Sunday, February 10, 2008


Jim: Roundtable time. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and me, Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot and Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ. Again, no "Mailbag" but we'll try to work in few e-mailed questions when possible. We're going to be talking about the illegal war for most of this. Starting with an e-mail, this one from Corey, "As the Democratic primaries are increasing covered with not even a mention of Mike Gravel, I'm just wondering if Elaine voted for him Tuesday because I did."

Elaine: Yes, I did. And though Corey's not asking, I think it's likely there were questions or statments put to Corey about wasting the vote. I know there were a number of e-mails coming into my site on that so I wrote about it in "Green Party, Robin Morgan." Your vote is your vote. If you are happy with the way you voted, that's what matters. Or if you didn't vote as a protest and you're happy with that, that's all that matters. The choices in that primary were Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Mike Gravel. Only Gravel is against the illegal war and only Gravel wants the troops home immediately. And before someone rushes to split hairs, the most generous one can be to Bambi is that he is against the 'dumb' war, not the illegal one. As a supposed lawyer, as Ava and C.I. have noted, he knows about legalities and his refusal to call it illegal must mean he doesn't think it is. He just thinks it's "dumb." Well maybe he can work on a bill to implement standardized testing for future wars? No War Left Behind?


Jim: I'm glad you noted that because reader Krystal specifically asks about the war. She wants to know how anyone could vote for Hillary Clinton after her 2002 vote and this question is tossed to those who voted for her: Betty, Cedric, Wally, Mike, Ruth and Marcia.

Betty: Well, Elaine's happy with her vote and I'm not insulting her for it. If I was going to just vote regarding the illegal war, in the Democratic primary, I would have voted for Gravel. While I am opposed to Barack Obama, I voted for Hillary because I support her. I think she'd make the best president of the three and I feel that way for a number of reasons that I can outline at length but I'm pretty sure Cedric's going to tackle one aspect because we've discussed it on the phone at length last week.

Cedric: So I'll jump in. What was the name of the 2002 resolution is Bambi's big question? Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. At which point, Bambi, who feels that he can finesse his "present" votes in the Illinois legislature, acts as if the discussion ends. That's a lie and his uninformed groupies can glom on it all they want but it's not reality. First up, that vote is October of 2002 and the illegal war starts in March 2003. If that was Congress giving Bully Boy the green light to go to war, why does it start five months later? Congress declares war, not a president. So you're telling me Congress declared war in October of 2002 and Bully Boy didn't get around, in his commander-in-chief of the military role, until following up on it in March? We knew he was inept, we had no idea he'd wait five months after Congress told him. "Start the war!" to get around to doing it. The resolution was seen by many as a way to slow the march to illegal war. Anyone who's paid attention to what's gone on in the UK is fully aware of how the UN was then used as a cover to make it look like what was happening? Inspections. Inspections was the result of the authorization, the intended result. Bully Boy did not go to Congress for an authorization of the Iraq War -- among the reasons it is an illegal war -- and he did not let inspections finish. He lies about that a lot and that's probably because if he repeats the lie then maybe others will too? The reality is inspections were supposed to take place and, before a war started, he was supposed to come back to Congress and get authorization.

Mike: Which he didn't. I supported John Kerry in 2004 and Kerry also voted for it. And on Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked Obama about that and Bambi hemmed and hawwed and offered excuses. Bambi supported Kerry in 2004, after the illegal war, so he obviously didn't feel that the 2002 legislation was a 'big deal' then. Today, he insists it's a big deal. Today, he insists it indicates 'judgement.' Well if it's so important, one would assume that John Kerry and Tom Daschle, who both voted for it, wouldn't be campaigning for him today. If it's important to him and if it goes to judgement, it's surprising that he's allowing people with such lousy judgment to campaign for him. Kerry's been all over the map on that vote but I've never heard Tom Daschle apologize for it and, before anyone forgets, Daschle wasn't just a Senate voting in favor, he was the Senate Majority Leader. He was in charge of the entire Senate. He didn't want it to go through, he could have buried it. He ran the Senate, the Democrats still controlled the Senate at that point. So maybe it's past time for Bambi to call Daschle out? Let's remember too that for the bulk of Ned Lamont's race for Senate in 2006, Bambi was supporting Joe Lieberman. No tears for Lamont who sold out after the primary and brought on party hacks like David Sirota as he rushed to water down his already tepid 'anti-war' stance, but if Bambi thinks this is such an important issue, he never should have endorsed Joe Lieberman in that primary or campaigned for him. If we're talking about 'judgment' and Bambi's saying Hillary is lacking because of that vote, then Joe Lieberman's judgment was lacking and yet on this "I was right" position, it didn't stop him from endorsing someone who voted for it in the 2006 Conn. Democratic primary. Ned Lamont, up to that point, was loudly against it. So apparently sometimes Bambi thinks it's a judgement issue and sometimes he doesn't.

