Friday, February 17, 2023

Don Lemon on paid leave

I read a story and thought, "Please let it be."  You know, in the words of The Beatles, "Let It Be."   Max Thornberry (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) reports:

Don Lemon didn’t appear on CNN This Morning on Friday, a day after he apologized for saying presidential candidate Nikki Haley was “past her prime.”

Kaitlan Collins, Lemon’s co-host, opened the show by announcing he “has the day off.” The host was replaced by Audie Cornish, who the hosts teased on Thursday would be on the show as a "special treat."

"Audie is going to be joining us tomorrow. Don's going to be off. Poppy is going to be on assignment anchoring from Salt Lake City," Collins said.

The hosts announced Lemon would be off after he made his comments about Haley earlier in the morning. CNN has not responded to requests for comment about whether Lemon will receive a punishment for his comments.
If you missed it, yesterday, Don Lemon felt the need to 'report' that women were not in their prime -- for political office, we should assume -- after they hit their 40s (20s, 30s and maybe in their 40s).  That smarmy line should have gotten him fired.  It was not cute.  It was not funny.  It was not called for.  

USA TODAY is saying he is on paid leave.  Let it be, let it be.  

It's outrageous that he keeps getting passes.  He should have been fired long ago.  Now we see that his personality is completely wrong for daytime.  He has treated his (female) co-hosts rudely and now he's just treating women in general rudely.  He needs to go.  What demographic does CNN think he appeals to at this point?  

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Friday, February 17, 2023.  A kidnapped activist has been released in Iraq, the DC nonsense continues trying to recruit and use their participants' histories as a tool, and much more.

We'll start with this from Jeffrey St. Clair's latest "Roaming Charges" (COUNTERPUNCH):

At nearly 9’oclock on the night of February 3rd, a Norfolk Southern freight train jumped the tracks as it was passing through the eastern Ohio town of East Palestine. More than 50 of the train’s 141 cars tumbled off the rails into a smoking jumble. Like most freight trains these days, it was hauling a load of toxic cargo. At least 20 of the derailed cars carried hazardous chemicals, five of them harboring highly poisonous vinyl chloride, a carcinogen used in the manufacture of plastics.

The train had left the St. Louis terminal yard earlier that day bound for Norfolk Southern’s Conway Yard in Pennsylvania, passing through cities, towns and fields, crossing creeks and rivers, rumbling by churches, schools and parks. The derailment was the fourteenth of the young year. Not bad by the standards of the US railroad industry, which has averaged 1700 derailments a year since 1977. But plenty bad enough for the 5,000 people of East Palestine and everyone living downstream or downwind from the crash site.

Two days after the wreck, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a preliminary report saying that the crash was likely caused by a mechanical issue involving the axel on one of the railcars, which had been seen throwing sparks for a least 20 miles before the train entered East Palestine. That may well have been an issue, but it was far from the only one.

For starters, despite carrying at least five toxic chemicals (vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate, and isobutylene) the Norfolk Southern train was not classified as “highly hazardous.” In fact, the first responders to the crash had little idea what kind of chemicals they were dealing with, most of which weren’t included on the train’s manifest.

The train itself was not fitted with electronically-controlled pneumatic brakes, a feature which many railroad safety experts say may have prevented, or at the very least, lessened the severity of the derailment. In the grand scheme of things, these brakes are not that expensive and could surely be written off on the railroad company’s taxes, assuming they pay any. (Norfolk Southern just reported $4.8 billion in profits for 2022, a record year.) But the railroad industry had been griping about regulatory over-reach since the Obama administration made the brakes mandatory on any trains carrying hazardous materials. None of the companies complained more shrilly than Norfolk Southern. The company soon found a sympathetic ear in the Trump administration, which rescinded the regulation less than a year after taking office.

So, why hasn’t the Biden administration reinstated the regulation, as Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has repeatedly urged? It’s been two years. According to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, his hands are tied. “We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation,” Buttigieg tweeted this week. This is ludicrous. All that really constrained him was a 2015 law requiring a “cost-benefit analysis” of new regulations, the costs and benefits of which should be clear to everyone now.

