Saturday, November 12, 2005

Two Newspapers That Let Us Down

So what mainstream paper do I read now? The New York Times has the Judy Miller reputation to live down and now the LA Times has fired its most liberal journalist Robert Scheer after 30 years with the paper. The fact that the New York Times supported a Judy Miller and others who never questioned the information they were giving out to the public on the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein supposedly possessed has really turned me off to the New York Times. And to make matters worse now the LA Times which I read on a daily basis as I live in LA County has summarily dismissed one of the few columnists I enjoyed reading. Robert Scheer never was fooled by Bush/Cheney's scare tactics leading up to the Iraq War. He was right about the War all along and now he is seen by the paper as politically too left of center. The paper has decided to cater to the center and pump out pablum and information sharing that does not excite people too much, keeping its target somewhere in the empty headed middle. Scheer who is out because The Editor (who said he hated every word Scheer wrote) and The Tribune from Chicago which owns the paper could care less about the quality of the paper. They also fired Michael Ramirez, an ultra right wing political cartoonist for the LA Times, and opted for not having an in-house cartoonist at all. It seems as though many papers are opting to not have political cartoonist working for them on a regular basis. Although I hated the Ramirez content, the reasons for getting rid of him were wrong and short sighted, namely it was cheaper to run the paper without him.

I still get to hear Robert Scheer on KCRW Radio's Left, Right and Center's weekly show. He also is writing for The Huffington Post and some other media outlets. I was surprised that the only mention of Scheer's firing on the last Left, Right, & Center Show was from Scheer himself at the end of the show. To add salt to the wound The Times is adding very right wing Jonah Goldberg to replace Scheer as a regular columnist. So in this decision the pablum is tipping to the right as far as I can tell but it is still pablum. It would have been good to have a regular discussion about it. I am glad that Patt Morrison will continue to be featured regularly in the LA times and a few other writers that have liberal reputations but they will not have regular columns like Scheer did. This drift to the right of the media is nothing new but it was a shock to lose Scheer and I really hated having to go through that pitiful show that Judith Miller put on trying to place herself in the category of a selfless heroine put on by the cruel injustice of the Law because she wouldn't name Libby or Rove or whoever her source was. As far as I am concerned Miller and her buddies were all in the "Big Lie" together and it looks like they will all go down together too. Too bad the powers that be still control the media when push comes to shove. The TV media is even worse than the newspapers when it comes to right wing propaganda. And it is not just Fox news I am thinking about. I can understand why many people are turned off to the news altogether. The progressive people and interests of California did outsmart reactionary California Governor Schwarzennegger by using a very effective media ad campaign, one ray of hope in a dark cloud of growing pessisism when it comes to the news business. I wonder if it will make a difference?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Old Lesbians Organizing For Change

I recently attended a meeting of OLOC, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, an organization that encourages old Lesbians to fight ageism especially as it affects women and Lesbians. The group also encourages women to accept the word "old" as a neutral designation and to avoid words that are used as euphemism for old age i.e. senior or mature adult. The organization was founded in 1989 and many of its ideas stem from the inspirational presence and writings of Barbara MacDonald who is now deceased. MacDonald with her partner Cynthia Rich wrote the book " Look Me in the Eye: Old Women, Aging, and Ageism". Baba Copper (also deceased) who wrote the essay "Over the Hill" was another writer who inspired OLOC women to combat ageism. OLOC promotes consciousness raising and facilitates educational projects that focus on aging issues for old women and Lesbians. The organization supports a project that conducts oral herstories on old Lesbians in their 60's 70's and 80's and 90's.

The first conference in the world that gathered old Lesbians in one place was held on the campus where I teach( CSUDH) in S.. California in 1987. Working on the conference event was a highlight of my career and life. The event was called the First West Coast Celebration and Conference By and For Old Lesbians. Barbara MacDonald was the keynote speaker and her speech inspired women to empower themselves and to in a sense liberate themselves from the oppression of ageism. Shevy Healy was another Lesbian, a speaker and writer, who influenced the direction of OLOC in its early years. The organization continues on under new leadership. I was very impressed with the members of the steering committee who run the organization. They are a wonderful group of vibrant and intelligent old women not afraid to make waves. The SC is working on its next major conference. If you are interested in learning more about OLOC, go to the website listed here:

Monday, November 07, 2005

I'm Blown Away: US Accused of Using Chemical Weapons on Civilians

"A news program on Italian satellite TV, RAI News 24, has substantiated the claim that the US military has been exploiting the dual use of white phosporus. In its siege of Fallujah, the chemical was used on the civilian populace. The story is in today's Repubblica.  The Bush Adminstration and the DoD are about to be shamed before the eyes of the world." (Huffington Post, Nov. 7, 2005) by paper tigress.