Ruth: He could have not endorsed. There was nothing binding that required him to endorse. It was a Democratic primary and he could have stayed out of it. He chose not to. He chose to endorse one Democrat over another and the one he endorsed was someone who voted for the 2002 resolution. Where was his judgment? And do not fall back on the 'incumbent' argument because, to hear him speak, Obama is all about change.

Marcia: And bottom line, Bambi wasn't in the Senate and didn't have to vote. He told The New York Times in 2004 that he didn't know how he would have voted if he'd been in the Senate. Confronted by Tim Russert he appeared to be arguing that he had to support the party with his remarks in 2004. With remarks? If he can't even, according to him, speak for himself about a vote that's two-years-old at the time, I think it's fair to guess that he wouldn't have stood up in the Senate in 2002 and voted against it. If he's using the 2004 ticket as his excuse for staying silent in 2004 -- John Edwards and John Kerry both voted for the resolution -- what's his excuse for repeating the same comments to The New Yorker in 2006 -- that he didn't know how he would have voted?

Ty: As someone who's opposed to the Afghanistan war, which was going on when Bambi gave his speech on October 26, 2002, I think it's interesting that he never mentions that war in his speech. He speaks an awful lot of al Qaeda and his support for the fight against it, but he never mentions that ongoing war in his speech. I'd like to see someone pin him down on that. Sorry to jump in there.

Ruth: Since we are talking about the speech specifically, it should be noted that Mr. I Was Right gave that speech weeks after Congress voted. Did he make any public statements before the vote?

Betty: Good point and I want to expand this just a bit. Mad Maddie Albright supported sanctions and you've got a number of left commentators going after Hillary today because of the sanctions in the Clinton era. Does Bambi support sanctions? Here's Bambi speaking October 26, 2002 -- 15 days after the US Senate voted, "But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history." The country is in shambles, he notes, but he's for containment. What did he mean? More sanctions, stricter sanctions? What did he mean?

C.I.: I'm jumping in. Betty needs to clarify her remarks because e-mails are going to come in misunderstanding her otherwise. Betty, explain your feelings regarding sanctions and containment.

Betty: Thank you. I forget not everyone who drives by has read everything we've talked about. I wasn't for the illegal war. And before Bambi was giving his speech, I was already saying it was illegal and murder. So, hey, vote for me this November. I'm a Black woman raised by a Black family and I never changed my name to "Barry" in school. In terms of 'containment,' I didn't believe in it. I didn't believe it was a goal that should be pursued. Iraq was no threat and the people of Iraq were dying and suffering under sanctions. I was for aid, not containmenet, not punishment. That's why I ask the question. Bambi needs to define what "containment" means and the lefty and 'lefty' types slamming Hillary for sanctions and air bombing during the Clinton era need to know exactly what sort of 'containment' Bambi was arguing for in 2002. Ty's right, by the way, he avoids Afghanistan in that speech. It's avoided carefully. It's never named and there's just enough for anti-Muslim types and for pro-Muslim types to feel he's speaking for them. He's got no declared position but he winks at both sides. He needs to be forced to answer not just where he stands on the Afghanistan War today but where he stood then. And, for drive-bys, we are all opposed to the Afghanistan War.

Marcia: Betty raises an important point regarding the Afghanistan War. Barack Obama is avoiding it and doing so at its one year anniversary. In a public speech that he wants a lot of credit for. Was that a "dumb" war? Where did he stand on that? There's enough there for those supporting that war to think he's on their side and for those not supporting it to feel the same. That's not bravery. He can't even speak up, at the one year anniversary of the Afghanistan War, at a peace rally, on where he stands one way or another on the Afghanistan War.

Dona: I just want to clarify something. Ty jumped into that, which is fine, but Ty, Jim, Ava and I are not stating who we voted for. We all voted in California's primary -- Ava and C.I. by absentee ballot -- and we're not declaring who we voted for. So until Ty says, "I voted for" whomever, no one should read that as "Ty voted for Hillary!"

