineties, Ruth Conniff of the Progressive surfaced on CNN talk shows: so young, so idealistic, so blessed with flowing auburn hair. And where is she now? Where did she go? (Lassie, come home!)

Conniff is like Thomas Friedman's more idealistic kid sister. Full of blather and saying very little. A gas bag for the mini-van set rushing from their Mommys For Me groups to their pilate classes. They should call her column, "If Deborah Barone Could Write . . ."

While The Nation makes some efforts to cover third parties, The Progressive doesn't and when it was time to send in the hit squad on Ralph Nader in 2004, Ruth Conniff was their Femme Nikita. Rothschild himself claims to be neither a Republican or a Democrat which might provide some comfort if that meant he was a member of a third party; however, since he's never stated that, the impression is also created that he's just wishy-washy. That would certainly explain his desire to sit down and interview war cheerleader George Packer and feminist-basher Camille Paglia. No doubt he just feels he should hear all sides -- except, as with 9-11, when he doesn't feel that way.

Alexander Cockburn's screech-fest wasn't surprising. Anyone who's read him for any lenth of time is fully aware that he's not usually interested in alternative theories or questions and that he enjoys a good cackle. That's who he is and, if you like him, you accept it as part of his makeup. (I like Cockburn.) Rothschild, on the other hand, plays like he's Garrison Keillor in print which is why his nasty rant is all the more shocking. It's as though you went to visit a sick uncle at Christmas and when he opened the door, he grabbed your breasts.

Scary Rothschild concludes his rant with this:

The 9/11 conspiracy theories are a cul-de-sac. They lead nowhere. And they aren’t necessary to prove the venality of the Bush Administration. There’s plenty of that proof lying around. We don’t need to make it up.

To which I'd reply, he's yet to assign his writers to do a full blown issue that led anywhere. Oh, let's dabble here and let's dabble there and Ruth's lactating some thought in a golden glow of motherhood so lets sop that up and put on the page too. Howard Zinn and Barbara Ehnrenreich write for that magazine. In a humorous manner Molly Ivins and Kate Clinton write for that magazine. The others?

There's a woman (C.I. would know her name) who actually writes. But mainly you're wading through crap (which includes superficial interviews -- and that includes the waste of time interview with Dar Williams which supposedly was far more intense than anything that appeared in print -- their interview policy appears to be "humanize" and "likeable" and "never hard hitting").

C.I. just came through to check on me and I asked if the latest issue of The Progressive was lying around anywhere? C.I. said it was probably packed up in luggage but found the August issue for me. Iraq is explored nowhere in the issue. (Don't point to the laughable Gore Vidal interview that's so cut up he sounds like Sally Field on a Gidget promotional tour.)

Want to know what I think leads nowhere? Magazines that are all over the place and rife with poor writing. Dona just came in and said, "Let me find a Ruth Conniff column for you because I hate that idiot." She said Jim, who also loathes Conniff "easy-bake 'solutions'" is hunting down Ruth's Report on Conniff's lame brame attempt to treat KPFA as a chat & chew.

Jim just came in with the link for Ruth's Report where she speaks of women:

But some make themselves useless. For feminism, that is not a bad thing. It serves to remind us all that a woman can be everything a man can be. Commanding, on top of their game, brilliant -- to be sure. But the list also includes "useless."
Ruth Conniff cast herself in that role Friday. Ms. Conniff appeared on Kris Welch's Living Room on KPFA Friday. Ms. Welch specifically asked Ms. Conniff about the 2004 election results. Ms. Conniff did not to respond to the question. I have no use for that. I have no use for people who cannot speak up. If Ms. Conniff feels the election was not stolen, that is her right and I would have listened to her reasoning. Instead, she spoke of everything but the 2004 election results. Possibly she misheard the question?
With too much too cover, I will not waste my time, or any member's time, by recording lengthy statements from those who, for whatever reason, cannot address an issue put to them.
On Iraq, Robert Parry, another guest, spoke of what he was saw around the country, what he heard. Ms. Conniff spoke in generalities about the war ("professionalized military . . ."). It was as though it was being spit out by a machine. Our time is too valuable to waste with robotics.
The question was about the war and how it had not made the top ten of MoveOn.org's poll. There is a reason for that. It has been covered most recently in John Walsh's "MoveOn Rigs Its Own Vote; Betrays Its Membership" (CounterPunch). MoveOn.org has a history of silencing the war issue. That includes the March 2005 protests, the second anniversary of the illegal invasion, where, under pressure, they suddenly hooked up at the last minute with Sojouner's to do something, anything.
Mr. Parry spoke of what he saw in this country and how it was innaccurate to claim that the war was not an issue to people. Ms. Conniff's answer would not offend MoveOn.org since it gave them every excuse and plenty of cover to hide behind. It had nothing to do with reality or people (represented as "the people," far removed). Ms. Conniff mentioned only one actual person, a neighbor. Goddess of the hearth at this late date? Sounding like a cross between a Bronte shut-in and June Cleaver, Ms. Conniff, after dispensing with her coffee clatch, went on to provide dull remarks. If that is what I enjoyed hearing, I would be doing Ruth's Meet the Press Report.
I have no time or interest in noting her superficial remarks on Al Gore (with giggles) that did not address the press attacks on him in 2000 but did endorse them. She honestly struck me as the sort of pundit that Bob Somerby rails against regularly.
Former Vice-President Gore is not above criticism. But silly giggles and remarks that follow what Mr. Somerby has dubbed the "script" are of no use to me. Being a woman, and a Ruth, I was sad to find that Ruth Conniff was of no use to me. That was, however, the reality.
[. . .]
Ms. Conniff was a guest for an hour, for the hour. I heard nothing but dime-store analysis dressed up in a motivational talk. Helpmate of the party isn't a role that interests me. If this house is on fire, you scream, "Fire!" You do not say, "I'll get the marshmellows." Like a Stepford Wife with a hobby, Ms. Conniff batted the Democratic Party with a tissue while Mr. Parry, feet firmly in the real world, spoke of real issues.
She not only found hope in the man Rebecca has christened Evan Blah, she felt the need to share that she had found hope. It was as though she was breathlessly exclaiming, "Did you see the clean hands on our mugger? Wasn't that delightful?" Having cast herself in the role of the party's helpmate, she is now left to explain away the bruises, cuts and other injuries that would have any thinking woman running to a women's shelter. Instead, Mr. Conniff asks only that when she next gets battered, her "man" not hit her in the face.

