Sunday, June 01, 2008

Truest statement of the week

"Apart from the appallingly racist nature of Father Michael Pfleger's remarks about Hillary Clinton, what is one to make of the congregation who seemed to lap it all up?"

-- Andrew S. Ross' "Campaign question-5: Obama's latest racial problem" (San Francisco Chronicle).

Truest statement of the week II

On the war in Iraq, Obama the dove and McCain the hawk are almost united. McCain now says he wants US troops to leave in five years (instead of "100 years", his earlier option). Obama has now "reserved the right" to change his pledge to get troops out next year. "I will listen to our commanders on the ground," he now says, echoing Bush. His adviser on Iraq, Colin Kahl, says the US should maintain up to 80,000 troops in Iraq until 2010. Like McCain, Obama has voted repeatedly in the Senate to support Bush's demands for funding of the occupation of Iraq; and he has called for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan. His senior advisers embrace McCain's proposal for an aggressive "league of democracies", led by the United States, to circumvent the United Nations.

-- John Pilger, "After Bobby Kennedy" (New Statesman) -- doing what 'independent' media used to be able to before The Cult of Obama.

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday and we're done really early! In fact, we would have been done an hour and a half ago were it not for adding illustrations to pieces.

Before we get to what we have this edition, we need to note "The Democratic Race for the presidential nomination" which went up here on Monday but we put it under Sunday since we archive by the week. If you checked on Sunday but not again until today, check that out, it's a strong article.

Now let's note credit and thanks. First off, thank you to Dallas always for the link locating, the soundboarding and so much more. Along with Dallas, credit goes to:

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,

So what have we got?

Truest statement of the week -- all but Ava and C.I. picked this (they were doing their TV commentary).

Truest statement of the week II -- Ty, Dona and I (Jim) picked this after the edition was over. We agreed with C.I.'s comments last week about how Panhandle Media hasn't just hurt themselves with their Obama Love-In, they've also hurt the few remaining independent journalists that actually exist. Pilger told the truth and was targeted with rude and vile comments for it. (Many of which were deleted by New Statesman's moderator -- as he notes in a posted comment to Pilger's article.)

Editorial: To the convention! -- The race isn't over and you shouldn't let anyone lie to you or try to force you into believing otherwise. Nancy Pelosi and others trying to shut down this primary campaign better grasp that if they force Hillary out, nothing changes. That's because it's beyond Hillary at this point. It is now going to the rampant sexism in this campaign season, the Democrats (such as Jesse Jackson Jr.) who participated in it (and Barack as well) and how none of Democratic 'leaders' in office rushed to call it out. It is now very much a problem the DNC has created and they better not try to force Hillary out of a race she's winning. But if they do, that only raises the stake.

TV: Grime & Grit TV -- Ava and C.I. take on Grit TV with Laura Flanders. Here's the backstory here. Ava and C.I. had a lot to cover and were told "write long." When they're writing these, they don't type them up, they write it in longhand. This one was epic. And when they finished and rejoined us, Jess said immediately, "We'll split it in to two pieces." Which we did (and also because we had goofed off largely while Ava and C.I. were working and we needed an extra piece.) This will have you laughing hard at the truths told.

TV: Basic cable rejects -- This was the first part when it was one piece. Should we have published it first? Considering that the people dealt with in Grit TV make up the J.R. Ewings for our readers (people you love to hate), we felt that's the one that would get the most attention (we being me, Dona and Ty). This one looks at three programs briefly: Washington Week, Hardball and Democracy Now as well as an online video. So you get Ava and C.I. twice this edition.

War resistance ignored -- This could have been an editorial. If we had more time. We really didn't have time for it but C.I. said, "We have to have it." Dona and Jess thought something could be pulled together quickly and it almost was. The hold up? C.I. for a change. In the article, we give a date for Amy Goodman's last interview with a war resister whose case was unresolved. C.I. asked Dallas to double check and he did. C.I. thinks there was another interview "but maybe it was Flashpoints" with Kyle Snyder (and Gerry Condon participating as well). Dallas was in the archives of the Democracy Now! site and couldn't find it but he did note that with the site retooling awhile back, something might be missing or misifled. (C.I. says, "I'm probably remembering wrong.")

Roundtable -- The Barack news that we were e-mailed on threw us. We had more questions to get to from e-mails. We had more topics -- including Nader and the illegal war -- to address. I'll take the fall because although it went quickly, I sure do love to talk about myself, don't I? (Dona: You're just noticing that?) For Mike, ":D" If Barack hadn't come in, we would have moved on to questions for Ava, C.I., Wally and Rebecca. If you have questions to ask them: Don't e-mail. We've already got the questions we're going to use. And Ty, checking the e-mails, said a good one for Betty just came in from Lois. So don't e-mail with a question for Betty. If you do, you'll either be overlooked or someone who's already got a question on deck will be pushed aside. And then will come the e-mails of, "You ignored me!" Elaine said to note that she will answer no questions about her personal life. If one is asked and included in the roundtable, she's not answering. She's drawn a very thick wall (even more than C.I.) online and was probably smart to do that. If she and Mike weren't part of the writing editions, they probably wouldn't have publicly disclosed that because Elaine is intensely private. (Dona, reading over my shoulder, says "Disclosed that they were in a relationship!") Ty is off e-mails when this goes up. He should be off them now but he's trying to catch up. We are way behind in last week's e-mails, sorry. We're on the road and working on getting out the vote for Hillary. That's life.

What the hell's wrong with Nancy Pelosi? -- Alternative title, "Is anything right with Nancy Pelosi?" She's a mess and becoming more and more of one with each passing day.

Reality on the Democratic Primary -- Short pieces! This is our only one. We should have had more.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Cedric, Kat, Wally, Betty, Rebecca, Marcia and Ruth wrote this and picked all highlights except where noted.

Agustana's Sweet and Low -- Ty can't remember who but someone e-mailed this morning to ask, "How does anyone not know what's in their stock portfolio?" C.I. has a big one. So does Ava. They are on the road non-stop. They haven't even been home in three or four weeks. They both have standing things (orders?). If something drops by ___ points, call them to talk about selling/unloading it. If it drops by ___ points, sell it right away. With it being stock in a music label (true of all stocks C.I. has in music labels), and with the music industry doing so poorly and with C.I. not following the stocks at all while on the road, it could have been sold off. Hence "I think . . ." or however C.I. worded it. Also, we asked for this, not C.I. This was the last thing worked on before those in Puerto Rico were either grabbing a quick nap or (Ava, C.I., Jess, Mike and Betty) heading out the door to begin working on getting out the vote right away. C.I. did the video at our request, put it in. We don't know how. The video was a huge hit with the community including us. We wanted it up here and C.I. grunted but got on the laptop.

So that's what we've got. We wanted to do something utilizing a recent Glen Ford column, something on Ralph Nader, something on Katrina's nonsense (we'll pick that up next week, or plan to right now) but time ran out. It is what it is, as Kat says.

And Ty just thought of something else, we didn't note a HUBdate anywhere. So here's Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Getting Out the Vote in Puerto Rico" (

Getting Out the Vote in Puerto Rico: Today's New York Daily News reports that "Hillary Clinton returned to sun-swept Puerto Rico late Friday....'Make sure your voice is heard and your votes count,' Clinton told about 2,000 enthusiastic supporters...I am no stranger or newcomer to the concerns of Puerto Rico.'...A Univision-El Vocero poll this week showed Clinton with a considerable lead over Obama in the fight for the island's 55 pledged delegates." Read more.
Today On The Trail: Hillary hosts a "Solutions for Puerto Rico's Families" event in Caguas, Puerto Rico, where she also launches her campaign caravan through the following other cities: CataƱo, Bayamon, Guaynabo, Trujillo Alto, Carolina, Rio Piedras, and San Juan.Automatic Delegate Watch: Louisiana automatic delegate Buddy Leach announced his support for Hillary Clinton today. Leach is a former Congressman and former member of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee.Florida and Michigan Matter: The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meets today regarding the allocation of the pledged delegates from Florida and Michigan. "Millions of voters in Florida and Michigan have waited patiently for more than four months to know whether their votes will count and whether they will play a meaningful role in determining who will be the Democratic nominee," [general counsel, Lyn] Utrecht writes. "It is time to resolve this pivotal matter." Read more.
In Case You Missed It: South Dakota's Argus Leader endorsed Hillary yesterday, calling her the "Top Candidate for Dems...Clinton is the strongest Democratic candidate for South Dakota. Her mastery of complex policy detail is broad and deep, and her experience as a senator and former first lady matches that…Her resilience and determination never should be questioned. She has met or overcome every challenge or roadblock in her way, and there have been many." Read more.
On Tap: Tomorrow, Sunday, June 1, Hillary will host an election night celebration in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

We're pulling for Hillary, we're working to get the vote out. But we aren't part of the Hillary campaign. A question came in on that and Dona noted that it had been addressed before while Ava said, "If I were being paid for this, do you really think I'd be running myself ragged?" No, Ava only does that for things she believes in and she doesn't take money for anything she believes in. No one participating in this edition is working for the Hillary campaign. Although we all think Wally is the campaign's unofficial goodluck charm and that's why we insisted he go to Puerto Rico Friday. Every state he's gone to in order to get the vote out for Hillary, she's won. Everyone he's not stepped foot in, she's lost. Damn you, Wally, why didn't you go to Guam! (We're joking.)

We'll see you next week and hopefully be able to write about how the DNC did not try to subvert the democratic process and shut the race down.

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

Editorial: To the convention!

Did you hear about the Little League team that decided to forfeit a game and then got credit in the championship for winning that same game?

No, you never heard about that because if someone tried to pull that stunt, there would be a huge outcry. See, in sports, they have rules.

The DNC? They have rules when they want. The rest of the time, they ignore them.

Nancy Pelois, Speaker of the House and apparently Ruler of the Universe in her own mind, made clear last week to The San Francisco Chronicle that, voters be damned, she was doing everything she could to make Barack Obama the nominee.

We're back to Michigan and Florida. For those late to the party, our position, check the archives, has always been that the delegates in Michigan and Florida must be seated. That was our position after the primaries were held but, most importantly, that was our position in 2007. Again, check the archives.

Wally, Gina and Krista are the most visible members of the community (Wally due to his site and Gina and Krista due to their weekly gina & krista round-robin). But they are from the only members who hail from the Sunshine State. In addition, community members live in Michigan as well. Why others ignored the situation (Amy Goodman, we mean filth like you), we were weighing in and doing so in 2007. We were pointing out that the two states were not the only ones jumping the gun. We were pointing out that you don't penalize voters. We were pointing out that after 2000, you do not disenfranchise Florida especially.

And the reality is that they may not be disenfranchised.

Yesterday, the DNC allowed another travesty to take place. From the Hillary Clinton campaign, here is Harold Ickes and Tina Flournoy statement:

Today’s results are a victory for the people of Florida who will have a voice in selecting our Party’s nominee and will see its delegates seated at our party’s convention. The decision by the Rules and Bylaws Committee honors the votes that were cast by the people of Florida and allocates the delegates accordingly. We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan. The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party. We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast.

We disagree. (All of us, including C.I. and Elaine have know Harold Ickes for more years than they can count.)

That is not and has never been our position. In terms of Florida, the full delegates must be seated. In terms of Michigan the same. In terms of ignoring the voters will? We disagree.

The will of the voter is supreme. If it's not, then don't ever whine about Al Gore's 2000 campaign. In fact, no Democrat who agrees with the DNC decision can ever say, "Well Gore won!" The DNC is saying the voters don't matter, a ruling body (such as the Supreme Court) does.

We disagree.

The voters in Florida made their choice clear and we're back to that sticky situation of rules. If you break the rules, you're penalized with delegates. That's supposed to apply to states and to candidates. While we would never penalize the voters, it's not their fault what those ruling a state do, we have no problem penalizing candidates.

Both Hillary and Barack held private fundraisers in Florida. That was allowed. Those are two points LIAR John Nichols gets confused on. He thinks only Hillary did. And he thinks she broke a rule. She did not break any rule and Barack held fundraisers as well.

