Sunday, January 27, 2008

Truest statement of the week

He has garnered White support at the expense of Black folks. Now he has done this in so many ways I've had to pare it down. But here are two. He said in Selma that Blacks have already come 90% of the way to equality with the inference of course that if he gets to be president we will have come all the way. Of course that's a signal to White people that this is almost over -- all this talk about race, all these 'complaints' from the likes of and they always fill in the blanks -- Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. 'But I'm with you, it's almost over, the progress has been almost completed.' That is so blatantly an appeal to White folks who want to just not want to hear about race. If it had come out of White man's mouth, Barack Obama would have been excoriated by Black people. And now, most recently, in fact, effectively, he praised the Republicans for their ideas in the 90s and on Ronald Reagan. And he talks about all the excesses of the 60s and 70s. I have never heard a more blatant code phrase than that. Which, of course, again, if it had come out of a White Democrat's mouth, that candidate would be persona non grata in all progressive quarters of the Democratic Party. So Obama is in a very real sense -- and he's been doing this from the beginning -- running a campaign on race but one that's appealing to White people.

-- Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford discussing Barack Obama on this week's CounterSpin which began broadcasting Friday.

Truest statement of the week II

Peter Hart: Now Obama, you've mentioned Obama's comments to this Nevada newspaper about the Regan legacy, and the odd part about it I guess -- or maybe it's not so odd -- is that the corporate press seems to be coming down on Obama's side saying Clinton's been unfair to him because Clinton characterizes it as praise for Reagan and if you look at the words that Obama used you don't see the word "praise" in there anywhere so it must be that Clinton's lying about this.

Glen Ford: No, you see every positive word that one could image which any reasonable person understands as praise and you see his reference to the excesses of the sixties and seventies which he says "caused the American public" -- and he means White people because that's who voted for him -- "to elect Ronald Reagan." And he does all of this in a very positive fashion as if saying by his judgement this was a good thing or at least that was the timely thing given those excesses for the American people to do. There's no mistaking the effects that he wanted to create as he struggles for conservative Democrats and Republicans. And we're talking White people here.

-- Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford speaking with Peter Hart on this week's CounterSpin which began airing Friday.

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

Another, Sunday and we're moving faster than usual (despite huge Blogger/Blogspot problems). Here's who participated on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and 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,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

And Dallas who hunted down links and was a sounding board to all. Thank you.

Here's what we got:

Truest statement of the week -- Glen Ford. Says it all.

Truest statement of the week II -- Glen Ford again, with Peter Hart this time. This was an important broadcast of CounterSpin. We've actually noted all the segments of it this edition.

Editorial: War resistance and war resisters matter... -- Important topic.

TV: Cullum's Big B.O. -- Ava and C.I. hated the program CEO and you can probably tell that by the commentary but just watching that crap made them sick to their stomach. (That's not a joke and Ava notes C.I. actually threw up after they finished watching the show.) This is the show I mentioned last week, that a copy of it had been delivered with a cover note. There strong streak continues. They're sick of news and public affairs. They long for the writers strike to be over but they'll continue covering "this crap" until the strike is over. Read it and if you've never heard of the show before, be glad of that, be very, very glad. Just reading Cullum's 'questions' should be enough to give you a headache.

Roundtable -- We didn't plan to do one. We thought we'd do Naomi Wolf's book this week as a book discussion. Then a Bambi lover e-mailed late Saturday saying we only did roundtable when Hillary won. Dona points out, right now, we did Iowa. So it wasn't true already. We gathered all the people who participated last week plus Jess (who wasn't able to last week). We were looking for results. We couldn't find them. We were all ready to get started and C.I. said blankety-blank "let me make some calls." As the roundtable proceeds, you'll see why we couldn't find results (meaning actual numbers), they weren't in yet. But that didn't stop The Nation from going to town claiming a win before even a third of the votes had reported. That's not journalism. Other topics addressed are the Green Party, Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, the Communist Party, public radio, Florida and much more. A very long roundtable. In part because we were trying to go on as long as needed until the bulk of the precints in South Carolina had reported.

What doesn't get covered -- Iraq. Iraq was in the news all last week. General Dynamics reported record profits for the fourth quarter off of the Iraq War. In England, they're getting closer to uncovering (or appear to be) how the intel got 'sexed up.' We focused on the destruction of the Constitution and the binding of US forces to Iraq for many years to come. It's a damn shame that topic and the other two weren't seen as worthy by 'independent' media last week. We note CounterSpin's headlines in this feature.

Smut Merchant of the Week: Matthew Rothschild -- C.I. heard about this nonsense from a friend working on the John Edwards campaign. Even those working for Edwards were appalled by Matty's smut. You should be as well. C.I. actually announced this feature in Thursday's snapshot (dictating on one phone and listening on the other) which is one way to make sure we cover something here.

The Primary System -- This was the third segment of CounterSpin. We really did note all the segments this edition. If you missed the broadcast, go listen. You won't want to miss it.

Ty's beef -- Dona says short features next week and if not, less features. Why? Ty nearly lost it. (Ty agrees right now.) No one could figure out what was going on (except C.I. whom Ty had already spoken to about it). The woman is a nut case. But it's also true that we're all stretched to the limit (none more than Ava and C.I. on the road each week speaking out against the illegal war). Ty did not have time for this woman's nonsense. C.I. suggested we work on it as a feature. That did help Ty provide some perspective for himself. (It's written in the singular voice, but this was a group piece.)

Laura Flanders' Blue Grit reissued in new format -- announcements that C.I. carried over from The Common Ills.

Highlights -- Mike, Rebecca, Betty, Wally, Cedric, Kat and Elaine wrote this and selected all highlights unless noted. We thank them for this.

Bambi & the Kingpin -- Repost of Wally and Cedric because we loved it and it was requested.

"Democracy For Who!" -- Repost of Ava and C.I. because we got ripped apart in e-mail after e-mail last week for not re-posting it last Sunday.

That's what we've got. We're done and going to bed.

See you next week.

Oh, illustrations! Dona just pointed that out. C.I. will put them in tonight. Flickr isn't something we wanted to fight with this morning.

-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: War resistance and war resisters matter

I was having an emotional breakdown at work, seeking aide from the combat stress people we had there. I told them of my lack of sleep and loss of appetite. They put me on a med called Seroquel. It was not working for me too well for I was having bad dreams and was unable to focus. During a fire fight, when I was shot at, I froze, which was something that never had happened to me in any of my past engagements. It was not fear, but it was me thinking of my family, it was all that was rushing tough my head. In a few days the preterm problems at home were getting bad. I rushed and traded out my leave dates with another solider and came home earlier. The night I came home in early December, my wife went right into early labor. We went to the hospital in NY. She was only 33 weeks, so they stopped the labor and gave her meds. We went home and enjoyed some time together. We started to have a bit of a falling out, when I told her it was out of my power to go back to Iraq and that I would have to go. She kept telling me she couldn't do it all alone and why should she have to. I told her that I did not want to leave her and the kids. I was very stressed out about our new born son, who had some health concerns; going back to Iraq; finance issues; and just so much was going on in my head. I still was not sleeping or eating right I just did not have the urge.So I went to mental health, where they said that they wanted to treat me further, but could not, due to the nature of my deployment and the fact they could not hold me back unless I was either suicidal or homicidal. So they put me on new meds called "TRAZODONE". The new pills help me sleep more at night, so at this point in the story I'm stuck because I know I have a big issue and that I need to fix it and take back control, but the Army just will not allow it. So what I did was go to my representative for my Unit here in the States and he got a hold of my Commander. I talked to my Commander a few times on the phone and he kept telling me that he understands and that he was on my side with this issues. He believes in family and my well being. My Commander knows me as a person. We have talked several times before and I had even seen him before I left Iraq to tell him about my issues a bit, so this was not a fully new issue to him. At this time I'm doing the right thing. By going to my Chain of Command, and trying to get this all settled the right way. My Commander told me that there was nothing he could do for me except write a letter to the Battalion Commander on my behalf. Witch he did...My wife wanted to be close to family and did not want to be in the States. I really wanted the baby born in the States, but at this time nothing was going my way, so I followed her up to Canada. On Christmas Eve she went in to labor again and on Christmas morning at 6:01 a.m., we had our new baby boy, Grai Jacob William Keller. Christmas night I got a voicemail from my Commander telling me, all that he could advise at this time was for me to get on the plane and head back to Iraq. I was to leave on the December 26th at 5:00 a.m. in the morning. My Commander told me that there was too much going on in Iraq at this time to settle my problem right now and that they would want me to come back and fix it there. I know what they have to offer there and there’s nothing to fix me over there, so after spending 2 days in the hospital with my wife and son, I made up my mind that I was not going back. I was staying to be with my family. No matter what.

That's Sgt. Allen Robert Keller explaining why he and his family went to Canada from "Sgt. Keller in his own words" (Daytona Beach News-Journal) [see also Audrey Parente's "Combat, family stress bring soldier to desert" from the same paper].


On Friday, actions took place at Canadian embassies in the US to show support for war resisters who went to Canada. The purpose was to put pressure on the Canadian parliament to provide the resisters with a safe harbor. [See CBC's "U.S. protesters demand Canadian protection for war deserters," Caroline Franks report for 580 CFRA News Talk Radio, Carol Mulligan's "Anti-war activists to demonstrate in Sudbury on Saturday" (The Sudbury Star) and Jeff Paterson's "Supporters of War Resisters Stage Vigil at SF Canadian Consulate" (Indybay Media).] Saturday, actions took place in Canada.

