how will today's hearing play in the press?

2 posts in 1 night? am i trying to give my readers a shock?

so i'm in bed with kyle, after, and he decides he wants to get up and make himself a sandwich. so i'm laying there in bed and it hits me that i didn't say 1 word about the hearing john conyers and sheila jackson-lee held.

i log on and while i'm waiting, i dash over to the e-mails and see wally's written to ask 'rebecca, aren't you going to mention the downing street memo hearing?'

what can i tell you, jess's mother is that inspiring that it had slipped my mind.

i thought joseph wilson repeatedly layed out a strong argument. i thought all did a wonderful job. i did wonder where others from the house, democratic side, were. i was happy to hear rush holt at least. but it often seemed like, as i've noted here before, the only leadership and bravery in congress comes from the black caucus. they stick together and they take a stand. john conyers, shelia jackson-lee, barbara lee, etc.

so what do i think is going to happen, that was wally's question?

what do i think will happen. i think the bully boy will hold a press conference/photo op tomorrow afternoon. i think it will be about nothing. i think he will kiss ass to the reporters who will be happy to laugh with him (as ray mcgovern noted in today's hearing) and that the corporate media will bury the story.

but i don't think it matters in a way because i think that this is a snow ball that's gathering and gathering with each day. i think people who knew nothing about it today got the basics and then some from watching it on c-span. i think word traveled despite the corporate media and that it will continue to travel. it's really like we've become a 3rd world nation and have to depend upon 1 another to pass things along. but that's okay because we are strong and resilent enough to do that.

say for every 10 who already knew about the downing street memo, 1 new person found out today as a result of c-span or some other outlet. that's fine. if the corporate media won't get the story out we will. it's like the shampoo commercial 'and they'll tell 1 person, and they'll tell 1 person, and they'll tell 1 person and so on and so on . . .'

the corporate media demonstrated that they weren't interested in balance. to them, there was only 1 side of this story, the side that they jeered at and ignored. look how far we came without them today. we can go even further.

i'd love to wake up tomorrow and have it be on all the morning news shows. that'd be great. but i never underestimate the corporate media's ability to defocus. so i'm preparing for that and remembering we didn't need them before and we can continue this without them. it will be hard work but we're hard workers.


meet jess's mother

i'm late to blog. i was on the phone with jess's mother who is just this amazing woman. she wrote me this great e-mail and said i could note it here.

i've noted that jess can play guitar and that he has an amazing voice (baritone). she e-mailed to say thanks for the kind comments about her son, her husband and herself. and she put in that they have always told jess he should go into music 'we support his dreams whatever they are but if it's a choice between sharing an amazing gift or becoming 1 more corporate media whore, we really think jess would be happier in music because that's where his talents are and it's an honest living.'

that made me laugh so hard that i had to call her right then and there.

she told me the sweetest and funniest stories about jess as a little boy but i have to work with him saturday and since we never think the childhood stories our parents tell about us are as funny as others do, i'll take a pass.

we also talked about kat who jess's mother just loves. she says 'this woman loves music, she breathes music. i haven't read any 1 who writes about music with such passion and understanding in years.' i agree with that.

jess's mother said that these days it's churned out and paint by number stuff but that kat's reviews are like the best reviews from cream during it's hey day. 'the woman could hold her own against patti smith when it comes to an album review. she finds this way to convey the music and mood of the album. the stories she's tells about dak-ho and maggie and the rest really are more than just here are my friends, it's a gateway into understanding the album she's reviewing. she's an artist.'

she also noted the entries about finding your voice amidst the shouting and finding your quiet place, safe place.

'it's so true and i can remember back during vietnam, people who couldn't find those places burned out very quickly and it got very ugly. there were burn outs on the home front too and a lot of times you don't hear about that.'

she tried to talk to jess about the e-mail that had upset him but he wouldn't talk to her about that. so she asked me and when do i not spill.

'a fairy tale is homophobic?' she asked. 'that person knows nothing about the sixties. ruth is right, fairty tales were a huge part of the subculture.'

she asked about folding star and the book chats and i explained that with college and going to the jury duty selection things got crazy. she said betty was pricking thomas friedman's 'monster ego' and that it was past time some 1 did. 'he must really have to work hard to be so dense.'

and we talked about the third estate sunday review and the great work they do there. her favorite things so far have been the interview with the woman who had the abortion, the peace rallies 'which npr could have done in the 70s when it still had some guts,' the editorials, the fairy tale, the harry reid piece and, of course, the tv reviews.

'i know ava and she's the sweetest person and i read those reviews and am laughing so hard but so shocked because ava is so sweet and c.i. over at the common ills is usually so straight forward. i guess there must be something about each other that brings out the comedian because those reviews have me rolling. i loved the 1 on nick and jessica and felt some 1 needed to say it. and i did watch medium monday since it was the episode that ava and c.i. had seen and praised. we both loved that episode and will probably try to catch it again. we aren't big on tv and for reasons that ava and c.i. outlined on csi because it is all about fear, fear, fear. and the thing that they did about law & order where they were maybe in the 60s but maybe in today was so funny. it captured my own youth perfectly. that was what it was like at my house, with my father firmly behind the war and my mother trying to keep peace and my older sister and me against the war. you just tried to have a truce at dinner time and then after, every 1 went their own way except for those times when mom would try to drag us into the tv room to watch a program all together as a family. so i just loved that.'

about c.i. she said she keeps telling her husband 'quit e-mailing c.i.!' because she knows how much e-mail the common ills gets. she picked as her personal favorites the highlights from codepink's stop the next war now ('an incredible book'), the thing on our involvement in iraq ('should this marriage be saved was the perfect title'), rudith miller ('i wonder how many people got the messages behind that because i doubt most people realize what a red baiter newton fulbright, for example, was'), this week's editorial on the new york times ('new york timid' is perfect in describing how the mighty have fallen') and anything on the elite fluff patrol.

