Sunday, October 12, 2008

Truest statement of the week

"But Dear Axelrod, I'm suggeting, nay, stating a damned fact -- that Obama's undergrad Poli Sci classes (at freakin' Columbia University, fer cryin' out loud) surely didn't skip the 1960's."

-- Delilah Boyd, "How Does A Political Science Major Not Know About The Weather Underground?" (A Scrivener's Lament).

Truest statement of the week II

But the relationship between Obama and Ayers went deeper, ran longer and was more political than Obama -- and his surrogates -- have revealed, documents and interviews show.

-- Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston, "Ayers and Obama crossed paths on boards, records show" (CNN).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Sunday, Sunday. First, illustrations will be added later tonight or tomorrow.

A long edition and we thank Dallas and everyone else who worked on 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.

We hoped to do a mailbag but there just was not time. The roundtable took three hours and that's not counting the typing of it. I'll try to answer some questions in here.

Here's what we came up with:

Truest statement of the week -- Delilah Boyd for pointing out what everyone pretends not to notice: No way in hell did a poli sci major at Columbia while Bernardine, Bill and Kathy are in the local papers non-stop never hear of Weather Underground or Bill Ayers. That would have been discussed in poli sci classes.

Truest statement of the week II -- CNN gets a truest because they earned it. While the bulk were insisting, "Nothing to see here, move along," CNN dug in and did actual journalism.

Editorial: Precious Time -- Cameron was among the many Pat Benatar fans e-mailing and he noted his opinion that we didn't quote Pat enough. We were done with everything except the editorial when Ty reminded us of that. We were in a panic but C.I. thought of "Precious Time" which fit with our topic. This was written by all but C.I. and I did an intense edit/revision on it. I say that not in bragging but some who helped write it may be surprised by a few elements added. (If they are, they can talk about it at their sites -- and I won't be upset so don't e-mail them asking, "Are you trying to make Jim mad?" -- and we can talk about it here next week. I don't anticipate any problems but I want to give them the out in case they need it.)

TV: Some moments should stay undercover -- You readers in love with Ava and C.I. just don't know. They are not sugar spice and everything nice as anyone can attest when they were nearly done writing this and I showed up to insist that they had to squeeze one more topic in. As Mike would say ":D". But they got it in and they did a wonderful job of it. They finally do their Chuck review and pair it up with Donna Brazile, Bill Moyers, Dr. Kathy, Amy Goodman, past debates, Saturday Night Live and last week's debate. This is a powerful piece and it is also funny. There would be even more laughs, Ava says right now, had I not shown up when they were nearly done asking them to squeeze in one more topic. Ava also notes that she and C.I. had to drop a documentary they intended to cover as a result.

Roundtable -- The long and winding roundtable. That leads us to . . . Who knows where? The Time goes. Can you tell I'm tired? (Actually, Jess shouted out "The time goes" as I said "Who knows where?" -- I read this as I type it up.) We're covering McCain a great deal in this and there are a number of reasons for that including that I've been hearing C.I.'s responses to various friends with Barack's campaign as to how McCain is blowing it, blowing it! And C.I. says, "No." We also had a huge number of e-mails after Oklahoma community members made their decision to endorse John McCain. That's their business. If you don't live there, you can be happy for them (as we all are) or you can go about your business. But it's their vote and their business and screaming at us about it won't make a damn bit of difference. What does? Not on this topic but Sarita e-mailed asking what we like to have for breakfast when we finish these editions. We'll eat anything. We got very lucky this time because we're having lasanga (meatless and with meat, there are two). C.I. was bored and fixed that up during some of this writing edition. It's in the oven and five minutes away from being done. Smells great. John wanted to know if we had any new favorite film to watch in the moments before we drop off after putting an edition to bed? No. And right now, there's a faction arguing for a Diane Keaton comedy and another faction arguing for Hitchcock. It'll be interesting to see who wins.

Rehabilitated -- Elaine and C.I. brought this short feature to the topic list. Kat knew about it and this is what she didn't want us addressing in the roundtable (she refers to how she's biting her tongue). This is a really good point. If you're going to give up your White benefits and want the world to believe you, why is it that when it's time to run from trouble, you immediately reclaim those White benefits?

The winner and top ten runner ups -- Music feature article. We did two articles on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame recently and received a huge number of e-mails. This is the list feature I mentioned last week and said time ran out but we'd get to it this week. You've got the person who received the most votes (that should be woman who received . . .) and you've got the ten women who were the runner ups.

Bombing of the Pentagon doesn't bother Barack? -- He was eight-years-old! What the hell does that mean? Hey, crazy Diane Rehm, what the hell does that mean because it's not accurate? Does it mean he only disapproves of the actions Weather carried out when he was 8? Figure it out for us, Rehm, and let us know.

Spectacular Dumb Ass Moments from Dumb Asses -- Iwana sent that interview into us last week and swore there was a "ton of stuff" we could use. There was. We had to go short feature due to time. We thank Iwana and would like to return to that interview at some point but can't promise it will happen. Carlton e-mailed that he wishes "the damn election were over already" and we agree with you Carlton. Dona notes that when it is, the nation will exhale, regardless of the outcome because it's as if everyone's holding their breaths. So that's three or four e-mails I worked into the note.

Highlights -- Kat, Mike, Wally, Cedric, Marcia, Rebecca, Betty, Ruth and Elaine wrote this and picked the highlights unless otherwise noted. We thank them for it. And by the way, I didn't get mentioned. I told Elaine that her "The Common Ills" was my favorite piece last week. I meant it. I read over this when Mike said they were done and asked, "Hey, where's the Jim loves this post?" Elaine, modest as always, didn't pass that on. I meant for it to be passed on. So I'll note here that I really loved that piece.

And that's it for this week. We're eating lasanga while we start watching a movie that we'll crash out before the credits roll. Have a great week.

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

Editorial: Precious Time

As Pat Benatar once sang, "Life is too short, so why waste, precious time?"

With the election less than a month away, have you made a decision?

Are you backing the duopoly candidates, did you miss the economic collision?

"How many more years, how many more decades, are we going to let these two parties hijack our system?"

How long are we going to be stuck in the same old prison?

People say they want a way out and they want candidates that stand for something.

But when such a candidate comes along, they seem too scared to stand with him or her.

Why is that?

How does 'change' coming from holding your nose? Seems like all holding your nose does is temporarily block out the scent of corruption.

Jason Kafoury finished a video for the Nader - Gonzalez campaign this weekend.

And this week, Ralph goes to Wall Street. Repeating "goes to," not "gives to." It was the US Congress that dug deep into your pockets and the pockets of your children and your grandchildren to give the crooks on Wall St. billions and billions of dollars.

Ralph Nader will be in NYC October 16th to protest Wall St. at noon in front of the Federal Hall, 26 Wall St. The day before (October 15th) he'll be speaking at Cooper Union in NYC.

Barack makes nice with his big monied pals, Ralph calls them out. They're not funding his campaign, they're not backing him. That's because he's not for sale.

And that's been true for 74 years. If he gets into the White House, you better believe he's not going to have an epiphany/come to Jesus moment where he suddenly discovers the 'glories' of corporations and begins insisting that they deserve 'personhood' status.

Ralph is on your side. He's fighting for you.

And smart people are the ones who are willing to fight for him.

This editorial isn't aimed at the ones who've already made up their minds to vote for someone other than Ralph and are happy with their decision. We're talking to the ones who are undecided or who are weak supporters of another candidate.

If you've got doubts, if your support is lukewarm, why is that?

It's probably because you know the candidate you're supporting isn't really speaking for you and won't be fighting for you.

Until you believe in your own value, don't expect anyone else to. Until you're willing to fight for yourself, you're just waiting around to be rescued.

"The more votes we get in our column, the more the two parties are going to say, hey, there's something on its way here. There’s something building."

And that would be a real movement. Not a fan club. In February, Bruce Marshall was sounding alarms about Barack's early give-away plan for Wall St. in "Barak Obama Fronts Wall Street's Infrastructure: Swindle - What Change Really Means" (Information Clearing House):

Since 9/11 America has certainly turned into a top-down police state, but true post-modern fascism requires a popular movement to usher it into power. Bush has created a dictatorship out of the Presidency, now the next step towards fascism is being marketed to exploit the desire for change. The depressed national mood, due to the war and economic recession/depression has compromised sane reasoning and courageous opposition needed now more than ever. This has created the conditions for a newcomer to magically appear with a message of hope, using the mantra 'Change', wrapped in a swooning fever that has infected the young and left liberal excuse machines, such as 'Move On' who were never serious about stopping Bush/ Cheney and the war.
Since he passed his audition at the Democratic convention in 2004, Senator Obama has been taken over by George Soros and other hedge fund millionaires to launch a campaign out of nowhere, based on nothing but rhetoric and Wall Street millions. As darling of the rich elitist Kennedy/Kerry/Dean wing of the Democratic Party, Obama's pseudo-Camelot will deliver Wall Street and the Anglo-American financiers the goods while disguised in a patina of racial teflon and faux populism from the upper crust. For substance ask, where is the bill in the Senate by Kennedy/Kerry/Obama calling for a freeze on all foreclosures? Where's their filibuster against the war? Where is a real minimum wage in the form of a living wage? Where is impeachment of Bush-Cheney? Why did Senator Obama move against raising heating oil assistance to the poor in the recent spending bill?