In fact at one, he went to the press after and encouraged them to ask him questions. One of the first questions was was he supposed to be talking to them? Hadn't the DNC said no press conferences? Barack huffed he was trying to do them a favor and stormed off. The oh-so generous Barack Obama.

The rules also forbid advertising but talk to any community member in Florida and ask them, "Did you see any advertising?" The reply will be, "Sure did! Couldn't turn on the TV without seeing Barack!" That's because he purchased commercials. He lied and said that there was no way to do the national purchase and not be on the air in Florida. There was a way and other candidates could follow it. Not Barack.

Press conference and commercials? No delegates to Barack.

Then there's the issue of Michigan and we're back where we started.

See LIARS like John Dickerson of Slate take to outlets like Washington Week and whine, "Barack wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan!"

No, he wasn't. He took his name off the ballot in an attempt to woo Iowa and New Hampshire who get very touchy about the schedule. (Tom Harkin screamed bloody murder at one Iowa townhall before the caucus about how Florida and Michigan must be punished.)

So Barack sits the game out. No great loss, he thinks, his internal polling does show him running third.

But somehow Barack ends up, via the DNC decision yesterday, with more delegates than Hillary who won the Michigan primary. The guy who wasn't even on the ballot got more votes than the winner of the primary.

You want to try explaining how that makes no sense because it doesn't and it never will.

LIARS like Nancy Pelosi want to play by the 'rules' but they keep changing them to suit Barack.

Here's reality, a candidate pulls his or her name off a ballot, they get nothing.

In a general election for any office, you can't take your name off the ballot and show up after the election demanding votes. That's not how the system works.

Barack took his name off the ballot in Michigan and the DNC is giving him MORE delegates than Hillary who won the primary by over 50% of the votes.

Don't talk to us about rules or process because the DNC demonstrated on Saturday that there are no rules but the ones they make up to steal this election from the people.

The Clinton campaign is appealing the Michigan ruling. They should.

But here's the thing, if Hillary doesn't drop out of the race, the 'ruling' yesterday is meaningless.

Pelosi herself revealed that to The San Francisco Chronicle. She explained how, in 1984, it was her job to tell states, such as New Hampshire, that had jumped the DNC calender and held their primaries early that their delegates would not be seated at the convention. As Pelosi, always one to step in it, recalled, their response was to laugh at her. (Well it is an honest, and frequent, response to Pelosi.) She didn't realize why until the convention. It came down to Walter Mondale and Gary Hart. Both were fighting the nomination to the convention. And what to do about the states that the DNC was saying wouldn't be seated? At the convention, the DNC doesn't have that say. The candidate or candidates do. Neither Mondale nor Hart, as Pelosi explained, wanted to risk alienating a state. All states were seated, no penalties.

Nancy Pelosi found that story amusing and probably didn't grasp what she was saying about this primary. (As usual, Nancy's response was to a question on another topic. The woman can never stay focused.) But she just outlined the only way Florida and Michigan delegates are seated in full, Hillary stays in the race.

There's no reason for her to quit. She's leading in the popular vote and today will only make that more so.

The media is counting super delegates in their tally to give Barack the needed number of delegates. Super delegates do not count before the convention and they're honestly not supposed to endorse (check the rules) any candidate in the midst of a primary. Super delegates can also change their mind at any time. All delegates can change their minds (super and pledged) on the convention floor. Ava and C.I. have been explaining that here since January. Regular readers know to trust them. But if you're a drive-by and still don't get it, listen to former Congress member Michael P. Forbes from his "Clinton must take the fight all the way to Denver" (Austin-American Statesman):

Sen. Hillary Clinton must take her campaign all the way to the Democratic Convention in August, and she must remain in the race until all of the convention ballots are counted.
It is those delegates voting at the Democratic Convention who shall determine the party's presidential standard bearer and no one else -- no combination of primary state votes, no cluster of superdelegates, no orchestrated group of party leaders nor any collection of Democratic talking heads.
Idle chatter to force Clinton to prematurely abandon her campaign is being driven by pundits, partisan bloggers, hopeful job applicants and other favor-seekers with an obsession to be on what may be viewed through a narrow political prism as the winning side.

[. . .]

Wins by Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois have largely divided up votes cast in the Democratic primaries over these many months. And there are 795 superdelegates whose presidential preference is not locked up until votes are cast at the nominating convention. Neither candidate can claim the requisite number of delegates to be the nominee. That happens in balloting when Democrats meet in Denver.

On Friday, Nancy Pelosi began issuing public threats to Hillary supporters that she was not going to allow this to go to the convention and that they better prepare for that and not plan anything. Did she mean violence? That's being floated by Barack's supporters.

Clinton's supporters are talking rules and law and order. On the latter, that might includea little Take Back The Night! and, Nancy, that was legal. And it would be peaceful. But you don't really want a bunch of women gathering at the convention to tell their truths, all their truths, do you? Don't issue threats you can't follow through on, Nancy, and don't play with matches around dynamite.

Though you think the world revolves around you, this isn't about you. It's not even about Hillary. It's about the process, basic fairness and about the Democratic Party grasping finally that sexism is not permissible and will not be tolerated.

TV: Grime & Grit TV

We would have thought the week couldn't get any nuttier but a friend had phoned us about a new program and insisted it was insane. He was especially focused on one episode which he Fed-Exed to us in South Dakota. When it arrived, we watched and felt we'd just sat through Skidoo.


That Otto Preminger bomb featured many appalling performances but certainly Carol Channing has to take top 'honors' for worst performance as mobster Jackie Gleason's wife who attempts to bed Frankie Avalon. Though only 47 at the time, she looked 400. Avalon was 29 and looked 15. Laura Flanders was obviously cast in the lead due to similarities between herself and Channing.

Apparently unable to call the show The Self-Loathing Lesbian, Free Speech TV went with Grit TV ("with Laura Flanders"). If it's already sounding like a nightmare, oh, you just don't know.

Where to start? The set utilizes blue walls with what appears to be either water or urine stains (we're guessing the latter). The lighting is such a disaster that, if filmed in a living room with only an overhead light, it could not look any worse. The set is lit overhead and, if you doubt that, check out the head shadows on Flanders' jacket. She has a slew of bad jackets -- all which appear in need of a good cleaning. For variety, she wears three necklaces and sometimes she tosses the charms down her blouse and sometimes she leaves them exposed.

She's got a frizzy hair-do that appears to pay homage to the seventies and is only made worse by the fact that, when it comes to hair color, she seems unable to settle on just one shade. The frizzy helmet has bangs and, combined with the overhead lighting, only serves to emphasize her moon lantern jaw and hide her eyes. If you think we're being cruel, (a) we haven't even started and (b) she can consider it a useful tip that they need to relight the set immediately.

The episode in question aired on May 19th or May 21st. We don't know, we don't care. We watched it in full and skimmed through four other episodes.

Groucho Marx embarrassed himself in Skidoo and, out of kindness, we decided Danny Schechter was the Groucho of the group. The group?

The show started with a . . . not roundtable. The table is another problem. It's some form of a triangle and it's elevated way too high. You notice that as the guests have difficulty deciding where to place their hands. Guests? Let's talk about the host. No one needs to see Laura Flanders doing whatever it is she's doing with her hands in between her spread legs but the camera operator found it interesting so while other people were speaking you were treated to many shots of Flanders' hands darting between her legs. A card table, a fold-out card table, would make a better prop than that ridiculous table which only created distance due to its length. It's actually narrow at one end and narrows to a point at the other end. But in between, it comes off on camera like a football field. So Laura and one guest were at one end while two other guests were down at the other. You kept expecting Laura to scream, "Go wide, Danny!" and hurl a football.

We'll deal specifically with the host in a bit but let's get to the guests. Three. There was Danny, Lionel from Air America Radio (if he has a last name, it's not worth mentioning -- you'll agree shortly) and non-feminist Betsy Reed. All four made clear it was Bad Hair On Parade. Lionel's receding hairline can't seem to make up it's mind (reflecting his political positions) while Betsy always hopes her hairstyle will bring to mind Patti Hansen but only serves to bring to mind Nico after the fall -- with jug ears.

Many years ago, one of us (C.I.) used to hear non-stop complaints about Danny's clothing from Roone Arledge. Roone hated the way everyone at ABC dressed as a general rule. But he really hated Danny. Watching, it was clear why: Danny's head was perched on top of a pyramid. How did someone ever in broadcast TV not learn that you sit on your jacket to get a smooth shoulder line?

That was far from Danny's most embarrassing moment. It's a toss-up between two and, going over our notes, it's hard to know which one to start with. We'll go with Danny's kiss-ass statement that "this show that you're doing really needs the support of others across the progressive spectrum. It's only by cross-promoting . . ."

Grit TV is appalling TV. And Danny was far less friendly and 'support'ive when biting off Kris Welch's head on KPFA in 2006. With Flanders, he was sucking up big time and we only hope he watched the show after and saw that it's the last thing "the progressive spectrum" needs.

What is it? Another show from NYC. Another show that features a lot of White people. It's another echo chamber and, once upon a time, Danny Schechter called that crap out. Did it break any news? No. Did it offer any in depth conversations? No. Did it offer anything other than slogans? No. It was as vapid as Washington Week at its worst but tilted to the far, far left.

Danny's got his own problems and they appear to include forgetting everything he learned in broadcast TV about reporting. He is unable to get attention to the story that consumes him (the government corruption that led to the housing crisis which is leading to a governmental giveaway to the very criminals who fleeced Americans to begin with). That's because Danny's left reporting to visit Egg Head Land. Hopefully, he will be rejoining the rest of us shortly.

But in Egg Head Land, he likes to toss out dollar figures, with many, many zeros. As Barbara Streisand once explained to her manager, when inquiring why it cost so much for something to be messaged cross-town and he pointed out she'd just turned down fifty thousand dollars for one performance (this is in the sixties) and was now bothered by a couple of bucks, "Marty, twelve dollars I can relate to." The more zeros you add, the more the head spins. The numbers do not result in an outrage because they are so high as it is. To get to the outrage, as Don Hewitt would say, "Tell me a story." Give us faces, give us names. 'Many' people being effected is not good reporting. Danny's so lost in Egg Head Land, he's forgotten the basics. So the average viewer, his appearance sounded lot like Charlie Brown's teacher anytime he talked about the housing crisis.

We'll come back to Danny and move to the line that outraged our friend (and had him wondering "If Jane's back on the hard stuff?" -- the TV 'show' is also a web 'show' via FireDogLake). It was outrageous and what was really outrageous was the reaction to it.

Ahnuld said a crazy thing. In California, we're so used to it by now, it doesn't even register. But apparently to the fringe crowd in NYC, Ahnuld's every utterance must be replayed and analyzed. So there was Lionel talking about how Ahnuld said Latinos (Lionel said "Hispanics") needed to turn off Spanish-language TV and start watching English-language TV if they were going to learn the English language. If Ahnuld said that, we're not surprised: His governorship is like Ronald Reagan's in just about every way. But, yes, that is offensive.

So was what happened on Grit TV. The Anglos clucked over that. Then Lionel felt the need to 'joke,' that the reply from "Hispanics" to Ahnuld statement was "What?"

Are you missing the humor? We were too. Laura Flanders wasn't, she laughed at it.

No one called it out. Lionel supposedly found Ahnuld's statements outrageous and demeaning to Latinos. We agree they were. We further agree that Lionel's 'joke' was outrageous and wonder exactly how Laura defends it or her laughter at it?

Is it 'funny' to imply that Latinos can't speak English? In what world -- apparently a very Anglo and Jewish one -- do you get the idea that you can laugh at Latinos and stereotype them?

Is this what "the progressive spectrum" needs to support, Danny? Stereotypes of Latinos?

Maybe we should offer stereotypes of radical New Yorkers? Would that be funny?