'if c.i. drops the timid, i understand because we dropped our subscription due to the war propaganda. but i really think c.i. provides a valuable service. i couldn't wade through that nonsense but i appreciate that some 1 says no to them and refuses to play along like they are a great paper. we read it to be informed but when the invasion was coming down the pike, it was obvious that truth was the 1st casualty. i think they're embarrassing and repulsive and i don't know any educated person that feels the timid is a must read these days. they have trashed their reputation and at a time when newspapers are feeling the pinch i really think the timid may have to make serious changes or else accept the fact that people just don't trust it anymore.'

i asked her if jess's work with the third estate sunday review had made her feel more kindly to journalism? 'if jess wanted to do that, it would be a gift to the world. we need to laugh at these people and let them know that they aren't as important as they think they are, take the wind out of their sails. and we need to laugh because the mainstream stereotypes us as dour activists.
the ones i have encountered throughout my life who've been dour have been the 1st to burn out.
we need to realize that, what does c.i. say, don't knock the mock? that this is a powerful tool. and we need to use it. it's the tool that levels the playing field. and it hits them on a level they don't like. like when that center fellow, ed, wrote you. yes, i'm sure he would like to debate policy because he can lie and distort and then say you don't get it. but when you made fun of him he couldn't take that. the bullies and liars never can. there's a lot of power in laughter.'

jess's parents are both lifelong activists. his father works on prison reform mainly today and his mother is a lawyer who didn't put on a power suit and join up with a corporation but instead dedicated herself to helping the people that needed help. if you wonder why jess is so groovy and wonderful, it's because he has some solid parents behind him.

and if they hadn't been about to go out to dinner, i could have stayed on the phone with jess's mother all night. she's an example of how we can agree to devote our lives to social justice and how we can do it without burning out and turning into mirror images of the people we speak out against.

i hope you enjoyed hearing about jess's mother because i think she's an example to us all and that her life is her message. this goes to what we've been discussing all week so think about it.


editorial: still timid, the times takes a dive

well folding star and kat both beat me to posting c.i.'s editorial. i'll congratulate my two friends on their ability to hustle. And I'll post the editorial because it is important.

common ills community member michael e-mails me a lengthy e-mail.

Michael: Love the way assorted brave souls took a pass on the Toad & the Times yesterday (I don't mean you, you linked to C.I.'s editorial) to discuss the "news" that college Republicans are better funded. That is shocking! That's probably even breaking news! If the year is 1977. But it's as though the paper put it on the front page knowing lefty bloggers would see red and focus on that while ignoring Toad's idiot reporting. That's where the focus should have been. That's why so many of us count on The Common Ills. We haven't had one word about "developments" in the Jackson case. We didn't waste time on Terry Schiavo. I love these non "issues" when we're supposed to be focused. I utilized my e-mail list of members to get a petition going asking that for the rest of the week certain sites that took a pass not be linked to. I don't know if C.I. will do it or not. But I'm furious. I'm fucking furious. It's bad enough that no one wants to talk about the goddamn "night letter." Oh poor Newsweek, they wrung their hands over that repeatedly. Now there's proof of why the riots happened in Afghanistan. And maybe if The New Yorker had made the article available online it would have torn up the blog world? But apparently no one's paying for magazines or reading them. So now when they should be discussing a very important article in The New Yorker about life on the ground in Afghanistan, they're discussing nonsense. After having made Newsweek an issue! I'm sick of the shit. That's why I started the petition.

c.i. says no comment when i asked about the petition. but michael, i do understand what you're saying. i would remind you that since eddie was mentioned in alternet's peek, c.i. has asked every 1 to stop e-mailing in items. that wasn't because, as some suspect, the e-mail was increasing. it's always going to increase and c.i. knows that. it was because eddie sent in a link to peek and then felt awful because peek says something like 'eddie at the common ills' or something. evan at peek misunderstood. c.i. laughed it off. and eddie, c.i. really did laugh it off.
but eddie felt awful so c.i. has said repeatedly in gina & krista's round-robin that every 1 needs to stop sending out things to people for links.

the other reason is because we (i'm a member of the common ills too) are so into the site. we know the community, we love the community. and when we see something that no 1 else has addressed, we want it to get attention. if it doesn't, we see it as an insult. and then we get upset and start thinking, as you did today, 'boycott.'

i think c.i.'s a little too nice about plugging some sites. that's my opinion. and you have to accept the fact that a cjr daily is never going to link to the common ills. it's not happening. they were called on their shit and they didn't like it. they got better (or c.i. thinks they have) so they'll get a link if a member sends it in. but that's something you won't see me doing.

take the magazine report. before c.i. called them on that crap, you had something like over 100 mentions of the weekly standard from all of their "magazine reports." you had zero mentions of the nation. the nation would have never been mentioned at all if c.i. and the third estate sunday review hadn't called them on that shit. but every other magazine report could mention the weekly standard. or take the fucking new republic. they were mentioning that every damn week. no 1 reads that rag. but the nation couldn't get a mention. the progressive still hasn't been mentioned nor has in these times. it's a 'magazine report.' and if they're highlighting the weekly standard, they should be highlighting mags from the left.

c.i. called them on their shit and they don't like it.

they probably also are embarrassed that they missed out on the 'night letter' in 1 of their magazine reports. so they'll never highlight the common ills. get used to it.

but that's why the common ills is the common ills. there's no pulling punches because it might mean no links. the community doesn't need links. word of mouth built up that community. c.i. has an independence that most other blogs will never have.

i'm not a friend of ron's but when i said that to c.i. i was told 'ron is very independent and doesn't suck up for links.' and that's true. i will agree with that. i'll also point out that his readership is not the size of the common ills community. and i don't mean that as an insult to ron.

but ron doesn't play the game and he won't get linked as a result. c.i. won't play the game but c.i. didn't know anything blogging so all the rules were broken from the beginning.

you have to realize that taking a stand against simon rosenberg while the blog world was acting like he was god and the only 1 who could chair the dnc was a big step to take.