Jeremy Hinzman is the first US war resister to go public about going to Canada during the Iraq War. Jenny Yuen makes him the focal point for her "Campaign wants to keep Iraq war resisters in Canada" (Toronto Sun):

Jeremy Hinzman joined the United States army in search of adventure, belonging and money to pay for school. But the longer he stayed, the more he felt he was being brainwashed.
The former soldier, who was stationed in Kandahar, spoke to a crowd of 300 inside the Bloor Street United Church as part of the war resisters support campaign -- just one of eight across Canada yesterday and six in the States on Friday.
"I was trained to be desensitized to humanity," said Hinzman, 29, who said he could be forced to leave Canada in five months. "The way you learn to kill is start by shooting weapons and, week by week, they become more human and you don't even realize it."
The campaign urges MPs to adopt a recommendation from its citizenship and immigration committee that makes it possible for U.S. Iraq war resisters to obtain permanent Canadian resident status.

Some war resisters were comfortable speaking at events, some found other ways to participate. An example of the latter would be James Burmeister. If you're saying "Who?" then you're new to the community and probably overly dependent on our print and broadcast independent media. See James Burmeister is among the many war resisters who went public in 2007 -- the year independent media just didn't give a damn. Laura Czenkaj (Ottowa Sun) reports on his actions on Saturday and we'll note this section:

In September 2006, Burmeister was sent to Iraq and stationed in Baghdad. His opinion of the army changed when he says he became aware of U.S. soldiers luring Iraqi civilians into touching army equipment left as bait in order to shoot them.

Yeah, the kill teams. The Washington Post's big story in the fall of 2007. The one independent media could have had as early as the spring of 2007 if they'd shown even the smallest bit of interest in covering war resisters -- which they didn't. (Christian Hill of The Olympian, a daily paper, big media, did cover it prior to The Post.)

Every one of them has a story and every story illuminates the illegal nature of the Iraq War. Brandon Hughey was the second war resister to go public. Hughey is from Texas. As is Kimberly Rivera -- another class of 2007 who was ignored in the US. Kathy Rumleski (London Free Press) reports on another Texan, Josh Randall:

Randall tended to a 10-year-old boy housed in a detainee centre in Iraq who was so scared of him he was shaking and crying.
"He was deathly afraid of me."
Involved in a raid on a household, Randall had to walk away from a small girl injured from explosive splinters in her stomach when U.S. forces moved in to look for "supposed terrorists," he said.
Randall was told not to worry about the child because she would be taken to hospital.
He argued: "I've been to the local hospital. I know they can't fix this.
"I still regret not arguing more."
Finally, when Randall looked into the face of a dying soldier and he couldn't help him, he knew he had to get out.
"He looks at me and says, 'Why?' I had no answer about why this guy died."

Michael Espinal is another of the (ignored) class of 2007. In November of 2006, we wrote about "The Full Brobeck" named after war resister Ivan Brobeck who came back to the US from Canada on the day of the 2006 elections with an open letter to the Bully Boy and he received . . . no attention. Common Dreams posted his press release. KPFA's Flashpoints interviewed him. Nothing else. Go down the list of US independent media and grasp how ignored he was. [See C.I.'s "2006: The Year of Living Dumbly (Year in Review)" and C.I.'s "2007: The Year of Living Useless (Year in Review)" for more on how US independent media has worked overtime to ignore war resisters -- whether they went to Canada, resisted in Iraq (Eli Israel) or resisted in the US.] It's disgusting. On Friday, Democracy Now! decided to 'cover' Iraq in the way that's fast becoming the show's hallmark -- what happened before the start of the illegal war or in its earliest days. Friday, it went with Abu Ghraib (2004) and did everyone laugh as loud as we did when Amy Goodman was asking a whistleblower about the reaction within Abu Ghraib when the news started coming out? Goodman blurbed war resister Aidan Delgado's book but you have to wonder if she actually read The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib: Notes From A Conscientious Objector In Iraq because Delgado is very clear about the reaction. [Read the book. Get it at the library, online or at a bookstore. Until you do, see "Aidan Delgado's The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib" and " 2 Books, 20 minutes."] Somehow that example just slipped on by.


Rachel Punch (The Sudbury Star) reports on Michael Espinal:

Espinal participated in the siege of Fallujah with the U.S. military in Iraq. He now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his experience. In his view, he committed numerous human rights abuses and criminal acts there. After his first tour of duty, he resolved not to return to Iraq.

There's a story in that. There are many, many stories and they aren't being told by US independent media.

As important as what gets told or what does not is who tells it.

That came home loud and clear on Friday when a Dumb Ass had her article posted at Common Dreams. A community member praised her article and noted that US independent media ignored war resisters. Dumb Ass' reaction was, "Go to a website!" Community member Heather called her out on it and wrote a strong rebuttal to Dumb Ass in today's Polly's Brew.

As Heather noted, if you don't think war resisters need attention, why are you even writing about them?

That alone makes Dumb Ass the wrong voice for war resisters. We'd leave it at that (we have no plans to ever link -- none of us -- to Dumb Ass again) but there's another aspect.

Dumb Ass elected to go to the US websites with her plea. Dumb Ass is the wrong person to build support for war resisters in Canada with Americans. Why is that?

Dumb Ass is a US citizen. Who lives in Canada. Who went up there not to resist an illegal war, not to avoid serving in Iraq (or Afghanistan) but because she didn't like the election results.

Boo-f**king-hoo. War resisters going to Canada are showing tremendous bravery. That gets undercut in the US when their 'advocate' is a little cry baby who wasn't happy about the election results so she chose to flee the country and hide out until the Bully Boy leaves the Oval Office. She has no sway with Americans who have remained in the United States. She's a namby-pamby, self-righteous coward.

War resisters aren't cowards and have put their futures on the line. We also have no problem with those Americans who, seeing the erosion of the Constitution and the Madness of King George, said, "Screw it, I'm going to Canada and switching my citizenship." But there's a world of difference between that group and those cowards who want to go to Canada until it 'blows it over' and Bully Boy's no longer in the White House. Americans on the left and right and in the center have challenged this administration's illegal actions, have fought to stop the destruction of democracy. They don't need lectures from self-righteous prisses who flee to another country temporarily because they're not happy with the occupant of the White House. That's not a stand, that's not a hejira. It's just cowardice.

Such a person might be able to sway Canadians, but she has no pull with Americans. As important as the stories being told is who tells them.

Though the demonstrations have taken place (some are still to come in Canada), you can still make your voice heard and the War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist offer information on how (the latter even provides you with an online contact form).

TV: Cullum's Big B.O.

Do we get hazard pay? We should at least be provided with Hazmat suits after having to watch a public broadcasting program entitled CEO. As Jim noted last week, a copy of it arrived with a cover note -- a warning note. The show aired last Friday. Our apologies to anyone who watched. Had we watched the copy when we got home the weekend before last, we could have issued an emergency warning of the public disaster about to take place.


Have you ever wondered what would happen if character actress Thelma Ritter had attempted to affect a Katharine Hepburn manner of speech? Probably not but for the perverse, meet Lee Cullum who seems to exist to suggest a full grown and blousy version of the animated program Arthur's Muffy brought to life. We checked with PBS friends and they noted there was once hope for her -- many decades ago -- but she's "regional, that's putting it kindly." We were told by another friend that they were surprised she still had an outlet anywhere.

Once upon a time she took her hick act around PBS and NPR where she was presented as an expert. She did a little radio bit in 2002 that wasn't carried widely and one reason was because people couldn't believe anyone could be so stupid to claim Nancy Pelosi was out of touch with her centrist party but Martin Frost was the natural choice for Democratic Minority Leader of the House. We wished we could have heard that. We find it laughable for reasons we can't share and for the reason that Frost campaigned for the House, even after elected to it, without using the word "Democrat" in his TV ads, his posters, etc. He was the one to represent the Democratic Party in the House?

But Lee Cullum is human trash and, watching, we realized that she's human trash in a bad, ill-fitting wig. Her current hair color is red but she's had a number of shades over the years and they've never been attractive. You can only do so much with what you were born with -- she wasn't born with much. She was born with the ability to swing it and sell it and we're trying very hard not to use the word so many will think of. If you've thought we're saying she's a ___, you are right; however, we are attempting to avoid using that because we're aware that might be confused with her gender and it has nothing to do with her gender.

It has to do with the fact that she's a tool for Big Business. If that confuses anyone, peruse her official bio which includes: "Previously on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations for ten years, she is a member of CFR, the Trilateral Commission, the American Council on Germany, the Inter American Dialogue, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Founding Committee of the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations, the Texas Philosophical Society and the National Conference of Editorial Writers. She also is a fellow of the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture." In this day and age, it's not many who will brag of membership to the Trilateral Commission. But Cullum has no shame, common sense or concern for the public.

Which is why it's appalling, the aged hooker (yes, we're getting closer to the term) does what she does on the public dime. Public television was created for a reason, as was National Public Radio (NPR), and it makes no sense that this woman has been allowed to make a decades long career out of it. True, in the early days, they did go out of their way to include women on the air because the networks did not. Things have gotten a little better for women (one anchor is not 'better') at the networks but, even were they not better, putting a little Corporate Cheerleader on air isn't anything public radio or television needs to do.

As we've already noted, she's frightening to look at. Ignore the content of the quotes we're about to share -- yes, she's more than slanted to the right but pay attention to the wordage, the excess wordage, and grasp that she's supposedly taking part in a conversation.

Cullum: "You grew up in Arizona, went to the University of Arizona, studied engineering, and then you took a job with Fluor as an engineer and you ran practically everything over the years, you ran chemicals, and fibers and plastics and energy, then the engineering and construction unit, which looks to me like the heart of the company. You became chairman and CEO in 2002 and four years later you moved the headquarters here to Dallas, to Irving, Texas really, from southern California. What was the thinking behind that move?"

If Cullum wasn't so keen to show off the research someone did, she could have simply stated, "What was behind the decision to move Fluor from California to Irving, Texas?" Of course, doing that wouldn't allow her to dominate the 'conversation.'

