Sunday, January 18, 2009
-- Mickey Z, "Obama Nation Upholds US Terror" (Information Clearing House).
-- Sunsara Taylor, "No “Common Ground” with Bigot Rick Warren" (World Can't Wait).
A very rough writing edition.
Along with Dallas, the following helped 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,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.
An e-mail Ty saw thirty minutes ago suggested we were early last week just because we wanted to promote Roland Burris' appearance on Face The Nation. We did want to do that but we were early because we had it together. We couldn't get it together this week.
Truest statement of the week -- Mickey Z more than earned this. We believe this is the second time Mickey Z's had a truest. When did they start? We believe the "Truest" of the week started back in 2006 and we'd guess late spring.
Truest statement of the week II -- Sunsara Taylor also had a very strong statement.
Editorial: A little perspective, please -- We'd hoped to have a Gaza editorial. It would not pull together. This is what we ended up with. There are important points and, as Ty points out, there's certainly not a silence of coverage on Gaza. In fact, for some left outlets it's the only story they can cover.
TV: Tragedies in real time -- Ava and C.I. We love them. Always. But never more so than this week when we couldn't get any drafts to work. They went off to work on their TV commentary and came back with a piece that ran long. Ran long? It was actually three pieces. We kept the bulk of the TV in this article.
Roundtable -- We did this near the end (only the editorial came after). It was unplanned, we were unprepared, but nothing else was working and Dona said we should try it in a roundtable. I agreed and praise Dona for the idea.
Naomi Wolf: The Feminist Myth (Ava and C.I.) -- This was in the TV commentary. I (Jim) figured we could pull Naomi Wolf and it would just mean Ava and C.I. would have to come up with a new ending for their TV commentary. This is really a powerful piece and it can stand alone. Nothing was added to this from their original version so you can tell their original TV article was huge. In the middle of this section, CODESTINK got highlighted. Dona and I thought that could be its own piece. Illustration for this article was done by Betty's oldest son. We thank him for it. We thank him for the roundtable illustration we always use and we thank Isaiah for the use of one of his comics in the roundtable.
We always knew he was a drama queen -- Short feature. Why is Bully Boy clutching his chest? Drama queen.
Bye, bye Dickster -- Short piece.
Crack a window, it's CODESTINK (Ava and C.I.) -- The CODESTINK section. They didn't look at this and want that noted. It may or may not have an ending or a transition or any number of things. They're too tired to read over it, they say. We love it. Oh, thank yous. They need to think a member of CODEPINK (who is considering leaving) because they didn't even know about the blog post let alone the attack on special-needs children. While they were working on this early this morning, a friend called and, learning what they were working on, she suggested they make a point to include the issue of the blog and the comments.
Susan Lindauer -- A repost of a story Wally and Cedric found interesting.
Highlights -- Wally, Cedric, Stan, Mike, Elaine, Ruth, Marcia, Kat, Betty and Rebecca wrote this and selected the highlights unless otherwise noted. We thank them for it.
And that's it. I'm yawning and Jess is already sleep. Dona's tired, Ty's checking incoming e-mails and Ava and C.I. are taking aspirin. It was truly the worst writing edition.
We did have ideas. We just could not execute them. We could not pull it together. There was a weekend like that in 2005. We were up until four p.m. Sunday. This was like that. What saved us this time was Ava and C.I.'s mammoth commentary which could actually be broken up into three articles. Consider it an Ava and C.I. edition. And be as glad for them as we are.
And that's what we got. We'll see you next week.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
We could also compare it to Barack as your first child.
Oh look, he's crawling!
Oh look, he's trying to stand up!
Oh look, he's walking!
Oh look, he's going to potty by himself!
You know what? Barack's not our lover or f**k buddy. He's not our child.
He is our employee and as such we expect him to get to work and do the work with a minimum of fuss.
We didn't spend the last eight years going cow-eyed over the Bully Boy and we didn't hold onto our sanity and standards through all of that with the hopes of trading it away in 2009.
Barack's not only already received more flattery than he's earned, he's received more flattery than his presidential peers.
Unless Barack's presidency is supposed to be the final act of announcing to the country that the President is a puppet of the establishment and nothing more than Miss America minus the swimsuit competition, how about we let him accomplish something before we fall to our knees in praise?
He's doing a lot that should be resulting in loud jeers.
Last week, speaking to the editorial board of The Washington Post, he declared he was going to 'fix' the unbroken Social Security and he declared that he would close Guantanamo but needed to find a new place to keep those currently imprisoned.
No, it's not living up to the lies that had people voting for.
Barack is not the president of Black America, he's not the president of White America. He is the president of the United States. (And for those who think we're worse to Barack than Bully Boy -- please note, we never called Bully Boy the p-word. We made it through eight years without using that term in our lives, and we made it through our online lives never using it either.)
