Sunday, July 13, 2008

Truest statement of the week

Tom Hayden, another "Progressives for Obama" founder, also imagines a kind of donut movement, a progressive circle with a non-progressive middle, where the candidate stands:
"I first endorsed Obama because of the nature of the movement supporting him, not his particular stands on issues. The excitement among African-Americans and young people, the audacity of their hope, still holds the promise of a new era of social activism. The force of their rising expectations, I believe, could pressure a President Obama in a progressive direction and also energize a new wave of social movements."
Nothing of that nature will occur, because Hayden and other progressives are not organizing to make it occur. They are too concerned with remaining "for" Obama. Not only are Hayden's and Fletcher's peculiar "movements" without political content - they emerge like magic, requiring none of the hard work of organizing.
And just how were those popular "rising expectations" that Hayden speaks of supposed to express themselves? Progressives waited until it was far too late to bring these "expectations" - to whatever extent they exist - to bear on the candidate. Obama coasted through the primaries with virtually no dissent from his loyal progressives, and now sees his way clear to publicly dismiss them, so as to never again be "tagged as being on the Left."

-- Glen Ford, "'Progressives for Obama' Fool Themselves" (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

Obama says that these women should not be able to obtain a late-term abortion, because just "feeling blue" isn't the same as suffering "serious clinical mental health diseases." True enough. And totally infuriating.
During the recent Obama pander tour -- the one in which he spent about a week trying to win over conservative religious voters -- the presumptive Democratic nominee unnecessarily endorsed President Bush's faith-based initiative, a sort of patronage program that rewards religious activists for their political support with public grants. Then in a St. Louis speech, Obama declared that "I let Jesus Christ into my life." That's fine, but we already have a president who believes this was a qualification for the Oval Office, and look where that's gotten us.Obama's verbal meanderings on the issue of late-term abortion go further. He has muddied his position. Whether this is a mistake or deliberate triangulation, only Obama knows for sure.
One thing is certain: Obama has backhandedly given credibility to the right-wing narrative that women who have abortions -- even those who go through the physically and mentally wrenching experience of a late-term abortion -- are frivolous and selfish creatures who might perhaps undergo this ordeal because they are "feeling blue."

-- Marie Cocco's "Obama's Abortion Stance When 'Feeling Blue'" (Washington Post Writers Group).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. We're tired, but the edition is done.

Along with Dallas, the following helped with this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
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,

We thank them all.

Before I (Jim) go further, let me note on illustration, none are up as I type this. We are at "25% complete" on Flickr. It was at 20% forever. We finally decided to start posting the articles without illustrations due to how long it is taking. [Added: Illustrations are now loaded. Thank you to Betty's oldest son for the roundtable illustration. Thanks to him and Kat for the Barack drawing for the human rights article. Thank you to Kat for snagging the Ralph Nader button two weeks ago -- we scanned it last weekend but no one wanted to mess with Flickr. C.I. hands out buttons and other things to groups they speak with and the Nader buttons go quickly. Kat snagged it two weeks ago so we'd have one to scan. Thanks to Mike for letting us scan his Students for Nader - Gonzalez '08 button last weekend.]

Now let's talk about new content.

Truest statement of the week -- This is Glen Ford, calling out Pathetics for Obama. Black Agenda Report is one

Truest statement of the week II -- we had two strong choices, so we went with both. This is Marie Cocco.

Editorial: Who did you get into bed with? -- This went up out of order. Jess said, "Oh just put it up, we're still editing other things." We like this editorial and Ruth's already given us a carry-over idea for next week. (Hopefully, she'll remember it because as soon as we get to sleep, we're out.)

TV: The dog days of summer and the dogs -- Ava and C.I. knew they were covering Flashpoint but what else? Camilo could fit in to it. Especially since it looked like no war resister article or editorial this week. They ended up covering a great deal. They wrote this right after the roundtable because we were worried about the edition and I asked them to hit as hard as they could and on as many topics as they could. They did just that. They also grumbled because they didn't want to write and drink. They're not opposed to either and really not opposed to the two together. However, when I basically tell them, "Not to make you nervous or pressured, but the entire edition is on your shoulders . . .," they figure they better have their full wits about them. When this was done, they rejoined us and the first thing they said was, "We're drinking, someone else take notes." I suspect the references to "vodka stingers and tequila chasers" derived from that. (Ava says it's possible, however, they do not drink wine coolers.) When they handed over the longhand version, my question was, "How good is it?" The reply was "It doesn't stink completely." From the two of them, that is high praise. (Seriously, they always answer "crap" except when they say -- in sing-song voices -- "Crap, crap, cracp, crap, crap . . ." When I read it outloud it gave us the energy to pursue an edition that we had so very little pre-planning for and so very few ideas being tossed out.

Roundtable -- Please, Dona requested, when we do a roundtable, don't mention features we plan to work on. Impossible! But Dona's referring mainly to our DVD review. That was the last thing we wrote and we would have completed the writing of the edition much, much sooner without it.
This roundtable covers a number of topics and we didn't get to the e-mails I thought we would. I should also note that we had no idea what we'd be writing when we started the roundtable.
DVD: Stop-Loss -- This was the last article we wrote because it was the only one we had planned other than Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary. So thinking we'd have four articles to post, we kept saving this. We were so tired, we couldn't even edit it. Every attempt caused problems. Finally, C.I. picked up the phone and called Mike to see if he'd already gone to sleep (when we edit, we send everyone not signing the note to bed). He was actually still up. Did Mike want to take a crack at editing a piece? Sure. We thank him for trying. We thank him for suceeding. This is about a third of the length in the last draft we were pleased with. Thank you, Mike.

Barack Obama on human rights, 'Screw 'em' -- While coddling Barack, 'independent' media let a lot of things slide. We've wanted to do this article for awhile and it was in our odds and ends file. Tell you how we remembered it in a minute.

What's The Progressive lying about now? -- With no ideas, we raided a theme Mike posted on last week. This is how we ended up with three articles. When we raided Mike's theme, C.I. pointed out the debates and how little scrutiny they had. We were all "uh-huh." And then, as we were finishing up, C.I. pointed out one of the wacky statements by Barack. It had flown over all our heads when the debate took place.

One year later, Barack answers the question -- At that point we were listening. C.I. said, "Another example is how he was asked in a debate that he offered more than just words and could be trusted?" That would be great, I agreed. "Yeah," said C.I., "especially since it was almost exactly a year ago and he's caved on FISA."

Are children allergic to Barack? -- This was one that caught our attention and became the point where we got excited about the edition. This was the wacky thing Barack said and Dona loved it when C.I. quoted it because it was strange and because it could be a, you know this is coming, "Short feature!"

Who's driving in the Indycar Race!!!! -- Dallas found the press release while hunting down a McCain link for the article on spying. He came back and asked, "Does anyone know anything about ____?" We didn't. We thought it was interesting enough to note and if there's more on this event during the week, we'll note it next Sunday.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Betty, Rebecca, Ruth, Marcia, Cedric and Kat wrote this and picked all highlights unless otherwise noted. We thank them.

That's it. We'll see you next week. It was a very long 'night.' Dona went through 6 liters of Diet Coke and just opened her fourth pack of cigarettes.

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

Editorial: Who did you get into bed with?

"That's a button that will piss off my parents," said a student in Connecticut last week pinning on a Students for Nader - Gonzalez '08 button. And youthful rebellion is but one of the many reasons to hop on board the Ralph Nader campaign.


Ralph was born to immigrant parents and his sister, Laura Nader Milleron, has stated, "We lived between two cultures -- in my family there were Lebanese traditions and at school there were American traditions." Sending a message to the world that America is changing with a new president? Ralph is Lebanese-American. Matt Gonzalez, his running mate, is Latino.

Strategy, with very little attention from the media, the campaign continues progressing. Last week, the announcement came that the plan for being on the ballot in ten states was reached. And as the campaign fights for ballot access, it makes strides for all and uncovers a great deal. In 2004, Nader was not allowed on the Arizona ballot. Though he is already on the ballot there for the 2008 race, last week's verdict by the Ninth Circuit should make it easier for others to gain ballot access. Meanwhile, all those denials that the Democratic Party wasn't playing dirty in 2004? 12 Democrats indicted in Pennsylvania last week for the efforts to keep Nader off the ballot in 2004. Thursday, the campaign filed the paperwork to be on the ballot in Washington.

The Nader campaign is on the move. Anthony Schinella (Massachusetts' Belmont Citizen-Herald) reported last week on his paper's online poll and Nader got 7%. (Barack 28%, McCain 60%, Bob Barr 4% and Cynthia McKinney 1%. Mike notes, "Barack is unpopular in my state when we held our primary, that's only increased.") This month, Ralph Nader became the first presidential candidate to campaign in Hawaii since 1960. Forty-eight years and the Democrats and Republicans couldn't get their candidate to the Aloha state. Are they scared of beautiful landscapes? Do they wilt in tropical climates? What's the deal? Nader's taking his campaign to the people.

Ralph's going to the people because you can't count on the media. Did anyone bother to listen to KPFA last week? Did your mouth drop open in shock? Oh, look, it's a book author interview. Oh wait, no, it's a plug for the Barack Obama campaign. And what about those morning "news" breaks? Is their a law that Alieen Alfandary can only mention Democratic and Republican candidates? You might have thought the trip to Hawaii would be news. You'd be wrong. Alfandary offered up a special kind of 'news': Rescue Barack on the hour and half-hour. For example, in one of her more comical bits of stand up, she spoke of how Barack is pushing for exceptions in the bankruptcy law for veterans and people whose entire life savings were wiped out by medial bills. Alfandary was really jazzed on that and we had to wonder, "She does know there's a housing crisis going on, right?" That thought quickly vanished as Alfandary rushed to inform that Barack was Superman, Batman and Spiderman combined. He was taking on the law that the Bully Boy of the United States passed when there was a Republican controlled Congress! Are your sides aching? Are you howling with laughter? What Alieen Alfandary forgot (or probably didn't know) was that Barack voted for that legislation. Guess that makes him Lex Luther, the Penguin and the Green Goblin combined.

