Friday, June 06, 2008

What matters

"TV: Grime & Grit TV"
Betsy offered, "I think sexism has definitely hindered her campaign." But, Betsy wanted the world to know, it had also rallied supporters to her. Betsy, the question was about the media -- which you're supposed to be a part of. What Betsy offered was basically a refutation of not only the work of Durkheim and Merton but also Foucault and Marx. We're sure it's the last one that will have Betsy feeling sheepish.

That's Ava and C.I. tackling Grit TV last Sunday. Mike and I got the memo. I'm joking about memo. I was part of the roundtable Thursday evening for the gina & krista round-robin. One community member participating was very angry and, when speaking, called us out for not highlighting each other more. C.I. immediately apologized (when blame's served at the table, C.I. will always grab the first slice) and was corrected with, "I'm not talking about you. You've linked to everyone this week." And C.I. had. Go back and look and you'll see C.I. provided links to all of from Sunday through the "Iraq snapshot" on Thursday. (Which went up shortly before the roundtable started.) C.I. explained that we had all put everything we had to getting out the vote for Hillary in the last weeks (four weeks for some, six weeks for others). And it was pointed out that Ava, C.I. and I hadn't even been home in over five weeks. (We really haven't. And it may be six weeks or more.) The point was that everyone was tired. And Gina and Krista added that they have heard the complaint being made all week in e-mails.

I'm the worst about replying but I do read e-mails if I get them. If anyone had told me there was a problem, I would have been doing links right away. I'm lazy even on good days but I don't ignore the community. That's not my saying, "It's your fault!" It is clearly my fault. I own that. But I want to be clear that I first heard about the problem Thursday night.

Let me explain a problem that we all have on our end (including C.I.). Blogger/Blogspot is again adding "features" and the result is that on our laptops, it keeps freezing. After my last sentence,
I grabbed a cigarette from Dona (I smoke about ten a year) and lit up waiting for when I could type again. I got three drags before I could. That's been happening to everyone and it started about three weeks ago. We pressed on for Hillary but last week, with Obama stealing the nomination (barring a convention floor flight or another Barack scandal), we were all depressed as well as tired. Not in the mood to blog but knowing full well if we didn't and said we weren't in the mood, C.I. would be filling in for us at all of our sites. Which would be pushing it off on C.I. And none of us wanted to do that. So we slogged along and did as little as possible.

There was no effort to ignore other sites in the community. We were usually all around one another. I doubt we all read what each other wrote due to that. We'd generally all be sitting down across from one another with our laptops and blogging. "I've got nothing!" "Oh, well take this!" or "I'm writing about this and I was going to write about ___ but you take it if you want it!" In that climate, with the Blogger/Blogspot problems, the end of the Hillary campaign (which hopefully is suspended and not closed), the exhuastion from being on the road non-stop (and for Ava, C.I. and myself -- double time because we weren't just on the hectic schedule to speak about Iraq, we were also working to get out the vote for Hillary -- we were doing both things and did not let Iraq fall off our speaking radar or cancel our already scheduled appearances. We were also in DC several times during the last six weeks when Ava and C.I. would go to talk to super delegates in Congress and in the DC area but not in Congress directly to make the case for Hillary.) all led to us being tired.

We apologized during the roundtable for that. Then C.I. wanted to know, since it's obvious that we all know and love each other, where the hurt was coming from because the issue was raised with what can only be described as "hurt"?

C.I.'s been ripped off three times this week. The most offensive time was by a woman. A friend of C.I.'s asked C.I. to highlight a mutual aquaintence and C.I. said, "I didn't know she had a blog. Of course I will." The friend then asked C.I. to highlight something she'd written last month on Hillary. She told C.I. about that blog post and C.I. said, "Absolutely, it will go in the snapshot." When it was time for C.I. to do links (C.I. puts in links and then saves the draft, later C.I. will call a friend who will grab dictation which is C.I. dictating around the links -- a few are added while C.I.'s dictating), searching for the site wasn't working. C.I. couldn't find the site via Google. Finally, C.I. went to ___ (a feminist periodical) and rushed through pages at that site to find something, hoping the site would be listed. It was. C.I. went to that site and went through the posts looking for the post on Hillary, found it and highlighted it.