Cullum: "I've been wondering where the name Fluor came from and I found out. John Simon Fluor founded the company in 1912. By 19 -- by the 1930s, you were building major refineries in Texas, Missouri and Indiana with more to follow plus natural gas plants in Venezuela, Canada and Saudi Arabia. I am wondering is, uh, you grew up really with the oil business, the emerging oil business. Do you think of yourself as primarily related to energy? You do many things but is energy at the top of the list?"

Does that strike you as a conversation? We should note that the guest, Alan Boeckmann, actually had our sympathies (which only disgusted us even more) because he had to attempt to respond. At some points, early on, not grasping that this wasn't a conversation, he would attempt to respond in the midst of her clauses. He would think, "Oh, that's the question." He would learn differently as Cullum, like a locomotive, chug-chugged on, ignoring him. Viewers had to wait and wait for Ms. Smarty Pants to finish showing off all the useless details she'd crammed into her notes and finally get to the point. As with sweat, never let them see your prep-work.

What's even sadder is whenever she would finish her editorial statements -- which only sometimes contained a question mark -- Boeckmann would respond in what appeared a genuine manner (it kills us to say that) and attempt to start a conversation but instead of her responding to what he had said, she was back to her notes and ticking off the next question. Twenty minutes in, this was broken only once. When she was wrong about a former portion of the Soviet Union and tried to cover, when corrected, with, "There are so many 'stans'."

While he answered, she would blink. Repeatedly. As if her blinks were counts or beats and, after X was reached, she could launch into her next lengthy speech that had no bearing on anything she had asked prior or on what Boeckmann had just replied. In fact, the 'conversation' could have been taped with her asking 'questions' ahead of time and him appearing at a later date to respond since she refused to have an exchange.

It was awful TV. It was awful to watch her heavily lined face under that hideous wig, it was awful to hear that twangy, locked jaw speech, it was awful to wait and wait for an exchange that never took place and, most important for TV, it was boring as hell. That's before we even get into the politics of the show. It was lousy TV and apparently the Dallas NPR and PBS station doesn't have the guts to give her the needed walking papers so an incompetent is going to be allowed to eat up time until the day she dies. As a general rule, no one wants to watch or listen to a host going through a list of overly worded questions prepared ahead of time -- a list that is never broken from even to ad lib, "That's interesting."

Iraq was a topic which is why a PBS friend thought we'd enjoy "ripping into" (their words in the note) the show.

The chief editorial statement there, from Cullom of course, was this: "Fluor's been involved in the reconstruction of Iraq and last year you received a letter, dated January 22, 2007, from Representative Henry Waxman, who runs the House Committe on Oversight and Government Reform, inviting you to testify and instructing you to send voluminous documentation of your association with various contractors including Blackwater which became quite controversial because some of its people allegedly shot and killed some Iraqis recklessly and unnecessarily. Do you still have an association with Blackwater?"

You really have to hear the disdain in her voice on words like "voluminous" and "allegedly." But just reading "some Iraqis" may be enough to do it for some. That would be at least 17 Iraqi civilians dead as a result of a slaughter, not alleged by the FBI's own investigation.

Her disdain is also apparent when she goes on to refer to journalist Jeremy Scahill, "There's a writer called Zeremy Jeremy Scahill who's written a book on Blackwater and you appear in it, you might want to look yourself up in the index. He said that you hired 700 Blackwater guides to look after 300 people there working on a 2 million dollars worth of contracts."

"Writer"? He's a journalist and, Lee Cullum, having already insulted him by calling him a "writer" and having refused to give out his book title, do you want to explain "Zeremy" because we're seeing it as a slur, or zlur, if you will. (The CEO's response was, "That would be very surprising." Cullum's scripted questions were written ahead of time so, naturally, she had no follow up for him.)

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army is the book title Cullum couldn't bring herself to recite. Those who might have been looking for a book by a "Zeremy Jeremy Scahill," with little luck, can thank us by getting the word out on the Disaster Capitalist Lee Culum. On page 227 of his book, he reports that Waxman stated that a memo disclosed "'that Blackwater was operating under a subcontract with [KBR competitor] Fluor when four Blackwater employees were killed in Fallujah in March 2004,' . . . He charged that Blackwater appeared to providing security services under the LOGCAP contract in violation of the terms of the contract and without the knowledge or approval of the Pentagon." Instead of raising that question (and Cullum brought up Falluja but a different aspect), she refers the CEO to the book. Television With A Yawn is all Cullum provides. There's a reason for that, and as you continue reading Scahill's page 227, you'll find the next section labeled "Whores of War." Cullum's name doesn't appear but should. Although limiting it to just "war" might be underselling her.

She certainly lives to sell everything, distortions of Hugo Chavez, distortions for Big Oil. Take the moment where she editorializes of more refineries in the United States that "there are some who say that's not a minute too soon" and goes on to credit Hurricane Katrina with 'demonstrating' the need for more refineries -- "it became quite apparent," Cullum informs.

Is that what became apparent, Cullum? Funny because Joshua Karliner (CorpWatch) saw it differently: "One of the strongest storms on record, Katrina provided an epic and horrific laboratory for observing what happens when corporations and consumers pump more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere." But, again, Cullen's not just a whore for war. She works for all of big business -- so much so, we kind of picture her standing below a street lamp on the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street.

On the subject of Katrina, Boeckmann made a declaration that flies in the face of all known facts on who got employed. He stated that Flour employed people from Louisiana ("In New Orleans, 90% of the people we used were from Louisiana."). We could cite sources a plenty but will instead just go with Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism which states, "Something else was familiar: the contractors' aversion to hiring local people who might have seen the reconstruction of New Orleans not only as a job but as part of healing and re-empowering their communities. Washington could easily have made it a condition of every Katrina contract that companies hire local people at decent wages to help them put their lives back together. Instead, the residents of the Gulf Coast, like the people of Iraq, were expected to watch as contractors created an economic boom based on easy tax payer money and relaxed regulations."

Ah, yes, tax payer money. A term never heard in Lee Culum's spit-shine of the 'free' market.

She marveled over a "5 million dollar contract with the US Navy" but, of course, left unstated was the fact that the US Navy is not a money-making body and is dependent upon the tax payer for funding. She wasn't concerned that the US Navy was contracting out their duties to Fluor, she was too busy marveling over five million dollars. She was probably attempting to figure out how many corporate hand-jobs and half-and-halfs she'd have to do to rake in that kind of money?

She was positively beaming when she brought up nuclear power and how Fluor has the contract for "two advanced boiling water" plants -- that's cute, isn't it, "boiling water" -- in "Baytown, Bay City as it's called now." Her host insisted it was "clean energy" and we don't know why he felt the need to point that out because Cullen wasn't questioning it. We got the feeling she'd stick her whole head into a microwave -- bad wig and all -- if anyone had question the 'goodness' of radiation.

There are many valid complaints made against NPR and PBS as a whole. We would argue that the work of Lee Culum exemplifies all of those valid complaints and urge FAIR to, at least for one story in Extra!, take a look at the regional offerings. They do tremendous damage and tend to fly under the radar. CEO is the worst of the worst and we're basing that on the fact that we're on the road every week speaking about Iraq and catching NPR and PBS stations all over the country. We've seen bad. We just hadn't seen Cullum bad.

Among the valid complaints (that even friends with PBS agree with) is that there is a tilt towards Big Business (we'd say more than "a tilt" but they will agree to "a tilt") and there has been a huge move away from covering labor issues. At such a time does any PBS station need to create a program entitled "CEO"? And if they do, should it be such a fluffy program?

We checked to see how long the program had been around and were disappointed to find out it's not been around since the start of this decade. Translation, no rah-rah clips of Cullum and Ken Lay exist. As sad as that is, what's more frightening is that Big Business Cullum gets to represent Democrats. We spoke with community member Billie who lives in the DFW area and she said there's no sound more frightening than Cullum's "Thurston Howell the Third voice yammering on each election cycle, beating down any Democratic who tries to stand for anything not in the DLC bible." Billie missed the most ridiculous moment friends alerted us to, when Lee Cullum addressed the Iraq War. (In fairness, we should say "this decade." She's also infamous for defending the 'science' of The Bell Curve on PBS but adding she believes in 'means' not 'genes'. That's telling 'em, Lee.) She started off sounding reasonable, "Do not go to war if you don't have to" and we might be able to think, "Well good for her." However, to that sentence she added "without understanding first the history of the nation you are about to convert into the enemy." Of course she added that. Those Foreign Relations Council types always have to have their wars. She's all for illegal wars, all for wars that don't have to be fought (never by her or her family) as long as there is an "understanding" of "the history of the nation". You tell 'em, Lee.

We can link to KERA comfortably. We can even give them a "shout out" and link to Krys Boyd's Think. But we can't link to Disaster Capitalist Lee Culum's CEO. If you don't grasp yet how bad the show is, get that when we explained it to PBS friends, they all understood. They all really, really understood. That alone tells you everything you need to know. Throughout the writers' strike, as we've focused on 'news' and 'public affairs' programs, we've had PBS friends screaming at us over the phone repeatedly over comments we've made; however, when it comes to Lee Cullum, they don't even fake defend the woman's work. And if they can't, no sane person can.


Jim: We're doing another roundtable. This is a rush transcript. We planned to do "Mailbag" instead but a Bambi groupie e-mailed that we only do roundtables when Hillary Clinton wins. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Ava and 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, and Wally of The Daily Jot.


Dona: We're looking for some sort of breakdown of the results and C.I.'s got calls in on that. We start this roundtable on Saturday and there's no breakdown. So it would appear the call's being called before the results are in. Which isn't a dispute of the outcome, our own guess was that Bambi would win South Carolina and Ava and C.I. noted how that would be damaging to the campaign. That feature will appear after Super Duper Tuesday and not be noted until then, despite Jim's claims in the note last week. Bambi's made a big strategic mistake that has created a wall between him and other voters and Ava and C.I. aren't going to help him. The illustration we're using was done by Betty's son and Betty and Cedric made some comments after last week's roundtable that we'll toss to them for now as we wait for the results.