But that was never the Biden administration’s intentions. As the Lever reported this week, Buttigieg’s department is currently working on a new rule that would further weaken train braking requirements. The responsibility for wreck is as much on Biden’s hands as Trump’s. The Department of Transportation’s crash statistics back this up. While derailments declined under Obama’s term, they’ve remained steady under Trump and Biden: 1204 in 2019, 1013 in 2020, 1020 in 2021 and 1044 in 2022. Both administrations weren’t just negligent. They were complicit.  (The Biden Justice Department actually filed a brief siding with Norfolk Southern against a suit brought by a sick railroad worker. The case is now pending before the Supreme Court and could end up shielding the company from future litigation, including any claims brought by the victims of the East Palestine disaster.)

Jeffrey's "Roaming Charges" goes up every Friday at COUNTERPUNCH and covers a wide range of topics -- above is just the opening.

Moving over to Iraq, AFP reports:

A leading campaigner for the preservation of Iraq's famed southern marshlands has been freed, two weeks after being kidnapped by unidentified gunmen, his family said on Thursday.

Jassim Al Asadi, 65, head of environmentalist group Nature Iraq, was seized on February 1 as he drove to the capital Baghdad on the main motorway from the south.

“Jassim Al Asadi has been freed from the clutches of his kidnappers,” his brother Nazem said.

Iraq's new prime minister insisted earlier this week that he would get Jassim released.  Now Jassim's released.  Only one outlet around the world has reported on the release so who knows whether or not government efforts helped free Jassim?  

Yes, the faux test in DC is coing up and it's bringing you 'anti-war' voices like the general.  

And 'anti-war' voices like Tara Reade -- well known for her erotic attraction to Vladimir Putin but not really known for speaking out against any war.  Tara works for Kim Iversen.  Kim's well known for her work on . . .  Well, she previously spoke at a rally against the war on . . . Well, golly, at her age, she's had to do something, right?

She's got to have something to her name, right?

Oh, yeah.  That.  From LGBTQ NATION:

Olayemi Olurin, the anchor of The Hill‘s daily news and opinion web series Rising, brilliantly handled two transphobic guests who repeatedly made excuses about why they should be allowed to deadname transgender actor Elliot Page without it being considered an offensive attack.

The discussion began by mentioning how right-wing commentators Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin had received Twitter suspensions for aggressively deadnaming the actor. Their tweets violated the network’s policy specifically forbidding “misgendering or deadnaming” trans people as a form of hate speech or harassment.

Olurin’s guests, Robby Soave and Kim Iversen, called the policy “crazy” and said, “I don’t understand that,” respectively. In response, Olurin asked, “Why is that any crazier than people changing their names? ‘Call me this. I prefer to be called by this.’ What’s the problem?”

Soave replied, “But to not even be allowed to acknowledge that you used to have a different name?”

Olurin then said, “What do you need to be able to acknowledge that for? What are you suffering? Where’s your harm? Where’s your compassion?”

Iversen said, “That person lived as a different person for a long time, decades. And so to say that suddenly we all have to pretend like those decades didn’t exist and that that person wasn’t that person for decades?”

Olurin asked, “Why are we pretending like that is what’s happening here?”

Iversen replied, “That is what’s happening!”

Olurin then explained, “It’s very simple. There exists a trans man now, Elliott Page. That is their name. That is the name they go by now. Their deadname is their deadname. They don’t go by that anymore. They find it dehumanizing or diminishing to their person to be called that. And that’s what it is. It’s not uncommon. People change their names all the time, and we use the different names that they go by. It happens.”

“Right,” Soave replied. “If somebody goes, ‘Well, who’s that?’ I’ll go, ‘Well, they used to be X.’ I would fill them in. But you can’t do that on social media because of this policy.”

Iversen asked, “Did you get banned from calling [the late musician] Prince ‘Prince’ when he changed his name to ‘Assemble’?”

Olurin answered, “It’s not the same. We are comparing apples and vegetables.”

When Iversen asked why it wasn’t the same, Olurin said, “Because it’s a trans person. The name, the deadname, reflects an identity, a person they do not recognize. They find it psychologically harmful to be seen that way. They have moved on.”

Iversen replied, “Well maybe Prince had moved on too. I mean, maybe he felt like being called ‘Prince’ too was dehumanizing.”

Visibly frustrated, Olurin waved her hands at the camera and said, “Go ahead. Go forth. Go forth smartly.”

And it was even worse to watch.  THE VANGUARD analyzed it back in July.

Kim's promoting the faux test rally and she had Chris Hedges on her program -- we're not linking to that garbage but I did find it interesting that she's using him as the trusted anti-war voice and she's bragging that he was with THE NEW YORK TIMES for over 15 years.