That's the biggest problem with this crap-ass program. The last thing America needs in another group of neutered poodles in NYC getting on air. NYC is a part of America, it is not America and no one in the world needs to suggest that yet another program focused on that isolated and insulated sub-section of New York (state or city) needs another media outlet.

When not attempting to pose, Betsy Reed weighed in on sexism in the media against Hillary. We should note that neither Laura nor Betsy felt the need to inform the audience that they'd already repeatedly slammed Hillary at The Nation or that they'd dismissed the notion that sexism was a real issue. Danny? We try to say nice things but Danny's writes like a sexist. He made that clear when he expressed that Tina Turner should forgive Ike, if she's a good Buddhist, for torturing her for nearly two decades. It takes a lot of sexism to suggest that a woman who's been beat (with shoe trees, with electrical cords, with Ike's fists, etc.) -- so much that Daniel Freeman Hospital was practically her second home -- needs to forgive the man who tortured her. It takes a lot of sexism to hurl non-stop attacks at Katie Couric (before she's even anchor) and to belittle her by typing "Katey Couric." He made his sexism clear in his campaign coverage remarks and the links he chose. (Ironically, he recently was warned by USA Today that some of his Obama loving e-mails he's been quoting were spam. Uh, we outlined that here months ago. Welcome to the party, make yourself a drink.) His concern for the housing crisis never led to calling Barack out for his backers deep involvement in it. It got so bad that at this site and The Common Ills, Danny's link was moved far down hoping that would lead to fewer complaints (which have been coming in for months) about how sexist his coverage of Hillary has been. Lionel? We really don't know. We're told by the last remaining Air America Radio survivors that he's the 'most fair' when it comes to Hillary. That's a bit like praising Donny as the deep-thinking Osmond.

Lionel gave a little rant where he suggested she was a monster-machine and 'joked' about her revealing that by pulling off her flesh. If that sounds disturbing, it was. But not to the panel which must consider female mutilation a topic to joke about in between screenings of Deep Throat.

Has the media been sexist in their coverage of Hillary?

Absolutely. But never expect truth from Panhandle Media.

Betsy offered, "I think sexism has definitely hindered her campaign." But, Betsy wanted the world to know, it had also rallied supporters to her. Betsy, the question was about the media -- which you're supposed to be a part of. What Betsy offered was basically a refutation of not only the work of Durkheim and Merton but also Foucault and Marx. We're sure it's the last one that will have Betsy feeling sheepish.

Betsy also wanted to suggest that Hillary doesn't have supporters. According to Betsy, she has "followers" and we're guessing that was non-feminist Betsy again trafficking in sexual stereotypes as she suggested a strong woman couldn't have support, only blind followers. It was especially cute to hear Betsy finger-point about the topic of sexism: ". . . she's been weighed down by sexism coming from the media, form cable news, largely male commentators." No, Betsy, largely from The Nation where she has allowed every bit of sexism (whether your own, Barbara Ehrenreich's, Tom Hayden's, Laura Flanders', etc.) to be published. (Betsy is executive-editor of The Nation which published 491 men and only 149 women in 2007.)

Remember the nonsense about "cackle" to describe Hillary's laugh? That was sexist. So it was hilarious to watch this pretend (and brief) discussion of sexism hosted by the woman (Laura Flanders) who couldn't stop saying Hillary cackled in a KPFA broadcast 'analysis' of the Texas debate between Barack and Hillary.

"Victimization narrative," Danny dismissed suggesting that he was going for a James Fox Thoroughly Modern Millie moment only, instead of inventing the dance "The Tapioca," he was offering up "Oink! Oink! Everybody Oink Oink!"

Danny, never noted for highlighting women in his News Dissectors columns (unless they were fans who e-mailed him), wanted to stress that, "Obama has tried to get beyond the victimization narrative. Hillary is now using it because that's all she has."

Really? Well, as we already explained earlier, Obama's campaign (for which he's responsible) played the "victimization narrative" with regards to the RFK remarks. But Danny doesn't mean that, he means race. He thinks Barack has tried to get beyond being a "Black" man. But Barack isn't "Black." He is bi-racial. He is half-Black, and half-White. And his campaign has played the race card non-stop. His surrogates or his campaign call someone a racist. The person gets smeared by the press. It's all over the news cycle. A few days later, Barack says he doesn't think they're racist and he's congratulated by the press for his 'depth' and 'insight.' The same press that never points out it was his campaign that started screaming "racism!" every time. Hillary's a woman. We're not sure how she's supposed to get beyond that or why she should have to? But then what was once called out ("post-racial") by Panhandle Media is now lauded.

If you wonder where Danny gets some of his Hillary Hatred the answer is Frank Rich. It takes a lot of stupid to praise Frank Rich. You'll never find Frank Rich praised at this site or The Common Ills. Danny thinks Rich is the example of a strong arts critic who moved on to be a strong social critic. We agree that Rich's work is similar in both avenues. As a reviewer, he was said by many producers to never be above inventing a scene or details that weren't in a play in order to make his slam. As a 'political' writer, he does much the same thing. There's nothing to praise in Rich's writing but those who share his opinions (they shift from decade to decade, you have been warned) miss that point. No, Frank Rich is not doing "some of our best media criticism." We'll assume Danny's praise of the narrative inventive writer is one more side effect of his (hopefully) temporary residence in Egg Head Land.

At this point, Lionel offered the mutilation scenario of Hillary and they all found it humorous. That was the 'depth' of the discussion. Since none of them support Hillary, let's not pretend that a real discussion ever could have taken place. Each has gone out of their way to tear her apart and utilizing sexism has been the easiest tool. It's also a false premise on Betsy's part that males are responsible. Many Queen Bees, such as Betsy and Laura, engaged in sexist tactics as well.

They quickly moved on to John Edwards and sexism. How he was a victim of it. And that they wanted to explore. It's a bit like the entertainment industry's rush to 'explore' workplace sexual harassment via a woman harassing a man (when all statistics show that it's overwhelming the other way around) or offering up Ahnuld pregnant in Junior. Betsy, so silent on her own sexist treatment of Hillary, was quick to rush in when Laura brought up "homophobia" (laughable, we'll get to it). "It's homophobia," Betsy agreed, with a mixture of "sexism of what it takes to be a man." Betsy played the fool's dance Bob Somerby's long noted: blame the right-wing and pretend like respected outlets didn't partake. (Can you speak of John Edwards and haircut without noting The New York Times? Betsy can.) John Edwards was brought up because the panel thinks he'll be Barack's running mate -- that four Hillary Haters would accept the premise that Barack's the nominee was not surprising.

But there were Betsy and Laura grandstanding on homophobia. It was hilarious. It was hilarious in the show's final segment when Laura wanted to 'explore' same-sex marriage via airing a Big Junk video. Laura, the self-loathing lesbian, never called Barack out for his use of homophobia in South Carolina. Nor did anyone, including Betsy, at The Nation. Suddenly, they wanted to care about homophobia allegedly being used against (the straight) John Edwards?

It is laughable. And it is pathetic.

Barack needed to shore up the votes in South Carolina. He decided to put four homophobes on stage at a campaign event. A 'Christian' duo who compare gays and lesbians to the moral equivalents of murders got some Real Media attention but most was focused on the allegedly "ex-gay" man who now preaches about the evils of gays and cautions, using his own supposedly true narrative, that gay men recruit and they do it by targeting young boys. Human rights groups were outraged. They contacted the campaign and registered their outrage. Barack blew it off. The homophobes took the stage -- the event was protested -- and spewed their homophobia and Barack's campaign aides bragged, "We got what we wanted."

Danny's never written about that either. We're sure he'd have an excuse for that. But all he had to do was link to it and he never did. Homophobia's only an issue when someone you don't support uses it, apparently.

The second segment was Laura talking to secularist Austin Dacey and only drove home that while race is reduced to strictly African-American and White by Panhandle Media and while Panhandle Media has no comprehension of the working class, they really don't get religion.

Dacey's from Amherst, New York and apparently that qualifies as 'exotic' to the NYC set. "Amherst!" the show all but exclaims, "It's practically the sticks!"

Austin was real proud of his work rejecting the myth of values voters. Yeah, great work there Austin. Of course, it was rejected in real time before you ever stepped up to the plate. Idiot Austin and Laura agreed that to create the values voters, the questions had to be slanted. Two Idiots gas bagging. Just what the world doesn't need now. For the record, The New York Times pushed that lie more than any other and to prove it's a lie you need only look at their raw data. Pay attention to the claims in the post-election 2004 story -- by Janet Elder and Adam Nagourney -- on attitudes towards gays and lesbians, for example, and then look at the actual polling data and grasp that they combined a strongly opposed and a weak opposed group which they then pitted against strong supporters while refusing to include weak supporters. No link, this was covered in real time at The Common Ills. [Jim adding links: Here, here, here, here, here and here. C.I. covered all of this Nov. 23, 2004. Dacy's a fool. Back to Ava and C.I.] Unlike the two gas bags, we studied statistics, demography and polling. We know before you promote anything as valid, you look at the raw data. Looking at the questions is the second step but the ones those not trained in methodology rush to. (That would include not only Laura and Austin but also your average reporter.)

It was an insulting segment and it didn't have to be. We'll leave it at that except to mention that our notes include: "Austin, you aren't as cute as you think you are shifting your shoulders and grinning throughout every response." It was a bit like the swivel chairs used on some cable networks for remotes, the one a guest doesn't grasp that they are not supposed to swivel in on camera.

Now we get to return to the host and the program and, after all, aren't they one and the same?

She favors the right side of her mouth when over enunciating. That's why she has so many wrinkles on that side of her mouth. You don't notice that on radio. There's a lot you don't notice on radio. For instance, she shares Amy Goodman's ridiculous and annoying habit of injecting vocal noises -- consider them burps -- throughout that add nothing for the viewer.

She also snorts which means she's doing a tribute to both Gellers: Monica and Ross. Ross with the over-enunciation (which tripped her up this episode "The nation on cap -- the nation on Hurricane Katrina") and Monica with the snorting (especially after Danny said the press had been very selective).

It's nothing but propaganda via a circle-jerk. At some point, Laura would note that The Nation magazine produces her radio show. (The musical theme is the same to both, there's not a lot of 'ideas' floating around the circle-jerk.) She would plug CounterPunch while neglecting to mention that her uncle runs the periodical. She would plug Air America Radio (which airs her show). It reminded us of The Big Show without the sparkle and wit. That radio program was hosted by Talluah Bankhead and was nothing but "insider baseball" for the camp and frou-frou set.

All of Panhandle Media could vanish tomorrow and it wouldn't be any great loss. The only outlet to be mourned is the late, lamented Clamor magazine and what Clamor had to offer was not more of the same. Clamor was not part of the NYC crowd and that's what allowed it to be a distinct voice and not an echo chamber. Danny, who still champions localism, was way off base when he argued that this show is worth supporting. Like Laura Flanders' radio show, which has descended into an hour long infomercial for The Nation magazine, Grit TV has nothing to offer.

It's not breaking any news, it's not offering deep exchanges. It's the sort of show you could find on PBS but from the far, far left and Danny used to call out the PBS offerings like this. Static talking heads, cheap to produce, not remotely resembling news. Grit TV is like every other bad radio and TV program from 'independent' media (meaning it's funded by begging and grants). It's the same guest list of predominately White males. It's the same people talking to each other over and over again. Did the recovery movement make no impact on the left? Did they never grasp the definition of "insanity"?

We're not sure but we do know that along with it being bad programming, it's ugly TV. We're reminded of Gloria Monty's infamous statement when she first viewed an episode of the show she was brought into rescue (General Hospital) but we'll be kind and not repeat it. We will note that Laura Flanders is not the ugly woman on your TV screen. Though she has this weird habit of tapping the index finger of her right hand (while her hands are clasped) while someone else speaks and while she constantly darts her eyes while someone speaks, she's not, by nature, a shifty person. The fact that she looks like one goes to those ridiculous wing-bangs which, due to the overhead lighting, cause shadows to fall over her eyes and elongate her face. TV's a visual medium. If all you have to offer is talking heads, at least try to make them look natural (if not "good").