"In the investigative story, produced by Maurizio Torrealta, dramatic footage is shown revealing the effects of the bombardment on civilians, women and children, some of whom were surprised in their sleep." another source:

If the above is true, I would think it is all over for the Bush administration. Any shred of credibility in the Bush administration would be blown out of the water. I took the first quote from the Huffington Post. But if it is true, will Congress act and how will it happen-impeachment I would suppose. I guess all the dots would have to be connected back to Bush. Maybe they would just get rid of Rumsfeld. This makes one think fast and hard. How will the demise of all these despicable characters be conducted?

For a fuller report go to from Mary Shaw. Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist. She currently serves as Philadelphia Area Coordinator for Amnesty International. For more information, go to:

Go to (Amy Goodman Interview with independent reporter Dahr Jamail, Nov. 29th, 2004)

Go to (By Peter Popham, Sunday, Nov 6, 2005) (Tues Nov. 8. 2005) (Tues. Nov. 8. 2005)


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Thoughts on Jimmy Carter on Iraq

I heard Jimmy Carter being interviewed by Tim Russert today. The interview was based primarily on a new book Carter has published (2005) titled " Our Endangered Values" which takes issue with the negative fundamentalist influences we are experiencing throughout the country. I am definitely in agreement with the basic premise of the book but totally against some of Carter's take on the Iraq war. Although Carter speaks out in the interview against the Bush decision to go to war, he did an about face and surprised the hell out of me, when he said he was convinced that the Bush forces are in the process of setting up permanent military bases in Iraq and plan to never leave the place.

Carter believes this information should be shared with the public and Iraqis not to cause them to get us out but instead to help placate the Iraqis and convince them they will have us backing them up basically forever and therefore, according to his convictions, there would be less violence among the various factions, and although the insurgency would not end, this would go a long way toward the stabilization of Iraqi society. Carter's explanation does clarify the reason why so many mainstream Democrats i.e. Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, John Kerry and others seem to support the troops staying put, albeit with Iraqis being in the front lines eventually. No one mentions how many US forces would have to stay in the long run.

The pundits probably have no idea how many US forces would be needed. It is clear the killing would go on ad infinitum. This idea also assumes the American presence would be invincible and long lasting. Remember Lebanon. One more Lebanon and we would be out in a jiffy, right? It is really hard to digest how intelligent minds like Carter's can come up with this kind of brutal colonial thinking and all in the name of democracy. I don't get it and hope I am simply misunderstanding Carter, winner of the Nobel Peace prize, and that I am not comprehending our former President's true purpose and strategy in laying all this out. I do admit I have not read Carter's new book yet and take what I know from the Russert interview.

Given the majority of the American pubiic appears now, and belatedly so, against the Bush policy that allowed the U.S. to go to war in Iraq in the first place, this afterthe fact Democratic hawkish thinking creates a hell of a situation for those of us looking for leaders who can speak out and get the US and the troops out of harms way. It seems clear those of us who have always voted for the lesser evil cannot afford to wait around for the more thoughtful Dems to come around. I guess if we have no leaders to lead us, we have to invent new ones.

Sunday evening Postscript: After rereading other anti-war comments that Carter has made on Iraq I have come to the conclusion that Carter was only trying to explain Bush's hidden agenda on the war and trying to elucidate Bush and his handler's committment to staying in Iraq for as long as they can, making a permanent base there to control the oil interests and direct the course of Iraq to their own narrow interests. Carter wants the public to know what is going on which is a good thing. Carter does, however, believe we should not leave now as the anti war movement demands and I know that Carter would like to have multinational forces in place there not just US troops, which I see as an unrealistic position as no one wants to be there facing the insurgents and terrorists. If I misinterpreted Carter's remarks to make them seem the same as Bush's hidden agenda, I apologize but I think we should begin to pull the troops out now and too many Dems including Carter seem to take too conservative a position on pulling the troops out of this failed war. We should listen to what the public in the USA wants and what the public wants is us out of Iraq. If we begin now, then it will happen sooner rather than later. But, of couse, that will not happen with Bush in office and it is hard to imagine it happening with the Dems who might take office in 3 years either. The Dems seem to want to redo the Republicans on the issue of military might. Where is there backbone or do they really disagree? Just bringing Bush down for the sake of it and then not accomplishing anything different would be a real irony.

I would love to hear comments on this one.