It was THE NEW YORK TIMES, after all, that sold the illegal Iraq War more than any other outlet.  Is Kim that stupid -- maybe she was counting on help from her assistant Tara Reade -- who actually is that stupid. And it was at THE NEW YORK TIMES where Chris penned the November 8, 2001 NEW YORK TIMES front page  story "A NATION CHALLENGED: THE SCHOOL; Defectors Cite Iraqi Training For Terrorism" -- which was exposed as fraudulent by Jack Fairweather's "Heroes in Error" (MOTHER JONES, March/April 2006).  That's the lie story that linked Iraq to 9/11.  It was written by Chris.  It was all lies.

She wants you at the protest and she just knows Chris is the voice to trust.

To excuse his collaboration with the reactionaries, Hedges offers political amnesty for his new allies. “The rally on February 19 is not about eliminating Social Security and Medicare or abolishing the minimum wage, which many libertarians propose,” he writes.

Hedges continues: “It is not a rally to denounce the rights of the LGBTQ community, which have been attacked by at least one of the speakers. It is a rally to end permanent war.”

And then comes Hedges’ melodramatic punchline: “Should these right-wing participants organize around other issues, I will be on the other side of the barricades.”

Using the word “Should” implies that there is some question about the intentions and policies of Hedges’ right-wing allies. In fact, the rally is being used by the political right to advance its reactionary agenda, and Hedges, despite his apologies, is serving their interests.

Moreover, it is entirely unclear when and under what political circumstances Hedges will decide to end the amnesty, break with the fascists and move to “the other side of the barricades.” The amnesty has no apparent expiration date.

Hedges writes: “We will not topple corporate power and the war machine alone. There has to be a left-right coalition, which will include people whose opinions are not only unpalatable but even repugnant, or we will remain marginalized and ineffectual. This is a fact of political life.”

What Hedges is clearly advocating is not a short-term tactic (which would be bad enough) but a long-term strategic alliance with the fascists. He explicitly declares that it is not possible to “topple corporate power and the war machine” without a “left-right coalition.”

There is a history to the promotion of such reactionary alliances with the extreme right. The most notorious example was the German Stalinists’ promotion, in the years prior to Hitler’s accession to power, of a “Red-Brown” coalition against the Weimar regime.

And what does Hedges attempt to achieve by sharing a platform with the right wing? In pursuit of what bold action plan is Hedges justifying collaboration with these reactionary forces?

He quotes from an email he received from another disoriented liberal endorsing the rally: “Because we urgently need as many voices as possible, from a broad variety of perspectives, to speak out so we can be much more effective at pressuring Congress and the White House to move this conflict from the bloody battlefield to the negotiating table.”

As is always the case, the most grotesque opportunism is employed in the service of the most pathetic and cowardly reformism. The “toppling of corporate power” will be achieved by begging the White House to see the error of its ways.

Time and again, they keep insisting that their faux test is for real and they keep insisting that their participants' history speaks for itself and time and again the histories do.

Chris Hedges: Created the false link between Iraq and 9/11 for THE NEW YORK TIMES

Scott Ritter (dropped out but is rumored to be  surprise guest): Three times arrested for pedophilia, sent to prison for it, forced to register as a sex offender for it; before that Ritter backed the sanctions on Iraq 

Fiorella Isabell: American working for RT who goes on the air 'reporting' "Russian intelligence has learned . . ."  Lies that we'd call out if someone on NBC said "American intelligence has learned . . ." ("Claims" -- that's the term unless you're a propagandist.)

We could do this all day.

Including with Tara Reade who has lost her support base as she's rushed to embrace Marjorie Taylor Green and other hate merchants.  She's destroyed her base and her reputation -- what it took Warren Farrell years to do, Tara's done in a mere matter of months.

THE VANGUARD addresses the faux test in their latest video.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, February 16, 2023

CNN needs to fire Don Lemon; Rachel Levine has real accomplishments

If you missed it, ratings disaster Don Lemon is back in the news.  THE DAILY BEAST reports:

The veteran CNN anchor caused noticeable tension on the CNN This Morning set Thursday when he oddly suggested GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley wasn’t in her “prime” and, therefore, should be careful when using that word to judge other politicians.