or going after npr for that bullshit of having robert kagan come on and talk about john kerry's remarks without telling their listeners that his wife worked for dick cheney as his assistant on national security. of course kagan was going to trash kerry and did.

and that happened in october before the election.

but where were the internet on that?

the common ills started in november. if that idiot jeffery dvorkin hadn't excused away kagan being picked (and still not telling people who kagan was married to), c.i. wouldn't have had to do that entry. but c.i. didn't blink. c.i. didn't say 'oh no 1's talking about this i better be part of the clampdown too!'

and it's those brave stands, being the lonely voice, that has spoken to college audiences and international 1s. that's why c.i. has a following.

i think you'd be more effective, michael, if you just recommended that people didn't visit links to the sites you mention in your petition. c.i. really could care less who links and who doesn't.

and what cjr daily or the new york times fails to understand about c.i. is that c.i. will have a say. get it out of the system and the next day go back to rooting for you. that's how c.i. has always been. i've told you before, and jess is the same way at third estate sunday review, c.i. really doesn't carry a grudge.

even with dopey, all dopey would have to do is say 'maybe i made a mistake' in an e-mail and c.i. would link to a post of dopey's if dopey had 1 worth linking to. (you know my opinion on that.)
dopey wouldn't have to apologize in private or public. dopey wouldn't have to put up on his blog 'i called c.i. a liar for not putting up my comments but now that i've read over my e-mails to c.i. i see that i never asked to be quoted.'

c.i. was furious with some 1 2 weeks ago and told me about it and i was saying 'fire the asshole!'
but i knew c.i. wouldn't. the person comes back with an apology and c.i. acts like it never happened.

the issue isn't who can i grudge fuck. i mean look at the ho-ho queen jodi wilgoren. when she started writing like a reporter, c.i. didn't say 'the idiot lied about kerry and clowned throughout so she can go fuck herself.' instead c.i. noted the turn around and linked to articles by her and praised her.

cjr daily needed to be called on their shit. at least 4 people had tried to call them on it privately and they'd ignored it. they'd done a blog report all about people they knew and partied with week after week after week. that wasn't the bloggers fault, they weren't writing the items for cjr daily. that improved and c.i.'s never complained about it since. (c.i. doesn't go to cjr daily. that might be partly why c.i. doesn't give a damn but i don't think that's it.)

the magazine report? c.i. subscribes to a ton of magazines. (you know this if you're a member because they're the 1s that get mentioned on the site like the nation, the progressive . . .) any 1 who actually reads magazines was not going to be happy with the magazine report because it was so narrow: newsweek, time, the weekly standard, the new republic, washington monthly and the atlantic.

over and fucking over.

now to some netty types it might not have meant anything. they dont' pick up a magazine. they just go around the net via links. but if you're a magazine reader, there's no way you could think highly of what passed for a magazine report.

i do understand why you did the petition but based on what i know about c.i. and as long as i've known c.i., i don't think it will be implemented. maybe something c.i. wanted to highlight but no members e-mail about won't get highlighted. that's the most you can hope for.

but yeah, it does suck.

when the whole temptest went down in april, i was going to remove my link to ron. c.i. said that was nonsense. c.i. said it was a personal issue that had nothing to do with ron's work and that it should stay up because ron does good work. i was furious but i went along (if c.i. hadn't been so ill at the time, i might not have.)

c.i.'s gotten e-mails about some problem ron's having. i got asked about it and i don't know anything about it. but a number of people outside the community write in to laugh about ron's problems. i asked c.i. what the reply to those were? 'i don't dislike ron and i hope it's nothing serious.'

ron didn't kiss ass for links and c.i. will point that out repeatedly.

he didn't write a love letter to raw story or whomever to get a link. he's an independent voice and that's worth supporting. i think ron would have a lot more success and a bigger audience if he'd give up on being linked. ron will write a post (or used to) letting the world know how upset he is that something was ignored.

ron should say 'fuck 'em.' and just move on.

if you think about it, you know that c.i.'s got more reach than most of the 1s igorning the common ills. can you turn on the radio (you know which one i mean) and not hear "bully boy?"
is "operation happy talk" now not all over the place? and c.i. may not get linked but do you not see, days or weeks later, the issues c.i. raised somewhere else?

it has to do with reach. common ills community member p.j. (professional journalist who works for the washington post) will tell you that c.i. is read by journalists. partly because they want to see if they're praised or slammed, but that's about reach. and influence.

so attention's paid, it's just not recognized.

and c.i.'s ahead of the curve which is a problem for people who want to write about something in a paper that everyone is discussing that day. and you put that online publication on your list, slate. c.i. doesn't usually site slate to begin with. but look at their blog report - it's grab a water cooler topic and then go around the net finding people weighing on michael jackson or some other bullshit.

it belittles bloggers and people should be ashamed and embarrassed by their blog report.

or take ruth's morning edition report. ruth dared to mention the guardian's lack of coverage on the downing street memo. there were all these e-mails griping about that. ruth thought she was getting all e-mails until the thing happened with centrist ed and c.i. blogged that he didn't forward that kind of crap to isaiah or ruth. ruth read that and said, 'i can take it forward it all.'
she's got pissy, non members of the community saying 'how dare you criticize the guardian!'
and she calls c.i. and tries to apologize. c.i. says 'ruth, we're not here to say what every 1 else is saying. speak your mind and don't worry about it.'

and it's that independence that has built up the common ills.

and the fact that c.i. doesn't ask you to buy this or that or to do this or that is a relief as well.

the community doesn't have to worry that c.i.'s going to try to make money off of them or grab fame off of them. there's not attempt to ride the community onto the airwaves and become a pundit. and there's not an attempt to chase down a craze.

there never will be. c.i. didn't fall into the 'george of framing issues is my god' because while every 1 else was willing to go into the strong father or nurturing father bullshit, c.i. didn't buy into that crap. it has to do with having some perspective and knowing that children get abused and that the bullshit model treats the world as though it's bill cosby or archie bunker. it's for people who haven't lived very much and haven't seen the world around them.