As the president, he may turn out to be historic. And even in historic in a good way. Anything's possible.
But unless he's a spokesmodel, how about we all grow the hell up and drop this eternal "historic" for every damn day on the calendar?
This week he becomes the president of the United States. President Barack Obama. He is not the first president and he will not be the last president. If he does anything worthy of remembering -- good or bad, he will be historic.
The simple act of being does not qualify him -- nor anyone else -- for "historic" status.
A little perspective please.
"They have this thing called 'the ratings,' too," joked one person at our table.
"They have this thing called a 'mirror'!" added another.
We laughed so hard we feared our faces would become as damp and shiny as Tina's. But there she was onstage, looking ridiculous. And the only person in the world who could be laughing harder than we were was whomever convinced Tina Fey to buy that dress.
From the side, the hoop skirt made her appear even fatter than she was and from the front she looked like your six-year-old daughter dressed up in one of Carmen Electra's castoffs. In other words, when you have no reason to wear a plunging neckline, don't. (Or as The Young Turks would critique the outfit later in the week: "She's surprisingly flat chested.")
Poor Tina Fey, unloved, unliked and flat chested. No wonder 30 Rock has to film in New York.
Cell phones buzzing.
"Are you watching this?"
Yeah, we were. Fey was babbling on about her husband.
"No!" hissed a friend over the phone.
What's going on?
"It looks like season seven is going to be all about justifying torture."
THE FOLLOWING TAKES PLACE BETWEEN SUNDAY AND THURSDAY -- MANY HOURS WE WILL NEVER GET BACK.
We were practically bumping heads as we shared the cell to hear the details.
"We gotta get to a TV!" exclaimed one of us.
"Right now!" agreed the other.
"Oh! Fresh drinks!"
TV could wait. Or so we thought. Intentions to nurse the latest round slowly were tossed aside as Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese did a soft-shoe while inverting an old classic into "Anything I Can Do, You Can Do Better." No, I can't! Yes, you can!
We slammed our drinks and got the hell out of there as self-eFace/Off continued onstage.
We needed a TV and somewhere away from the noise. We doubted there was a room available (we were at the Beverly Hilton). We hurried through the lobby (we were at the Beverly Hilton). Shielding our eyes (we were at the Beverly Hilton).
Someone might mistake Nancy Lorzenz' school-girl fascination with urine as art but it wouldn't be us. "Studies of Water." "American." We'd seen her work. She didn't have a technique. What she had was a highly limited 'vision.' Calling it derivative would be crediting it with more complexity than it actually had.
We headed for the limo. Later, we'd learn that viewers avoided the Globes like crazy. Not surprising considering the parking lot looked like the running of the bulls. Spielberg and Scorsese really know how to clear a room. Grasping that we'd be stuck forever if we waited, we high stepped it (less than a mile, but in high heels) to the Oliver Cafe Lounge and called for the limo to meet us there hoping it would be far enough away from the traffic jam. (And we dashed inside for a quick drink, two Purple Roses -- thank you, Franka!)
"Oh my God! She is so ugly!" laughed a friend who looked up from his TV as we were ushered in. He was talking about Tina Fey. And, yes, her nose did seem even more pointy than usual. Our friend, a power-player agent, noted how strange it was that 'hit' Tina still didn't have another film lined up. We pointed out that she did have her little bit part in This Side of the Truth and industry word hailed it another Ghost Town -- Ricky, maybe somethings should never attempt to cross the Atlantic?
"Yeah, yeah," said the agent, "look at her sweaty face!"
He'd Tivo-ed Tina's speech in order to preserve it. We laughed even harder watching it on the screen -- the unforgiving screen. From a distance, she had almost passed for plain.
But 24. We were there for 24. It's supposedly a nightmare.
He was Tivo-ing that as well. We could check it out in a bit but, first, let's watch and laugh at Tina Fey one -- or twenty -- more time(s).
"You know she thinks she's a player," our friend got out between laughs and had to raise his left hand to indicate we needed to give him a moment to catch his breath. "Be-because! She's 'friends' with Sue Mengers!"
We started to comment but he was laughing and waiving his hand frantically, "That - that ought be a big help when she wants to get booked on The Dinah Shore Show."
Okay, we had to laugh at that one.
And we had to go to two parties. Looking at the time, we realized we had to leave.
"But it's only the talent in front of the camera that's even remotely liberal."
So advised a film director. We were talking 24. Of course, no one had seen it. But, at both parties, there was a general feeling of why couldn't it leave the air when the current occupant of the White House left?
There was a feeling that it had outlived its purpose, whatever that purpose was.
We were watching.