Betty: South Carolina. Where Blacks delude themselves.

Cedric: Explain your race upfront, you know some White person's going to e-mail.

Betty: I'm a Black woman. I really find it appalling that the Democrats held their debate, one sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus in a military institution to begin with. The majority of Black people in this country are against the illegal war. But what I would assume all of us agree on is that the Union winning the Civil War was a good thing.

Cedric: You said it. The Citadel was created out of a fear of runaway slaves. It's a racist institution created to enforce slavery. The fact that African-Americans would show up for a debate there, instead of demanding that it be moved elsewhere, is why Betty dubs the state the one "where Blacks delude themselves." And it is true. It's a very poor state but they play happy for the crumbs.

C.I.: If anyone wants to jump in, please do, but I'm off the phone and if you go [here], you can see the results. They are not in. Everyone is reporting wins and the counting is still ongoing. So can someone go to The Nation to see if they've begun spinning? I'm going to read off percentages from all, as they're read to me, and then I'll note the three front runners. Joe Biden .1%, Hillary Clinton 26.8%, Chris Dodd 0%, John Edwards 25.8%, Mike Gravel 0%, Dennis Kucinich .1%, Barack Obama 46.9% and Bill Richardson .2%. Hillary has 4784 votes, John Edwards 4609 votes, Barack 8364 votes. That's alphabetical, as is the ballot, and I'm repeating what a friend's reading to me.

Jim: Yeah, I've got it pulled up now.

C.I.: The friend's with a wire service and wants stressed that the counting is nowhere completed but there is a race going on to be first out of the gate declaring a winner. That's why the articles at various websites, I'm referring to papers, that we've seen have had no numbers in them. So thank you ____ and I'll call you back after the roundtable. Did anyone pull up The Nation?

Mike: Got that trashy site right here. It is 8:45 p.m. EST. The ballots are still being counted and nowhere near in. Top story on the webpage, "Obama's Big Win" by Air Berman. On the sidebar to the right, because the magazine is to the right, at their "BLOGS" is "Campaign 08" and it is "Obama's Big Win in SC a Referendum on Clintons."

Jess: I'm jumping in, and Air Berman has no numbers. His post says "8:15 p.m." but we all know that The Nation puts their own time signatures so who knows when it went up.

Rebecca: Well they're in their own time zone, from the Land of Ditzy.

Mike: And, for the record, the "Campaign O8" post is just the same Berman story posted twice because Berman was juking in his shorts.

Dona: Jim and I are still journalism majors, in grad school. Ava's on the road speaking out about the illegal war with C.I. and putting everything on hold but holds her bachelors in journalism so she may want to weigh in from that perspective as well. Jess has gone on to law school and Ty's working in the entertainment industry. I preface with that because what's happened at The Nation is appalling. There are no results, no hard numbers, the counting is still going on, and they're rushing out stories proclaiming a win that has not been won. Now I don't doubt that Obama won. I think, except for Mike and Wally who were pulling for Edwards, everyone participating now -- same crew that participated last week -- had assumed Obama would win South Carolina. But this goes to journalism basics and they're calling a win where there is none.

Jim: Right, it's an expected win but they're rushing to be first out of the gate, like C.I.'s friend with the wire service was pointing out, when they have little to go on. They're not even using words like "Expected." "Expected" would allow them to be journalistically correct in what they were 'reporting' but it wouldn't change the fact that they've got some huge ethical problems.

Ava: Well -- hold on. C.I.'s phones going off and we're going to want this included. I'm speaking slowly, very slowly, because I'm writing down my own words -- C.I. and I take the notes -- and while that's going on, C.I.'s on the phone with a friend at The Los Angeles Times.

C.I.: Okay, sorry Ava and thank you. Using the EST time zone, LA Times called it for Bambi at 8:28 p.m. Pay attention here, that's 13 minutes after The Nation may have posted and 27 minutes before Mike checked The Nation's webpage. Go to [here] and note that it will be updated but the story currently has a percentage on the returns. Here's the deal, that's with 15% of precints reporting. Based on 15%, I'll let Ava explore that. But I'm listening to my voice mail and do we want Hillary's concession speech?

Betty: I want to hear it.

C.I.: This is the statement: "I have called Senator Obama to congratulate him and wish him well. Thank you to the people of South Carolina who voted today and welcomed me into their homes over the last year. Your stories will stay with me well beyond this campaign and I am grateful for the support so many of you gave to me. We now turn our attention to the millions of Americans who will make their voices heard in Florida and the twenty-two states as well as American Samoa who will vote on February 5th. In the days ahead, I'll work to give voice to those who are working harder than ever to be heard. For those who have lost their job or their home or their health care, I will focus on the solutions needed to move this country forward. That's what this election is about. It's about our country, our hopes and dreams. Our families and our future." I'm going through messages quickly and if there's an Edwards concession speech, I'll offer that or a Barack speech --

Cedric: Don't bother on that.

C.I.: Oh. Okay, this is good. Can someone add the earlier totals, just a rough estimate will do.

Jim: It's a little over 17,000.

C.I.: That's just the three front runners, but no one else got more than 1% thus far. Mike Gravel had a hard count of 4 votes, for Elaine who's supporting him. So we're going with the estimate of 17,000 being counted. I've got a message from a friend with the state's Democratic Party stating they had over 38,000 people voting absentee by mail. Okay, a friend with the Obama campaign did leave Obama's speech. Do we want that included?

Jim: Cedric said no. Those present -- Kat, Ava, Dona, Jess and Ty -- are rolling their eyes, anyone want it included that's participating by phone? No? Okay.

C.I.: A friend with a national paper has left a message that Hillary's vote turnout to watch will be in Greenvilled and Horry counties. I don't know those counties and hope "Horry" is spelled "Horry" -- my apologies to anyone in that county if I've misunderstood the spelling -- but, as of 15 minutes ago, they weren't reporting. I'm not finding anything from anyone with the Edwards campaign. But I do have a message with the latest totals. Gravel, for Elaine, is still at 0% but now has 53 votes. Biden's at .1% and has 185 votes. Chris Dodd is now at .1% -- he was at 0% before -- and has 71 votes, Dennis Kucinich is at .1% with 142 votes, Bill Richardson is at .2% with 210 votes, Barack Obama is at 57.5% with 79823 votes, Hillary Clinton is at 23.1% with 32062 votes, John Edwards is at 18.9% with 26232 -- correction 26242 votes. I can call some friends with the Edwards campaign if we want his statement but, note, as long as I'm on the phone, Ava's stuck taking notes by herself.

Jim: How about if you let voice mail pick up right now and check near the end of the roundtable?

Ava: C.I.'s nodding to me and has pen and paper. Dona had asked about the journalistic issue. She had noted that she and Jim are now pursuing their masters in journalism, I've put things on hold due to the illegal war, but I did receive my bachelor's in journalism not all that long ago. On elections, this was true when we were enrolled in New York and true when we were enrolled in California, any election issues covered in a class cited Florida 2000 and the importance of not making a call early. I would argue that when the reported totals have not even reached the total of the absentee ballots, you don't 'call' an election. You can use a weasel word like "expected" if you're forced by your boss to make a call, but you really shouldn't be making a call. Now, maybe like us, they expected Obama to be the winner of South Carolina, but your expectations aren't what you're reporting on. You're reporting on the results and Air Berman and The Nation embarrassed themselves. They're not reporters, true, but they're saying they're not even journalists.

Jim: That's what they're declaring with their actions, I agree. It's embarrassing. It's unethical and it's unprofessional. As Ava pointed out, we had Florida drilled into our heads. I would assume everyone knows about Florida but that was 8 years ago and an 18-year-old would have been 10-years-old then, so maybe some people don't know. Wally's from Florida, so I'll toss to Wally for a generic summary.

Wally: That's the first election I remember. I wasn't in college then! I remember my grandfather and my mother were glued to the TV set. Early on, they were thrilled because exit polls were showing Al Gore the winner. Then there was a problem with Florida's votes. At one point, Fox 'News' makes the call for Bully Boy and, because one network made the call, they all have to rush in. Kind of like what The Nation's done tonight. Al Gore even makes a concession call to Bully Boy. He's about to deliver his concession speech but someone in another car, with his campaign, reaches him and tells him it's too close to call and not to make the speech. It was like a football game, honestly, that's what I was thinking then and still think looking back. And I'm providing details that I didn't know at that time as we were watching. About this time, my mother leaves to go the store. She comes back and we stayed up until seven or eight a.m. She'd gone out and loaded up on snacks, like it was a Super Bowl party. She told me they were staying up and I could go ahead and go to bed and go to school the next day, I was in middle school back then, or I could stay up if I wanted because this was "historic" and I could skip school the next day. I chose to skip. It went back and forth all night. I remember Peter Jennings looking glum sometime after one in the morning. I remember we were flipping from channel to channel and it was around that time that Katie Couric left NBC's panel, it was her Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert and somebody else. When Today came on later, there was Katie with bald guy and we were being told it was "too close to call." We'd stayed up all night and the election now hung on Florida and the votes still weren't all counted and, of course, there were serious problems with the votes including Palm Beach's butterfly ballot which was intentionally confusing -- and everyone in Florida knew that woman was Republican -- and there were already reports of voter suppression, which the Florida media had been covering overnight in their new bulletins, which we'd later find out were huge. They used voter intimidation by sending out fliers to African-American neighborhoods stating that if you had a traffic ticket you hadn't paid and went to vote, you'd be arrested and then they stationed police squad cars at the voting areas in African-American precincts. They purged the voting rolls. I'll be silent for most of the roundtable if it's okay for me to go further in for just a few seconds?

Jim: Go ahead. Again, some people may not know and those who did may have forgotten.