A woman who regularly raids C.I.'s work, decided to raid it Thursday morning. She had, she informed her readers, just discovered this website and wanted to share it. It was the post that C.I. had highlighted. She hadn't just discovered it, she'd been steered to it by C.I. but although C.I. has been more than happy to link to her (she's e-mailed and asked to be linked to), she's never returned the favor. Not returning the favor is bad manners, ripping off is theft.

Here's the thing, the post was May 14th, the one C.I. linked to. She wanted her readers to believe she'd just come across, by her own research, a May 14th post. That alone was questionable.

It only got worse because she linked to the woman's old site. So did C.I. After the snapshot went up, C.I. got a call explaining, "You linked to ___'s old site. She's moved it."

C.I. apologized, explained how the site was found and said that in the next two weeks, a point will be made to link to the new site.

That's how C.I. ended up at the old site. How did the female Christopher Columbus? She ended up there because she didn't 'discover' the woman's site, she went to the linked post C.I. provided.
There were two other rip-offs and one included a blogger taking six sentences word for word as his own. But this was the one that outraged the community because here is a woman claiming to be pro-woman, claiming to also be for Hillary and yet she's stabbing C.I. in the back and ripping off C.I.

It's amazing how many show up at the public account begging for links to their stuff but they never are kind enough (or raised with manners apparently) to do a link to C.I. They want the community to come to them but they're not interested in helping anyone else.

A lot of bloggers have been linked to recently and C.I. didn't do that out of new love for bloggers. C.I. did it because the MSM was repeating that people weren't blogging about Hillary and that the interest wasn't there. C.I. was demonstrating that the interest was there.

In the process, a lot of people got links that didn't deserve them. I'll name one. Susan UnPC. I have no idea why she wrote Ruth. She said she was writing Ruth because she loved Ruth's writing. Ruth's a great writer but I think Susan was just on a fishing expedition.

If that was the case, she went home with an empty line.

We don't write anything in e-mails we wouldn't write at our sites because FAIR passed on Jess' reply to their e-mail to The Nation. (There was nothing embarrassing in the e-mail Jess wrote about him or anyone else. The e-mail did mention that we'd be doing our six month study of The Nation's poor record of publishing women.) FAIR thought they could score some brownie points by passing on an e-mail; what they didn't grasp was that C.I. has a lot of friends at The Nation and C.I. heard about Jess' reply (which C.I. never read before it went out or the days immediately after) from friends at The Nation who said, "FAIR's passed on one of your e-mails." C.I. refused to believe that FAIR would do such a thing. (C.I. never read the e-mail that FAIR had sent the public account. In that e-mail, they were passing on e-mails from a journalist. Had C.I. read that e-mail, it would have been less surprising.) So C.I. refuses to believe it and is told, "I'm forwarding it to you right now" which it was and is also read it over the phone. That was July of 2007. We don't write anything in e-mails these days that we don't want to say publicly. In August of 2007 or September, David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet (no links for trash) e-mailed Rebecca praising her site and her work and, oh, he had one question about Lennox Yearwood. Rebecca, who liked Swanson's work, was excited by the e-mail and wrote a brief reply. A little while later, she checks her account and has an e-mail from Yearwood. He's out of the country. It's an automated reply to everyone who e-mails his account. Rebecca didn't e-mail him and she's scrolling down and sees it's an automated reply to David Swanson's e-mail. David Swanson's e-mail where he's forwarding Rebecca's e-mail.