But without fail, you can count on Alfandary to deliver Barack spin repeatedly, several times, each day. And you can count on Amy Goodman to never let a day slip by without mentioning in headlines and usually in segments. Ralph doesn't get that. (Nor do Cynthia McKinney and Bob Barr.) What's going on is marketing passed off as 'news' and 'public affairs.' This from a Panhandle Media that repeatedly likes to say, "We need the Fairness Doctrine brought back!"? To be really honest about it, neither John McCain nor Barack Obama is a candidate for president. They have yet to receive their party's nomination. If you're covering the candidates for president, seems to us you'd be noting Ralph, Cynthia McKinney and Bob Barr.

But that would be news and repetition is the key to mind control which is all advertising is. And as allgedely 'independent' media blocks out the news on any candidate not in the two-party system, it becomes more and more obvious that they are advertising, not news and information providers. (On a good day, they're actually gossip columnists -- though they lack Rona's flair.)

How are people supposed to know who to connect with when so many are shut out of the coverage?



What do you mean issues? Ralph's just a pretty face in a snazzy suit. Did you miss the reporters on the campaign plane going ga-ga over Ralph modeling blue jeans? Oh, wait, that's the Democratic Party's presumed nominee.

Ralph actually has plans.

There's no caving on Iraq for Nader. He outlined his plan in an online chat at The Washington Post last Thursday:

The Nader/Gonzalez plan for the military and corporate withdrawl from Iraq would be on a six-month timetable. During that period, we urge UN-sponsored elections, continuation of humanitarian aid, since we owe it to the devestated Iraqi people, and negotiations with the three groups: Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds regarding a level of autonomy within the overall framework of a unified Iraq. All three groups want a unified Iraq but they want some autonomy. By returning Iraq and the oil back to the Iraqis, the bottom will fall out of the insurgency since its only objective is to evict the invader/occupier.

Last week, Barack Obama caved on the spying of Americans and broke yet another campaign promise. Nader called out the Senate vote noting, "We were taught as young children that in our democracy, under our system of justice, nobody is above the law -- nobody. But this bill puts the President and the telecom companies above the law." Who's looking out for you? Not John Stossel, it's Ralph Nader (as he's done his entire adult life). To listen to Nader's statement on that vote, click here. To read it in text form, click here.

How well do you know your candidate?

If Ralph Nader's not your candidate, don't you think it's time you examined what he's offering?

He picked up a Barack supporter last week. Brian (Memoirs of a Godless Heathen) explained the FISA vote was the last straw: "Thus, I can no longer throw in my support for Obama. He can no longer count on my vote (the very first one I will ever cast) in November. I am now supporting Ralph Nader for President. Mr. Nader is the most compatible with my sensibilites. His unyielding advocacy for freedom of the American people make him the most desirable of all the candidates. So am I wasting my vote? I don't think so. I realize that Nader will not win, but voting for the winner is not what a voter should strive for. I am voting for the person who I believe can best do the job. This November, I will have the satisfaction of voting for someone I like, rather than the lesser of the two evils. I may be just one vote, but breaking the hold of this two-party system requires people like me to make the choice to do so. Will I be helping John McCain's campaign? No, because I will not be voting for John McCain. If Ralph Nader was not my choice, I would not vote, plain and simple. Thus, I am not taking a vote away from Obama, since I wouldn't have voted for him anyway."

We disagree that Ralph can't win. We think if he can continue building support and make it into the debates, he has his best shot in 2008.

We also think that, before getting in bed with someone, you find out something about their sexual history. With politics, before hopping on a campaign, you should find out something about their corporatist ties.

Ralph's clean. He's corporation-free. The tests came back negative and he's not going to infect the White House the way so many have before. If your candidate isn't Nader, it's time to ask, "Has my candidate been tested?"

TV: The dog days of summer and the dogs

Summer television is so sub-standard that it's really sad when something even semi-interesting comes along and is betrayed from the start. Take CBS' Flashpoints. If it doesn't sound like a series you'd be interested it's because it has a lousy title.


Not only is the title lousy, it's already been used. By the same network. Not all that long ago. In 2007, CBS aired a prime time special anchored by Katie Couric entitled Flashpoint. (Subtitle "A War Chronicle, A Story of Bravery, Recovery and Lives Forever Changed.") The hour long drama currently occupying CBS' last hour of prime time on Fridays is not a news program. Nor is it an ode to a welder who wants to become a ballerina -- though we do see how some could make that mistake. It could have been called Sniper -- which was it's original title. It probably should have been called Elliot Survives Barely.

The reason for that is because, if you're a TV viewer, the first few minutes of the show are bound to have you thinking, "He took the break up with Maya so hard!" Elliot and Maya would be characters from the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me. Enrico Colantoni played Elliot in the sitcom and plays the much less chipper Sgt. Gregory Parker on the drama. It will throw you for a few minutes, but, like Colantoni, you'll quickly adapt. Parker oversees the action and Colantoni makes you buy that skill -- even though the action does not include the coming on to models that TV viewers are familiar with him doing.

Largely, the cast is fine. Colantoni is a stand out, as are Hugh Dillion and Amy Jo Johnson. The latter two are snipers under Parker and, where there is crisis, there is Parker and company. In Friday's debut the hostage was a man who had an altercation with his wife, shot her dead and took a female bystander hostage.

The show opened with the hostage scene and then doubled back to the beginning. If you're thinking, "How very Quentin Tarantino," remember this is CBS and that's practically revolutionary for them. Revolutionary is the camera work which for the bulk of the show was some of the finest broadcast this year. The action scenes had action and tension and the multiple cameras (including hand-held) helped to create that.

Along the way, it sagged. Not surprising because the exterior work is amazing but the interior shots are pretty much the usual fare. The sagging gave you time to ponder "pro"-"cess." Dillon's character shot the man holding the hostage. Apparently he killed him because the scene contained talk of an autoposy. So you might have also wondered why they handcuffed a dead man? (They did handcuff him after the shooting.) But you probably kept coming back to "pro"-"cess." In America, people tend to say "process" ["praw-cess."] So you might have thought at first, "Oh, there's a character with a backstory of some kind. He's from Canada." But then another character starts saying "pro"-"cess." The show is filmed in Canada and supposed to take place in some unnamed big city (it's filmed in Toronto).

That may explain the different look -- and the exterior camera work is rich with color. We're not stressing the camera work because we have nothing else nice to say. (When have we ever worried about saying anything nice?) We're stressing it because, watch the show, there's some amazing work being done.

Other than Dillon's character, no one was given much to do. (He's troubled by the shooting and also bickering with his wife about her parent's anniversary.) There was a nice (and unexpected) moment where Dillon and another actor sang Gilbert & Sullivan. All of the actors gave the appearance that they lived beyond the camera frame. In 2007, it is not just the finest hour long new show CBS has aired, it's the finest of all the hour long shows CBS has aired -- old and new.

Since it is shot in Canada and uses Canadian writers, it wasn't delayed by the writers strike. So the real question here is why CBS waited until the summer to air it? For all the talk of being competitive in the summer, summer has become the time when networks burn off their lemmings. It wasn't always that way. Summer TV shows could go on to become hits. One of the best known examples would be The Sonny & Cher Show. But in recent years, that's not been the case and networks have mainly stuck to reruns which has allowed programs made for cable to further erode the broadcast viewing audience. This summer CBS has already offered a bust (Swingtown) and NBC's offered the ambitious Fear Itself. To provide on our own backstory, friends at CBS were hyping us on Swingtown. They never said a word about Flashpoints. Which has us wondering whether they just thought we'd like (bad) soap opera better or if no one realizes how good the cop drama is?

If the best program they've managed to stumble across isn't appreciated, they should all head over to PBS which is so frightening in the summers that every time a promo comes on for Bill Moyers Journal, we hold our breath until we're sure it's that show and not Bill Moyers American Tranny Experience. A network that builds its summers around fare such as the swap meet extravaganza that is Antique Roadshow (on all year, sadly) and the very bad History Detectives, doesn't have much to offer -- and even less to brag about. After catching Secrets of the Dead, we really started fearing Moyers would soon be dispatched for a weekly show where he makes over drag queens. The episode we caught (supplied to us by friends) was "Umbrella Assassin." The program bills itself as, "Part detective story, part true-life drama, SECRETS OF THE DEAD unearths evidence from around the world, challenging prevailing ideas and throwing fresh light on unexplained events." and apparently "fresh" doesn't include anything innovative done with cameras, editing or storytelling. In other words, it plays out a lot like Dick Wolf's cheapo, syndicated reality program Arrest Trial which even Have No Shame Wolf doesn't brag about.

'Prevailing ideas' were all that the program tossed around and the only "challenge" was for viewers to stay awake through yet another narrated program that used a lot of stills and teased like crazy to fill an hour. If that's what PBS thinks storytelling is, we are all in trouble and maybe they better stick to swap meets. The only 'unique' thing may have been the use of a filter over the camera to give everything some sort of look that made us feel like we were either underwater or staring at an aquarium. We decided the mood they were going for was "fishy."

It turned us off so that we were hesitant when PBS friends insisted we had to catch Foreign Exchange with Daljit Dhaliwal. We've caught a few shows in the past (including the Naomi Klein interview) but were reluctant to review it.