We'd gotten the four episodes. There were two for Sunday night and two for Monday. Because it's that time of year when Fox turns its entire schedule over to American Idol, it can afford to upload four episodes all at once. Could we afford to watch them?
"We're investigating the human rights violations by the recently disbanded Counter Terrorist Unit," informed That 70s Show's Red Foreman playing a US senator. A big, flashy car crash had opened the season debut --- a crash that was really a kidnapping. We'd moved from that to the Grand Suffering: Keifer was being questioned in an open Senate hearing.
He said his name was "Jack Bauer" but it was obvious he was playing Ollie North.
Or Joan Crawford.
Anybody capable of lugging a cross around on their shoulders.
Senator Foreman was explaining the topics were brutality and torture.
Keifer telegraphed it was torture for him to sit there. Oh, the humanity.
The entire exchange will last less than five minutes but they'll try to turn it into Ross & Rachel's "We were on a break!" moment by endlessly bringing it up in episode after episode.
Episode two will find Agent Kilner getting his one and only big scene.
Agent Kilner: Mr. Bauer.
Agent Kilner: I just wanted to tell you what they're making you go through at that Senate hearing, it's wrong.
Jack: No, it's better that everything comes out in the open. We've done so many secret things over the years in the name of protecting this country, we've created two worlds: ours and the people we promise to protect. They deserve to know the truth and then they can decide how far they want to let us go.
Golly, we kind of thought the law had been a settled issued on this for some time. We kind of thought treaties signed and laws passed by the Congress of the United States had established "how far" the authorities could go.
In a scene that unintentionally recalls the White supremacists of Betrayed, Agent Kilner adds, "Still, not after what you've done for our country. And I'm not the only one who think so." Our Suffering Joan Crawford looks up and to the right while saying, "Thank you." Stay strong, Jackie, stay strong!
Episode four offers Chloe needing to weigh in: "I saw the hearings on CSPAN and I can't believe what the senator said to you. You looked good though." Always remember that Joan Crawfords demand such praise for their characters be written into the scripts.
80s film conventions demand trite dialogue like this be included, "He's a wild card. He's dangerous as a matter of fact. I want Jack Bauer out of the building." FBI head Larry Moss does everything but call Jack a "loose canon." So we're pretty sure he'll end up being one of the bad guys.
In the up-is-down world of 24, that's par for the course.
So is the lack of excitement. You'd never believe shooting guns, chasing suspects and break-outs could be so boring.
Janeane Garofalo shows up as FBI computer expert Janis. She shows up. They don't give her anything much to do for four episodes so she mainly relies on doing the stand up character we all know and love.
She has the only scene with tension. No, not when she stands up against torture -- this is 24, you know she'll cave in 30 seconds and she manages to do it in even less than that.
But in one interrogation scene, she needs to attach sensors to Tony (Carlos Bernard).
"I'm going to lift up your shirt," she'll tell him. And she'll do it. Providing the only excitement in four hours of bad television. The camera will study the pecs. It will be especially fond of his nipples. Janis will ask, "Is that comfortable for you?"
Tony won't say anything. Janis will rub her nose and say, "I'll take that as a 'yes'." And then she'll pull down his shirt, thereby ending the only moment of interest.
Oh, if only Janis could have pulled him across the interrogation table and had her way with him.
That might have made for 24 interesting hours.
Instead, we've got Jack Bauer defending torture. Jack Bauer using torture. Jack Bauer rationalizing torture.
He'll refuse counsel in that first scene that none of the other characters can stop talking about. He'll tell the senator to start the questioning. Yes, it's all very Bring-It-On-Bully-Boy like.
Senator Foreman: Mr. Bauer, who is Abraham Haddad?
Jack: That information is classified.
Senator: We represent the people of the United States and we have declassified that on their behalf. Now I'm going to ask you one more time, who is Abraham Haddad?
Jack: He was the member of a terrorist sleep cell CTU had under surveillance in 2002.
Senator: And isn't it true that you detained Mr. Haddad without due process and that you used extreme interrogation methods on him until he answered your questions?
Jack: Yes, sir.
Senator: Would you say that you broke procedure with this interrogation?
Senator: Probably? Well that's a very cavalier answer. You don't seem to care about the implications here? Well, Mr. Bauer?
Jack: I'm sorry, Senator, I didn't hear a question.
Senator: Alright then, did you torture Mr. Haddad?
Jack: According to the definition set forth by the Geneva Convention, yes, I did. Senator why don't I save you some time. It's obvious that your agenda is to discredit CTU and generate a series of indictments.
Senator: My only agenda is the truth.
Jack: I don't think it is, Senator.
Senator: Excuse me?
Jack: Abraham Haddad had targeted a bus carrying 45 people, ten of which were children. The truth, Senator, is that I stopped that attack from happening.
Senator: By torturing Mr. Haddad?