Swanson didn't realize that the automated reply had come back to Rebecca as well. When she asked him why he forwarded her e-mail, he denied it over several e-mail exchanges. He suggested she was 'emotional' and acted like the injured party. He didn't know what she was talking about, he never forwarded her e-mail!

But he did forward her e-mail and Rebecca knew he had and that he was lying because Yearwood's automated reply bounced back to her.

That's why Yearwood's never highlighted in the community, by the way. Betty, Cedric and Ty thinks he's a joke and were already on record thinking that before the forward. But when that happpened, it really hurt Rebecca's feelings. Was this something planned? Two guys got together to make fun of her? A little ha-ha at her expense?

Rebecca wrote Yearwood asking for an explanation weeks later and he never replied. So C.I. wrote for an explanation and Yearwood never replied.

I should explain that C.I. wrote Yearwood at the e-mail address from which he sends out several things to the public account of The Common Ills every week to get them highlighted. When Yearwood refused to reply, C.I. stopped highlighting him. We all have.

We'll never highlight him or his organization again. At one point, he got into some trouble with the police and C.I. had to include it because it was news but C.I. did so as briefly as possible because Yearwood is clearly no friend of the community although he's happy to use it to promote his own organization.

So, Susan UnPC, we're used to the fishing e-mails and no one's giving up s**t in one.

But Suzie writes Ruth this chatty, breezy, heavy on praise e-mail and also asks if she can use Ruth's writing about The Diane Rehm Show for something she wants to write. Ruth replies and tells her she can use anything she likes.

Needless to say, Susan UnPC never wrote about Diane Rehm's program nor did she ever reply to Ruth.

Before the e-mail, she had linked to Ruth and posted Isaiah's comic that Ruth had reposted.

Let's talk about that because Isaiah's been the comic for The Common Ills for about three years now and this is the year where everyone's trying to create their own cartoons. Isaiah is a trend setter and I don't say that sarcastically. Isaiah's immensely talented and has brought in visitors to The Common Ills.

Now everyone wants to copy him and most lack the talent but they try. At least they try. Others admit they have no talent and go to an online program where they can choose stock figures and type in captions and then try to call that a "comic."

How proud they must be!

They have no creativity. Isaiah has a real talent. He can capture a mood or moment in his comics and dash off a very convincing comic in about five minutes. That's all the time he has to work on them. He's been on the road with us working to get out the vote for Hillary and I've had the pleasure of watching him create those comics. He's tired, he draws them bam-boom-bam quickly. He spends more time coloring the letters of "The World Today Just Nuts" then he does drawing.

Trasy Arianna Huffington, who hopes money can buy respectability (don't try to convince her otherwise, only time will), was one of the first to steal that idea of a comic. She's also created a pathetic version of C.I.'s "Iraq snapshots" Monday through Friday.

Each day, her pathetic website sends C.I. an e-mail trying to get links (through the public e-mail account), each day, that goes right into the trash folder.

It's not the rip-offs that bother C.I. (C.I. will tell you, "I wish everyone would do something like the snapshot. It would get more people paying attention to Iraq.") It's her posting that attack on children with special needs. Arianna thought it was great to let a failed sitcom actor try his hand at writing comedy -- he had no gift for that but he has no gift for acting either. Maybe he can try carpentry next.

Outside of feminist issues, the issues C.I. has worked the hardest on in adult life have had to do with children, specifically special needs children, children with autism, etc. When you go after that group with 'wit' you are trash in C.I.'s book and that's what got Arianna banned from The Common Ills and community wide.

I know we were all offended by that crap she thought worthy of publishing but you have to know how seriously C.I. takes attacks on children. At one point, Jim proposed an editorial on that and C.I. said no. Sunday's "Roundtable" addressed the way the really hard hitting editorials for Third are written and that seems to have shocked some members. If we're all tired, it does come down to Jim and C.I. and the process is brutal. After it's over, the rest of us will smooth out the points (basically putting what was said into paragraph form) and C.I. will have to leave whatever room we were writing in and go for a walk (tears still streaming down the face). It does result in powerful editorials and any hard hitting one we have has largely come about that way. Jim and C.I. know the process, they're the ones doing it. Jim wants the strongest editorial possible and knows the way to go for that is to make a pitching thing between him and C.I. But the reason I mention that is that despite C.I. saying 'I'm an adult, I know how to say no.' (that's a paraphrase, check the roundtable for the quote), there has been some member hostility expressed to Jim.