It's not a left show. We tried reviewing it months ago but kept coming back to, "It's not a left show." That's an issue because the host, Daljit Dhaliwal, has an accent and BBC experience, so there's a tendency in the United States to assume you're getting the gospel truth and, for reasons we've never been able to figure out, a left view. It must be that, so starved are we in the United States for a left point of view, the BBC's centrist view can seem as if was the lovechild of Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. Yes, we realize that's impossible. It's also impossible for anyone steeped in the BBC to be a left voice.

During the initial phase of the illegal war, some PBS stations in this country carried the BBC coverage and, to American audiences, it was the truth, it was reality. It certainly wasn't like anything they saw on domestic news programs but, check with British audiences, it wasn't 'left' either.

At it's best, the BBC news division does what American news programs used to do. Ignore a great deal but provide some bits of realism. The BBC coverage of the Iraq War was too much realism for some vocal Americans and, bit by bit, many PBS stations began dropping it. In retrospect, maybe that was the first indication of how easily the Iraq War could fall off the radar? One minute you had hours and hours of coverage, the next they were back to Antique Road Show and Sit and Be Fit -- from bombs dropping to arm curls with a bag of dried beans.

The Iraq War was what sold us on last week's program. Two words, actually: Camilo Mejia.

Dhaliwal introduced him by noting he "was the first" Iraq War verteran "to publicly refuse" to continue serving. We'll provide the backstory. Mejia was serving in Iraq when his contract was due to expire. He could not be stop-lossed because he was not a citizen. The legality of stop-loss itself is in question, but Mejia could not be extended. But he was. From Iraq, his captain called the Florida National Guard and Kathy Tringially explained to him that he had to be discharged since his contract expired months ago. That was the policy. It was ignored. Mejia had not only served in Iraq, he had served his eight-year contract. "Why did you go AWOL?" Dhaliwal wanted to know and that detail is important part of the story.

Mejia noted that before he deployed to Iraq, he was "opposed to it politically;" however, serving "in Iraq, my opposition went from being political to personal." He spoke of the POW camp where Iraqis were treated inhumanely and he spoke of the combat missions that used the soldiers as bait and were directed from outside the battle "by officers with no combat experience." Mejia sketched out how soldiers would be sent to civilian populations on a mission and kept there longer than necessary because the point was for them to bait, to lure out resistance fighters. It would have been nice if Dhaliwal had appeared interested in that and explored it because what he described is not (as he noted) what they were trained to do and it put civilian populations at risk.

Many times, in casual conversations, you'll hear someone make some comment about how Iraqis who are opposed to the illegal war and resisting it with violence are attacking their own. What Mejia outlined is the US command attacking its own soldiers by intentionally putting them at risk and using them as a magnet to spur attacks. We've heard Mejia, chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, tell his experiences many times and each time something new stands out. For us, that's what stood out. For Dhaliwal, it was time to move on to another question.

"The personal experience," Mejia explained, "is what I think made me a conscientious objector." And it just flew over Dhaliwal. We would have asked him to explain what he had gone through and what he was still going through to be granted CO status. We would have talked about how the situation is actually worse today than it was during Vietnam. We would have pointed that, in the past, people have been granted CO status if they fought it, even after a war ended.

The reason we would have done that is Mejia is often called a "deserter" and it's left at that. We don't oppose desertion based on ethical grounds. (And we're not all that concerned with desertion for any reason in this illegal war.) But Mejia's story is a complicated one and reducing it to "desertion" not only fails to note his reasons and his continued battle for CO status, it lets the military off the hook for their own breaking of the rules. His contract expired. The military knew they could keep him and had to discharge him but refused to do so. That's when, while on leave in Miami, Mejia took action.

To be clear, if he had time on his contract and had deserted, we wouldn't support him any less than we do today. Our point is that his story is much more complex and "deserter" really lets the US military off the hook when they failed to obey their own regulations. The same body that will scream "Regulations!" at everyone serving in it refused to follow them.

It's especially a point that can't be overlooked when the host is asking him about "loyalty." (His reply, "I think loyalty means speaking the truth.") She asked about his contract that he signed and he noted no one signed an agreement that said "you're going to commit torture, you're going to participate in an illegal war." Mejia noted to Dhaliwal that the only thing protected were the Ministry of Oil and others (such as the National Museum) were allowed to be vandalized and pillaged. He explained, "I believe this was about corporate profit. Iraq sits on the third largest oil resevoir."

Watching, two things stood out. Mejia is a hottie. We had just finished watching Flashpoint and the end was very weak with a new character being introduced in the final minutes who is supposed to be good looking but we found about as sexual as cream cheese. The second was that Road to Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia still has not received enough attention. Dhaliwal did show the cover on the program. We will assume she knows what is happening on camera. But does she know what's happening online?

We ask that because we intended to talk about much more including "spooks." (The ones ordering the torture who used aliases.) But we didn't take notes on the program. Daljit Dhaliwal kept going on and on about transcripts being available online. Well, yes, they are. At a cost ($10.00 -- our quotes in this are from memory). Besides the fact that Clark Kent doesn't intend to tell Perry White that he's Superman, there's also our ethical objection: PBS is public television. We've stated repeatedly that its transcripts should be online, that it should be available in easy to stream formats. Had we known that the transcript was for a cost we would have purchased it Friday night but no one should have to purchase it. When flocking your wares, it's important to note the cost. Otherwise, people will assume it's an open bar.

And how drunk did they get before they sat down at the roundtable on Washington Week? It surely couldn't just be the effects of the summer heat. We wondered that as we streamed the program online Friday night/Saturday morning. (Transcript goes up on Monday -- in reply to an e-mail question on how we missed the big Transcript-gate of Washington Week. We write these on Saturday night or Sunday morning. The transcript's not up then.) Our main reason for streaming was that the Green Party's convention was ongoing (it started Thursday and ends today) and Cynthia McKinney appeared to be their likely candidate for president (on Saturday she won the delegate vote, her running mate is Rosa Clemente). If you missed Gwen & the gang in 2008, not a show's gone by without talk of the presidential race. So we wondered, this being public television, whether they intended to live up to the mandate of diversity and provide the coverage they were created to provide (e.g. what the corporate news ignores)?

The convention and the candidate were not discussed, despite the fact that, as usual, the first topics was presidential politics. Which made us wonder exactly how long PBS' public affairs programs intended to ignore McKinney, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr? Our bet is (with a friend on CPB board) that NOW on PBS will be the first to explore all three and Moyers will ignore Nader and McKinney through at least September but may find time to book Barr. Our friend swears that Gwen has to discuss them. We asked, "Have you ever actually watched Washington Week?"

We did. And, again, the question is what were they drinking before the show? We decided Tom Gjelten (NPR) must have had a few wine coolers. To loosen him up. To the point that he declared that "Iran is a conflict we're just getting into." Just? Does Gjelten live in the same world as the rest of us or "just" visit? (He also dubbed it the "greatest strategic threat in generations." Pound those war drums, Tom.) ABC's Martha Raddatz was in full Martha Stewart mode and . . . very mellow. We decided she must have been drinking vodka stingers with a tequila chaser.

If Tom was merely visiting this world, Martha was beaming in from another galaxy. "It felt like an exit phase." "Exit phase." She was stuck on that phrase and, sadly, not speaking of recent bowel problems she'd experienced. No, she'd done another quick turnaround in Iraq and "It felt like an exit phase."

Gwen needs to lock up the hard stuff when Martha comes calling. If you doubt us, pay attention to this: "It doesn't mean it's going to happen in a year. It doesn't mean it's going to happen in four years." And yet, to Martha, on the ground in Iraq recently (or maybe skimming across the sand), "It felt like an exit phase." Apparently, though the illegal war "felt like an exit phase," it suffers from sort of constipation so it could take"a year" or "four years" or more. We'd recommend some fiber so everyone could stop waiting.

But that's the bulk of what summer television is, one long flush. And they wonder why they continue to bleed viewers? CBS has one show to be proud of this summer, Flashpoint. PBS' average is even worse.

For those interested in actual information and news -- in such short supply on PBS currently --
Pacifica Radio will broadcast a three hour special today on the Green Party convention which will stream online at the Pacifica website (noon to 3:00 p.m. EST; 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Central and 9:00 a.m. to noon PST) and presumably be broadcast (and streaming) on all Pacifica station. Shared Sacrifice interviewed McKinney Saturday (program is downloadable online) and CSpan's Road To The White House offers coverage of McKinney and the Green Party convention as well as an interview with Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr (6:30 p.m. EST, 5:30 p.m. Central and 3:30 p.m. Pacific, repeating three hours later in all time zones). And for those who prefer text, Kimberly Wilder (On the Wilder Side) live blogged the convention Saturday.


Jim: Roundtable time. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, and Ava and me Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ. We're going to work in some e-mails and topics include sexism, the presidential race, the Iraq War and more. If you see an illustration, that's by Betty's son. Ty's gone through the e-mails Saturday.