I could continue to pull from Ruth's wonderful column (our Ruth) she captures the uselessness that is Conniff perfectly. Dona found a Ruth column and it's so putrid I can't get past the opening. It's what Wolcott was talking about where gasbags on the TV left offer a counter-spin.
Rothschild needs to get to work on finding a straight woman not obsessed with children to write about the world. Conniff needs to move on over to Good Housekeeping where she can share cooking recipes with Laura Bush. Or mabye The Progressive isn't so progressive and sees women as either Mommies or lesbians?

(As for Conniff dodging the issue of the 2004 elections -- no doubt, she didn't want to be associated with those 'loonies' at Harper's or Mark Crispin Miller or, go down the list of reputable names who have gone on the record.)

Again, Rothschild heard or watched Monday's program and suddenly he's an expert. Which is really scary when you think of the fact that he's an editor of a magazine. He doesn't need to do any research (one call to Bonnie Faulkner would have told him that there are a myriad of theories -- not one "universal" theory). But who needs research when you can be as superficial as Soccer Mama?

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and while Rothschild was blathering, C.I. was working:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 chaos and violence continue in Iraq with AFP estimating that at least 27 Iraqis were reported dead today, in the United States the divider shows his ugly/only face again, CODEPINK asks that you Give Peace a Vote,

In the United States, Bully Boy is coming under fire for a speech given Monday night in front of photos of his twin daughters who were apparently supposed to represent Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Speaking to the nation in a nineteen minute pitch during the second night of ABC's VOTE GOP! infomercial, Bully Boy attempted to sell his illegal war on the shaky grounds that "I know I said it would make things worse not to invade and I was wrong, but it will make things worse to leave, forget that I was wrong before."

Using his circular illogic in his seventeen minute pitch, as the AP notes, "most of his 17-minute speech was devoted to justifying his foreign policy since that day. With his party’s control of Congress at stake in elections less than two months away, Bush suggested that political opponents who are calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would be giving victory to the terrorists."

Sounding like Ike Turner (or any other abusive husband), Bully Boy looked a nation of soul-surviving Tina Turners in the face and dared to offer, "Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be" to leave.

Leave it to David Stout (New Yokr Times) to play Ben Fong-Torres, embrace the tawdry and notice nothing while concluding, "Democrats have long accused Mr. Bush and his top aides of disingenuously implying a link between the Iraq of Saddam Huessien and the 9/11 attacks."

To clarify for Stout and other would be Fong-Torreses, the two latest sections of the
Senate Intel Report (released Friday) once again found no link, none, between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda -- no links, none, between Saddam Hussein and 9-11.
On the fifth anniversary of 9-11, in the midst of a myth-series, Bully Boy elects to address the nation in some sort of effort to offer Frito Pie for the Soul and he is yet again spending "most of his time," talking about? Iraq.

It's not reporting. It's saying that Democrats called heads in the coin toss and now Democrats charge that they won the coin toss without ever noting the fact that, yes, heads won. [David Corn (The Nation) addresses Dick Cheney's only loose grasp of reality regarding the fact that there is no link.]

Among those Democrats rightly calling the Bully Boy out on his continued and false linkage of 9-11 and Iraq are US Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Reid spoke of 9-11 on Monday at the Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas and nowhere in the nineteen lines did he seek to slam Americans or cite Iraq. Pelosi's sixteen line statement on Monday also failed to politicize the anniversary. By contrast, the Bully Boy offered 31 lines that directly brought Iraq, which, again, has nothing to do with 9-11, into the anniversary.