Yeah, Soros' blood money is all over Barack's campaign and goes a long, long way towards explaining why Panhandle Media walked in lockstep behind Barack. A man who preyed on the miseries of others to make a buck thinks Barack's just peachy keen. And you're not worried? If not check out Pam Martens' "Obama's Money Cartel: How Barack Obama Fronted for the Most Vicious Predators on Wall Street" (Black Agenda Report):

The first clue to an entrenched white male bastion seeking a black male occupant in the oval office (having placed only five blacks in the U.S. Senate in the last two centuries) appeared in February on a chart at the Center for Responsive Politics website. It was a list of the 20 top contributors to the Barack Obama campaign, and it looked like one of those comprehension tests where you match up things that go together and eliminate those that don't. Of the 20 top contributors, I eliminated six that didn't compute. I was now looking at a sight only slightly less frightening to democracy than a Diebold voting machine. It was a Wall Street cartel of financial firms, their registered lobbyists, and go-to law firms that have a death grip on our federal government.
Why is the "yes, we can" candidate in bed with this cartel? How can "we," the people, make change if Obama's money backers block our ability to be heard?
Seven of the Obama campaign's top 14 donors consisted of officers and employees of the same Wall Street firms charged time and again with looting the public and newly implicated in originating and/or bundling fraudulently made mortgages. These latest frauds have left thousands of children in some of our largest minority communities coming home from school to see eviction notices and foreclosure signs nailed to their front doors. Those scars will last a lifetime.
These seven Wall Street firms are (in order of money given): Goldman Sachs, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. There is also a large hedge fund, Citadel Investment Group, which is a major source of fee income to Wall Street. There are five large corporate law firms that are also registered lobbyists; and one is a corporate law firm that is no longer a registered lobbyist but does legal work for Wall Street. The cumulative total of these 14 contributors through February 1, 2008, was $2,872,128, and we're still in the primary season.
But hasn't Senator Obama repeatedly told us in ads and speeches and debates that he wasn't taking money from registered lobbyists? Hasn't the press given him a free pass on this statement?

Yes, they have! Just last week, Amy Goodman did it again when she was forced to report on the non-stop revelations about Barack's "small-donors" who went over the legal amount for donating and who used phony names and listed phony employers. Who were those people? Barack claims it's too hard to tell. They paid online with a credit card, they can be easily traced. But like Barack's state legislature papers, we apparently have to wait for the Christ-child to ascend the White House before we're entitled to even one clue about his paperless past. Thanks to the Amy Goodmans who (again) repeated the lie that his campaign is backed by oh, so many small donors.

Vote for who you believe in. If that's Barack or John McCain, so be it. If you're undecided or having doubts about your choice, look into the campaign Cynthia McKinney's running, explore the issues Ralph Nader stands for.

As Nader explained on NPR's Weekend Edition yesterday, "This is a rather strange role for someone running the third most prominent presidential race. Usually you represent dissenting, minority party opinions, but the situation has been so gridlocked for many years ... that we now represent majority opinion."

Your vote matters if you treat it like it does. If you're willing to sail it over to someone who's not standing for what you believe in when you do have alternatives, you're not treating your vote like it matters. No one's going to respect you until you respect yourself.

TV: Some moments should stay undercover

Last fall, NBC launched their network's best show. Chuck is a blend of comedy, action, romance and possibly even the Bush doctrine if Charlie Gibson would like to define that for us. In the world of Chuck, things are rarely as they seem and about the only thing you can count on is that you will be entertained for an hour (the first hour of prime time on NBC Mondays).


Would that all shows could make that claim. Two Fridays ago, Charlie Rose amused us with his tired gas baggery as he sat across the table from Big Momma's Mouth herself, Donna Brazile. Apparently having had a Brazilian wax done to her upper lip, Donna looked better than usual and it appeared she'd even had the hair done. A sure hint that Donna was in distraction mode. Either that or she was off to the Dinah Shore Golf Classic -- and isn't that months away?

Regardless, there was Donna shooting the s**t or, at least, spreading it.

Our favorite moment was probably when 'regular gal' Donna felt the need to inform Charlie that "I talk to White people, Latinos, everybody." Are your sides aching yet?

The same Donna Brazile who declared in May, "Well, Lou, I have worked on a lot of Democratic campaigns, and I respect Paul. But, Paul, you're looking at the old coalition. A new Democratic coalition is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don't have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics. We need to look at the Democratic Party, expand the party, expand the base and not throw out the baby with the bathwater."

The only response to Donna's claim to to "talk to White people, Latinos, everybody," is to ask, "And do they speak back to you?" Charlie, of course, avoided that obvious question. Then again, maybe Donna was referring to those angry e-mails she's become so infamous for with pithy little sentiments such as "Message to the Base: Stay home."

Donna got off a few truths, to her credit. She noted of Barack, "he's mixed race -- he's bi-racial." (She later referred to him as "half-Black".) She rejected the notion that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the election in 2000 noting, "Had Al Gore won Tennessee, we wouldn't be having this conversation." She noted the responsibility was Gore's ("Al Gore had to close the deal"), that he was polling low ("he was in the mid-40s") and, "Put Nader aside . . . I didn't fight hard enough." (Donna was the campaign manager of Gore's 2000 run.) But this being Donna Brazile, the hilarity always stands out more than anything else.

And we're were laughing so hard, at the end of the interview, when she gave her credits to Charlie, "I work four jobs, I love it. I write for Roll Call, I'm a syndicated columnist, I teach, I'm on CBS, CNN." Are you laughing too? If not think about what periodical has allowed Donna's tired ass to write for them? That's right, Donna's on PBS and can't even plug Ms. magazine. Doesn't it all seem so fitting? That's gratitude for you and it reminded us of how a DC hostess has christened Donna "The Ass With Sass." Were truer words ever spoken?

Certainly never from Big Momma's Mouth but Donna's always played like a double agent, whether hob-knobbing with Karl Rove or dropping in for a home visit with Dick Cheney's pregnant secretary. On NBC's Chuck, secret agents, double agents and even triple agents are not all that unusual. The title character is a secret agent himself. He works at a variant of Circuit City in the "Nerd Herd." But he's also a secret agent as a result of his friend Bryce e-mailing him a file that (it gets complicated) his college training under a CIA agent helped him prepare to absorb. What he absorbed is The Intersect -- a sort of super computer data base of government files on various international criminals, terrorists and spies. On the first episode this year, he and secret agent Sarah were having dinner when he "flashed" on someone's face and realized the man was a criminal and that they were, in fact, surrounded by criminals.

If everyone had "The Intersect" in their own heads, we'd assume they'd be onto Bill Moyers and Dr. Kathy. Friday found the two gas bagging yet again and doing damage to sensibilities and the English language with such wanton disregard that it really should have been seen as act of intellectually dishonesty.

Dr. Kath wanted to gas bag over an ad by US Senator John McCain that asserts US Senator Barack Obama " is attacking the troops for killing civilians."

Dr. Kath: Let me read to you what Senator Obama actually said in the real context. "We've got to get the job done there. And that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there." He was talking about military strategy. He was talking about a need to increase the number of troops to have a different kind of strategy. That wasn't an indictment of the troops. That was an indictment of the strategy. And this in a context in which the Defense Secretary, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, has apologized for civilian casualties. That's a consequential ad, if you believe that, you might draw a bad inference.

Actually, Dr. Kath, when he talks 'strategy' by stating, "We've got to get the job done there. And that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there," he is stating that the troops are killing civilians. Is he attacking them for that? That depends where you stand on the issue and, for Republicans, it is an "attack." Dr. Kath tries to bring in the "strategy." She's not doing that nor is Barack. The strategy as of today, according to Barack (and we agree with him on this), is resulting in air raids and the killing of civilians. We are aware that many Republicans see our opinion as an attack on US service members and we're certainly not attempting to do that. But we do understand why many Republicans would see it that way.

We will give Dr. Kathy credit for the following which showed common sense (and left Bill Moyers eager to move on to another topic):

I worry whenever someone stands up and treats the name Hussein as if somehow that's illegitimate, as if that constitutes an indictment. We've really failed when a name that many, many, many Americans have, a perfectly legitimate name, is somehow now automatically associated with terrorism. Why should it? Why does it? [. . .]It means there's something so wrong- [. . .] That, well, that's the other problem. I mean, look, every time someone says, "Senator Obama is not a Muslim." You know, how dare you say that he might be a Muslim? How do you hear that if you're a Muslim? We ought to be able to say Senator Obama is Christian without making being a Muslim something that is something we've tagged as being a negative identification.

We'll give her credit for that. It's all the credit she earned in the lengthy gas baggery. Doubt us? There was a debate last week. It was moderated by a male (Tom Brokaw) and Dr. Kathy was surprisingly less eager to dissect him than she (and Brooke) had been with Bill last week when ripping apart Gwen Ifill for not doing things that Gwen actually had done. On Barack in the debate, here's Dr. Kath:

There's a question that's asked in the debate this week, about Social Security and Medicare and the fact that what we essentially have are unfunded obligations. It's an important moment for the candidates to explain their differences and their similarities. Now, what doesn't Barack Obama tell us? Barack Obama doesn't tell us that he is proposing to raise the payroll tax on those making over $250,000. He won't do it for about ten more years.
It will be a two to four percent increase. But, nonetheless, he has a plan that will help. It won't solve but it will help to solve the shortfall in Social Security. Now, why doesn't he say it? He doesn't say it because before he came to this position, he considered the possibility of raising the payroll tax on everyone from $102,000, the current payroll tax limit, to $250,000 and all the way up.
[. . .]
He just put it as an option. He didn't say he supported it. But it sits in the record. He's afraid that if he says, "That's what I'm going to do," Senator McCain will come back and say, "Yes, but weren't you really considering the option — the other option? Is that really what you plan to do?" So the American people didn't learn that he actually took a position that would help us address a problem.

