Sunday, March 30, 2008

Maya Angelou for Women's History Month

"Celebrating Women: A Note from Dr. Maya Angelou" (Maya Angelou,
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust,
I'll rise.
This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits end, but she has always risen, always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.
Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.
There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you're born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But, to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies.
Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country.
She is the prayer of every woman and man who long for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.She declares she wants to see more smiles in the families, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to what it can become.
She means to rise.
She means to help our country rise. Don't give up on her, ever.
In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country a wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety, without crippling fear.
Rise Hillary.

Truest statement of the week

'We'? You said that's how 'we' decided it? If that's the way the Democratic Party decided it then they wouldn't have super delegates! Let me tell you what 'we' love to do. 'We' in the media love to tell everybody, which 'we' have been telling everybody for months, that the numbers don't add for Hillary Clinton, she can't get enough delegates . . . Well guess what? The numbers don't add up for Barack Obama but 'we' don't tell that side of the story, do 'we'?" The super delegates are the rules of the Democratic Party and they can go any way they want.

-- Joe Scarborough (yes, we're surprised too) on MSNBC's Race for the White House (Taylor Marsh provides video here). As Ava and C.I. note "TV: A very strange week."

A note to our readers

Hey --

Sunday, Sunday and, had Isaiah's comic not taken so long for C.I. to upload to Flickr (we think two hours) and caused so many problems, we'd be done earlier. We proofed as best we could while we waited and also did one more feature. On proofing. Expect more typos than usual. Spell check was used by Ava and C.I. for their TV commentary and the result was? The last third of their article was messed up and they had to spend forever fixing it. As a result, we all avoided spell check and, guess what, everyone will live.

Big thanks to Dallas who worked his butt off with links in addition to being a sounding board and much more throughout. Here's who else worked on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,

And here's what we got:

Truest statement of the week -- File it with Prince's "Sometimes it snows in April . . ." We never would have thought a conservative would get truest but so cracked is Panhandle Media that no one from it could even come close to rivaling Scarborough.

Editorial: Damn or defend? -- Jeremiah was a problem, was a good friend to Obama, and every where that Wright went, Bambi said "amen" to damn the United States. Damn the United States, all the boys and girls, damn to the fishes in the deep blue sea, damned is you and me. Again, we return to the topic which is not a light topic. It's not a topic that's going away. This is a longer editorial than usual and you can thank Ava and C.I. for that because they touch on the topic in their posted commentary; however, the original version contained more and they gladly let us raid it for this editorial. It's one of the longest we ever did. As it should be, it's an important topic.

TV: A very strange week -- Ava and C.I. note first that Medium was added to the our permalinks during the writers strike. They couldn't review the show then, as they wanted to, due to the strike. So when it started airing new episodes, it got added to the links. You can stream episodes online by using the link. This was just going to be a review of Medium. All week, I asked them if they could work some news and they said "no." Then they caught Gwen's act on Washington Week, where she called Hillary "that woman," and felt they could do an article that was both a review of an entertainment program and a think piece. In coming up with the title, I was stymied until I noticed how often they used the word "strange" in their commentary. Ty's checking the e-mails and already three have written including Josie who hails it as "out of the park! Home run!" The commentary, that is, not my title. As Mike would say, ":D."

Quick Talk -- Went on a little bit longer than planned but still not a roundtable. By going a bit longer, we got things such as Betty's statements near the end which are sure to be a crowd pleaser as she offers what Cedric's affectionately dubbed "Deep Wisdoms from the South." In this feature, you'll find topics we had planned to write about this week. We also planned to run together C.I.'s commentary on Basra throughout the week. We didn't have time. It is what it is, Kat would say. Jess just hollers breakfast is almost ready. (He has breakfast duty this morning.)

Our problem with Jeremy Scahill -- The title. Dona said, "This feature is going to result in e-mails asking what everyone's already asking, 'What's your problem with Jeremey Scahill?'" She wasn't objecting to the article, just noting what was in store. Good, I said, let's call it that. This is our problem with Scahill. This is why he didn't get highlighted for his applause lines at Winter Soldier. This is why the piece he co-wrote with Naomi Klein last week was ignored by all community sites despite the fact that when Naomi writes about Iraq, we highlight, we link. We actually think the problem is Jeremy Scahill, but the title's there for any who need an out.

Idiots -- C.I. and Elaine objected to this title. "Do you want to suggest something or wait for me to come up with another title?" I asked them. We were all tired. Some titles are to the point. I agree with the title and you know Jess does.

Crackpot Stephen Zunes expressing Hillary Hatred -- Why would a publication give an editor billing on an article to begin with? Who knows. But having billed someone as 'editor,' you'd think the 'editor' would actually want to do the work. Zunes certainly didn't do the work. Then the 'editor' didn't. Then Foreign Policy in Focus didn't. And we all know Common Dreams will repost anything without any concern over facts -- remember when they posted a slam at CBS when it was actually NBC that is owned by GE?

Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Betty, Elaine, Rebecca, Wally, Cedric and Marcia wrote this and we thank them for it.

And there you have it. Except for "Quick Talk" all the features ran in the print edition. They had two articles covered in "Quick Talk" that never fleshed out well enough to rate being included here. We're eating and going to bed. (C.I.'s actually posting to The Common Ills first.) We'll see you next week.

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

Added: Maya Angelou's provided a Women's History Month commentary on Tuesday at Hillary Clinton's site and we've added it "Maya Angelou for Women's History Month."

Editorial: Damn or defend?

Jeremiah Wright, pastor, mentor, friend, confidante and all round roll dog of Barack Obama damned the United States from the puplit. In his role as pastor, he called upon the Lord to damn the United States of America. And the candidate did nothing.

And Barack Obama still claims he's qualified to be president of the United States?

When you're in the midst of a scandal that's rocking the nation, what do you do? Obama pulled a John Kerry and rushed off to the Virgin Islands for a little R&R as the scandal continued brewing despite his nearly 5,000 pretty words that said nothing. Then he returned to the US and, sure enough, booked himself an interview with last century's Mother Confessor, Babara Walters. As Ava and C.I. note, he told Walters Friday:

Had the reverend not retired. Had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church.

First off, Wright never apologized and doesn't appear to feel he has anything to apologize for. Why should he when so many in the media declare the damning of the entire country a non-issue?

Jake Tapper (ABC News) was among the few to notice the claim that Wright had apologized. He called the Obama campain and was told it was clear that Bambi never said Wright had apologized. Clear? Tapper:

Okay, except Obama wasn't "clearly" saying that at all.

Here's a clear way to say that: 'Had the reverend not retired I would have confronted him about his remarks. If after that Wright still refused to acknowledge that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I think is the great character of this country -- for all its flaws -- then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying there at the church.'

Barack Obama did not say that on The View at all. He told lies and probably fooled a number watching. Obama wasn't leaving. Wright offered no apology.

The comments in question (including attacks on Jewish persons and Andrea Mitchell reported

on NBC's Today Thursday that he slimed Italians as "garlic noses") didn't take place a month ago or two months ago. They are years old.

Let's review through what Obama said on The View Friday.

Had the reverend not retired. Had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church

But Obama did in fact stay at the church. Obama stayed with that church for twenty years. Obama did not leave in 2001 or in 2002 or 2003 or . . . He stayed.

Now it's hard to follow what Obama himself heard Wright say because Bambi's been all over the map. Sometimes he's claimed he didn't hear anything in the sermons when he attended. (We would assume he'd be in church nearly ever Sunday prior to heavy campaigning for the US Senate in 2004.) In his lengthy speech two Tuesday ago, he suddenly stated he had heard some things. We have no idea which it is because he's lied repeatedly.

But here's reality. It was his community church. He lived in the community. If something significant (appalling or agreeable to the congregation) was said, Obama would have heard of it. He would have heard while getting his hair cut, he would have heard of it at work. He would have heard about it while going about his daily routine before being sworn in as a US Senator in 2005. Prior to that and after, it is not unreasonable to expect that a phone call would also be a means to provide news of any sermon he missed.

For 20 years, Wright was his pastor. For 20 years, Bambi was fine and dandy with that arrangement, hailing the man as his mentor, showering him with praise. When did the relationship become uncomfortable for Bambi? It appears that was only when ABC's Good Morning America broadcast excerpts of Wright's sermons.

After that happened and Americans were shocked that someone running for president would be okay with the cry to damn the US, Bambi becomes uncomfortable? Suddenly, he's stating that (a) if Wright hadn't retired, (b) he would have confronted Wright.

Really? Whose word are we supposed to take on that? Obama's?

Obama's lied non-stop throughout this, he's changed stories repeatedly. Here's reality, his pastor -- among many other offenses -- damned the United States of America from the front of the church in a sermon and Obama was fine and dandy with that for years.