Wally: Jeb Bush is a Republican and was governor of our state. Katherine Harris was the Secretary of State and also on the committee to elect Bully Boy. They got together to hire a company to purge the voter rolls based on felony convictions. The company, I argue intentionally, didn't look for felons, it looked for ways to disenfranchise voters. So they didn't make perfect matches, they made partial matches. If someone's name was sort of like someone else's, that was good enough. They weren't worried about Social Security numbers or other forms of identification. If John B. Smith was arrested and convicted of a felony in Nebraska, they purged all John Smiths in Florida. This was targeting African-American voters. Voters would show up to vote and be told they weren't on the rolls. They'd voted in 1996 or 1998 and show up in 2000 to be told, "You're not a registered voter." Why? The state of Florida had removed them from the rolls. So you had a lot of voting suppression. You had the hanging chads issue. I'll try to wrap up quickly but you had votes that you placed on a board and used a stylus to punch a hole for your choice. In some cases, when you punch, the chad didn't fall free. So some votes weren't counted for that reason. You had fraud in voter counting. You had Katherine Harris repeatedly trying to subvert the democratic process by declaring a winner, by ordering recounts shut down. I could go on and on. But the thing is there was never a recount. Al Gore's campaign made a mistake in not asking for a full recount. In the 'overvotes,' where someone punched out his name or checked his name and also wrote "Al Gore" on the ballot, for instance, he won Florida. But those were kicked out of the count. Even though a voter doing both things was clearly an Al Gore voter. You had Joe Lieberman, who is hated by retirees in Florida, arguing that the elderly didn't matter by going on NBC's Meet the Press, during calls for recounts, by stating that the military ballots should be accepted whether they were signed or not, whether they were postmarked or not, and regardless of whether they were received by the cut off date. Lieberman hurt the campaign and killed it right there. But, long story short, despite all that, Al Gore actually did win Florida.

Dona: And Florida was supposed to provide a lesson. It was supposed to be a wake up call to journalism. When you have a partial count of votes that doesn't even reach the number of absentee voters, you don't make a call, as Ava and Jim were saying. That's basic. C.I. left one cell on, the Bat phone, I'm joking, and it's ringing, so I think we have another update. C.I.?

C.I.: Okay, this is still a partial count. Joe Biden with .1% now has 559 votes, Chris Dodd has dropped back down to 0% and has 204 votes, Mike Gravel has also dropped down to 0% and now has 207 votes, Dennis Kucinich holds at .1% and now has 448 votes, Bill Richardson has dropped to 0.1% and now has 597 votes, Barack Obama has 53.% of the counted votes thus far and that is 228,608 votes, John Edwards has 19.3% with 83,074 and Hillary Clinton has 27.2% with 117,387 votes.

Jim: Okay, if we have anymore during the roundtable, we'll note them. Now --

C.I.: I'm sorry to cut you off but I need to explain something. I'm not sure if readers will know how this works. Due to working on campaigns, I have been at precincts before. As a favor to friends, I've been an unpaid stringer for many papers since I was already at the precinct and that allowed them to focus on other things, those papers include LA Times. But here's what the press runs with. A precinct would finish their tabulation and it gets posted. I haven't done this in sometime, not since Bill Clinton's 1992 wins in the primaries. But then and prior, you'd hang around and wait. People would step out of the counting area, to get coffee or whatever, to go to the bathroom, and they'd be cornered with questions about how much longer before that precinct's results. When every vote was finally counted, the results would be posted. On a bulletin board or one of those things, those boards that sit on that stand --

Dona: Easel.

C.I.: Thank you. At which point, everyone was rushing to a pay phone or using their cell phones -- after the advent of cell phones -- and calling the papers to say, "Here's the results." So when a state holds a primary, that's what's going on with a paper. Not every precinct would have someone present. The reporter who writes up the paper usually, at a real paper, is at at least one precinct but they're pooling the results phoned in from stringers. In the more modern age, you might think everyone was online but that's not true. At some point, it will be that way and most states, including South Carolina, have a clearing house today that does provide results. But in terms of what you're talking about -- Ava, Jim and Dona -- in terms of how a news organization gathers the information, that's more or less true today. They pick significant precincts and hire stringers -- or know someone who will be present -- and they're writing from those results. The point here is that The Nation isn't a news organization, they jumped the gun, and they did so based not on a count but on what the wires were reporting. Which is why The Nation's Air Berman included no hard numbers in his 'report' and why it went up before 15% of the precints had reported. That's shameful and it's not journalism.

Jim: Which is the point to make and, after Florida, everyone was supposed to have learned a lesson. The Nation proves you can't teach a dog dead tricks. Whenever you talk about stringer work, e-mails always come in with accusations, so, just to be clear, done without pay.

C.I.: Done without pay. As favors to friends. During most election cycles, not this one, if I had spare time, I was on the ground in states. Friends knew that. Usually The Los Angeles Times would ask first and I'd go to wherever they needed as a favor. A friend at AP or The New York Times or The San Francisco Chronicle would find out and I'd be asked to do it for them as well. So, from precints, I was usually making repeated calls to various news outlets. I never accepted money and, except for The Los Angeles Times, no one ever sent a check. The Los Angeles Times, in the 80s, as a joke between a friend and myself, would send a check and I never cashed them. I've never been paid for journalism and that includes the movie review I wrote for a friend when we both got sick from a meal before we saw the movie.

Jim: So that's how the press gathers their results. And, obviously, The Nation just surfs over to Yahoo News and grabs headlines which they pass off as research. It is a big deal and it's something that will be debated in j-school forever and a day. I want to toss to Ruth because the e-mail accusing us of only doing a roundtable when Hillary wins --

Dona: Falsely accusing.

Jim: Right. Meant that we wanted everyone who participated last time, plus Jess, to participate. That means no report from Ruth at The Common Ills again because we've pulled her in on this. Ruth?

Ruth: Well, I was considering writing about the election coverage on radio over the week.

Rebecca: Ruth, either at her her home or at mine, is following the bulk of the Pacifica stations and NPR. If you want to know what they're covering or not covering, ask Ruth.

Jim: Okay, Ruth, I'm asking. What was last week like?

Ruth: Embarrassing. From station to station, program to program, it was a wealth of wasted time. There were two exceptions that need noting. First up was Morning Review Wednesday with Gabriel Gutierrez which airs at 10:00 a.m. EST, my time zone, on KPFK. What was impressive about Wednesday's show? Too much to list. But among the strong points were the hosts were not vested in a campaign. They called out everyone. They had a set standard that applied to all and, anyone who has tried to follow coverage knows, that is not often the case. They also made a point to inform and were not coming off like one of those annoying public service annoucements badgering someone into voting. They accepted that their audience was informed and aware which is a starting point other programs might try utilizing. The other program I give high marks to is WBAI's Joy of Resistance which airs at 11:00 a.m. Thursdays.
That program provided real news. Think about all the nonsense we heard when Hillary Clinton's eyes misted over in New Hampshire. When did they mist over? You never heard that. The women discussed it and noted that it took place when Senator Clinton was discussing the rollbacks on rights in this country and the need for someone who would stand up to that.

Cedric: I saw that when Ruth wrote about it and I remembered all the trashing Hillary got. I remembered Jess Jackson Jr. grandstanding and lying that she cried -- just "cried" is a lie -- about her appearance. I thought that was a really important point and think it's very telling that all this time later, this was the first I was hearing about it. I've wasted how many hours on Democracy Now!?

Ruth: There were so many lies told about that moment and think about how much time it took up on Democracy Now! and so many other programs. But who informed you of the reality?
WBAI and KPFK have online archives. Programs do not remain archived forever so if you would like to catch those broadcasts, you will need to do so quickly.

Jim: Ruth wrote about the broadcasts in "Morning Review Wednesday with Gabriel Gutierrez" and " Joy of Resistance (WBAI)." Ty had a question about another program Ruth heard.

Ty: I did. And I heard it as well, so obviously, we're talking about KPFA. That was pure embarrassment. On the part of the guests, on the part of the host. I couldn't believe that nonsense like that made it to air.

Ruth: I know what you are referring to. I am not really sure what to say here.

Ty: You wrote about it in "Bambi Love" and I'm respecting your decision there not to name the guests, the host or the program. But why don't you talk about it in terms of the basics.

Ruth: In Jena, White supremistis held a small rally, I believe approximately fifty people. It's appalling, it's offensive. Had that been the comments or the gist of them, I would have been nodding. But instead it was a long the lines of they, the racists, had done something illegal.

Ty: I heard the broadcast and that is what was being argued. KPFA is supposed to be the original free speech radio. Anyone on that station should damn well know that free speech can be offensive and those participating in that march or rally were offensive. But their actions, as appalling as they are, are protected by free speech and are not illegal. That KPFA issued no correction and that the host just went along with the guest's false claims were appalling.

Rebecca: C.I. once argued that those actions were illegal.

Ty: I'm shocked.

C.I.: Rebecca's setting me up.

Rebecca: I am. It was a class exercise and the professor assigned you the position you'd have to argue.

C.I.: It was a Nazi group carrying Swastikas that were the issue. I was assigned the role of a Jewish activist, this was a poli sci class, not a law class, and we were supposed to be appearing before a local city council that was deciding whether or not to grant a parade/march permit. I didn't go to the law. The laws are obviously on the side of free speech, though that was more true back then, and I instead cited a Jewish proverb about how when even the laws of humankind are closed, the gates of heaven are open to tears. That's what I based my plea on to the students playing the city council.

Ty: What position were you assigned, Rebecca?

Rebecca: None. I wasn't in the class. I just tagged along because there was a hot guy in the class and I was attempting to land him. Which, for the record, I did.