As an artist I don't just understand the process or C.I.'s willingness to take part in it, I applaud it. (Jim's approaching as a journalist, C.I. as an artist.) But C.I. knows and will set limits. When Arianna's crap became known, Jim wanted an editorial about it and to focus on these children under attack. C.I. said "no." A firm "no." C.I. argued, "I already tackled that at The Common Ills, you can grab anything from that but I'm not ripping myself apart for this. It was hard to get out of bed Friday" it had been a Thursday "And the war drags on . . ." where C.I. dealt with Arianna's crap "and I'm not putting myself through that again. I walked it right to the line and I'm not going further."

We didn't write that editorial, we didn't try. C.I. will say "no" and, though Jim can and will badger with regards to their TV commentaries, if C.I. says "no" on an editorial, Jim drops it because if it's coming down to just the two of them, Jim knows how hard it will be on C.I. C.I. takes part in the process and I'd say "reluctantly" instead of "willingly," but C.I. will do it for important topics provided that the personal cost is not too high. If C.I.'s going to be in tears for hours after the editorial is written, it's not worth it. If it's something C.I. can walk off in a half-hour or a little more, C.I. will take part.

So -- never accuse me of not writing anything lengthy here -- the point of the highlight above specifically is that is amazing. The entire piece that Ava and C.I. wrote is amazing. And there are laughs throughout as well as hard hitting criticism. But to me, that section I quoted above speaks to Ava and C.I.'s intense and immense popularity with Third readers. You read it and you've got hardhitting criticism, you've got a reference (which may be over some people's head) that pulls on their liberal arts background and then you've got the joke. I took some sociology in college so I got the basics of the set-up but, honestly, I only knew the work of the first two and wasn't aware Marx (who I knew of) had also addressed conflict theory. Conflict theory dropped into a TV commentary? That's the curve ball that exceeds your expectations. You weren't expecting it, you're blown away by it if you catch it and right after the 'high brow' reference, you get the laugh.

I've mentioned or thought of/reflected upon the following while writing this:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and 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,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" -- Mike just corrected me, it's C.I. and Ava's snapshot this time:

Friday, June 6, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Barack isn't 'pledging' to do anything on Iraq, the VA computer systems lack all security, Nader qualifies for Arizona ballot, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Teviah Moro (The Orillia Packet & Times) reports that the Quakers in Orillia will demonstrate tomorrow in an attempt to register their support for war resisters in Canada. Ottawa, Nelson, B.C., Victoria, B.C., Port Dover, Sarnia and Strathory will also hold demonstrations. Moro notes: "Organizers of the Orillia rally, to be held outside the Opera House from 12:30 to 1:30 p. m., aim to explain the underlying issues of the pending deportations and will have petitions on hand."The rallies will be taking place to underscore the recent action in Canada's Parliament. Tuesday Canada's House of Commons passed a motion granting war resisters safe harbor. The motion is non-binding but it is hoped that the country's prime minister, Stephen Harper, will honor it. It is especially important with regards to US war resister Corey Glass. May 21st, US war resisters and Iraq War veteran Glass was informed that he had until June 12th to leave Canada or he would be deported. That is six days from now. Will the non-binding motion prevent the conservative Harper from ordering Glass' deportation? Rick Salutin (Toronto Globe & Mail) doesn't seem optimistic noting that from an AIDS conference (global conference) to any other issue, Harper loves to say no to the people: "Lately, it's been no to a safe-injection site in Vancouver; provincial climate plans; Ontario's budget; an inquiry into the Bernier case; letting U.S. war resisters stay. For a government, the Conservatives are uniquely, bizarrely litigious, the sign of a mentality that loves to fight."With more on that, this is from Michael Werbowski (OhmyNews International) reports that the vote on the motion "comes just in time for US army recruit Corey Glass, 25, a war resister who came to Canada in 2006 and was recently told to leave Canada by June 12 or face removal to the United States, welcomed the vote. Upon hearing the news of the motion passed by the lower house, Glass expressed his appreciation for the parliamentarians, "I'm thankful that the MPs voted to let me and the other war resisters stay in Canada. I'm also thankful to all the Canadians who urged their MPs to support us."