i can remember when c.i. went to india. every 1 came back raving about this or that and full of stories of local color. c.i. talked about the extreme poverty. every 1 else seemed to think they were at disneyland. it has to do with perspective.

ron has perspective. i'm not real pleased about a recent e-mail and think he owes some 1 an apology but he has perspetive. if he turned that perspetive on the world, he could make a huge difference. he still wouldn't get linked anymore because independent voices aren't. but he would increase his reach and he would make huge differences.

ron's knows the game but refuses to play it. he'd do better to stop worrying about it. so would you michael. the net isn't open the way people think. it's the same bullshit hierarchy you find everywhere else. they play their favorites just like the mainstream media. if you're an indepedent voice, you're going to be shut out. so much time is spent sucking up to this mainstream news source or that mainstream writer that there's not any time to highlight a blog that's making a difference. and in some cases, the lack of highlighting has to do with the fact that you are independent. noam chomsky won't be picked to fill in for a vacationg new york times columnist for the same reason that ron won't be highlighted at some site. the truth isn't always pretty and you can't always dot the i with a smiley face.

so that leads to people being excluded.

c.i. came in not knowing the game and not caring and that's why c.i. writes anything and everything that needs to be said.

the site really is an outgrowth of all the work c.i. did in 2003 and 2004 talking to all of these college students. that's why we were all saying 'do a blog!' there was so much that was being accomplished talking to this group or that group. then c.i. does a blog and i don't even know about it until thanksgiving when elaine is on my ass because i've never gone to the common ills.
'i don't have time for blogs!' i whine. then elaine says, 'well this 1 is written by ___" and of course i visited.

you had a lot of people willing to shut up about every issue in the world during the election just to get the bully boy out of office. c.i. didn't do that. and on iraq, you really need to hear c.i.'s standard speech.

after the election, c.i. and a group of other activists were trying to figure out what worked and what didn't, what could have been tried and what should have been tried.

they're going over their polling data and that's a friday. by that friday night, c.i.'s got a blog up.
that was the purpose of the common ills and still is. to discuss the things that need to be discussed. that's why, michael, there's not any michael jackson talk and there never will be.
c.i. is an activist concerned with social justice and with increasing knowledge.

that's why they do indymedia on thursdays or the world on sunday.

let the others get caught up on water cooler talk, at the common ills they're dealing with issues. and not the issue that's in the morning paper and every 1 is talking about. but the issue people need to be talking about. that's why c.i.'s plugging the codepink book like crazy, because if people read that book, they would be better for it.

there's a thing up today about why iran's not being noted from the new york times. why would c.i. note that nonsense? the times has an agenda that is the state department's agenda. that's not reporting. and each day the paper tosses out some more trash trying to help the administration find something that will gain traction. c.i. is not going to add to that by noting nonsense as news.

i'll fuck this quote up but c.i. said to me when i was trying to think about what to write early on and feeling bad about it, 'rebecca, every day there will be a fire in the north and 1 in the west and you can get caught up in putting out that 1 fire or you can focus on the need to get at why these fires are starting to begin with.' now i screwed that up but the point c.i. made was that a daily paper or broadcast is going to toss a million things out and the bully boy knows how to mainipulate the news. some of the anger will be over stuff that you should be angry about but it's a 'that day's anger.' some of the things are long range.

and through it all, you have to remember to laugh. if you give up your humanity to them, you've destroyed yourself.

or, and this i'll probably get right because c.i.'s said it for years, 'don't fight the battle on their terms. you may win or you may lose the battle but you already lost yourself because you gave up on what you believed in. so if you win the battle, you lost because you became like them. if you lose the battle, you lost that and you lost yourself.'

some 1's going to come here and say, 'all you did was say nice things about c.i. and ron.' you need to read a little deeper if you think that because there's a lot of information here on who we are and what we need to be.

now i'll showcase the editorial as i promised i would last night. it's an important 1. and it doesn't get into the 'todd says this, i say that' and try to fight it on todd's grounds. it says 'todd wrote bullshit and now we're going to mock.' there's a reason for that and we'll discuss that tomorrow.

Editorial: Still Timid, the Times takes a dive

Punch drunk and scared, hiding in its corner and not wanting to come out, the New York Timid less and less resembles a news paper and more and more resembles Mike Tyson. See, it's a sports comparison so the Timid can more easily grasp it.
Who knows why, but apparently writing for the Times means wearing a cup to the office.Todd S. Purdum's cup is either too tight (maybe he bought a young boy's size?), too loose or maybe just needs a good washing (did the fumes from his smelly jock rot his brain?) because Coach Keller hollered, 'Purdum, you're up!" and Todd couldn't even make a run of the bases in "A Peephole to the War Room: British Documents Shed Light on Bush Team's State of Mind."

It's been labeled a "news analysis" and maybe this passes for that . . . in the little leagues.
Here's Todd trying to get the bat to connect with the ball:

But the memos are not the Dead Sea Scrolls. There has been ample evidence for many months, and even years, that top Bush administration figures saw war as inevitable by the summer of 2002. In the March 31, 2003, issue of The New Yorker, with the invasion just under way, Richard N. Haass, then the State Department's director of policy planning, said that in early July 2002 he asked Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, whether it made sense to put Iraq at the center of the agenda, with a global campaign against terrorism already under way. "And she said, essentially, that that decision's been made, don't waste your breath," he said then.

Yes, there has been ample evidence. And Todd is right to cite The New Yorker. I mean, it's not like he can cite the Times, is it?

There's nothing new here, TS tell us. Nothing to see.

That is exactly right. Provided, of course, that you depend on the Times for your coverage. On the Timid only and believe every word they print.

But even if you read the Timid, a few other things may come to mind. Like, gee, I don't know, Judith Miller (who's grudge f**king the U.N. one more time in today's paper). You know, the name that didn't make it into the mea culpa?