Elaine: Always. But the points that Ruth and Ty are making are valid. It is offensive when the KKK or similar groups march. It's offensive and it disgusts me. But it is also free speech. What I find interesting is that KPFA was fine with presenting a 'this should be illegal' argument on that but, had the issue been the violent pornography of women, they would have immediately gone to 'free speech'.

Betty: That's a really good point. Visuals of violence against women are still more likely to find pro-free speech arguments among the left while racism will be called out. In both cases, they are disgusting but legal. However, their being legal does not mean you bring a pornographer on to your program, as Amy Goodman did, and make nice with them. You especially don't provide a pass to him when you are publishing in his magazine. And to be clear for those late to the party, I'm referring to violent images, not merely nude photos.

Ty: Just to repeat, I was shocked to hear that nonsense on KPFA. I kept waiting for the host to point out, yes, it is offensive, yes, we all are against it, but it is legal.

Cedric: Well we should probably note why it is legal. Free speech is supposed to be an open market, a public sphere, where all ideas can compete. When you start saying, "I don't like that so it can't participate," you're limiting free speech. As an African-American, I obviously don't 'like' racists parading through a town. But when you curtail one group because you don't like them, you're going to curtail another one. And at what point do you find yourself in the minority? I always do, due to my race. And certainly after what went down in NYC during the RNC convention in 2004, you don't want to be arguing that free speech is illegal. I wanted to get Ruth's take on Grace Lee Boggs who appeared on Democracy Now! last week to sing the praises of Bambi.

Ruth: That was very sad. Very, very sad. She is a movement activist and there she was arguing that there was no difference between Senators Clinton and Obama but she was supporting Senator Obama because of the fact that "youths" were supporting him.

Cedric: Uneducated and uninformed 'youths'. Again, we don't have free speech. If we had free speech, Amy Goodman wouldn't be doing another sit down presidential endorsement of a candidate where it was yet again Bambi. But we can't have a real discussion about Bambi in our 'independent' media. And I'm a big fan of Grace Lee Boggs and her late husband Jimmy. I link to their peace center at my site. But that was such an embarrassment. If there's a duty older activists have, it is to tell the truth. Not to say, "Well there's a craze around Bambi so I'll go with Bambi." A craze always passes. And when it does, there is disappointment. Our elders are supposed to provide wisdom. I felt Grace Lee Boggs was tossing in the towel, by her own statements, and, instead of attempting to inform, saying, "I'll ride the wave."

Ruth: I would agree with every word you said. As I said, it was very sad to hear that.

Cedric: I also saw it as a mark-down on Malcom X's worth. Did anyone else feel that way?

Mike: I did. She talked about how she and her husband were supporters of Malcom X and in his camp and not the MLK camp but due to, hold on, I'm looking it up. She says that "like many Black Power activists in the ’60s, I tended to think of King as somewhat naive with his advocacy of nonviolence. And it took me a lot of time to be -- I identified with Malcolm much more, as many of us did in the movement in the North. And it took the rebellions of the ’60s, the late ’60s, and the crime and violence that began to erupt in our cities following -- particularly in Detroit -- following the rebellions for me to ask, you know, is it possible that there is something in King's message that we have to internalize in order to rebuild our cities, to redefine our cities, to re-spirit our cities? And it was in really beginning to face the problems of a de-industrialized Detroit and a crime-ridden and a violence-ridden Detroit, that Detroit -- that King began to mean more to me, as I began to work with young people and see how much they needed to have what he called self-transforming and environment-transforming programs that they could engage in and begin to be of use and to serve, as I began to understand the alienation of young people in our cities and the alienation that King understood, that he grasped as he tried to understand both the Vietnam War and the rebellions, the urban rebellions."

Betty: To take nothing away from MLK, who I consider a hero for all, Boggs' reading leaves out the very real COINTELPRO programs and seems to accept the fact that violence in inner cities was a result of natural forces within them when the reality is that they were targeted by outside forces, government forces, and certainly Fred Hampton didn't request the FBI to come in an assassinate him. I find her reading puzzling and disturbing. I'm in MLK's camp more than Malcom's, with no disrespect intended to Malcom, but I find the leaps of 'logic' she's making offensive, ignorant of history and, honestly, racially offensive.

Cedric: Which I would agree with. You've got the industries leaving the inner cities. That's certainly nothing to do with power that African-Americans had. You've got the government spying on and attacking Black Power movements. That's nothing the African-Americans asked for. Her reading was insulting. To then argue from Bambi after that really left me offended. She's provided an argument based on illusions and then she goes on to sell the illusion of Bambi.

Rebecca: The best moment, and one where Goodman flinches, is when Goodman asks about Paul Robeson, whether she knew him, and Grace Lee Boggs replies, "No, I did not. I did not know Paul Robeson. As a matter fact, I was in a Trotskyite group, and we had all sorts of misgivings about Communists. And I have some sense of his importance, particularly since I moved to Detroit and began living in the black community. But in the rarified atmosphere of New York among New York radicals, one had a tendency to, you know, disregard or underestimate what was going on in people who were pro-Communist or friendly with the fellow travelers of the Communist Party."

Jim: That was a moment, to be sure. But we've had to kill "Mailbag" and that brings up an issue that a reader raised. He is a young person in college, a member of the Communist Party and he wrote that he knows C.I. has no problem with communism because of the poli sci background, because C.I. "regularly works in citations to Communist newspapers as well as a Socialists, independent and mainstream." But he wondered about other people involved. His e-mail came in Friday and I wrote him back but haven't heard yet from him so I'll leave him unnamed, a courtesy I don't normally extend but will for him because he noted that his own parents are upset that he's a Communist and encouraging him not to tell people. He was writing about last week's "The Truth About Gloria" and felt it was even handed and past time that people stopped playing like Betty Friedan wasn't a Communist. But he read C.I.'s hand in the writing of the piece -- that wasn't a complaint on his part -- and he wondered if C.I. hadn't been involved, would the piece have taken such strides not to insult Communists? He says he's not accusing anyone and cites a comment by Elaine that makes him feel she wouldn't attack Communists, a comment from a roundtable last year, but he did want to know if anyone participating had a problem with Communism?

Mike: I really do think that's a valid question. For myself, I have no respect for closeted Communists who were in the closet after McCarthyism. My grandfather is a socialist and he was never in the closet about that. He suffered somewhat for it during the red scare. I would say more than somewhat but he'd just say somewhat. So I have no respect for someone in the public sphere who is a Communist and pretends otherwise. I think it's dishonest. I think it sends a message that there's something shameful about it. Out of the closet, I have no problem with someone for being a Communist. If he ever wants to e-mail me with a highlight from a Communist newspaper, my e-mail is, he can do so and I will highlight it. I do get what he's saying about C.I. because C.I. has made clear repeatedly at The Common Ills and in statements here that there will not be a game played of "I'm not like ___" whatever group. In terms of myself, I think I am a socialist. I've made that statement at my own site repeately in the last year and I come from a family with a lot of socialists. The more I learn, the more that is the ideology that speaks to me and I have no problem stating that.

Cedric: I'm sympathetic to socialists and Communists. I have no beef with either. I'm a Democrat and probably too lazy to be anything other than that.

Dona: For some of us, not all, we come to adulthood after the Soviet Union splits up and in a world where people try to work hard to pretend that China isn't in any way a Communist country, admitting it is means they can't repeat their lie that Communism is dead. I can't claim to be an expert on that ideology. I'm a journalism major and we're not really a theoretical field. But, no, I don't have any problem with it. The reader's correct about C.I.'s hand in that piece. It was actually C.I. and Elaine who repeatedly stated, "That needs a rewrite." They would then explain why and how it could be offensive. A friend of C.I.'s was staying over and he is an old man and a Communist. In addition to Elaine and C.I.'s input, before that went up on Sunday, we had him read over it to make sure we weren't being offensive. He found it humorous and felt that the only thing that was insulting were the obits on Friedan which failed to note reality.

Ruth: I'm the oldest participating and the red scare was still very real when I went to college. I'm also a Jewish woman and I am not attempting to say that Jew equaled Communism because it didn't but I do think, because of the clannish quality of the communities in those days, if you were Jewish, you had a good chance of at least knowing of a 'real life Communist' if not knowing one personally. I had an uncle who was a socialist but that would get distorted by some into Communism. I didn't have a problem with Communists or Communism. It didn't speak to me and I did attend a few meetings in college due to my first college boyfriend. It was always the dense, heavy meetings that, honestly, left me cold. I am not saying that is what it was like all over the country, or that this is what it is like now, I am just saying it did not speak to me then. Had it, I would have been a Communist. I would like to think I would have been open about it at that time. Certainly, my parents would not have had a problem with my telling them that. They would have been thrilled that I was interested in the outside world, as they were whenever I showed any interest in something like that. But I do know that in early sixties, the red scare was still going strong. And there was a need for people in that period who could 'pass' to 'pass' to protect themselves. That need vanished as part of the long decade that was the sixties and I would agree with Mike that it is sad when people feel the need to hide it today.

Betty: As Ruth's pointing out, Communism was used to smear and they have certainly attempted to smear a number of Black leaders with that label. That said, those who were Communists back in the day should be known as such. The Communist Party did do a lot of good work in this country with the Civil Rights Movement and they deserve their share of the credit. But just saying that, which I stand by, I am aware that someone will read that and insist, "I knew they were all Communists!" Which is not true. But those who were should be known as such because credit needs to be given where it is due. I don't have a problem with Communism.

Jess: I feel like what's happening here is we're all going around to answer the question, "Do you now or have you ever hated Communism?" I don't think that's an issue to anyone here. I think the points made have more than dealt with the subject. I think Elaine and C.I. have been very clear in roundtables and that's why the reader, that and the fact that C.I. will link to Communist news outlets in the snapshots and elsewhere, had no question about C.I. Which really goes to a point that it hasn't been clear to him about the rest of us. Hence the need for his question. We support and link to A.N.S.W.E.R. at this site, a group that's usually smeared with the Communist label and attacked. So that should be an answer to the question. I don't know who else links to them, I know C.I. does, but I also know that going in and doing links in templates isn't something any of us enjoy doing. But I think if there was a real issue, that link wouldn't appear. If we were rushing to be 'respectable,' the way some of the 'left' that goes on Fox "News" does, we wouldn't link to them, we'd never note them -- except to tar and feather them.

