monday thoughts

Barack Obama raised some eyebrows when he cited Ronald Reagan as an example of a political leader who "changed the trajectory of America." Though Obama now says he wasn't endorsing Reagan's policies -- only recognizing Reagan's historic importance -- the comment begs the question of what change Reagan actually wrought.

a guy e-mailed that to me. it's either robert parry writing about bambi or a synopsis. who cares? bambi had his love-in for ronnie reagan and it was in the news january 18th. on the 20th (saturday), robert parry finally gets around to the topic?

as i noted friday the 19th, a m.s.m. press guy who is a friend of c.i.'s and worked with parry in the m.s.m. had e-mailed c.i. (c.i.'s personal account, not e-mailed 'the common ills') to laugh about what a fool robert parry was turning himself into out of bambi love.

if that former co-worker was laughing, you can be sure others were as well. maybe 1 of them said something to parry? maybe that's why he shows up on saturday to finally write about the topic?

i'm sure he minimizes it. just that bit that was e-mailed to me (noted in full above) sounds like a white-wash. (click here for reality from paul krugman.)

every 1 - except c.i. - took the day off today. i wasn't going to blog either. but i thought about isaiah's remarks in 'Talking with Isaiah' and thought about how, yeah, i was 1 of the early sites. folding star might have been before me with the now-defunct a winding road (folding star closed shop due to the threating e-mails). but 1 of us was the 2nd community site. it may have been me. so as 1 of the 'older' 1s, i felt like i should write something today.

the baby's down for the night (i hope) and flyboy's got cat power's the greatest playing (click here for kat's review of it).

flyboy's reading some tome, some 700+ page book. he was reading from it to the baby today too. it's a history book, by the way, not a children's book. not a complaint. glad he's reading to the baby.

as c.i. notes, 2 more u.s. service members were announced dead in iraq today by the u.s. military. there was no 'iraq snapshot' today (a) due to the holiday and (b) due to the fact that the feeling when we were all working on the writing edition for the third estate sunday review of 'if you do a snapshot on monday, i'll post.' which, if you think about it, comes off as (it's not meant that way), 'i'll have a day off if you'll please not do a snapshot.'

we've all got our lives, burdens, etc. betty's got 3 kids so i can't whine about my newborn (and wouldn't, i wanted a child for all my adult life - and before).

but every 1's got a full plate and the only time we take off is on a holiday (and c.i. doesn't even get holidays off). third 'just' publishes on sunday but look at how much they publish and how long it takes to write.

so i was thinking about isaiah's remarks during the interview and all the time that's passed in 3 years for me (i started my site in january 2005) and thinking about how if we all do go dark after the november election i'm probably comfortable with that.

i think we've achieved a lot and i think we've offered truth amidst a world of lies.

i don't need money. i made a ton in my own business (and of course flyboy comes from money). but i think about how c.i. repeatedly turned down interview requests (c.i. doesn't need money) and i think that's really great.

because of c.i.'s stand, we all pretty much followed. (i only turned down 2 requests for an interview and both were print, not on air.) if we hadn't done that, we'd be like every 1 else: afraid to tell the truth because we might not get on radio, tv or in print.

that's a point bob somerby makes at his site today and i read it and thought 2 things: (1) he's right on that; (2) he doesn't know his own past work.

i won't explain "(2)" other than to note, he's been down the rachel maddow road before (in 2004) but apparently has forgotten his own 'incomprable archives.'

he didn't cover it - because he really doesn't know who she is - but rachel, of course, stabbed lizz winstead in the back to stay on air america radio.

the woman hosted unfiltered on air america with chuck d. both women were informed that in a little over a month's time, their program would be pulled and replaced with jerry springer. lizz walked. rachel?

she took part in the lie that lizz was sick and that's why she wasn't on air. then she refused to mention lizz even when the show's blog was in an uproar of 'where is lizz?' she did that for weeks. she did so because she had no problem lying to keep a job.

lizz wasn't going to go on the air and play funny and act like the show wasn't being cancelled and being replaced with trash. but rachel was happy to do that. she did it.

then she finally tells the truth on air, a few days before it goes off air and when a.a.r. is about to release their statement explaining 'springer is part of the a.a.r. family' (translation, she had permission to note it) and does that 'i want my own show' and has her dad on the blog saying 'e-mail so rachel can get her own show.'