As C.I. noted Wednesday:

The president of the United States is expected to defend the US. But when Wright damned the US, you didn't leave the church. You still haven't called him out on it or distanced yourself from his remarks damning the US. You want to be the leader of the US and America's not even sure you can be counted onto verbally defend the US because Wright damned the country and you did nothing.

[. . .]

The people of the United States have a right to expect that someone running for president will defend the country. Barack Obama has yet to prove that defending the US is a concern for him.

He didn't defend the country when he was already serving in the Illinois legislature with dreams of being a US Senator and more and Wright was damning the United States. He went along with it. He was okay with it. He didn't leave the church, he didn't call Wright out. He just kept going to a church where the pastor would damn the United States.

Damn or defend? Exactly what can voters count on Barack Obama to do?

To his credit, Barack Obama himself didn't damn the United States but, equally true, he didn't defend the United States. He wants to be the leader of the country now and wants Americans to think he's up for the job. But when it came to facing down a two-bit hate monger, Barack buckled. He never did that. Now he wants Americans to think that he can stand up for the country, that he can lead the country. But he showed no leadership in his dealings with Wright or his remaining with the church.

He demonstrated that when the US is verbally attacked, he can ignore it. He can ignore it and go along with it, give his agreement to the damning by continuing to attend the church.

That's not leadership and it's not presidential.

Now Panhandle Media really hopes this goes away. They're convinced it will. But it's been nearly two weeks since Bambi gave his speech and it's still not going away. Not only is it not going away, but now comes the pushback to hype, reality.

The media largely dismissed what Wright said and largely praised Bambi's non-addressing the damning of America. But that's not how it's playing across America. And now people are weighing and they will continue to do so. They will not be silenced by a media cry or a campaign telling them that it's no big deal because, to many Americans, the damning of this country is a very big deal.

Some examples from last week. Brad Warthen (South Carolina's The State) offers:

Folks, I'm an American history major, and I've lived in this country for most of 54 years. What part of the rather sketchy overview in that sermon do you think I didn't know already? If I'd been sermonizing, I could have added a lot to it -- including the fact that the blood offering of the Civil War, as horrific as it was, seems to have been an inevitable sacrifice to expiate the sin of slavery. And I would have said the evil didn't end there, nor could it, there being original sin in the world, and no one of us since Jesus Christ born free of it.
But I wouldn't have said "G** Damn America." Not in a million years. For me, the point of bringing up evil is to try to overcome it -- as I believe two people Mr. Darby mentions (King and Bonhoeffer) were trying to do.
Sorry, but I can't accept that the Rev. Wright was saying "things that challenge America to rise above its sins of prejudice and greed." No, if he'd said America was in danger of damnation, or headed straight thataway, rather as Jesus said to the Pharisees
in the example cited by my colleague Warren Bolton this week, that might have been seen as a challenge, perhaps even a well-intentioned warning. (Personally, although he had more right, being God, than anyone else to do so, I don't remember Jesus ever damning anything more sentient than a fig tree.)
But Mr. Wright didn't call on us to do anything. Instead, he called on G** to damn America.

Wes Isley (Yes! Weekly) writes:

Imagine if Obama were white and attended some hellfire-and-brimstone church where the pastor railed against women in leadership and homosexuals, and trotted out all manner of conspiracy theories about the US government as if they were fact. In this scenario, I'm convinced the Democratic party would abandon such a candidate, and the media would brand the guy an ignorant hick. But because Obama is biracial, he's been given a pass. We're told that the Rev. Wright's comments must be heard in the correct context, with the proper racial history, and they would all make sense. This sounds suspiciously like the arguments used by some whites who say flying the Confederate flag is simply a matter of heritage.

In an open letter to Obama, sports columnits Jason Whitlock (Kansas City Star) explains in the preface:

Yeah, the defenders of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the people pleading for context and understanding of his irrational, unpatriotic and borderline racist words, are the same people who clamored for Imus’ removal and claimed context had no place in the discussion of Imus’ inappropriate description of female basketball players at Rutgers.
I am not political. Dishonesty is so pervasive within politics that I practice abstinence. Conservative and liberal ideologies are the enemies of common sense. I’m a nonvoting, casual observer.

Whitlock, though non-political, has been a supporter of Obama (his open letter is a plea for Obama to address the damning of America). Whitlock's column was published last Sunday (and he thought it would be passed to Obama by Oprah, whom he'd sent it to in advance). Still nothing on the damning of America unless those pitiful remarks on The View were supposed to 'address' it.

Among those weighing last week were Jeffrey Weiss (Dallas Morning News), Craig Unger (Vanity Fair), Bruce Fisher (ArtVoice), Joe Klein (Time magazine), Gene Lyons and Joe Wilson (via No Quarter) who observed:

Among other things, Wright preaches that the United States government unleashed the HIV virus in Africa to kill blacks. (Having worked in African for much of my adult life, including with one of the early AIDS researches, Dr. Jonathan Mann, I can safely say that there is absolutely no evidence to sustain Wright's reckless charge.) Obama had no choice but to address his 20-year close relationship with a man he still considers, as he made clear in his speech, a mentor.

It is not and has not gone away. The media reaction to Bambi's speech (nearly 100% praise) only enraged people more and it's the perfect example of how the press so often gets it wrong when trying to shape opinion. If you're offended or slightly offended and it's acknowledged that you have a right to be, you may move on. You may not, but most people just want to be acknowledged and, as Wally's favorite day care worker used to tell him when he was young (ten through 13), "This isn't Burger King, you don't always get to have it your way." But the media didn't acknowledge that many Americans were offended or that many Americans didn't feel that Barack Obama even addressed it well in the overly praised speech (only 51% gave the speech approval marks in the PEW survey taken after the media had heavily pimped the bad speech as right up there with "Four score and twenty . . .").

When that happens, opinions harden. When a significant portion of Americans see that their beliefs weren't even acknowledged (forget about agreed with), opinion hardens which is why we said last week that Wright is toxic and viral. Most were already agreeing he was toxic. That is why, after all, Bambi gave that lengthy speech. But people weren't seeing that it was also a viral issue. We noted that conversations would take place in church parking lots on Sunday. They did. They took place all last week. And while opinion hardened, what did Bambi do?

Like his new mentor John Kerry in 2004, Bambi went on vacation. [See Wally, Cedric, Rebecca, Wally and Cedric again and Mike]. He hoped it would go away. It didn't. That was his first tactic. While he was out of the country, Hillary Clinton was asked what she would do had she been attending Wright's church -- first by an editorial board and then asked in an open press conference. CNN reported:

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Clinton referenced a speech she gave nearly a year ago after talk-radio host Don Imus' controversial remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. "I said it was time for standing up for what is right, for saying enough is enough, for urging that we turn a culture of degradation into a culture of empowerment, for saying that while we of course must protect our right of free expression, it should not be used as a license or an excuse to demean or humiliate our fellow citizens. Sen. Obama spoke eloquently at that time as well," she said. "Everyone will have to decide these matters for themselves. They were obviously very personal matters," Clinton added. "But I was asked what I would do if he was my pastor and I said I think the choice would be clear for me."

With the issue not fading, the Obama campaign tried tactic two: Trash Hillary. The problem with that is "lunch-bucket Democrats" (a popular phrase now being used by all the press, but we first saw the phrase used by Taylor Marsh) trust Hillary Clinton for a reason, she generally responds to issues the same way they do. Hillary and Bill didn't leave their own mansion to move to the White House in January 1993. Unlike the Obamas, they owned no mansion. They don't have to work at relating to the working class because they understand that section of America very well. Both have been criticized for their listening tours but the thing is people want to be listened to. That's difficult for those supporting Bambi to grasp because he is a candidate who TALKS AT YOU and NOT WITH YOU. (Which is why he's attracted cult-like groupies in need of "Dear Leader.")

So tactics one and two didn't work, it was time for tactic three. Obama declared publicly that focusing on Wright was preventing discussions of Iraq. When has Obama ever offered a public discussion on Iraq? Forget discussion, when on the campaign trail has he ever offered anything but a bumper sticker on the topic? He's not. It takes a lot of nerve after over a year of campaigning for him to claim that Wright is preventing him from talking about Iraq. No one bought it, though many wondered how stupid he thought the average American was, so it was time for tactic five, show up on The View and lie, guessing that Barbara was so smitten with you she wouldn't challenge your lies.

Barack wants to be president of the United States but he can't even defend the United States when his pastor damns it. He can't even walk away from that church. He stayed silent, he continued going and then, after his pastor retired, wants to say, "If he hadn't retired [years later], I would have left or I would have confronted him." What should a president have done?

We'd argue a president should have immediately left. We'd argue a president also should have made known to the pastor why he or she was leaving. Barack didn't do, here's the word, a damn thing.

Damn or defend.

Jim was on the phone with Ava mid-week while C.I. was dictating the snapshot noting that and claimed it for the editorial because it does break it down so perfectly. Do you expect a president to damn or defend the country?