Elaine: I think Jess has pretty much said it all. That's not an insult to the reader who e-mailed but I really do think that, at this point, we're just all going around in a circle and saying "No." So it's repetitive and probably dull reading. The closeted aspect, today, is an issue for all of us. I think we can look at non-Communist Katrina vanden Heuvel and see the problem with that. She joins and then recruits for the Council of Foreign Relations and makes the laughable claim that they can change it from within. Instead, she ends up co-opted as a tool of that centrist-to-right-leaning organization. I don't care for trickster or fakes. That's our only problem. Thank you for the kind words that have been said in this but I do think it's more clear about C.I. and I want to address that aspect because that was the first site, we all spring from that. C.I. made clear from the start that there would be no hiding behind a God or a flag or anything else. There would be no rush to draw a line between someone who was being targeted out of fear that not doing so would lead to attacks or assumptions. We don't play the "We're left but not as left as . . ." game. In fact, we're probably more left than a lot of sites considered left. But we've never gone after, community wide, Ward Churchill, Norman Finkelstein or anyone else. In fact, we've supported them. There is a rush towards respectability among some on the left -- you saw it in the cowardly 'support' of Lynne Stewart by many -- and we not only do not rush towards it, we don't amble towards it. Rebecca had told me to check out Grace Lee Boggs response to that question, which was an honest response, because I would enjoy it. I did enjoy Goodman's reaction. It spoke of being uninformed politically. That goes to the factions C.I. and I spoke of in a roundtable here, during Vietnam, and how it could be very difficult to work with some people who were older because there would be all these ancient conflicts they were bringing to the table. We had no use for it then and we have no use for it now. If you're left, that's good enough as long as you're willing to work. If you're left but not willing to work -- either because you need to relive old battles that don't pertain to today or because you'll only work with the 'acceptable' people -- we have no use for you.

Jim: Well said. C.I., your Bat phone's ringing.

Ava: Grab it, I've got the rest of it.

C.I.: Okay, these are the latest results, not the final results, Joe Biden is at .1% with 694 votes, Chris Dodd remains at 0% and has 247 votes, Dennis Kucinich is at .1% with 552 votes, Bill Richardson is at .1% with 727 votes. It should be noted, and I don't think I have before, that all four of those candidates have officially dropped out of the race before the primary. Barack Obama leads with 55.4% which is 295,214 votes, Hillary Clinton has 26.5% with 141,217 votes and John Edwards has 17.6% with 93576 votes. Those are the latest votes. Obviously, more than 300,000 voted. I think we can say over 441,000 have voted and my friend is pointing that out . With 8364 votes counted for Obama, The Nation was declaring him the winner earlier. I'm being told that approximately a half-million turned out to vote in the Democratic primary. He's now got 295,214 votes. Clearly The Nation left the world of journalism a long, long time ago, probably when declaring a winner based on 8364 votes in an election in which half a million people voted. What time is it on the East Coast, Mike?

Mike: It's 11:55 p.m.

C.I.: Okay. Thank you, I'll call you back. Okay, if anyone wants to play with those non-final results, they are welcome to but Jim did promise last week that the next roundtable would open with Jess.

Jim: That's right. Sorry. Jess?

Jess: I didn't participate in last week's roundtable. Betty made some comments about The Green Party last week and apologized for doing so without me present because I am a Green, the only Green participating. I don't disagree with any of the comments Betty made. The debate in San Francisco, which I attended, was a huge disappointment. Kat, who is probably pulling all of her remarks from this, actually wrote about my impressions. You can see her "Green Party 'debate'" for more on that. Cynthia McKinney was the only one who sounded like a ready-for-primetime candidate. She was magnificent. Ralph Nader still hasn't declared whether he's running or not and he needs to do that pretty quick. If we could insert a passage from C.I.'s Friday snapshot -- which I'll say la-la-la to hold the space for -- when it's typed, it will provide all the links. ["July tenth through thirteenth is when the Green Party will be holding their National Nominating Convention in Chicago. Click here for the Green Party News Center, here for a database of Green candidates, here for video of the Green presidential candidates and of course, if it's Green news, Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) is probably posting about it. The Green Party has scheduled another presidential candidate forum for February 2nd at Busboys & Poets in DC (14th and V Streets) at ten in the morning -- Jesse Johnson and Kent Mesplay are confirmed to appear others may or may not. More info click here. This will be their second presidential forum for the 2008 election."] So, you've got a second debate next weekend. Guess what, if Nader wants to compete, he needs to be there. We're lucky, the Greens, that we're getting a second debate. If Nader's waiting to see who the Democratic nominee is going to be before deciding whether to run, no disrespect Ralph, but we don't need you. You don't make a decision for the Green Party based on what the Dems are doing. As bad as some of the candidates were, and I think some were really bad in the Bay Area debate, at least they all have the guts to say, "I'm running." They aren't running because of who another party may run, they're running because they want the nomination and want the job. Jim, how much time do I have?

Jim: As much as you need.

Jess: Betty brought up how she wasn't eager to vote for a candidate doing a 'safe state strategy.' Greens, grassroots Greens, aren't eager for that either and the national party better grasp that. We are a party. We're not a 'safe state' party. Our goal is to be elected. We are not the little sister of the Democratic Party. We're not supposed to be asking ourselves, "Are we helping or hurting the Democratic Party?" We're not an auxiliary. Nader said he'd announce by the end of the year. December 31st came and went with no announcement. He endorsed John Ewards but that was apparently just for Iowa to read some of his comments. Well are you running or not? I like Ralph Nader and would prefer to be the last person to ever call him out; however, I'm not in the mood for nonsense. If Ralph wants to run, he needs to declare. If he only wants to run if Hillary gets the nomination then he's not really running to win and we don't need it, the Greens don't need it. When that debate takes place next weekend, he's either announced his run or he's out. I don't care if after Super Duper Tuesday he shows up and says, "I'm running!" I won't support it. I'll support Cynthia McKinney. I may support her even if he announces in the next few days. But I will not support him if he's only running due to who gets the Democratic nomination. Ralph is a great man but he is not a Green. Cynthia switched her membership over. She's joined the party. She's made clear that she plans to run. The Greens owe a lot to Nader but we do not owe our party to him and I'm really ticked off that he's still not made an announcement. If he would, either way, you better believe Cynthia would be doing this or that. Instead, she's in holding position because she's really not sure who she's running against. That's not fair to her, that's not fair to the party. It's not fair that an election will take place in November and it's almost February and Nader hasn't made an announcement. It's sending a message and that's, "I'll do what I want." Well do what you want, but the Greens don't need to support that. Again, Cynthia changed her membership. She declared last year. She was amazing in that non-debate debate. If Ralph has not declared his run by the end of next week, the party does not need him. I'm not trying to be rude about his accomplishments or take away from what he has done. But I am pointing out that we need a candidate, in the Green Party, and we can't wait around for Ralph to decide. Cynthia has held elected office, she's eager to run, she knows her stuff and she's declared. Can I have a few more minutes?

Dona: Yes.

Jess: Ralph, my opinion, shouldn't even have been allowed at the Bay Area event. He's not on the ticket in California. That they held him for the end, allowed him to speak then, overshadowed -- just by placement -- every candidate who had participated in the forum. We don't need to do that again. At our convention this year, the final speech will be delivered by our candidate. To give that place of honor, as they did in the Bay Area, to Ralph was an insult to everyone who had declared. He was the 'star' and he's not even declared that he'll run. The Party needs to get their act together. By doing that, they sent the message that all the ones running weren't as important as Ralph. Ralph isn't a member of the Green Party and he's certainly not the Green Party. I'll go ahead and say it, I endorse Cynthia McKinney. She's the future. Going with Ralph risks going with another 'safe state stragey.' Time's moved on. It's not 1996, it's not 2000, it's not 2004. It's 2008. We either run another candidate, one who has declared, or we change our name from "The Green Party" to "The Party of Ralph."

Kat: If I can jump in on this, I agree with what Jess is saying. I think Cynthia is the clear winner. I also think that the sooner Nader makes a statement, the sooner Cynthia can give remarks to the press from the 'front runner' position. She's no longer just a candidate for the nomination, she's the clear front runner as such the media should have to pay a little more attention to her campaign. Last week, the news was about the ridiculous statements that Obama made on CBN -- Christian Broadcasting Network, ugh -- that if Hillary got the nomination Dems would be leaving in the general election. That's not the reality I've encountered on campuses. The reality is young people saying if Bambi gets the nomination, they're voting for Cynthia. Cynthia needs to be able to build on this now and while Ralph plays will-I-or-won't-I, we're all in a holding pattern.