Jack: By doing what I deemed necessary to protect innocent lives.
Senator: So basically what you're saying, Mr. Bauer, is that the ends justify the means and that you are above the law?
Jack: When I am activated, when I come into a situation, there is a reason and that reason is to complete the objective of my mission at all costs.
Senator: Even if it means breaking the law?
Jack: For a combat soldier the difference between success and failure is your ability to adapt to your enemy. The people that I deal with, they don't care about your rules. All they care about is a result. My job is to stop them from accomplishing their objectives.
It needs to be noted that Posse Comitatus really rules out law enforcement Jack trying to cast himself as a combat soldier. It further must be noted that "your rules" being referred to are the laws of the United States of America, laws that every law enforcement agent is supposed to pledge to uphold. Suddenly, Jack gets to snarl that they are "your rules" as though the Senator just passed them yesterday when, in fact, they predate the Senator's elected career.
It's more right-wing crap from a show that doesn't deserve anymore excuses. Not only that, it reminded us a great deal of another liar:
And in terms of the decisions that I had made to protect the homeland, I wouldn't worry about popularity. What I would worry about is the Constitution of the United States, and putting plans in place that makes it easier to find out what the enemy is thinking, because all these debates will matter not if there's another attack on the homeland. The question won't be, you know, were you critical of this plan or not; the question is going to be, why didn't you do something?
Do you remember what it was like right after September the 11th around here? In press conferences and opinion pieces and in stories -- that sometimes were news stories and sometimes opinion pieces -- people were saying, how come they didn't see it, how come they didn't connect the dots? Do you remember what the environment was like in Washington? I do. When people were hauled up in front of Congress and members of Congress were asking questions about, how come you didn't know this, that, or the other? And then we start putting policy in place -- legal policy in place to connect the dots, and all of a sudden people were saying, how come you're connecting the dots?
And so, Mike, I've heard all that. I've heard all that. My view is, is that most people around the world, they respect America. And some of them doesn't like me, I understand that -- some of the writers and the, you know, opiners and all that. That's fine, that's part of the deal. But I'm more concerned about the country and our -- how people view the United States. They view us as strong, compassionate people who care deeply about the universality of freedom.
That was the outgoing Bully Boy of the United States, attempting, last week, to justify what he'd done to this country.
24 was supposed to be different this year. Actually, it was supposed to be different last year but between the writer's strike and Keifer getting busted for drunk driving again (hey, what ever happened to MADD -- or do only famous women get called out for arrests?), last year didn't serve up a season of 24. But it was supposed to be different -- whenever it aired -- and as part of the difference, Janeane was going to be on. Janeane's on. Not a damn thing's changed. It's still a show justifying and excusing torture.
Similarly, this week sees the US swear in a new president. New in name. But, as his statements to The Washington Post editorial board Thursday indicated, little difference outside of name. Like the Bully Boy, he is attacking Social Security. Like the Bully Boy, he believes in torture.
Barack Obama is going to close Guantanamo, he says. But what about the prisoners? Believe it or not, the cry to close Guantanamo was not a cry for relocation. It was a cry for freedom. But Barack made clear to The Post that some people held at Guantanamo could not be convicted in a court of law because their 'confessions' resulted from torture.
The American justice system dictates that those people be set free. But that's not what Barack plans. He revealed he needs to explore setting a new system that could handle these prisoners. And -- pay attention -- others like them in the future.
No, the election has not ended the use of torture. Nor has it ended unlawful imprisonment. It will be interesting to watch and see if the left disgraces itself the same way Kiefer does, if it repeatedly offers excuses for refusing to call out torture, for refusing to end it. Kiefer loves to say 24 is just entertainment and, as a result, he banks more money than any other actor on a TV show. So his soul is more than bought and paid for (and that explains the alcohol problem).
What will be the left's excuse? Tina Fey spoke of wanting to feel good about herself last Sunday and how what people say can make that impossible. Here's reality, you feel good about yourself when you do the right thing. When you do the wrong thing, you feel shame. You can try to pin it off on what someone said at The Los Angeles Times or what someone who came before you did. But you are responsible for your actions and until you can admit that and live accordingly, you really haven't done anything to feel 'good' about yourself.
Dona: As much as our readers love Ava and C.I., I love them equally. I won't argue for 'I love them more,' so save the angry e-mails. But as this edition has fallen apart -- not shaped up, fallen apart -- one thing became clear, this was coming very close to being nothing but the Ava and C.I. edition. I'm all for that. I love their writing as much as anyone. But it's not fair to use them as a crutch and we should also work to acknowledge topics that are just not working as feature articles. There are a lot of strong feelings about various topics and we can cover it in the roundtable -- although I fear people are so dejected from the failures of various drafts on the subject that they may not even want to address certain topics.