Dr. Kathy, we agree Barack Obama doesn't tell a whole lot. But when he does tell something, we (unlike you) point out that the press doesn't cover it. To listen to Dr. Kathy, one would assume she'd been combing through policies and discovered something never addressed in public by Barack. From the April debate broadcast on ABC:

OBAMA: What I have proposed is that we raise the cap on the payroll tax because millionaires and billionaires don't have to pay beyond $97,000 a year. That is where it is capped. Now, most firefighters, most teachers, you know, they're not making over $100,000 a year. In fact, only 6 percent of the population does.

And I've also said that I'd be willing to look at exempting people who are making slightly above that.

But understand the alternative is that, because we're going to have fewer workers to more retirees, if we don't do anything on Social Security, then those benefits will effectively be cut because we'll be running out of money.

GIBSON: But, Senator, but that's a tax. That's a tax...

OBAMA: Well, no, no, look...

GIBSON: ... on people under $250,000.

OBAMA: Let me finish my point here, Charlie. Senator Clinton said she certainly wouldn't do this, this was a bad idea. In Iowa, when she was outside of camera range, said to an individual there she'd certainly consider the idea and then that was recorded. And she apparently wasn't aware that it was being recorded.

So this is an option that I would strongly consider, because the alternatives, like raising the retirement age or cutting benefits or raising the payroll tax on everybody, including people who make less than $97,000 a year...

GIBSON: But there's a heck of a lot of...

OBAMA: ... those are not good policy options.

GIBSON: There's a heck of a lot of people between $97,000 and $200,000 and $250,000. If you raise the payroll taxes...

OBAMA: And that's...

GIBSON: ... that's going to raise taxes on them.

As Charlie Gibson pointed out, it was a tax increase. But we didn't get coverage of the responses in that debate (Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama), we got the Cult of Barack hissing how unfair the questions were for poor little Barack. We got FAIR issuing one of their increasingly laughable "action alerts" for cyber thugs everywhere to scream and hiss at ABC in e-mails because the moderators of the debate dared to question the Christ-child and because said child was unable to respond.

That proposed tax increase got ignored as FAIR's goons yacked on and about Charlie Gibson being interested in capital gains taxes. (That's the section that immediately precedes the excerpt above.) Following that debate, we did not see a working press, we saw the Cult of Barack on a mission to destroy.

Take David Corn who blogged twice at Mother Jones and was twice wrong. In the April debate, the issue of Bill Ayers was raised and Barack lied about his involvement (Dr. Kath, you got it wrong as well: It's "boards," not "board") with Ayers and quickly tried to distract from his friendship with Ayers by immediately suggesting then-President Bill Clinton had pardoned two members of the Weather Underground when no such thing had taken place. David Corn was far from alone in repeating the lie but he disgraced himself on the conference call where he kept insisting two Weather members had been pardoned and insisting those were the facts and they couldn't be argued with. Those weren't the facts but that passed for 'journalism' coverage of the debate in which Barack was forced, by Gibson, to admit he was planning to raise payroll taxes and not just on those making more than $250,000 a year.

We'll be kind and not dwell on Bill having to correct Dr. Kathy ("They've done that") and just note that Dr. Kathy declared, "I think the debate needs to clarify the fact that Senator Obama has no plans to increase taxes on those couples making less than $250,000. I think the debate has confused people about Senator McCain's health care plan." It's certainly confused Dr. Kathy. The issue was raised in April and it's those making less than $97,000 who would face payroll taxes. Know your facts before you attempt to peer behind them.

Chuck (Zachary Levi) knows he loves Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) but, unlike the audience, he's not sure where she stands with regards to her feelings for him. It resulted in some of last season's finest moments. Sarah had a connection to Chuck before she ever met him: his old college buddy Bryce was her boyfriend. In fact, last season ended with Chuck assuming Sarah had gone off with Bryce and this season started with no attempt to even acknowledge that cliff-hanger. That might be one reason the show's off to a slow ratings start. No "might"s about it, NBC refusal to air Chuck over the summer is a strong reason why the first episodes of the fall has to climb a mountain in order to regain last spring's following.

It was a really dumb move as was the sad-sack premiere two Mondays ago which found Chuck in a smelly funk the likes of which hasn't been seen since Buffy the Vampire Slayer left the WB and moved over to UPN. It was a downer of opening that left viewers confused from the first scene. It also appeared that Chuck had an idea Sarah really loved him which outraged viewers who (naturally) expected that such a realization would be televised for their enjoyment instead of taking place off screen.

See, NBC tried to sell the show last year as a racy action show. The commercials featured Chuck and Sarah and Sarah would be zipping around in the Nerd Herd mobile while she and Chuck were pursued by the baddies. But that really didn't make the show and, if it had been the selling point, you would have been left with, more-or-less, a rip off of the sad, sad V.I.P. What made the show and got the audience excited was Chuck and Sarah.

Because Chuck has The Intersect in his head, he must be protected. CIA agent Sarah has to pose as his girlfriend. Throughout last season, Chuck would have very difficult moments where he could not deal with their cover as a couple because he was honestly in love with Sarah -- this woman that he knew nothing about. That could have made Chuck come off pathetic (think Herb on WKRP in Cincinnati). But the audience knew that Sarah had feelings for Chuck as well. That's the dynamic that brought the show an eager audience.

Not only do they make a good couple, and play longing well, there's the root of the conflict which audiences can identify with: Neither thinks they're good enough for the other.

This year, that seems to be forgotten and the first episode found the idea being floated that Sarah's job -- once the protect Chuck mission was over -- would take her elsewhere and that was the source of the relationship problem. That really came from Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and he's floated it before last season but audiences can usually dismiss it. They couldn't in the opening because they were thrown. Instead of picking up with Chuck thinking Sarah had gone off with Bryce, it was rush-rush through a caper with no mention of the cliff-hanger. With no mention of Sarah having gone off with Bryce and a badly written date scene for Chuck and Sarah (that existed only to set up an action scene), the audience was only offered Casey's usual skewed view of reality and that's what they went with.

Skewed view of reality is all Amy Goodman offers these days. It's so bad many doubt even she believes it when she identifies herself as a journalist these days. Based on one report (in The Washington Post), Goody tried to tease out a story of Governor Sarah Palin speaking to a crowd that yelled "Kill him!" about Barack Obama. That didn't happen and your first clue is that only one outlet covering the speech mentioned it. Your second clue came when the Secret Service investigated the paper's allegation and found no evidence to support it. Goody, of course, issued no correction so her October 7th bit remains part of the public record:

On the campaign trail, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain square off tonight in a town-hall debate in Nashville, Tennessee. Republicans have intensified attacks on Obama as polls show McCain losing ground in key battleground states, including Ohio. On Monday, Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin continued to invoke Obama's connection to Bill Ayers, a former member of the militant 1960s antiwar group, the Weather Underground.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: "I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America: as the greatest source for good in this world. I am afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect
enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country."

Obama was eight years old when Ayers was a Weather Underground member. Today Ayers is a tenured professor and leading expert on education reform. Ayers and Obama have few ties beyond living in the same Chicago neighborhood and having once served together on the board of two nonprofits. Ayers also hosted an event for Obama when he first ran for the State Senate. As Palin spoke about Obama, an audience member yelled out "kill him." It's unclear if Palin heard the remark, but she did not respond.

What's unclear is how Democracy Now! remains on the air at this point. With Rush Limbaugh, Goody's equivalent, he'll remain on the air as long as advertisers are willing to buy spots on his show. Democracy Now! airs on public radio, on the tax payer dime, and the sort of crap she's tossed out this year should have had Pravda on the Hudson pulled from the airwaves.

We've dealt with the remarks that never took place and Goody's refusal to correct her LIE. Let's fact check the rest of her garbage in the headline above:

On Monday, Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin continued to invoke Obama's connection to Bill Ayers, a former member of the militant 1960s antiwar group, the Weather Underground.

Goody damn well knows Weather was not a "1960s" group. She interviewed Jennifer Dohrn when Deep Throat was revealed and Jennifer (sister of Bernardine Dohrn, leader of Weather and married to Bill Ayers) was talking very clearly about seventies incidents (and the clip shown of Jennifer speaking was from the seventies). Jennifer was spied on (and, in fact, Mark Felt had the FBI steal a pair of Jennifer's panties) after Weather went underground. Weather went underground in 1970. For Goody to declare Weather a "1960s" group is not an error, it is an outright lie. But she's become a serial liar which is why Friday's broadcast found her insisting, "On Thursday morning, the McCain campaign issued its first ad tying Obama to the 1960s militant Bill Ayers." Back to October 7th:

Obama was eight years old when Ayers was a Weather Underground member.

Again Goody is LYING and she damn well knows it. Bill Ayers was a member of Weather Underground throughout the seventies. He and Bernardine turned themselves into authorities as 1980 drew to a close and only after that year's election saw Ronald Reagan emerge victorious. They thought they'd have a better chance under Jimmy Carter's outgoing presidency than under Reagan (a good guess to anyone who knows Reagan's history as governor of California). Obama was not eight years old for 11 years. It's a cute little lie from an ugly liar.

Howard Zinn is among the many we've found useless this year. But Zinn made his name as someone rescuing history. An honest appraisal of what Goody's doing would be: Burying history. Do you agree with Weather's actions or not? That's a judgment call and we're certainly open to the debate. But when you declare a group that was bombing targets in the US at least as late as 1975 a "1960s" group, you're dishonest and harmful to history. Every time Goody tells that lie, she warps history a little more, postpones the debate needed on Weather and robs the left of its own history.