If you expect him or her to damn the country, then you're okay with the fact that Barack Obama did nothing. You're okay that with him acting cowardly and being silent in the fact of the country being damned, you're okay with him choosing his mentor over the United States. But if you're expecting that a president -- or someone who wants to be that -- defends the country, then like many Americans you're taking part in conversations with friends and family asking where does he get off running for president when he couldn't even stand up for America?

Damn or defend.

It's really that simple.

TV: A very strange week

Gwen Ifill's off her meds again. We realized that was the message Friday's Washington Week on PBS was attempting to convey as host Gwen declared, "There are a lot of unanswered questions about that woman." She was referring to US Senator Hillary Clinton currently running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination but the way she intoned, we were thinking back to That Hamilton Woman which starred Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier and was once seen as providing powerful performances from both actors, peformances worthy of study and praise. But things change and history has a way of ripping credit from women. So these days Vivien Leigh is mainly spoken of for her illnesses and all her many acting accomplishments are little noted. Olivier? Even all the rumors about Olivier didn't kill the excitement over his acting, but, then, he's a man.

We remembered Medium and that made us think of Agnes of God. In that film, method actors Jane Fonda and Anne Bancroft gave tremendous performances, not just individually; in fact, it was the matchup between the two actresses onscreen that was most riveting. And we thought about how two Method actress co-starring wasn't something that garnered endless exploration; however, let Lee Strasberg students Al Pacino and Robert De Niro appear in the same film and it's 'news!' The way the no-sparks-on-screen in Heat qualified as 'news' and something to still reference and the way advance publicity on Righteous Kill has done the same. Fonda and Bancroft, two Academy Award winning actresses team up and most of the gas bags on acting still act as if it never happened. Kind of the way they can never shut up about Rober De Niro's weight gain (so committed!) for Raging Bull while acting as if they're unaware that Fonda put on many pounds to play the lead in The Dollmaker.

This seaon, Medium's offered sparks between Patricia Arquette (who stars as Allison) and Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston. It's provided tension and levels that have taken the show in an entirely new direction and Huston's giving the best performance of any guest actor on a series this decade. That's a credit to both women but let's focus on Houston for a minute because her incredible performance has received very little attention.

Huston could be starring in Anjie! if she wanted. She's a big enough name that she could have her own sitcom. She could also plug herself easily into one of Dick Wolf's cookie-cutter roles by making one simple phone call. Instead, she's guest starring on Medium and playing a very complex role in terms of what we accept from TV dramas in that she's not going for likeable.

"Oh, she's the bitch," you say. No, she's not playing that role either. This isn't Huston does Joan Collins. She's playing a difficult, cantankerous person -- a role many men are allowed to essay on television but few women. And Cynthia, her character, is not suffering from a disorder which is the only way a female guest star gets offered the opportunity to show true range in most dramas. As if America needs that 'out' when a woman's not all smiles and sunshine.

Cynthia's a missing persons investigator and she's sought out Allison for help. Backstory, Medium wrapped up a multi-arc story last May which found Allison outed by the press (guest star Neve Campbell) as a pscyhic which led to her losing her job for the district attorney and district attorney Manuel Devalos (Miguel Sandoval) losing his job. That season also featured Allison's husband Joe as the victim of work place violence when a crazed former employee held employees hostage. Since the company was awarded government contracts and doing classified work, the fact that the work environment was not secured meant that Joe should be receiving much money in a lawsuit against his company. With the outing of his wife as a psychic, no one wanted to represent Joe after his attorney walked.

All of that's to explain that Allison and Joe, who have three daughters, need money. They are very much in debt with creditors hounding them constantly. So when Cynthia shows up with a job offer, it really didn't matter what she was like, Allison needed the money. That plot device has allowed Huston to really bring dark shades to Cynthia who frequently snaps at Allison, mocks Allison's abilities and provides new meaning to the term "prickly."

With Arquette, Huston has an actress every bit her equal and, as with Fonda and Bancroft, far less interesting are the numerous individual details they're bringing to the scenes. Those are important, no question. But what you watch instead is the powerful duo of actresses and how they mesh and how they clash. While Huston is easily giving the strongest guest performance of the decade, equally true is that the performances the two give as a duo should be legendary already.

And in a fair world, it would be. But we don't live in that world, do we? We were reminded of that on Friday when Bill Moyers Journal offered up yet another take on race in the United States -- a topic we would have assumed he'd exhausted already this year going as far as he wanted to in conversations with Dr. Kathy, interviews with Shelby Steele, etc. March is, after all, Women's History Month and it will apparently end without Moyers ever exploring it. Rather strange with it being Women's History Month and on the heels of CBS News poll which found:

Voters are slightly more likely to say that a woman candidate faces more obstacles than a black candidate when it comes to presidential politics even as they see racism as a more serious problem for the nation overall, according to a new CBS News poll. Thirty nine percent of registered voters said a woman running for president faces more obstacles while 33 percent said a black candidate does.

But TV's rather strange these days. Let's return to Washington Week for further evidence. If you visit the website of the program, you'll read: "New polls showing Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton in dead heat . . ." That wasn't a point the gas bags appeared to grasp.

Joining Gwen were James Barnes of National Journal, Doyle McManus of The Los Angeles Times, Jeanne Cumming of bad online media and AP's Charles Babington. (Babington, the hair was perfect, truly. No sarcasm.) And there was a great deal of 'churce' (as Spencer Tracy would pronounce it) morsels of what passed for 'revelations' but only revealed how shallow the discussion was. Doyle and James embarrassed themselves so frequently that it was difficult to tell them apart after a few minutes.

One offered, "She's thousands behind! If you don't count Florida and Michigan." Thanks for the add-on but shouldn't a press be aware that a presidential election in November will take place in all fifty states? Shouldn't a press not be concerned with the talking points of the Obama campaign and report the facts which is Hillary isn't behind due to Florida and Michigan?

If there's a re-vote, by all means, replace the votes. But there was a vote in both states and Hillary won both primaries. While it may not be in the Obama campaign's best interest to include those totals, the press is supposed to report what happened and what happened in those states' primaries was that Hillary won. "If you don't count"? Why wouldn't the press count them? They took place, millions voted. More people voted in the Florida primary, for example, than took part in all the primaries and caucuses before Florida combined. If you're the press, not the Obama campaign, and you're talking about the popular vote, there's no reason not to include Florida and Michigan. The press reports what happened. What happened is that Florida and Michigan voted. The delegates may be in dispute but there's no question that voters in both states showed up at the polls and no question about who won.

Another "churce" bit was this, "The voters seem to ask about healthcare so it's up to us to ask larger questions." This was in relation to the non-stop nonsense regarding Hillary's flight to Bosnia. The public cares about healthcare but the press focuses on "larger questions"?

We haven't seen that in the bulk of the coverage. What we have seen is tear down a candidate with a record to lift up one with no-record. Jeanne was her usual idiot self so we'll just ignore her the same way we ignore her 'news' 'outlet.' (We look forward to Gwen sitting down with Perez Hilton at the roundtable soon since he has more traffic than Jeanne's outlet and is, honestly, more photogenic than Jeanne.)

James made a point we applauded but Gwen stuck to the scripted narrative. On Jeremiah Wright, Barack's pastor, mentor and friend of over 20 years, James got in, "But I don't think it's passed." Gwen wasn't interested. The press had declared two weeks prior that it was over, so, in Gwen's mind, it's over. Someone forgot to pass that memo on to Andrea Mitchell. Thursday on NBC's Today, this was reported [you can hear or view a podcast at Today]:

Andrea Mitchell: And now even more controversy regarding Rev. Wright. An internet search reveals church bulletins over the past year with controversial pastor pages from the reverand. Some reprint anti-Israel writings from a range of people -- from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to an advisor to Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farkahn of the Nation of Islam and Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook. One of Marzook's columns, reprinted by the church from the Los Angeles Times, says "Why should any Palestinian recognize the monstrous crimes carried out by Israel's founders and continued by its deformed modern apartheid state?" Obama told the Jerusalem Post the church was outrageously wrong to reprint the article and he denounced Hamas. And Trumpet, a magazine run by Wright's daughters quotes him as saying "White supremacy is clearly in charge" and slurring Italian's quote "garlic noses" and he also calls Jesus' crucifixion "a public lynching Italian style."

We've already had the damning of the United States from Wright, now we learned that he insulted Italians as well. For the record, we're aware of no connection to the African slave trade on Italy's part and wasn't that the reason Obama's nearly 5,000 word speech offered to excuse Wright's damning of America? Wasn't that the excuse hidden behind: "There was slavery!" And, of course, "There was Jim Crow!" As if either excused a pastor standing in front of a church and calling down damnation upon the United States in his role of person of God? It was a hateful thing to say and now we get even more evidence of the hate and Gwen doesn't want to explore the issue.

That's really amazing.