Meanwhile, It was two years ago today, as
Austin Jenkins (OPB News) notes, that Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq in June 2006. In August 2006, he faced and Article 32 hearing. In February, he faced a kanagroo court-martial. Judge Toilet (aka John Head) declared a mistrial over defense objection as Watada was about to take the stand (after which the defense would have rested and the military jury would have reached a decision). Judge Toilet forgot a lot that day. He announced that a new court-martial would take place in March but that was really beyond his call (and why no court-martial took place then). He also forgot about the US Constitution, popularly known as "the law of the land," and it's provision against double-jeopardy. In November of last year, as Judge Toilet repeatedly tried to force another court-martial, US District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled that no action could take place until the double-jeopardy was resolved. Watada has been in limbo since. William Cole (Honolulu Advertiser) speaks to Ehren's father, Bob Watada who has "suggested to his son's attorneys that they somehow force a conclusion to the issue" and whom Cole quotes stating, "The attorneys are talking to the Army. They aren't telling me what they are saying, but they are talking to them." Austin Jenkins (OPB News) quotes one of Watada's two civilian attorneys, Ken Kagan, declaring, "It's conceivable that the appeals process in the 9th Circuit could consume anywhere from 18 months to three years. So that is a limbo that is very hard for Lt. Watada to imagine but he's prepared to do what he needs to do."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Shhhh. Listen? It's the sound of hundreds of computers in
Panhandle Media booting up over their sobs as they force determination to yet again sell their political crush as someone who will end the illegal war. Media anointed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is not 'anti-war' and is not seriously opposed to the illegal war. But if you didn't have Tommy Hayden, Laura Flanders and the gang lying for him non-stop, people wouldn't think otherwise, now would they? (Those two named because they have both -- in February -- talked about how Barack's feet need to be held to the fire and yet they've never done so. Someday I suppose, as the Mighty Bosstones once sang.)

The Press Trust of India reports that Barack told CNN he would "not tule out the possibility that conditions on the ground could alter his policy of immediately beginning a troop withdrawal and that Barack insisted of his 'pledge' to end the illegal war, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind."
Confronted with his statements on withdrawal policy, Obama replied, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind". He spoke of "broader perspective"s and offered praise for Gen David Petraeus. It's shocking only if you've trusted the liars of Panhandle Media. Barack has changed his position on the Iraq War repeatedly. While running for the US Senate, he told
Elaine and I at a big money, private fundraiser that he didn't favor withdrawal. His attitude was that the US was in Iraq now and had to win. (Neither Elaine nor I contributed to his run. We both immediately walked out of the fundraiser.) At that point he was a myth of the radical left, an "anti-war" candidate. The press picked up on that and he became the "anti-war" Senator which required ignoring not only his public statements (his many public statements) but his continued voting for the illegal war once he got into the US Senate. Throughout the campaign, he has signaled (and sometimes stated) to the mainstream press that his stance is far from it's portrayed. "Hopelessly Devoted To Barack" Tom Hayden made a real ass out of himself doing a quickie write up of an NYT article co-written by Michael Gordon. The reality of what was what was in the transcript of the interview which the paper posted online. In February, after his advertsiments where he robotically declared that his mother died of cancer, the campaign went into overtime with an advertisement that played like the Pepsi Generation (truly, it was the late 60s and early seventies Pepsi generation commercials). To a bad 'rock' guitar, the commercial opened and featured quick shots of Barack barking out sentences while groupies swooned. "We want . . ." he barked over and over, a laundry list of demands. The Iraq War was on it. But Barack wasn't running to be "we," he was running to become the nominee of the Democratic Party and then the president. There were no "I will end the Iraq War." All he did was offer what "we" wanted. It got the psychos in Panhandle Media excited. Of course, were he serious about ending the illegal war, his campaign would have stolen not the Pepsi commercials of that period, but the Coke commericals: I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony . . .

There was no "pledge" or "promise" made to end the illegal war, despite the groupies like Tom Hayden going bug-eyed crazy in their efforts to pretend otherwise (a fleeting sentence delivered in Houston, TX, as ginned up by Hayden into a new plan for Iraq). Then came the crash and burn of his advisor (a counter-insurgency supporter and War Hawk) Samantha Power. The pathetics in Panhandle Media made themselves laughable -- and include John Nichols, Davey D and BuzzFlash at the top of that list. Poor Samantha "fired" (Power resigned) for calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." Poor sweet Sammy. No, she resigned because of the damage she did with the press in England. The "monster" insult was the trivia the MSM pumped out. On that same trip, she insulted Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK and presumed ally of the next US administration regardless of who becomes president, and
she gave an interview (that Panhandle Media refused to cover) to the BBC where she explained that Barack would be not be held accountable, if elected president, to any 'pledges' about Iraq he's making on the campaign trail. She explained, as an advisor to Barack and a campaign insider, that any plans about what to do in Iraq would be decided only after he entered the White House. Had that interview gotten the attention it should have, Barack would have faced tough questions. That didn't happen. It wasn't of interest to the corporate media (which still wants the illegal war) to give it much traction and the rejects of Panhandle Media are in love with Barack because of his 'connections' (his using of) Saul, Bernardine and Bill. They deluded themselves into believing he was a Socialist when he is just a user who will use anyone regardless of political ideology in his efforts to climb to the top.

The Queen of the Beggars,
Amy Goodman, wanted credit for a few minutes (two?) she aired of her speaking with Barack. In it, he basically repeated what Samantha Power had said. Goody never pursued that in panel discussions (all panel discussions accepted the lie that he was against the illegal war and would immediately end it). Goody never connected it with the Samantha Power BBC interview (though Barack was making the same points Power had months prior) and she never wrote one of her bad columns, where she recycles some segment of her show, on the topic. It was lie, lie, lie, denial, denial. They worked overtime not to include Eli Lake (New York Sun) report in the narrative. Lake reported that the "day-to-day coordinator" of Barack's campaign had just written a paper which argued for 60,000 to 80,000 US troops to remain in Iraq "as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office."

Among the very few who have tried to maintain perspective and stick to reality about War Hawk Barack are
Phyllis Bennis, John Pilger, Doug Henwood and Juan Gonzalez. It's a very small list. By contrast, most have offered 'reasons' of support for Barack like the insane Dave Lindorff who believes Barack should be supported because Barak is "a black candiate who has risked jail by doing drugs."

The violence continues every day in Iraq and Barack, not even having the nomination, already signals it's a-okay with him. In some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a home bombing in Sulaiman Beck, a Jalwla roadside bombing that wounded one person. Reuters notes a woman blew herself in at a Ramadi police station claiming the life of 1 police officer and injuring four more and, dropping back to Thursday, that 4 people were killed in Sadr City from a US air strike.

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 suspects shot dead in Al Anbar Province, 1 police officer shot twice in Al Anbar Province and wounded and 1 civilian shot in Kirkuk. Reuters notes 3 police officers were shot dead in Dour.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person kidnapped in Kirkuk.