Like Goody, Major John Casey's an unsavory character. He is, however, a fictional character and Adam Baldwin brings the stick-up-his-ass NSA agent to life perfectly. His best scene remains last season's hopeful makeout that found him in his boxers and handcuffed to a bed. We couldn't imagine Casey simmering more if he and Chuck had to go undercover as a bondage couple and Chuck was the Dom leading Sub Casey around on a leash. Simmer and resentment are at the core of Casey and Baldwin's found new layers bringing those emotions out. Four readers have written in about the first two episodes this year saying that were especially disappointed with Casey's character (they were disappointed with the entire episodes). That's understandable because, while there was no time in the season debut to explore Chuck and Sarah's feelings for one another, Major John Casey wasn't just in touch with his own feelings, he was fondling them. It was not a pretty thing to watch.

Sarah and Casey get along only enough to work together. Their agencies are at odds and more so than Sarah even knows. Last season, we learned what Sarah didn't know, that the NSA Director wanted Casey to kill Chuck as soon as they had another Intersect up and running. That is Casey's standing order. When the season started this fall, the CIA and NSA thought they'd recovered The Intersect (before it blew up) and Casey was ordered to carry out his mission. He struggled with it to the point that it's doubtful he can do it. That's really a season finale cliff hanger and not a plot point you dismiss with in the opening of season two.

The tone is off this year and the only one benefitting is Ryan McPartlin who plays the significant other to Chuck's sister. McPartlin's been praised by us before. Here he was praised for his comic abilities as the co-star in Living With Fran and, in a piece Jim bumped for something we don't even remember, we praised him in our review of Pepper Dennis where he was the guest star for one episode portraying an in-the-closet football player. (The review ran in the gina & krista round-robin.) McPartlin truly is talented and if that's not coming across in Chuck it's only because his character, Devon, is a bit of an air head. And that's his charm. Don't try giving him an inner life, not only will it mess with the show, it will alter the relationship Chuck's sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) has with him. With one relationship already messed up for the viewers (patience, they're getting back on track with Sarah and Chuck), the audience can't really afford another loss at this point.

Mucking things up is all Saturday Night Live can do these days. Last night, it was already time for the show to go back to repeats. Yes, the show did just make its season debut August 28th and it's already resorting to repeats. NBC thought they could grab a Thursday night show and have a live show. Apparently, that will require giving the 'live' show mulitple weekend's off. This despite the claim that the whole point of the half-hour, prime time Thursday show is supposed to be that so much is going on the country -- no, the world! -- needs the Saturday Night Live point-of-view and it's blunt edge comedy to navigate the current political peaks and valleys.

If you caught Thursday night's debut, you know they aired a debate sketch that felt longer than the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates debate (which aired Tuesday). If a skit lasts nine minutes and feels like twenty, what do you know, they can work one Barack joke into it.

They did another joke on McCain and it felt so familiar. In the skit, McCain was getting people's names wrong when responding to their question, creating names for them. It reminded us of what Pravda on the Hudson's Amy Goodman elected to air of the debate. In Wednesday's "Faltering Economy Takes Center Stage in McCain-Obama Debate," she started with Oliver asking a question and McCain replying with a comment that included, "And that way, Americans can -- like Alan, can realize the American dream and stay in their home." McCain wasn't mixed up. He wasn't calling Oliver "Allen." Right before Oliver asked his question, Allen had asked, "With the economy on the downturn and retired and older citizens and workers losing their incomes, what's the fastest, most positive solution to bail these people out of the economic ruin?" McCain mentioned Allen because it was the same basic question (Oliver asked: "Well, Senators, through this economic crisis, most of the people that I know have had a difficult time. And through this bailout package, I was wondering what it is that's going to actually help those people out?") But Goody's 'report' made it appear McCain was calling Oliver "Allen." And that misrepresentation was turned into a repeated 'joke' on SNL every time McCain spoke.

It wasn't funny, nor was the debate. Tom Brokaw did a bad job moderating but we searched in vain for anyone to point out that the first two questions he took from the audience were the same questions (Allen and Oliver's questions). Many noted that Brokaw stuck the rules, which we don't blame him for but he did get a bit school marmish about it in the way he insisted this was what both candidates had agreed to. He avoided the issue of Bill Ayers in the questions he asked and in choosing the pre-selected questions from the audience. That's strange only if you're not aware that Brokaw and Ayers dated sisters from the same family long before The Days of Rage. That's how far back the two go. We noted last week that to avoid the issue of Ayers, there was no better choice for Barack than to have Brokaw moderate this debate. In fairness to Tom Brokaw, he did not attempt to amuse the audience. That said, he also refused to hold candidates to their agreed upon time limits.

Barack? Petulant comes to mind.

Brokaw: Sen. Obama, we have another question from the Internet.

Obama: Tom, can I respond to this briefly? Because...

Brokaw: Well, look, guys, the rules were established by the two campaigns, we worked very hard on this. This will address, I think, the next question.

Obama: The tax issue, because I think it's very important. Go ahead.

[. . .]

Obama: Well, why don't -- why don't -- let's talk about this, Tom, because there was just a lot of stuff out there.

Brokaw: Privilege, right or responsibility. Let's start with that.

[. . .]

Obama: Tom, just a...

Brokaw: Sen. McCain...

Obama: ... just a quick follow-up on this. I think...

McCain: If we're going to have follow-ups, then I will want follow-ups, as well.

Brokaw: No, I know. So but I think we get at it...

McCain: It'd be fine with me. It'd be fine with me.

Brokaw: ... if I can, with this question.

Obama: Then let's have one.

Brokaw: All right, let's have a follow-up.

McCain: It'd be fine with me.

Obama: Just -- just -- just a quick follow-up, because I think -- I think this is important.

Brokaw: I'm just the hired help here, so, I mean...

Obama: You're doing a great job, Tom.

What a big, whiney baby. Over and over throughout the debate, Barack insisted upon having a follow up after both campaigns had agreed not to have one. He can't even stick to the rules he agrees to. Petulant. Does not play well with others.

Who won the debate? A number of gas bags have said, "Oh, well, Barack, of course." A few have added, "McCain didn't deliver a knock out blow, so Barack won."

What world do those idiots live in?

Democrats fall into this trap every time. When Democratic candidates show up for a presidential debate (or vice-presidential), they look at the debate as something apart from the campaign itself. They see it as something they just have to win and then are surprised by what follows. Republican candidates view it differently. The debate is not a separate or significant event. It is part of a week's actions.

John McCain's goal was to show America there were no horns. That was important because of the fact that Team Obama (and all it's allegedly non-partisan counterparts) have attempted to paint John McCain as George W. Bush the II. It became even more important with the McCain-Palin decision four days prior to go after Barack's friendship with Bill Ayers.

Dems always focus too much on the debate in isolation. They think that what matters is the points they score during the debate and don't grasp that the debate has to benefit your campaign as part of it. Bully Boy or John Kerry? Honestly, who won those debates on the stage? John Kerry. Even the last of the true believers probably has to admit that today. John Kerry was smarter, he was well spoken, he had a grasp of even the smallest details. But it didn't mean s**t.

Democrats never get that. Bully Boy is a complete fool and looked it in every debate with John Kerry. It didn't matter. The debate 'win' is not scored by the GOP on the basis of points racked up. They use the debates (and they've been doing this since at least 1980) to counter-balnace potential problems emerging from the road. So if McCain is calling out Barack's friendship with Ayers on the road, it's really important that the audience see another side of him onstage in the debate. (In this regard, Bully Boy proved more capable than Poppy Bush who refused to listen and was described as "anal" by those attempting to coach him. Either because Bully Boy's never mistaken himself for smart or because he doesn't know what smart is, he was more than happy to turn the debate into an aw-shucks, he-he-folks series of moments.)

Arrogance on the part of the Democrats repeatedly trips them up each debate cycle. They're convinced that if they come off as smarter, they win people over. They never grasp (especially true of the 'voices' offering advice in columns) people watching aren't watching for the same reaons or that a large number of people look back on the class show-off with distaste. They could spend all night correcting a Republican opponent and the reality is that they don't win over the non-supporters with that approach.

Barack came off as his usual haughty self and someone really needs to speak to him about head angles especially. He has one more debate where he can look like someone people could identify. Team Obama, that's your tip: Work on his head angles.

Barack lost because of those head angles and because he kept harping on a point that McCain finally allowed (looking generous to many in the audience). There was Barack, coming off like a child, insisting, "I want! I want! I want!" (A follow-up.) Brokaw repeatedly noted that the candidates agreed to the rules ahead of time. To many, Barack couldn't stick to the rules he agreed to. He lost.

McCain scored there by letting Barack whine repeatedly and then looking like the adult attempting to make the little tyke feel better. But the larger point McCain had to make, and why he won, was he had to convince the American people that he had no horns. He was not Satan walking across the stage. A number of commentators whined that McCain was too low-key.

That's a valid criticism if you're a strong Democrat. But the electorate includes many more factions and, no, they don't see it the way you do. One of the greatest gifts of the 2008 election cycle was in our not feeling the need to support either a Democratic or Republican presidential ticket. It allowed us to step back and watch from a distance.

A key 'point' moment went to McCain when Barack couldn't answer about the mandates in his non-universal health care plan. McCain noted, "But they certainly are a little nervous when Sen. Obama says, if you don't get the health care policy that I think you should have, then you're going to get fined. And, by the way, Sen. Obama has never mentioned how much that fine might be. Perhaps we might find that out tonight." Barack ran off at the mouth (he's still not learned how to give concise remarks) and, at the end of it, McCain could rightly ask, " I don't believe that -- did we hear the size of the fine?" If you're just scoring on points (and leaving out the self-presentation, which is what the Republicans focus on), Barack was appalling in that moment.

John McCain floated that fines will exist under Barack's non-universal health care. (It covers children and it's mandated.) Barack didn't answer that in his response and McCain pointed that out after the response.