Years and years ago when Judy Garland decided to do her own CBS TV program, she made a deal with the idiotic Mel Torme where, if he would be her arranger and help her select material, she would let him guest on several episodes. Danny's not an idiot (even trapped in Egg Head Land) and he's not as vain as Torme. He used to know a thing or two about TV. Were we Laura Flanders, we would immediately get on the phone with him and offer him one appearance a week if he would come in and make suggestions on how to improve the look of the show.

Another suggestion? The table needs to go. It's a weird shape -- which doesn't make it 'unique,' just weird -- and it creates far too much distance in what is supposed to be a conversation. But what's most needed is getting the damn show out of NYC. It will never be unique or anything to be proud of when the temptation is always to do the 'easy' thing -- what everyone else is doing. When Air America Radio goes under (tick-tick-tick), Laura has no excuse not to go elsewhere and she should. If it's the Bay Area, she should do her show from Oakland. Even Boston would be an improvement over NYC where all the talking heads have been on too many programs offering the same opinions over and over.

We don't know what's happened to Laura Flanders. The Flanders we supported and cheered would never have stayed silent while any candidate used homophobia as a campaign strategy. The Flanders we applauded would have been the first to note the dirty tricks used in demonizing women (Hillary, yes, but others as well, it was necessary to smear a lot of women to advance Barack's campaign). The Flanders who enthralled us was always against the grain and unconventional. The show the current Flanders is doing is nothing but cookie-cutter. Hopefully in August or November, she'll emerge from her slumber and realize just what has been going on. If she does, she'll have a show worth watching, one that puts every other program to shame. It won't be talking heads, it won't be replaying the headlines (from MSM or Panhandle Media), it will be dangerous and provocative TV.

Right now, she's Carol Channing in Skidoo and we're wishing we had the button Frankie Avalon pushes that makes Channing disappear but realizing that Skidoo was supposed to be funny and wasn't while Grit TV isn't supposed to be funny but is. That's the only real difference we're seeing and like most 'differences' in 'independent' media, it's just the flip of a coin.

TV: Basic cable rejects

What the hell were we watching last week? It felt like a bad cable channel with the worst films.

For instance, Wednesday we caught Liar, Liar (the bad All of Me rip-off) and the liar looked even more believable as played by filth Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

In other campaign news, Senator Obama says he's accepted Senator Hillary Clinton's explanation for controversial comments invoking the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy to justify her continued stay in the Democratic presidential race. In an interview in South Dakota Friday, Clinton cited Kennedy's assassination as an example of a contest continuing through June.
Sen. Hillary Clinton: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just--I don't understand it."
Clinton explained she was trying to cite a historical precedent for a June presidential contest. While not apologizing for the remark, Clinton did say, "I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive." The Obama campaign initially criticized Clinton for invoking the assassination of a candidate. Obama has received Secret Service protection since the early stages of his campaign.

Our mouths fell open and, for a moment, we felt we stumbled across across a badly edited version of Ken Russell's Whore but, of course, no one could ever mistake Theresa Russell as a sexless mouse.

"Mouse" is a good word for Amy Goodman. "Rat" is a better one. The non-story was dead and Amy Goodman, apparently thumbing through her copy of Pravda several days late, was bound and determined to revive it.

As always with the Mouse, facts be damned. "The Obama campaign initially criticized Clinton for invoking the assassination of a candidate"?

That's Amy proving what a Rat she can be. She's filth, she lies for Barack every chance she gets. If she had anything left to whore out for him, she would. But like the MSM's Keith Olberman, both have whored out every last bit. Hillary made a factual statement and the Obama campaign worked like crazy to scream, "She's talking about killing!" (We're assuming bi-racial Barack was supposed to be "White" in that moment of offense, like RFK?)

Here's Katherine Seeyle (New York Times) explaining what Goody wouldn't:

Shortly after Mrs. Clinton spoke on Friday, the Obama campaign jumped on the story, sending an e-mail message to reporters saying her comment had no place in a presidential campaign. It linked to a online report in The New York Post that said Mrs. Clinton was ''making an odd comparison" between the dead candidate and Barack Obama--a phrase the newspaper later dropped.

On Tuesday, Joan Walsh would get specific on CNBC's Hardball:

It was an unfortunate choice of words. But she is being bloodied for this. And I have no doubt that it came originally, somewhat, from the Obama campaign. I got the e-mail on Friday from Bill Burton, making sure that thousands of reporters saw the remarks and that they construed it in the way he wanted them to. I got the e-mail from the Obama campaign, saying that Keith Olbermann--with Keith Olbermann's "special comment" on it.

Goody's a liar, a filthy liar who lies to create problems. She lies to sew dissension. She's not just toxic at this point, she's pathological. Joan Walsh told the truth Tuesday night so Wednesday morning it was time for the rat digging through the garbage to surface with more lies.

"Obama accepted the explanation"? Obama stirred up the s**t with a lot of help from Media Whores like Amy Goodman.

Was there ever any reason for anyone to be outraged? No. Don't believe it? Read this:

It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance in order to support her decision to stay in the race through June. I have heard her make this reference before, also citing her husband's 1992 race, both of which were hard fought through June. I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense.

That's Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and, if Hillary was doing what the liars said she was, he'd be the first to call it out. RFK was, after all, his father. As Bob Somerby (Daily Howler) pointed out throughout the week (but especially Wednesday), the same accurate statement got no attention when it was made in March, the difference was that the Obama campaign attempted to create a media event. That is how, for example, Marjorie Cohn came to write her embarrassing copy (sorry, Marjorie, that column is a pile of crap), she got her heads up from the Obama campaign. It's how she wrote it before Keith Olbermann ever went on air. The campaign sent out the orders and the Red Guard took off marching.

Amy had a curious and pathetic line up last week. We couldn't figure out whether she fancied herself Mike Douglas or Robin Leach. But in the week that followed Come Back To The Five & Dime, John Cusack, John Cusack, she was chatting it up with Gore Vidal, remembering Utah Phillips (those asking "Who?" are forgiven), exploring the BookExpo America, gabbing with fired failed journalist Robert Scheer and grabbing the tissues with Norman Finkelstein, a vocal critic of Israel, who was deported.

Deported? May 21st the Canadian government announced that US war resister Corey Glass had until June 12th to leave Canada or he would be deported. Goody never found time to tell anyone about that. We'd say she might do it next week but we understand 'reliable sources' tell her they can book Zsa Zsa Gabor for the hour next week!

What an utterly embarrassing and boring week of viewing offered. In fairness to the Hu**ler magazine publishing Goodman, the real excitement was online last week, not on TV.

Early Thursday morning, community member Martha gave a heads up to everyone that, at TalkLeft, Big Tent Democrat has another video from Barack's church. This one was of Michael Pfleger 'preaching' hate speech last Sunday. Pfleger's known Barack as long as Barack's gone to Trinity Church. Pfleger's donated to his campaigns, served on his current campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and spoken publicly at campaign events for Barack. When the Jeremiah Wright controversy erupted (after ABC's Good Morning America broadcast videos of Wright damning the United States of America, saying AIDS was a US government plot to kill African-Americans, etc.), the Barack campaign urged the media to speak to Pfleger who could vouch for Wright ("as a White man," was the Obama campaign pitched it to one network and two daily papers). So there was Pfleger insisting that Wright had never said anything outrageous and a national media that really didn't know anything about Pfleger ran with him as a 'respected' and 'sane' source.

We'll assume they were shocked to see the mincing performance Pfleger gave, one that made us think of Patrick Swayze trying to girl it up in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.

To a standing ovation, Rev. Otis Moss intro-ed Pfleger, "He needs no introduction. He's a friend of Trinity, he's a brother beloved. He's a preacher par excellence. He's a prophetic, powerful pupiteer. He is our friend. He is our brother. He is none other than Father Michael Pfeger. We welcome him once again."

After that wordy intro, anything else might be anti-climatic. But Pfleger's the rhinestone that sparkles.

He started out screaming in his impersonation of White people. Not him, you understand, though he is White. But others, you know, the ones not as 'enlightened' as he is. Those people, you understand, are insisting "don't hold me responsible for what my ancestors did."

Pfleger demonstrated how unAmerican he is as a friend with Smallville pointed out on the phone urging us to catch a rebroadcast Thursday night (and consider reviewing the show again). Smallville is the story of Clark Kent (Superman) and it's hard to get more Americana than that. In Thursday's broadcast, Clark met Kara (Supergirl) who was also from his home planet (Krypton) and, at the end, goes to the Fortress of Solitude to speak to his dead father and ask why he was never told about Kara before? His father tells him that Kara's father was not to be trusted and, therefore, Kara cannot be trusted. Clark respondes that you really can't blame her for the things her father did. That is the American way. We're not living in a feudal society. But don't wake up Pfleger.

He was raving at the mouth insisting that yes, you can (he's so very Obama) blame any White person today "unless," he said noting an escape clause, "you are ready to give up the benefits! Throw away your 401 fund! Throw away your trust fund! Throw away all the money you put into the company you walked into because yo Daddy and yo granddaddy and yo great granddaddy, unless you're willing to give up the benefits" and at that point he was screaming so loudly, we feared he burst a blood vessel. Okay, we hoped that.

Your 401 fund? Between us we cover several disciplines (with degrees) but we'd never heard of a 401 fund. We called our accountant. He explained that "the crazy" means the 401K. Yeah, you kind of need the "k" in there to identify the 401K.

But we were back ot the video and wondering why Pfleger was saying "Yo Daddy," et al? Was he attempting to say this is how the vile White people speak? Was he attempting to pass for 'street'? We didn't have too long to ponder because that was just his opening number.

"When Hillary was crying," Pfleger said pantomiming tears as though he thought he were on stage at The Palace, "and people said that was a put on, I really don't believe it was a put on." In this section especially, Pfleger will be panting into the microphone and we saw that as his attempt to play Sally in When Harry Met Sally . . . . Michael Pfleger, you are no Meg Ryan. Allowing his voice to rise, he snarled, "I really believe that she just always thought, 'This is mine'." At this point he begins speaking in a voice more girlish than his natural one and, stating, "I'm Bill's wife. I'm White. And this is mine. And I jus' gotta get up. " While we won't doubt the allegedly celibate Pfleger would enjoy being Bill's wife, we found the rest of the performance lacking. And unconvincing.

Some might question his choice of a deep voice when Pfleger declared "Hey, I'm Barack Obama"; however, we don't think he was trying to butch up Barack (is that even possible?), we think he grasped what a delicate flower he came off.

He was back to 'dainty' in the following, "She said, 'Oh, damn! Where did you come from! I'm White! I'm entitled! There's a Black man stealing my show!'"

Last time we checked, the Catholic Church does not believe in mind reading anymore than they believe in the gnostics. Some might call what Pfleger offered a performance, we saw it as a heresy.

In his own voice (we really shouldn't call it "his normal voice") he screamed, "She wasn't the only one crying! There was a whole lotta White people crying!"

Through out, the crackpot congergation of Trinity went wild. As Andrew S. Ross' "Campaign question-5: Obama's latest racial problem" (San Francisco Chronicle) wondered, "Apart from the appallingly racist nature of Father Michael Pfleger's remarks about Hillary Clinton, what is one to make of the congregation who seemed to lap it all up?"

We'll come back to that.

For now, let's note somethings that did follow. Barack Obama never apologized for the sexist (that drag queen performance by Pfleger was sexist and insulting to all women) and racist remarks Pfleger made. (Though we're sure if Goody ever covers this, she'll lie that Barack apologized.) He said it did not reflect the country he has seen during the presidential campaign. But, let's be clear, it reflects exactly what he's seen for 20 years at Trinity and he was fine and dandy with it then.