rachel's show was already in the works. the only issue was when it would air. that's what 'e-mail a.a.r. about my daughter' was all about - to get her a daily show and not buried on the weekend which is what a.a.r. offered her originally.

so the game somerby accuses maddow of playing is 1 she's played her entire professional career.
(her 1st solo show, just for the record, was 1 hour, monday through friday and in the early morning hours when no 1 was listening. but she proved she could be a good corporate lackey and with lizz suing a.a.r., they needed to keep rachel on the payroll.)

but she played it and so do many others, the game.

what was 1 of the biggest lies that led to the illegal war?

that iraq was linked to 9-11. it was a lie, a false link.

and independent media called it, right?


b-b-but rebecca, they called out judith miller.

miller wasn't the reporter who got it on the front page of the new york times and 'reported' on it for p.b.s. that reporter was chris hedges.

and you'll note independent media's silence on that.

he wrote a story that was lies. the u.s. government and chalabi's group fed him 2 'witnesses,' 2 'insiders.' he wrote it up - training camps for hijacking air planes in iraq. (there were none.)

it's the story that really got the ball rolling on that lie and it did so in october of 2001.

it did see on the front page of the new york times and on p.b.s. which partnered with the times for that article.

in 2006, mother jones took a look at that story and found that 1 of the 'experts' was a complete fake. hedges mumbled a few words. but didn't provide them with the name of the 2nd. (his story clearly states he spoke to 2 iraqi 'experts.')

funny thing was when counterspin interviewed the author of the mother jones piece, they did so without ever using the name 'chris hedges.' the article wrote itself, apparently.

and of course, chris hedges is still seen as 'credible' in independent media.

they don't call him out.

big media or little media, they all play that same game.

to do your best to tell the truth, you have to have nothing vested.

if you're hoping to turn it into a career or be part of the crowd, you have to lie.

and it's lying.

it's not just biting the tongue.

the false link between iraq and 9/11 is at the root of the lies told to start the illegal war. the other lies build on it. 'saddam has w.m.d.!' so what. he didn't have them. but iraq had never attacked the u.s. unless - pay attention - the advance lies put out by chris hedges (and others) had been accepted as at least possible. so the lies are entwined and all worked with each other.

and chris hedges has never really been called out for his part.

most people don't even know about his part today.

and independent media rushes to give him money - the nation let's him co-write a piece on iraq, his bad columns run at truthdig, go down the list. of course amy goodman has him on her show.

no 1 ever says, 'chris, tell us about that story. tell us who your sources were. tell us the truth.'

they just don't mention it.

and pretend like it was all judith miller.

if chris hedges were the great truth teller, the great reporter, he's presented as, don't you think he would have already written an explosive piece on how he came to write the 'training camps to hijack u.s. airplanes in iraq!' lie?

but he never has, has he?

and independent media plays dumb.

during iran-contra, for 1 brief moment, 1 half a day, barbara walters was being called out. it's forgotten history now. because the press circled the wagons.

as chris hedges demonstrates, that doesn't just happen in big media.

i love ava and c.i.'s 'TV: Democracy Sometimes?' - because it is truth telling, because it is funny, because it is powerful.

the weekend before last, when c.i. was sick, it was from the bug i had (sorry, c.i.) but it was also from the proof that amy goodman was booking barack obama supporters on her show knowingly while not revealing to the audience that they were barack obama supporters.

it was happeneing and c.i. had written of it months before. but c.i. had also noted the belief that amy goodman didn't know. goodman's done many questionable things but c.i. refused to believe that goodman would do that.

then came the proof that goodman was doing it, did know, and that was a huge blow.

and it takes truth tellers like ava and c.i. to tell that story.

it takes liars to cover it up.

it's like the nation printing 491 men and only 149 women in 2007. ava and c.i. tracked that starting with the 1st january 2007 issue. it was regularly noted at third. in july, we all know the six months results at our sites. in december, ava and c.i. returned with the results for the year.

did the mud flap gals of feministing call it out?

of course not. little jessica's bad book didn't sell and by staying silent she was able to be a 'blogger' at the nation for a month.

david swanson refused to allow it in a comment. i'd have to go back to find the guy's name but a guy e-mailed me about how swanson had posted some of katrina vanden heuvel's bland writing and he'd left in the comments a link to third's piece.