Jim: Good point. Jess also voted in the California primary and he voted Green. Rebecca voted for Cynthia McKinney on Tuesday. So we'll go them --

Dona: But note that Wally had to put his phone down and he voted for Hillary. When he's back with us, we'll let him speak.

Jim: Jess, are you comfortable saying who you voted for?

Jess: I am. It was between Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney for me. As I said last week, I was bothered by Nader's refusal to announce "I'm running" or not. Some will say, "He's got an exploratory committee!" So? The press has played this as, "Ralph's running if Hillary gets the nomination!" In Monday's snapshot, C.I. included Nader's statements regarding Bambi but, if you notice, 'independent' media played dumb. Statements made Sunday on CNN. So as they play dumb, I have to wonder, do they know something about Ralph that I don't? They keep insisting he's only in if Hillary gets the nomination. What I did know was Cythia was in. What I did know was Cynthia was opposed to the Iraq War -- not from outside Congress, Bambi, from inside it. Cynthia can say she showed judgment and leadership. So Cynthia was my vote. Rebecca?

Rebecca: When the results started coming in --

C.I.: To be clear, results are not in and are not official for the Green Party. People can refer to Kimberly Wilder's On the Wilder Side for the latest results and discussions of them. The Massachusetts Green primary results are not expected to be in until the end of this month, that is where Rebecca voted. Other states are noted here. Just making that clear.

Rebecca: Thank you. The impression we are left with from the coverage of the results thus far is that Nader beat McKinney repeatedly. I was and am disgusted. That's nothing against Nader, whom I could vote for, that does have to do with the fact that, as Jess pointed out, Cynthia's not thinking about running, she is running. And running required her to change her membership from Democratic to Green. That anyone, Nader or anyone, who was not declared as running could beat her was insulting. And it honestly has me wondering if I'll vote Green in the fall.

Jess: And I agree with what Rebecca's feeling. I'll vote Green in the fall, I'm a Green. Jim'll vote Democratic in the fall, he's a Democrat. Both of us are very big for our party. Rebecca and I were on the phone all last week talking about this and we were talking to someone Jim seems to have forgotten.

Jim: Oh, jeez! Sorry. Kat voted for McKinney. I'm so sorry Kat.

Kat: That's okay. Ty mentioned an e-mail that's supposed to come up later in the roundtable that's basically to me so I just assumed I was being saved for that.

Jim: No. And grab this because we may not get to that.

Kat: Okay, well Jess and Rebecca have pretty much expressed it. It's the way we all felt on the phone when we'd call each other. C.I. was explaining to me, because I was pretty depressed, that the primaries mean very little in the Green Party since most states do not hold them. So the candidate will really be selected at the convention. But I couldn't help but feel that it was a slap in the face. I'm remembering a lot of "Run Cynthia!" blog posts around the web and I'm also fully aware that, before last Tuesday, a number of people appeared to have forgotten they authored those posts because the second Ralph announced his plans to explore a run, they were all about Nader. I found it insulting. And I think it goes to what we see in the Democratic primary as well. Cynthia has a record as a law maker. Cynthia has stood up for the stands that matter -- whether it's opposing Iraq, pro-impeachment or real peace and real solutions in the Occupied territories. I'm not trying to take anything away from Ralph Nader here but he is not officially a candidate and won't be unless/until he gets off his ass and declares. But notice the giddy rush to the man and the rush away from a woman with a proven record who did declare her run. Like Rebecca, I don't know how I'll vote in the general election. If Bambi gets the nomination, you can bet money that I'll be voting Green.

C.I.: Democracy Now! is a topic somewhere on the list Jim's working from. Monday's snapshot addressed the nonsense of that program with regards to McKinney because the community -- Greens, Democrats, whatever -- were all outraged by the broadcast. So with three who did vote for McKinney speaking right now, it might be a good time to jump to that. And I'm injecting it in because if time runs out and this isn't covered, I will hear from community members asking why it wasn't?

Jim: That's fine. We'll start with Monday's broadcast of Democracy Now! and with just Kat, Jess and Rebecca commenting -- if they want to -- and then move to the show throughout the week.

Kat: I can't get too heavily into that topic without cursing. So I'll just do the set up and let Jess and Rebecca comment if they want. On Monday, weeks after Ava and C.I. pointed out that Cynthia McKinney had not been interviewed about her run for the Green Party presidential nomination, Amy Goodman finally shows up. She interviews her the day before Super Duper Tuesday.