Ty: A number of e-mails came in on last week's "Stop the racism." Soo-kyung spoke for all and for herself. For all in terms of finding the nonsense of a non-Korean-American doing a stereotypical accent and faltering speech while trying to pass the racism off as 'art' and for herself in terms of she's third generation American, her family came from South Korea to California in the early seventies. She self-describes as "a 19-year-old college student who has more than had my fill of 'comedy' and 'art' reinforcing racial stereotypes. If I was Anna Deavere Smith, I would take that and read it, 'wee-un-forcing wacial staretypes.' It is not funny. It is not art. I seriously doubt Amy Goodman would play a clip of a White person offering a racial stereotype of an African-American and find it amusing as she so clearly did. There seems to be a real lack of understanding about race and racism in this country and a lot of so-called progressives seem to think saying 'no' to racism means treating African-Americans as fairly as they would Whites. There is a whole range of hues and colors in this country and in this world and all so-called awareness about racism has meant is that people get it is wrong to stereotype African-Americans but, as a consolation prize, they go to town on Asian-Americans and Latinos. On of my professors last spring, an educated African-American, came into our class and began whining about the roof on his house. As we waited and waited for the class to begin, he seemed to grasp how uninterested we were in his story. So he decided to end it 'happy' by stating he was just going to drive through 'the Mexican part of town' and find some guys who would work cheap and they won't 'mind the heat because it's hot in those trailers that they come across the border on.' Some of us gasped. No one laughed. Sensing that he offended us, he tried to joke it off. When I complained to the dean's office, I was told he was only visiting and it really didn't matter 'besides, do you really want to accuse a Black man of racism?' Yes, I did. And who knows what he would say about my family if I wasn't in the room? For Amy Goodman to play that clip and not call it out was racism. I've had enough of the 'progressives' and their movement for 'racial justice' that never includes all of us. Our issues are never explored on Democracy Now and we're rarely even invited on as guests for a roundtable featuring as many as four or five participants. In fact, about the only time an Asian-American gets any attention from the 'progressives' is when it's time to rip apart right-winger Michelle Malkin. Whites and African-Americans in 'progressive' media better wake up to the fact that they are marginalizing a huge number of people and they are practicing racism." She also added that her sister steered her to this site a year ago because of Ava and C.I.'s TV pieces and "that's why I wasn't surprised that Third Estate would be a site -- the only site -- that would address this topic. Keep fighting and know a lot of us are cheering you on."

Dona: One thing I want to say, besides thanks to everyone who wrote and many shared stories similar to Soo-kyung, is that the article was written by Jim, Ava, C.I. and Betty. To give credit where it is due. That article was hugely popular in the e-mails.

Betty: Let me toss in that Ava, C.I. and Jim basically wrote the entire article. I just went and added a little bit. The three of them ended up writing a great deal last week and the rest of us joined them late Sunday morning. Their article could have stood alone without any input from me and I felt that way about a number of articles. But on that one, I did want to weigh in and it's for the reasons outlined in the e-mail. Racism is not just something done to or distortion of Black people. I've talked about the problems in my office before. I'm Black, by the way. And how Latinos were told they could not speak Spanish in the office by one supervisor. That supervisor ended up getting in trouble for that; however, it went to a very real undercurrent of racism. C.I. taught me a little trick to deal with it -- it being when racist comments are made. And I'm talking about my own community, the Black community. When some comment is made about Latinos, whether it's a stereotype about driving or what, I say, "Wow." I wait for everyone to look over me and for someone to ask, "What?" Then I say, "Oh, sorry, I was just thinking about how sixty years ago, this office would have been filled with White people and what they might have said about us." It gets the point across. Smith isn't a 'comic,' she's not much of anything to be honest. But there seems to be some idea that it's okay for us, Black people, to be racist because we're just being 'honest.' Honesty is when we examine our own community. When we are discussing other races, that's not honesty. And we certainly have no right to stereotype or have the arrogance to believe that we can speak for Asian-Americans.

Cedric: Just to add to Betty's point, because she and I have talked about, it's degrading 'humor,' it's insulting 'humor' and it's racist 'humor.' It flies on Comedy Central so maybe some of our brothers and sisters think that's the way to get fame, but it's degrading and it needs to stop. The test should always be if someone did that about you, would it be funny or racism? When we joined everyone last weekend, we were looking at some of the stuff Ava, C.I. and Jim had written and Betty was saying, "This is too good as it is, if we add to it, we're only going to weaken it." I was tempted to add to that piece but I thought they pretty much covered it and, what they didn't, Betty added. I'm really proud of that article, even if my only output was, "It doesn't need anything from me."

Jim: That's the only reason we had an edition last week. We'd decided to take the weekend off. Here, in California, a number of us decided to go out. I was going through the photos of Dona and my trip to France and Ava and C.I. were too tired to go out. So we were just talking, the three of us, and C.I. mentioned that the topic would have to be covered at The Common Ills because a number of e-mails came in. C.I. had planned for us to all do it. So we, Ava and I, said no, we'd work on it, the three of us. It was a strong enough topic that we were going to post it here by itself and call that an edition. But after we worked on that, we began toying with some other stuff. If it wasn't for that article, there would not have been an edition last weekend.

Ty: Which brings up Gaylene's question and she points out there is rarely a mailbag so she doubts it will be answered but she's just wondering why Jim, "who is involved with Dona, skipped out on going out with her? It seems sort of weird to me and that Ava skipped out when Jess went. Aren't they still a couple?"

Jess: Ava and I are still a couple but we aren't joined at the hip. Dona and Jim will have to speak for their relationship but I did offer to stay because we -- Ava and I -- don't see each other a great deal. The reason for that is because Ava, along with C.I. and usually Kat as well, is on the road each week speaking to groups about the Iraq War. I knew the last thing she wanted was to go out. I offered to stay and her comment was Wally was visiting -- and is again this weekend -- and Elaine and Mike were here so we should all make sure that they had a good evening.

Ava: Right. I actually apologized -- to Jess, Wally, Mike and Elaine -- that I wasn't going along but I just wanted to relax.

Dona: And Jim actually had a bad headache -- which came from the nonsense we addressed last week. He begged off because of his headache. Our relationship is different than Jess and Ava's which has a great deal more check-ins. If I hadn't wanted to go and Jim had decided to go, it wouldn't have been an issue with me. By the same token, we didn't have a conversation about my going. When the edition was cancelled, Kat proposed to those of us here -- Kat, Wally, Mike, Elaine, Jess, Ava, C.I., Jim and myself -- that we go out. Jim may have been the first to say no. When I said yes, I was looking at him and he was okay with it. There was no need for any conversation between us on the topic. That's not insulting Jess and Ava's relationship or claiming that Jim and mine is better, it's just noting that there are differences. Another difference is that Jim and I will have screaming fights with another. Ava and Jess never do or never take it public if they do. Their relationship works for them, our relationship works for us. If the four of us were exactly the same, we might have ended up coupling differently.

Jim: Ava just mouthed "never" to Dona. She's laughing by the way, as is Dona. One of the e-mails I read this week asked about DVDs and we do plan to do a DVD piece or discussion this edition. We're starting with the roundtable because we're not sure what we're doing this week other than this, Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary and the DVD piece. Okay, Cynthia McKinney has won the Green Party's presidential nomination and I'm tossing to Betty.

Betty: Because Cynthia's a home girl from my region and I -- my whole family -- voted for Cynthia in all of her Congressional runs. I'm voting for Ralph in the presidential election and that wasn't as difficult as a decision as some might think but it was also helped along by the fact that the Green Party will not be on the ballot in Georgia. Cynthia started out holding elective office in Georgia. This was a little bit before I was born, 1986. Despite attempts to pass the ERA in the seventies and a new awareness, women serving in the state legislature were expected to wear dresses. In her last time serving in the US Congress, a lot of gas bags -- some from the left -- downed Cynthia's then-new hairstyle or her manner of dress. They apparently never grasped that she is a trailblazer -- always has been, always will be. In the state legislature, she broke the rule on dresses and all women serving in the legislature today owe her a debt. She was elected to the US Congress in 1992 and was re-elected repeatedly until the 2002 primary election when a traitor was run against her in the primary. Cynthia lost the primary. Two years later, in 2004, she won her Congressional seat back. She had the support of her district and people from around the world. She did not have the support of Democratic 'leadership' or of the 'leadership' in 'independent' media as they all made very clear quickly. Fancy Nancy Pelosi refused to do the normal thing which was reinstate Cynthia's senority. She had five terms under her belt when she returned to the US Congress but Fancy Nancy made sure that didn't matter and that Cynthia was treated like a freshman. It was outrageous and it was racism and Panhandle Media didn't give a damn. Rushing to make a vote, she had an altercation with the DC police and The Nation magazine's official comment on what followed was that Cynthia was on her own. Air Berman wasn't going to sweat over the plight of a Black woman.

Ruth: Jew-boy Berman didn't give a damn.

Betty: I'm laughing. Thank you, Ruth. Ruth's Jewish. The war against Cynthia continued and although she won the primary in 2006, it wasn't by enough to avoid a run-off. She lost the run-off. It's cute how in that primary run-off, more people showed up to vote than voted in the actual primary. So Cynthia is a honest voice, an authentic voice. I am thrilled, as a Black woman, that she received the Green Party nomination. It's so great to see a Black person triumph and it's so great that a Black person can run for president.

Marcia: It really is. It fills me with a sense of pride. At a time when bi-racial is passed off as "Black," it's especially important that someone like Cynthia becomes a nominee. Not having to stradle any racial line, Cynthia's not going to run to the White conservative crowd by trashing Black fathers. She's not going to speak down to any Americans but especially not Black America and, yes, that is a reference to Rev. Jesse Jackson's comment that bi-racial Barack speaks down to Black people. Rev. Jackson apologized. He shouldn't have. His comments were correct.