If you read the Times, did you know that evidence was being shaped? All along? Did you see what Todd feels was so obvious to everyone? Did you see it in the lead up? Did you see it after?

On September 8, 2002, what you knew was that "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts." You knew that because the Times printed that. That little "news" (still not "analyzed" by the Times proper) was courtesty of Judith Miller and Michael R. Gordon.

What did you know on September 13, 2002?

If you read the Times, you knew "White House Lists Iraq Steps to Build Banned Weapons." Who wrote that? Little Judy Miller. Is she happy at last?

Whether she was fooled, along with the people who trusted her reporting, or whether she just decided she knew where the money/access/fame lay, who knows? But what's the casuality toll right now?

Here's a fact for the New York Timid.

You did a poor job today. You did a god awful job.

Having pushed and sold the war, absolutely you need to count on and cite The New Yorker to point to some real reporting.

Absolutely. As a subscriber to The New Yorker, I say, "Go for it!' As a subscriber to the Times, I understand why you can't cite your own paper.

You certainly can't mention Judith Miller. We're not supposed to talk about her, are we?

Poor Judith facing jail time. Poor Judith, never hurt a fly. A regular Sally Field.

Perhaps if the film's Absence of Malice.

Having come on like gangbusters, now she wants to play the innocent, shy retiring type.

And we're supposed to play along, right?

Let's get back to Coach Keller's designated hitter. He was on strike one, when last we checked.

Possibly, being designated hitter and water boy for the Timid takes up more than Todd can muster. He's got his eye on the ball, but it sails right over the plate before he can swing. Which explains this:

The latest memo published, first in The Washington Post and The Times of London over the weekend, is from July 21, 2002. It warned that "a post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise," in which "Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden."

Were those catcalls from the parents of the other team?

Regardless, they were embarrassing. And Todd should be embarrassed.

But remember, they don't have fact checkers at the Times. (They farm that out to the editors.)

Who "published" the memo? Not the Washington Post which did a story on the memo. (Note to the Times, that would be "reported on." Even "quoted.") As did the Times of London. But only the Times of London published the memo. (Leaving off the last page to protect the source apparently.)

When even chronology and basic facts escape the Times (of New York), pay attention because something's happening. And it's not the beauty of truth.

For the Timid, which can't seem to find its ass with both hands these days, let's note the Washington Post article that Todd is referring to:

That memo and other internal British government documents were originally obtained by Michael Smith, who writes for the London Sunday Times. Excerpts were made available to The Washington Post, and the material was confirmed as authentic by British sources who sought anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.

Get it? How hard is it to grasp that? Excerpts were made available to The Washington Post. Wash Post wrote a story on it. Wash Post didn't publish the memo. What kind of a "reporter" would insist that they did? It's got the be the fumes from that smelly jock. But does everyone at the Timid have their nose in Todd's jock? How else can you explain that the paper couldn't even get that basic fact correct?The Timid, like a good lap dog wants to tell you nothing to see here, move along.

It wants you to trust them to analyze a period of time that they didn't get right in real time.And the mea culpa didn't cover the mistakes/errors/lies/whatever.

Why is Judith Miller still at the paper?

They want sympathy for her now.

But they want to continue to distort reality.

I bit my tongue yesterday when David Sanger (who's part of the Elite Fluff Patrol) took a crack at explaining the Downing Street Memo.

MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.
The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.
The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.
This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action.

The above is left out of Todd's "analysis." (It's from Michael Smith's "Ministers were told of need for Gulf war 'excuse.'" Maybe if we wait a month, the Timid can get around to informing us about this?)

Todd's article tells you that the memos aren't the Dead Sea Scrolls.

What the Times doesn't tell you is why we couldn't offer "regime change" as our reasoning for going to war.

Since the Times won't tell us, let's go over it here. From the Downing Street Memo:

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

What was it sold to us as? You don't need to flip through Judy Miller's bylines to know it was sold as self-defence.

Now obviously, if we were increasing our bombings in 2002 to force Hussein to declare war (Michael Smith's May 29th article which we'll link to below), it wasn't self-defence. And we knew that. Our government did.

If we really thought that, as Miller reported on December 3, 2002, "Iraq obtained a particularly virulent strain of smallpox from a Russian scientist" or the mushroom cloud nonsense, or the drone planes or the chemical or biological nonsense, if we (our government) really thought that was true, then increasing the bombings in 2002 was risking national security.

Isn't that what the word-mangling Bully Boy's supposed to be so famous for, national security?

Why won't the Times tell it's readers about that?

Let's go real slow because the Times is either willing to obsure the truth or they're just plain stupid (or think we are). While Cheney and the cheerleaders are doing WMD splits, we're actually increasing our bombing of Iraq. We haven't declared war. (We won't until the following year.) We're increasing our bombing on a supposed madman who holds all these WMDs that could destroy us.

If that was true (the "we all got it wrong" defense/b.s. that our government truly, honestly, deeply belived that Iraq had WMD), then the Bully Boy put your life at risk. He put my life at risk. He put all Americans at risk.

It doesn't work both ways.

You can't say, "He's a madman with WMDs! He could destroy us all!" while at the same time snickering nah-nah-nah while you increase the bombings.

If he's all you said he was (and let's include dear Judith in the "you") and we're in as much danger as you say we were, why the hell are we poking the bear before we're going to war?

So which is it, New York Timid. Did Bully Boy put us all at risk or did he (and Miller) present falsehoods? It's a simple enough question. One easily covered in a "news analysis."

It's odd that Todd has time to crack wise about Dead Sea Scrolls considering all that the Times hasn't noted from any of the Sunday Times of London's reporting.

Let's make it real simple, What did Bully Boy know and when did he know it?

If he knew there was no risk of damage to Americans on our soil, then his increased bombings put no American at risk. (That's not to be read as approval for the bombings on my part.) But to hold that belief, you have to agree that he knew the American people were being lied to.

So did he put us at risk or did he lie to us?

That's something the news analysis doesn't address.

THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.The details follow the leak to The Sunday Times of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make "regime change" in Iraq legal.

That's from Michael Smith's "RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war."

That's only sixteen days ago and we'll assume the Times is made up of slow readers. But at what point does the Timid intend to address this issue?

Not today. Today they selectively pull quote and make jabs about the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Some might wonder where the Timid gets the audacity to make snarky little jokes like that. After all, they never fired Judith Miller. They never ran corrections on her stories.

Even today, Todd has to go to The New Yorker to find establishing proof that things were reported. Reported elsewhere than in the paper.

What's in the paper today is embarrassing. Not for you or me, but for the Timid.

This could have been a turn around for the paper. This could have been where they stood up for the truth. Where they made up the debt they owed America after the Judith Miller stories.

The Timid and Todd strike out. They strike out so badly, that it feels like they're taking a dive. But maybe they've just been overpowered by the fumes from Todd's dirty jock? Who knows?


why aren't people talking about the 'night letter?' & chip pitts on the majority report tonight

i want to say thank you for all the e-mails on yesterday's post. i've still got some more to read but i think it's a topic we will be revisiting soon.

loretta's was the last e-mail i read before starting this post so i'll note her story.

in july of 2003, it was obvious her choice was not going to win the democratic primary. so she got behind john kerry. that meant devoting at ten to fifteen hours a week to spreading the word on john kerry. but 1st she had to learn his voting record and all these details. then it was important to defeat the bully boy, we didn't know then that ohio was rigged, so as soon as the primaries were in the bag, she was reaching out even further with the people she knew. she registered voters. she called old classmates from high school and college. she worked with her local democratic chapter. from that moment until the day after the election she never gave less than 30 hours a week. this was on top of her time spent with her family, her time spent working outside the home.

when kerry conceeded she was furious. 'and i feel like i've been driving on anger ever since.'

loretta said yesterday's post made her stop a minute to reflect.

at lunch she was planning on buying the codepink book. she says she's ready to explore some new ideas and find some more ways of dealing with the madness.

a lot of you are sharing and i think this is a topic we can explore some more.

until i can read all the e-mails i want to toss out some things to focus on.

1st, tomorrow i'll post c.i.'s editorial. you can go read it right now.

it's hilarious, it's to the point. it's funny. i talked to c.i. today and asked how it came about.

c.i.: that was really hard. that's not the original draft. the original draft didn't have the sports nonsense or the jokes. it was 1 long yell. and i just felt there was some other way to say it.
i'd worked an hour on it and i needed to hurry up because there were other things to do. but every sentence was coming out in the same manner. so i took a quick walk. came back after 15 minutes and pretty much rewrote the whole thing stripping out most of what was already in it.
if i had posted what i had it would have been nothing but a reaction. the paper does this, i do that. i think it's better the way it is now and fits the 'don't knock the mock' principle.

so read it.

i want to note that betty has a new entry up. she posted last night. thomas friedman is nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!

check out folding star because there are posts going up.

why isn't any 1 telling you about the "night letter?"

Did the "Night Letter" cause the riots in Afghanistan? Have you heard of it?
If this has been all over the net, my apologies. I'm reading The New Yorker and, because I subscribe, my new issue is an old issue. There's an important story in this issue and I know most members who surf would have passed this along if they'd seen it. So if it's been discussed, it's not been discussed a great deal. We're going to note it here.
It's from the June 6, 2005 issue. Jon Lee Anderson's "The Man In the Palace." (For Doug, pages 60 to 72.) I'm not finding a link for it at the magazine's web site. You may have more luck.
But, as most people know, coverage from Afghanistan is sparse in the mainstream media because so many have either pulled their reporters out completely or reduced the numbers.
(Carlotta Gall reports on Afghanistan for the New York Times.)
There's a detail about the riots in Afghanistan that's not getting out. Maybe because the press wanted to circle the wagons? Maybe because enough reporters aren't on the ground there.
From page sixty, here's the opening of Anderson's "The Man In the Palace: Hamid Karzai and the dilemma of being Afghanistan's President:"

On May 11th, riots broke out in the city of Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan. The violence followed a Newsweek story -- which has since been retracted -- on new allegations that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Koran. In the next few days, the protests spread to the capital, Kabul, and throughout the country. In some provincial towns, police fired into crowds. But early on there were signs that the violence had less to do with Newsweek than with Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai.
On the first night of rioting, copies of an anonymous letter circulated in the streets of Kabul. This Night Letter, as it was called, was a vehement exhortation to Afghans to oppose Karzai, whom it accused of being un-Islamic, an ally of the Taliban, and a "U.S.A. servant." The letter said that Karzai had put the interests of his "evil master" ahead of those of Afghans, and it called for leaders who were proven patriots, mujahideen -- a synonym, in this case, for members of the Northern Alliance, many of whom are now warlords and regional strongmen -- to defy him. The timing was opportune: Karzai was on a trip to Europe, in search of financial backing. His next destination was Washington, where he planned to discuss a pact that would guarantee the United States a long-term military presence in Afghanistan.
Karzai seemed unsure of how to respond. Even as the unrest continued, he stuck to his itenerary and, from Brussels, called the riots a "manifestation of democracy." When he finally arrived home, several days later, he held a press conference, at which he blamed unspecified "enemies of peace" for the violence. He asked, "Who are they who have such enmity with Afghnistan, a nation that is begging for money to build the country and construct buildings and during the night they come and destroy it?"

That's not quite the way it played out in the press. We noted here that Newsweek's reach wasn't enough to have carried the news everywhere. Common sense dictated that all the talking points from Bully Boy and his cohorts were a distraction. And obviously, it was easier to slam Newsweek than to deal with what it was reporting. But could, possibly, the distraction also have buried an embarrassing truth for the administration?
Anderson's dealing with a number of issues. The above isn't the focus of the article. (And sorry to Anderson for reducing a complex article to just the above but maybe it will cause people to go to their libraries and look the story up.) Read the article to get a better picture of reality in Afghanistan.This is a detail that's not been out in the mainstream very loudly (if at all). Again, that might be the result of not having enough (or, in some cases, any) reporters in Afghanistan. But I think it's worth noting.

and lastly, we'll note this (turn your radios on):

Chip Pitts on The Majority Report tonight
Chip Pitts will be on The Majority Report tonight. The Majority Report is an Air America Radio Program. For more information click here (remember, if you don't have an Air America Radio station in your area -- and don't have satellite radio -- you can listen online).