Jess: Which was pathetic. I mean, last Sunday in this roundtable, Mike was talking about how he didn't realize his state had closed primaries. He was planning to vote for Cynthia but couldn't because he found out too late that he needed to switch his registration. So to do a day-before interview with Cynthia was of no help to anyone. In some states that had Green Party primaries on Tuesday, Cynthia voters -- and remember, she was an elected Democrat so she presumably has some support there -- wouldn't have known that they needed to switch their registration in order to vote for her. Finally covering her run the day before the election was of no help to her. It might have helped the day before a general election, which is open to all, but in terms of helping Cynthia, this would have needed to have taken place back when Ava and C.I. were calling for it, when there was still time for people to switch their registration.

Rebecca: I agree but I want to back up to Kat's comments for just a second. Jim said a word in this roundtable that will run as "jeez" or "golly." That's normally what he says in the place of the word. I want to talk about that for just a moment. "Good Lord," "Oh my God," etc. are not generally used at sites in the community. That's a C.I. thing started at The Common Ills that we all try to follow. The reason for it is that it is offensive to some people and if you're using those phrases regularly then, at some point, someone's going to be saying, "Well the way you use the Lord/Creator/whatever's name all the time, you should be talking about religion." And we all avoid that because we don't want to hide behind religion to make ourselves palatable. As noted before, everyone participating believes in a higher power except for one person. I'm a little more free flowing at my own site and I use "Oh my God" in real life more than a One Day At A Time marathon. I use "OMG" at my own site many times. Last week, I was really pissed -- about Cynthia, about Hillary, about a number of things -- and used it in full and two readers -- and remember I've used the f-word with no censorship plenty of times at my site -- were hurt by that. Not offended, but hurt. So I apologized to them and told them I would stick with "OMG" or avoid it. But I know how these things go when it's time to type up and Jim's attitude's going to be, "That's what I said," and C.I.'s attitude is going to be "I can't have any member offended on something very dear to them." So C.I.'s going to argue that it's changed to another word or it's edited out and Jim's going to play stubborn -- which both he and I can do and usually do -- so I just want to put it out there on record that from my experience last week, C.I. is correct. The two have read me using the f-word, the s-word and much worse, spelled out in full, and never been hurt. They were hurt, not angry or screaming at me, last week so I want to just say that it will offend some people.

Jim: You are correct that I would argue for it to stay as is and C.I. would argue that it be changed or pulled. And we'd probably spend 20 minutes on that argument before Dona would tell me, "Pull it." There's like this whole maze of what's allowed and not. I'm not slamming it. But, in a short story here, for instance, we could use the phrase.

Ava: That's because short stories are about characters. There's a world of difference between someone reading a short story in one of our summer fiction editions and hearing a character using a name in vain and hearing you, Jim, someone they like, do the same. And we are off topic but I'm glad Rebecca brought it up because that is one of the most repeated and dumbest arguments week after week. You will try to squeeze that into an editorial or another piece -- it will just come out while we're writing -- and you'll insist it stay in and you know C.I.'s not going to stand for it for the same reasons that Rebecca's outlined a few second ago. It is hurtful to some people in the community. If we're saying a curse word, they don't care. It's "Oh they've got a potty mouth" and they may laugh along. But with those phrases, where you're seen as taking a name in vain, it isn't about 'bad language' but goes to, for some, a disrespect of their beliefs. If an e-mail comes in, your reaction is, "That's how I talk." And for you that's the end of it. On the community's side, it's not the end of it. And it will get dumped on C.I. Both in terms of your dismissal of it and in terms of, "Why didn't you object?" being asked of C.I. It's not a minor point and we can't take the position of people's beliefs are their own and we're not going to hide behind religion to make ourselves 'respectable' and also offer statements that could be read as insulting to someone's beliefs. And we have this go-round every week it seems like.

Jim: On my end, it's just how I talk. In transcript pieces, I try to catch it.