Early on Friday, Dick Durbin tried to play Pfleger spinning for Wright by spinning for Pfleger to The Chicago Tribune. It was embarrassing, deeply embarrassing and Durbin knows a slap-down when he sees one so he's probably done with the subject. The slapdown? Jake Tapper (ABC News) quoted Cardinal Francis George of the Archidoces of Chicago Friday with this statement: "The Catholic Church does not endorse political candidates. Consequently, while a priest must speak to political issues that are also moral, he may not endorse candidates nor engage in partisan campaigning. Racial issues are both political and moral and are also highly charged. Words can be differently interpreted, but Fr. Pfleger's remarks about Senator Clinton are both partisan and amount to a personal attack. I regret that deeply."

Prior to that Durbin was already stepping in it. He was explaining to The Chicago Tribune's editorial board (links for all of this can be found in Friday's "Iraq snapshot") that Jeremiah Wright's 'statements' were a good thing because they caused the nation to 'explore' racism and ask, "'Why is he so angry? Why is Jeremiah Wright so angry over the situation in America today?' Here is a man who volunteered with the Marine Corps in Vietnam, who went on to be a Navy corpsman. There's no question about his patriotism. Then why is he so angry about this country?" Pfleger stepped in it.

No one wants to talk about that. Wright's a crackpot preaching hate. And Bill Moyers got called out for shining it on for Wright. But what Pfleger has done is more damaging. He's a White person. With Wright, some non-African-Americans could say, "Well maybe it's a Black thing?" They could (wrongly) assume that's just how 'they' are. With Pfleger attacking White working class Americans and Pfleger being White, this is even more toxic than anything Wright did.

Let's go through it slowly. Though we have heard of 401Ks, neither of us have one. We have a few IRAs, but we have no 401K. The reason is we are wealthy. A 401K is something you and your employer contribute to. Wright wasn't attacking the moneyed class when he went beserk over "401 funds," he was attacking the working class.

If he wanted to attack the moneyed class, he could have, for instance, asked Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation to give up her Harlem mansion. Come on, a White woman living it up in a mansion in Harlem? Is there anything that reeks more of entitlement? (In fairness, Katrina does provide jobs to the area -- for her household help.) 401Ks? That's for the working class and the middle class.

So what Pfleger did was announce -- as a White Barack supporter and someone who was part of the campaign and someone Barack used publicly to campaign for him -- that White people better be able to give up their 401Ks.

Pfleger just gifted John McCain's campaign with the Willie Horton moment. In the general election, anyone already bothered by the Black Liberation religious theory Barack has been part of could tell themselves, "But Barack's 'post-racial.' He says so. George Will says so!" Not now. Now, a White supporter of Barack's has announced to the country that, if you're White working class, you better surrender your 401K for the big give-away.

We can already see the ad this fall if Barack's the Democratic nominee. "Barack Obama speak of 'change'." Insert Pfleger screaming nonsense here. "Is it 'change'? Or is it Get Whitey?"

Wright had an out for Barack. Wright's skin color was his out. Barack was happy to use that out and to claim (in that nearly 4,000 word speech) that Wright was a relic of the past, still caught up in the old wars of the past. (Those 'wars' would be the Civil Rights Movement which still has a long ways to go in the United States.) Barack presented himself as far, far from Wright. And some made uncomfortable by Wright could buy into that. They could tell themselves, "Well, Wright lived through really bad times and personally was discriminated against gravely and repeatedly."

Pfleger, a White man, can't make that same claim. The only discrimination he's faced in his adult life is probably some people assuming he's a pedophile due to his collar.

And, more importantly, all Americans have an image of the Catholic Church and they damn well know what Pfleger was doing is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The only thing he was representing on stage was the Obama campaign -- hence the attacks on Hillary.

So the Obama campaign now stands for robbing from the working class. In the consumerist culture that we live in, the threat of taking things away from those near the bottom and at the bottom doesn't motivate a lot of people to vote for you. One of the most effective lies told about Al Gore was that he wanted to take away "your guns and cars." That was repeated over and over. One of us (C.I.) was asked to speak at a high school by a teacher in 2000 because she had booked a pro-Bully Boy speaker. The man speaking for Bully Boy repeated that smear. It was met with anger. The man lied and said it was in Earth in the Balance and even after it was corrected (by C.I.), there were still high school seniors (at a well off school) convinced Al Gore was going to take away their cars. (They didn't give a damn about the guns.) There were jokes, as they left the assembly, about how Al wanted them to ride horses to school.

Few people like the idea of giving up something. And on the issue of slavery, no one should. The US government encouraged slavery, refused to make it illegal. All those owning slaves died sometime ago. The US government needs to make reparations of some form. Even suggesting something as mild as a national college fund is still controversial. So the idea that a Barack supporter, someone who has known Barack for years and has campaigned for him, is calling for non-African-Americans to give up their 401Ks is not going to go over well.

That moment is not dying.

And you better believe the McCain camp (whether they use it themselves or farm it off to surrogates) aren't going to let it die either. On Friday, John Bentley (CBS News) noted Senator John McCain's comments, "I have known Sen. Clinton for a long time. I respect her, and I think that kind of language and that kind of treatment of Sen. Clinton is unwarranted, uncalled for, and disgraceful." McCain is now on record opposing Pfleger's statements. The campaign (or its surrogates) will run with it if Barack's the nominee. It will be bigger than Willie Horton because it will play into the issues of race, economics and the US history of slavery.

It will not be pretty.

And it's probably not fair to call it "the Willie Horton" moment because it will be tapping into much more than race and because Pfleger is White. But it will have that kind of impact and whomever fills the commercial will have a long, long line of other campaigns begging to sign them up.

Those are basic realities and, if the campaign season thus far has demonstrated anything, it's that they aren't interested in realities. Which is how you got the ridiculous Washington Week Friday where Gwen brought the issue up as brief aside. The issue was being covered by the media on Thursday and Friday. It's not a non-issue and it's not something to be swept aside. But if she hadn't done that, viewers couldn't have enjoyed the rampant sexism on display, could they?

You had Slate's John Dickerson dismissing any suggestion that sexism on the part of the media has been utilized in press coverage of Hillary. And, to really underscore how 'trivial' he thought sexism was, near the end of the show, he was making jokes about it. Making sure no one missed how strong sexism is today, CNBC and The New York Times' John Hardwood decided to give examples as he talked over ABC News' Martha Raddatz in the final moments, basically told her she was stupid ("the issue on the table!") and much more. We found it interesting that Gwen was trying to cut John off due to time limits but not seriously. She put her hand down firmly on the table when Martha attempted to respond. Martha she could get firm with, John yelling and screaming (it was a very crazy week for Washington Week), she wasn't going to 'moderate.' John and John struck us as acting out their own pathetic version of In The Company of Men.

We would have thought the week couldn't get any nuttier . . .

War resistance ignored

Starting with war resistance. Canada's Global TV reports, "Corey Glass, a former U.S. National Guardsman who deserted to Canada in 2006 to avoid serving in Iraq, was told today that his application to stay in Canada has been rejected supporters say. Michelle Robidoux, a spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign, said Glass could be deported by June 12." Canadian Press notes: "Ottawa has decided that an American soldier who fled the army over the Iraq war will not face the risk of abuse or mistreatment if returned to the U.S. The means Corey Glass can now be deported to the United States, where he faces possible jail time for desertion."

On March 30, 2007, Corey Glass stood before Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board explaining he signed up for the National Guard in Indiana to assist with national disasters "on American soil." Iraq War veteran Glass self-checked out, went underground and moved to Canada in the fall of 2006. After self-checking out, Glass was underground for seven months before going to Canada and, during that time, the Army (which supposedly just waits for traffic violations to catch self-check outs) was visiting his parents, calling phone numbers trying to track him down. In October of 2006, Corey Glass, Justin Colby, Ryan Johnson and other war resisters in Canada were considering returning to US as a result of the way Darrell Anderson's discharge was resolved. However, once the military attempted to screw over Kyle Snyder, that changed. Glass told Brett Barrouqere (AP) at the start November 2006, "After what they did to him, I don't see anybody going back." Glass stated, "I knew the war was wrong before I went, but I was going to fulfil my end of the bargain, right or wrong and eventually my conscience just caught up with me. . . I felt horrible for being a part of it. If I could apologise to those people [Iraqis], every single on, I would."

Today at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre in Spadina, Glass spoke explaining, "What I saw in Iraq convinced me that the war is illegal and immoral. I could not in good conscience continue to take part in it. I came here because Canada did not join the Iraq War. Also I knew Canada had welcomed many Americans during the Vietnam War."
Reuters notes, "If he is returned to the United States, Glass, of Fairmount, Indiana, could face jail time. He joined the National Guard in 2002" and they quote him stating of his work in military intel in Iraq, "Through this job I had access to lots of information about what was happening on the ground in Iraq. Through what I saw, I realized innocent people were being killed unjustly."

That's what the May 21st "Iraq snapshot" led with. May 21st. And where is Panhandle Media? The Queen of the Beggars, Amy Goodman, not only has refused to do a segment on it, she couldn't even include it as an item in headlines. Do you realize how long ago May 21st was? But Goody was 'going where the silences are' and, apparently, that now includes John Cusack's film career.

But it doesn't include war resisters.

You want to know when The Queen of the Beggars last interviewed a war resister who was resisting -- not someone who the military had tried and punished, someone who was resisting?

November 3, 2006.

Repeating, November 3, 2006. The Queen of the Beggars gets a lot of a mileage out of pretending she gives a damn about war resisters. She has that image. And she's not done a damn thing since 2006.

That's why, in the summer of 2007, she missed her chance to air the US exclusive story on the kill teams in Iraq. Those are US military teams who leave property lying around to tempt Iraqis into touching it. When they touch it, they are shot. James Burmeister was talking about that in the summer of 2007. James Burmeister, Iraq War veteran, US war resister, who moved to Canada.

Goody wasn't there.

She wasn't there to cover it. She never had time for Burmeister. His name has never been mentioned on the program. Not even when The Washington Post made the kill teams national news in the fall of 2007. Burmeister came back to the US, Goody wasn't there. He's at Fort Knox now, waiting to find out how the military plans to punish him and Goody's not interested.

Friday, war resister Ryan Jackson was sentenced to 100 days at Fort Gordon. You didn't hear about that from Panhandle Media, did you?

Eli Israel resisted the illegal war while serving in Iraq in the summer of 2007 and did so publicly. Where was the media?

Friday on CounterSpin, the kooks were tut-tutting the media silence on Winter Soldier and noting that Iraq Veterans Against the War were testifying to Congress in May and where was the mainstream media? Where was Panhandle Media. Memorial Day, Goodman usually re-airs one of her canned programs assuming no one is watching. She gave the hour -- on a least watched day -- finally to that story. May 26th.

Least watched day and late, late, late. The hearings took place on May 15th and they made that day's snapshot and the next day's and Monday the 19th's snapshot. They were also noted in the community in Trina's "Contentment in the Kitchen," Rebecca's "sergio korchergin speaks to congress," Betty's "A red day," Ruth's "Sgt. Adam Kokesh speaks to Congress," Kat's "Luis Montalvan," Marcia's "Vincent Emanuele testifies to Congress," Elaine's "IVAW's Vincent Emanuele testifies to Congress," Mike's "IVAW's James Gilligan speaks to Congress" and our "Editorial: The teachable moment." Outside the community, CSPAN, it was broadcast by KPFA (click here for KPFA's archived broadcast) and at Aaron Glantz' website The War Comes Home on the day of the hearing and Glantz and Aimee Allison anchored KPFA's coverage.

Eleven days later, Goody show ups to use them as filler on a day when even less are watching or listening to her show due to the holiday. And, pay attention to this, though she's eleven days late, she somehow forgets to include Matthis Chiroux. She's eleven days late and somehow misses Chiroux who made a public statement following the hearing?

What statement?

The Iraq Veterans Against the War member was discharged only to be informed he was being called back up. Here's what he declaredy publicly (text, video):

Good afternoon. My name is Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, and I served in the Army as a Photojournalist until being honorable discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines. As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter servicemember's stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq. For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand. In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this Soldier will not be deploying to Iraq. This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.

He did that on May 15th and, if you're wondering, his declaration was never the focus of a segment on Democracy Now! or even a headline. His name has never been mentioned by Goodman on her program. You want to keep pretending that Goodman's trying to end the illegal war and that she gives a damn about war resisters?

At the end of 2006, Goodman banked a $100,000 check from Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel and she never thought twice, she didn't look back.

On what was Goodman's last profile on a war resister actively resisting, November 2006, she ended with this comment, "We'll continue to follow Kyle's case and see what happens to him next. Again, he was speaking to us from Louisville, Kentucky. He had turned himself in at Fort Knox and then went AWOL." Did she keep her word? She didn't interview any other war resister but did she keep her word regarding Kyle. The answer isn't "no," it's "hell no!" Kyle Snyder traveled around America. In November, he was volunteering with work rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was also speaking out publicly. He went to the West Coast for an announced speaking tour. The military called the police who began showing up at scheduled stops. Goodman never told her audience that. He returned to Canada and Goodman never said a peep. As he was preparing to marry, he was pulled out of his home one morning by Canadian police on the orders of the US military -- pulled out in his bathrobe and underwear. Goodman never said a word.

She didn't say a word and she doesn't keep her word.

$100,000 buys a lot of silence.

There's a lot of buying and selling going on in Panhandle Media and no one's supposed to notice, everyone's supposed to pretend it's an "independent" media -- even when a Nation article refers to In These Times as "our sister publication." Really? James didn't start that magazine as a "sister publication" to anyone so it would be really interesting to hear The Nation -- which is infamous for its media consolidation chart of Real Media -- explain what "sister publication" means to their readers.

It's become one big circle-jerk and, when you hear the same take on show after show and read it in magazine after magazine, you need to grasp that inbreeding has occurred.

Big Media's always being sliced and diced by Panhandle Media over its conflicts of interest. There's nothing wrong with that if they apply the same standards to themselves, but they don't. Guests come in and no one's ever told, "We serve on ___ together." Katrina writes a blog post marveling over an organization and just happens to forget to inform readers she sits on the board of that organization.

They're inbred and it needs to stop before the senility is joined with genetic mutation. If there's any thought more frightening than Katrina vanden Heuvel, it's a two-headed Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Oh look, there's Ruth Conniff writing for . . . The Progressive and The Nation! And Barbara Ehrenreich doing both as well! And a lot of Open Society money being spread around that no one's ever supposed to talk about either.

This inbreeding destroyed the last good program Air America Radio had. That was Radio Nation with Laura Flanders which was great when it was just The Laura Flanders Show. But a six hour live program that mixed up things with various guests and reports was reduced down to a pre-taped one hour program (no more calls!) that did nothing but discuss that week's Nation magazine. A one hour infomercial for The Nation magazine. We honestly think Flanders has gone nuts and, in a way, we can't blame her after seeing her show destroyed and having to gush over Nation writers like she's a washed up TV actress gushing over the marvels of a tread mill or acne medication.

There's too many reach-arounds going down and not enough independence.

Five years ago, if one outlet was ignoring a story, you could go elsewhere. Today, Panhandle Media has become "57 Channels and there's nothing on."

The Canadian Parliament is supposed to finally debate the motion the NDP put together in December -- granting safe harbor to US war resisters in Canada. That action is supposed to take place Tuesday.

Canada's Liberal Party issued "Liberals Call on Government to Show Compassion for War Resisters" last Thursday:

The Liberal Opposition is calling on the Conservative government to support a motion that would allow conscientious objectors to apply for permanent resident status in Canada, said Liberal Citizenship and Immigration Critic Maurizio Bevilacqua.

"Five years ago, the Liberal government made a principled decision not to participate in a war that wasn't sanctioned by the United Nations (U.N.). We should not now punish individuals and their families for making the same decision based on their personal principles," said Mr. Bevilacqua.

The motion, which was passed by the Immigration Commmittee and is being debated in the House today, calls on the government to allow conscientious objectors, and their immediate family members, who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the U.N. and who do not have a criminal record to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada. The motion also stipulates that the government should not proceed with any action agains any war resister who currently faces deportation.

"The government has a choice: it is not compelled to force these people to go back to a country where they may face prosecution under military law, or may be permanently branded for making a principled decision," said Mr. Bevilacqua.

"Stephen Harper has indicated that, had he been Prime Minister in 2003, Canada would have participated in the Iraq war. I hope that the fact that Mr. Harper got it wrong at the time will not prevent him from showing compassion for those who made the right decision."

And still Panhandle Media's response is silence. Why hasn't the illegal war ended already? One reason is Panhandle Media doesn't even cover it.


Jim: Roundtable time, this will be a rush transcript. If there's an illustration, it's done by Betty's eldest son. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and, 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. All but Dona, Ty and myself are in Puerto Rico. The three of us are in South Dakota. We're all working on getting out the vote. Dona suggested that before the roundtable gets started proper I talk about the edition thus far thinking that will mean less time on "A note to our readers" which is the last thing written each edition. We immediately got to work and I hear Ava and C.I. laughing at that. Ava and C.I. went off to write their article for this edition and had a lot to cover. They emerged a little over ninety minutes later with more pages than you could estimate. Jess immediately grabbed it and said it was no problem they went long but that he was going to split it into two pieces which immediately had Ava asking, "What did you not do?" Meaning they busted their asses and we were supposed to be working as well. What did we produce? We've got one truest of the week selected. We talked and we talked about the roundtable and the talking was done with the hope that when the roundtable took place we'd be more focused and have less to talk about during. Which brings up a point Keith caught. In last week's "A note to our readers," I mention that Mike, Wally and myself wasted time in that week's roundtable by talking about sports. Mike mentions that in his "Barack: Stupid or a liar?" and Keith e-mailed, "If I just read it, it seems like, '15 minutes, what's the problem?' But when I put it together, I'm seeing that you mean you each spoke for about 15 minutes." Yes, Keith, you are correct. 45 minutes of sports talk that was never used and never going to be used and that Ava and C.I. didn't even take notes on, it turns out. That and other interests we tried to get out of the way while Ava and C.I. were working. Now I need to do an apology. In "And the war drags on . . ." --

C.I.: In "E-mails and talking post."

Jim: Sorry, in "E-mails and talking post," which went up Sunday, C.I. responds to Kyle who repeatedly e-mailed this site to note how Ava and C.I.'s commentary "TV: Satan tires a sitcom" documents the very real onset strife of Back To You and did so back in September. Kyle has seen that strife reported recently and only recently so he wrote here repeatedly in the last few weeks to get that pointed out and I never included that. My apologies to Kyle. I was the one who nixed it because each week, I would tell Ty, "Put that at the bottom of the pile and we'll get to it if we have time." Kyle is correct -- I used the links he provided -- that what's being reported now was all documented by Ava and C.I. in September. In the same Sunday entry, C.I. talked about this site and for that I need to say "thank you." If you wrote last week, we probably didn't see it. When we logged in on Tuesday, actually Dona, she said, "We have over a thousand e-mails." Over half of those were people writing about an issue and then writing again to say, "Never mind, I saw C.I.'s explanation." As C.I. pointed out, I am the let-it-all-hang-out type. I never believe in pretty it up, Rebecca and I are both like that, and I'm fine with pointing out disagreements or tension. It's not always a love-fest putting out an edition each week and I never attempt to pretend that it is. But it caused concern that we were either at each others' throats or about to quit.

Jess: Or both.

Jim: Yes, or both. As C.I. pointed out, for the core six -- that's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I. and myself and throw in Dallas as well although he never wants credit -- what's going on is nothing new. There has never been an easy or miracle edition --

Kat: Christmas weekend 2006 when Ava and C.I. steered the edition, Christmas weekend 2007 when Ava, C.I. and Jess steered the edtion.

Jim: Kat was laughing and so I am. Yeah, there were two easy editions and, coincidence?, I didn't participate in either. They were done by 4:00 am EST with the group writing and just had to type, edit and polish and done by 7:00 am EST. I'll assume that last half was just Ava and C.I. and Ava, C.I. and Jess.

Jess: No, Kat stayed up throughout. She was typing and editing.

Jim: Well there's the problem. When I'm participating, Kat doesn't type or edit. It's not me, it's Kat. I'm joking. But the point is that, except for those two editions, every weekend has been a nightmare and a rollercoaster and I enjoy every moment of it while it goes on, the strife, the conflict, the joy, all of it. Dona, Jess and Ty usually enjoy it Sunday night when they've had some sleep and Ava and C.I. never enjoy it. That's probably another reason they don't ever read what they've written here, it brings up too many bad memories. Last week, in the note, I pointed out that C.I. called an end to the roundtable and that it would have continued going on forever if C.I. hadn't done that. C.I. was kind enough to point out that anyone could have done that and it wasn't my responsibility. It's also not C.I.'s. Lana e-mailed to say she wished we had more personal things in these because she feels like, quote: "All your 'serious' stuff gets ripped off and if you included more stuff for the dedicated readers like me, maybe the vultures would be bored and go elsewhere." So we are going to talk about a number of things but Ty and I did go through as many e-mails as we could to pick out some personal stuff. Ty?

Ty: And we're on the road and have been all week. None of us have been home since forever. Ava, C.I. and Kat haven't been home since maybe April. So if you wrote something, got no reply and you're a regular reader, you are one of the many e-mails we didn't get to but hope to shortly. As Jim pointed out, Dona found over a thousand when she went in on Tuesday. We thought we'd catch up with what we couldn't get to by checking in later during the week but, of course, e-mails didn't stop coming in. So there's a great deal that wasn't read and I'm off e-mails next week. I'm taking two weeks off. Just noting that. Ava and C.I. will be helping out with the e-mails while I take a break and thank you to everyone helping out for that. With all that said, Priscilla wanted to know what was Kat's worst concert experience. She writes that she loves music and she loves Kat's reviews "hint, hint".

Kat: I get the hint and honestly planned to do a review this weekend. I have two reviews I'd like to write but I don't have the time. We were in South Dakota all last week until we left for Puerto Rico. I had honestly planned to do one Memorial Weekend but then we all did that piece --

Dona: Cutting you off for just a moment to get the links in on that: "Realities in the Democratic presidential nomination contest," "The Democratic Race for the presidential nomination," "hillary, hillary and only hillary, ""Only Hillary can win in November," "Hillary can win in November," "Want to win the White House?," "Realities in the Democratic presidential nomination contest," "Realities in the Democratic presidential nomination contest," "There's only one choice for Democrats," "The cruelest and most vile word you can call a Democrat," "Is the DNC paying attention?" and "Hillary's the only choice." Back to you, Kat.

Kat: That was the article we wrote together so everyone would have a post on Memorial Day. And no one was in the mood. I think Jim has that as a topic for later, so back to Priscilla's question. I think my worst concert experience was one I had a ticket to but didn't attend. A group of friends and I had tickets, this was in 1975, to a tour and I won't name the headliner but I wasn't excited by them. Fleetwood Mac was the opening act and Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had just joined, the self-titled ablum was out and I was so excited. One week before the concert, exactly seven days before, a friend who has just moved to New Jersey called. She had a ton of problems -- self-created and no sympathies for the whiners who get involved with married men and then want to play no-one-could-have-guessed. So I listen for about 20 minutes to her non-stop whining and am really thinking, "When can I get off the phone?" She finally comes up for air by asking, "So what's going on with you?" Without thinking, I mention the concert. "Without thinking" because the woman was -- is -- very competative. I thought enough just to say, "I'm going to a concert next week." I immediately regretted it. "Who? I bet I've seen them already." Finally, to get her to shut up, five minutes later, I say, "Fleetwood Mac." It's all, "Oh, I saw them years ago. They're so passe. They're so" just all this nonsense she was known for and at the end of her rant, she and her attitude had so soured me on this concert I had been excited about, that I skipped it. Toni and Maggie went and not only had a blast, they had an experience. That's my only real regret in terms of concerts. That I didn't go just because that "I am always the first! I know everything! Always!" woman had soured me on it. Did Priscilla offer a bad experience?

Ty: No. She was just wondering about your worst. If she writes back with a follow up, we'll pass it on to you.

Jim: Okay, the group article was mentioned and I'm tossing to Ruth and maybe Rebecca to handle that. Why them? I'm trying to make sure that people like Ruth and Kat who speak the least in the roundtables have a chance to speak early on.

Ruth: Everyone was so tired. We were all, except Betty, back in South Dakota or still in South Dakota. C.I. had posted Sunday right before midnight, had done three entries that ran together time wise which meant C.I. started Monday with no sleep and hadn't been to sleep since waking up Saturday morning. Ava and Jess had tried to stay during that and were going through e-mails at The Common Ills to help out but they say they konked out around three in the morning Monday. So they were exhausted. Betty had Memorial Day plans with her kids and was busy most of the day and exhausted. Jim went out at some point Monday and rented DVDs thinking we could have a slow and easy movie day after a little bit of speaking. The little bit went longer and, repeating, C.I. was part of this and had not been asleep since waking up Saturday morning. We were all very tired, even those like me, who had gotten sleep each night. I hope I am not going on too long.

Jim: Ruth, you were picked to discuss this. Discuss.

Ruth: Okay -- and we are both laughing before someone e-mails about that. Okay, so we finally got back to the hotel and it was 5:15 p.m. It was hot and we were tired. I think everybody took a shower and slowly drifted in to the living area in Kat, C.I. and Wally's suite. Couples were paired up -- that's Dona and Jim, Elaine and Mike, Rebecca and her husband, Jess and Ava -- in case anyone's wondering. Marcia, Trina, my granddaughter Tracey and I were sharing a room and Cedric and Ty had a room that Wally was going to be in but there was a problem with the fold out sofa in that --

Kat: Plus, C.I. and I love seeing Wally's sexy legs as he struts around in boxers! I'm joking. Not about the way he struts around in boxers. And he does have sexy legs.

Ruth: Everyone's laughing. So Wally was with them and I think it was either Ava and Jess that walked in last or C.I. that did. Both Ava and C.I. were drying their hair with towels and neither had a pleasant expression on their face. We were supposed to be gathered to watch at least one of the movies Jim had rented. But Jim kept trying to catch Ava's eyes and then C.I.'s eyes and they were both ignoring Jim. Finally, Mike said, "So which one are we going to watch?" I don't remember the four films, sorry. We never watched any and that may be one reason. Jim replies to Mike, to everyone, that Betty should be home now and, if we call her, we can all get to work on writing that article together. I will not repeat what Ava said but I will note no one was surprised by her comments. I do not know if even Mike thought we were watching a movie. I think we all knew that we were going to be writing. Mike?

Mike: No, I really did think we were going to watch a movie. I knew C.I. -- this is Monday evening -- had a huge headache and, like you point out, had not been to sleep since waking up Saturday morning. I caught Jim trying to catch their eye, like you said, but Ava and C.I. were both avoiding him. So I really thought, "Even if Jim wants to write the article right now, there's no way he's going to bring it up." Also, like you pointed out, no one was shocked -- or bothered -- by what Ava so colorfully said when Jim proposed writing the article.

Wally: Right, we all burst out laughing, even Jim.

Ruth: So after that, Ava got up from where she was sitting and C.I. was already pacing, you could tell they were both ticked off. The only people they would like at was each other. Finally, they sat down on the floor and then Jim walks over with two legal pads and tries to hand it to them and Ava says, "We have to do this and we have to be the ones to take all the notes?" Jim's back was to me but Ava laughed and told me later it was the face Jim made. So with no one wanting to write the piece and Ava and C.I. strongly opposed to writing anything, we started. It was three hours later when it was finished and Ava and C.I. stood up, walked over to Jim, dropped the legal pads on the floor in front of him and said, "Type it up." Did I leave out anything?

Jim: Good summary. I'll note I did type it up. I'll note that I left out one word, forget typos, I left out a word, and that I also typed a "d" at the end of a verb -- I think it was a "d" -- by accident so we didn't have noun and verb agreement in one sentence. But on the process itself, I toss to Rebecca.

Rebecca: It was like July 4th when we all had to write "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," and "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis." Everyone but Marcia, I should say. And by that I mean, Ava and C.I. didn't attempt to hide the fact that they were not interested in it. Like then, and like these writing editions, Jim knows he just has to wait. He wrote a very cluttered sentence, about three in fact, early on, and I believe he make it so cluttered and awkward on purpose. He looked at me when he asked, "How does that sound?" It sounded awful but I thought he had an ulterior reason so I went along with it. "It sounds great!" You should have heard Ava and C.I. "It's too long! It has no snap!" and I forget everything else, they were critiquing it a mile a minute and Jim looks at them, with I believe insincere puzzlement, and asks, "Well how could I fix it?" Ava looks at C.I. and the two are just staring at each other and gritting their teeth and finally they explode, I think it was C.I. first, "A new map!" Then Ava, "A new math!" Then both together, "A new day!" with Kat adding, "Somebody fire up Nina Simone on the boom box." That's in reference to the fact that they were riffing on Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" which includes, "Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me." Which, people reading at my site who e-mailed, did catch and enjoy. After that, as I suspect Jim knew would happen, Ava and C.I. were participating and, by the end, they were putting the whole piece through the mill including coming up with a new opening.

Dona: And if Ava and C.I. hadn't already caught on to Jim's tricks -- if -- they know now.

Mike: So you knew too?

Dona: No one here knows Jim better than me and he usual that little stunt in other areas as well. I'll leave it to the imagination.

Jim: Yeah, I do. And Rebecca's right, I threw the question directly to her because I knew she'd back me up whereas Dona had already been telling me, since around three o'clock, "No one wants to write, don't bring it up, don't do it, Ava's going to explode." But, again, to me, that's part of the process.

Cedric: And I'm not trying to be mean to you here but that's why, while Rebecca defends that, a number of the rest of us get ticked off. We know that process. I'm sure Ava and C.I. knew it before you pulled it. But, on our end, because Wally, Ruth, Marcia and I had talked about this, C.I. had not been to sleep since Saturday morning and it was now Monday evening -- and Monday night when we finished the piece -- and that's why sometimes we really get vocal about, "Jim, cut it out."

Jim: And I never take offense to that, and don't right now, but the thing is, since January of 2005, I've done that with Ava and C.I. And I know when it really is the last line crossed, not only will Ava say so and walk off but C.I. will not just walk off with Ava -- they will always walk out together -- but will first tell me, "No." It's happened before plenty of times and Rebecca's been participating in these writing editions since at least April of 2005, not everyone at first, but she's done enough to know -- and has written at her site -- that, for example, when it is too much, C.I. will say so.

Rebecca: Right. Like when C.I. spoke up last week during the roundtable and said something like, "Jim, I'm not kidding, end the roundtable right now." That's never said humorously or sarcastically or with malice, it's a flat statement -- and when C.I.'s making flat, emotionless statements, be scared, be very scared. But, Jim's right, I have written about it. Jim's done that for years. The editorial is generally the last big piece written by group. Sometimes, if it's been a hectic writing edition, Ava and C.I. still have to go write their TV commentary, but most of the time that's done. We're all tired and we're all exhausted and Jim will be like a pitcher and put C.I. at bat. I mean, there are countless editorials that are nothing but call and response from Jim and C.I. And C.I.'s tired and if we're handling a difficult topic -- say veterans health care -- it can appear very brutal because C.I.'s already tired and doing a topic like that, or the silence on war resisters, is going to have C.I. crying while responding to Jim's comment or question. C.I.'s tired and there's nothing left. Any protective barrier has long since vanished and we have very raw and very strong editorials on those weeks. Now I know C.I. and I know C.I. will self-tear up -- tear up, not tear up, rip apart, self-rip apart -- to get something pulled together. So it doesn't worry me the way it does others and I know it can look brutal. But I know if it's an important topic, C.I. will do that. There are times when C.I.'s dictating a snapshot, that if you look, you'll see tears streaming down C.I.'s face. It can be a very brutal process -- either with Jim or solo -- but if the topic is important, C.I. will do that. I'm not dismissing anyone's concerns, by the way, I'm just saying when there's nothing left and C.I.'s a raw nerve, it doesn't surprise me or shock me. If you asked C.I. you'd be told, "We needed the editorial and it was an important topic."

Cedric: I love you Rebecca, but I'm always going to disagree on the value of that. I can think of one that's probably the best editorial that's ever appeared here but I don't think it was worth it. C.I. was wrecked after that editorial and we need to point out that after that goes up, after everything goes up here, the rest of us have a Sunday. We can sleep. We don't have to go online. C.I.'s still got stuff to write for The Common Ills. Since we're talking about this honestly, I'm going to say, honestly, if Jim knows that writing the editorial is going to include that, I'd prefer a heads up so I can skip it.

Jim: I will gladly give you that and if turns out to be that way unexpectedly, just hang up wherever you are and no hard feelings. I know it can be brutal. That's not me trying to make C.I. cry, that's me trying to get the strongest piece we can. So I'll bear down repeatedly with "because" or say, "That doesn't matter, those people don't matter" or toss out some right-wing nonsense because I know C.I. will come back with the most honest and strongest reply and, thankfully, during that Ava's writing every word. My attitude has always been, at the end of the day, did we produce anything worth reading for any reason. And I respect what you're saying, Cedric, and don't think "He's wrong, I'm right."

Marcia: As the newest one to participate, I'll say first off, that was the biggest shock when it happened. I think it's happened twice or three times while I've been participating and every time I was on the phone with others the next day asking about it. I'm with Cedric on this. And, as a reader in the past, and now knowing the process, I can go back in my head and identify editorials that I've read here and know they came about via that. I don't question their power or that they were strong but listening to the process itself can be difficult. Betty had a comparison that made me feel better. Betty?

Betty: To write at my blog, I have to really know Betinna. When I'm doing drafts, I'm always thinking, "What is Betinna feeling? How is she reacting?" And by the time I'm typing, it's another draft and I'm completely into Betinna. If you stopped me at that point and asked, "How are you, Betinna?" I would answer you without thinking. The editorials, the brutal ones, were surprising to me the first few times but I do know C.I. has a point where it will be, "This isn't worth it to me." So, for me, I factored in what I have to do to 'be' Betinna and assume Jim and C.I. are doing something similar. And to be clear, this isn't an every week thing. It's not even once a month these days. I'm also aware that if I'm participating, if we all are, if we're not just trying not to fall over from lack of sleep, Jim and C.I. aren't going to have to go through that process. But, like Rebecca said, it's like baseball with Jim being the pitcher and C.I. being the batter. I also think it helps if you know how much C.I. will do the self-rip apart to get an entry at The Common Ills. Not just the snapshots, but everything. And I can always tell when C.I. is just not in the mood to do that. When that happens, you get a link here and a link there in a morning entry and a bit of a wrap around. They're good entries and informative, but I always know, C.I. closed down and did it because, at that moment, there was nothing to give. But my saying that is not dismissing anyone's reaction to that process. I also know there's a gender dynamic in it for people who aren't participating that's really not playing into for it Jim and C.I. but has to factor in for some witnessing it. And when I've been blocked on something, I've called C.I. and I've gotten into character and C.I. would grab whatever the supporting character was going to be in the chapter I was writing. So I do see how it is a process. There are times, not because C.I.'s been brutal, where I've broken down because I was so into Betinna's character, and I will start crying on the phone -- less so now because this isn't a dark period for Betinna. But originally when that would happen, I would apologize and C.I. would say not to worry about it and I was just seeing it through Betinna's eyes. So I have a different take on the process in some ways than you do Marcia. Or Cedric. And I'm not saying either of you is wrong.