Cedric: Saturday morning, C.I.'s "Cynthia McKinney, Let her shine" went up and I had non-stop phone calls all day from friends and family saying I better be sure that makes "Highlights," so I'll go ahead and mention it here as well. There is a special sense of pride in Cynthia because she looks like us, she's lived like us, she speaks to us and will speak for us. She is authentic. The real-deal as my grandmother said this afternoon. She was on pins and needles all day afraid there would be some upset and Cynthia wouldn't be the nominee. She calmed down a bit after she read C.I.'s entry thinking, "Okay, it is going to happen." But too many times, things have seemed possible and didn't happen. You may be familiar with that point because the White media used it to try to push bi-racial Barack. And let me be really clear, that if he would be who he is, I would disagree with him but celebrate the progress of a bi-racial person running for a nomination. But he's not Black and, no, that's not just a right-wing talking point. He's half Black, half White. He was raised by Whites. And, as Rev. Jackson noted, that's who he plays too. Cynthia is one of us so, whether you support her run or not, you realize she is Black History come to life.

Ty: And she's also a woman which is something of a miracle, her getting the nomination, after all the crap that was used against Hillary. I'm tossing to Jess.

Jess: I am a Green Party member. As the only Green working at a community website, I know Green Party community members expect me to cover certain things so I made a point to check in with as many as I could before the nomination and after. We're all happy for Cynthia McKinney. None of us will be supporting her with our votes. We're voting for Ralph Nader. I'm moving to "I" statements but I am speaking for all Green members in the community that I was able to talk to. Cynthia has defined victory for her campaign as getting 5% of the vote in November and we hope she does. That would allow some inroads for the party. However, if the party hadn't tried a safe-state strategy in 2004 and disowned Ralph Nader -- whom I also voted for in 2004 -- they wouldn't need to be working so hard. There's a lot of smears about Ralph and the reality is he gave them an inroad and they refused to use it. Cynthia will hopefully bring them a new inroad. But she's having to rebuild because the Greens failed to utilize the 2000 run. Greens are very curious about how her inroads will be used in 2012. In terms of Cynthia, the only reason cited against her personally was the defining of 5% as a victory. Don't tell us, inroads need to be made! As I just established, inroads were made in 2000 and then abandoned. That's a Green Party issue. The other reasons Cynthia will not be supported goes to other Green Party issues. The Green Party elected to present themselves as the Democratic Party's little sister and not a political party. It did that in 2004 with the safe-state strategy which is an open wound with Green grassroots. It did it in 2008 when a number of Greens with websites, columns and media appearances carried the water for Barack. They hissed and boo-ed at Hillary, sometimes repeating lies disproven. They refused to call out the non-stop sexism against Hillary. Like it or not, being a visible Green means leadership of some form. Sexism is not a Green Party value. It was counter-productive for the Greens to cheer on any Democratic nominee and, honestly, sends a message that whomever their nominee ended up being, their nominee was a second-class citizen to Barack. But to stay silent on the sexism used against Hillary was not Green Party values being practiced. To ignore it or join in was shameful. Medea Benjamin's ass needs to be formally kicked out of the Green Party. 15 people said if that happened, not her resigning, the Green Party stating she is not considered a member, they'd consider voting for Cynthia in November. Medea Benjamin has never protested Barack Obama and has never called him out. He is not -- as a few grasped finally over the 4th holiday -- going to end the illegal war. Benjamin has bird-dogged Hillary, has trashed her publicly and, near the end of the primary when -- despite winning primaries -- there were so many "get out Hillary!" calls, Medea decides to use her Green cred to go to a function Hillary held for women and start pulling her usual I-Need-Attention! Look-At-Me! I-Will-Not-Be-Ignored! bulls**t. There was no need for it. The media had long ago crowned Barack the winner and there was Medea pulling another one of her useless stunts. It only drove home that CODESTINK loves to pretend they're pro-women but they target Hillary and Condi and who else? All we're seeing is a group of little babies who scream at women and don't call out men. Medea is publicly a member of a group called "Progessive Democratcs for America." The Green Party is not the Democratic Party. Her ass needs to be kicked to the curb by the Green Party. She uses her former Green Party membership to get on alternative media and speak as an 'independent' or a 'Green.' That slot doesn't belong to her. Let her compete for attention with other Democrats. Hateful things were said about Hillary by a number of Green 'leaders' and they would then rush to prop up Barack whom they knew nothing about. It hurt their own nominee -- not even picked back then -- and it hurt our image as a party. We tolerated sexism, we said it was okay. We said, "Well, it's Hillary, we don't like her. So we won't say anything. Boo Hillary!" That's not mature. When Hillary's being accused of pimping her daughter, when her womanhood is questioned -- by Glen Beck or Laura Flanders, when CNN 'debates' whether or not she's a "bitch," when gas bags say on TV that they have to cross their legs when she speaks, when her clothing is the first thing Chris Matthews want to discuss, when any comment she makes is twisted, when 'academics' like Stephen Zunes feel that the bashing is so great he can lie and claim she only visited Iraq once and get away with it, when she's smeared and lied about and attacked every day, it didn't require any Green saying, "I'm voting for Hillary!" It only required that Green Party act on their core beliefs and say, "That's unacceptable." We didn't have to root for her. We merely had to stand up to sexism. What we saw were our 'leaders' -- Medea, Ted Glick and many, many more -- would join in. That's disgusting. The Green Party talks a good talk about equality and justice. The Greens of this community believe you don't just talk it, you practice it. Which is why we defended Hillary. That leaders are so out of touch with the grassroots and with their own supposed values goes a long way towards why Greens in this community are supporting Ralph Nader. Nominating a woman for president and Rosa Clemente for vice president does not erase the silence by all on calling out the sexism nor does it erase the attacks on Hillary by some leaders. Before Hillary suspended her campaign, Ralph supporters began calling out the sexism online. That was noticed, that did register. None of us believe Ralph Nader agrees with Hillary Clinton any more than he does with Barack Obama. We do know that his supporters called it out and we do know that Ralph himself called out the calls for Hillary to just pack it in. Some people demonstrated that democracy is something you practice. Sadly, those people were not Green Party 'leaders.'

Ruth: If I may jump in next, you can apply what Jess is speaking of to the Democratic Party as well. And one of the reasons so many Democrats will not be voting for Barack is because he used sexism, his surrogates used sexism, the pathetic Nancy Pelosi failed to call it out, as did Howard I-Don't-Watch-Much-TV Dean and Harry Reid. We are not rewarding bad behavior. I think it is likely that Cynthia McKinney will find the press a little less likely to go after her the way they would have a few months back and that will be due to the fact that they realize this I-Don't-Know-Did-Sexism-Happen act is not playing with the public and there actions are being closely watched now.

Rebecca: I would agree with that and agree that they think they can play dumb and this whole thing blows over for them. "Them" being the press. It does not blow over. But it will make them a little more cautious in the way they discuss McKinney. Not that they'll discuss Cynthia that much to begin with. But some of the comments they might otherwise make they'll now be reigning themselves in. Cynthia McKinney was a done deal the second Ralph Nader decided he wasn't going to be in the Green race -- and Kat's going to talk about that. So they knew, the Greens, that Cynthia was their nominee long before this weekend. Not only should they have not joined in the attacks on Hillary or been silent on them, they should have loudly called them out for their nominee. Had they done that, it would be harder for the press to shut out Cynthia. Greens would have some standing when calling out sexism against Cynthia because they would have called it out against Hillary. When Cynthia is the subject of sexist coverage, and she will be -- that's a given, it will seem like partisan sour grapes because they were too stupid to realize that practicing their own beliefs, by calling out the sexist treatement of Hillary, they were laying the groundwork to argue for better and increased coverage of their own nominee.

Kat: Does any woman deserve to be raped? That's the question people should answer for themselves. No is my answer. And by the same token, no woman deserves what Hillary went through. Whether you like or not. I like her, she won me over. But no woman deserves that. The silence on the non-stop attacks of Hillary was not all that different from coming across a woman being raped in public, asking, "Well who is it?" and when finding out the woman is someone you don't like, walking on by. Actually, it's worse. It was more like the gang-rape scene in The Accused. With a lot of participants and a lot of people standing on the sidelines cheering the violence against women on. Jess rightly talked about the Green Party's core values. Any mistaken belief that they would actually practice that vanished when the Greens thought they might get Ralph. Prior to that, they were all over Cynthia. When they thought they could have Ralph, all the write-in campaigns to get Cynthia to run, all the praise they'd showered on her vanished for many as they rushed after Ralph. Had he run as a Green, we might have seen something very similar to the attacks on Hillary done on Cynthia. And that's why you call it out. It was not about Hillary, it was never about Hillary. Medea Benjamin can lie through her craggly, line carved mouth all she wants. It was an attack on women. You either stand up to it or it goes on and on.

Dona: I'll just note that C.I. recently called out the attacks on Maureen Dowd recently -- and C.I. doesn't care for Dowd -- and, if you'll notice, the sexist language in what was supposed to be media 'criticism' was toned down after. We all have power. We all have the power to stop sexism. If we don't use that power, we are taking part in sexism.

Mike: And it is "we." It's not just up to women to speak out against sexism. It effects all of us. It effects the world we live in and it infects our world. I am disgusted with the number of men who want to be seen as fair and 'progressive' who not just engaged in those attacks but also the ones who stayed silent while they took place. It demonstrated that so-called values are meaningless and you will toss them in the trash can if you think it will bring you what you need. On the one hand, some will cheer that, "What if it was your mother, or daughter or girlfriend?" stuff. That was a point that needed to be made, probably before I was born. By 2008, there's no need for any man to have to think, "What if it was my mother?" We don't think that way in terms of race. We don't -- we is White men -- need to sit there and think, "What if I weren't White?" We know racism is wrong and we call it out. We seem to have a real problem, as White men, standing up against sexism. We'll make excuses, we'll say we're busy with other stuff, but the reality is that those of us who do that don't give a damn about sexism.