Yesterday CNN's Jamie McIntyre broke the latest Department of Defense news on
CNN Newsroom:

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Asked to resign, which is code for firing, is the top civilian in charge of the Air Force, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and the top military general in charge of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mike Moseley. The two top leaders of the Air Force are being replaced because Secretary Gates has received a highly critical report of how the Air Force has reacted to an embarrassing incident last year which a B-52 bomber flew across country with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles that nobody knew were live nuclear weapons until the plane landed in Barksdale , Louisiana .There were supposed to be big changes made from that. But a recent inspection of the base was less than satisfactory, and Secretary Gates just got a report on his desk from an independent investigator, a Navy admiral who has been in charge of reviewing what the Air Force has done to take care of this. It's not just this issue though. There have been a number of leadership issues in the Air Force including questions about a conflict of interest around a high-profile public relations contract that was left from the Air Force. And all of that together led Secretary Gates to decide that he was going to take decisive action.It's not unlike what he did when he heard about the shortcomings at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital . In that case, he fired the Army secretary and head of the hospital there, as well -- Brianna.

There have been a number of issues with the Veterans Administration Dept as well but no heads are rolling. At the start of the week,
Mary Mosquera (FCW) reported, "Sensitive data on about 1,000 patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals might have been compromised, Walter Reed spokesman Chuck Dasey said. The names of the patients, who are enrolled in the Military Health System, their Social Security numbers and birth dates were among the personally identifiable information in a computer file that was shared without authorization, officials said June 2." AP broke this news about the May 2006 breach at Walter Reed. The key point of the reports is how the Office of Management and Budget issued orders, in 2006, for increased securit on the part of the VA. But they broke it with the government explaining this week about the 2006 computer breach. We (Ava and C.I.) revealed earlier this week that there's a VA breach that took place after the breach the government is now admitting to. This breach has nothing to do with Walter Reed. The basics are that an over-forty-years-old male (who name rhymes with "Los Lobos" and who is a veteran) used a civilian computer to access veterans records. The government is not only aware of the breach, they investigated it. They didn't do a very good job. The government does not know what the person viewed or changed. They know that, from the basement of a non-federal government building, he used a PC to enter the VA's computer database without permission or authorization. Present when he did this was a woman (also a civilian and one who has never served in the military) whom the government never questioned. What the government did do was call together the suspect's superiors at his place of employment -- a four story building whose fourth floor is not used for anything (the basement counted as a floor makes for five floors) -- on the second floor in what passed for an investigation. Those civlians 'assisting' in the investigation of the breach that happened at their place of business were known as "administration." (E.g., they spoke with "administration.") The investigation could not figure out whether the supsect was telling the truth about why he entered the VA system without permission and, certainly, to know about that they should have spoken with the woman present when the breach occurred. The suspect offered two versions of his story and that may be what confused the investigators (though it was very simple for us to track down the particulars). They do know, due to the suspect admitting to it, that the records of someone who served during Vietnam (and only during Vietnam) were accessed. (Hint to reporters, that leads to your human interest angle). The suspect briefly told government investigators a story regarding that Vietnam era veteran that the investigators did not buy; however, it was easily checked out had they bothered to speak to the Vietnam veteran (which they never did). There is fear that the suspect altered the Vietnam veteran's record (we are told by civilian sources that no alteration of that record took place). Why does the government think that? It goes to the human interest angle. In terms of hard news, the angle is the "how." The "how" of it goes to a huge flaw that was supposed to have been addressed and was never addressed. It goes to lack of oversight at the VA.