Even a he-said/she-said press could point out that obvious fact. Possibly all the time spent on Iraq prevented the Bully Boy from noting the obvious, which Greg Palast has,
"It's been five years and the Bush regime has not done that. Instead, the War on Terror is reduced to taking off our shoes in airports, hoping we can bomb Muslims into loving America and chasing journalists around the bayou. Meanwhile, King Abdullah, the Gambino of oil, whose princelings funded the murderers, gets a free ride in the President's golf cart at the Crawford ranch." No word on what's preventing the so-called mainstream press for noting that reality on the fifth anniversary of 9-11. An earlier BBC News Night report by Palast on the Bully Boy's blocking bin Laden probes can be viewed here.

Bully Boy did get one thing right in his Monday speech: "America did not ask for this war". No, but the administration did and resorted to lies, then and now, to have their request granted and continued.

In other "I can't believe it's not butter moment"s, Reuters reports that Richard Zilmer (Marine Major General in Iraq) declared from Baghdad, outside the al Anbar Province, that the Marines have not lost the province. Citing unspecified "areas," citing them from Baghdad, outside the al Anbar Province, Zilmer stated all was going swimmingly in some "areas" -- unspecified areas. Reuters notes: "The statement did not indicate which parts of the province he believed had effective local government." Prepare for tomorrow's audio-visual presentation where Zilmer, using a projection screen and pointer demonstrates that he can find the province on a map so, therefore, it has not been lost.

Zilmer was attempting to spin Thomas E. Rick's (Washington Post) Monday report of Marine Col. Pete Devlin's assesment that "that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents."

The violence and chaos continues throughout Iraq.


CNN reports six dead in Baghdad when "a car bomb exploded at a busy shopping district" and that fifteen were left wounded. AFP notes that a police officer and a civilian were killed by a roadside bomb "near Baghdad's University of Technology" and left seven more wounded, while, in Abu Sayda, a bomb took the life of "Brigadier General Ali Hassan Jubur, head of operations in Muqdadiyah's police headquarters" and the deaths from roadside bombings of a police officer (in Samarra) and an Iraqi soldier (in Kirkuk). CBS and AP report a bombing in Middadiyah resulted in at least 4 dead and 24 wounded (and that the same location resulted in gunfire Monday night leaving seven dead). Reuters reports that, in Kirkuk, a roadside bomb wounded Kassem al-Bayati and that three other roadside bombs in Baghdad left at least eight Iraqis wounded.


KUNA reports that, in Mosul, Iraqi police captain Ziad Ramzi was shot dead and, in a separate attack, four other people were shot dead. Reuters reports that they were four family members and that a fifth was wounded. CNN reports that a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad ("outside his house"). Reuters reports: "Dolonel Abbas al-Nuaimi was gunned down Monday outside a jail in Hindiya" while "in police custody" to stand "trial for crimes committed during Saddam Hussein's rule."


CNN reports that 60 corpses were discovered around Iraq and one severed head carried the message: "This is the fate of those who deal with the U.S. forces." AFP reports three corpses were discovered in the Diyala province. Remember that discovered corpses never make the media's daily tabulation of the death toll.

On the issue of corpses, CNN reports: "Of the bodies taken to the morgue last month, 90 percent had been shot, the official said. The other 10 percent were killed by other means, such as torture, beheading and stabbing, the official said. The official noted that the morgue figures do not include most bombing victims, as that number is calculated separately."
CBS and AP report that Sunnis in the parliament are attempting "to work together to prevent" a bill that would turn the occupied nation into a federation "from being implemented without changes." This as puppet of the occupation is once again out of the country. CNN notes that Nouri al-Maliki is in Tehran establishing relations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran. As the BBC notes, al-Maliki "lived in Iran during the 1980s" and he will be meeting "Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, on Wednesday."

In peace news, Camp Democracy continues in Washington, DC. Today's events focus on the environmental crisis caused by global warming and this evening Mark Karlin (the editor and publisher of BuzzFlash) will be presenting. Tomorrow is verdict day and Ann Wright and Ray McGovern are among the scheduled participants of the Bush Crimes Commission and World Can't Wait sponsored events. While on Thursday, Danny Schechter is scheduled to be among the participants with a screening of his documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deceptions. On Sunday, Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here.

Events are scheduled through September 21st, the same day that CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast concludes. Troops Home Fast is currently on day 69 with at least 5023 people participating. CODEPINK is also promoting Give Peace a Vote (Medea Benjamin: "Part of a coalition effort of Voters for Peace designed to create a strong anti-war voting bloc, the petition asks people to pledge that they will only vote for candidates who support a speedy withdrawal from Iraq and no future wars of aggression.") which over 14,000 people have currently pledged to support.

Writing in The Nation, John Nichols reminds Americans to watch the results of the primaries today and zooms in on the Maryland Congressional race John Sarbanes is running in. (He also notes other races.)

Meanwhile, in Australia, Dan Box (The Australian) reports that the government wants to up the army from 2,600 to 30,000 ("its biggest intake since the Vietnam war") and that this comes while there seems to be no accountability for officers as evidenced by the abuse of Charles Williams and the hearing into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco ("Last week, the family of Private Jake Kovco accused a military board of inquiry into his death of being a 'face-saving exercise' to protect officers.").