Betty: If I could jump in because it's Cedric, Ty and myself that have talked about religion. It's not an issue with us, whether Jim says that. And I've certainly used the phrase myself but get a pass because people know my background on religion. But for those who haven't talked about their positions, it could be seen as insulting. If it's seen as insulting, you're offering the need for an explanation. When you have to explain, you have to figure out whether you're going to say "I believe in ___" or "I don't believe in ___." It opens a door and I agree with Ava. There are things I can say online at my site and no one bats an eye at -- because it's characters -- but if I say them as Betty, it's a different thing. By the same token, Wally and Cedric are doing humor posts and they can get away with anything. That's due mainly to the humor but it may help some that Cedric's background is known. Ava and C.I. -- with their TV commentaries or any feature they do by themselves -- can say pretty much anything. But that's not true for them in a roundtable. I mean, I've talked to Ava about this at length, about what I can say and what I can't and what they can and what they can't. And we're all aware that certain pieces, especially transcripts one, are taken differently than other pieces. And I hate having to have this conversation --

Jim: Because I am someone who believes in Jesus and Betty knows that and it's what's on the tip of her tongue that she's having to repeatedly avoid saying. And the fact that I'm having to state that publicly goes to Betty and Ava's points so yes, Rebecca's correct that C.I.'s right. We won't bring it up again. Back to Rebecca on Cynthia and Goodman.

Rebecca: Well Amy Goodman did no favors. In fact it was insulting. It was too late to do any good but it's the sort of thing that allows her to now claim, "I'm not partisan, look I interviewed Cynthia McKinney." Yes, when it was too late for some who would have voted for her to switch their registration. It was disgusting and it will be her claim now, she'll refer to it. But the reality is, and Ava and C.I. pointed this out when they tackled the show last month, the Green Party had a debate and Amy Goodman reduced that to a single headline. A few sentences. The same week, Dennis Kucinich, who did not participate in the Democratic primary debate, was brought on for the full hour to give the responses he would have given if he had been allowed in the Democratic primary debate. An entire party is a headline, one individual gets a full hour.

Jess: Yeah, that's what we get. "We" being the Greens and it is disgusting. Think about how many times Dennis has been brought on since the start of 2007. He's brought on to comment on what the Dems are doing in Congress or not doing. How hard is it to book a Green Party spokesperson to offer their take on what's going on in the same segment? It's not hard, it's just something that Goodman avoids doing. Over and over.

C.I.: I want to bring up an issue that community members who are Greens were raising in e-mails last week. In 2004, Democracy Now! expanded to two hours during the party conventions. During the Democratic and Republican party conventions only. That was a full week of coverage -- ten hours -- for each convention. That's not done for the Green party. They're lucky to be invited on with other third party candidates in the fall -- as happened in 2004 -- for a 'debate.' One debate. While there are four or so debates between Democrats and Republicans aired on the MSM and covered as earth shattering, let's devote the entire program to it, by Democracy Now! Green members are making very clear that they feel they are being tossed crumbs by Amy Goodman and they aren't happy with it.

Kat: Well that's true. I didn't get that on my own, but listening to that right now, it is very true of how 2004 played out on Democracy Now! And that isn't fair. And it really does send the message that they aren't a real party and they aren't important. I wish I'd caught that on my own but it's very true. And I don't know if anyone else heard it, I'm closest to the speaker phone, but it sounded like Wally just picked up his cell phone, either that or we have static on the line.

Wally: No, it's me.

Jim: Okay, Wally, here's what's going on. We're currently discussing Democracy Now! and how they cover the parties and candidates. We earlier addressed Hillary voters in the community due to a question from a reader about how anyone could vote for her after the 2002 resolution. So if you want to jump in somewhere on that, go for it.

Wally: Sure. Mike?

Mike: I didn't steal your point and no one else brought it up.

Wally: Mike and I were talking about this last week and, by Thursday, I was saying I was bringing up something. Barack Obama spoke out against a 'dumb' war in 2002, after the Senate voted and he wasn't a member of the Senate. If he sees that 2002 authorization as an authorization for war -- which it was not -- would war with Iran be a "dumb" war? If so, he had a chance in the summer of 2007 to stand up and he didn't. He didn't vote on the Iran resolution -- which did not give authorization for war though Bambi likes to claim it did. That vote that he chose to miss -- even though he knew it was taking place and was in DC, he had a heads up to that vote -- could have at least allowed him to say, "Here's what I did in 2007 so that backs up my bragging that they were wrong and I was right." When presented with that opportunity, he elected to duck. I don't think we can afford a president who runs off every time a difficult decision is made. I don't think there's anything in his record that suggests he can take a stand as a Senator. He couldn't even stand up for MoveOn. For Betty, Hillary's comments about if you don't feel she's saying enough regarding her vote, look for another candidate -- that's a paraphrase -- was reason to step away from Hillary and I respect that. But as I leaned more and more towards Hillary, I went back to what our 'independent' media was saying in 2002 and in 2004. They've all swallowed the Bambi Kool-Aid and act today like a vote for the 2002 resolution was a vote for war. That was not how it was taken in real time by many in 'independent' media and it's not how it was taken in 2004 when you had candidates who voted for it. I think the 2002 vote is being distorted. That was a way to slow the march to the war and a dumb decision in my mind, but there's a difference between what some of them stated then and two years later and what they're stating today. 'Them' is independent media. I'm shuffling through some papers trying to find some stuff I printed up but not having any luck. C.I.?