Jim: Ava and C.I. did another masterpiece TV commentary. It's amazing. They have to write a new ending for it because we've picked its bones. It works as three articles, not one. So we worked on the breaks with them, where to pull what, and they need to do a new conclusion because two large chunks are now no longer in it. We have three strong feature articles to offer and they're all by Ava and C.I. That's Dona's point. And things we're attempting are just not working. It's five in the mroning and we never start a roundtable this late but we've never had so many problems with an edition. So we're going into roundtable hoping we can address some issues that way. Ty may pull from e-mails during this to note certain topics, questions or comments. First I'm going to toss to Jess on a topic involving this site.
Jess: Joseph Cannon, a White man, decided to attack our Stan, affirmative action, Bobby Rush and assorted other topics last week. Due to his language and his attitude and his attacks, we're not in the mood for him. There are 100 US Senators. Only 1 is Black: Roland Burris. Barack is a person of color, when he won the presidential election in November, his Senate seat should have been held for a person of color. That is not racism. Attacks on affirmative action like Joe Cannon launched? That's racism. We apologize to our readers because we had highlighted Cannon's work in the past. That was our mistake. We did not realize he was a racist. Jim and Dona are journalism majors in grad school. Ava will either go into the family business or not and isn't thinking about it -- journalism -- right now. I'm in law school, Ty's working in the film industry. C.I. was never a journalism major and had her degrees long before shemet us. Those are the people who make up Third: Jim, Dona, Ty, Ava, C.I. and myself. We have a healthy respect for journalism. We do not move in changing the public record. But we also don't believe in applauding racists. The fact that we didn't know Cannon was a racist, doesn't change the fact. We can't take back what we did but we can take it out of the archives. We discussed that at length. We made the decision to delete any "Truest statement" he had. If you pull up one of those, you will now find a note explaining we have pulled it, explaining we did not know he was a racist and offering our apology. We felt comfortable with that journalistically. He is noted and quoted in other feature articles here. To delete that would require rewriting the pieces so that they made sense. We were not comfortable with that.
Jim: Thanks, Jess. Okay, Stan, let's toss to you with any thoughts on this issue.
Stan: Well, I appreciate the fact that everyone supported me. Originally, C.I. dictated a lengthy commentary that would have opened Thursday's "Iraq snapshot" and I asked that it be pulled. My reason was the snapshot gets reposted by all sites posting that day and I didn't want anyone to feel that they were forced into making a statement. Everyone did end up making a statement and I appreciate the support. I was originally uncomfortable calling Joe Cannon a racist because it is a serious charge; however, C.I. and Ava pointed out to me, "He was free with tossing it at you." And he was. I'm a racist for believing that Barack's seat should have gone to a person of color -- according to him, I'm a racist.
Marica: I'm jumping in here because I did not appreciate my cousin being called a racist and I want to be the first to say, "Joe Cannon, kiss my Black ass." But I also did not appreciate the way he screamed f-you at Stan over and over. The man's crazy. Stan's explaining his opinion and the man's snarling, "You're a racist, you're a bigot, f-you, f-you." He's insanse. And PUMA's insane for being in bed with him. He's already attacked The Confluence screaming they were bigots and sexists for comments about men. That was your first clue, PUMA, that you needed to walk away from the crazy. He's unhinged. He's not stable. And it's going to get a lot worse.
Betty: Agreed. The violence in that comment to Stan was just distrubing. I'd love to be a part of PUMA except I can't be part of racism. PUMA -- and Kat wrote about this expertly -- has made the argument that Hillary's Senate seat should go to a woman because Hillary's a woman and there are so few women in the Senate. To allow Cannon to scream that it's racism to make a similar argument regarding people of color and not call him out makes PUMA look like either racist or hypocrites. I'm not part of PUMA. I wanted to be, but I'm not.
Jim: Kat, you mentioned in the post Betty's talking about that you could return to that topic.
Kat: And I didn't Friday. I was too tired. I didn't want to pull up their sites, I didn't want the drama. I may address it next week. I may not.
Ruth: If I can jump in -- and Kat, stop me if I say something you intended to write about --
Kat: If you say something I intended to write about, I will applaud you because it will mean one less thing for me to do. Go for it, Ruth.
Ruth: Okay, well, I just think PUMA is struggling right now. I do not mean it is losing members. I do mean that it is no longer sure what it stands for. In what I consider the two leading PUMA blogs, I see a split that the two women try to paper over. One blog promotes the outrage so many felt --
Rebecca: And still feel.
Ruth: And still feel over what took place in 2008. The other wants to smooth things over to the point of arguing PUMA means "People United Means Action." Which is just silly because it was "Party Unity My Ass" and when you rewrite history, you weaken yourself.
