Monday, June 28, 2010

Patti LaBama






'And that's why we don't trust the political closet cases.' Josh Healey is not a "progressive." Josh Healey is open about what he is in the Bay Area but on the national stage, he hides in a political closet. Closets are for wardrobes, not political secrets. Those choosing to hide in closets do so because they want to trick you, they want to lie to you. For some stupid reason, The Progressive elected to feature Josh's paen to fellow closet cases. [Apparently The Daily Worker no longer being in print means The Progressive has to hire Healey as "spoken word editor." Spoken word? Honey, it's another White boy who thinks he can rap -- and we all know The Progressive has a s**t poor record on hiring African-Americans so if they're hiring a rapper it would have to be a White boy.] And Josh is there to lie as any closet case must. "Later, I attended an anti-war workshop," Josh pants, "featuring voices from Iraq and Afghanistan, which we rarely hear in the U.S. The Iraqi activist said the U.S. agreement to fully withdraw from Iraq by July 2011 is actually a good one --w e just need to make sure the Obama dminsitration lives up to it. The brother from Afghanistan . . ." I really hate liars.
Let's start with the "brother from Afghanistan" (he tosses around "brother" and "comrade" frequently -- again if The Daily Worker were still in print, he'd be writing for it). The "brother from Afghanistan" is Dr. Zaher Wahab, of Lewis and Clark College. The "Iraqi activist"? Big time liar Raed Jarrar who moved to this country how many years ago? Raed the Jar-Jar Blinks of the faux peace movement. I am so damn sick of this. And I'm so damn sick of the lack of standards. The closet cases need to just sit their asses down and think about what they've done. That includes Democratic Party apologist David Sirota.
'And file it under how you know Alex Pareene (Salon) is full of s**t.' Sirota's bad column fro Creators ("After 41 Years, A Belated Victory for Butter") is already popping up in papers. When I saw it in one newspaper, I called the publisher to ask why it was printed? He read the column and called me back (we've known each for over thirty years). It was, he thought, a little too frothy over US House Rep David Obey but he didn't see a real problem with the column. Really? I read this section of David Siorta writing from a few years back to him: "Dave Obey represents a pretty conservative district that is not exactly easy for a Democrat to represent (this is why the NRSC can't wait for him to retire). He originally voted against the war, he has been one of the most outspoken critics of the war, and he has repeatedly used his position as Appropriations Chairman to try to get the situation in Iraq under control. These are the facts, and I witnessed it first hand, having worked for him a few years ago." The loud reply came back, "He worked for Obey?" Yeah and there's a thing called disclosure. If Sirota wants to waste everyone's time jacking off in public to his crush David Obey, he can do so, that's freedom of expression. But when Creators is shopping your love-fest for David Obey around to various newspapers? You need to have disclosed your relationship with David Obey. Again, it's called disclosure. I grasp that Sirota stumbles into hack journalism via Congress. If he wants to be a columnist, he needs to play by the rules.
Playing by the rules don't allow the likes of Josh Healey and David Sirota the opportunity to trick you. Playing by the rules don't allow them to operate under cover and play you for a fool. They're like the 'activist' (Tubby, we've named him before) who wants to whine in e-mails that Barack belongs in prison but then rushes off to Daily Kos (he's not Marcos, for those late to the party) where he types how great and groovy Barack is. The reason the left can't get it together is because too many liars think they need to put one over on the public. And that's why the public doesn't trust a lot of the left. They don't like being played. (Being played is at the root of the distrust of all things Beltway for many Americans.) Reality, most Americans don't have a problem with Communism and, in fact, if they knew some actual Communists, the ranks would grow. The same with Socialists. Reality, most Americans are not upset that someone worked for a Congress member. So if David Sirota (a Democrat -- so there's no confusion) were up front that he worked for Obey, the column wouldn't seem like trickery. And reality for Tubby and the others, most Americans do not believe in the Cult of St. Barack. That was stage-managed by elites and the break away of a few elites in recent times has not led to public stonings because, again, the Cult of St. Barack was a media creation stage-managed by elites. As a rule of thumb, the public's on the side of anyone who calls out the powerful. But, and this is the key point, those who resort to trickery? They're displaying contempt for the people and, guess what, the people generally catch on to that rather quickly.
US House Rep Alan Grayson writes at The Huffington Post today, "A recent poll showed that almost twice as many Americans think that we are losing the war in Afghanistan as think that we are winning it. (Whatever 'losing' and 'winning' mean, in this context.) But another recent poll reports that only eight percent of all Americans say that the war will be 'most important to [their] vote for Congress.' Which means that for 92%, it's not so important. The war is like a dead skunk in the crawlspace. If it's there long enough, you just ignore it. But it's still there." And that's why Grayson's national image is so small -- bordering on tiny. The people are not the problem, Grayson, and, point of fact, a politician who thinks the people are the problem doesn't stand a good chance of being re-elected.
The problem is -- we'll focus on Iraq -- the withdrawal. Due to the withdrawal taking place, the public can easily see the Iraq War as over. When January 2009 rolled around, the bulk had withdrawn and they've not gone back. Oh, no, I'm not speaking of US service members, I'm speaking of the press. ABC News farms their 'coverage' out to BBC News. CBS doesn't really have anyone to report full time -- but they send people in with US officials! NBC generally does a sit down on breaking news with Richard Engel and though he and Brian Williams are knowledgable, let's be clear that neither is in Iraq. Where are the American people supposed to be following the Iraq War, Grayson? Certainly not on their TVs. And, as a member of Congress, you can make it very clear to PBS that you are appalled by their lack of Iraq coverage and that could result in them actually stationing someone there. NPR has people stationed in Iraq. PBS hasn't in years. Public broadcasting, Grayson, is something you can influence and it would probably be more productive than bemoaning an allegedly apathetic public.