The exchange harkened back to other awkward moments Lemon has had with his female colleagues since moving to CNN’s new morning lineup, which has prompted concerns about the team’s chemistry amid continued low ratings.

Discussing the 51-year-old Haley’s recent announcement that she’s throwing her hat in the 2024 White House race, the hosts focused on the former South Carolina governor taking pointed shots at older candidates.

Noting that Haley is calling for “mandatory mental competency tests” for politicians older than 75, co-host Kaitlan Collins observed that this was a not-so-subtle shot at former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. Haley has also declared that “America is not past our prime—it’s just that our politicians are past theirs.”

But the conversation quickly veered off-course when Lemon decided to bring women’s fertility and sexual peak into the mix.

“This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable,” he declared. “I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime. Sorry, when a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”

Co-host Poppy Harlow quickly interjected, wondering what her colleague was talking about.

That should be his final appearance.  It's past time to let him go.  He's destroying CNN's image and he's been given ample opportunities to demonstrate he could do the job.  Clearly, he cannot.  He made that even clearer when he 'apologized:'

"The reference I made to a woman's "prime" this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it," he wrote on Twitter. "A woman's age doesn't define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day."

"Inartful"?  No, it was not an awkwardly expressed truth.  There was nothing true about his statement.  It was sexist and never should have been said to begin with.  He doesn't get a pass for being gay.  Gay men can be sexist as well as straight men -- look at Glenn Greenwald, for example.  "A woman's age doesn't define her either personally or professionally.  I have countless women in my life who prove that every day."  Who is that for?  It sounds like he's acting as if someone else said what he said.

What he stated was wrong.


Until he can admit that and offer an apology, he's just spinning his wheels.  Honestly, what he said is more than enough to get him fired and should get him fired.

This is the same host who said male athletes are “more interesting to watch” and, as The Post reported, screamed at co-host Kaitlan Collins for interrupting him.

Lemon, bafflingly, seems to be a protected figure at CNN despite his unethical actions. Text messages reveal he was counseling race-attack fabricator Jussie Smollett and tipping him off to a police investigation.

Ratings out this week reveal that “CNN This Morning” is the network’s lowest-rated morning show in nearly a decade, sinking 18.6% in viewership among adults 25-54. We’d bet that kicking Lemon to the curb and leaving it to Collins and Harlow would deliver an instant ratings boost.

THE DAILY CALLER (no link to trash) is having a snit fit over a comment Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine made.

The statement?  "One supportive adult.  I'd love it if that was always the parent, but it's not always a parent.  Frequently, it's a teacher or a guidance counselor or some other coach or another school personnel."

There is nothing controversial about that statement.  It's true and has been true since recorded time began.

There are bad parents, missing parents, overworked parents and parents who are not there.  On the latter, mine due to death. That supportive adult in my life was my brother.  

I am so sick and tired of right-wing hate merchants getting butt hurt and trying to gin up lies.

We were at a eatery this week (we're in Boston) and this man came up to the table to talk about how cute our daughter was.  I didn't care for him and didn't go out of my way to be friendly.  Turns out that my instincts were right.  He shows a photo on his phone of his six month old granddaughter and then wants me to see a photo of two freaks -- it was Rachel Levine and Sam Brinton (disgraced Biden official who was going around stealing bags from airports).  We are a joke, the man insisted, on the world stage because people like these.  People like what? I asked.  "People who look like Matt Damon?"  (As Mike's pointed out Sam Brinton looks like Matt Damon.)  He backed up a little from the table and began hemming and hawwing and finally spat out, "What I mean is --"

"I know exactly what you mean," I replied and turned away from him at the table (implying you can and should go now).  

Rachel Levine did nothing wrong.  Sam Brinton has many reasons for people to mock him.

A) He looks like Matt Damon.  How sad that you end up looking exactly like a film star but it's Matt Damon.

B) He apparently steals.

C) He wears lipstick without knowing how to.  He looks like a 3-year-old that grabbed the make up off Mommy's vanity and smeared it across his face.