it was pulled. swanson and i exchanged e-mails over this (i may be writing more about that topic shortly) and he claims he only censors if something is abusive.

i have no idea how it's 'abusive' to censor a link to a study.

but maybe he's got bills to pay and dreams of the big time. like rachel maddow.

those articles (all of them) on the nation's institutional sexism were huge. i don't just mean because of the writing (which was wonderful) but i mean their impact and it just goes to show you that it doesn't take a circle-jerk (which is all 'independent' media is) to amplify the truth. those articles found a huge audience and did so while the so-called independents played dumb and ignored reality.

when the common ills started, i didn't know. elaine did. c.i. wasn't telling people, 'come read my site!' elaine kept telling me, read it. and i kept thinking of a reason not to. i always have a reason not to do something. then on thanksgiving 2004, she tells me, 'that's c.i.'s site.'

of course, i went there right away. (and still feel bad for not going there before.)

and because my field was public relations, i had a thousand 'you must's to offer c.i. about 'promotion.' i'm talking about after i read the wonderful 'when npr fails you, who you gonna call, not the ombudsman' and c.i. listens patiently and then says, 'becky, what did you think about the piece?'

i'd gone on and on for about 30 minutes outlining how to promote the site. i'd never focused on what it offered.

ouch. i got the point.

and c.i. just did the site. didn't self-promote it. and it grew and grew. (it was already growing before i finally visited it the 1st time.)

a friend at n.p.r. did get it plugged in 2005 on n.p.r. c.i. was so offended. c.i. was all 'don't ever do that again.'

and it grew on its own.

without promotion.

it grew because of the work.

it grew larger than c.i. wanted.

and that just demonstrates how their is a need for reality.

not a circle jerk, for reality.

and it's the last thing in the world c.i. wanted to do. there are families members who are sure c.i.'s going to come into the family business in some way now. they're convinced that as soon as the site goes dark, c.i.'s going to 'come into the fold.'

when reality is, it's not happening.

c.i. rejected journalism long ago.

in high school, c.i. did a little. mainly the academic contests. i saw all those awards. c.i. stuck to feature writing for that. (i should clarify, i saw those awards due to c.i.'s mother.) but they all thought it was a fluke, a wild streak, an oddity and that c.i. would go to hard news.

when they found out, before the 1st semester of college, that c.i. wasn't going to major in journalism (something i've been told by family members was stated repeatedly but ignored), c.i. got all funding pulled. they thought, 'we'll force this.' they were wrong.

c.i. ended up working for those 1st 3 years of college. not 1 job. usually 3 jobs and sometimes 4.

and there is a sense now, due to the common ills, that after it folds, c.i.'s finally coming into the family fold but it's not happening.

c.i.'s reasons for rejecting it were always the same: the games & the lies.

in the m.s.m., there's only so much truth that can be told.

c.i. has huge respect for molly bingham who co-made Meeting Resistance. she's told truth all along and she hit a wall. she's gone on to tell truth and make that amazing documentary. but she knows the score. she grew up in a newspaper family. for those who forgot or don't remember, molly bingham's the 1 who outed dexter filkins as the ultimate embed - cancelling an interview with iraqi insurgents after a military commander - whom dexy bragged to about the interview - made a scowling face. that's all it took for dexy to cancel the interview. he takes direction well.

so when i was thinking about isaiah's remarks and about all that's been done in the last few years, i started thinking about c.i. and the work done at the common ills.

i think there's been wonderful work.

amazing work.

c.i.'s called out people when they deserved it.

there wasn't playing favorites.

i've written before, right after my 2006 miscarriage, about how much c.i. likes (i'd say loves) norman solomon. but c.i.'s not bit the tongue when solomon has done nonsense.

and stuff like that kills c.i. calling out katrina vanden heuvel was tough (especially considering c.i. vouched for her to roone when katrina was trying to get started -- pointing out, i was present for that - that roone always attacked the way every 1 dressed and katrina had the money to dress well and 'because she has the money, she's not going to be 1 of the 1s you're always whining about begging for a raise.' if you'd seen his face, you'd know how much those remarks registered.) but norman solomon?

of people alive and working in the print, there's probably no 1 c.i. has more love and respect for than norman. but c.i. didn't play favorites. c.i. didn't invent 2 sets of standards.