In the February debate with Hillary Clinton, Barack was spinning madly on health care (his program covered fewer people than Hillray's would have) and blathering on with comments like this, "And the mailing that we put out accurately indicates that the main difference between Senator Clinton's plan and mine is the fact that she would force in some fashion individuals to purchase health care. [. . .] Now, Senator Clinton has not indicated how she would enforce this mandate." Hillary rightly responded, "Senator Obama has a mandate in his plan. It's a mandate on parents to provide health insurance for their children." And what did Barack then do? He raised the issue of fines. For the issue of fines as a result of mandating that people have health insurance (not providing them with it, mandating that they have it) to come up in a debate eight months after that matchup with Hillary and Barack still not be able to address it is appalling.

By not addressing it, the take-away is that there will be a fine. (And, if it's mandated, as Hillary pointed out of both her and Barack's plan, there will be a fine.) Egg heads in the Cult of Barack probably thought he switched the topic as he blathered on and ignored the issue of fines. They're not thinking like the voter who's struggling to make ends meet and, as soon as she or he heard "fine," immediately started thinking how much the fine was for driving without car insurance (liability) and waiting to hear Barack answer if the fine would be that high or higher.

So if you want to score on points, that's where Barack lost. (His only good moment was when he referenced McCain's "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb" Iran remark. Shorter statements like that which call up things the audience already knows would allow Barack to honestly win the final debate -- provided someone works on the head angles with him.)

McCain won the debate. His goal was to present himself as some likeable and warm and he did that. We didn't buy it. But that was the self-presentation that Republicans focus on in each presidential debate. They know the average viewer, having carved out 90 minutes for these farces, does not also have time to track down every alleged fact mentioned for accuracy or inaccuracy. They grasp that it is the self-presentation that wins or loses the debate.

Don't throw out your groups that agreed to go on camera or your insta-web polls. Republicans win the debates because they focus on self-presentation and they grasp that as the other side focuses on points and recounts them over and over in the days after, a lot of people think, "Well I watched the debate and those people are being a little harsh." Governor Sarah Palin basically gave the blue print in her debate when she spoke of going "over" the heads of the media. Republicans do not get up on stage and focus on their opponent. They get up on stage and focus on presenting themselves to the American public.

That's why McCain-Palin currently has an effective strategy. It's what's allowed them to keep up in a year that people have been saying (since 2007) has to be, just has to be, the year a Democrat (any Democrat) carries the White House.

And the failure to grasp who Republicans pitch to and how is why Democrats so often lose. It's not about 'framing' or some other piece of garbage hula hoop. Regardless of this year's presidential election outcome, Democrats would be smart to start learning how the other side plays.

Someone will no doubt bore Ty (who reads most of the e-mails) with a claim that Barack is ahead in the polls. Don't bother boring Ty (and we're not going to read it ourselves). That's nonsense.

Karen Tumulty didn't do her Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte imitation on this week's Washington Week. Instead she offered up her Katharine Hepburn in The Madwoman of Chaillot as she declared Barack was winning in the polls "outside the margin of error -- or pretty close to it!" For the statistical idiots who insist upon gas bagging and pretending their experts on polling, "pretty close to it" is meaningless. That's the first point.

The second, as anyone who's ever had to devise a scientific (if you will allow the social sciences as a form of science) poll knows, there's such a thing as a loaded question and you're not going to get an accurate response to a loaded question. If you ask a question that presents an answer which is socially unacceptable (or thought to be), you're not going to get a lot of honest responses.

In fairness to the pollsters this go round, the loaded question they're asking is a loaded one not because of them. Matthew Rothschild, Bob Herbert and a lot of other idiots (include KPFK's Margret Prescod who was shameless last week) have created an environment where a basic question asked in every election poll is now a loaded one. They did that by repeatedly insisting that racists won't vote for Barack and by arguing repeatedly that those not voting for Barack were racists. We pointed out how damaging that was to the polls when the Democratic Party primary was ongoing. And if you check those polls against the actual results in many of the states Hillary won, you'll see less votes for Barack than the polling predicted.

Polling is not an exact science and the only poll that matters is the election vote. Polling works as an indicator (when it works) and not for who's going to win the election but for where campaigns should and should not invest time.

But it does not work when an egg head class has repeatedly told the American people that those who will not vote for Barack are racists. We've tried to figure out why idiots push that nonsense? Maybe they think it will intimidate on election day? Most likely, it won't. Most likely, people will say, "I voted for Barack" and won't vote for him. How many? No one knows. But when so many idiots have pushed to make a vote for anyone other than Barack a vote for racism, you can't expect to get honest answers in the polling.

Someone should have called them out on it a long time ago. We're told (by friends with the Barack campaign) that they're aware of the problem and it's created a huge issue for the campaign. They're trying to figure out what's the magic number to lead by. They have no clue -- not because they're idiots but because Idiot Rothschild, Idiot Herbert and so many others have made it impossible to get an honest answer from the most basic polling question of whom are you going to vote for?

Smart observers have already grasped that even exit polls on election day will now be in question due to idiots turning "who are you going to vote for?" into a loaded question. If Barack loses (we have no idea who will win), some of the harsh words should be aimed at the people who repeatedly attempted to make it vote-for-Barack-or-be-a-racist. It was stupid. And it never should be allowed to happen again. If Barack loses (and he may win, we're not saying he's going to lose), a large part of the blame will have to go to those who so poisoned the well that his campaign was denied accurate polling numbers. (That's not arguing that the problems in the primaries don't matter. In this, we're speaking of the general election phase and how the polling is damaged -- a fact that became very clear as the primary process wrapped up.)

Some people never give honest answers when polled. That's a given. It's a small number. Equally true is the die-hard Republicans aren't going to worry that their supporting their candidate means someone screams "Racism!" But by refusing to run from the left, Barack has made this election about swing-voters and independents. That's the area that's most effected by this vote-Barack-or-you're-a-racist nonsense. (Most Hillary supporters heard that false charge so many times that they no longer give a damn.) And if you look at polls on the election that go beyond just who you will vote for, you can already see disturbing trends for Barack with independent voters. With independents, for example, last week's polling found off the chart sympathy for Palin. It was a much larger number of independents than regularly say they will vote for McCain-Palin. Are they just more sensitive to the sexism aimed at Palin?

Could be. But we don't know because the polling is flawed more so than in any other election. The Obama campaign made a big ad buy in a state they're not going to win. We asked friends with the campaign about that. (The state has not gone Democratic in a presidential election since 1976 and Barack lost that state's primary to Hillary. Large regions of the state will not go to Barack.) They don't believe they have a fighting chance but the polls say otherwise and no one wants to be wrong. While Barack has his own personal money tree, the fact of the matter is that money should have gone into a swing state and everyone knows what the swing states are. They are the same ones from 2004 and 2000 more or less. Instead, because of the polling, they're spending a large amount of money in a losing state. (Much larger than the press is aware of. They've also gone the syndication route and tried appealing to demographics that didn't pan out in the primary when they advertised late nights and in the afternoon in the same state.)

Saying he can't win that state is a prediction. But it's based on pattern and it's based on looking at the state's big race this year (the US Senate) where an incumbent very much tied to the White House is leading outside the margin of the error (and that was before last week's debate which a friend with one of the state's PBS stations told us was a disaster for the Democrat who was tag teamed by the Republican and the Libertarian candidate). That state is not rejecting the candidate so closely tied to the White House. That state is not embracing the 'change' Senate candidate. And if you compare the 2002 polls when the same Republican won his Senate seat, you see that a huge western section of the state, left out in the polling due to a number of issues, turned out for that candidate. The same section is being left out again in the polling and he probably has that as sewn up as he did in 2002.

But Barack's got to spend money in that state and we actually feel sorry for him on that issue. Despite the gas bags self-love, polls are not an instrument/resource to say "My candidate's winning!" but a tool to clue a campaign in on where it needs to focus the attention. Obama-Biden is flying blind and, if they lose, post-analysis better include the gas bags who created a climate in which who-are-you-going-to-vote-for became a loaded question.

Guns are loaded on Chuck a great deal. They rarely go off. It's a point so important we should probably repeat it but we're too lazy. Lazy is how the first two episodes have played out this year. The first was a complete waste with a lot of plans by Chuck for a new direction which, by show's end, were all called off. The second grabbed an eighties TV name for a showy role that no one gave a damn about. It was practically Chuck visits the set of The John Laraquette Show. That is a big concern for this season which has already lined up a number of name and 'name' guest stars. If it works, it will be like Must See TV's Will & Grace. If it fails, it will have the stench that attached itself to Friends in the immediate aftermath of the bad Billy Crystal - Robin Williams guest spot. A good guest appearences works with what the show (whatever the show is) has to offer. A bad guest appearences derails the show and has nothing to do with the regular characters or plots.

The lack of bang-bang, shoot 'em up moments on Chuck last season didn't harm the show because it is a character driven show (with a wonderful supporting cast that we haven't really mentioned). The bad news is the first two episodes aired in the first place. The good news is Monday's show gets back to basics. If you've never watched the show before, we've covered enough to catch you up. If you're a fan of the show from last year, this episode will feel like the season two debut you've been waiting for.


Jim: We've got a number of topics from e-mails and great deal have to do with the John McCain and Sarah Palin campaign. We'll try to get to as many topics as possible in this roundtable. This is a rush transcript and participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and me, 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. Illustration is by Betty's oldest son. Ty?


Ty: Morey Ford e-mails that "the McCain campaign is toast. Sarah's scandal did it in."

Rebecca: No. That is wishful thinking on the part of a left that's not been known this year for their thought process. I know public relations scandals -- I worked in public relations -- and this isn't one.

Betty: You're talking about a brother-in-law who tasered his own son. Clearly he's got some abuse issues.