But it was a pretty amazing week. While the gasbags of Washington Week continued to offer their "It's over, Hillary, pack it in!" nonsense (despite Gwen's statement the week before that "If they want to have a fight all summer long, we'll cover it all summer long"), it was left to Joe Scarborough, of all people, to make some sense last week.

Appearing on MSNBC's Race for the White House (Taylor Marsh provides video here), he confronted a pompous Brit named Richard Wolf who insisted that the press ("we") decide.

Joe Scarborough: 'We'? You said that's how 'we' decided it? If that's the way the Democratic Party decided it then they wouldn't have super delegates! Let me tell you what 'we' love to do. 'We' in the media love to tell everybody, which 'we' have been telling everybody for months, that the numbers don't add for Hillary Clinton, she can't get enough delegates . . . Well guess what? The numbers don't add up for Barack Obama but 'we' don't tell that side of the story, do 'we'?" The super delegates are the rules of the Democratic Party and they can go any way they want.

It's a thought that's never occured to Gwen or multiple gasbags. They just keep working from the Obama talking points and calling what they do journalism.

As if Joe Scarborough as a voice of reason wasn't a big enough shock for the week, Friday we caught ABC's The View and saw Joy Behar proving to America that you really do get the face you deserve after forty. At this point, she's practically an overstuffed chair with a nozzle attachment. Behar used her time to ask 'pressing' questions to guest Barack Obama, such as how he was related to the actor Brad Pitt. We'll assume that was one of those "larger questions" that the 'infantile' public just doesn't think to probe the candidates about.

Barbara Walters was present. Despite offering that she found Obama "sexy," she then tried to summon up the authority she once held (and squandered) as a host of 20/20 asking, "When I just talked about you saying no member -- anybody doing that wouldn’t be working for me and you said its because the reverend has retired. Had the reverend not retired, were he still there, would you then have left the church or have said I just can't have anything to do with him?"

For those who've paid attention as the Wright scandal has unfolded, prepare to chuckle at Bambi's response: "Had the reverend not retired. Had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church."

Wright spewed hatred for 20 years.

Which part was offensive to Bambi?

Wright's never apologized so what's this nonsense about him having "acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate"? Wright retired in January. Bambi was a member for 20 years. The excerpts getting media coverage from his sermons, the chuch bulletin notes Andrea Mitchell highlighted, did not take place this year or last. He has a long body of work but we're supposed to believe Bambi that he would have stepped down when, in fact, for 20 years he was just fine with it, just fine attending the church, being a member, soaking up the hate Wright rained down.

It was a very strange week and reminded us of a recent episode of Medium where Allison learned that a state senator supporting Manuel's campaign (for his old job as district attorney) was actually a canibal; Allison repeatedly explained what she was seeing and repeatedly was ignored, dismissed or just not believed. The man was 'charming' so the truth didn't matter and, in that storyline of Medium, we felt as if we were seeing the press coverage of the Democratic Party primary critiqued.

Allison's a mortal. That may be confusing to some. It confused The New York Times last year when a columnist felt the need to decry the show and others as a sign of our societal decay. Apparently someone's parents didn't let her watch Bewitched, The Girl With Something Extra, The Flying Nun, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman or The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. The New York Times saw in Medium evidence of a society trying to escape. As if 'reality' programming doesn't already provide that?

Actually what Patricia Arquette so strongly conveys is a woman who cannot escape. Not only does she have a gift/power that brings her problems, it's been passed on to at least two of her three daughters. Allison's a fighter and Arquette captures that as well as the price she sometimes pay for being that. It's a very complex performance (and an Emmy award winning one) that Arquette continues to provide but it is also a story of one woman trying to make a difference. It's amazing how quickly a show revolving around such a storyline, a program revolving around a woman, is reduced to societal decay by The New York Times.

But hasn't it also been amazing to watch the coverage of Hillary Clinton and the fawning over Barack Obama; That was captured perfectly on Friday's Washington Week. Remember that we told you Gwen passed over exploring whether Jeremiah Wright was having any impact on the Obama campaign even when James Barnes was attempting to interject that he didn't think it has passed? What you may not have caught is that Doyle McManus offered nothing of value. Is it having an effect? Doyle could have spoken to that but elected not to leaving us, again, surprised.

See, we caught Doyle's act Friday morning on the first hour of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show. Doyle was dismissive of any fallout over Jeremiah Wright then as well. But, funny thing, actual news happened during that broadcast. A caller from Dallas, Texas, named John, phoned in to explain that he voted and caucused for Barack Obama and had been selected as a delegate. The process now is for the state to determine which ones selected got o Colorado in August. But John was explaining that he could no longer support Barack Obama; Why? Because of the revealations about Jeremiah Wright's hate speech. Doyle, on Rehm's program, declared it was "buyer's remorse." Somehow, on PBS' Washington Week, when the issue of Wright was brought up, Doyle didn't think John was worth mentioning, didn't think a pledged delegate announcing he could no longer support Barack Obama due to Wright was anything worth sharing.

It was a very strange week and the thing we had to keep reminding ourselves is that Medium is scripted but our 'news' and 'public' affairs programs aren't supposed to be. NBC is airing Medium now on Monday's in prime time's final hours. The program also streams episodes online. In the latest storyline, viewers learned that, last decade, Cynthia's daughter was kidnapped. Allison had clues but Cynthia didn't want to believe her. Allison's one fictional woman fighting for her truth. In the real world, Hillary Clinton is among the many doing so.

Quick Talk

Jim: This isn't a roundtable. We're calling it "Quick Talk" and using it to cover a few topics we didn't get to in this edition. 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 SICKOFITRDLZ. If there's an illustration when you read this, Betty's oldest son did it. If there's not, no one had the time to mess with Flickr. As Mike, Betty, Elaine, Rebecca, Wally, Cedric, Marcia and Kat note in "Highlights," I place holds on a number of topics. We'll start with Betty on a topic we never got to here this week.

Betty: Thursday Marcia posted "Jeremiah Wright's words are offensive!" and it needs to be noted. As someone who also belongs to a Black church, it needs to be stressed that, no, all Black churches do not damn the United States and that, yes, it offensive that the media narrative has been this is just something that "those people" do. Repeating, we do not do that. I checked with everyone at work Friday and no one goes to a Black church that damns the United States. I asked, "Would you stay with a church that did?" The response was a universal "no." White media needs to stop acting like this is a "Black thang." It's not our thing. It was one church's offensive way of 'knowing God,' but it is not reflective of the Black culture and I will not be silent while the media tries to imply that it is thereby questioning the patriotism of every Black American. It's insulting and it's offensive. Good for Marcia for blogging on it.

Jim: And Betty planned to guest blog on it at Rebeca's site Friday until she found out I had placed a hold on the topic hoping we'd get to it this week, which we did not do. My apologies. Ty and Cedric are also members of Black churches. Do either of you, or Marcia, have anything you want to add on the topic?

Cedric: If I see one more African-American minister, pastor, preacher, what have you get on TV or tell a reporter for a newspaper that it's not a big deal, I'm going to scream. The immediate follow up is, "Do you damn the United States in your church?" If the answer is no -- and the answer will be no -- the next question is, "Why not?" Because it's not appropriate for a church leader to call down damnation upon the country we live in. This is just like O.J. or when Michael Jackson gets into another scandal. Suddenly, all the useless people go rushing to the microphones to defend them. Jeremiah Wright's words are not defensible. It is not a Black thing. It is an appalling thing. And usually with this, we get to be appalled as alleged Black leaders defend child molestation or a man killing his wife. Today we're getting defense of calling on God to damn the United States. It's disgusting. African-American voices need to leave the knee-jerk reaction to defend any African-American at the door. It's not helpful and, like Betty just said and Marcia wrote, the message coming out is "That's what those people do in their churches." No, it's not. It needs to stop because the message being sent out is that to be Black is to be less patriotic than White people. It needs to stop.

Ty: I'll just back up the others. It's not how it is in my current church, it's not how it was in the church I was raised in. If it had happened, as Marcia wrote, the congregation would have fired the pastor. It's unacceptable.

Jim: Marcia?

Marcia: Like Ty just said, I agree with everyone. I'm appalled that so many Black 'leaders' are so eager to prop up one man who doesn't deserve it that they've yet to realize the message their lies are conveying to America. It is saying very loudly and very clearly that African-Americans are okay with the damning of the United States. We're all being tarred and feathered as unpatriotic as a result. Black 'leaders' need to get their s**t together because I'm not about to stand for that.

Jim: Okay we'll go on to the next topic. This is Kat or Rebecca and I'm not sure which one of you wants to grab it.

Kat: Go to Rebecca.

Rebecca: Okay, well this was Women's History Month. It's about to be April. We saw nothing noting Women's History Month for the most part. We did see Hillary Clinton's website celebrate it regularly. Otherwise, nothing. C.I.'s laughing. Let me stop.