Of Rachel, WIKIPEDIA notes:

Rachel Leland Levine (/ləˈvn/ lə-VEEN; born October 28, 1957)[1] is an American pediatrician who has served as the United States assistant secretary for health since March 26, 2021.[2] She is also a four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Levine is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, and previously served as the Pennsylvania physician general from 2015 to 2017 and as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health from 2017 to 2021.[3] Levine is one of only a few openly transgender government officials in the United States,[4] and is the first to hold an office that requires Senate confirmation.[5][6] On October 19, 2021, Levine became the first openly transgender four-star officer in the nation's eight uniformed services.[7]

Levine was named as one of USA Today's women of the year in 2022, which recognizes women who have made a significant impact on society.[8]

I'm not seeing anything there to mock.  That's pretty impressive and good for her.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, February 16, 2023.  Like the US, Iraq has their own crazy Marjorie Taylor Greenes, and the Tara Reade crazies in the US are losing it in front of our very eyes.  

Starting in Iraq, Ammar Karim (AFP) reports:

Dancing to Iraqi pop made TikTok personality Om Fahad a hit among tens of thousands of followers, but now she is in prison, caught up in a state campaign targeting "decadent content".        

The young Iraqi woman using that pseudonym was sentenced early this month to half a year behind bars for the light-hearted video clips that show her in tight-fitting clothes.

A new government campaign aims to cleanse social media platforms of content that breaches Iraqi "mores and traditions", the interior ministry announced in January.

A specialised committee now scours TikTok, YouTube and other popular platforms for clips deemed offensive by many in the largely conservative and patriarchal society.


A few days later, another TikTokeuse – under the pseudonym of Assal Hossam – was sentenced to two years in prison, for videos in which she showed off her forms, sometimes dressed in a military uniform.

A total of ten people have been arrested for decadent content, according to an official from the Ministry of the Interior, who wants to keep the Ministry of Interior. anonymity. Via a platform set up by the authorities, 96,000 reports were sent by the general public, according to the same source.

Six verdicts have already been pronounced in these cases, according to justice.

And in Amarah, southern Iraq, an investigative judge recently heard from four minor social media celebrities, suspected of offending the public morals and indecent assault, says a statement from the Supreme Judicial Council. 

NET reports:

On Wednesday, February 8, 2023, the Karkh Misdemeanor Court issued prison sentences against content creator Hassan Sajma and content creator Ghufran Mahdi Sawadi, known as "Umm Fahd", on charges of "bad content" by "publishing several films and videos containing obscene and indecent statements and displaying them to the public on social networking sites".

Sajma was sentenced to two years in prison, and Umm Fahd to six months' imprisonment based on the provisions of Article 403 of the Penal Code No. 111 of 1969, as amended, which stipulates that "Any person who produces, imports, publishes, possesses, obtains or translates a book, printed or other written material, drawing, picture, film, symbol or other thing that violates the public integrity or decency with intent to exploit or distribute such material is punishable by a period of detention not exceeding 2 years plus a fine not exceeding 200 dinars or by one of those penalties. The same penalty applies to any person who advertises such material or displays it in public or sells, hires or offers it for sale or hire even though it is not in public or to any person who distributes or submits it for distribution by any means. If the offense is committed with intent to deprave and corrupt morals, it is considered to be an aggravating circumstances."

At the same time, the head of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council, Faiq Zidan, directed "general deterrence" by taking strict legal measures against anyone who publishes content that "offends public decency and constitutes immoral practices."

Don't they have better things to than try to attack content creators and censor?  Aren't there a ton of corrupt officials who should be standing before judges right now for having ripped off millions each year from the Iraqi people?

Or is this what that's really about?  Create some nonsense like this to distract from just how awful the elected officials are?  Oh, look, it's Tara Reade's little friend Marjorie Taylor Greene.  Little?  Honey, anyone who Tara stands next to is going to look little.  Alex Bollinger (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Out Rep. George Santos (R-NY) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) are cosponsoring a bill that could restrict students’ access to books that discuss LGBTQ+ themes.

Santos is one of 11 out LGBTQ+ members of the House of Representatives and the only one advancing an anti-LGBTQ+ equality agenda. The other 10 LGBTQ+ House members are Democrats.

Does Tara not realize that her erotic Putin fan fiction might get banned by her new friend Marjorie -- the woman she can't stop reTweeting?

Tara's too busy snacking between, before and during meals to think about it too much and besides she's about to be on stage shortly at the faux fest that is RAGE AGAINST THE WAR MACHINE.  Joseph Kishore (WSWS) serves up some reality about that nonsense:

The demonstration being held in Washington D.C. on February 19, under the headline “Rage Against the War Machine,” is opposed to a socialist and genuinely anti-war perspective. Based on the most shortsighted, pragmatic and opportunistic calculations, this event promotes an alliance and collaboration with the political right and even openly fascistic forces.