Wally: I would agree with that. I would agree that FAIR made it very clear that sexism wasn't an issue to them. FAIR made it very clear that their notion of 'fairness' and a 'just world' did not include a world without sexism. Keith Olbermann was one of the worst offenders and they looked the other way. Not only did they look the other way when he was sexist, they then went out of the way to praise him for other things. He's MSM and they can't pretend they're a media critic and stay silent about him. They aren't a media critic. They're nothing but garbage. And if I can just expand a little bit, we're pointing out that it was an attack on all women but to underline how that was, you had women called "bitter" and "old" and they were called racists. I think Ava and C.I. have made this point repeatedly but it bears noting one more time: There were no editorials from the likes of BuzzFlash to African-Americans telling them they didn't need to vote race. But not only did that crap-ass outlet attempt to lecture women, it assumed that the only reason any woman would support Hillary's run was due to Hillary's gender.

Cedric: We're all trying to be brief but I gotta jump in on that. Ava and C.I. -- not Barack -- are masters at flipping the script. They get it when no one else does. And when they first started making that point it was like a light bulb going off for me. As an African-American, I was expected to support Barack. The fact that I didn't was frequently seen as strange. My supporting him would have been greeted as the norm and acceptable. Why did women get attacked for supporting Hillary? It says a great deal about what we value and what we don't. And FAIR was the worst in my opinion. The Nation and that nut Matthew Rothschild were awful but FAIR is supposed to be a media critique from the left. "Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting" is their claim. But, as Ava and C.I. noted, throughout the primary they ignored sexism and when they finally 'addressed' it in one headline on CounterSpin, it had to be lumped in with racism and it was three examples of racism and one example of sexism. As Ava and C.I. pointed out, CNN thought they could discuss whether or not Hillary was a "bitch." And that was one sentence for CounterSpin -- where they didn't even name the program -- and then they went on and on about this column and that column. At least two of which were right-wingers. CNN is MSM. It's supposed to have a higher standard. And they're discussing whether or not Hillary is a "bitch"? CounterSpin wouldn't have even dealt with that -- goes to Dona's point about using your power -- if Ava and C.I. hadn't birddogged their ass for weeks before. It was insane and FAIR, so quick to call for mea culpas from the MSM and apologies from them, owes the public an apology for their actions. They have no standing with me now when they criticize someone's correction or apology because they have still not apologized for their own actions and their actions were appalling and were not fair.

Elaine: I agree with Cedric, Wally and Mike. On FAIR, they really do owe an apology. They have certainly called for the mainstream to make them. If FAIR wants to demonstrate that they are capable of leading, they need to issue an apology. They need to do what Howard Kurtz did at The Washington Post, write an article examing how, week after week, they avoided the topic. How when MSNBC suspended FAIR's pet over his own air sexism, they were silent. How did they decide his comments weren't an action alert? They need to explain that. They need to explain why there is a standard for all broadcasters except Keith Olbermann. They have a lot of explaining to do and my own feelings right now are that unless they offer that explanation, they can close shop. They are a media critic and they were silent. Week after week on CounterSpin, day after day at FAIR, every two months at Extra! And after Ava and C.I. started calling FAIR out on that, they could finally offer that joke of an article in Extra! that named all the easy names and avoided Keith Olbermann when the focus was NBC and MSNBC. It's not "fair" and it's not media criticism. And it shouldn't take Ava and C.I. -- I love their work but it shouldn't take them -- pointing the bias out to prompt FAIR to address it. It shouldn't require me or Mike, Wally or Cedric pointing out that FAIR did not do their job and looked the other way on sexism to prompt an apology from them. There is no excuse for the way they behaved. It cheapens and devalues any criticism they could offer in the future and the longer they go without an apology, the less anyone will respect anything they say.

Jim: I'm sorry but we need to wind down. There are some e-mails we didn't get to and Dona handed me a note that says everyone spoke except C.I. So I'll toss to C.I. for the wrap up.

C.I.: Okay. What happened to Hillary shouldn't have happened to any women. By calling it out, those who did call it out, it sends a message that says it is unacceptable. In the immediate wake, that makes it a little bit easier for Cynthia McKinney but it makes it a little bit easier for all women. What was done to Hillary was done to women. It was outrageous. There is no defense for it and there is no defense for being silent about it. Because so many involved -- let's use FAIR as the example -- where Janine Jackson, Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon support Barack. Because so many involved supported one candidate, they appeared to delight in the use of sexism against Hillary. It was 'permissable' because it happened to someone they loathe -- and they loathe her. No, that's not how it works. And you certainly can't pose as a media watchdog and refuse to call out sexism. In most cases, at most outlets, you'll find if people were honest that they'd say it didn't matter to them because they didn't like the victim. As Kat pointed out, no woman deserves to be attacked. It was vicious, it was ugly.

Dona: I'm going to come back to you. I don't generally jump in and especially not when we're winding down but I just realized Ruth made one comment the entire roundtable. So, Ruth, talk about the public stoning.

Ruth: Okay. Ava and C.I. have written and written for years now about Bash-the-Bitch. It's the public pastime. There is nothing wrong with criticizing a woman. But are you using the same standards and language you would use with a man? If not, you're being sexist. We really do not care if you say Ms. X is a tramp if that's your criticism when you're dealing with Mr. Z. But, look at Maureen Dowd. Is the criticism we were seeing of Dowd the sort we see of any man in her same position? No. They don't use terms like "spanked" for the men. And I agree that C.I.'s calling it out cooled a lot jets. She is still being criticized but the tone has become far less sexual and that sexual tone, that leering quality, is not present when they go after a man. But with women, and this goes to some primal fear of women, they will toss out anything to take her down. We do not care about 'tone' -- we do care about consistency. If you're tossing out "knee pads" for Elisbeth Bumiller, show me where your equivalent comments on a male reporter are? I know what C.I.'s were. First off, Bumiller was made the commander of the Elite Fluff Patrol and there were two other fluffers serving under her. Second, there was Todd S. Purdum 'cupping' the story and jokes about his needing a jock strap to write. Bash-the-Bitch is a feeding frenzy. It's when a lot of anger over valid issues bubbles and boils and it's all taken out on one woman. The failure to note young boys or young non-White girls who were kidnapped or assaulted led to a lot of remarks about individual, young, White women that were uncalled for. Suddenly, it was bash this missing woman or that missing woman. It had nothing to do with the women, it had to do with the anger over the continued silence of violence towards non-White young girls and all boys. Well that is your media problem. It has nothing to do with the women that were missing and attacking them was a bit sad. This country was lied into an illegal war by the White House. The press corps aided in that. In some cases, journalists lied, in other cases, they just didn't do their jobs. Somehow the very valid anger turned itself on Judith Miller. Miller did not do her job. I have a hard time calling her a liar because I think she was a fool. Her actions on the ground in Iraq appear to demonstrate that she believed -- wrongly -- that there were WMDs. Judith Miller was not the only reporter who got it wrong. But it became Bash-the-Bitch. Michael Gordon, who co-wrote several of the worst pieces with Miller, is still not a household name prompting boos and hisses. Despite the fact that since 2005, he has obviously slanted his coverage to try to push a war with Iran. Was Judith Miller anchoring World News Tonight, Nightly News, CBS Evening News, the NewsHour and writing for the New York Times, and The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe, etc., and also hosting all programs on NPR? Was she in charge of Newsweek and Time? Newsweek did a laughable -- even in real time -- report on what was beneath Saddam's palace. Does anyone even remember that article -- which was nothing but alarmist and calling for war -- or who wrote it? No. All of the very real, very valid anger at the press corps lousy job focused on Miller. If you think that is 'fair' then you may want to ask yourself did all the others -- predominatly men -- learn a lesson by being left off the hook? No. They slinked away and they still hold their jobs. They await the next time when they can be pressed into service. Or, another example, what was the appalling, months long attacks on Katie Couric, before she even started as anchor. We were told it was because she was from a morning entertainment program. Well Charlie Gibson was prompted from Good Morning America -- where he chose to go -- to World News Tonight -- a pregnant woman and an injured man had to lose their jobs for that promotion to take place. But it was never an issue raised about Gibson. Bash-the-Bitch is when very real anger floats around and needs a target. If you pay attention, that target is usually a woman. And when the feeding frenzy starts, even if you don't care for the woman, the smart thing to do would be to back off. It would be even smarter to call it out but the left media is nothing but a bunch of chickens and cover-up artists so they never call it out. At the very least, they could stop contributing to it. Did that do it?

Dona: Very much so. C.I., please wrap up.