C.I.: I'm sorry. You know it wasn't at you. When you mentioned Obama, I nodded to Ava to grab the notes solo so I could pull up Obama's site. He does note Women's History Month in some form. But Obama 'o8, his official site, has a new name. Want to guess what it is? "Obama for America."

Jim: Everyone is laughing. For those not getting it, Wright damned the US and Obama's been unable to contain the fallout from that. So now he's changed the name of his campaign site to "Obama for America." That's hilarious. Okay, Rebecca.

Rebecca: Let me stop laughing. Or let me explain, I did p.r. for years and ran my own p.r. firm. That's just hilarious and such a bungle you'd assume the 'geniuses' behind Rudy G's campaign were now working for him. But, as Ava and C.I. point out, where was Bill Moyers during Women's History Month. And the feature we were going to write on this was going to open by noting Elaine so let me ask her to talk about what never got mentiomed outside of her own site.

Elaine: Hillary won in Texas and Ohio at the start of this month. While many predicted her losing, she won. And all Panhandle Media could offer was their usual Hillary Hatred. Which was a real shame because Hillary's victory came on a significant date in Women's History. On March 4th, Hillary won the primaries in Texas and Ohio and it could have been, and should have been, mentioned that this was a historically significant day. 91 years before -- March 4, 1917 -- Jeannette Rankin was sworn in as the first female member of the US Congress. Other than Ava and C.I., I believe we were all glued to the TV or radio on March 4th of this year and I did make a point to watch three cable shows the next day. I never, in all the gas baggery on TV or in any I read, saw anyone make that point. If Women's History truly mattered, at least one person in Panhandle Media would've noted Hillary's two big wins, in big states, came on the day that, 91 years before, a woman finally got into the US Congress. That was historic, in 1917 and this month.

Rebecca: I would agree with that. And I'm going to toss to Kat who wrote the wonderful "Not that into Ms. these days" on Friday.

Kat: Well it's shameful. Hillary Clinton is in a dead heat with Barack Obama for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. Cynthia McKinney seems very likely the choice for the Green Party. Where is Ms. magazine? I'm sick of it. I'm sick of their bulls**t. I'm sick of their, "We can't offend the push-up bra set." The push-up bra set already slams you. You didn't have to endorse Hillary or Cynthia to cover them. You only had to appreciate that they were history makers. The contests continue and Ms. has done nothing on them when they should have had, at the very least, a blogger covering it for their site -- which posts no new content, only reposts some of the articles from the magazine. That's a magazine that comes out four times a year and they want to be an online presence? Get real.

Jim: That came up in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin and I placed a hold on it as well. Kat ignored it, as anyone can, and wrote about it on Friday/Saturday. I'm not sure when it went up. But it's a great post and what I wanted to note was regardless of how feminist you feel Ms. is, it's supposed to be a magazine covering women. As Kat notes, there are two women who could get their party's presidential nomination. Why isn't their a blog covering that at Ms.? It's embarrassing. They, of all outlets, should be covering it. And Kat's exactly right that after the election, if they had done a daily blog, they'd have the material to issue a book all ready, it could be the equivalent of The Boys On The Bus. Instead, they've done nothing and there's no excuse for that because you don't have to be on the bus to cover it. As The New York Times noted last week in a front page story, most newspapers do not have anyone on the bus or plane. The Obama campaign was their example and they noted that reporters are charged $2,000 a day to travel with the campaign on their plane. Due to that, most are filing by catching videos online and other things. Most outlets are filing that way. I think that's pretty sorry, and credit to The Times for actually having reporters with the campaigns, but there was nothing preventing Ms. from blogging on Hillary and Cynthia.

Dona: And Jim's point is not that it should be left up to Ms. His point is that we're all aware of how women are overlooked and due to that awareness and Ms.' natural scope, Ms. damn well should have been covering those two women's campaigns. As Kat notes, we don't need their crappy cover stories in their August issue about First Wives. We have two trail blazing women seeking their party's presidential nomination. How wonderful -- that's sarcasm -- of Ms. to sit this out. It's shameful. I want to get Ava and or C.I. to comment on this.

Ava: Kat, can you grab my remarks?

Kat: Yeah. Hold on. Okay, go.

Ava: You'll probably only get me because one of the computers C.I.'s been trying to upload Isaiah's comic for two hours and 15 minutes now just uploaded it and C.I.'s posting it. Okay, C.I. and I have raised this issue with friends at Ms. from the start when we weren't endorsing Hillary, when we were staying away from endorsements. We weren't even thinking about who we would vote for. And what we got back was that it might offend some women. As that continued, it became it might offend a legal 'expert' who often contributes and it might offend some readers. That's a load of crap. And I said so at the time. C.I. was a little bit nicer, as is to be expected, but the thrust of C.I.'s remarks was "that's a load of crap" as well. As Jim and Dona have pointed out, Ms. knows damn well, not should know, they know, that a woman candidate is always going to end up with less coverage than a male in the current press system. They also know that this is history in the making. For them to sit it out was offensive. And it was a total, my opinion, abdication of their responsiblities. My aunt, who has been published in Ms., is so appalled by this and she's far from the only one. You're done?

C.I.: I had already opened a window, hours ago, and done tags for the comic and written the description. I've just been waiting this entire time for the thing to upload to Flickr. Isaiah's comic is now up.

Dona: Your thoughts?

C.I.: Ava, were you finished?

Ava: Yes.

C.I.: Well, Ava basically outlined it. We did discuss this and started long before we were supporting Hillary in the Democratic primary. This was when there was a full field and Ava and I weren't discussing the primaries but I know I was seriously considering Bill Richards, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Hillary.

Ava: For me add Dennis Kucinich to that list, before he sold out and tried to give Bambi his supporters in Iowa.

C.I.: So this is when we started raising the issue. We weren't in Hillary's camp. She was a possiblity for us but on the same level as all we've named. And, as she pointed out, what we got was nonsense about possibly offending some women who might be supporting Bambi. Who the hell gives a damn? Seriously. Women's Media Center has not endorsed any candidate and they've managed to cover this historic race in the Democratic Party. So has Women's eNews.

Ty: We don't have a link on our permalinks to Womens Media Center. Mentioning that because five e-mails last week pointed it out.

C.I.: While Jim's doing the note, I'll add it. I wasn't aware they weren't already on the roster. But this is historic. And it was historic when Hillary was one of many choices. It's more historic as she's become the first woman to get this far and has a serious shot at being the nominee. I try not to slam Ms. Ava does as well. But I have no problem saying they have failed on in terms of the elections because both Hillary and Cynthia stand a good chance at winning their parties nominations and it should have been covered, it should have been covered regularly. Ava mentioned her aunt and that feeling is true of a lot of women who were there when Ms. started. They can't believe that the day has come when a woman can run for president and seriously have a shot at the nomination but Ms. isn't at all interested. This is an abdication, as Ava pointed out, of all Ms. is supposed to stand for, of all Ms. was created for. I mean, let's get serious, Wonder Woman on the cover was a nice throw back to their roots but Cynthia and Hillary are the roots sprouting and where is Ms.? It's really sad and it breaks my heart that a magazine so many of us have supported, donated money to, fought to keep alive would rather not risk offending someone than to cover history in the making. If we could go back in time right now and pop into the Ms. office the first year the magazine was up and running, if we could talk to the women busting their asses for the magazine and say, "In 2008, there are going to be two women with a good chance of winning their parties nomination. Would you cover it?" I think the reply would be yes, they would. I think the reply would be, "Not only will we cover it, we will do a special issue with both women on the cover." That cover can still come, of course. But not when it's documenting history in the making, only after it's been achieved.

Ava: And by "achieved," we mean the race itself. History has been made. Whatever else happens, whether the Greens go with someone other than Cynthia or the Democrats go with someone other than Hillary, or both parties go with someone else, two women have shown that women can run for president, that women can be electable, that women can garner huge support. At this point, a cover will only document that they won the nominations or that they lost. That's a little late to be noting history and, I agree with my aunt completely, it's, quoting, "f**king ridiculous that Ms. isn't covering this."

C.I.: And in those words or other words, that is the feeling of so many women who have read Ms. Again, there was nothing that required endorsing to cover history in the making.

Dona: I want it noted that any woman reading Ms., regardless of whom she supported, would immediately grasp that Hillary and Cynthia would be the focus of coverage due to the historic nature and the long struggle. You might have a few whiners, like the 'legal' expert who will never be highlighted at this or any other site again, but the bulk of the readers would be fine with it, regardless of whom they were supporting. And, Jim and Kat's point about online presence, it would have driven traffic to Ms. and that traffic would have included the MSM which would have felt required to occassionally cite Ms. because it was providing commentary Monday through Friday. They didn't do that. They have no blogs now and they have no way for readers to share their thoughts. As a young feminist, I find their non-action embarrassing. And, I'm with Kat, don't you dare do a cover on First Ladies again. I thought the 2004 cover story was crap-ass and that, in 2008, we have two women actually competing, still competing, and getting nothing from Ms., don't you dare file a First Lady this year or in the next election cycle. Do it this year and, I swear, I will do a solo piece crucifying Ms. I will nail the magazine to the wall and I know enough from Ava's aunt to make good on that promise. A First Lady piece would mean Hillary didn't get the nomination and possibly Cynthia as well. If that happens, feminist don't want anothe WEAK ASS cover story from Ms. on First Ladies. Leave that crap to Ladies' Home Journal.