Chip Pitts is the chair of
Amnesty International USA and, hopefully, he will also discuss his work with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.


on anger and peace and the need for a safe place

i had a long entry i was going to post. it's about a seer who thinks he knows best. he sees things that aren't there.

but i'm not going to waste my space on that because i want to get to the issue and not the person. i will say to him to please do some work on your anger issues because it's not healthy for you.

anger can motivate, it can drive. but when you are fueld on nothing but anger, it can destroy you. and this person, this seer, is very much in danger of being destroyed by his anger.

he can hate me all he wants. i don't care. i don't know him, i don't hang around with him, i don't e-mail him. the issue isn't me.

the issue is that he's allowed his anger to risk his home life and it's already aided him into unemployment.

and i think we can all learn a lesson here.

there's a line in the movie julia, where jane fonda says something like she's told she's too angry and vanessa redgrave says that she always like her anger.

jane fonda's playing lillian hellman and at that point in her life, anger hadn't consumed hellman.
now after the red scare and all that, hellman had every right to be angry for the rest of her life.
but i think we need to take a step back and look at our anger.

i will tap into mine when it has to do with men telling women what to do. i will tap into my frustration when it has to do with people pretending to be left when they're not. such as when the new republican calls itself a liberal publication when it is not a liberal publication.

but there has to come a down time.

whether it's when you're with friends or when you're with a sexual partner, you have to be able to relate on some thing other than anger.

the person in question, he probably looks around and sees a lot to be angry about.

i won't disagree with that.

but when you're firing off these e-mails where you see things that aren't there, it's a problem.

1 of the things he convinced himself of was that ava and c.i. were being homophobic for calling brian montopoli 'candy perfume boy.' that's not true. that is so far from true that jess couldn't finish his sentences when he was trying to tell me about it.

now the guy never had a problem with the nickname (i know) when everything was moving along nicely. but now he has a problem with c.i. and so he looks for things that aren't there.

'candy perfume boy' comes from a song by madonna. it's not a homophobic song. when they dubbed montopoli that, in retrospect, it's obvious that they were actually think more kindly of montopoli than the rest of us.

when i first heard it, i thought 'why would they use a nice song by madonna for brian montopoli.'

it's a nice song. 'i'll be your candy perfume girl, you'll be my candy perfume boy.'

but when anger blinds you, you don't even stop to say, 'why is brian montopoli called candy perfume boy?' but immediately see it as homophobic, you're anger is controlling you.

these are angry times.

and there is a place for anger.

i would never try to strip away any 1's anger.

but when it causes you to lash out at people that you know are on your side, then there's a problem.

i have a reader who e-mails about his anger. he's blown up repeatedly at work. over things that he knows are not as he immediately sees them. and he's trying to deal with his anger.

there's a place for anger.

and people can use it at their blogs and should. a blog is an op-ed, you have to have a position. you're giving your take.

but i can go off on something here but i'm not running around with my friends throwing out screeds and attitude. there has to be a place where you feel safe.

and that's what my reader is working on with elaine. from him i know it's going well. (elaine doesn't speak of it because of doctor-patient confidentiality.) i can see it in his e-mails.

we need to be riled up about what our government is doing and about a media that doesn't want to inform.

but there has to be a place where we feel safe.

there has to be a place where you can let the shield down and interact with people you trust.

my reader has made huge progress. but this e-mailer (not my reader) needs to find a safe place. he is hurting himself.

he's not hurting me. he's not hurting ava or c.i.

but he is hurting himself.

in the past, i've told him not to write me. but i'm being sincere here and if he wants to respond in kind, i will keep it private. if he wants to respond with nonsense, i don't have the time.

but he needs to find some 1 to talk about this with because it is hurting him very badly.

wally, another reader, can be angry at the bully boy or whomever. but he can also make time to hang out with friends and to get in touch with something other than anger.

i think we all need to be able to do that.

the administration shoved fear down every 1's throats after 9-11. they tried to make us afraid to fly, afraid to live. 'buy duct tape for your windows!' what was that? nothing but fear.

ava and c.i. wrote a review about csi miami that touched on the issues of fear and how it is sold and pedaled. if you haven't read it, you should.

we need to find a way to step away from the fear.

i'm not saying don't worry about what the administration's plotting. i'm not saying don't be upset about a lazy press. i am saying, this is to all my readers, take time to take care of yourself.
you're of no use to any 1 if you don't.

and if anger is all that is fueling you, you are putting tremendous stress on your heart.

we all need to find a space to unclench in.

when c.i. started talking about the codepink book, i didn't really get it at 1st. but we have lost so much since the bully boy came onto the national stage.

he has preached anger and hate and fear.

we need to be able to refute that. we need to be able to find a way back to our own humanity.

i'm not saying 'wimp out everybody!'

i am saying that if you're anger that you direct at the bully boy or the lazy media or congress is being directed everywhere around you, you are closing yourself off from the world.

you are preventing yourself from making connections with people who are on your side.

c.i., for all the time we've known each other, has never lost the ability to laugh. that's good times, bad times. that's leading up to the surgery even.

i think that's the only thing that has allowed c.i. to give all out, abandon sleep and everything else.

and when you hear c.i. speak, you will hear anger at the bully boy and at a lazy media, but you will also laugh and you will hear laughter from c.i.

when we were discussing the codepink book, c.i. said 'rebecca, we either find a way to return to the humanity we had before the bully boy or we are doomed to be mirror images.'