C.I.: You don't have leaders in the media -- big or small media. You have followers. So when Bash-the-Bitch gets rolling, it becomes a feeding frenzy. "Everyone's talking about it! I must talk about it too!" No. If everyone's talking about something -- anything -- that should be your cue that your time could be used more wisely addressing what everyone is NOT talking about. But it becomes a water cooler topic and people kid themselves, to use Miller, that it's about the illegal war. That what they're doing is actually addressing the illegal war. That's not what they're doing. Again, Michael Gordon was her partner in crime and he's gone on to continue his crimes all by himself. And that's only one example. If we're just discussing reporters at print outlets, there are a lot of men to cover. Outside Robin Wright at The Washington Post, there are not a lot of well known women on the international scene at US outlets. So this idea that we offed Judith Miller and did our jobs and all is good in the world is just a joke when she was a statistical minority. She also did not write editorials or columns. So the idea that repeatedly dredging her name up, all this time after, is dealing with the Iraq War is just a joke. But it gets a little traction and you have nothing but followers in the media -- Big or Small -- with a pack mentality and you get a feeding frenzy on some woman. Miller's being gone from The New York Times is no great loss in my opinion but it also didn't many a damn thing changed at that paper. And to expand it a little, Dexter Filkins was an awful reporter. His copy was reportedly vetted by the military -- including that 'award winning' piece that turned the slaughter of Falluja in November 2004 into a rah-rah, feel good event. In 2006, when The Washington Post revealed that the US military saw Dexy as their go-to-guy when it was time to plant a story, that didn't lead to him being called out. There was no huge outcry. The illegal war started. It still goes on. It still goes on because of reporters like Dexter Filkins but how many Americans know the first thing about his bad reporting? Miller's reporting does not stand up. She did not do her job. She was far from alone. She was not taken down for her journalistic crimes alone or a lot of others would have went down with her. She was taken down because of Bash-the-Bitch. Someone will say, "Okay, but she was amplified!" Take it up with those who amplified her. Take it out on them. As David Corn and many others, who wrongly ripped apart the late Gary Webb's work demonstrated, they have no problem questioning something -- just because it's in print doesn't make it gospel. So the notion that Dick Cheney citing an article by Miller on Meet the Press is just Miller's responsibility is insane. Tim Russert could have questioned it. He didn't. Meet the Press has a larger audience than The New York Times. Miller needs to be held accountable for what she reported. But holding her accountable and her alone isn't accountability. It's Bash-the-Bitch.

Jim: And on that note, we'll end the roundtable. This is a rush transcript.

DVD: Stop-Loss

What if you thought your sentence was served and you got pulled back in?

That's the question posed in Kimberly Peirce's Stop-Loss and the sentence is another tour of duty in Iraq after you've been told you would be discharged.

Brandon King returns to his Texas small town glad to be out only to learn that he's been stop-lossed. What had been a celebration quickly becomes a nightmare.

Under Peirce's direction in Boys Don't Cry, Chloe Sevigny was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award and Hilary Swank won Best Actress. So it's not surprise that Peirce's second film features the strongest performances for any of the actors to date.

As Brandon, Ryan Phillipe moves from teen idol to actual actor in the lead role, finding levels you'd never guessed he possessed. IVAW's Martin Smith didn't like the movie.

Maybe you won't either. In his review ["Stop-Loss: All the wrong conclusions" (IVAW)], Smith faults the film for many things including not being about Iraq, not focusing more on the White House, not having Camilo Mejia (or a character based upon Mejia) as Brandon's best friend, "subtle Islamophobia," and "pro-war rhetoric."

We await his review of Iron Man and hope he holds the 'redemption' of the War Criminal lead to the same standards.


Ava and C.I. note the following:

* Scope: "The scope Smith wants is nearly impossible in a feature film. That sort of scope is exactly why A Bright and Shining Lie never made it to the big screen and ended up on HBO. David Lean died in 1991 and no one else could pull off that sort of broad vista/canvas approach. As Jane Fonda -- who tried to steer film production of A Bright and Shining Lie for many years -- noted, Coming Home told the story of the homefront during Vietnam, Platoon told what it was like over there and A Bright and Shining Lie told the 'how' of the US starting that war. There's only so much landscape a film of 110 minutes can deliver."

* Islamophobia: "Iraqis are not characters in the film. The film is only briefly in Iraq at the beginning and later returns are via flashbacks. We missed the call to Muslim prayer preceding one incident of violence and we'll assume some others did as well. Even with it being pointed out, we do not see the connection between the two anymore than we would see a ringing church bell in Assassins as an indictment of Christianity. We see it as atmosphere. While the scene with two women and a child as the US military barges into a home can be seen as 'an indictment of war,' we'd argue there are many more such scenes throughout -- both in Iraq (such as when Brandon shoots the resistance fighter and kills both him and a small child) and in the US. The Iraqis are portrayed as that group of soldiers encounters them. The bulk of the film takes place in the US and, in terms of film conventions, the only way to get a storyline (briefly) going would have been an affair of some sort (contemplated or consummated) between an Iraqi and a US soldier. That's a whole other movie."

* "Pro-war rhetoric:" Film is a visual medium and captures a great deal in visuals as well as words. The tension at the table in the bar when violence in Iraq is being discussed is clearly bothering some -- including Brandon's mother Ida (Linda Emond). Is Ida pro-war? Is it not Ida, before Brandon leaves his hometown, who suggests her son go to Mexico instead of returning to Iraq? What about Michelle (played by the amazing Abbie Cornish)? Is she pro-war? Is her decision to help Brandon go on the lam pro-war? Is it just the reaction of some woman really pissed off that she's not getting married? Is that why she sells her car to raise money for Brandon? Wow. Wait 'till she realizes the years she wasted on Steve don't just mean no marriage, it means motherhood's been delayed too! Thank goodness she wasn't on her period -- she might not have stopped in NYC and just decided to storm the border crossing into Canada. The film is set in a small town and the prove-your-manhood undercurrent is obvious throughout. That the three main male characters are products of that town is surprising how? The women's reactions -- verbal and non-verbal -- provide the dissent throughout. It's not with pride that a widow's reluctantly taking a flag handed to her at a funeral. The film is set in Texas and Texas has had a huge number of men and women enlist from small towns. (They've also had a huge number of wounded in Iraq -- 2,915, second only to California.) Outside of Steve and Tommy (Brandon's fellow soldiers and friends), the only pro-war rhetoric we noticed was at the parade (was Medea Benjamin supposed to show up yelling "No More Blood For Oil!"?) and when the soldiers were around their male, non-enlisted friends. Again, it goes to the undercurrent of the town. When Brandon, at a funeral, says he failed and offers the example of the soldiers who died serving under him, is that supposed to be pro-war because many people find the blame Brandon's taking on (which is not his blame) to be heart-ripping? Was the self-checkout who gives Brandon the name of a lawyer who can help him get to Canada offering pro-war rhetoric? Steve's yelling out 'We're over there killing 'em in Iraq, so we don't have to kill them in Texas' is perfectly in keeping with the character (who is not bright and has no future, as he more or less admits to Michelle) and it's interjected when the people at the parade expect Brandon to make them feel good about the illegal war and he can't. It's a stupid statement and it and the reaction it prompts from the crowd is very telling about that town and about people's refusal to believe reality."

* Camilo Mejia as a friend: "We think the whole world would benefit from having Camilo Mejia as a friend (and that's not sarcasm, we're serious). But if Camilo were Brandon's best friend on screen (or a Camilo-like character), wouldn't audiences be asking, 'Wait, why isn't that the story being told?' Camilo has had a fascinating life long before he enlisted (and will continue to have one). A best friend in many films of another era was Eve Arden. She was cast so often because she could get laughs and invest enough in a role that wasn't supposed to overshadow the lead but still manage to entertain audiences. The wisdom that Camilo could impart to Brandon would not come in one brief scene. Brandon would be resistant. Camilo would have to be a Yoda in such a role and that's an entirely different film. This film is about human emotions, human costs. Brandon King is the lead character. In a film of this scope, such a role would come from the romantic interest -- such as Jerry McGuire. Brandon has no love interest. That was a brave choice for Mark Richard and Peirce to make (the screenwriters) because it would have been so much easier for some audiences if Michelle and Brandon had become a couple. It also would have undercut the effectiveness of the film with some audiences who would have pinned his decisions off on 'the girl.' Instead, Brandon has to own all of his decisions." Leaving aside the Syd Field 'school' of screenwriting (we're not fans of cookie cutter, by the number scripts), all scripts have a dramatic break early on for the lead character. It's what spins the whole story. If Camilo were Brandon's friend, the break Brandon makes when told he's being stop-lossed would be far less dramatic."

*Spoiler: "Brandon's decision to return to Iraq after Tommy is buried plays out like suicide. We're not seeing that as pro-war. Even before the title card show up listing the number of people who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and the number who have died (and noting there are no figures released on how many of the dead were stop-lossed), the suicide tone is there. Steve has told him that Brandon kept people alive in Iraq. Brandon has told him -- and pushed his head at a tombstone -- that he's going to die over there. Following that moment, they both leave shaking their heads. Ida and Michelle then go with Brandon, headed to Mexico. He stops the car and says if he goes to Mexico he can never see the farm again. When they are back at the farm and he starts packing up, it's not a celebration. The mood is grim and remains so until the very end when he bumps shoulders with Steve and, even then, neither smiles. The camera than pans across the bus onto the faces of others headed to Iraq. We don't see glee or excitement. The choices made for those shots, including the angles, are part of the story. Even the most optimistic movie goer can only believe 'maybe' Brandon will make it out alive because don't movies always show us the happy ending? And that's before the title cards start listing the figures. Brandon's going against everything he's been taught and believed in when he's AWOL. The tragedy -- and the story is a tragedy -- is that he can only go so far, from point A to B. We certainly don't agree with his decision at the end of the film and we think some watching will feel it was death sentence. 'Why?' is the question they will ask. The 'why' is in keeping with his character so the question, for those who explore it, goes to the larger 'why' of the illegal war. Show don't tell. That's film. That's our take on it, your opinion and reaction are valid or we wouldn't provide a link to the piece you wrote. We happen to strongly disagree. However, we encourage you to take the movie you wanted to see and put it on paper. It could be filmed and, in a country that focuses way too little on the ongoing illegal war, we would certainly line up and pay to see it."

Rebecca and Ty note, "Eye-candy on parade!" Seriously. (And Ava and C.I. were the first to insist that the statement stays in.) A drunken Steve (Channing Tatum) is digging a ditch in Michelle's front yard in nothing but "skivvies, loose-fitting ones, lots of bun shots and bouncy-bouncy in the y-front" (Rebecca). For a movie with no sex scene, there's a lot of eye candy going on for the lovers of the male form. (Ty notes to check out the bun shots during Brandon and Steve's fight in the grave yard.)