Jim: Gee, honey, tell us how you really feel?

Dona: You think you're going to make me laugh right now, but you're not.

Jim: Okay. We're talking about endorsements and Ruth, Mike, Jess and Wally are down for this topic. Ruth, do you want to stay with this topic or do you want to grab Ms.?

Ruth: I am so torn. I'm going to go with Ms. Second wave feminism was my generation. And those who came after. But I started college when JFK was president and I wasn't a feminist then at least not labeled that way. I'd argue I wasn't when I started college but was leaning that way -- still with no label -- as I progressed through college. After college, I held down a job briefly while my husband finished medical school. Then I was children non-stop. And Ms. really made a difference in my life. My husband was not out of touch or someone who needed to be awakened. And I'm very lucky in that regard and should credit a female intern, when he was an intern, with making sure that was the case. Working side by side with her did have an impact as much as anything I did or said. But I could talk in the abstract and he could see it, while he was interning, right next to him. See that a woman could do anything she set her mind to. We only had boys. Every time I was pregant, we'd think, "This one will be a girl." All of our children were wanted but I won't pretend the last two pregnancies weren't planned with the hopes of a girl. I am probably babbling. But we would talk, before we found out it was another son, and my husband and I would both be excited that this child was going to be a girl who would not have the barriers that we saw for women when we were growing up. Tracey was our first granddaughter and everyone knows how much I love Tracey. We did not have a daughter that was able to run down the roads paved by so many others but we did have a granddaughter who was able to. And my husband was thrilled. If she ends up a doctor, it's as much because of him as it her father who is a doctor as well. He was teaching her the names for the bones before she was in first grade. And I think about that and I think about earlier when Ms. first emerged and how much hope and information it provided me, to me, and so many other women. Like C.I. said, it is really sad that they elected to sit this out. Like Ava, I see it as an abdication of their role, of their promised role. I know women who had daughters or, like me, got a granddaughter, and I now have three granddaughters which may seem like a lot until you add up all my grandchildren, and we really thought the future was going to be wide open for them. So it has been an intense shock to witness all the attacks on Senator Clinton and then to grasp that, as the attacks went on non-stop, Ms. magazine chose to sit it out.

Marcia: I'm a floater. I didn't sign up for any topic. But what Ruth said really moved me so I won't go to endorsements and will instead grab this topic unless anyone objects? Okay. No one objects. I'm listening to Ruth, a Jewish woman, and reminded of my mother, who is younger and African-American and she's made so many similar points to what Ruth just said. She's said it again and again throughout the election. There was a time, early on, when she was torn between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and then Barack used homophobia to campaign in South Carolina and that settled it. I'm her daughter and she's not going to condone homophobia. But so many women have come before. So many women have fought for this moment. And I really think Ms.' response has come off as "None of you mattered. None of the work you did matter." I don't think that was their intention but that is the message that was sent out by their being silent. If I can go on for just a moment more, I'm fully aware that the Bambi campaign has used the false charge of racism as a club to beat women down into silence. Hillary and Cynthia are women. If covering them means some idiot ended up screaming "racism" at Ms., so what? If Ms. can't stand up for women in real time, what's the point of the magazine even continuing?

Betty: I'm sorry, I've got to jump back in and I'll try to be brief. I know when we're done with this, we're done [with the edition]. But Marcia is so right that false charges of racism were used and are used repeatedly by the Bambi campaign and its surrogates. They have charged Gloria Steinem with it and Robin Morgan with it. Guess what Ms., this Black woman thinks you did an awful job. This Black woman is currently ashamed to be seen reading you because when women were falsely attacked, when they were attacked nationally, to silence them, you chose to be silent. You should be ashamed. You've dug yourself a big hole and I'm not sure you can get out of it. I have no interest in reading your magazine at present. Short of a lengthy mea culpa, I can't imagine ever plunking down a nickel for your magazine. Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan have fought for all women and have been there for Ms. That Ms. couldn't return that favor, couldn't return for all women, many of whom are now scared to speak against Bambi for fear of being labeled racist, is appalling. Your silence is not just shameful, it encourages the attacks on other women. You should be embarrassed and you should be considering right now, seriously, whether you issue a mea culpa or just close shop because there really isn't much else you have to offer. Apologize or cease publication. It's gotten so bad that The Nation has posted that idiot Gary Younge's attack on women, on Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem specifically. When a British transplant, who can't even vote in the election, feels he can tear into those two women, it happens for a reason and that reason is that feminist outlets allowed men to think there was a space created where it was safe to attack women. Shame on you, Ms. magazine, shame on you.

Jim: As usual, Betty will probably the biggest topic of praise in the e-mails on this roundtable. Betty, jump in anytime. And "Quick Talk," sorry, this isn't a roundtable proper. Okay, endorsement. We have three speakers left. Wally, Mike and Jess. I'm not sure how to go but think Jess should go last of the three and I may offer something after Jess.

Wally: Well I think Mike and my points would be the same and I'll yield to Mike for first dibs.

Mike: Some whiney non-regular readers have taken to e-mailing this site and Ty's passed that on to all of us. "Oh my goodness! You've endorsed Hillary!" Hillary's been endorsed for the Democratic Party. She is the best candidate. We did not endorse until there were two and not until the non-stop attacks on Hillary were ongoing. Wally and I were hoping to see John Edwards in the race, were hoping each week would be the week when he would fight back against Bambi's slanders. Now he may end up endorsing Bambi but I think a lot of people are deluding themselves arguing that he has to. Bambi attacked him in the debates over Iraq. He distorted John Edwards. He also whined about 527s and yet when his 527s turned around and did the same, he didn't call for them to stop. He ran a dirty campaign and John Edwards is among the many victims. Edwards may end up endorsing him but I'll lose all respect for him if he does. We have endorsed Hillary in the Democratic primary. C.I.'s endorsed her in the post-primary, you might argue, C.I. and Ava because their focus is the super delegates. But Bambi is bad for America, is bad for Venezuela, is a danger to Africa and we don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Wally: I think Mike outlined it well. If we had come out sooner for Hillary, no one would have been happier than my mother and grandfather who were both supporting her when there was a wide open field. We didn't intend to. We didn't plan on it. We did so only after others dropped out and only after we noticed how Panhandle Media was playing it. It's been disgusting. And when books are written on this election, they damn well better note the LIARS like Amy Goodman who played like they were ethical and balanced but actually slanted all their coverage to slam Hillary. Go back through the archives, you'll see more coverage of Dennis Kuccinich than any other Democratic candidate. You'll also find coverage of all, equally, when the playing field consisted of more than two. It came down to two. Somewhere, at The Common Ills, C.I. notes that friends are pointing out that Amy Goodman was slanting her coverage and C.I. says something like "I don't want to believe it and they'll have to drive me away from the show," meaning Goodman. They did. They drove us all away from their programs and their sites. Even something like Law and Disorder isn't anything we listen to currently. That's community wide, by the way. Gina and Krista surveyed on that two weeks ago. No one could believe that in their fundraising live special, Michael Smith, showing up late, makes one of his first remarks a stab at Hillary. She wasn't even the topic. But that's how he has to open. When Betty was for Hillary, she noted it here. When Cedric was, he noted it here. When we were all on board for Hillary, it got noted. We didn't hide anything. If you're e-mailing that you're offended, take it up with the likes of The Nation, The Progressive and Amy Goodman who all slanted their coverage from the start -- and we now know that Goody did indeed slant her coverage from the start due to one person bragging about it. We have been very open all along. Talk to the liars about why they launched a two-year war on Hillary and never told you it was to create Obama-mania. Talk to the liars.

Jim: Okay, good points all. And Ava and C.I. will be revewing the LIAR Amy Goodman's book. We're not sure if they'll do that the week before it's released or the week after, they've already read it, but they will be reviewing it and the first two sentences are already classics. Jess has waited for his announcement.