Rebecca: Just zoom in on Betty's phrase: "brother-in-law." That's why it doesn't matter. It's a family matter and all it does is raise Governor Palin's profile for a significant number of people. He is alleged to have been highly abusive and alleged to have had work problems. The report, for any who didn't bother to read it, offered no defense of him. So what you're left with is someone who does not appear fit for the job and Palin sticking up for her family. The man she did fire she was in her right to do so. That's the other reason the spinning of the report's failing. It's kind of hard for the losers of The Nation magazine, for example, to open with that aspect. The report says there's nothing here. Palin's not being punished and will not be for her actions. The man she fired, she was within her rights to fire him. It's a non-story. If it were Barack Obama, it would still be a non-story. And for those Barack cultists who can't get what went down, imagine it was Barack. You'll see it's a non-story.

Wally: But they shouldn't back off from it. In fact, they should stay on it because it's not registering and it will just waste their time to continue harping on it. So keep the focus on the fact that Governor Palin is big on family.

Betty: Exactly. So much of the 'voices' of the 'left' are a bunch that sneer at family, sneer at religion, sneer at things that many Americans value. And when they keep piling on Sarah Palin with this nonsense, it just reminds America what a bunch of out-of-touch egg heads have taken to speaking for the left.

Jim: Okay, the next one's going to C.I. and it's one of the main reasons we're doing the roundtable. When I read Dan's e-mail, I knew it had to be included. Dan writes that, "McCain has gone negative and it is going to hurt him because people care about issues." C.I.?

C.I.: What issues? The economic crisis? Neither McCain or Obama can brag about their Senate vote on that. For those who can't grasp that -- and that's they can't brag on it to the right or left because the bail-out has something to oppose by everyone -- we're talking about a complex issue that sails over a lot of heads. The economy can't be addressed, or hasn't so far, by Barack. He offers sloganeering -- what he's resorted to all along. As for John McCain having 'gone negative,' sounds like Dan has his talking points down too bad that he, like those repeating it, don't know the first thing about political campaigns. Shall I continue?

Jim: Yes. This was one of your poli sci fields.

C.I.: Correct. Negative doesn't hurt. That's a lie. It's based on the fact that a lot of people will not admit that they like it when a campaign goes negative. But the studies show that 'going negative' does move the voters. Let's drop back to 2000 where we always hear about the press and how they attacked Al Gore. That criticism, offered by a lot of idiots, acts as though it happened in isolation, as if the only players on the stage were Al Gore and the press. The press went after Gore, no question, but don't forget that so did the Republican campaign. Karen Hughes and Karl Rover were going negative constantly and so was their candidate. If going negative 'hurt' then it wouldn't have been a close race and Al Gore would have won overwhelmingly and Florida would have been a non-issue.

Jim: Could you talk about it from the McCain point of view?

C.I.: Sure. Barack's run on his biography -- real or imagined. Which is why any criticims is met with such whining from his camp. He has no record to run on, he only has his biography. Hillary could have done what McCain's doing right now during the Democratic Party primary and finished him off. What the McCain-Palin team is doing is questioning the biography. It is successful. It chips away at the image. They're not raising an issue for one day, they're raising it repeatedly. That forces the press to cover it. Two Saturdays ago, The New York Times actually launched this with Scott Shane's article. Governor Palin referenced it on Saturday and the campaign has pursued the issue of Bill Ayers ever since. The paper, two Saturdays ago, was insisting that there wasn't anything there. That's not correct and it doesn't reflect the public record but let's pretend that the paper was correct for just a moment. Two Saturdays it said this was a dead issue. And then what happened? Just focus on that paper for a moment. They've had to repeatedly cover it, columnists -- such as Gail Collins -- have devoted entire columns to the Ayers issue. So if you want to pretend that there's nothing there, you have to admit that McCain-Palin campaign's move is a smart one. They can dump it for a day and it will stay in the news cycle. It wouldn't be smart to dump it for too long. First of all, if they dump it for a day or two, when they return it, the topic's back in the news cycle. It's raising issues and concerns in the same way that his relationship with Jeremiah Wright did. Even though, if you'll remember, the press kept insisting that was a non-issue -- despite polls that said differently.

Jim: In a snapshot last week you noted that you weren't 'even in the mood to write about' that -- paraphrase. And I want to deal with that but what is the McCain campaign doing? Explain it to Dan.

C.I.: Barack's run on his biography. That was the primary campaign, that was the DNC convention with all of its testimonials and that is today. What the McCain campaign is doing is raising the issues around his biography. That's why it upsets the Obama campaign. The reality is that most people don't know about Barack. They know he's supposed to be 'awesome' and a large number -- for good reasons and bad reasons -- do not trust the media. So when McCain or Palin or the campaign raises issues it plays to a number of issues. They're not going to pull Barack's core away from him. That support doesn't give a damn. But there are outer layers that this does work on as well as undecided and independent voters. There has been no poll where the majority of Americans have ever stated -- true in the primary and true in the general -- that the press was being too tough on Barack. By contrast, there were many polls -- in the primary and in the general -- where people expressed the view that they media was being hard on one of Barack's opponents -- whether that was Hillary or John McCain or Sarah Palin. Those polls go to the fact that the public sees the media as bending over backwards for Barack --

Dona: Which they have.

C.I.: Agreed, but I'm focusing on perceptions, or trying to. So when you've got such a large pool of the American public that repeatedly finds that the press leans towards Barack, when an opponent raises issues, it does resonate. The McCain-Palin's campaign is raising issues to a public, that in poll after poll has stated the media leans to Barack, and there is an audience for that. It's a smart move on the campaign's part. Every day that Barack and Bill Ayers are mentioned, it forces a number of people to ask how well they know about Barack and it feeds into the perception that he's gotten a free ride throughout his campaigns. That's the perception and that's what the McCain-Palin campaign plays to. It's a smart move and they should continue to hit on it.

Jess: The Keating scandal?

C.I.: No one cares. McCain's run for president before, in 2000, and the public knows him. It's years ago and was public at the time. The feeling is, "Yeah, we know that already." That is not the case with Barack. And the press coverage has been so lousy that it demonstrates that. Every time the press wrongly refers to Bill Ayers as "60s radical" or offers the lame lie that "Barack was just eight-years-old," it goes to the fact that Barack is not vetted. Barack obviously wasn't eight-years-old in 1975. And that's why it's registering. Bad press coverage helps McCain and so do the editorials and columns calling him out. The public does not trust the press and -- remember those polls where it was never expressed that the press was being tough with Barack -- when the press defends Barack it only helps McCain.

Jim: Okay now let's get to not wanting to write about last week.

C.I.: I'll toss to Elaine.

Elaine: Okay. Well C.I. and I know Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. We're really tired of writing about them but the press doesn't do their job and we have to call it out. With C.I. especially, there's an issue of fairness so C.I. doesn't have the option I do of finding something else to write about. If a charge is made, because C.I. likes Bill and Bernardine, C.I.'s going to cover it so that there's no perception that punches are being pulled or C.I.'s playing favorites.

Jim: This is for either of you -- none of the rest of us know Ayers or Dohrn -- but, like the Obama campaign -- Dan says none of this matters. Meaning Barack's connectiong to Ayers. How would you reply to that?

Elaine: I'm going back to what C.I.'s said for two years now: Barack needs to get honest. His refusal to do so makes this matter and that's why the McCain-Palin campaign argues it goes to honesty. Barack's never been honest. Could someone run for the president who was friends with Bill and Bernardine? I think they could. But they'd have to be honest about it. They could make a case for both of them. But Barack's not done that. Every time the issue is raised, he or his campaign has offered a different excuse. That's what McCain and Palin are pointing to.

Cedric: Well we've had the lie that their kids went to school together, we've had the lie that he's just a guy in Barack's neighborhood. We've had the lie that they worked on one board together. It's been non-stop lies. So it is a good point to raise.

Ruth: Well the campaign forcing the issue has forced the press to cover it. I think a few have actually attempted to do so with more than Obama campaign talking points. I would include Jake Tapper of ABC News in that. And Drew Griffin and Kathleen Jonston (CNN) reported last week on how "the relationship between Obama and Ayers went deeper, ran longer and was more political than Obama -- and his surrogates -- have revealed, documents and interviews show."

Betty: And think about how many times the McCain-Palin campaign had to raise the issue for that to happen? They had to raise it repeatedly, over and over. If they had followed Hillary's lead and dropped it, none of that reporting would have happened. I think they should stay on it and enlarge it and I agree that it's a winning strategy. Every day that Bill Ayers is in the news, more people are exposed to it and more people begin asking questions. The press is in the tank for Barack. The McCain campaign has to know that. They shouldn't try to play to the press by dropping the issue the press doesn't want to pursue because the press has made their choice.

Cedric: Which goes back to the point that C.I. was raising where, all year, polls have consistently found that the people saw whomever Barack's opponent was the time was getting the raw deal. It's really Governor Palin's point that she's going over the heads of the media and speaking directly to the people because that point plays well.

Jim: Okay, good point. So the argument C.I., Elaine, Betty and Cedric are making are established. We're going to turn to the ads McCain-Palin '08 is running. We're starting with the advertisement "Ayers. We're not posting the video because we've had complaints about pages loading here. But you can click here for video, here for text and announcement with the documentation the campaign provides. Here is the text of the narration that viewers here:

ANNCR: Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Friends. They've worked together for years.
But Obama tries to hide it. Why?
Obama launched his political career in Ayers' living room.
Ayers and Obama ran a radical "education" foundation, together.
They wrote the foundation's by-laws, together.
Obama was the foundation's first chairman.
Reports say they, "distributed more than $100 million to ideological allies with no discernible improvement in education."
When their relationship became an issue, Obama just responded, "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood."
That's it?
We know Bill Ayers ran the "violent left wing activist group" called Weather Underground.
We know Ayers' wife was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.
We know they bombed the Capitol. The Pentagon. A judge's home.
We know Ayers said, "I don't regret setting bombs. .... I feel we didn't do enough."
But Obama's friendship with terrorist Ayers isn't the issue.
The issue is Barack Obama's judgment and candor.
When Obama just says, "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood."
Americans say, "Where's the truth, Barack?"
Barack Obama. Too risky for America.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.