C.I.: I don't know which articles you looked at, but in terms of The Nation, in March of 2003, before the illegal war started, John Nichols was writing about challenging the rush to war and noted John Bonifaz's federal court argument, then being presented, that no war could start without authorization from Congress. Clearly at that moment, people such as Bonifaz and Nancy Lessin did not believe the 2002 resolution was an authorization for war. I think Bambi plays fast and slick with the title of the bill and think 'independent' media's a joke since it's just as easy to use his 'logic' to claim that the legislation billed as "The P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act" was about patriotism. When you've got Bambi saying, "What was the title?" and allowing discussion to end there you're arguing that the Patriot Act, by it's title, must also be about patriotism. This is a paraphrase, from memory, of Nichols March 2003 article, before the illegal war started, he's quoting Bonifaz who states, "We aren't saying that the war cannot occur if Congress declares it. Our position is that the Constitution requires the president to go to Congress before launching a premeditated, first-strike invasion of another country. This is precisely what the framers of the Constitution intended to prevent. They placed Article I, Section Eight in the Constitution to assure that the President of the United States would not have the power that European monarchs had held in the past in matters of war and peace." Clearly, Bonifaz was arguing, in 2003, that the 2002 authorization was not an authorization for war and since Nichols is repeating it without question, one would assume Nichols either agrees with it or is choosing to stay silent. Now Nichols could argue that in October 2002, he was portraying it differently. He certainly was in an article entitled "Five Ways to Help Win The House." That's right, Nichols is among the commentators who couldn't seriously address Iraq before the vote or immediately after. It was more important to Nichols to find a way to "win" the House. In that column he lays the blame clearly on Richard Gephardt's doorstep noting that Gephardt, a Democrat and the leader of the Dems in the House, co-authored the legislation. And his big complaint? Nichols big complaint in October immediately after the resolution was voted on? That there were only a few campaign weeks left and Gephart was, this is a direct quote, "Gephardt was still testing themes in Washington". He's not sounding alarms about the resolution, he's arguing ways for Dems to take back the House. So maybe The Nation needs to get off their high horse about that resolution because their position and how much emphasis they placed on it in real time has been all over the map. Prior to Paul Wellstone's death, in a column that ran in October, Nichols again wasn't concerned about the resolution itself, he was concerned about electability declaring that, "The 'regime change' Rove is most focused on is not in Iraq but in the Senate, where the defeat of a single Democrat would give Republicans control." He argues Wellstone must vote against it and then explain why to his voters as he did on the 1996 so-called 'welfare reform' vote. This not a column opposing impending war, it's a column on how to finesse your vote. So it's really funny that Nichols -- who doesn't write about Iraq and really hasn't since 2006 -- has such a big problem with Hillary's vote. Where was Nichols when it mattered? Arguing ways to finesse, not taking a stand. In fact, the only one the little pisher really took to task was Barbra Streisand in an October 3, 2002 piece. Elected Congress members he wanted to counsel, Barbra Streisand -- who had no vote in Congress -- he wants to rip apart. Well, he's not that fond of women. "Babs-land"? Did Nichols really use that insulting phrase? Yes, he did. The little nothing who's made nothing with his life and tried to hop the impeachment wagon with a bad book that he then dropped like crazy when the magazine decided impeachment was a no-go -- there's a reason Elizabeth Holtzman's pieces on impeachment these days appear elsewhere and we addressed that after the 2006 elections here -- has the nerve to criticize Barbra Streisand for anything? Oh the petty jealousies of the pettiest of nobodies. He goes on to write, in that piece, after getting his fangs into Barbra and tasting blood, "It is no secret that on Capitol Hill, many Democrats are motivated to vote for the resolution out of political calculation. They do not believe war against Iraq at this time is a good idea, but they fear looking soft or being caught on the wrong side of what might be a popular war. They are hoping to buy security--their own-- with blood." That was probably his strongest pre-vote statment and he had to tear apart non-Senator, non-Congressmember Barbra Streisand to get there. How proud he must be. After the 2002 elections, Nichols penned a column, "Failed Midterms," that sprinkled in a little about the authorization vote but was equally taking the Dems to task on their response to the White House's tax cuts. He wrote, "The election of 2002 has taught two lessons that should not be lost as the 2004 presidential contest begins: Bush is a relentless and effective campaigner; and the only way to beat him and his party will be for Democrats to distinguish themselves as a relentless and effective party of opposition." Which does not explain Nichols current support for Bambi. But it does make clear the Iraq War was never a huge issue for him when it came time to write. Then, as now, he wasted all of his time playing advisor to the Democratic Party. Again, how proud he must be. The Democratic Party's own little Rona Barrett. That would explain the hairstyle.