Betty: I agree with that. And the thing I hear in Atlanta is not good for Bambi. The "grandmother" CNN featured was cute for a moment or two. But now that people are learning she is one of the multiple wives his grandfather had, that his father also practiced multiple marriages, it's not playing well. I'm not talking about remarriages, I'm talking about more than one spouse at the same time. Bambi went to South Carolina and played, "I'm just like you." Well my parents were two people. I didn't call three different women in the same house "Mommy." My father didn't marry my mother after he already had one wife. As his past gets seriously discussed, the religion is also an issue because it's not a down-south way of religion. If he gets the nomination, all this is going to be dredged up and we'll have worse than Dukakis on our hands. People aren't going to vote for the man who ran on his autobiography when the autobiography includes a father with several wives, a grandfather with several wives. No, he's not 'just like us.' We're Black, we're not half-White. And he avoids the "born again" aspect which is a big deal in the south to Black Christians. He can't claim it because he was apparently never Baptisized. I feel like Winona Ryder in Lost Souls, checking for Ben Chaplin's baptism record. But the thing is, people are saying, "He better not try to speak in my church." He's claimed he's a member of a Black church, and that may be how they do it up north, but in Black churches in the south, you aren't baptized, you aren't saved. So don't get up in front of us and start talking Christian-to-Christian because we're not going to see you that way. In fact, we'll be grossly offended that a platform's been created for you in our place of worship when you are not one of us. I heard this on Monday from one person. By Friday, it was probably the big topic and everyone at work was talking about it. People are offended. It is a big deal. It may not play out that way elsewhere but we've been told he belongs to a Black church and he's stated he's a Christian -- I wonder now if that off hand remark in a recent debate was an attempt to cut down on questions about that leading up to the South Carolina vote -- but he's not been baptized so he is not a member of the faith.

Jim: C.I.?

C.I.: As he tells the story in his books, he went to that church, attended it, and then slowly had a feeling of comfort at which point it became his church. There have been whispers that he wasn't baptized and they could be amplified because there's no mention of a bapitism in his books. If you're converting from non-believer or Muslim to Christianity, a baptism, in that faith, would be necessary and it does seem strange that in two books you'd never write about it. That's as much as I know. The campaign's been more worried about the "He's a Muslim" rumors then about the issue of baptism. But Betty's not mistaken, if it's picking up traction it will be a big issue.

Rebecca: Where did Betty go? Lost Souls. A good movie. It's a thriller. But I think we need to grasp that the right-wing evangical vote will turn out and that they will be most likely to turn out if they perceive that someone is not a Christian. Especially someone who has insisted publicly he is. I want C.I. to talk about that faith.

C.I.: I really don't know much about his specific church.

Rebecca: I think you're being kind. What qualifies as baptism in his church, how do you become a member?

C.I.: As I understand it, and this isn't an area of hobby, let alone expertise, an adult belongs to the church when they stand up before the congregation and restate their baptism vows. Barack Obama, if he was never baptized, could not restate the vows and, as I understand, would have to be baptized as an adult since he was not as a child. I'm not comfortable with this topic but it is not in dispute that he was not baptized as a child or a young adult. Whether he was baptized later, as an adult, there's nothing in his two autobiographies to indicate he was. A rather surprising omission if he was baptized. But that doesn't mean he wasn't. He might not have wanted to write about or it might have been edited out at some point.

Rebecca: Again, you're being kind. He's stated his mother was a non-believer. His step-father, like his father, was a Muslim. He is claiming Christianity with no record of a known baptism, his church requires a baptism. The vangicals are going to have a field day. They're going to turn out the end-of-times voters. They're going to say that he lied about being a Christian since he was never baptized. They're going to say that voting for him is voting for Satan. And can you picture the debate moment, if he got the nomination, when a Mitt Romney turns to him and asks, "Have you been baptized?" That's a yes or no answer. If he answers yes, he'll be expected to back it up with a record. If he says no, the vangical right will work over time to turn out voters. Betty's right, this isn't a minor issue. I can see how it is an issue in her area in terms of churches, but I think this will be a national issue and that networks like CBN will churn out hours on this topic. Pat Robertson has gone on and on about the end of the times over and over. And someone like Romney especially, who needs to be seen in the religious mainstream, would have a field day with it: "He claims he is a Christian but he was never baptized." It will be a huge issue. As a public relations nightmare, and remember that was my field, the only response is to have the candidate baptized in front of reporters. And even that wouldn't stop the talk.

Jim: C.I., you said you were uncomfortable with this topic and, just looking at you, I can see that.

C.I.: Well, and I'm not disagreeing with Rebecca or Betty, they're making valid points. And Barack's certainly raised the issue of who-is-electable so fair is fair. But, for me, I'm not comfortable trying to determine what someone believes or doesn't. Betty and Rebecca are noting very clear standards, very clear markers, by which the call is made. I'm not disputing that. I'm not saying they are wrong. I'm just not comfortable with this as a topic. That's my hang up. There are people who are comfortable with it, toss to them.

Cedric: I'll grab. He's stated at events and in debates "I'm a Christian." Then you better be a Christian. And the Church of Christ doesn't just let you say, "I think I'm a Christian." You're supposed to be baptized. The thing C.I. was talking about, that's really what you do when you change memberships. When you go to another church. When you do that, you make your statements to the congregation and the church secretary follows up to have your membership moved to the new church. But to be a Christian, in the Church of Christ, you have to be baptised. If you were never baptized and are an adult, you can't just make a statement in front of the church -- that's only to switch your membership to another church -- you have to be baptised. If you're not, you're not a Christian.

Ty: I would agree with Cedric's take on it. I do understand C.I.'s point by the way. Who are we to say, "He's not a Christian?" But what I think we're saying is that he belongs to a faith and that faith has rules and regulations. How you become a Christian in that faith is very clear. He's claiming that as his church and he's not baptized in that church or apparently any other. By his own faith, he's not a Christian. It is a big deal because he's stated repeatedly, "I'm a Christian." This may be a bigger deal to African-Americans because he has so clearly utilized the Black churches to shore up his reputation. But it is an issue. That's not a slam at C.I. There are many issues that I don't feel comfortable talking about and, if any thing, that's an apology to C.I. that we all drug you into a discussion you didn't want to take part in.

Rebecca: That would be me and Jim. But, it needs to be noted, C.I. would have a better grasp on what his church believed and didn't. I think Betty's also correct about the multiple wives issues. His father had multiple wives, his grandfather had multiple wives. I don't know Romney's history --

Wally: Cedric and I did a post on him a long time ago. His family went to Mexico, believe it or not, when polygyny was being cracked down on in the US. But, as I remember it, correct me if I'm wrong Cedric, his father and his grandfather did not practice multiple marriages. They each had only one wife.

Cedric: That's what I remember from our research as well. I don't know that would be true of his great-grandfather but I think when you're getting that far back, you're in ancient history. With Bambi, we're talking about his father and his grandfather. That's not ancient history. And it goes to how pathetic the Democratic Party is that they'd run a candidate with that history and not try to get ahead on it. But he won South Carolina, apparently, not questioning the results, just noting they aren't all in, and that's really it for him. For reasons Ava and C.I. have outlined.

Jim: Ava, you won't say one word about that?

Ava: After Super Duper Tuesday, not before. I'm not helping his campaign fix his mess and Big Media thinks they have the story but they don't. You'll hear a hundred theories about how the win hurts him but I doubt most will grasp it in terms of erecting a wall between him and voters. Just remember when you see those conversations on the chat & chews who's invited on and, more importantly, who isn't. It's the standard prism.

Dona: Jess noted Kat would probably pull her remarks, the bulk of them. Anyone can pull and this thing last much, much longer than the transcript you read. But Kat had a lot of one-liners in there and, like Jess, I think she'll pull them saying, "Oh, there's a serious part that needs to go in, so lose my funnies." So I want to be sure to give Kat a chance to speak.

Kat: Well, you and Jess are right, I will pull my jokes. But I do know what Ava's talking about, she saw it, C.I. saw it and I saw it as we've gone from campus to campus. People are sick of it, a lot of people, and the win is a win -- if the results hold which I'm sure they will -- but it's the beginning of the end. The country has changed since Jesse Jackson ran in the 80s. That's not an insult to Jesse Jackson. And certainly he had many victories. But Barack's not Jesse Jackson and what he's built falls apart now. As Ava's pointing out, the media will miss it. Had he built something the way Jesse Jackson did, it would be different. He didn't and it's not. In terms of The Nation, clearly they should have held off. To claim otherwise it's idiotic. It's not a case of right or wrong, it's a case of they didn't have enough of the count. It's Peter Hart's point two weeks back about the MSM and the polls. If the polls had been right in New Hampshire, that wouldn't have vindicated the press. The basics of their 'reporting' were wrong and that's true now of The Nation as well. In terms of Florida, for anyone who didn't remember or wasn't around, Wally outlined it clearly. After Florida, no allegedly 'left' outlet should declare a winer when less than a third of the vote is in.

Jim: I want to give Ruth and Mike the chance to speak and then we'll wind down.

Ruth: Well, I know why, but we are not making a big deal out of Dennis Kucinich dropping out. His campaign ended when he tried to 'give' his supporters to Senator Obama in the Iowa caucus. A candidate does not do that and claim they are running a campaign where every vote counts. Or that people need to vote for what they believe and not out of a fear that someone may not be electable. So he made it official last week, what he had indicated prior to the Iowa caucus, he was out of the race. But one thing we do need to note is the fact that New Hampshire's recounts, the ones he paid for and grand standed on, are as complete as they are going to get and there is no significant change. Some people, including people who have done excellent work on ballot integrity, might want to check that out after having stated not that there could be problems with the vote, not that they suspected there were, but that they knew were. It appears they 'knew' wrong. Which I think Mike might want to grab because he addressed this topic before the results were in.

Mike: Thanks Ruth. Yeah, I'll grab that. I believe in ballot integrity. I also believe, as I stated weeks ago, that this recount nonsense was a bunch of sour grapes. I think people used their hatred of Hillary and/or their sexism to argue "fraud!" when there was none and when, most importantly, the cry for a recount was not coming from the people in New Hampshire. If there's a take-away from this, it should be for those who care about the way votes are counted not to confuse their causes with their candidates. I think by doing so, they did a lot of damage to the movement and embarrassed themselves. They did, as I warned, make it look like it was sour grapes and not about ballot integrity. As a result, when we have a very real need for a recount, some people will point to New Hampshire and say, "Sour grapes again!" I know the man Ruth's talking about, I read that interview with him, and he was saying "I know!" Well, no, you didn't know. And now you've cheapened your name and the movement itself. Hope it feels good.

Jim: And that's going to be it.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }