Sunday, February 03, 2008

Truest statement of the week

DOLORES HUERTA: Yeah. There was a big issue, if you will recall, where we had a woman who--in Chicago, Elvira Arellano, who refused to be deported, and she was undocumented. She was in sanctuary for twelve months, for an entire year, right there in Chicago, where Obama lives. The people who did that campaign, these were the same ones that organized the big marches in Chicago, went to see Obama to get some support for Elvira Arellano. He not only refused to help them, but he didn't even bother to go see Elvira. I went from California four times to be there with her. We had a large delegation from Mexico from all the political parties that went to see Elvira. Five ambassadors, they all flew to Washington, D.C. to plead on her behalf. Obama never, never lifted a finger to help her, as he never did when we had two Latinos that had been unjustly incarcerated for a murder that they did not commit. Again, a big campaign to free these two young men from prison. They were ultimately freed. But when they went to see Senator Obama, he refused to help them. I have been a civil rights activist like this all of my life, and I have been to Chicago many times for many different campaigns that the community there--the Latino community was there. I have, to this day, to meet Mr. Obama. I have never encountered him in any of these big campaigns that we have done in Chicago on different issues. And, as I say, I have never yet to meet the man. And so, I don't know about his--

AMY GOODMAN: Did Senator Clinton weigh in--Dolores Huerta, did Senator Clinton weigh in in either of those cases?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, let me--yeah, let me just say this, that this is a--we're talking about Chicago. We're talking about the third largest Latino area outside of Mexico City, right?

Dolores Huerta attempting to get some reality into the conversation on Friday's Democracy Now! Notice how Amy Goodman cuts her off to ask about Clinton. "We're talking about Chicago." Only Amy Goodman's confused by that remark.

Truest statement of the week II

Those big conglomerates may be laughing all the way to the bank with their loot but clearly many of you are unhappy with what this means for democracy. Several studies have measured your frustration. Two-thirds of you simply do not trust the media's campaign coverage. Eighty-eight percent say we focus too much on trivial issues. And seventy-seven percent of you want us to get more serious about just where the candidates stand on the issue. There is something to be done about this. Congress and the FCC could require the big media companies, on a rotating basis, to provide candidates free air time each week to debate face to face -- no journalist playing middle-man. These companies are fined for obscenities. Why shouldn't they be asked to give back some of the airwaves we've let them use for profit? Public broadcasting too. We've used our prime time too little to enable the candidates to speak freely and hold each other accountable. That would be a far better use of these air waves than another series on the British monarchy.

-- Bill Moyers from the January 25th broadcast of PBS' Bill Moyers Journal. (Ruth transcribed the above in "Bill Moyers on election coverage" -- it doesn't make the program's actual transcription but if you can listen or watch online, you can enjoy it.)

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
A little bit early and if Flickr hadn't switched over to a new format, we'd have posted everything an hour and a half earlier. (Dona says, "We are three hours earlier than the norm, not 'a little bit early'.") A long edition but hopefully one that produced a few things worth reading.

Here's who participated on this edition as well as Dallas who locates links, acts as a soundboard and much more::

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,
Wally of The Daily Jot,

Truest statement of the week -- Dolores Huerta stating the obvious to all but Goody.

Truest statement of the week II -- Bill Moyers. Ty and I (Jim) looked for this last Sunday at the website and couldn't find it. Ruth transcribed it last Monday and we're including it this week.

Editorial: Florida, Florida, Florida! -- Florida and Michigan. We actually had another piece either as a stand-alone or merged with this but everyone was tired (is tired) and wants to go to bed. (C.I.'s falling asleep sitting straight up as I type. Dona says I've got three minutes or she's opening a pack of cigarettes -- another pack.) This is important and, if you're a long term reader, you know we've covered this all along. All listed above worked on this.

TV: Nah-nah-nah, Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye -- The title was killing me, coming up with one for Ava and C.I.'s latest. I hope that will work, not sure. But what did work was their review of the State of Union address and the 'Democratic' response. It's funny. Prepare to laugh your asses off. And Mike can talk more about this on Monday, I'm trying to get done before everyone's asleep. Now C.I.'s back up but Jess has nodded out.

Roundtable -- Marcia's blogging now. We wanted to do an interview with her but Dona pointed out we couldn't do an interview with her and a roundtable and a book discussion. The last two take a long time -- and are edited -- this week more so and more based on the fact that we were all tired of typing. So we went with the roundtable. We're addressing a number of topics. We would have liked to have had Florida in there. We would have liked more on the illegal war (Ava addresses it once) but we were trying to stick to a reasonable time frame.

1 Book, 5 Minutes -- Long promised, book discussion on Naomi Wolf's amazing The End of America. That's how tired we all are -- I typed "The End of" and stopped. What's the name of the book? Huh? Was the reply from the sleepy gang. C.I. said, "America! Aren't you done yet?" No. Because there are some who see the book as 'controversial' (we got e-mails when we announced we'd be discussing it), we tried to deal with issues coming up in the e-mails pre-the usual discussion. We did that by assigning those issues a number and having people guess a number. The ones who guessed the number of an assigned issue got it. We really thought we needed to touch on the conclusion near the start. So it's different than our usual format.

Which endorsements matter? -- Which do? Because Amy Goodman's happy to note this politician and that politican -- if they're endorsing Obama -- but she doesn't seem to give a damn about the unions.

Thanks, Amy Goodman???? -- You know what, if that's what you're going to offer, after months of silence, maybe you shouldn't even bother. If you're offering something so brief and can't even get your facts right, maybe you shouldn't even bother.

A contest, Super Duper Tuesday -- The Green Party of Suffolk is holding their yearly contest and Super Duper Tuesday includes Green candidates running for office.

Ralph DiGia (1914-2008) -- Press release sent in to the public account of The Common Ills. We noted it in full because we think it was a life not wasted where every action counted. There should be more like Ralph DiGia in the world.

Highlights -- Kat, Cedric, Elaine, Betty, Wally, Rebecca and Mike wrote this and picked the selections unless otherwise noted.

And that's it, we'll see you next week.

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

Editorial: Florida, Florida, Florida!

Democrats Focus on Super Tuesday; Republicans Campaign in Florida
Democrats are now focusing on February 5 -- Super Tuesday -- when voters in 22 states will cast ballots. On the Republican front, the campaigns remain focused on Florida where voters head to the polls tomorrow. Mitt Romney and John McCain appear to be the frontrunners. In other campaign news, Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz Cheney has become a senior foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romeny.

So led Democracy Now! headlines on Monday. Wow. Who knew Florida was only having a Republican primary? Of course, they weren't just having a Republican primary. Amy Goodman embarrassed herself to please and appease the DNC.

Star f**ker
Just like your daddy
Selling your baby
Gonna strike a deal
Make you feel like a Congress man
-- "Professional Widow" (Tori Amos, Boys For Pele)

Here's the back story. Presidential election cycle after election cycle, New Hampshire and Iowa get to go first. So they get face time with the candidates. They get to ask questions. In some neighborhoods, they get candidates going door to door. And the rest of the states? Some don't get a damn thing. But because they go first, Iowa and New Hampshire get a chance to meet the candidates over and over starting the year before the presidential election.

This year, two states rightly said enough. And that stand isn't just a stand for themselves, it's a stand for all fifty states. The DNC (Democratic National Committee) responded by stating the states were now stripped of their delgates. If all this seems familiar to you, we'll assume you're regular readers because you damn sure didn't hear about it from our 'populist' and 'grassroots' and 'people loving' 'independent' media.

Two states were retaliated against by the national committee and alleged 'independent' media couldn't wait to march behind the national committee.

Now Wally (and many other community members) are from Florida, there are some from Michigan. And maybe that's why we made this an issue in 2007 as well as 2008? But seems to us a magazine called "The Nation" should have readers around the, well, nation. But the magazine wouldn't go to bat for them, wouldn't stand up for them.

Over and over, they revealed themselves to be craven little lackeys of the DNC while trying to pass themselves off as 'journalists' and 'independent media.'

When we started covering this, we didn't know who the winners would be (it was Hillary Clinton in both states) and we'll note that independent media didn't either. So it wasn't yet another example of Bambi-Love when they ignored what was going on -- it was that they just didn't give a damn.

The same 'independent' media that can't shut up about 'stolen' elections, the same 'independent' media that wanted to act like it was Florida's best friend following the 2000 elections. They wanted to cluck and emphasize. Florida was disenfranchises but it's being disenfranchised in the primary elections and where the hell was independent media?

Tuesday Amy Goodman was back to lying:

Republican Voters in Florida Head to Polls
On the Republican front, voters head to the polls today in Florida in the last primary before Super Tuesday. Speculation is growing that former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will soon drop out of the race if he doesn’t do well in Florida.

Democratic Voters in Florida WERE ALSO Headed to Polls but you wouldn't know that from the crap Amy Goodman was shoveling. Can you send us some copies of Dave's Press, Amy? We'd really enjoy learning about your childhood spankings and what they were for -- especially if they were for lying.

On Wednesday, Amy wrapped up her 'coverage' of Florida with the following:

McCain Wins Florida Primary
In campaign news, Senator John McCain beat Mitt Romney Tuesday in Florida’s Republican primary. McCain received 36 percent of the vote to Romney’s 31 percent. The win positions McCain as the Republican frontrunner heading into "Super Tuesday" next week with contests in more than 20 states.
Sen. John McCain: "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Florida Republicans for bringing a former Florida resident across the finish line first and as I have been repeatedly reminded lately, an all-Republican primary."
Giuliani to Drop Out of GOP Race
Rudolph Giuliani finished a distant third with 15 percent. Giuliani had staked his candidacy on a strong showing in Florida. He’s widely expected to drop out of the race today and endorse McCain. Speaking to supporters last night in Florida, Giuliani was already referring to his campaign in the past tense.
Rudolph Giuliani: "But in a larger sense, when you run for President of the United States, you also carry people you have met throughout your life: memories of their struggles, their sacrifices, and their triumphs. I am the grandson of immigrants. Can't imagine that they ever thought that their grandson would have run for President of the United States, or been mayor of New York City, or associate attorney general, or United States attorney, or maybe even just a lawyer."
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was fourth at fourteen percent. Speaking in St. Louis, Huckabee vowed to stay in the race.
Mike Huckabee: "For those of you that think I should be discouraged, let me just remind you that going into tonight, we were second in delegate count and, more importantly, we're playing all nine innings of this ballgame. And even the Cardinals occasionally have a rough inning, but they know how to win championships."
Clinton Wins Delegate-Less Florida Contest
Democratic voters gave Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton a victory in a virtually uncontested race. The Democratic Party had stripped Florida of its delegates as a punishment for moving its primary earlier in the year. We'll have more on the Florida vote after headlines.

No, they had more crap after headlines.

But crap's all you got from 'independent' media. The day before John Nichols tatooed "NEVER TRUST ME AGAIN" on his forehead as he had a hissy fit that Hillary Clinton had a fundraiser in Florida as Rebecca pointed out. Nichols left out the fact that not only had Barack Bambi Obama also attended closed-door fundraisers in Florida (which were allowed by the DNC) but he also held a press conference (which was not allowed, as the reporters pointed out to him) and he also advertised in Florida which was also in violation of the pledge. But there was Johnny Two-Cents, downgraded from five, telling the world that Hillary broke the pledge and that lie got repeated everywhere.

On Tuesday, Mitch Perry demonstrated some problem grasping what is expected from a program entitled Free Speech Radio News. Perry thought that meant do a brief report where Bambi lover Patrick Cannon is allowed to whine that the election leaves Bambi "at an extreme disadvantage" becuase he "did not campaign here in Florida". He campaigned (and broke the pledge). John Edwards (then still in the race) didn't. Hillary Clinton didn't. But Parry didn't feel the need to go their campaigns for statements. He just needed to repeat the refrain of how unfair life is poor Bambi.

On Wednesday, Parry would provide a story that explained exactly what happened to the coverage and why. Bambi supporters advised the media not to count Florida. You heard, in the audio report, John Kerry screaming that Florida was not "legitmate."

That explains Parry's report on Tuesday and presumably all of the media.

Only we didn't think that alleged independent media took their marching orders from the DNC. We didn't think they shoved people aside to please the powerful. Amy Goodman and her brother David Goodman have a new book coming out but it's not entitled Going Where I'm Told to. It just plays out like that

On Tuesday, January 29, 2008, A26, The New York Times editorialized (in "Florida's Phantom Democrats"), "There is a bigger problem, and that is with the whole state by state -- Iowa and New Hampshire always go first -- primary system. The most sensible method for ogranizaing these primaries would be to cluster them by region. And then take turns every four years for slecting the region that get voice to thank."

We'd get behind it were it not for the fact that we've suggesting it since this site started in 2005. It is not fair and it doesn't play in the world of sports where things have to be rotated. It's a damn shame that we expect more fairness from the world of sports than we do from politics.

Hillary Clinton is now calling for the delegates to be seated and there's a lot of nonsense that she just wants to win!

Well, golly, gee, a candidate who wants to win. Summon the village elders!

Hillary's not the issue. Our position last year -- before the primaries were held -- was that Florida and Michigan's delegates should be seated and counted. The DNC wants to have a snit fit. (The RNC has been far less punishing to the delegates from Michigan and Florida.) Well the DNC created the problem. The DNC could have started rotating this out years ago. They created the problem and they allowed it to go unchecked. If Florida and Michigan hadn't stepped up, how many more election cycles would we have seen before some state finally did?

In the general election, the Democrats can't afford to start out that campaign with Florida and Michigan pissed off and still hope to win. They can't afford to write off any state. But that's what they're risking when they disenfranchise two large states.

Even with the threat of no delegates, even without candidates running serious campaigns (or any, except for Bambi) in the state, look at how many people turned out to vote in the Democratic Party. From Florida Democrats' "Amazing Night For Democrats Everywhere:"

No campaigns? No delegates? No problem. Florida Democrats prove America is ready for change
For Immediate Release: January 29, 2008
ORLANDO - Florida Democrats today surpassed the total combined vote in the first four "early states", topped the total population of New Hampshire, shattered the previous state record for turnout in a Democratic Presidential Primary, and even broke the previous record for turnout in ANY Democratic primary in Florida. Incredibly, Democratic turnout has exceeded 1,708,489 voters with 97% of precincts reporting - only 195,074 less than Florida Republicans whose turnout was relatively dismal, considering five multi-million dollar GOP presidential campaigns were working the state for months. Republicans appear to have even failed to meet their own expected turnout, which was rumored to be between 2.2 and 2.5 million.
"Florida Democrats have spoken, and they are being heard loud and clear. More than one and a half million Democratic voters went to the polls and made a powerful collective statement,'" Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen L. Thurman said. "The nation's largest battleground state proved today that America wants change. Democrats clearly have the momentum in Florida and across this country. No matter the challenges we face, Florida Democrats will deliver for this country in November just like they did today. This is an incredible night for the people of Florida!"
Florida Democratic Presidential Preference Primary Turnout: 1,708,489
Population of New Hampshire according to 2007 US Census Projections: 1,315,828
1988 State of Florida record for Democratic Presidential Primary Turnout: 1,273,338
Combined 2008 turnout of the 4 early states (IA, NH, NV, SC) - 1,174,227 voters

Record turnout. More voters than in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina combined. That's 1.7 million voters in one state who stood up against the system and didn't tell themselves, "They're saying my vote won't count so I should stay home." But to independent media, they don't matter. To independent media, they don't exist.

Though they made their voice heard on Tuesday, 'independent' media wasn't interested in listening. That should bother everyone as much as the threats against Florida and Michigan should.

[For more on this, see C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Wednesday.]

TV: Nah-nah-nah, Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye

We swore we wouldn't cover entertainment television until after the writers strike ended. But we think we're okay with one program. It's been off the air forever but, last week, they appeared to be burning off an old episode -- probably due to the writers strike.

They paired it with a new show and we are breaking the rule by covering it but it's kind of a call-and-response, the way Veronica's Closet was supposed to be the flip side of Seinfeld back in the 90s on NBC's semi-Must See TV Thursday line up.

Bully Boy's State of the Union

We think the first sitcom was supposed to be at least a season cliffhanger due to the amount of money that was spent on production values. They had a ton of extras and the set looked like an airport hanger badly decorated to convey class. We kept waiting for the drama, like when Dynasty went full out with the wedding of Michael and Amanda only to have the episode end with everyone gunned down. This being a sitcom, we didn't expect gun fire, but did expect something to take place -- maybe a unzipped fly being noticed in the middle of the speech, an old girlfriend showing up possibly pregnant, Niles having a heart attack or a special coming out episode.

But all that happened was Timothy Bottoms spoke and spoke and spoke some more. It didn't seem like it would ever end which probably did capture the real life, ongoing occupation of the White House. Yes, it was Make Room For Bully. We hadn't seen it in ages.

We wondered if the episode was new and not being burned off?

In lots of ways, the writer(s) seemed to have dusted off an old script. Such as having a plethora of extras play the cabinet, the Supreme Court and the entire membership of Congress. After that homage to Pamplona in September of 2001 -- the Running of The Congress -- we really couldn't picture that, in this day and age, post-9-11, all of those people would be expected to turn out for a rote speech. For safety reasons alone, if not the fact that the US is an alleged democracy, you'd think there wouldn't be the need for the entire branches of the federal government to show up as though King George, and not Bully Boy, was speaking.

Looking at the extras, we didn't see one who resembled Dirk Kempthorne -- and with that name in DC, you better believe you'd stand out. So we assumed no one was playing the Secretary of the Interior and that, should some Moldavian terrorists show up to kill off Lady Ashley Mitchell because the producers didn't know how to tell Ali MacGraw she was fired, Dirk Kempthorne would be running the entire show. In which case, the nation would lose not only all elected and appointed representatives but also the ecology. A little dark for a sitcom but we all know that the creative energies tend to lag around season four and that, by the time season seven rolls around, they're pitching anything they've got or can steal.

The biggest belly laugh came early on when Timothy Bottoms, playing the Bully Boy of the United States, declared, "As Americans, we believe in the power of individuals to determine their destiny and shape the course of history. We believe that the most reliable guide for our country is the collective wisdom of ordinary citizens. And so in all we do, we must trust in the ability of free peoples to make wise decisions, and empower them to improve their lives for their futures."

That was funny. At a time when the public wants US forces out of Iraq but the administration refuses to listen, hearing Bully Boy proclaim "that the most reliable guide for our country is the collective wisdom of ordinary citizens" was a laugh riot.

Especially when he later followed it up with this, "Any further drawdown of U.S. troops will be based on conditions in Iraq and the recommendations of our commanders." Which is it, trust "the most reliable guide for our country . . . ordinary citizens" or turn the whole thing over to the military -- as if the framers didn't put the military under civilian control?

That is the erratic nature, the say anything, from one moment to the next, Bitter Sweet Symphony that has made up this century thus far. As he moved on to the topic of Iran, we felt we were hearing the 2003 State of the Union address with "Iran" substituted for "Iraq." But if that were true, and scab writers were dusting off old scripts and updating them, they made Bully Boy look like a real asshole since hours before the speech was supposed to be delivered, the US military had announced the deaths of 5 US service members in Iraq and he never even mentioned that in his speech.

We were thinking back to the laugh line about Iraqis being grateful US forces were in their country. And how a real comedic writer could have tried to find a humorous line for Bully Boy about the over 2 million Iraqis who had been displaced externally, something like: "As we move forward, Iraqi civilians leave. I call it Texas Flush. And it is a good thing. I believe in flushing. Otherwise things get nasty."

The only thing funnier than that loony line delivered straight would be seeing at least half the extras rise to their feet applauding which, for the record, seemed to happen repeatedly and seemed to alternate between that and the full body present delivering standing ovations. We thought it indicated either sloppy work on the part of the casting director (extras aren't supposed to draw so much attention to themselves -- they're background, not foreground) or else the director had instructed them to move up and down quickly to liven up the static nature of the episode.

For real humor, they should have sent the disgruntled pair of Rudy G and Bernie Kerick in to swipe everyone's chairs between standing ovations. A sort of non-musical chairs and we could picture the hilarity as Trent Lott and Arlen Specter engaged in a slap fight over who got the remaining chair. That would have been funny.

Instead we got two actors playing the roles of president of vice Dick Cheney and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- seated behind the Bully Boy while he was speaking. Right away, we realized the Dickster was being played by character actor Wilford Brimley and he was using some of the excess glowering that was judged over the top by Sydney Pollack during the filming of The Firm. It was over the top in that film but as the president of vice, it was perfection.

"Who's that in the Sally Field hair?" we wondered as we attempted to pin down the actress playing the role of Nancy. Then it hit us, it was Bonnie Bedelia. We loved the moments, right after the speech started, when "Nancy" and "Dick" would look at each other and smile ever so charmingly. That's one of those bits that only actors can provide, not extras. In those warmly exchanged glances, they indicated to America why there would not be an impeachment as long as Pelosi controlled the House.

After awhile, possibly his bran was kicking in or his Quaker Oats, "Dick" ignored her and stared straight ahead -- often while making a show of grabbing for his glass of water. We found that more than a little unprofessional as well as unbecoming. Then we noticed "Nancy" flipping madly through pages in front of her. We sort of pictured Bedelia grasping -- at last -- that she had no lines and was mere decoration for the proceedings. Quite a come down from the Oscar nomination high of Heart Like A Wheel. As if to draw attention to herself and to create a little physical action, "Nancy" stood up dramatically to start an ovation when Bully Boy referred to Sudan. Though it may have offered a better view of her bad outfit, we also think that Bedelia Thought Like a Square since there's no way Pelosi would really disgrace herself in the final moments of the 53-minute speech by hopping around excitedly like Jenny Garth in What I Like About You. Would she?

As Bully Boy finally finished speaking and Timothy Bottoms began to mingle with the assembled, we were thrown for a minute by what came on screen: an 'analysis.' Then we remembered Katie Couric had played herself on Will & Grace so why not a guest shot on Make Room For Bully? But who was the loser they got to play Bob Schieffer? He looked like a pop-eyed Bob Barker and offered the nuttiest of 'expertise' -- suggesting the actor was out to make Schieffer look like a total wack job. We imagine you were laughing with us when "Scheiffer" offerd this 'analysis': "George Bush likes politics. I mean, look at him, right now, he's signing autographs!" Indeed. That is the standard and why our own personal favorite politician has been and remains Jill St. John.

Couric offered that viewers at home were wanting real analysis and not just factoids. In an attempt to mock or embarrass Schieffer further, the actor playing him nodded his head along with that and then quickly added "I must say" that Bully Boy was "interrupted for applause" seventy times. Just the sort of factoid that added nothing to the discussion. Watching "Schieffer" grin at the camera in that deranged manner, we had to wonder what poor Bob thought if he caught the broadcast?

We didn't have much time to ponder because the network was trying out a new show, An American Response. Though not normally fans of the rescue show format, after the sedate and hopefully series finale of Make Room For Bully, we could use a little action, maybe some sirens and smoke. But the only fire we saw was in a fireplace and we realized that either we were watching an extended commercial for Duraflame logs or else someone was attempting to recreate FDR's fireside chats.

The main character, well, the only character, was a woman named Kathleen Sebelius and we quickly grasped from that nervous, masculine energy that it was Jane Lynch resurrecting her role of Christy Cummings in Christopher Guest's hilarious Best In Show.

What she lacked in action, she made up for in delivery giving just the right sting to the pompous words her character was reciting while wearing a blouse that appeared to have no buttons and to plunge to the waist. Obviously, we weren't the only ones disturbed by that since CBS blocked the bottom fourth of the screen with a red bar and a CBS logo. Lynch is really too good of an actress to go the bra-less T&A route and we had to wonder what that said about actresses today that Lynch would think that was how a governor appearing on national television would dress?

Maybe she was just attempting to spice up the vague dialogue which even her look-but-don't-touch, frosty demeanor could only do so much with. For instance, she declared, "As governor of Kansas, I am the commander in chief of our National Guard. Over the past five years, I have seen thousands of soldiers deployed from Kansas. I've visited our troops in Iraq; attended funerals and comforted families; and seen the impact at home of the war being waged." We couldn't figure out whether that was bragging (a resume being floated for higher office?) or if she was treating the illegal war like a faux pas.

But it disturbed us. As did her repetition of "join us" and "will you join us?" -- which spooked us so we expected her to begin chanting "One of us, one of us, one of us, one of . . ."

We like Jane Lynch. We really admire her work and the way she finds quirks in roles and fleshes them out. But with women already under attack these days, we just didn't think that creating a female governor who would be the butt of all jokes was the way to go.

An American Response left us wishing someone would check the show's pulse. Maybe, due to the writers strike, it's not fair to judge the offerings network TV does manage to get on air these days? Sitting through yet another Make Room For Bully drove home the message that the networks better get serious about sitting down with the writers and meeting their conditions. The only thing more dangerous than a Bully Boy would be an unscripted one which is why we've never begrudged the earphone he frequently wears so he can be fed his lines.


Jim: Yes, another roundtable. We'd love to stop them but you love them. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and me, Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot and Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ. This does mean no "Mailbag" again this week. When possible, we'll try to work in questions from the e-mails. Last week saw the State of the Union address, the Florida primaries on Tuesday, a GOP debate on Wednesday, a Democratic debate on Thursday and a lot of crap coming not just out of the mouths of the administration but out of the mouths of independent media. So we've got a lot to cover. But we'll start with Marcia saying a few words because this is the first time she's joining us. She just started her site last week. Marcia, how about you explain the title of your site.

Marcia: SICKOFITRDLZ stands for "Sick of it -- radical lesbian." Rebecca had to create a mirror site this year with another title due to some of her readers, she has young readers, not being able to access it anymore in schools due to "sex" being in the title. So I had that in mind and went with what I went with for that reason. I'm a longterm community member and I just got sick of it -- of all the lies being pushed by our so-called 'independent' media and their orchestrated campaigns that I started my own site. I'll say thank you here to Ava, C.I. and Mike who were there for me to help me set it up and get my first posts up. I'll also say thanks to Rebecca who called me that night to congratulate me and thanks to everyone participating who'd offered input and answered questions on Friday without me having to make the first call. Thank you. I am a lesbian and by today's weak-ass standards, I probably qualify for a radical.

Jim: Marcia's going to be commenting on things throughout, like everyone else; however, if you don't see an interview with her this edition, we'll do one next week, we are concerned about the time. The illustration is by Betty's oldest son.


Dona: And Marcia, you are welcome. Thank you for participating in this roundtable. We've roughed out drafts of three pieces already -- one on Florida, one on the candidates and coverage, and another on I forget. Plus Ava and C.I. are addressing the State of the Union. So some topics may be less explored in this roundtable for that reason. In addition to what Jim noted, Ralph Nader stuck a toe into the 2008 presidential race and John Edwards pulled out.

Jim: We don't have an Edwards piece planned so we'll start with that and Wally and Mike were supporting him so we'll go to their reactions first.

Wally: You pick a candidate and you think he's going to fight and then he doesn't. It's very depressing. I thought, "He's pulling out." Mike called me Tuesday night to tell me C.I. was telling him the next day was going to be major.

Mike: Yeah and I thought it was going to be some really strong speech about Iraq on Wednesday about the war. I'd planned this Tuesday night post and done all this research on Edwards -- and Wally helped me out with some of that. I called C.I. to check my facts and C.I.'s saying that I don't want to write about that. I'm glad I didn't. I would've felt twice as foolish. But I forgot until Wally reminded me on the phone Saturday, when I was telling Wally that it was going to be big on Wednesday, he automatically said, "Edwards dropping out." And I was all, "No, no, no."

Wally: Well that was my fear. But I put it aside. Like Mike's saying, I feel disappointed. Edwards said he was staying in until the primaries and then he didn't. I was very disappointed.

Jim: Well that was obviously a mistake. Any other mistakes he made?

Mike: Wally and I talked about how he refused to stand up to Obama. He came off like Bambi's best friend, a real suck up. It's a shame he waited until his last weeks to really start fighting and then drops out. But that hurt him more than anything else with college age men. I'm not just basing that on my campus or just Wally and my campuses. I'm basing that on the reactions I would get when I would write about that as well as some polling Kat did for me when she'd be on the road speaking out with Ava and C.I. against the illegal war.

Kat: For Mike, after, when we're all talking to anyone who's wanted to speak privately or in more depth, I would ask them what they thought of Edwards and explain that a friend of mine, Mike, was supporting him and he was troubled by some of the things Edwards wasn't doing. If it was a college male, he would immeditately say, on his own, that Edwards needed to stand up to Obama. That was a very big deal. With women, it would be brought up half the time, fifty-percent. I never did a follow up of saying, "Well Mike thinks the problem is . . ." with anyone who didn't have that answer on their own. So it was fairly clear that this was a problem for college age men. They saw him as speaking strong solo but weak when he hopped on stage with Bambi.

Ava: And students often bring up, during the discussions, that they're supporting something. Every time someone would bring up Edwards a guy, it was always a guy, would say that he's too weak and "afraid" or "scared" -- those were the terms -- to take on Obama. So that was a very real problem and he should have addressed it sooner. As Mike's pointed out, Elizabeth Edwards was much stronger in her critiques of Obama than was her husband.

Jim: So that's one thing he did -- or in this case, refused to do -- that hurt him. What about the media?

Rebecca: There was a big deal about the lack of coverage Edwards received from the MSM but was little media any better? The Nation pimped Bambi non-stop with multiple cover stories in 2007. Didn't Edwards just make one cover, one with all the Democratic candidates? And look at Democracy Now! Just mentions -- forget good or bad coverage, or extended coverage, and we all know Bambi got more extended and more positive coverage from DN! than any other candidate -- John Edwards was mentioned in 74 segments -- that includes headlines -- in 2007 and 2008. That includes things like Ann Coulter's gay slur against him. Dennis Kucinich was mentioned 68 times in the same time period and had on air interviews multiple times. So let's not just pretend like it was big media. For those wondering, Obama had 127 mentions -- including many testimonials where the guest was allowed to pontificate solo on the wonders of Bambi. Hillary had 140 mentions and all they did was slam Hillary so sometimes 'more' doesn't mean better coverage.

Jim: C.I., you look like you want to say something?

C.I.: The campaign is responsible with regards to the MSM. Elizabeth Edwards gave more eye catching interviews. She produced better copy. Whether you think that was fair or not, that is reality. The campaign should have grasped that and used surrogates, he has a large family and his parents were in on the campaigning. That was a mistake they made. If I can deal with the hair because I'm sure no one else will want to. John Edwards has nice hair. Not saying 'fancy boy.' He's got nice hair. He has it cut nicely. But if he was serious about the election, since he'd already been dubbed the "Breck Girl," I believe Maureen Dowd came up with that in the previous election cycle where he'd go on to be the vice-presidential nominee, he should have grasped that as soon it popped up this cycle. He should have made a for show trip in Iowa or somewhere and had it cut off. Get a crew cut or something else. And when the press acted shocked, his response, on camera, should have been, "I'm here to talk about the issues but the press seems obsessed with my hair so I got this hair cut to prevent it from being the focus." I mean that's basic. Mitt Romney could do it tomorrow and probably should. I mean when Mia Farrow got tired of all the attention on her hair, she lopped it off. If you want to run for the White House again and the same carping from your earlier run begin popping up, you need to be prepared to address them. Cutting off the hair and going on camera to make the point that the press is focusing on your hair would have put the press on the defensive, earned some sympathy and had everyone talking about the new look. On the defensive, the press would have said on the gas bag shows, "Well we weren't making that much of a deal out of it." Or they would have pinned it off on columnists. But it would have ended the discussion about how much a hair cut cost. And it honestly would have embarrassed the MSM long enough to get some real coverage on your issues. It was an obvious move and it didn't happen and that goes to a lousy campaign. Joe Trippi came from the Howard Dean campaign, he was not the campaign. He's been given far too much credit for the work the campaign did and Dean's own appeal. I think he's been exposed as unqualified. He did a lousy job running Edwards' campaign. He was a one-trick pony who thought he could do what he and others did for Dean's campaign and have the same results. When that didn't happen, he never knew what he was doing.

Kat: And you made that criticism for months to friends working on his campaign.

C.I.: I did. Over and over. When he wasn't getting serious attention from the independent media, alarms should have gone off. Edwards started campaigning in 2005. The campaign ran the race each year the exact same way. Elizabeth Edwards' own misfortune added a twist and created a brief uptake in press coverage. But the campaign was run at a stand-still. It was a huge mistake. There was no creativity -- and Trippi wasn't the creative force on the Dean campaign -- and there was nothing. I mean, Howard Dean was on the cover of The Advocate long before he was on the cover of Time. The Dean campaign, not Trippi, got that. They ran with it. There's this mistaken idea that Dean popped out of nowhere and had all these internet donations with no press. He did have press. And The Advocate was a natural for him due to his perceived record on gay marriage. The Advocate is a gay weekly, for those not aware.

Marcia: Geared towards men.

C.I.: Geared towards gay men. But it was also a cover. That does matter. A cover is a big deal especially for any candidate trying to get traction. The media sits up and takes notice. They're not saying, "Dean's on the cover of a gay magazine." They're saying, "Dean's on the cover of a magazine. Maybe we should follow him a little more closely." Joe Trippi hoped and prayed for a repeat of the online donations this cycle, but for Edwards, and it didn't happen. The online donations came from the coverage. People weren't stumbling across postings or Dean's home page by accident. Excitement was created around Dean in areas of the media and that prompted interest. With Edwards, the campaign -- not the candidate, the campaign -- didn't foster that interest and we had Edwards attempting to top a speech he'd given in 2005 or 2006 a year later and then wondering why it wasn't getting the same level of coverage. It was a repeat, there was no excitement, no novelty and that's what the press looks for if they're leaving their pre-selected candidates. The press was hostile to Edwards, no question. But they were hostile to Dean and his campaign created media interest in him. As is often the case, a woman did all the heavy lifting on the Dean campaign and a man got the credit. Trippi made it clear that he was a one-trick pony and how little his contributions to the Dean campaign were. Where I do fault Edwards would be two areas. First, the area Mike and Wally have long noted and already noted this roundtable. Two, Trippi needed to be fired. My understanding, throughout the campaign, from people working on it was that Trippi didn't just not come up with ideas, he shot down good ones. That was noticeable early on and all anyone was talking about, that worked for the campaign, by June. If you'll remember, when Hillary Clinton was expected to lose New Hampshire, the press was full of stories that she had to change her team. No one ever made that assertion about Edwards. They should have. He came in second in Iowa and third in New Hampshire. He never should have made it to South Carolina with Trippi still on board. That's his mistake.

Betty: Listening to what C.I.'s pointing out, it really is true. I remember John Edwards getting coverage for a speech in 2005 and being impressed with the speech. And last year I remember some strong speeches John Edwards gave. And little else. Other than Elizabeth. So, yes, it really was the campaign doing what they did in 2005 again in 2006 and again in 2007. It was repeats. Looking back on it, after C.I.'s outlined it, there was no way that was going to create excitement. I also think it's a cop-out to suggest it was because he was White. I'm not saying he suggested that. I'm saying I have heard some gas bags suggest that. It goes to the campaign and the press hatred. But he really didn't fill the news cycle with anything other than speeches. Great ones, concrete ones, but we'd heard it already. I'm not justifying the way the news is, I'm just saying you need to grasp the way it is and figure a way around it if you're running for public office. I also think he was hurt more by the tag-team on Hillary than Bambi was. Bambi tended to get a pass and bat his long & lovely eye lashes. Edwards looked angry during the tag-team and there was a backlash after that event.

Jim: Going to a question and this was from reader Joni who wondered if Cedric and Wally had any problems after Cedric declared for Hillary and Wally for John? Cedric and Wally do joint-posts five days a week.

Cedric: I never had a problem. I'll let Wally speak for himself.

Wally: No. It wasn't a problem. We both knew the other had thought and thought about who to vote for and it wasn't an issue. Cedric was actually more sympathetic to me throughout especially on Wednesday.

Cedric: Right because I worked overtime to find us possible topics so we wouldn't have to do "John Edwards withdrew."

Wally: That's true and why we had two topics that day. "THIS JUST IN! 1 LEAVES, 1 STANDS BY HIS MAN!" and "THIS JUST IN! 1 LEAVES, 1 STANDS BY HIS MAN!" -- "1 leaves" was about Rudy G. We didn't even write about Edwards.

Cedric: And just to explain my great aunt had dental surgery last week. Wally and I write together over the phone. I was with her at the dentist office Wednesday afternoon so Wally e-mailed to both of our sites and that's why we have the same title. Usually I don't have "This just in!"

Wally: Right. I was rushing to get them sent to both of our blogs and forgot all about the title.

Jim: So where do you, Wally and Mike, go now?

Wally: I'm for Hillary now. That's true of most of the people I know who were for Edwards but we already saw that Hillary was the favorite in my state when we held our primary Tuesday.

Mike: I'm probably for Hillary as well. I was thinking about the Green Party and voting for Cynthia McKinney but we have closed primaries and I didn't switch my affiliation. We vote Tuesday so I'm voting for Hillary.

Jim: Okay, next topic --

C.I.: Hold on. Marcia wanted to talk about Edwards.

Jim: Okay. Marcia?

Marcia: I wasn't going to vote for Edwards. He lost my vote with his response to gay marriage and then trying to hide behind his wife. To me that was the same sop the GOP's been throwing out for years. Trina noted this, how they'd say, "I'm not for abortion." And then their wives would come along and say they were. And their wives weren't going to be making the decisions so it really didn't matter what their wives thought. But people would hear that and be fooled or fool themselves. So when he tried to offer that Elizabeth Edwards was for it but he was against it, I thought that was sop being tossed out.

Jim: Okay. John Edwards and Rudy G dropped out last week. As Dona noted, Ralph Nader stuck a toe in, forming a presidential exploratory committee. In last week's "Roundtable," Jess has a number of comments regarding the Green Party and Nader. He felt that Nader need to declare if he was running and said, "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." So, Jess, he announced the exploration on Wednesday. What's your take? Was that soon enough?

Jess: Yes and no. I was going through the members accounts at The Common Ills and saw one that had just come in. It was about Kimberly Wilder (On the Wilder Side) reporting, "Ralph Nader in. Ralph Nader announced his presidential exploratory committee." And I was excited and left a message on C.I.'s cell so it could make that day's "Iraq snapshot" -- which it did, thank you, C.I. -- but then came the aftermath. Last Sunday, I also said that there was a reason he needed to announce quickly -- reasons actually -- and one was that he didn't need to be running against Hillary. If he was running, he needed to be running for something. Now he's been better in some outlets, like CNN, about distributing the blame equally -- on Barack and Hillary -- but when you've got a-holes like John Nichols pimping like crazy, then Nader needs to be a lot clearer. If he's not, he's not going to get the support he needs because it will seem like he's just in it because of Hillary. He gave an embarrassing interview with Amy Goodman where he mumbled a few lines about Barack and went after Hillary. There's not a whole lot of difference between the two. As Ava and C.I. pointed out months ago -- though The Nation only noticed last week -- Bambi's economic team is a fright-mare. Allan Nairn may make a fool out of himself justifying Bambi's cozying up to Big Business with "they'd attack him if he didn't!" but Nader doesn't need to make a fool out of himself. Nader, in previous elections, inspired a lot of young people myself included. He should be offended, strongly offended, that while he inspired us with concrete plans, Bambi's going around saying nothing over and over. That's not a minor point. In fact, Bambi is more the opposite of Nader than Hillary is for that reason. It's like Ralph's Alanis Morissette or the original Liz Phair and Bambi's Avril Lavigne. It's insulting. Hillary's just Hillary with all the bad and good that entails. Bambi's a watered-down, pre-teen copy of Nader and he should be offended. The press has created a lot of nonsense this election cycle and Nader needs to always make it clear that his run isn't about a 'feud' with Hillary Clinton but it's about the fact that he will do something and can while Bambi and Hillary won't. If he's not getting that point across regularly, and calling Bambi out, I have no need for him. I don't believe he's done ego runs before but if he's going to let the lie that John Nichols and others are putting out -- that Ralph's in the race out of fear of Hillary -- I don't need him around and I'll vote for Cynthia McKinney. Gladly.

Jim: Jess is a Green Party member. Does anyone else want to add anything to that?

Marcia: I will. Considering Ralph's not so strong interest in women as a candidate -- check his books or the Rolling Stone 2000 interview -- he really doesn't need to be seen as in the race just because Hillary might get the nomination. After whining in one of his books that Gloria Steinem wouldn't drop everything and come to DC at the last minute for his issue of the damage high heels cause to women's feet, he really needs to be sure that he's not seen as in the race because the US has the first female candidate that many Americans have ever considered for president.

Hillary's made it to the final round. No woman's ever done that before for one of the major parties.

Jim: Marcia, you're supporting Hillary and did your endorsement in the gina & krista round-robin back in May of 2007. Betty waivered but came back. Have you?

Marcia: Have I waivered? No. I wasn't pleased with that nonsense of 'if Iraq is your issue find another candidate.' But there was no difference among the media designated three 'front runners' so obviously I was going to have to focus on other things. Barack Obama utilized homophobia to grab some votes. That's disgusting. People talk about how 'craven' and 'calculating' Hillary's supposed to be but the reality is she's been falsely smeared as a lesbian by the right-wing since the 90s. And she's not putting homophobes on stage. I also love how the 90s are being rewritten. That crappy BuzzFlash couldn't stop hawking 'premiums' on the war against the Clintons until Hillary declared. For six years we got it non-stop. Hillary declares and they're so rude to her and using the same crap that the right-wing did, the same whispers and rumors. And Amy Goodman and The Nation need to get a damn grip. "Bill Clinton did this, Bill Clinton did that." Bill Clinton's not the Bully Boy. He didn't grab additional powers. He also didn't have a Democratically controlled House and Senate for the bulk of his terms. So Bill Clinton made or didn't proposals because Congress wasn't forced to agree with him. For goodness sake, the House impeached him. Let's not pretend that Bill Clinton was running Congress. My point is this nonsense that Bill did this bad thing and that bad thing, if it went through Congress, Al Gore might have had a vote -- if it was a tie in the Senate -- but Bill Clinton didn't. He could veto. But let's stop the nonsense where everything that happened was the fault of Bill Clinton. I am critical of Bill Clinton for many things but I'm not going into that. I've decided that there's enough Hillary Hatred in the air and I'm not adding to it. That's why I'm not linking to Joan Wyle's site. That's nothing against anyone who does but I'm not interested in her little play about Bill and Hillary in bed together. I know C.I., Elaine, Rebecca and Wally linked and that's fine. But I'm not linking unless she intends to offer us the same kind of critique featuring Barack and Michelle in bed.

Jim: It's interesting the way that went down, the link or not link. We haven't decided here yet. But what did emerge was that Cedric, Betty, Marcia and Kat said no. All but Kat are African-Americans. And Ty, who is also African-American, has made clear that he's a "no" vote for linking from this site.

Ty: Well I just think we're sick of it. And honestly Bill and Hillary in bed, it strikes me as smutty. Like Marcia said, show me Michelle and Barack in bed and then I'll know you have an equal standard and be happy to consider linking. But right now, my vote is no. Toni Morrison, who is the author for all moody White girls after they've given up doodling horses in the margins of their spirals, may be for Bambi but she's not that popular with African-Americans. She's writing those dense, Djuna Barnes like novels that are a pain to read unless you're into self-mutiliation. As Betty said before in one of these, Maya Angelou and Alice Walker, we listen to them. Most African-Americans I know were asking "What's Beloved?" when Oprah's movie was on the big screens.

Betty: I'm dying of laughter right now because that really is true. Toni Morrison, more than any other Black author, is dependent upon the White audience. I don't want to be insulting to someone so I'll just note that our own version of Jackie Collins has more weight in the Black community than Morrison. Maya and Alice speak to our hearts and souls while Toni's off doing literary tricks and conceits.

Cedric: As stated by Betty and Ty, I don't know any one my race who reads Toni Morrison. I'd argue that even though he passed away some time ago, Richard Wright is better known in the community than Toni Morrison. I also want to address her endorsement of Bambi. It goes to why, or the media nonsense, goes to why African-Americans aren't that close to her outside of academia. The media made a big to do that "Toni Morrison who called Bill Clinton the first Black president has endorsed Obama!" Well let's get to what she said. She said, "Clinton displays almost every trope" -- right there she loses the community, trope's her academic flourish -- "of Blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's and junk food loving boy from Arkansas." Now read over that carefully and she basically did everything but call him a watermelon eater. Her comments were insulting. That's why she's really a White wonder and not part of the African-American community. If you don't get that and you're White, imagine that you just said the words she said and imagine the reaction you would get, the anger and the charges of racism. Toni Morrison has never been in touch with the average African-American, she is a White created celebrity.

Betty: Which is probably why she identifies so strongly with Barack. But she's too busy being 'fancy' to tell a moving story. She's a stylist and works up a big show in terms of that but says very little. My oldest sister would not listen to me when Beloved was about to come out at the movies and she bought the book in paperback. She got to page twenty-something and dropped the book off at her library hoping someone else would want it. And it sat there for week after week after week. I think it was going for the vast sum of fifty cents. But no one wanted it. Even with the movie out. But I know Ruth mainly enjoys listening; however, I wanted to ask why she didn't link to Joan Wile?

Ruth: The reasons outlined. I am a grandmother myself and would be happy to link but only if she has an equal standard. It is too late in the game for the Bambi is wonderful nonsense. I am sick of all the attacks on Hillary. They have had the opposite effect. My sons were not for her at the start of the campaign. They were for Dodd, Biden and Edwards. I do not remember the count for each but those were there choices. The backlash Marcia was talking about from the debate where there was the tag-team is when they started getting sympathetic to Hillary. The non-stop attacks have humanized her in a way that has made her more like us and not "former first lady." They have had a very strong reaction to the treatment of her, long before New Hampshire, and they are firmly for her. It was probably July or August when my oldest son was saying to me, "I really hate that these attacks are making me defend Hillary." But that is the case and to be expected, as C.I. pointed out a year ago, when the 'left' uses the right-wing smear tactics from the 90s. My daughters-in-law were always for her. Jayson, my grandson who is gay, went from lukewarm about Bambi and undecided to firmly for Hillary when Bambi decided the way to play in South Carolina was with homophobia. He was very offended and that had an effect on my grandchildren who are old enough to vote because he's their brother or cousin and he is gay. They are not about to vote for any candidate who would insult their family which is what he did when he used homophobia.

Jim: Ruth, are you coming out for Hillary?

Ruth: Yes, I am. The choices are now Bambi or Hillary. Jayson is gay. I have many friends who are gay or lesbian and I think it is appalling that he was allowed to get away with putting homophobia on stage and allowing it to broadcast its hatred. That is not a minor thing with me. So perhaps Ms. Wile can write a scene where Barack Obama's is in bed with his wife and telling her, between gay 'jokes,' how he will be going on a job interview with her the next day. I also find that offensive -- that he did not think his wife was smart enough or adult enough to go on a job interview by herself.

Jim: Okay well Howie e-mailed to say that he was so glad someone else was planning to vote for Mike Gravel because he thinks Gravel is the only candidate in the Democratic primary who can make a difference. Elaine, you vote Tuesday. Will you be voting for Gravel?

Elaine: Just for Howie, I will do that. No, seriously, like Howie, I do appreciate what Gravel stands for and has stood for. Though the media acts as if there are only two candidates left standing, Gravel remains in the race. I know Wally and Mike were a lot more hurt by Edwards dropping out than they may have indicated. It was a shock after he stated he would stay in until the convention. Well, Gravel has. He's done so with no media coverage. And I believe that alone deserves support. I believe his work to end the draft during Vietnam is something that begs for support today. So I will be voting for him and, no, I don't expect him to win but I don't believe my vote is wasted. I think he is the best choice and that's why I'll be voting for him. He's earned my vote with his record.

Jim: I've got a note from Dona saying Rebecca, Ava and C.I. need to talk. I'll start with Ava so she and C.I. aren't going crazy trying to take notes. We'll do Rebecca between them. If you don't mind, Ava, I'm going to toss to you on Iraq. We always, as Elaine points out, let C.I. do the heavy lifting on that topic and I thought you might want to grab it.

Ava: Sure. Actions took place two Fridays ago and two Saturdays ago in the US and Canada. Monday rolls around last week and you wouldn't have known it from independent media. They didn't care. It's shameful and appalling. With John Edwards, we had Mike and Wally who supported him and I had no problem with that being a topic here. But I did have a huge problem with the amount of coverage Edwards received for dropping out. That included the cover of The New York Times with a huge photo on the front page and a butt shot inside the paper. Where was Iraq? Amy Goodman shoved it aside all damn week long. On Friday she was noting the OMB re-evaluation of their study. Friday morning she's finding time for it. It made C.I.'s snapshot Wednesday. It took her until Friday to note it. Had a bombings not taken place Friday in Baghdad, she might have continued to ignore the OMB's over a million killed story. It's just disgusting. Amy Goodman's the cover story of the current issue of The Progressive for a multi-page Q & A done by Elizabeth DiNovella that's an embarrassment on both women's part. The third question to Goodman is about the Iraq War and DiNovella's asks, "What do you think was the mainstream media's biggest failing regarding the Iraq War?" "Was," DiNovella? I wasn't aware the illegal war had ended. I wasn't aware that there had been a market improvement in the coverage. I was aware the year is 2008 and I think we can certainly talk about the problems with coverage of the Iraq War as it hits the five-year-mark On the last pasge of the interview, Goody's talking about Iraq and how "the population is just decimated, displaced, killed." And she says that "as long as that is going on I think it is our responsibilty to show that." Well if you think that, how about explaining how you made it through the month of January avoiding Iraq until January 25th? Don't offer that "we only have one minute" nonsense from January 4th where you refused to give time to a segment on protesters. You only had one minute, so why it even bothered to air, who knows? So, outside of headlines, no segment pops up until January 25th. C.I., Kat and I check the archives last week when we were laughing at the inane article. She says "as long as" the illegal war "is going on I think it is our responsibility to show that." Now she had non-stop Obama-rama throughout. We had Grace Lee Boggs praising Bambi, and a ton of Hillary hatred. But Iraq doesn't show up until the 25th of last month. Care to explain that? She goes on to say, in the interview, about Iraq, "But as long as it falls off the front pages of the newspapers, people can tink, 'Well it must not be that bad.' It's our job to make sure it's front and center." That is your job. So, again, why did you wait until January 25th to do a segment on Iraq? That's putting it front and center? Or is that just garbage you toss out to come off good to the press?

Jim: Well said. Okay, Rebecca, free-form question to a degree. You vote Tuesday -- or maybe you choose not to vote -- do you know who you're voting for and do you feel comfortable sharing?

Rebecca: Sure. I am voting. I'm voting for Cynthia, Cynthia McKinney, and I'm the one who screwed up because I should have told Mike that there was a deadline to switch party membership. If I was voting in the Democratic Primary, I'd be telling Elaine that I voted for Mike Gravel but actually I would be voting for Hillary.

Elaine: And she's not lying. But she is a bad liar and I'd nod and play along but think, "You did not vote for Gravel."

Rebecca: If I was voting in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, I would vote for a fighter and someone who can and will stand up. Bambi doesn't. I'd vote for Hillary.

Jim: Okay. Well, that leaves C.I. and I know you and Ava do not want to discuss one topic until after Super Duper Tuesday. So I'm going to ask you another. I hope you'll answer what you brought up on the phone Thursday night. What's the one thing about the debate that should have gotten traction but didn't?

C.I.: The body language. Barack Obama's tall and obviously taller than Hillary. But they were seated on Thursday night. Point being, the tendency he has to look down his nose when speaking or listening. It was really shocking and I'm not sure I had missed it all this time or maybe it was a new development. But that nose was stuck up in the air and I -- Ava and I were on a campus and rushed to catch the last of it -- asked the students around me, "Do you notice anything strange about his face?" They all looked and said, "He's looking down on everyone." He had his head tilted back repeatedly, jutting out at an angle with his nose in the air. Since there were just two candidates at the debate and both were seated it was rather obvious and I kept expecting someone to go to town with it but I never saw anyone that did.

Jim: Follow up, Maureen Dowd turned in more nonsense and last week and you explained why it was nonsense.

C.I.: That was Rebecca's post and Rebecca would have gotten that herself if she'd thought about it. She's a huge Bette Davis fan.

Rebecca: I'm not so sure. I knew something was wrong but couldn't put my finger on it.

C.I.: So she forced me to read the column and I called her back. In Wednesday's New York Times, Dowd contributed "Seeing Red Over Hillary" about the State of the Union address and penned this: "Like Scarlett O'Hara after a public humiliation, Hillary showed up at the gathering wearing a defiant shade of red." Dowd is the pop-cult ref queen and picked up some extra bucks in the 90s writing for Premiere magazine -- that's a movie magazine. So it's appalling that she wrote that. It's more appalling that no one caught the mistake before it ran. "Like Scarlett O'Hara after a public humuliation" and then showing "up at the gathering wearing a defiant shade of red." That film's called Jezebel and it was released prior to Gone With the Wind and starred Bette Davis who won her second Oscar for it. In that film, Davis' character Julie Marsden shows up at an all white gown formal wearing a red dress and causes a scandal. That Dowd could make such a huge mistake -- the pop-cult queen -- was shocking. It would be like her writing that, "Like Bruce Willis trying to defuse a bomb on a bus . . ." while all the readers were thinking, "Wait, that was Speed and it was Keanu Reeves, not Bruce Willis." I don't think it's minor, she chose to write about it. The same way Newsweek elected to write a story in the 90s about "s&m" on TV and included the tidbit that, on Friends, Chandler handcuffed Rachel's boss that he was having an affair with. As anyone who watched Friends would have known, Chancler was handcuffed by Rachel's boss. Not only did they get it wrong, they also misquoted Chandler's line from the show. When confronted with that error, Newsweek's attitude was, "It's just TV." No, when you choose to write about something, you are saying it's worth writing about and, therefore, you need to get to the details correct.

Jim: And that's going to be the last thought.

1 Book, 5 Minutes

Jim: At long last, a book discussion, as promised. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and, me, Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, and Wally of The Daily Jot. Mike, set us up.


Mike: Author Naomi Wolf's first book was The Beauty Myth which disected cultural and societal constraints on women and, as Wolf pointed out, on men. She has written several books since then and her most recent is The End of America: Letters of Warning to a Young Patriot. Which has another sub-title, "A Citizen's Call To Action." The book is published by Chelsea Green Publishing. It is a softcover book that has a US list price of $13,95.

Jim: Thank you. The way it worked is we have a set list of things to cover and we're moving quickly. After the topics, we'll use whatever remaining time to discuss. Dona and I assigned numbers to the topics and individuals guessed numbers and were matched up accordingly. Ruth?

Ruth: I am Jewish so luck matched me well. Naomi Wolf explains the genesis for the book was a friend, whose parents were survivors of the Holocaust, who kept pointing to what Wolf terms "echoes" between the current day America and Nazi Germany. That is a charged comparison for some including Katrina vanden Heuvel who wrote a really bad column for The Washington Post, which had to run a correction on her misquoting Julian Bond, that also ran in unedited form in The Nation magazine. As a Jewish woman, I am perfectly comfortable with what Ms. Wolf has done. She goes beyond Germany but I want to be really clear that the Holocaust is not supposed to be something that just makes us sad, it is something we are supposed to learn from to prevent it from ever happening again. People should not shy from comparisons or cluck-cluck like Ms. vanden Heuvel does. The only way to address a comparison is to weigh the evidence. Ms. Wolf has amassed a sizeable amount of evidence to indicate that the United States is at a tipping point, as was Germany in the early stages of Nazism. This is not the only comparison. Ms. Wolf also addresses other socities that were open and closed. However, this is the topic that makes the timid rage, rage at the person making the comparison. So I want to be clear, I am a Jewish woman, born in this country during WWII. There is nothing outlandish or offensive in her book to me.

Jim: Thank you, Ruth. Wally?

Wally: The "Letters of Warning to a Young Patriot" subtitle refers to the fact that the book is written as a letter to a friend of Wolf's named Chris. The introduction explains that the closing of a society requires ten steps. Wolf cites headlines to show what is going on in the United States that some choose to ignore and some others may have gotten used to because outrageous acts by the government have taken place over and over as the Bully Boy's occupied the White House. In later chapters, Wolf will outline the ten steps. From page 11, I'll note this: "Violent dictators across the political spectrum all do the same key things. Control is control." The countries she examined include Italy with regards to the rise of Mussolini, Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, Chile in 1973 and many others.

Jim: From the introduction, we now go to the conclusion because we're not going to have anyone e-mail, "You ran out of time and left me hanging!" The book is available for purchase online, at bookstores and it's in libraries. We strongly support public and college libraries and, as C.I. always notes, just because your library doesn't have the book in their own inventory does not mean you cannot read it, they can request it via loan agreements they have with other libraries. Elaine?

Elaine: What to do when your country falls apart before your eyes? Speak truth because, as Wolf notes, "Bullies are cowards." But before you speak up you need to do a self-inventory because the smear tactics used to silence may be turned on you. If there are things you find embarrassing, it is a good idea to get those out in the open to people you are close to, friends or family. She writes of doing "opposition research" on herself, having her accountant look over her records to determine if anything in the records could be used against her? She also notes that some, due to their jobs such as the military or for the government, have more to lose by speaking out than many of us. She believes there are common bonds that can and will be formed across the political spectrum and that rescuing our country may be seen as progress by some on the left and may be seen as a restoration to those on the right. But putting the country back together as something resembling a democracy will require a lot of work.

Jim: Thank you, Elaine. Those who have already spoken may jump in but we're going to try to start with those who haven't yet spoken. We've summarized the book and, as always, these are book discussions, not Cliff Notes.

Dona: The point Ruth covered is probably the most important because Wolf's book explores aspects that make a lot of people uncomfortable. Surprisingly -- or maybe not so -- that is often among the left and center-left. Those uncomfortable are generally those who feel a strong need to bring down a ruler on others to demonstrate how 'reasonable' they themselves are. Hence, columns from the 'left' that call out Julian Bond to begin with. As Jim noted, this isn't a book report. This is a discussion and, as always, the discussions can be a jumping off point. With Wolf's book we wanted a clearly established overview before going into the discussion.

Rebecca: C.I. wrote about a college group, one C.I., Ava and I think Kat, were speaking to where a young woman shared that she saw this book not as a departure by Naomi Wolf but as a continuation of Fire With Fire, Wolf's follow up to The Beauty Myth. I strongly agree with that. Fire With Fire was a book where Wolf struggled with the world around her and this book, The End of America, finds her doing the same. The difference is how much of our democracy has developed sink holes, then craters and is now in serious jeopardy. Chapter ten stood out the most to me. It's where a supposed society which values free speech will not tolerate any criticism and begins making charges of disloyalty. With Bully Boy a lame duck -- but deadly -- Oval Office occupant, there has been a bit of breakthrough and I'm not sure how much young people, I'm referring to sixteen years old on up through twenty-one, grasp what a sea of change has taken place.

Kat: I'd agree with that. But I think, having opened my mouth, that C.I.'s really the one to speak about since C.I.'s been going around the country speaking since February 2003 against the illegal war which was only an impending war then. I just realized, too, it's February, you've now been doing that, speaking out, for five years.

C.I.: Okay. Well, the chill begins in the aftermath of 9-11 and I assume someone else will grab that. However, in February 2003 there was a sense, among students I was speaking with, of trepidation. They were against the war, they were willing to speak out against it, but some -- not all -- were couching their remarks to appear more 'reasoned.' A take-away on that would be that 'reasoned' doesn't end an illegal war. Students aren't being slammed by me there, they were aping their elders. This was the first war of their lifetime. And a great many seemed to think that a wonderful presentation of points geared to reach out and across was the way to stop the illegal war. Not all, but many. And they wasted everyone's time. People were going to die. That was very clear. The costs of the illegal war, I'm not talking financial, were not being addressed even in some 'independent' outlets. There was an attitude that if there was just a 'fact check' on the administration, the people would be convinced. By February 2003, it was probably much too late for a 'fact check' to do any good. As Richard Clark has pointed out, in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, they wanted to 'wrap it all up,' tie Iraq to 9-11 and start the illegal war.

Betty: I'm jumping in here to make the point others may not want to -- maybe they will -- but Iraq was tied to 9-11. That happened via the administration. It also happened via bad reporting and it was Chris Hedges who got a false link between 9-11 and Iraq on the front page of The New York Times in October 2001. That report was amplified via PBS which did issue a correction . . . after the illegal war started. We've never really talked about this topic so I'm happily suprised that it's one I'm not alone on. There was a culture of fear created and the war was sold on that. By the time Colin Powell's lying to the United Nations and applying his blot, this "Let's refute Colin!" really isn't cutting it because what's going on among the public is fear.

Jess: I'd agree with what Betty and C.I. are saying. Part of the climate of fear, and this is in Wolf's book as suppression, includes the establishment of secret prisons and the invoking of threats -- internally and externally. It was like a roadmap to the illegal war. All the areas of dissent in this society were basically confined to the equivalent of 'protest pens.' And there was even one that came with a dunking chair or a rotten fruit throwing, Fox "News." I think it was a waste of time for people to go on Fox "News" to protest. I don't think, in a wall to wall fear environment, you can make a difference with the viewers of that channel and I think you give it the appearance of a 'news outlet' by appearing on it. I'm not condemning anyone who appeared on it then. I assume they were trying to reach out to as many as possible, to anyone, but I think they're undercut by the hosts and the wall to wall programming.

Jim: Well what would you recommend, with the benefit of hindsight, that people do instead?

Jess: To be clear, that wasn't asked in a nasty manner. Jim and Rebecca were accused of being rude to C.I. in last week's "Roundtable." For those reading, it was logical to assume Jim was being rude by the way it read but that's not how it was stated and Rebecca was being playful but persistent. What would I recommend if I could hop in the time machine? Mocking and ridiculing the White House. That's done more to bring the myth of the hero down than anything else. Pointing out that Bully Boy is not the commander in chief of the people. A president is the commander in chief of the military only. I would have suggested hitting on that hard. The reason Jim's not being nasty is that he, C.I. and I have discussed this aspect. I think Bill Scher, of Liberal Oasis, was getting at that after the illegal war started. But even then, it wasn't a topic most pursued. Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder would seriously go after that when their show, The Majority Report, started but that was in 2004. FAIR should have been issuing action alerts on what may have seen a minor point. Allowing Bully Boy to be "Commander in Chief" of the people gave his every utterance more weight than it ever deserved. The fact checks offered on Colin Powell were coming to late because the basic premise was not being challenged.

Kat: Yeah, that's very true. Basically, Bully Boy was elevated to God 'status.' Big media caved -- and some were fired for just pointing out Bully Boy's Bunny-Fu-Fu scampering around the country after the 9-11 attacks which did not show leadership -- and little media was, as usual, scattered to the wind. Jess is exactly right, from the iconic Vanity Fair portraits of the administration on through the rest of the press, mere mortals were being elevated to so much above us. And that was the point that needed to be made, the very basics, such as we, the citizens, do not take marching orders from the White House. Take some of C.I.'s early writings or Susan Faludi's wonderful The Terror Dream and you can see the critique of the elevation of masculinity, the attacks on women, the need for a "Daddy" figure. All of that led to the illegal war and it should have been called out repeatedly.

Cedric: Because, sorry to speak over you, Kat, when it's not called out, everything Naomi Wolf is outlining in her book can happen and does. When the White House is occupied by a god, who can challenge it? When people are living in fear, a government can push through anything including things that are unconstitional. I hold a number on the left responsible including the ones who attacked A.N.S.W.E.R. throughout 2002 to make themselves look 'reasonable.' You know what I would like to see, all the tut-tutters on a roundtable where they were asked, "Looking bad, do you think your efforts to appear 'reasoned' and 'respectiable' accomplished anything?" Because I don't think it did.

Mike: I love Wolf's book and recommend it strongly but I think it is missing a step: The Cult of Personality.

Ava: She does talk about propaganda but I agree that is a step in the destruction of democracy.

Mike: It was the Cult of Personality that allowed this to happen. You couldn't talk bad about Bully Boy and just a remark in a gym could get the FBI visiting you. While the people were being silenced, you had others, in the media, trying to act 'respectable' and offer gentle prodding. The Cult needed to be ripped apart. It wasn't and that's how he sold the war.

Ty: I agree with everything so far but I'm going to toss this out there. A lot of the public went along with the illegal war. I'm talking about in the perceived privacy of pollsters calling their homes. That goes to the ten steps Wolf's outlining -- and I actually think we're worse off than she does -- but it also goes to the enshrinement. It absolutely was necessary to chip away at the Bully Boy, bit by bit and day by day. I mean with humor, mocking, you name it. He's been brought back down to earth by reality, to be sure, but he could have been brought back down earlier and should have been. There was no reason for Diane Sawyer to shame the Dixie Chicks. That's what she tried to do and she kept repeating "the" and "your" commander-in-chief. The press ran with that title. The only way to stop that would have been to have created a climate where it was too embarrassing for them to use it. That's a point that comes up regularly on KPFA, it seems like every other week a caller's saying we need to be using humor and we do, it's very powerful and an excellent leveler. And the Cult of Personality, in most of the societies Wolf's studying -- if not all -- we're seeing that. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, etc.

Mike: I really don't think that point is recognized. But it is very important. It's why a Jon Stewart is important. It's why, in the film V, the comic is killed. It happened in Nicarauga as well. They, the bullies, can't take it. And certainly, it has a huge impact. Saying the emperor has no clothes on is very powerful and I loved the book, but if there's one fault to it, I would say it's that Wolf doesn't explore the power of humor. We can think of a thousand examples, easily, but let's stick with this site right here. Ava and C.I. didn't command attention by just saying, "Not true!" They did it by making people laugh. I mean, ask Ty about the e-mails.

Ty: Mike's talking about what has been a big repeat in the last six months, which is that a lot of people who were reading for the humor only and had some disagreement stuck around and now 'get it' as they tend to say. And I don't like talking about this because they haven't written their TV commentary yet this week and it may put pressure on them. But the jokes sneak up on you which is part of why it grabs you. It's also true that as a body of work, it stands up and the points come across. Humor is very powerful.

Wally: If I can jump back in, Cedric and I are doing humor posts. And, yeah, I think it makes a difference. Wolf is talking about how 'bloggers need to' and I enjoyed the book but you're always going to lose me when you start talking about what someone 'needs to' do. She wants them to be more serious and more nose to the grindstone. There's a need for real reporting, fine and dandy, and Ava and C.I. do real reporting in those TV commentaries, but a web that's shooting the air out of the tires of a 'personality' is also very powerful and I don't think that's grasped.

Ty: In the book.

Wally: Right, in the book.

Ava: Well Wolf writes "Bullies are cowards," as Elaine noted at the top. And no coward can take being laughed at. Many non-cowards can't take it as well. But it is important, humor, and it does need to be used and deployed as part of a tool of peace. The tools of war are bombs, guns, etc. Humor is the tool of peace and, until this discussion, I hadn't noticed that it wasn't valued in the book. I think that's because she's writing about a serious topic and an important one but if we don't have the humor, if we're not able to be the one snickering in the audience after Bully Boy's delivered his latest lie, what kind of a tone are we setting? I think it's a really important point and listening to Mike, Wally and Ty speak, I'm convinced it's the only flaw in the book.

Rebecca: Absolutely. If Bully Boy's Mission Accomplished romp had been greeted with universal laughter, can you imagine the White House's reaction. Instead, he's marching around with a codpiece and you have G. Gordon Liddy and Chris Matthews wet dreaming in public on TV about how 'manly' the midget is. Ava's right about humor being a tool of peace. And that's all forms of humor -- gentle, mocking, ridicule, what have you.