We're not here to spoonfeed news outlets, get off your lazy asses and don't expect two media critics to do all your work. (It's as if today's Woodward & Bernsteins expect you not only to spill the beans, but also type up their reports and then wipe their asses.) The federal goverment made a big deal this week about honesty and 'fessed up to problems in May of 2006. The 2007 breach is more serious not because of the suspect or what he may or may not have done but how he got into the system without authorization. The breach should never happened and were basic guidelines followed (guidelines that any civilian computer system would follow), it never would have happened. The big story is the "how" of the breach, not the "who." And it goes to the OMB's orders not being followed. The first three digits of the civilian location where the breach took place are "312." The street has "East" in it. And the street's name was also the name of a long running TV show but in singular not plural. We're done spoonfeeding the press except to advise NYT that Ralph should have had this story.

This is our third (
here's the second) and last spoonfeeding. After the "how," the "who" still isn't the next big story. The big story then is how the federal government attempted to bury the breach. That wasn't just by still not telling the public about it. It also included a rush to wrap up the investigation before it was complete (the orders for the wrap up came from high up). That's why the woman who witnessed the breach was never interviewed. It was that woman's computer that was used to breach the VA system. There's no reason not to interview her. All this time later, she's still not been interviewed by the government. When the investigation was ongoing, a family emergy meant she was "unaccessible" (to her place of employment but nothing prevented the investigators from seeking her out away from her place of her work) and the rush to wrap up the investigation and keep the entire matter on the down low meant she was never interviewed. The big story is the "how" and goes to the lack of security. The next angle is the rush to keep the story as quiet as possible which includes rushing through an investigation. The suspect himself is really not a huge part of the hard news story. (And the suspect, for the record, is the only person we have not spoken to.) (There are feature articles to be found throughout.)

In other news,
the UN Rights of the Child Committee is calling out the US government for (a) the imprisonment of juvelines in Iraq, Afghanstan and Guantamo and for (b) military recruitment of under-18-year-olds in the US.

Turning to US political news,
Team Nader reports that US presidential candidate Ralph Nader needed nearly 22,000 signatures to get on the ballot in Arizona and that over 65,000 were collected. Ralph Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez should now be on the ballot in Arizona -- barring any dirty tricks on the part of the DNC. Despite Nader's strong polling when his name included in the polling, there is an effort on the part of the MSM and Panhandle Media to ignore his campaign. Today, Team Nader points to another example of how the independent candidate is shut out of the discussions and argues the case for Nader-Gonzalez as the only agents of change:

"How do you get people to vote against their own self interest? That's the trick.
One way is to make people believe in a dream. That's what all of the mainstream politicians are doing - feeding that dream. Obama is feeding a dream - a dream of change and renewal. He's feeding a dream that the conditions that surround us - Iraq, the economy, the racial divide, the class divide in this country - that they are magically going to go away by voting for this centrist Democrat. That is nonsense, of course. Obama is not proposing any structural changes. McCain is feeding us the dream, the fantasy of power and control. That somehow the military might of the U.S. will prevail across the globe. These are fantasies that are being fed by the politicians. They are not so much lies, as delusions. But we will have brought it on ourselves by supporting these politicians.
By ignoring any candidate or any ideas that might conflict with those dreams. The Obama moment is a feel good moment. It makes us feel good. But the programs Obama is proposing - up and down and all around - are the same centrist Democratic positions.
The same people are going to be running the show. All of the corporations are rapidly switching their contributions to the Democrats."
These are the words of the American novelist Russell Banks.
We heard Banks the other day interviewed by Chris Lydon on Radio Open Source. (
Listen to the interview here.) What wasn't mentioned was Nader/Gonzalez. So, let us say it loud and clear. Nader/Gonzalez. Shift the power from the few to the many. Free our government of corporate domination. Restore the sovereignty of an engaged people. Don't fall for the trick. Help us put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot. We're on our way to give the American people a choice in November. But we need your help. And we need it now.
You can give up to $4,600. But please, give whatever you can. Shift the power.
Feed the living, breathing people-powered alternative.
Support Nader/Gonzalez.

iraqcorey glassteviah moroehren watadaaustin jenkinsrick salutinmichael werbowskiwilliam cole
cnn newsroomjamie mcintyrejohn walcott