Jim (Con't): Comments?

Mike: Well it really goes to what's being raised and you can also toss in the Cult's response which only makes the Cult look ridiculous. But the issue is Barack's lied to the American people. He stood up in a debate and lied. It goes to the issue of truth and the commercial underscores that.

Jim: I have a question specifically for Marcia and she may be waiting for that but anyone can jump in on this.

Marcia: I think it's an effective ad. The narration, for those who hear it, is very effective. It's done by a woman. As is the other ad that I think we're going to discuss. I think it's very effective. As Mike points out, Barack's lied and the commercial conveys that.

Cedric: Exactly. And remember what McCain said to Charlie Gibson last week on ABC's World News Tonight: "And I don't care about two washed-up old terrorists that are unrepentant about trying to destroy America. But I do care, and Americans should care, about his relationship with him and whether he's being truthful and candid about it." That really is the point and it's not surprising to any of us because C.I.'s said, for two years now, that Barack Obama needs to get honest. No trap has been sprung on Barack, he created it himself as a result of his refusal to get honest.

Jim: Okay, let's move to the second ad and Kat's not spoken. The second ad is entitled "Ambition" click here to read more about it in terms of the citations and click here for the video. This is the transcript:

ANNCR: Obama's blind ambition.
When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers.
When discovered, he lied.
Obama. Blind ambition. Bad judgment.
Congressional liberals fought for risky sub-prime loans.
Congressional liberals fought against more regulation.
Then, the housing market collapsed costing you billions.
In crisis, we need leadership, not bad judgment.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.

Kat: Let me start. I won't talk much in this because I know Elaine and C.I. have a topic for a feature here and it needs to be written. It goes to this issue. To avoid raising that, I'm biting my tongue in this roundtable. "Bad judgment," "blind ambition." It goes to the persona Barack's created. Rebecca and I were talking about and about how, outside of a sex scandal, a celebrity is always done in by his or her persona. The Barack persona always had an undercurrent, a soft underbelly, and that's what's being addressed in this ad.

Ruth: I agree with Kat. The Cult of Barack has controlled the press coverage and it has always been, "Oh, look at all the Germans turning out for Barack!" But to many people, including Jews like myself, a mega rally in Germany is not all that reassuring. I think it raises the issue of judgments in such a way that it not only questions Barack Obama's but may force some undecideds to question the judgment the press has passed on Barack Obama.

Wally: Okay, we've got the news on at C.I.'s and C.I. just slipped me a piece of paper with a quote from McCain speaking in Davenport today. McCain says, to loud cheers, "I don't need lessons about telling the truth to the American people." That is the point that's being raised about Barack in the ads and in all the remarks since two Saturdays ago. What it's saying is, "I'm John McCain. You know me." Cedric and I were talking Thursday or Wednesday about the ads and how they are tapping into buyer's remorse.

Cedric: Exactly. And the Cult doesn't help here because they never know when to pipe down. McCain's raising character issues such as judgment and trust and honesty and the Cult is already a turn-off to America so when they go into overdrive, it really helps establish this buyer's remorse feeling that is lurking already.

Ty: An e-mail from a non-reader named Phyllis came in on that ad in particular and insisted it was "a low blow and this is totally not relevant to the issues of electing a president."

Jess: Bulls**t. Barack made it an issue. His personality includes his supposed 'superior judgment.' He's caught lying and he continues to lie. That is an issue about whether or not someone's fit to sit in the Oval Office. He's obviously felt he has to hide his relationship with Bill Ayers and the fact that he felt he had to hide it goes to the fact that he feels there's something potentially embarrassing about it. Less than a month before the election, he's still not able to deal with it.

Ty: Phyllis also wrote that "Barack has repeatedly addressed the topic."

Ava: Never honestly. That's why C.I. and I have to tackle it in TV commentaries here. Repeatedly. Ruth mentioned Jake Tapper earlier, so let me note this by him: "In February, I asked Obama about four items Republicans would use to attack him on the theme of patriotism. Obama answered three of them, but skipped the one about Ayers." That has been the pattern. If asked, Barack avoids it. If he can't avoid it, he lies. And as C.I. pointed out last week, in the debate that had the Cult calling for the head of ABC News, George Stephanopoulos actually got the basics right in a way that the press repeatedly plays dumb on today, "A gentleman named William Ayers. He was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He's never apologized for that." The 1970s. That's the reality.

Ruth: And what Ava's saying and Jess and Cedric can all be woven together to explain why it is an issue. In fact, I think Govenor Palin took it to the next step last week, to where people will take it, when she stated, "And since he got called out on his plans to meet unconditionally with terror state leaders like [Iran's President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, will he now claim he was unaware of his radical backround? Ladies and gentlemen, this election is about the truthfulness and judgment needed in our next president. John McCain has it and Barack Obama doesn't."

Jim: Some Cultists took to the press last week to insist that raising the issue of Ayers was "racism."

Kat: I'm jumping in here. This is a topic we can explore but I would argue to set Ayers aside on this because I know what Elaine and C.I. are going to propose for a feature. Dona, it's a short feature.

Dona: Then by all means, Jim, move on to a different topic or aspect. I'm laughing, but I'm dead serious.

Jim: Okay -- and she is serious. Staying on the topic of racism, we had the nonsense that anyone mentioning Barack's middle name was racist. In "Iraq snapshot," C.I. took that nonsense on, and in "it is his middle name," Rebecca did last week. Comments?

Betty: First it needs to be noted that Michelle Obama, months ago, told the press that mentioning Barack's middle name was "racism." It's not and it's one more sign of how quick to lie Michelle Obama is and has been.

Rebecca: Can I jump in?

Betty: Sure.

Rebecca: I've got a side issue with Michelle Obama. I find it interesting that no one ever writes about their joint 'rise.' How many employers are in Chicago? It's apparently a very small pool. Barack ends up at the University of Chicago and so does Michelle? And when one of them doesn't end up in the same place, the other's helping them out -- such as Barack's handing out of grants.

Betty: That's a good point and I think their 'rise' should be examined in something more than the nonsense Gwen Ifill offered in Essence. But Michelle raised the issue of 'racism' with regards to Barack's middle name. He's named after his wayward father and if he has a problem with that, not only should he have changed his name, he shouldn't have written his first book. It's your name, get over it. A grown man who could legally change his name and is a lawyer has no excuse for whining when his middle name it mentioned and, no, it's not racism, it's your middle name. Grow up. If someone saying your middle name is just too upsetting for you, you're not mature enough to be president.

Jim: Okay, unless someone has something to add to that, we'll move on to another e-mail that came in. Marcia's "Thoughts on McCain-Palin" went up Thursday night and resulted in a blistering e-mail Friday morning from someone who didn't sign his or her name. Marcia, you've always been supporting John McCain. Or that's what the e-mail insists.

Marcia: That is such nonsense and, for the record, everyone who posts during the week and is participating in this roundtable wrote something similar last week. Let me quote from C.I.'s Friday "Iraq snapshot," "Mike did a press roundup on Barack's Ayers stories last night, Kat called out AP's Philip Elliott who does not seem to grasp the number of '40,' Ruth contemplated the press mistakes, Rebecca noted the lack of standards and Marcia congratulates Oklahoma community members (as have Kat, as did Elaine and Mike). Oklahoma community members are supporting the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin." Kat, Elaine and Mike were the first ones to weigh in. The following night I weighed in. The next night, Rebecca did so with "nader." I'm supporting Ralph Nader. Before I supported Nader, I supported Hillary Clinton. I would never support Barack Obama. I am a lesbian and I do not vote for candidates who put homophobes on stage to scare up voters. He's crossed many other lines with me but that is the most threatening because he's provided 'respectability' for homophobes by putting them on stage and that is a direct threat to my well being. I would never vote for Barack Obama. If I lived in Oklahoma, I would be voting for John McCain.

Jim: Last week, Oklahoma Common Ills community members endorsed the McCain-Palin ticket. In Oklahoma, the only candidates on the ballot for president are McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden. And you cannot write in alternative. A lot of e-mails came in from angry Cult of Barack members.

Mike: These aren't TCI community members?

Jim: No.

Mike: Then it's none of their damn business. What a bunch of babies, "Oh, some people are endorsing John McCain and Sarah Palin! I'm so mad I must dash off an e-mail to lodge my complaint!" Get a f**king life.

Ty: Or an education. There were 31 e-mails complaining about that decision. And 28 of them asserted that they could vote for Nader which, as Jim just pointed out, they are not able to do. So try getting an education that teaches you how to read.

Mike: I think it's great. I think, if you strip away every other issue which apparently the e-mailers were unaware of because reading is hard for them, and if you're left with only that one state's community members endorsed the Republican ticket, I think it's great. It shows we are a diverse community and we are.

Ava: I'm going to jump in on this. It's really no one's business what the Oklahoma members do. They made a decision and they're happy with it. If you're not, vote another way. If the Oklahoma members had their own site, it might make some sense for someone who disagrees with them to e-mail that site. But this idea that anyone voting for McCain is such a shock that you must voice your outrage, grow up. I'm a Latina, there are many people in the Latino community that will be voting for McCain-Palin. I have friends who will be doing so. That's their business. If you're not a Common Ills community member, it's really not your business. What it means for C.I. is that John McCain has to be covered in the same way that Ralph Nader is because those are the two candidates the community is supporting. McCain may even get a slight boost in coverage because C.I. is being very clear that there is nothing 'wrong' or 'objectionable' in the Oklahoma community members' decisions. That's why two videos that were e-mailed in went up Friday when C.I. usually will not post videos because they make the page load more slowly. At this site, we have always been clear that all are welcome. Usually, it comes down to C.I. and myself because we've not endorsed a candidate, but it has been repeatedly stated at this site that you can vote for whomever you want and we just hope you're happy with your choice.