Jim: Okay, and I'm jumping in because we had a long pause where no one spoke. This is something that the core six is use to. That doesn't mean it's right and, judging by the silence, there is probably disagreement on this. I'll point out that Betty's right, if everyone's participating, it is far less likely to end up being just C.I. and me. I've done that with others of the core six and Jess can tell you, a prison editorial was scrapped because he got ticked off by that sort of process and walked out. But, for example, Ava and C.I. had a commentary on something about a year or two ago and in it they took on a woman repeating lies about autism. You may not know that to read it but for them to write that, they had to tear themselves apart. That is not an issue they thought about the day they wrote it. It's a very personal issue to them and to write that, and write is as strongly as they did, they had to tear themselves apart. Early on, we used to interview students each edition. If, in my usual way, C.I. thought I was being too tough on someone, I would be told to back off.

C.I.: I wasn't planning to speak during this and I'm not going to speak on the process at all. But I will note, in terms of interviews, Jim approached them as a journalist. And sometimes, I believe Adam Kokesh blogged about this at his site at one point, journalists can come off as unfeeling as they rush for their money quote or whatever. So I just want to be clear in one thing: Jim is not an asshole and Jim and I have no problems or ill will between us. Everyone participating knows those two points but I do not want to log into the e-mail accounts later today and find people asking.

Jim: And see, if you heard this -- and people who get the audio of Hilda's Mix will, we'll include this -- if you heard it, if you heard C.I. speaking just then, you would have heard irritation. I am much more of a let-it-all-hang-out type like Rebecca and others are of the opinion that it shouldn't be. And, in terms of C.I., who noted Sunday, "I have no problem with Jim. I love Jim," I will point out that I never have a problem with C.I. and I love C.I. too. In terms of what C.I. was talking about in terms of Kokesh, that's exactly the right example to use. Some reporter called him up and basically wanted him to give the worst PTSD experience he'd had and then wanted to be off the phone. I'm sure that did seem brutal and rude. But on the reporter's end it was about getting a strong story and getting it quickly. In terms of what Betty's saying, and I'll try to wrap this up quickly, she's right if others participate, it's less likely to happen and she's also right that C.I. will dig into it. I don't mean, dig in the heels in opposition. I mean C.I. will go deep into whatever the topic is. We'll change the topic because I know if Elaine was in front of me, I'd be getting a disapproving look.

Elaine: You would be.

Jim: And that's not a problem between us, just a disagreement over style or interpretation.

Ava: We do need to move on but I will add one thing quickly. Jim can be a real ass sometimes.

Jim: A fact that you never fail to point out to me. I'm laughing. Ty, get us out of this hole with another e-mail.

Ty: Okay, Joni just e-mailed that Barack's left his church. My first thought, since only Dona has read Ava and C.I.'s commentary -- now two pieces -- does that effect what they wrote and require an update --

Ava: No and we wouldn't if it did.

Ty: Okay and my second thing is Joni was wondering what we think that means "in terms of how it plays publicly."

Cedric: I'm wishing he had done it Friday so Wally and I could have grabbed it for a joint-post but it doesn't change a damn thing. He left. He apparently realized that he could no longer take part in that hate filled church --

Ty: You're almost quoting the article she copied and pasted into her e-mail.

Cedric: Big deal. It means nothing.

Betty: I've got to jump in or my father will be on the phone to C.I. asking C.I. to cover it. Like Cedric said, it means nothing. Now he leaves. After 20 years, now he leaves? What happened was no different than what had been happening. Michael Pfleger's nonsense, which I'm sure Ava and C.I. tackle in their commentary, happened last Sunday. True. But the Wright videos were not from this year or last year, they were a steady of stream of statements he has made over the years. It does nothing to enahance his image that he's finally leaving.

Marcia: Let me point out, because I do talk to Betty's father on the phone, that one of the most offensive things to him was that Wright was played by the media as "This is how African-American preachers are."

Betty: Right. And this is how Black churches are, like we've all got carackpots repeating conspiracy talk from the pulpit when they're not cursing or pretending they're having sex on stage. It's disgusting and how dare all Black churches get tarred with Jeremiah Wright's smut.

Marcia: So, here's the point. Or here's my point. Barack's been insisting non-stop "I'm a Christian!" Well, is he trying to say that he's a Christian because he went to Trinity and also trying to say that he went there, sat in the pews, but never paid attention to what was said?

Cedric: Great point! What was he doing? Day dreaming for twenty years as he stared at the stain glassed windows? Rebecca, what does it say to you from a p.r. stand point?

Rebecca: In terms of the spin he's trying to do, he is saying, "That church is not me. There is a great distance between it and me." In terms of the way this plays out, his decision to leave and his making an announcement about it -- he made an announcement Ty?

Ty: Yes.

Rebecca: It says, "I have no judement." It says, "I'd probably still be a member if it wasn't outraging so many Americans. If it wasn't a problem to my political career, I'd be staying with the church." I mean, I don't see how this looks good for him. Ty, could you read the statement?

Ty: Okay, first, he and Michelle sent Trinity a letter on Friday saying they were leaving and, as we've been pointing out for months, Barack may have never been a member. He wasn't baptized as a child. To become a member as an adult, having never been baptized in any Christian religion, he would have had to have been baptized. The fact that he's refused to say he was baptized, while noting his daughters were batpized by Wright, the same man who would have had to baptize Barack, may mean the joint letter was because Michelle was the only member of that church, not Barack. This is from Reuters and they quote some of his remarks on Saturday. First up:

This is not a decision I come to lightly and frankly it's one I make with some sadness," Obama told reporters during a stop in South Dakota. "Trinity was where I found Jesus Christ, where we were married, where our children were baptized."

Betty: He wasn't baptized. He was not a Christian before Trinity and he wasn't one there. I'm sorry to cut you off Ty but listen to that list. "Where I found Jesus Christ, where we were married, where our children were baptized." No, "Where I was baptized." He wasn't baptized and his "I'm a Christian" is one more lie. I'm sorry but as the daughter of a deacon I can't let that go unremarked upon. By his church's practice and policies, you have to accept Jesus and you have to be baptized. He obviously thought he was too cool for that and went along with attending. He was not a member if he wasn't baptized.

C.I.: Betty's long made this point, since the summer, I believe, and I want her to back up because we all know what she's talking about but someone's going to e-mail with, "Huh?"

Betty: If he were a Methodist or Baptist, for instance, before Trinity, he would have been baptized. As such, he could have joined Trinity and just had his membership transferred. That's handled by someone, usually the church secretary, sometimes the pastor or preacher, writing the old church and explaining that their member has just joined a new church. They consider that your membership being changed. You've already been baptized. You don't have to be rebaptized. Barack was raised by a non-believer and was never baptized. He has talked and written about how he was a non-believer until Trinity. By their guidelines, he has to be baptized to be a member. He can attend, he can attend every service, he can toss money in the collection plate, but he's not a member until he's baptized. His "where I found Jesus" is more legal smokescreen from the liar Barack. He does not -- and he has never said -- he was baptized. He wasn't. It's very clear. And C.I. noted in a roundtable a few weeks ago that reporters attempting to find his baptismal records were being told there was no such record. Barack has lied and the non-believers in Panhandle Media won't get that but Christians will. If you're not baptized in his faith, you're not saved. It's that way with many Christian religions. So, never having been baptized, his claims that he's a Christian are nonsense. Rebecca, Elaine and I have been talking about how this could play out for some time so I'm going to toss to them.

Rebecca: See Winona Ryder's Lost Souls. Who is the devil. Peter something, Ben Chaplin plays him. How is he the devil? He says he's been baptized! Winona explains to him that there's no record of that. He says there has to be, his family was religious. Catholic, so he would have been christened. But he wasn't christened. He's the product of a non-married coupling. Barack's mother and his father were not married. They were not married legally because Barack Sr. already had one wife when he met Barack's mother. He maintained that first marriage throughout and after Barack's mother. Now whether they had some meaningless, non-legal ceremony, who knows? My guess is they never did that. My guess is that Barack knows that and probably found it out when he first started researching his father as an adult. That's part of the reason he's so angry at his mother, blaming her for the lie. But you've got all the ammo you need to enrage the Christian right, and maybe more than just them. I don't know if people ever listen to religious right radio or not. I've caught it in the car over the years. Dobson's a kook, but compared to the rest, he's practically sane. It's the little ones you don't know nationally that you need to worry about. I remember being in Missippi during the 2000 election and switching stations in my car when I came across one of them explaining how Al Gore was the anti-Christ and how Revelations would be upon us if Al was elected. Now I don't think you can find anyone with a straighter, upstanding, Christian reputation than Al Gore in politics. Maybe I'm wrong and forgetting someone. But if they did that to Al, the Democratic Party better be prepared for what's going to be done to Barack. On small radio stations -- and this "community radio movement' everyone talks about includes a large number of religious right wing stations but no one's supposed to pay attention to that -- across the country, if Barack's the nominee, the 2008 election will play out with "the product of an unmarried couple, never baptized, Christians, the anti-Christ is upon us." The thinking is that McCain's seen by the religious right as not in touch. Whatever their differences with him, Barack as the nominee on the Democratic side would fire up the religious right to turn out for McCain for those two reasons.

Elaine: Like Betty said, you either are baptized in another Christian church and switch your membership over to Trinity or you get baptized at Trinity. That is the definition for members. Barack needs to get honest now. Like Rebecca, I don't believe he was baptized. He needs to state on the record whether he was or not and produce a copy of the record. For non-believers, it's no big deal. For some Christians, it's no big deal and his assertion that he found Christ at Trinity is more than enough. But for some Christians, a larger number, it is a big deal. And there is the issue of membership. He has claimed repeatedly to be a member of Trinity. If he wasn't baptized, he wasn't a member. If he wasn't baptized, he has falsfied the public record. This is not a minor issue and, if you think it is, you need to get out your radio, hunt around for low watt AM stations on the dial until you find a religious right channel and listen to some of what they are saying.

Jim: I'm glad Elaine spoke because she was on the list that Dona just passed me. Dona pointed out that Elaine, Wally, Jess, C.I. and Ava have not spoken enough. If you're reading this and think differently, it means others have pulled their statements. She also said Mike might want to speak because he doesn't have that much more than them. Jess?

Jess: I'll waive my time to Wally and Ava and C.I. are nodding so they do as well.

Wally: Okay. Like Cerdic said, if Barack had announced that on Friday, Cedric and I could have done several posts with that. It sounds like, I'm reading a Los Angeles Times article on my laptop, that Barack's saying boo-hoo, people are mean to Trinity so I have to leave to protect them. Which makes you wonder if he'll next be leaving Michelle because someone was mean to her.

Cedric: I was just thinking that! He left the debates because people were mean to him. He turned on Jeremaih Wright because he said Barack was just a politician.

Wally: Right. So the point is, he's saying, in one section, "It's clear that now that I'm a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will be imputed to me even if they totally conflict with my long-held views, statements and principles." Barack's not in hot water, and wasn't last week, over a guest pastor. Trinity has many guests pastors. He's in trouble over Michael Pfleger and he and Pfleger go way back. Since Barack moved to Chicago they've been friends. He called, in 2004, Pfleger one of his spritual mentors. Pfleger has given money to Barack's past campaigns. And Barack steered over $100,000 to Pfleger's church, tax-payer money, as a member of the Illinois state legislature. Until two weeks ago, Pfleger was part of his campaign, on a committee. Pfleger went to Iowa to campaign for Barack during the caucus. Pfleger is not just a "guest pastor" who spoke at Trinity last Sunday, he is very close with Barack and they have a long term relationship. He's lying in his statements, as I read them, because he's implying he's now in trouble over a guest pastor when he's in trouble because someone so close to him and his campaign spat out hate speech. I see it as an effort for him to put the Pfleger issue behind him.

Jim: And, Mike, will that work?

Mike: No. People have seen too many clips from Trinity and Pfleger's too close. People know what Catholics are like, Plfeger's a White Catholic, they know that's hate speech Pfleger spewed. There's no way to distract from that. Pfleger's the nightmare, he's the one Barack can't run from and scream "Racism!" about if he's criticized. Pfleger established that hate speech is common and welcome in Barack's private life.

Jim: And on that note, we'll wind down.

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