The primary organizers of the rally are the Libertarian Party, led by Angela McArdle, and the “People’s Party,” led by Nick Brana.

The platform of the right-wing Libertarian Party is the demand for the full and unrestrained right of the capitalists to exploit the working class. It is virulently opposed not only to socialism, but to all social reforms. One of the main speakers at the rally is the former Libertarian Party candidate for president, Ron Paul, who has advocated the elimination of income taxes, minimum wage laws, unemployment insurance and Social Security.

Angela McArdle is a member of the “Mises Caucus” of the Libertarian Party. Named after the fanatically anti-socialist economist Ludwig von Mises, this faction virulently upholds the absolute right of private property.

Under the direction of McArdle and the “Mises Caucus”, the Libertarians have made a more direct orientation to the fascist right and the anti-Semitic groups involved in the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In early 2021, McArdle defended the invitation of an anti-Semitic provocateur to the Mises Caucus convention in California, writing that a “truth-seeker” who asks “the question about whether or not Jews run Hollywood” is not an anti-Semite.

The “People’s Party” originated in the “Movement for a People’s Party” (MPP), which held its inaugural convention in August 2020. Its purpose, indicated in its name, is to oppose the organization of the working class as an independent political force. The specific social identity and interests of the working class are dissolved into the amorphous category of “the people.” The program of the “People’s Party” is nationalistic and anti-socialist. The WSWS called attention at the time to the MPP’s orientation to the far right, which has in the intervening two-and-a-half years exploded to the surface.

The Libertarians and the People’s Party have, for their own purposes, assembled an assortment of “left” speakers to participate in the rally. They includes comedian Jimmy Dore and the editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, Max Blumenthal. Both Dore and Blumenthal have previously promoted an alliance with the far right forces that oppose all critical health measures to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. The have downplayed the significance of the January 6 coup. Dore’s response to the coup was to promote an alliance with the fascistic Boogaloo Boys militia.

While oriented to the far right, the rally also draws upon many of the conceptions of the Stalinist Popular Front and the subordination of political opposition to the Democratic Party. This is represented by figures such as former Democratic Party presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and Green Party politicians Jill Stein and Cynthia McKinney. Also speaking is former Democratic Party Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is currently an active lieutenant colonel in the US Army.

The most putrid element of the rally is the direct involvement of fascists. Among the featured speakers is Jackson Hinkle, a supporter of Trump and promoter of “MAGA Communism,” who has said it is his aim to “finish the job of Donald Trump” by “uprooting liberalism from America and getting rid of the globalists out of the MAGA movement.” Another participant is Jordan Page, a libertarian who in 2015 wrote the fascist “Oath Keeper” anthem, entitled “Arm Yourselves.”

Given the far-right element at the rally, several groups refused to participate, including Veterans for Peace and Code Pink.

Pacifist columnist and author Chris Hedges, who will also be speaking at the rally, attempts to legitimize and defend his own participation in a statement published on his Substack this week, “There Are No Permanent Allies, Only Permanent Power.”

Hedges is known as a radical critic of American imperialism. Heavily influenced by Noam Chomsky and substituting middle-class moralizing for scientific political analysis, Hedges rejects Marxism and is implacably hostile to the “Trotskyites,” an element of his politics that has become ever more explicit. His writings are characterized by a demoralized, even obsessive, pessimism, and explicit opposition to the organization of the working class as an independent political force. He is not necessarily opposed to working class participation in a popular movement, but only in a subordinate political role. This has now led him to calling for and legitimizing a completely unprincipled and reactionary alliance with the far right.

According to Hedges, “We will not topple corporate power and the war machine alone. There has to be a left-right coalition, which will include people whose opinions are not only unpalatable but even repugnant, or we will remain marginalized and ineffectual.” Not only is it politically permissible to forge an alliance with the extreme right, Hedges insists, it is a necessity, a “fact of political life.”

Hedges argues that it is possible to build a movement against war in alliance with the far right in isolation from any other social or political issue.

“The rally on February 19 is not about eliminating Social Security and Medicare or abolishing the minimum wage, which many libertarians propose,” he writes. “It is not a rally to denounce the rights of the LGBTQ community, which have been attacked by at least one of the speakers. It is a rally to end permanent war. Should these right-wing participants organize around other issues, I will be on the other side of the barricades.”