Ty: On that issue, Manuel e-mailed and he is voting for McCain. He was among our longterm readers who was worried this was going to become an echo chamber site the way The Nation, The Progressive, et al are now. He singled out the pieces in recent weeks that Ava and C.I. have written and wanted to express that he didn't believe us when we said even McCain voters were welcome here but he's been "happily surprised."

Dona: If I can comment on that. Speaking for Third, all voters are welcome. From the previous e-mails discussed, we're apparently even being read by the Cult of Barack. Last week, Jim and I begged Ava and C.I. to write "The Vagina Strikes Back! (Ava and C.I.)" -- very popular in the e-mails by the way -- and the reason was that they haven't endorsed and are not going to endorse. With the rest of us endorsing Ralph, there are certain features we can't write without alarming some readers or not being believable. I would have loved to have taken part in writing the feature article they did and I couldn't because I have endorsed. They could and were able to and that stems from not endorsing and from the fact that they've earned the reputation they have with readers. But I have no problem with the way any regular reader votes. There are pieces where a point of view is required. And obviously, everyone but Ava and C.I. are going to advocate that you vote for Ralph because we have endorsed him. But that's our choice and you can disagree. Why can't America come together? For a number of reasons and one of them is a refusal to respect the way someone decides to vote -- for example, the 31 e-mails from strangers whining that community members of one state endorsed John McCain.

Jim: As Marcia pointed out, everyone with a site that posts during the week has weighed in on this. We've heard from Third's Ava and Dona so I want to toss to Ty and Jess.

Ty: I'm with Marcia. I'm gay. Don't put ex-gays on stage preaching their hate and intolerance and ever expect to get my vote. That's disgusting and it's harmful to the LGBT community. That anyone wanting to call themselves a "Democrat" would do that is offensive. That the 'left' refuses to call Barack out for his repeated use of homophobia is offensive. As Marcia pointed out, you're screwing with our lives when you do that and there is no forgiveness on my part for it. I would never vote for Barack Obama. I am voting for Ralph Nader and am pleased with my vote. If I lived in Oklahoma, a point Marcia and Mike have made at their sites, I would be voting for John McCain. As Marcia's pointed out, when Mark Bingham died on 9-11, McCain didn't act like the press and try to disappear him. He called Bingham a hero before it was known Bingham was gay and he continued to do so after it was known. I don't think McCain gets my issues or knows what I live but I do think that he's not using sexuality as guide to judge a person. If we had a progressive Democrat for president, the ticket would be better. Hillary understood the LGBT community and we knew we could count on her. Barack's statements -- his AIDS 'joke' during a debate for example -- and his actions -- putting homophobes on stage -- demonstrate not only disrespect but intolerance. If I lived in Oklahoma, I'd be voting for McCain.

Jess: I'm going to agree with Ty, Ava and Dona here. I'm a Green and Democrats rarely make a great deal of sense to me. But more so this year as they've turned a blind eye to sexism and homophobia. It's a real shame that my party refused to call it out when Hillary's campaign was viable. If they had, they might have found a large number of new recruits. To give Rosa Clemente some credit, as Ava and C.I. did last week, she spoke very passionately about the rights for all in her debate with Matt Gonzalez and I would aruge she won it. It's a damn shame my party couldn't do that when it mattered. I'm not talking about Rosa, I'm talking about the party and it's voices. The Green Party allowed all the sexist attacks against Hillary to go on without ever speaking out and, in some cases, Greens joined in on those attacks. They thought Barack was groovy and dishy and they embarrassed themselves. And I'm voting for Nader as a result but I will note that Matt Gonzalez early on carried water for Barack and I'll assume it was some vestigal Green malingering on his part. When he appeared on Democracy Now! and dismissed Barack's cutting remarks about small town voters, he lowered in my opinion. I voted for Nader in 2004 and will gladly vote for him in 2008. But a lot of people were involved in carrying water for Barack at any costs and I think there's a lot of shame and blame to pass around. But Greens, of all people, never should have helped his campaign. It was never in our interest to do so. He is pro nuclear power, he is a War Hawk and he is a homophobe and sexist for allowing his minions to do what they did as well as for his own actions. It wasn't smart to side with him in the Democratic Party primary. The smart thing, pay attention idiot leadership in my party, is to grasp next go round that one Democrat will win their primary and that his or her supporters will stand with him or her. You need to grow your numbers and the easiest way is with those displeased with their own party. Smart people would have defended Hillary from sexism only because they knew it would have made non-Greens notice our party. By March or April, I decided to support Hillary if she won just because, as my parents pointed out, she's taking all this crap and still going. My parents are lifelong Greens and they were appalled by our party's actions. I know the primaries provided a very real split within the Democratic Party and we've covered that before. But I want to be on record calling out my party, the Green Party, for their refusal to stand up against sexism repeatedly. There need to be some serious changes made after this election within my party and there needs to be some real accountability for what went down. Otherwise, we are going to be a fringe party.

C.I.: Just to add, Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential candidate and Rosa Clemente is her running mate. Ralph Nader's been noted in this roundtable but I don't believe Cynthia has so I'm tossing that out there so the ticket gets a link.

Jim: C.I. has obviously commented on the Oklahoma members' decision at The Common Ills. So of those of us who make up Third, that just leaves me. Here, in 2007 and as late as January, I was saying I would vote for the Democratic Party nominee whomever it was. I am a Democrat. I will not be voting for Barack Obama and am voting for Ralph Nader. What changed was seeing just how dirty Barack fought and also thinking about it. Ava and C.I. did real work -- more so than anyone else online -- charting what Barack was doing and how the press wasn't covering it. They did so in part because there was a writers' strike and their TV features covered public affairs programming. But they are the only ones who have documented what went down. Not Media Matters which probably comes closest. They have gone where others fear to tread, taking on PBS biased and deceitful coverage. Bill Moyers is a joke. And so is PBS because they allowed him to use his program as a platform for Barack. They never stepped in, they never forced him to practice the PBS guidelines. Without Ava and C.I.'s commentaries, it's very easy to think he's trust worthy but they have documented at length how he is not trust worthy or honest. One MSM journalist that e-mails this site is thinking of doing a truth-of-Bill piece and I hope he does. Seeing so many hypocrites trashing journalism added to my decision not to support Barack Obama. But in the end, as a Democrat, I can't vote for a candidate who is a Democrat in name only. I would encourage everyone to explore Ralph Nader's stands -- stands not slogans, and Cynthia McKinney's and, yes, John McCain's. I think the Oklahoma community members made a great decision and choice. Marcia, I want to toss back to you because this conversation started due to the e-mail attacking you.

Marcia: Well I think everyone's covered important points. I don't know if Ava and C.I. or C.I. who wrote about how people -- Phyllis Bennis in particular -- should be ashamed of their silence but I agree. Barack's going to escalate the war on Afghanistan, by his own public words, and for Bennis or CODEPINK to not call him out on that loudly and publicly is shameful. Anyone who has ever advocated for the Afghansistan people and the need to end that attack on them has no excuse but they will have blood on their hands. Let me echo Jim in encouraging everyone to check out the candidates and find the decision they are most comfortable with. Ideally, you'll find someone to vote for with pride. I'm very happy to be voting for Ralph Nader and all I want for others, regardless of whom they vote for, is for them to be proud of their decision as well.

Jim: We had more to cover but --

Elaine: Stop. Hold on.

Jim: I'm sorry. Elaine had told me she wanted something noted. Elaine?

Elaine: Barack could make a defense for Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. He's refused to do so, but he could. I could as well and have. Because I have, in fairness, I need to note something from the McCain campaign. John M. Murtagh was a child when his family's home was bombed by the Weather Underground. Through the McCain-Palin campaign, he issued a statement last week and I want it included in this roundtable:

"When I was 9 years-old the Weather Underground, the terrorist group founded by Barack Obama's friend William Ayers, firebombed my house. Barack Obama has dismissed concerns about his relationship with Ayers by noting that he was only a child when Ayers was planting bombs at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. But Ayers has never apologized for his crimes, he has reveled in them, expressing regret only for the fact that he didn't do more.
"While Barack Obama once downplayed his relationship with Ayers, today his campaign took that deceit one step further. Barack Obama now denies he was even aware of his friend's violent past when, in 1995, Ayers hosted a party launching Obama's political career. Given Ayers' celebrity status among the left, it's difficult to believe. The question remains: what did Obama know, and when did he know it? When did Obama learn the truth about his friend? Barack Obama helped Ayers promote his book in 1997, served on charitable boards with him through 2002, and regularly exchanged emails and phone calls with him through 2005. At what point did Barack Obama discover that his friend was an unrepentant terrorist? And if he is so repulsed by the acts of terror committed by William Ayers, why did the relationship continue? Any honest accounting by Barack Obama will necessarily cast further doubt on his judgment and his fitness to serve as commander in chief.
"Barack Obama may have been a child when William Ayers was plotting attacks against U.S. targets -- but I was one of those targets. Barack Obama's friend tried to kill my family."

Elaine (Con't): I was never a member of the Weather Underground and did not engage in violence. Nor do I believe in it. His family was directed effected by the violence and I think his statement needs to be included.

Jim: Agreed. Thank you. And on that note, we're concluding this roundtable.
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