Jim: That's a truest. I'm serious. That's going to be a truest for the week today. I'm kind of surprised you haven't brought any of it up before.

C.I.: As Elaine and Rebecca often point out, tick me off and I will stop playing nice. There's not anyone in 'independent media' whose hands are clean on that illegal war. If they did a good job in the lead up, they dropped the ball after the illegal war started. Strike a pose and you're begging to be knocked down. And 2008 is not about playing nice. We're trying to end the illegal war and we're not going to take part in the lies. The lies then, the lies today.

Rebecca: And no one has a memory like C.I. You do not want to be in a disagreement. I remember a moot court exercise in college, where C.I. was assigned a difficult position, and I wanted to see that. C.I. was assigned the conservative position. And, even not supporting that position personally, C.I. ripped apart the other arguments and moved the students playing the Supreme Court judges -- a majority of which were lefties -- against their own judgements. It was amazing. And scary.

Elaine: Rebecca's laughing. But we were both present for that because we knew C.I. didn't agree with the position assigned and couldn't tell us the argument ahead of time, kept saying, "I'm going to have to hear the other side's argument to figure it out." So it was pretty amazing to watch C.I. do that just off the cuff. The research was done ahead of time but C.I. had no idea of anything but the assigned position. The argument was made on the spot and it was so powerful Rebecca whispered, "Gee, am I wrong about this?" Sorry to jump in but Dona always says I need to talk more.

Jim: No, that's fine. We've got an e-mail that's probably to C.I. but I'm going to toss to Ava to give her a chance to respond because we all know what one of them -- Ava or C.I. -- says the other agrees with. Matts, that's not a typo, Matts, e-mailed to point out that no one highlighted Cindy Sheehan's column on Hillary Clinton -- she was against Hillary Clinton to put it mildly -- and wonders why that didn't get noted and if it means that Cindy Sheehan's no longer supported?

Ava: First, it didn't appear everywhere and there are some sites we just aren't noting. That's true of all her columns by the way, if you see a drop off. For instance, if someone passes on an e-mail Rebecca wrote and then lies about it, we're not interested in highlighting their site so right away anything that goes up there -- Cindy or anyone -- isn't going to be highlighted. An organization that continues to e-mail this site isn't highlighted because the e-mail was passed on to them. A few months back, C.I. wrote the 'head' directly and said, basically, "We need to know if you asked for that to be forwarded or not. If not, we can highlight you. If so, don't bother us." The 'head' refused to respond. We no longer note him. He does however continue to bother all sites with e-mail announcements. We're not interested. Go away. Second, putting it as nicely as possible, our support for Cindy is over her positions. We're not really interested in her personal reflections on people. If that's not clear, it will be to community members, Cindy Sheehan was used. She herself grasped that in her goodbye column. So she should be asking herself why she met with Hillary and not with Obama. Why wasn't a meeting with Obama set up for her? He was in the Senate by the time she was meeting with the Senate. He was the alleged 'anti-war' Senator. It would appear some people didn't want her meeting with him. With Obama and Clinton fighting for the Democratic nomination, we're not really interested in a third party candidate's thoughts on only one of them. That doesn't change our support or admiration for Cindy Sheehan. We're not even saying she's wrong in her judgement of Hillary -- we don't know, we didn't read it. We're saying that we don't see a great deal of difference between Hillary and Barack on the illegal war and we're not interested in any column that buys into the Bambi myth either by repeating it or omitting him from the equation.

Jim: Next question was from Keira who says she's voting Green in the general but feels like "you're too hard on Bambi's celebrity supporters." Jolene also wrote in about Bambi supporters and mentions Joan Baez and Bright Eyes.