and i immediately started in on 'i do not wish the bully boy peace!' but that's not what c.i. was talking about. c.i. was talking about responses other than 'blow them to bits.'

and between c.i. and jess and ava, i'm starting to realize how much we've lost.

not just our rights or our ability to dissent, but also our ability to know our options. bully boy has limited the options that our nation will respond with. it is important that we remind every 1 around us that there are other options.

this is something i'm still grasping so i'll ask c.i. to talk about it an entry some time this week and we'll link to it. but hopefully i got enough of the point to express it to you all.

be mad, be angry. there's much to be mad and angry about. don't shove it inside and make yourself sick. express it. but find a way to express other emotions. find a safe place. you're going to hurt yourself if you don't.


editiorial: mainstream press, do your damn job

operation circle jerk part three. once again, you'll be seeing something on all the community web sites. kat's already got it posted at her site. folding star plans to post as does betty. c.i. will post tomorrow. here's my part in operation circle jerk.

this is from the third estate sunday review, a great gang of people.

Editorial: Mainstream press, do your damn job

MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action.

The above is from Michael Smith's article in today's Sunday Times of London ("Ministers were told of need for Gulf war 'excuse.'") Yes, Michael Smith again. Yes, The Sunday Times of London, again. And yes, thanks to BuzzFlash for making it the big story on their website this morning.

Last week, we said it was time to connect the dots. Forget connecting them, there are so many now that it's a pointalism work of art that says "We were lied into war!" That comes as no surprise to many of us who were against the invastion/occupation from the start.

But is the clampdown on these revelations from our media not just deriving from a need to kiss Bully Boy ass, but also from the fact that the mainstream media was complicit by acting like cheerleaders instead of reporters?

We have no idea. But we know that wishing the revelations coming out of England wouldn't reach American eyes and ears is a futile desire.

The people are ahead of the domestic press on this issue. Unless the mainstream press desires to become completely superfluous it better begin to do it's job.

In case anyone's forgotten, the role of the press is to inform the public.

Oh that might not be as fun as fluffing for the Bully Boy. It might not provide the "access" that results in so many false claims (but don't it feel good to have Dick Cheney name-check you on Meet the Press!). It might mean, shudder, that the administration might say some mean things about you.

Well those are the breaks. You're in a profession you elected to go into, a profession that is supposed to demand accountability from those in power.

Want to be trusted, do your damn job.

As it stands, you've become the person who denies your spouses drinking problem while the whole neighborhood's whispering about it. Sure we nod to your face and act like we believe you, but as soon as you walk off, we shake our heads and wonder "Who does s/he think s/he's fooling?"

It's become the elephant in the room.

And the press better start addressing it because it's an important topic and, at least right now, we have internet freedoms that China doesn't. We can read papers from outside the US. We can find out what's being reported away from the clamp down.

There is no excuse for a New York Times D.C. editor to claim that the Downing Street Memo may not be verifiable or any other nonsense. Forget that no verification was ever needed for the witch hunt of the Clintons, any second year journalism student knows you report something you're not sure of as, "Others are saying . . ."

We know you're familiar with that method. You use it all the time when you cite unnamed officials. Here you can cite The Sunday Times of London. "The Sunday Times of London is reporting . . ."

There's no excuse for the clamp down. It's making the press look like something worse than cheerleaders. It's making them look like liars with their heads stuck in the sand (or up the Bully Boy's butt).

William Greider titled a book Who Will Tell the People. We know The New York Times is at least familiar with the title because they used it in an editorial not all that long ago. So we ask the mainstream press, who will tell the people?

This isn't esoteric information. It's not arcane. And obviously, the clampdown hasn't prevented Americans from learning about it. You can fluff it all you want (and you have) but the word is getting out. Word will continue to travel. With or without you (to cite a U2 song). But if it continues to travel inspite of you, despite you, you better find something better than "arm chair media critics" and "circle jerk" to slam the new information sources because it's the "arm chair media critics" and the "circle jerk"ers, Bill Keller, that have been doing the job that mainstream press is supposed to do.

A month later, you can finally kind-of, sort-of address the Downing Street Memo that The Sunday Times published May 1, 2005. When will you address it fully? And when will you inform your readers and viewers of other revelations?

When will you address Michael Smith's "RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war?" From the opening of that article:

THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.
The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.
The details follow the leak to The Sunday Times of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make "regime change" in Iraq legal.

And do you have plans to explore Charles J. Hanley's Associated Press article entitled"Bolton Said to Orchestrate Unlawful Firing?" If you missed it, here's an excerpt:

John R. Bolton flew to Europe in 2002 to confront the head of a global arms-control agency and demand he resign, then orchestrated the firing of the unwilling diplomat in a move a U.N. tribunal has since judged unlawful, according to officials involved. A former Bolton deputy says the U.S. undersecretary of state felt Jose Bustani "had to go," particularly because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. That might have helped defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and undermined a U.S. rationale for war.

Your silence has been embarrassing. Your continued silence will render you useless. With you or without you, the word is getting out. To the print press, we ask what happens when your readers realize that you've been playing clamp down? Don't they pay for your paper because they expect to learn what's happening in the world around them? To the electronic press, we ask what happens when your viewers find out that all the chatter about Michael Jackson and other dubious topics have filled the airwaves while real news, news that matters, has been ignored. Ava and C.I. caught The Chris Matthews Show while they were writing their review.

Chris Matthews had time to address the very important, we're sure, topics of Hugh Grant and John Kerry's college grades. While we're sure there were plenty of chuckles from some viewers, you think they'll be laughing when they realize what you've been sitting on?

We don't think so. We think if the press wants the public's trust, the press needs to do its job.

That's not been happening. You can whine about the mean old bloggers all you want, but you're trashing your own image far worse than any blogging "arm chair media critic" in the midst of a "circle jerk" could. (To use some of Bill Keller's favorite phrases.)

Do your job. Report. Do what you were trained to do.

posted by Third Estate Sunday Review @ Sunday, June 12, 2005