c.i.'s written things and gotten sick in the process because they weren't things easy to write or things wanted to write. but that's truth telling.

mike wrote about 1 time when c.i. had to call some 1 out on a friday and c.i. was puking before and afterward. that's because c.i. was tired and didn't want to call the person out. but they needed calling out.

i've never known any 1 with a stronger ethical code than c.i. it's not just words mouthed, it's a life lived. and it's been there at the common ills.

in terms of iraq, c.i. started speaking out before the illegal war started, in feb. 2003. and c.i. was doing that to fill in for a friend who'd agreed to some campus engagements but then had offers for some bigger campuses where there would be a chance of reaching even more people. so c.i. agreed to grab the spots and thought, 'i'll fill in and i'm done.'

didn't happen that way. word got out and friends who were professors started asking c.i., 'well could you speak to my' class or group. and c.i. said fine. that continued it through april and beyond. but then c.i. started working the campus organizations (that c.i. had been a member of back in the day) and lining up others. all of those, by the way, were without payment. no payment for speaking, no payment for travel, no lodging expenses. it's true that c.i. is wealthy (hugely wealthy) but it's why elaine had her panic last year when she started computing all the speaking c.i.'s done, all the travel expenses, and said, 'you are not giving to independent media.' (c.i. gave everything away during vietnam. the trust fund, every thing.)

c.i. thought the speaking would end in 2004 after the election. it was probably october 2003 when c.i. realized how much speaking had taken place. at that point, c.i. told me on the phone, 'i'm done after the election.' (c.i. wasn't promoting john kerry or any candidate. it was always about iraq.)

then kerry lost and the big pow-wow took place about what happened and what was done (on iraq and/or kerry) and that's when c.i. started the common ills.

and continued speaking.

that's included for all the 1s who say, 'i don't want the common ills to end!'

it may not.

the speaking was supposed to end after the 2004 election.

c.i. was exhausted in october 2003 and needed an end date to get through.

the same way an exit date is needed today.

but it may not be kept. i know c.i. wants it to be.

if it does end, ava and c.i. have already agreed that they will still give 2009 to speaking out against the illegal war.

and i just marvel over that because next month will be 5 years of c.i. on the road. in the slowest month, c.i. was only the road 2 weeks a month. there are no slow periods these days.

doing that meant rejecting work. doing that meant rejecting serious relationships.

c.i. ended what i thought would have been the perfect relationship in 2003. c.i. didn't think it was fair to him since c.i. was all over the country speaking.

that really was the perfect relationship. elaine and i both understood but were shocked. we were so happy for c.i. and, after having buried 1 husband, we were just thrilled that finally there was some 1 c.i. was serious about. we hadn't seen that coming because c.i.'s always gone more for the short-term lover.

and i don't want to imply the c.i. just ended it rationally and that was that. c.i. cried over that decision.

5 years next month and c.i.'s turned down work.

c.i.'s put everything on hold due to the illegal war.

there's been no 'r&r', no 'furlough' from the illegal war.

and i really do marvel over that.

elaine and c.i. did that during vietnam as well.

i didn't have money and had to get a job. but i don't know that i would have done it even if i had the money. it takes a huge committment.

elaine goes back and forth over whether she should close her practice and hit the road with c.i. that's a constant issue with her. she's doing great work and nearly every 1 of her patients today is a veteran and they're all pro-bono. she's not making a cent off her practice. the work she does is really important.

but i look at myself and i don't judge myself so well.

i'm back with flyboy and have this wonderful marriage (after many bad marriages - including our 1st - i do know what a wonderful marriage is if only by contrast) and now i finally have a child.

and that's so wonderful.

and i go to bed in my own bed. comfortable and loved.

i tell myself that i do my part but, honestly, my part is half-assed. i go out with ava, c.i. and kat on fridays to speak. i do speak out in my circle and i do go to t's salon and talk the war with the women getting their hair done and their nails done. (that's not an insult to them. they do care.)
but i haven't really put anything on the line.

and i know that.

i've been talking a lot about that with flyboy and we're both agreed that it's past time for us to do more. so when the baby turns 1-year-old (in april) we are going to start hitting the road (with the baby) with ava and c.i.

i think of all that i have and how iraqis and u.s. service members are trapped in that illegal war and it honestly embarrasses me.

so those are my thoughts for tonight.