'If you forget women -- straight and gay -- and gay men and people of color and immigrants, he was a great senator!' Let's stay in the US a bit more. US Senator Robert Byrd has died and, no doubt, the KKK is holding a rememberance for their one-time member. Greg Sargent? Everyone's favorite hack at the Post needs to know two things. First, soak two tea bags in ice water overnight in the fridge, put them over your eyes in the morning for ten minutes, then go running or workout and it will minimize those unsightly bags under your eyes. Second, Byrd did not show courage on Iraq. He voted against the Iraq War. And? Did he stop it? No. He could have. He could have filibustered anytime funding came up. But he refused to do that, didn't he? Mike Gravel showed courage during Vietnam with his filibusters in an attempt to end the draft. When did Byrd do anything similar? Gravel read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional record. When did Byrd do anything similar? Sargent has no strong education or knowledge base -- as is evident by a professional photo sporting bags under the eyes and lacking a close shave. But the word "bravery" need not to be tossed around in such careless manner. For the word to mean anything, it needs to be reserved for real moments of bravery, not media created ones. Byrd didn't believe in the war, he didn't vote for it. I don't believe that's called bravery. I believe that's doing what's required of for someone holding the office. The bare minimum is what Byrd did. That's not bravery. On the Iraq War vote, Byrd did his job. That's about all you can honestly say. And it's a damn shame when our daily newspapers confuse themselves with the hype mill of People magazine, et al and work overtime to inflate reality. Celebrity culture at its worst. And this need to inflate politicians who just do their jobs goes a long, long way to explaining why we're so bad on the left when it comes to holding politicians' feet to the fire and applying pressure. We're so damn grateful that they took a breath of air, so busy applauding that, that we never have time to demand that they do more than the bare minimum their role as public servant requires.
To really feel ill, go to The Nation and read the latest crap from John Nichols -- who hasn't been worth five cents since he LIED on Democracy Now! in 2008 and claimed that it was Hillary, not Barack, having talks with the Canadian government about NAFTA and he had the proof and he was in Canada and he would be reporting on this and . . . Not a damn thing ever happened. John Nichols is certifiably insane and that was obvious in December 2003 when he and Amy Goodman launched into a 101 conspiracy theories -- which they presented as fact -- including that Hillary would show up at the 2004 DNC convention and steal the nomination. Complete loons. And complete LIARS. What did 'big lefty Byrd' do on abortion, John Nichols? Oh, that's right, you were too busy drooling to tell your readers about that. He has a mediocre rating from NARAL (over his abortion rights voting record). He declared same-sex relations to be a "sin." There's a reason he needs to be called out. (I did this morning.) He was against same-sex marriage. Check 2004 and 1996. For all of Johnny Nichols ravings, the ACLU, HRC and NAACP gave him mixed ratings on civil rights, gay rights and affirmtative-action. He was anti-immigrant. He was very weak on abortion rights. The nonsense being pushed is a bunch of crap. Click here to explore Robert Byrd "On the issues" and then ask yourself why little whores keep pimping him as some sort of 'big lefty.' Byron Dorgan leaving the Senate is a huge, monumental loss. (Dorgan's alive, he's just decided not to run for re-election.) Byrd is no big loss. If I had to guess, it will be the segment that fights against unjust sentences for drug offenses who will push back the hardest on the lie that Byrd is some 'big lefty.' Everyone else will probably continue to pretend FDR himself just died. If it's not them, it will be activists calling for the end of the embargo on Cuba that will be most vocal about what a non-lefty Byrd actually was. But someone explain how John Nichols and The Nation can WHORE themselves at this late date on Robert Byrd who voted in June of 2007 to make English the official language of the US and who repeatedly was anti-immigratn in his votes, repeatedly. John Nichols is a whore and always will be one but as bad as The Nation is, I expect little more from it.
In the real world, the people dying in Iraq -- Iraqis and US service members -- will never get tone poems composed for them and passed off as 'reporting' and 'journalism.' In the real world, the Iraq War continues. In the real world, Alissa Skelton (Lincoln Journal Star) reports on the Sunday send-off for the Nebraska National Guard's 67th Battelfield Surveillance Brigade which deploys 400 to Iraq this ummer and another 300 to Afghanistan this fall making it, in the words of Col Philip Stemple, "the largest single mobilation of a Nebraska unit since the global war on terror started." So you want to tell me that a 2002 vote counts as something really special in 2010? And what did Byrd do in the 8 years since to end the illegal war he spoke out against? Did he filibuster? No. Did he do a damn thing? No. You want me to pretend that Robert Byrd was an amazing member of Congress? There are a few amazing members, Byrd will never make that list. Bare minimum, that was Robert Byrd.
Iraq Veterans Against the War's James Circello always does more than the bare minimum (though I doubt Greg Sargent will ever make the time to groove on James). Brian Becker interviewed James for Face to Face (Press TV -- here for first video, here for some excerpts in transcript form):
Press TV: You formed an organization called March Forward with other veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Are you in contact with people who are still in Iraq or Afghanistan? What's the mood of soldiers right now?

James Circello: We are very enthusiastic because we feet like a new resistance is taking shape from US soldiers. We are in contact with some individuals that want to go AWOL and some that have. Tens of thousands of soldiers have gone AWOL so far. That is what helped me justify myself when I left. At the time military was trying to track them down but still I don't believe they have the forces to track them down. So the soldiers aren't really seeing jail time. These individuals are questioning why they are fighting. They are not helping the people, these individuals say. One of them told me that he is not there to help the people; he is just there to make some people rich.

Press TV: Meaning which people?

James Circello: US corporations that have contracts with Afghanistan.

Press TV: A lot of people thought, when the invasion of Afghanistan happened and subsequently the invasion of Iraq, that this is part of a big strategy by the Bush administration to take over or reconfigure the Middle East, the strategic oil region in central Asia. Afghanistan war now is longer than the Vietnam War. It's the longest war in US history. The United States says it is leaving Iraq; they are going to pull combat troops out of there in a certain date, August of the next year. But at the same time they are building a big embassy in downtown Baghdad which won't seem to be very vulnerable. Do you thing US troops are going to stay in Iraq or do you think they will leave?

James Circello: They are going to stay in Iraq. I think it's just a play with words. It is taking advantage of the fact that most people in the United States don't really know what a combat troop is versus a non-combat troop. The fact is the military definition of a combat troop is someone in the military infantry... so I was a combat troop... or someone in the artillery or someone who drives tanks. But women aren't considered combat troop, at the same time they carry rifles, they fire the rifles, they get shot at, but they are not classified as combat troops. All that this administration plans to do is just to not call them combat troops.

Press TV: So do you expect a large number of troops to stay for a long time in Iraq?

James Circello: That is this administration's plan to save as many as 50,000 people in Iraq indefinitely.

Press TV: what about the private contractors?

James Circello: There is no sign if they are ever leaving. They are just constantly expanding. You said about the embassy in Baghdad, it's the largest embassy in the world. So it's going to need a huge force to guard that embassy in Baghdad.
And that's called reality. Reality is that another person who is heroic and gives more than anyone could ever ask is Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan who looks around and wonders "Where Have all the Peaceniks Gone? by Cindy Sheehan" (Cindy Sheehan's Soap Box):
To some of us, the problem is not so much that Obama has proven to be a dismal failure --because we know that he has been a huge success to the ruling class and corporations -- but that partisan politics always overshadows common sense and true peace. We lost a lot of time giving Obama a "chance," and thousands have lost their lives and their ways of life.
I was outraged when, after three days in office, Obama authorized a drone strike into Northern Pakistan that killed dozens of civilians, but I was excoriated for being outraged. I was devastated when he announced an increase in troops (3 times so far) to Afghanistan, and attacked for not caring about Afghan women (the ones our Empire are "protecting" by killing them and their children). I was laughed out of town when I was infuriated that Obama had declared himself "Judge, jury and executioner" of American citizens. People who formerly supported me told me to "shut up and go away, you have had your 15 minutes of fame."
I was deeply hurt and lonely when everyone from celebrities to my friends in the peace-trenches abandoned me for someone who did not even have a principled campaign platform. However, I could not abandon my principles to support someone who did not conform to them.
Cindy Sheehan and Peace Action are gearing up for "Sizzlin Summer: Independence from oil, Free Palestine, Anti-drone & Counter Recruitment Protests, July 4th through July 17th" in DC. For a breakdown of the activities, click here.

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