For lovers of good acting, go somewhere else. There's no good acting in Stop-Loss. "Good" is too mild a term. Ava and C.I. are always reluctant to credit a director with too much but when everyone involved (including Timothy Olyphant) give the strongest performances of their careers, you have to credit Peirce who knows how to bring out the best in actors.

And with Stop-Loss, she proves she can handle a big budget film. In only her second feature length movie, Peirce delivers as a director. This isn't a "I've made my mark, now let me tell what happened to me when I was young man story." She completely bypasses the sophomore slump and that's amazing when you start adding up the scenes she's shooting in terms of location and detail.

But most of all, Stop-Loss is a compelling movie that essays what happens when one person tries to make a break from everything told and taught -- and told and taught to do now. Like life, some movies don't have happy endings. The DVD offers eleven deleted scenes (which none of us have viewed, we haven't looked at any of the special features), a making-of featurette, commentary by director Peirce and her co-writer Mark Richard and "A Day in Boot Camp." Our DVDs (which were gifts and not purchased in a store) did not contain a booklet inside or even a single page that would note other releases. We're not sure that's true of all copies.

Moments we take away from the film? Michelle playing pool with a disabled veteran, Michelle at the bar doing shots of tequila, Brandon on the phone trying to reach a US Senator who won't take his call, Brandon always trying to make everything right (including following a bar fight), Tommy's funeral and Ida's face throughout the film.

Barack Obama on human rights, 'Screw 'em'

Obama, true to his pledge to change the U.S. approach to the world, said he would meet with Cuban leaders "without preconditions" because it's important for the United States "not just to talk to its friends but also to talk to its enemies." Despite calls from some of his advisers for America to trade with Cuba just as it does with China and Vietnam, however, Obama has been silent on lifting the embargo, though he has called for getting rid of restrictions on remittances and family travel to that country.

That's from LIE FACE Tim Shorrock's garbage entitled "Hawks Behind the Dove: Who Makes Obama’s Foreign Policy?" -- and when you have lies where do you sell it? He sold it to The Progressive. (They hate Ralph Nader too which makes the made-in-hell match just perfect.)

And here's the fat-boy sexist on Hillary:

Clinton, asked during a debate if she would be willing to sit down with Raul Castro, Fidel's successor, replied in similar language. Not "without some evidence that [Cuba] will demonstrate the kind of progress that is in our interest," she said, pointing out later through a spokesperson that she "supports the embargo and our current policy toward Cuba."

"Similar language" refers to Bully Boy and John McCain, Tinker Timmy isn't saying Hillary spoke with language similar to Barack.

Why is he writing about Hillary? Because there's nothing impressive about Barack Obama so, in order to build him up, you need to tear down someone.

Cuba's always red meat to the fringe radical crowd* so Tinker Timmy tosses out the debate in Texas last February. He also (as he is so prone to do) selectively edits. "Without preconditions" is a Barack talking point and we need to go back where it started because his is not a human rights position.

He was asked in the CNN-YouTube debate (July 2007, the question came from a man named Stephen), "would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"


His response was, "I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration is ridiculous."

Barack Obama's reply was "ridiculous." You do not meet without preconditions. That is ludicrous. The president of the United States brings with him or her an international press corps on any visit. Countries (not just poor ones, true of England as well) spend money preparing for the visit in terms that go far beyond "security." They send out crews to clean the physical appearance up. The visit can lift a local economy in some very poor countries. In her disagreement, Hillary Clinton noted she didn't "want to be used for propaganda purposes." And she was exactly right. Too many dictators in the world have the support of the US and the UK due to their 'efforts' in the 'War on Terror.' It's great propaganda for them. "Look, the world leaders endorse me!" And the US embassy staff looks the other way, ignoring human rights abuses taking place.

When you say "without preconditions," you're tossing human rights out the window. A US presidential visit is valued and, for example, one to China could be leverage (with conditions) to ease the suffering (however briefly) in Tibet or to release political prisoners. Amnesty International has an Appeals for Action page. Look over that page and grasp what Barack's "without preconditions" would actually translate as. They've most recently called for the government of Turkey to respect the country's LGBT community. Barack ends up president and visits Turkey, he could use that as a precondition for his visit.

Iran was a country listed and one Barack agreed to visit without precondition (in his first year) if he were to become president. An Amnesty alert in February of this year opened with: "The Iranian authorities are continuing to harass activists working to defend women’s rights. Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi -- two Kurdish Iranian activists -- currently remain detained without charge or trial. They were arrested in October and November 2007 for peacefully exercising their rights." "Without preconditions" means a President Barack couldn't say, "I'll meet with you provided you release the two Kurdish women being held political prisoner." It was a huge, huge blunder.


Hillary Clinton stated, "I don't want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration. And I will purse very vigorous diplomacy." That first sentence ("I don't want to make a situation even worse") was what a president should be thinking of from a human rights point of view.

A visit to Iran "without preconditions" does nothing for the people but elevates the Iranian government in the eyes of the world. It also says to them, "We can imprison these two women for as long as we want. It's not an issue with the US, they came over and visited us." Take Syria. In January of this year, an Amnesty alert opened with: "Being a Syrian political or human rights activist requires courage -- the government is intolerant of dissent. The 45-year-old state of emergency gives the security police wide powers of arrest and detention, which they use against those who dare to speak out for human rights or in opposition to the authorities."

Nobody is guaranteed a presidential visit. Even Americans who might like to meet with the president may never get a face-to-face. In terms of other countries, the ceremonial event carries weight and imprint. As such, US presidents can use it to alleviate (even just temporarily) some of the suffering.

"Without precondition" means Barack's going to go skipping off to countries to have, what we're sure the drugged out among the 'internationalist' set see as, a rap session. Let's talk. Just talk.

It was a huge mistake. It was such a mistake that even Barack Obama realized it was a mistake. Which brings us to the February and the CNN debate that Tinker Timmy is quoting from. Campbell Brown asked Barack, "Senator Obama, just to follow up, you had said in a previous CNN debate that you would meet with the leaders of Cuban, Iran, North Korea, among others, so presumably you would be willing to meet with the new leader of Cuba?"

This time Barack tried to back peddle (while opening with "That's correct") by mentioning "the liberty of the Cuban people" as "the starting point" and going on to declare, "I would meet without preconditions, although Senator Clinton is right that there has to be preparation. It is very important for us to make sure that there was an agenda, and on that agenda was human rights, releasing of political prisoners, opening up the press. And that preparation might take some time."

He tried to clean up his previous mess -- which was a slap in the face to human rights work around the world -- by suddenly acknowledging the power of a presidential visit but by insisting that such things as "releasing of political prisoners, opening up the press" were "preparation". They are not "preparation," they are conditions.

After flaunting an outrageous level of ignorance and being called on it privately (you know the groupies can't call him out publicly), Barack attempted to walk it back. If you are asking someone to release political prisoners for a meeting to take place, that is not a "preparation," it is a pre-condition. As it should be.

As for Hillary Clinton in that February debate, Tinker Tommy leaves out a lot. Like what debate it was. Makes it easier to avoid a fact check? Barack mentioned "political prisoners" in his response and did so only after Clinton had noted them already.

Barack's response then and before gave no real indication that he grasps human rights, the power of the presidency or what actual diplomacy entails.

Because Panhandle Media was too busy breast feeding Barack (Rothschild was down for two a.m. feedings), they never bothered to call him out on it. Instead they all acted like the vapid airheads (there was one exception but he later recanted) taking up too much time on daytime television, insisting that just talking, just face-to-face talking, it's a good thing! It's a wanted thing! They might want to consider what 'just talking' led to in the meet-up arranged by Jenny Jones in the 90s. (A guest was murdered by another guest.) They might want to consider that Bully Boy, so happy in his bubble, may have done many countries a favor by not meeting with them since the least thing tends to set him off. Who know what imagined sleight during a face-to-face might have led to yet another war?

Equally true is that the President of the United States is the president . . . of the United States.

Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. The US also has allies who expect to be met with including (but not limited to) France, Germany and England. The US has neighbors on both sides of borders: Canada and Mexico. Russia is obviously an area that the next president will have to spend a huge amount of time on. Add in that the next president will inherit at least two ongoing wars (Afghanistan and Iraq). Good to know with all that and more, Barack's committed to for-show trips to Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. For-show is all they are because asking for the release of political prisoners is a "condition." It is not a "preparation." And his Cult may cover for him in the US (we hear John Nichols' nipples have become tender as Barack has developed teeth and Katrina vanden Heuvel snapped at Nichols, "Toughen up!"), there's no reason for the leaders of those five countries not to take the issue to the international press and point out, "He said a meeting would be without pre-conditions and now he is making demands." Yeah, that will make the US look real good to the world. If elected, in his first year, Barack could be portrayed as a hypocrite by the international press. Call it "Change you can snort at."


*"Fringe radical crowd" refers not to all leftists. It is not even based on beliefs -- many of their positions have large popularity. It refers to the incestuous nature of the small number not interested in change but instead focused on the circle-jerk which creates an inability to speak to others. We're not talking "debate" (real or faux), we're referring to their desire to have indoctrination and all speak as one. On Cuba, that's most noted in the US by the many Cuban-Americans on the left who are left out of the discussions of Cuba because they will not declare Fidel Castro is a saint and 100% pure. If you will not accept that talking point, you will be shut out by the fringe radical crowd. They're more interested in canonizing Fidel than they are in discussing Cuba. (And we neither canonize nor demonize Fidel Castro at this site.)
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