How does one begin to unpack all this political nonsense?

Hedge’s assertion that legitimizing the claim of these far-right forces to be opposed to war in no way aids their anti-democratic and anti-working class social and political agenda is a political absurdity. Of course it helps the political right. The presence of Hedges and others claiming to be on the left assists the right-wing organizers in disorienting and deceiving workers and young people and provides a false “progressive” cover for their reactionary politics. Whtever his private intentions, Hedges’ public message is that the right wing Libertarians and the fascists are really not so bad, they have their good sides, and one can find common ground with them.

Hedge’s claim that he would be “on the other side of the barricades” should his far-right collaborators “organize around other issues” is theatrical demagogy pure sophistry. When his present right-wing friends combine their criticism of the Ukraine with American nationalism, anti-Semitism, rejection of even marginal social reforms, promotion of anti-vaccination madness, and other utterly reactionary policies, what are they doing if not “organizing around other issues?” 

We took on Chris yesterday and I called him out but also noted he had done many things worth applauding.  The failure to offer blind worship has offended a number of drive-by e-mailers.  Some think I was much too hard on Chris.


Because what I could have done -- and maybe should -- is this.

That's from WILL & GRACE, episode "24" written by Gail Lerner, Kari Lizer, Jhoni Marchinko, Tracy Poust, Jon Kinnally and Bill Wrubel.  Via DURFEE.NET, here's the part to emphasize from the above.


JACK: You must be dying!



JACK: Aren't you dying?! Your husband is going to Guatemala with that! I would die!

KAREN: I know! That bod! She could be in a Whitesnake video! Whoo!

JACK: Just! die!

WILL: That is some lucky flesh-eating virus that gets her.

ROSARIO: What is she a doctor of? Foxology?


JACK: [CLAPPING] Die! Die! Die!

GRACE: Okay! I get it! She's gorgeous and she saves lives, big whoop. I look good sometimes. And I let people cut in front of me in line at the supermarket. Well, I haven't, but I've thought of it.

WILL: Come on, Gracie. You have nothing to worry about.

GRACE: I know that! I'm very secure in my relationship. I love my husband, and I know that he loves me.

JACK: I would die!

So what I could have said regarding Chris Hedges?  

I would die!

If I wrote the November 8, 2001 NEW YORK TIMES cover story "A NATION CHALLENGED: THE SCHOOL; Defectors Cite Iraqi Training For Terrorism" -- later exposed as fraudulent by Jack Fairweather's "Heroes in Error" (MOTHER JONES, March/April 2006) -- an article that was nothing but lies and falsely linked Iraq to 9/11, I would die!

I would die! Realizing that my work helped start the lie, helped start the war, a war that killed millions, I would die!

And, again, over a million did.

And this has nothing to do with Judith Miller.

This is a 'report' that the great Chris Hedges 'wrote' (stenography, that's all he did).  

I would die!

Over a million Iraqis dead and it was my fault?

I would die!

So, no, I don't feel I was too hard on Chris Hedges yesterday.

As Mike noted last night, one idiot just keeps trying to defend her actions and gets hit back with a Tweet full of reality:

 And one more time, if you're throwing the party, it's incumbent upon you to do the invites.  People you haven't invited aren't supposed to be calling you up and saying, "Hear you're having a party is it okay for me to invite myself."  The lack of diversity in your guests is a reflection solely on the choices you made.  You can't turn around now and blame others.  Own your damn actions.  Pathetic.

Be sure to read Ann's "Anya, do they give you bathroom breaks on the plantation?" about how the faux test had to deploy the only person of color they could hide behind.  Then take a moment to notice that it's not just the faux text.  It's also their supporters who are White and hissing and screaming at people of color to fall in line.  Screaming that this is identity politics.

As though what they're doing with the White Power rally isn't?

It's always interesting when someone tries to fight for their own dignity and the majority White response is to scream, "Identity politics!"  I believe this is called self-repsect.  But go to Anya's Tweet and look at all the White bullies attacking people of color in their Tweets.

What they're really expressing is anger that as White people they can't just call the shots and get everyone to fall in line behind them.  The planned 'action' in DC is racist but note that the defense they're mounting online for their 'action' is also highly racist as well.

Let's wind down with this discussion on the topic from BLACK POWER MEDIA.

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