Rebecca: Well "Party Unity My Ass" is the better slogan to begin with because it speaks of power. It speaks of standing up and refusing to go along. I found it hilarious when that was the slogan, how many outlets refused to print it or say it. They'd act like "ass" was a bad word. And, if you think about it, they use that word on air and in print. The only difference was, PUMA was seen as a female movement. So when women say "ass" it, apparently, needs to be censored.
Ruth: And I agree that "Party Unity My Ass" is the better slogan. It is a tougher slogan. "People United Means Action" sounds like something NARAL would come up with. The whole point was PUMAs would not be pushed around. But I do think they're struggling and trying to figure out what PUMA means after Barack's sworn in.
Betty: Are you using that as an excuse for their being in bed with Cannon?
Ruth: Absolutely not. There is no excuse for that. What I am attempting to do is note that they have a number of problems and I would include their purpose with their inability to make it clear that they support neither racism or hypocrisy.
Betty: I'm done with them. It's a White movement for White people. Were that not the case, they would have called out Cannon because that is offensive. It is offensive to scream Stan is a racist when he is making the exact same argument that the PUMA movement made for Hillary's seat. For PUMA to ignore that garbage coming from someone associated with them is to give permission for that garbage. I'm sorry but I am so sick of supposed movements that regularly leave people out. Whether it's women, people of color, the LGBT community, I'm sick of it. And that "I'm sorry" is aimed at C.I., not Ruth. I'm not mad at Ruth. I'm not mad at C.I. either. But "I'm sorry" because I know my statements mean C.I. will pull PUMA Pac from the links at The Common Ills.
Ava: C.I.'s nodding but rushing to write down what Betty's saying, I was shaking my hand so I wasn't taking down what Betty was saying.
Jim: And if Ava's already shaking her hand, it means we need to watch the time because Ava and C.I. take the notes for this and we don't want to wear them out. Stan, back to you for any more thoughts on this.
Stan: I honestly did not expect it. If I thought I was going to be attacked and called a racist, believe me, I wouldn't have put a comment up. I was with community member Eddie at work and he was showing me his favorite blog sites while he was on break at work. We read that and I thought I'd offer my opinion and never assumed I'd get f-you, over and over, let alone called a racist and a bigot. My week was busy enough, I didn't need to cause myself aggrevation. I had no idea Cannon was as mentally unstable as that.
Jim: Betty moved out here -- California where the core six, Wally and Kat are -- on Monday. As a result of that, Ava, C.I., Kat and Wally cancelled last week's engagements. They were going to be in Texas. They couldn't cancel everything. Rebecca and Ruth offered to fill in for the things that couldn't be cancelled. Stan heard about it and wanted to go for a number of reasons including he'd never seen Texas. So they were there speaking about the illegal war and also hanging out with community members who live in Texas.
Stan: Right. And I didn't have to log on to blogger to leave my comment. Eddie said that when I decided to comment. He just puts in his e-mail address and name when he commented in the past. But I thought Cannon might be interested enough in what I was saying that he'd want to know who I was. So I logged in with my Blogger/Blogspot i.d. And until he started hurling his insults, I really did think we would be in agreement on the core issue. The whole thing was a surprise. I was still not believing it happened when C.I. called. Then we went to speak and after that I got back online. Other than that, it was a good week and I really enjoyed Texas. I'm sad to say it's kind of a blur but when I get the photos developed, I hope I've got a clearer idea on what is where and all. It was fun meeting community members and it was fun traveling with Ruth and Rebecca.
Jim: Okay, we're going to move on to other topics. "Barack's fan club poses as journalists" resulted in a record number of e-mails from 'names'. Most agreed with us. One who did not was Anthony Arnove -- mentioned in the article. He e-mailed to stress that he and Howard Zinn were not attending the so-called peace ball this week. I added a note to the article. I also posted "The hosts" which is a copy and paste of the 'peace' ball's website page where they list who the hosts are. We didn't make up that fact. Anthony Arnove is not participating, nor is Howard Zinn.
Mike: But their names are listed as hosts.
Jim: Don't go there, Mike.
Mike: I can imagine. Well let me speak for me and for me only: Don't let your name be listed as a host if you don't endorse the event. Don't say, "Well I'm not attending," if you're allowing your name to be listed. And don't kid me that you couldn't get your name pulled from your friends Busboys & Poets event if you really wanted it pulled. There's no need for anyone else to comment and I'd prefer they not. My name is Mike McKinnon, those are my remarks. My public e-mail address is email@example.com if anyone has a problem with my remarks.
Jim: And our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, to toss that out there. Ty has something on e-mails.
Ty: Though nothing like the response to one of Ava and C.I.'s TV commentaries, we are getting a ton of e-mails on "Editorial: The bum works for you." We tried to expand on that for a feature article and it didn't work. I think we need to introduce it as a topic here.