Mike: I'll jump in there in terms of defending Wally and Cedric who have taken on Oprah and George Clooney. I'm not remembering anyone else. George Clooney hasn't been a big deal at other sites because he's a bad actor, a really bad actor, and he's a fake. We all now that and bite our tongues. So Clooney's really gotten a pass. He's a fraud, just another schill for the Democratic Party and someone who's been pushing for war with Darfur for years now.

Ruth: In terms of Oprah, and I do not believe I have said anything about her, you are talking about a woman who wants to falsely claim Senator Bambi was right. That is a problem coming from the woman who used her daytime program to sell the illegal war and brought on Judith Miller as a respectable and trusted source.

Marcia: Exactly. She broke from her book clubs, cheating husbands and diets to sell the illegal war.

Kat: In terms of Joan Baez, I know no one said a word against for her for her endorsement. No one trashed her. No one said a word.

Jess: I did pack up her CDs at C.I.'s house and put them in a closet. I don't want to hear her. For me, it's not about she chose Barack over Hillary. It's about she finally endorses and you've got Nader and McKinney who are against the illegal war and Baez, who has never endorsed a candidate, endorses a War Hawk. I'm not interested in listening to her CDs and doubt I will be before November. After I may feel differently. I did call C.I., by the way. I called first. I didn't just say, "I'm packing up all of C.I.'s Baez CDs and hiding them in the closet." I checked to make sure it was okay.

Kat: And I understand that. In terms of California, Baez's home, I especially understand it. Greens are the ones she encounters most often when she's engaging in protest and it was a slap at them to endorse a Democrat. But we haven't attacked her.

Mike: And we've never attacked Mia Farrow for her work on Darfur. We disagree strongly but no one doubts that she is sincere or mistakes her for someone like Clooney who is calling for an armed conflict.

Wally: On Bright Eyes, Kat liked the last album. I didn't. The way I see it, he made a one-off statement with "When A President Talks To God" and that's it. It's his most widely known song and he's failed to release a studio version on a full length CD. I think he's a little cowardly. I thought the last CD was crap and hard to listen to. I enjoyed Kat's review, but I felt she and I were hearing two different CDs. And I'm not attacking Kat. Her take on the CD was that he'd finally found a way to bring his live sound to a CD. That's a big deal. But my take was that he was lost in love, like the song says, and avoiding the illegal war.

Cedric: I'm jumping in to save Wally who's furious. I know because we've discussed it. So I'll point out the obvious, John Kerry was good enough for Connor to endorse in 2004. He wasn't going to end the illegal war. Maybe that's not a big deal with Connor? Who knows? But, like Wally, I can't listen to that CD. If you'll note, when we did CD lists here of what we were listening to, it only made a few lists and immediately after it came out. It was never our number one pick to listen to and I doubt anyone, even Kat, has listened to it in sometime.

Betty: When Jim's tossing out questions or e-mails quickly, we're usually about to wind down, so I'll go to endorsements in general. MoveOn, the joke that just won't quit. Tom Hayden? Pathetic. I see why Jane Fonda always refers to Ted Turner as her favorite of her ex-husbands. It wasn't enough that Bambi insulted the battles fought and won to make our country better, he also insulted Tom Hayden personally. He's also a homophobe and Tom's down with all that if it let's him be a 'player,' a 'king maker.' Too many of our 'leaders' spend too much time being cozy with DC. CODEPINK has a DC house and maybe that's where all the Iraq action springs from today but the Iraq War isn't a pressing concern to Medea Benjamin when it's time to write a column. When the 4,000 mark is hit and all the silent come forward to suddenly note Iraq, I will take them about as seriously as I do now. Which is not very seriously at all. And, let me be real clear, the sixties were about progress for Black people. You damn well better believe I don't dismiss that time period as easily as Tom Hayden did to endorse Bambi. But he's a White man who hungers to be an insider and I'm a Black woman who speaks my mind. I haven't sold out my beliefs for anyone and I'm not one of the Bambi groupies repeating, "He says 16 months after he's elected that troops come home!" No, he doesn't. Maybe you idiots read Tom Hayden's misinformation column. As C.I. would point out, don't read what Michael Gordon wrote up, read the actual transcript of that interview. It's not the rah-rah Hayden presented it as and it's really shocking that Hayden didn't think to check the transcript -- which the paper provided -- before weighing in.

Jim: Well said. And on that note, we're wrapping up.

[Note: Illustration by Betty's oldest son.]
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