Kat: And I've seen really tense situations on campus where C.I.'s defused it with a funny remark. Usually, that's caused by someone pointing out some failure in independent media and then a few may try to defend it but the bulk of students are in agreement. And it could feed and feed without no one being able to hear anyone -- even the ones they agree with -- but along comes the humor. So that's an example of where it can bring people together but it's equally true that it can create a common target and bring people together that way. I really do think humor is undervalued in society and I don't feel the book addresses it in terms of tool we have for change. I do get the point that it's a serious book and the natural inclination is to follow that by being solemn. But when you're talking -- in a polarized country especially -- about the two sides coming together, you need humor. Or to give another example, one time last fall, we were speaking to a group and a guy there was pro-war and just wasn't going to listen. Later, a woman would apologize for brining him along and saying she didn't realize he was against the war. But, I mean, he was really just there to heckle. And hostile. And C.I. didn't bat an eye, just zinged him back and this went on -- zing, zing, zing -- for several rounds until finally the guy laughed and said, "Okay, I'll pipe down." Now if C.I. had tried to talk to over him, or to shout him down, or anything else, it wouldn't have worked. Humor is very important. And I'm sorry to be using concrete examples but those are the ones that come to mind.

Dona: Winding down. Wolf's organization is American Freedom Campaign. When the book was published, the organization was not personally for impeachment because they're bottom-up, the take the marching orders from their members. The group now is for impeachment and Wolf has written a book that did not necessarily set out to argue impeachment but it makes a strong case for it.

Jim: Most recently, in "It’s Time to Hold Democratic House Leaders in Contempt," she's written about contempt, about Congress holding Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton in contempt and how the vote on that has been postponed and postponed by Democratic leadership. But we're going to focus on the impeachment aspect. Can it happen? Will it happen? And, legally, it should happen and we're all in agreement on that.

Elaine: Trina wrote about this a few weeks back and I'm in complete agreement with her so I'll bite. No, it's not going to happen. Wolf's column you referenced makes the point that contempt was brought by the House Judiciary Committee and, all these months later, the Democratic leadership in the House still won't call for a vote. Like Trina, I want to be clear that I'm not saying it's not needed. It is needed. But, for her, the Dennis Kucinich sell out in Iowa was the awakening and she re-evaluated what she was focusing on and what was important to her. She's not telling anyone else, "Stop it, it's not happening!" She's saying she doesn't believe it will happen and so she's not going to be writing about it. She's going to focus on the illegal war and other things.

Betty: Iowa was offensive and Elaine's referring to the very public deal Kucinich made with Obama to swing support his way by 'giving' away his delegates. That was it, that was when this community stopped supporting him because if you're not going to fight in all 50 states, don't fight in any. Now let's remember what he said when he officially dropped out, "I'm brining impeachment charges against" Bully Boy. And we wait and wait some more. I believe C.I.'s point about "Dennis is going to do what's best for Dennis" has been more than proven. Now he's facing primary challengers and has to deal with that. But guess what, every member of the House is up for re-election. Forget the presidential election for a moment, they're busy with their own campaigns. If they can't even bring contempt charges to a vote, I don't see how we can expect impeachment to be pulled off.

Rebecca: Well, I agree with Betty. And Elaine, C.I. and I were talking to Trina before she wrote that post because she was really afraid she was going to be pissing a lot of people off. Her point, like Elaine stated, wasn't "Stop working on it!" Her point was, "I don't believe it's a possibility and if I don't believe it's a possiblity, it would be dishonest of me to cover it." And like C.I. pointed out in that conversation we all had, in July the focus will be on the upcoming conventions. The media will spend a large chunk of that month gas bagging about what we'll see in August. And, in Congress, people will be jockeying for their positions at the convention -- Will I get to speak! So their minds are going to be elsewhere. That really means that impeachment would have to move very quickly. I'm not talking about the trial in the Senate which I think would move quickly if it could get to that. I'm talking about the House getting off its ass and doing something. It's now February. That's really a little over four months that people have to force Congress into action and Nancy Pelosi's not going to do anything on it even though it's the only thing that could assure her re-election. Personally, I believe if that point could be brought home to her, that impeachment is the only thing that takes her out of race for the office she currently holds, then we could see some traction on it.

Ruth: I would add that time is more limited now but it's not impossible. If someone really wants to see this happen, they're going to have to up their actions and really go to the wall on this.

Jess: I agree with everything that's being said but think it's becoming one of those non-issues that takes up all of our time. I'm not saying he shouldn't be impeached. I am saying we have a do-nothing Congress where the leadership took impeachment 'off the table' and I don't think these resolutions in towns and cities are going to force it. Jim, I think you're going to toss to C.I. for the wrap-up and I want to suggest that C.I. speak about it in terms of the Patriot Act.

Jim: Sure. I'll toss to C.I. now for the wrap-up of this topic and of the book.

C.I.: Well, to name another group, The Bill of Rights Defense Committee does incredible work. I know a few people in that organization. And in 2003 and 2004, I was always on the road alone so when I'd get to a campus and they'd say whomever from that organization had just spoken there, I would be eager to hear about that because we were always crossing paths. What they were working on was repealing the Patriot Act and they did amazing work. And in terms of the long term, they've laid the ground work nationally. But, sadly, the Patriot Act doesn't end in January 2008. So they've got a longer window of opportunity. All their work going city to city to force the issue of the Patriot Act, and often very successfully forcing a vote on it in the municipal government, is important and does have an impact. So do the impeachment resolutions. But they [impeachment supporters] have a tighter window of time due to the fact that, thankfully, Bully Boy will soon be out of office. But the window of opportunity is closing and the work being done is educational but with the Patriot Act, the reaction was to ignore the votes. Congressional members whose districts voted to repeal the Patriot Act didn't turn around and make that their position. It's equally true that Congress members offered a strong push back with some of them rushing home and attempting to strong arm city council members into delaying the vote or shelving it as well as issuing statements that they either read in to the record themselves or sent and had read into the record. I think Rebecca's right that if impeachment's sold as an election issue, it will get traction with Congress. If people, not just Pelosi, got the message from their voters that if impeachment didn't go forward, they wouldn't get the votes, something would happen. But, in terms of the Patriot Act, that was largely blown off by the Congress, the efforts back home in their district. I'm not insulting the impeachment movement or the work done by The Bill of Rights Defense Committee. I think, regardless of what happens, both educated and involved citizens in their democracy, sent a message and it was one that reached other citizens if not members of Congress. Naomi Wolf is for impeachment -- as are all of us -- but there's a reason she's for it and that's because she didn't hole up in one area. She went out and spoke with people, she went out all over the country and spoke with people. So if someone wants impeachment to happen and wants to make that their driving issue, my guess would be the battle belongs in DC or at home offices. Time is too limited and these resolutions are important to the record, these municipal resolutions, but they're not having an impact in Congress and the movement to repeal the Patriot Act saw the same thing happen. Again, they [repeal the Patriot Act supporters] have time on their side. The impeachment movement is dealing with a Congress that hates the idea of impeachment. When Ramsey Clark was brought in, prior to the illegal war, to explain, brought in by Congress, how Bully Boy could be impeached right then, Congress was receptive. Let me back up because I'm not sure how aware everyone is of that. Dr. Francis A. Boyle, international law expert, and Ramsey Clark met with Democrats in Congress, at the invitation of the Dems, to discuss impeachment in 2002. And they were receptive and then John Podesta storms in and puts a kibosh on the whole thing. So the point here is it's not that Congress -- it's not that they don't know their duties. It's that they know impeachment is considered a no-go by leadership and has been since 2002. It very easily could have come to the floor in 2002. And it didn't and that was four years before Nancy Pelosi's bragging that she's taking it "off the table." So that's four years of knowing -- for those in the House this entire time -- that leadership doesn't want it. I think it's going to take something major -- like full disclosure by Sibel Edmunds, for example -- to get impeachment going now or else non-stop work in DC and at home offices, occupying Congressional offices. The way Cindy Sheehan did before she declared her run for Congress. They could identify the soft "no"s and target them. That would be my suggestion. In terms of Wolf's book, she's not saying anything is fixed tomorrow or the day after. She's fully aware that this is going to take a lot of work to fix, restoring our democracy. It's always easier to take away rights than it is to return them. And she's making the point that this isn't just a case of stopping the ball from rolling futher towards destruction. There's no band-aid cure. An election isn't going to change anything. The powers that have been taken from the people must be returned or we're one more ego maniac away from the complete destruction of the country. I also agree with her and Daniel Ellsberg that another attack on the US could result in the death of democracy under the current administration. But I also think, and this is what gives me hope, another attack won't cloak the adminstration in 'authority' and 'power.' There will be no way to weasel out again by blaming Bill Clinton. And, seven years after the attacks of 9-11, I think Americans would be rightly outraged if another attack took place and far less interested in accepting Condi babbling on about how "No one could have guessed." This comes up a lot on campus, less so now, but over the years it has. And students were genuinely fearful and probably rightfully so of what happens to the country if there's another attack. There is legislation in place already that would destroy democracy, no question about it. But I don't think you'd see a compliant population this time. I think people would be outraged and it would be more difficult to manufacture those bullhorn ground zero moments because another attack would expose Bully Boy as a complete incompetent. To be clear, an attack could happen under the next president. It would be different because they didn't make 9-11 their touchstone. Not unlike Rudy G, Bully Boy's built his repuation -- such as it is -- on his post-response. And another attack would most likely cause even some of the devoted to leave the fold while the rest of us aren't going to be in the mood for the press to order us to rally round the Bully. But the damage he's done will be with us long after he's gone and, as slowly as Congress and the Courts move, it's going to take years of work on the part of citizens to rescue the United States. Wolf doesn't sugar coat that nor encourage people to wait to get involved. She's sounding, righly, alarms and if you agree with this discussion, pick up her book. If you disagree, pick it up as well. Read it and see if you still disagree. You may. But you'll appreciate the work she's put into it and you can't claim that she's phoning it in or that she doesn't care very passionately about democracy.

Jim: Let me say, "My apologies to Ava." Ava and C.I. take the notes on these transcript pieces and C.I., knowing we were limited on time, rushed through those words so quickly. Dona was counting down from three minutes and C.I. managed to get it all in there. The book is Naomi Wolf's The End of America: Letters of Warning to a Young Patriot and we all strongly urge you to read it. This is our rush transcript, enjoy typos; however, we aren't adding sections in the typing that didn't take place which, after last week, isn't a promise independent media can make.
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