Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is pretty enough?






Danny Schechter pens a piece at ZNet where he admits he snorted the Kool-Aid. But while I hope Danny will return to the real world, it's very much true that time makes 2008 a little hazy for Danny.
He writes, "I was denounced as a super sexist by a few for not buying into her [Hillary] centrist Clintonista crusade."
Actually, I think you were called a sexist for the use of terms like: "Clintonista." Hillary ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and did win the popular vote and you're belittling her as a "Clintonista"? Ruth can (and I'm sure will) respond at her site. She posted on Danny's sexism resulting in an e-mail exchange with Danny (that he initiated). Unless he's got amnesia, he knows exactly why he was called a sexist. He's an alleged media critic, a self-proclaimed "News Dissector," and yet he refused to call out the constant sexist attacks aimed at Hillary? (While engaging in his own.)
That's not a minor point. If you're a media critic, you call out press attacks -- and, yes, that includes sexism. Things got worse at News Dissector after Barack became the nominee. Suddenly, we're getting a ton of e-mails here from his readers about what the hell happened? Danny had created a space, they thought, where various views were welcome. You didn't have to be a Democrat or even vote to be welcome at Media Channel. Then suddenly he was Uber Partisan. He ran off his audience.
And I keep stopping and saying, "Delete that," as I dictate this. Pulling punches. When I really shouldn't. Barack's position on Iraq was always known. Bill Clinton rightly termed it a "fairy tale." Long before Bill did that, I had heard similar from US House Rep Bobby Rush. Danny claims he had no way of knowing the truth about Barack. I believe Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon were documenting truths about Barack in 2008 at Black Agenda Report (including the DLC membership which Danny feels he had no way of knowing).
The "News Dissector" was silent on sexism and he was silent on homophobia. I like Danny, despite the 2008 crazy, and the column makes me more likely to link to him in the future. But we paid for telling the truth here. We were delinked by many sites -- including Danny's -- and that's fine -- sites that repeatedly asked us to promote them and that we repeatedly promoted. But when push came to shove, we told the truth and we did so in real time. And the thanks for that was that we were attacked and trashed and delinked from a number of sites -- sites that still send things to the public account wanting links. And having paid for being the Cassandra, I won't just say, "Great job, Danny!" I'll note that he's been more honest than anyone thus far --- and I'll applaud him for that sincerely, but I'll note there's not full honesty.
I was talking to a friend about this last week -- someone who knows Danny from his ABC days -- and I said -- of this entire period and of much more than just Danny, "A part of me wants to let go of it. And if I weren't doing stuff online, I probably would. But this was such a breakdown for the left, this was such a pivotal moment. And to act as if it didn't happen would encourage it -- and beg for it -- to happen again."
Danny has gone further than any of his crowd in taking accountability and I say, "Good for him." And I mean that. But I also mean that what happened never should have. And I keep remembering the e-mails, like from the guy who had followed Danny since 2003, heard him speak somewhere (I'm blanking on the location) and just couldn't believe that the Danny of 2008 was the same Danny he'd been reading all that time. And I remember the shock of so many LGBT-ers on the left who refused to drink the Kool-Aid and couldn't believe that Barack's constant use of homophobia was not being called out. That's where the thrown under the bus usage comes from. Bit by bit, Barack threw (while people like Danny looked the other way) one segment of the left under the bus, one segment after another.
I would love to read Danny writing a piece -- even a paragraph -- explaining how he justified ignoring the use of sexism and homophobia by the campaign. Or of giving delegates to a candidate not on the ballot. Or stopping a floor count at the convention when Nancy Pelosi was afraid that the vote would be too close and Barack might not be the winner. Do we believe in count every vote or not? Was our outrage over Bush v. Gore motivated solely by a dislike for Bush? Or we rightly offended that the will of the people was thrwarted? Until those issues are addressed, the same thing could happen in five more years. (I doubt it will happen next year just because so many have realized how badly they've damanged their repuations.) And, to be clear for those late to the party, Danny wasn't the only one and I don't think he can even be termed the worst or the top twenty worst. But he's the media critic, he's the News Dissector, he's the one who's written books about people coming together to overcome. And he got taken in by a media creation -- one John Pilger was calling out in real time as a media creation.
So how did it happen and how do we make sure it doesn't happen again?
It's not a minor issue to me. The only reason I'm still stuck online is because of Barack and the idiotic notion that he was going to end the Iraq War. Still hasn't happened, has it? Support for him had real life implications especially for the Iraqi people. Repeating, how do we make sure that "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally" never happens again? Last night Betty quoted Joan Didion on the 2008 crazy and we should note it again because a lot of people have forgotten Joan's remarks:
What troubled had nothing to do with the candidate himself.
It had to do instead with the reaction he evoked.
Close to the heart of it was the way in which only the very young were decreed of capable of truly appreciating the candidate. Again and again, perfectly sentient adults cited the clinching of arguments made on the candidate's behalf by their children -- by quite small children. Again and again, we were told that this was a generational thing, we couldn't understand. In a flash we were sent back to high school, and we couldn't sit with the popular kids, we didn't get it. The "Style" section of The New York Times yesterday morning mentioned the Obama t-shirts that "makes irony look old."
Irony was now out.
Naivete translated into "hope" was now in.
Innocence, even when it looked like ignorance, was now prized.
Partisanship could now be appropriately expressed by consumerism.
I could not count the number of snapshots I got emailed showing people's babies in Obama gear.
Now I couldn't count the number of terms I heard the terms "transformational" or "inspirational." The whole of election night I kind of kept dozing on and off and the same people were on always on television and every time I woke up
to them they were saying "transformational."
I couldn't count the number of times I heard the sixties evoked by people with no apparent memory that what drove the social revolution of the sixties was not babies in cute t-shirts but the kind of resistance to that decade's war that in the case of our current wars, unmotivated by a draft, we have yet to see.
It became increasingly clear that we were gearing up for another close encounter with militant idealism by which I mean the convenient redefinition of political or pragmatic questions as moral questions -- which makes those questions seem easier to answer at a time when the nation is least prepared to afford easy answers.
As Danny rightly notes, "He took an anti-war stance on pragmatic grounds only, preferring Afghanistan to Iraq. He hasn't extricated us from either battlefield." And that's due to the Cult of St. Barack. As we noted at Third in December 2008, alleged leaders of the peace movement were disgracing themselves. In that piece, we quote one of the only people who can hold their head high today:
Debra Sweet (World Can't Wait) noted of UPFJ's recent session:

Not to directly challenge Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan is shameful. On the anniversary of "Shock & Awe," and under a new president, the anti-war movement needs to be in Washington. And many of us WILL be there.
World Can't Wait wrote a
letter to the anti-war movement. We posed:

"We in this country, and those of us in this movement, have a choice. We can side with our government, with the "good war" fought in our names, and act like American lives are more important than anyone else's lives.Or we can show the people living in the Middle East, and the world, that in the U.S. there is a difference between the people and their government, and that the people are taking responsibility to end an unjust war and the war crimes that have been carried out in our name. We can act like we care about the whole planet."
If everyone had shown the same courage and determination as Debra Sweet and World Can't Wait, you better believe all US troops would be out of Iraq and the administration wouldn't be in negotiations with Nouri al-Maliki today to figure out how many troops they're both comfortable with keeping beyond 2011.
The decision to 'block for Barack' and abandon demands like "OUT OF IRAQ NOW!" had real world consequences. For example, Iraq Body Count is considered a conservative count. For 2010, they count 4,045 Iraqis killed. The dead aren't coming back. In this Antiwar Radio segment, Angela Keaton talks with Scott Horton about the efforts to build a left-right antiwar movement. Those working on that issue have done real work in the last years and deserve real credit (including Angela Keaton). (And Scott Horton who's made it a big and reoccuring topic on his radio program.)
John Glaser's overseeing's Blog and he's also posting on the main site including about a newly released US State Dept cable, released by WikiLeaks:

The cable excerpts a letter written by Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, addressed to then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. American troops approached the home of Faiz Harrat Al-Majma'ee, a farmer living in central Iraq, to conduct a house raid in search of insurgents in March of 2006.
"It would appear that when the MNF [Multinational Forces] approached the house," Alston wrote, "shots were fired from it and a confrontation ensued" before the "troops entered the house, handcuffed all residents and executed all of them." Mr. Faiz Hratt Khalaf, (aged 28), his wife Sumay'ya Abdul Razzaq Khuther (aged 24), their three children Hawra'a (aged 5) Aisha ( aged 3) and Husam (5 months old), Faiz's mother Ms. Turkiya Majeed Ali (aged 74), Faiz's sister (name unknown), Faiz's nieces Asma'a Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 5 years old), and Usama Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 3 years), and a visiting relative Ms. Iqtisad Hameed Mehdi (aged 23) were killed during the raid.

And that may remind some of the 2007 killing Michael Ware observed. And one may wonder why the US government thought they had any right to conceal this news from the American public. That makes them as guilty as those who shot and killed that family. And when the US government knows about the killing of a five-month-old baby, they better be able to say someone was punished. Maybe Condi & crew can write about that in their little no-tell-alls? Refusal to do so should result in every interview starting with a reference to the above cable that no-one-could-have-guessed should have read. It might take a little pressure. As I remember her 9-11 commission testimony, it took a lot of pressure to get no-one-could-have-guessed to identify the PDB's title "bin Laden determine to strike in the US."

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