Jess: Okay, I'm speaking on behalf of the site. Should Barack Obama steal the nomination, this site will not only not endorse him, this site will endorse either Ralph Nader or the Green Party nominee, whom we expect to be Cynthia McKinney. Barack Obama is a liar who has been given a non-stop pass from the media and who is tearing apart the Democratic Party. That he wants to be their nominee and at the same time thinks he and his surrogates can launch attacks on the party's last president, Bill Clinton, is disgusting. Howard Dean is a LOSER for not calling that out. I'm a Green. I'm not a fan of Bill Clinton's. But even I'm shocked that a candidate for the party's nomination could get away with smearing and trashing the last Democrat to hold the office of president. That campaign has no manners, to say the least. They are trashy, they act is if they're entitled to the nomination despite the fact that they are in a dead heat. I saw this campaign before, in 2000 and Karl Rove masterminded it. That Democrats can't grasp that is hilarious but, as a Green, I've never thought the Democratic Party was all that smart to begin with. Here's how offended I am by what has gone down. If Hillary gets the Democratic Party nomination, this Green will be voting for her in the general election. I voted for Nader in 2004. I'm proud of that vote. But as an outsider watching the Democratic race, I have to say I have seen attacks launched by Bambi and his surrogates that have disgusted me. I have seen them repeatedly hide behind the false charge of racism whenever any issue was raised. I have seen glee in the beating up of a woman in public. And through it all, Hillary Clinton's kept on going. She's won my admiration for that. The woman's stronger than any other politician I can think of. She's earned the nomination. As an outsider, a Green Party member, I should be amused by the crap Bambi's pulled and laughing at the Democrats. Instead, I'm embarrassed for my country, I'm saddened for my country that someone who is not qualified has gotten away with repeatedly trying to tear down this woman. She's withstood it all and she has my vote. I called my father Saturday morning to tell him about this because my parents are both Greens and I didn't want them to be shocked when they saw this. Dad said, "Actually, your mother and I feel the same way." That's because if you leave the field of Bambi groupies, if you go to people who had nothing vested in this race and ask them their for their objective thoughts, you quickly hear how ugly of a campaign Bambi's run and shock and dismay over the fact that he hasn't been called on it, that he's been rewarded for it. If Hillary gets the nomination, our endorsement of her at this site stands and there will be no other endorsement. If Bambi steals it, we will be endorsing either Ralph or the Green Party candidate.

Jim: And I actually have nothing to add to that. Jess said it very well.

Our problem with Jeremy Scahill

That's why it's time for the anti-war movement to change tactics. We should direct our energy where it can still have an impact: the leading Democratic contenders.
Many argue otherwise. They say that if we want to end the war, we should simply pick a candidate who is not John McCain and help them win: we'll sort out the details after the Republicans are evicted from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Some of the most prominent anti-war voices -- from to the Nation, the magazine we both write for -- have gone down this route, throwing their weight behind the Obama campaign.
This is a serious strategic mistake. It is during a hotly contested campaign that anti-war forces have the power to actually sway US policy. As soon as we pick sides, we relegate ourselves to mere cheerleaders.
And when it comes to Iraq, there is little to cheer. Look past the rhetoric and it becomes clear that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton has a real plan to end the occupation. They could, however, be forced to change their positions, thanks to the unique dynamics of the prolonged primary battle.

The above should strike many of our regular readers as both reasoned and a tactic to pursue. None of the community sites highlighted and not because they somehow missed the article but because we have a policy of not promoting garbage. When absolutely required to, something will get a link that is trash. That's generally because it's so unbelievable, no one will believe it happened without a link. But this article appeared everywhere and it could have been highlighted without a link but was avoided.

The article's entitled "Anti-war Campaigners Have To Change Electoral Tactics" and one of the writers is Naomi Klein. You'll find no author more praised here or at any community sites than Klein. To focus on The Common Ills, because ombudsperson Beth tracks it, the most cited (and linked to) article in 2004 was "Baghdad Year Zero" (Harper's magazine). That was also the most cited (and linked to) article by C.I. in 2005, 2006, 2007 and, Beth guesses based on the year so far and the pattern, will be the most linked article in 2008. The author of that important article is Klein. That's just at The Common Ills (Beth is only the ombudsperson for The Common Ills, not for any other community site, and only tracks that site). But all praise Naomi and when she writes about Iraq and it doesn't get a link, when it's flat-out ignored, you can guess that the reason has nothing to do with Klein.

That is the case with the above article (hence, no link). Klein's co-author is Jeremy Scahill. Scahill is mainly known for his work on Blackwater and he's earned much applause for his work at community sites. He was also called out for an era that seems forgotten now but offended many (including Wally and Cedric who lost their fathers at young ages) when he took to Democracy Now!, Law and Disorder and other programs to argue sympathy for the poor mercenary workers. Specifically the ones slaughtered in Falluja. They didn't have this, they didn't have that blah, blah, blah and more blah. Guess who else didn't have armor (a point Klein was making in 2004)? Iraqi citizens. And, unlike the 'poor' workers for Blackwater, Iraqi citizens didn't go to Iraq in the hopes of milking the Cash Cow that the White House created over there. Wally and Cedric repeatedly noted in real time (to many times for individual links) that a parent who puts greed above parenting, isn't much of a parent and they had and have no sympathy for the tales of "he had a child and was trying to make money." As Cedric famously noted, get a job at McDonalds because it's more important that you're around to raise your child than that they get every hot fad that can be mass marketed. (A point later echoed very strongly by Three Old Guys in their gina & krista round-robin column.)

Rosa Brooks, apparently heeding the questionable heart strings, would go on to argue last year that the mercenaries should be included in the 'fallen' as 'heroes.' Setting aside the issue of heroics, mercentaries choosing to go to Iraq to make a quick, big buck are not the same as service members. Service members are ordered to go to Iraq. Some refuse to and good for them. Some don't refuse for a number of reasons including (but not limited to) the fact that they are unaware of how much of a difference their resistance would make, that they are unaware others are resisting, that they do not believe any have the right to resist or refuse, that they support the continued war in Iraq. Regardless of their reasons, they were ordered to go and they went and there's a huge difference between that and choosing to go to Iraq to make some quick, big bucks. A big difference between those taking part in military service and those attempting to profit from a war (illegal or legal). Regardless of what they think of the illegal war, our sympathies lie with those serving in the military and not with those enlisting as mercenaries for their own profit.

The reality is that if all civilians working as contractors (mercenaries or non-security) didn't go over to Iraq, if everyone grasped how offensive it was for American civilians to take part in that slaughter, the illegal war would stop immediately. The way Bully Boy's structured it, the war can't continue without the American civilians.

Some try to argue that's because Bully Boy was attempting to avoid the draft. That's a complete lie and misreading of everything we know about the illegal war (due to Klein and Antonia Juhasz' work largely). The Iraq War was about gain and profit. That was the plan, the one liars like Charlie Ferguson try to ignore and claim "There was no plan!" There was a plan. Mercenaries were yet another 'thriving' business to be rewarded in the outsourcing that passes for modern day government. (Or modern day delivery of The New York Times, which we may get to another article this edition.) The American mercenaries in Iraq, in fact all American contractors, not only chose to go there, they made more money than the enlisted and yet the enlisted was supposed to bail them out and protect them everytime they got into the least bit of a trouble including a flat tire, as Kelly Dougherty pointed out earlier this month at Winter Soldier. So we don't have a lot of sympathy for them, in fact we have none. When Scahill's book came out on Blackwater, it may have seemed a natural for a book review here. It wasn't. Wally and Cedric were adament about not wanting to read it after the 'poor fathers trying to support their children' line trotted out by Scahill in that not forgotten period (or the 'wowing' nature of 'One of them was a trainer on Demi Moore's G.I. Jane!'). So the book only got mentioned here once, by Ava and C.I. naturally. It was an offensive period and no one else wanted to risk revisiting it.

But with that single exception, Scahill's been noted plenty of times positively. And the sentiments he expresses with Klein in their joint-piece are sentiments we were in fact operating upon until we grasped that Hillary wasn't getting a fair shake. Neither candidate was promising to end the illegal war yet, as Klein and Scahill note in the excerpt at the top, Barack Obama was getting a pass. Not noted is that Hillary Clinton was getting crucified.

Ava, Kat and C.I. attended the first day of Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier. We had all early on hoped to attend (and, in fact, Trina was invited by an organizer to attend) but then came the decision to limit public access and it became just the press and members of IVAW largely. As all community sites picked who to note and who not to note, we did seek input from the three of them (especially after it turned out everyone was planning to write about the first panel, Rules of Engagement). Ava and C.I. were very adament that Jeremy Scahill should NOT be noted. Nobody questioned that. They were there. If they say "don't," we listen. Most of us assumed it was because he was a civilian and one whose work has already received ample attention. There were many other stories to get out and, honestly, those of us listening weren't all that impressed with what seemed a weak rehash of the interviews he already gave to Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, et al. The only point he made -- to large applause -- was that neither Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama were going to end the illegal war, that people end the illegal war and that both candidates need to be pressed. Again, we did just that for month after month here until it finally became obvious that the press -- Real Media or Panhandle -- was never going to vet or press Bambi while any lie, smear or distortion was a-okay about Hillary and became aware that many in Panhandle Media enlisted in the Bambi campaign without informing their audiences of that.

But that applause line by Scahill might have gotten noted by at least one site were it not for Ava and C.I. saying "don't." It was only later that we learned why.

See Scahill makes pretty words. He says them at Winter Soldier to mass applause and cheers. He repeats them in his joint-piece with Naomi Klein. But Scahill did something else at Winter Soldier, off the stage, he gave an interview to The Real News network that Ava and C.I. watched happen in open-mouth surprise.

Scahill argues in the joint-piece and onstage at Winter Soldier that the peace movement needs to pressure both candidates on Iraq. So if you're pressuring them both and one makes any overture, you would logically support that overture and press for even more. For the argument Klein and Scahill present in their article to work, when one of the candidate responds to pressure, the peace movement's response is praise for that overture and pressure on other Iraq issues.

If you're not offering that praise, then the message the two candidates take away is not the one you want to send. The message to Hillary is, "I can't win for losing. They raise an issue, I incorporate it into my plan for Iraq and I'm still slammed. And slammed for incorporating something they asked for." The message to Barack is, "Don't worry. We'll keep attacking Hillary and giving you a pass."

That message was sent loud and clear by Scahill in his Real News interview. It was so appalling that it quickly became a big topic at Winter Soldier.

You can watch, read or listen to Scahill make an ass out of himself here. You can see that while Scahill sometimes wants to maintain that both need to be pressured and that is the only way to get results, when Hillary responds to pressure, the reality is she still gets slammed and Barack (who didn't respond) gets excuses.

Jeremey Scahill made an ASS out of himself. Made a FOOL out of himself. And it's public record now and there's no taking it back.

What follows, in bold, is Scahill speaking to The Real News. Our comments are not in bold.

I mean, for most of the election campaign, private contractors, whether they be armed security contractors like Blackwater or the larger army of 180,000 contractors hasn't been an issue at all. None of the candidates have really been asked about it in the debates. Occasionally they've been asked about it by voters, but it really hasn't become a premiere issue.

So far, so good.

About two weeks ago I did a story about Barack Obama's position on contractors called "Obama's Mercenary Position" for The Nation magazine.

Yes, he did do an article. And he offered a minsicule update to the interview which was also insulting to the one candidate that bothered to respond.

And basically what I did was I interviewed senior foreign policy advisors to Barack Obama and said to them, "What are you guys going to do about the contractors?"

Notice who Scahill ran to: Bambi. He mainly spoke to Samantha Power, whom he cornered when other advisors blew him off. Power was with the campaign when he interviewed her.

And what I found out is that Barack Obama's people are saying that they will not rule out the use of private security contractors like Blackwater in Iraq, and that Barack Obama will not sign on to legislation seeking to ban them or to force them out of Iraq.

He found that out? When's Scahill going to find out that any withdrawal Obama makes, he's comfortable rescinding to send the same troops back into Iraq? A transcript of interview with The New York Times in 2007 bore that out. But Scahill, like Tom Hayden, apparently missed that. Reading is hard. But fundamental. And C.I. was commenting on the transcript, on what Bambi actually said, the day the carefully culled article ran on the front page of the paper.

And the reason is actually kind of complicated.

Woah. Sounds like we're about to get a defense of one candidate which IS NOT holding both accountable.

Barack Obama has been, actually, a leader on the issue of contractor reform in the Senate: he introduced legislation to try to regulate and oversee them months before the Nisour Square massacre happened in Baghdad in September of 2007. But his people realized that because they have an Iraq plan that requires keeping 40,000 to 80,000 US troops in Iraq and a massive diplomatic force, they're going to need these forces. So they don't want to be nailed on this later. So they were quite honest about their intent to use it.

Yeah, the candidate himself was "honest about" his intent to use mercenaries when he spoke with The New York Times. Read Jeremy Scahill (above) offer defenses and excuses for the use of contractors. And wonder how the hell he thinks he's holding Barack Obama accountable? He's not. But he did have time for some harsh words. You know he did. And he saved them for Hillary Clinton -- the one candidate who did respond to his article.

Hillary Clinton has been eight years on the Armed Services Committee. She's never done anything to try to crack down on contractors, never made any statements, except condemning Blackwater after Nisour Square, which everyone and their grandmother did.

No, Jeremy Scahill, "everyone and their grandmother did" not condemn Blackwater. The New York Times offered excuse in real time (and undercounted the dead) Washington Week went so far as to justify it. Republicans and some Democrats in Congress offered excuses. When Congress had Erik Prince, the head of Blackwater, before them to testify about Nisour Square, they agreed ahead of time not to ask about that incident. So get your facts right. But he needs to push the LIE that "everyone and their grandmother" condemned Blackwater at that time to undercut that Hillary called them out. It's not fair, it's not holding both to the fire. But he wasn't done pimping for Bambi.

The day after my story comes out, which hit Obama pretty hard, Hillary Clinton released a statement saying that she's going to cosponsor legislation that Bernie Sanders had introduced last November that would seek to ban Blackwater and force them all out of Iraq within six months. So she now becomes the most significant political figure in the US to call for a ban on Blackwater, and she did it after Barack Obama's people came out and said, "Yeah, we're probably going to be forced to use them."

His story did not hit Bambi "pretty hard" and it's only an indication of how PATHETIC Panhandle Media is that Scahill thinks his scribble (which none of us linked to because it was so damn pathetic) was "hard" on Bambi. (Maybe Scahill was packing a hard on for Bambi and that confused him?)

"She did it after Barack Obama's people came out"? What? You wrote an article and you only went to Bambi's people (and really only two advisors spoke to you at any length, if you want to get honest, which we know you don't). Since you never went to the Clinton campaign, it's kind of hard for you to ascribe the motive to Clinton of only doing it because Barack wouldn't. Since you never spoke to them, you don't know what their answer would have been. What did happen was that you wrote an article and one candidate responded. There was nothing to prevent Bambi from agreeing after your article was published (online). Only one candidate stood up.

Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill argue that pressure needs to be applied to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Iraq. Why? We believe Naomi Klein but Scahill's actions beg any one with a brain to question his motives.

So why should we pressure the candiates on Iraq, Jeremy Scahill? According to you, they both need to be pressured and we need to make them move closer to our positions on ending the illegal war. But how do we accomplish that when Hillary Clinton moves on one issue and the response from YOU is to discredit her and to offer excuses for Bambi not making a move?

That's not holding both feet to the fire. It's the same CRAP Panhandle Media has offered all along. It's excuses for Bambi and hisses for Hillary. Even when she does what Scahill claims to want, she's still attacked and smeared and libeled by Scahill -- who is not an accredited psychic and has no way of knowing why she decided to come out against Blackwater.

No offense to Naomi Klein, who we'll assume was sincere in the column everyone ignored, but it's BULLS**T. As a solo column from Klein, it would have had meaning. But the co-author's own actions have demonstrated that, for him, it's nothing but another LIE.

For Klein's column to work, we have to pressure both candidates. For Klein's column to work, when one responds to pressure, we hail that victory (that's what it is) and move on to another aspect of the illegal war. For Klein's column to work, we do not attack the only candidate who responded, we do not question her motives.

Most importantly, we don't care why the illegal war ends at this point. We just want it to end. If Hillary was as calculating as the stereotypical comments Scahill asserts on her were true, who gives a damn? Do you want purity or do you want the war over? The peace movement is in shambles and it's largely because they're becoming SO DAMN PATHETIC.

The bulk of politicians are not going to call the war illegal while it's going on. That's for the people to do. And that's for them to continue to do when the illegal war ends. That point doesn't need to be dropped by the left as it was post-Vietnam. We need to end the illegal war NOW. Where John Murtha was when it started is no concern for us. Where he is now, is. We may not agree with everything he says or does, but he wants to end the illegal war and we support that. (Unlike The Nation magazine which ripped him apart when he -- and not Steny Hoyer -- could have been the second in charge of the House. Why is Nancy Pelosi unable to do anything on Iraq? Pelosi bears some fault, no question. But she is daily undercut by Hoyer and you can thank The Nation magazine and there little smears on Murtha for that. Strangely, War Hawk Hoyer has not been the focus of The Nation.)

You want purity, have at it. Seal yourself in an envelope and mail yourself to nowhere. But in the real world, the illegal war is not going to end because every member of Congress starts calling it "illegal." They are going to shape their messages. The bulk of the American people do not grasp that the Iraq War was illegal. (You can thank Panhandle Media for that because they soft-pedal that point.) The bulk of the people against the Iraq War today do not grasp that is illegal. Politicians are NEVER going to make points that are that far ahead of the public's recognition. The people have turned against the war, no question. But the words they use are "wrong." So when an idiot (and that's the only word for her) attempts to rip apart Hillary's call for the troops to come home, she's playing purity police and ignoring reality. But that's another feature. Scahill, if you want people to take your suggestion seriously, you need to take it seriously and thus far you've provided no indication that you do.
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