Elaine: Well let me start. In 1961, the country was better off economically. Real wages were higher and the cost of living was much less. At such a time when the government was presumably supplying the needs and wants of a significant portion of the people, a president could get away with "Ask not what your country can do for you . . ." The reality is that was forty years ago and no one needs to hear that damn s**t again. The reality is that the country has screwed over the economy and the citizens. The reality is that the last eight years has seen very little done for the people so don't pull that ask not crap today. It's time for the American people to demand that their country work for them. This idea that the people are going to sacrifice, uh-uh. No. They have sacrificed. The working-class and the poor have sacrificed over and over and over again. There is no more sacrifice left for them to make. It is gone as surely as the American middle class is gone.
Cedric: I feel like I need to applaud on that. Say it again, Elaine. I agree with everything she just said. That editorial, as I remember it, was largely C.I., Elaine and Jim. Maybe Ava? I'm talking about the seeds for it and the sketching out. We all ended up writing it. But I know C.I.'s the one who brought up that speech and how Barack was asking for the common person to sacrifice again. And I just remember how as the three or four of them bounced around ideas, I just thought, "That claptrap has been used to hold Americans back for years." And I firmly believe that now. It's not high minded, it's not our better natures, it's one more stunt pulled by the establishment to keep us from demanding what we are entitled to. Call me Cedric X.
Wally: He's laughing. And I am too but I agree. Why shouldn't you ask what your country can do for you? The United States exists to provide for the general welfare. When is that going to happen again? And I know -- I don't know. I don't know what's going to get written this edition. The whole thing's fallen apart and outside of Ava and C.I.'s articles, I have no idea what's going to make it in. But this sacrifice bulls**t is bulls**t and C.I. was noting Barack's call for us to sacrifice two weeks ago and how it was only going to get louder. We all hope to do something on a section in Friday's "Iraq snapshot" but in case that doesn't make the cut, I want to include Barack's comments on Social Security right now. This is what he said to The Washington Post's editorial board:
We're also going to have a discussion about entitlements and how we get a grasp on those. Uh and uh, you know, like i think everybody here is familiar enough with the budget problems to know that as bad as these deficits that we're running up over the next -- that have already been run up -- have been and despite the cost of both TARP and the stimulus, the real problem in our long term deficit actually has to do with our entitlement obligation and the fact that historically uh if our revenues ranged between 18 and 20% of GDP they're now at 16. It's just not sustainable so we're going to have to uh craft a uh what George Stephanopoulos called a grand bargain and I-I try not to use the word grand in anything that I say but uh but we're going to have to shape a baragain. This, by the way, is where there are going to be some very difficult choices and issues of sacrifices and responsibilty and duty are going to come in because what we have done is kick this can down the road. We're now at the end of the road and uh we are not in a position to kick it any further.
Wally (Con't): Again, that's Barack Obama. Speaking last Thursday.
Cedric: And we thought that was so important, Wally and I, that we made that our excerpt from the snapshot for our joint-post. My grandmother's on Social Security, Wally's grandfather's on it. We take this issue very seriously and very personally. And this crap that Barack's repeat right-wing talking points is disgusting but what's he's saying beyond that is even more disgusting.
Rebecca: Well just remember he's fighting to preseve Bush's big tax breaks for big money but he wants sacrifice from the working class? No, again it's an issue where the common person gets screwed. I don't have a personal stake here, I'm loaded. In fact, if I have a personal stake, it would be arguing to preserve the tax cuts for the rich. I haven't done that and I won't do that. It's outrageous that he thinks he can get away with asking for sacrifice from the people who have lost out for the last eight years. That's disgusting.
Ava: Can I just make one point -- and C.I. and attempted to make this when we were trying to make this topic an article. Social Security, Barack says, needs fixing. We're in the midst of an economic meltdown. That should be Barack's focus. Social Security is fine. It's not in a crisis. It's not facing a crisis. A minor adjustment may need to be made in 2040. No sooner. That's 31 years away. We have an economic meltdown in this country. Barack's job should be to deal with that. If he's tinkering around with Social Security, he's not doing his job.
Mike: I agree with that completely. And since he's now saying that the economy will probably still be bad in 2009, I don't see how he has the 'luxury' to monkey around with things that are not an immediate crisis. I think we should take the attitude of every hour he spends working on the solvent and non-crisis Social Security is an hour he should have spent on the American economy. And the bum does work for us. I loved that editorial. We need to remember that and we need to remember we're calling the shots. That's the other thing the JFK bulls**t did, it twisted and subverted the power relationship. Presidents serve us. They work for us. This isn't England, they're no damn kings and queens. They are employees and we do not glorify or worship them.
Betty: I am so sick of the giddy Barack crowd. It reminds me of the Americans who get giddy over Fergie or Princess Di. It's really disgusting. And it's become a money maker. You know CNN's decided every day's 'historic' because they want to pump up ratings. That's all this is. It is the same media that sold you the Bully Boy after 9-11 and now it's selling you Barack and you are such a lunatic that you will buy it.
Jim: She didn't mean Mike.
Betty: No, I didn't. Sorry. "You" is the bulk of the American people. Ruth and I were talking about that last week.
Ruth: Right. I thought we were all opposed to the last eight years. On the left, I thought that. I thought we were opposed to press conferences that were staged, to presidents who prescreened questions. Now all of the sudden we accept that behavior?
Betty: And all the money wasted? Isaiah's comic two weeks ago, can we get it inserted in here, even in small form?, was correct. In 2004, the press was outraged that big inauguration parties were being planned because the country was at war. Right now, we're still at war and our economy has tanked. But the same press won't call it out.
Ty: I've got an e-mail. This is to Ava and C.I. and the unsigned writes -- his or her e-mail is nothing but numbers "@yahoo.com" -- that Sarah Palin has now attacked Katie Couric and the e-mailer is sure that Ava and C.I. will ignore it or excuse Katie.
Ava: I'm answering for both of us. We've talked about this, we know how each other feels. Sarah Palin, for an upcoming documentary, speaks about Tina Fey and Katie Couric -- among others. Of those two women, she argues that she was exploited by both. We don't disagree with that call. As Palin herself should know, that's what Couric's job is. She is supposed to make the powerful uncomfortable. Any interaction with them should result in expolitation that gives her viewers something lively to watch. Hopefully, it illuminates as well -- that is journalism -- but she's on broadcast TV and it's about ratings. We're not slamming Katie by agreeing with Palin, we're noting the nature of the beast that is TV news. Now Katie behaved the same way with Barack. Instead of it receiving the praise and amplification that her Palin segments did, she got boos and hissses. We didn't boo and hiss her for either. She's supposed to ask questions, she's supposed to put people on the spot. She did her job. Her job is expolitation. That is what the press does. You can dress it up in fancy words but that is the press. They show up when things go wrong. They exist on conflict. No conflict, no news. It's the model, it's the template. Katie did her job and did it very well. That doesn't make Palin wrong. I've explained how she is right.
Jim: And Tina Fey?
Ava: We've addressed Tina Fey at length. Remember how I said Katie was the same way with Barack? She was. She got slammed for asking him a question repeatedly. She had to ask it repeatedly because he refused to answer it. Katie, on her job as anchor, showed no bias. I think she needs to self-check on some of her comments to Letterman and others but behind the anchor desk, on the Evening News, she was consistent. Saturday Night Live was not fair, was not consistent. They invented slams at Hillary. It started long before Palin entered the race. They attacked Hillary with a vengence. They only increased the hatred when Palin entered the race. They made her look ridiculous and Tina Fey has tried to blame that on Seth as the writer. However -- and we've pointed this out in our commentaries -- Tina's responsible for her voice. She chose to pitch her 'Sarah' voice higher. Sarah Palin's voice is lower than Tina Fey's. But Tina wanted Sarah to come off an airhead so she made it higher. That's the first thing she did. She continued to distort who Palin was. Now not only was Barack not held up to ridicule, you had Tina sexualize Palin. That was Tina Fey, that was not in the script. No one wrote, "Palin hikes up her skirt to flash her leg." Tina did that on her own. She added many such touches and turned Palin into a joke. She did so intentionally and she did so out of spite and malice.
Jim: Her show got renewed.
Ava: Only because Kath & Kim is so wretched. I'm not joking. NBC owns a stake in it and they're too close to syndication to cancel it. But the show's a flop. It's had every chance in the world and it still can't hold onto the lead-in it gets from The Office. People would rather shut off their TVs for thirty minutes and come back for ER than sit through 30 Rock. It's a bomb.
Jim: Okay, we had pretty good participation. Another article we were trying to write that just wasn't working was about Roland Burris, who was finally given the oath last week. I'm pausing. Okay, I'm going to ask C.I. about this and we all agreed we'd close with this. I was pausing because Ava had to grab the note taking. C.I.'s "I Hate The War" went up Thursday and you can refer to it for further reading. One point C.I. made was that we did not endorse Roland Burris. That seems to be confusing to two drive-bys. We said seat Roland Burris. It's a point Stan attempted to get across as well. To have endorsed Burris, we would have needed to have lobbyied for him before Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed him. Once he was appointed, he was the Senator. Something the state's supreme court found and, finally, even Harry Reid and Dick Durbin had to admit. We called for the Senator to be seated. Now C.I. was working on the lobbying efforts as was Elaine. I assume Ava as well? Yeah, she's nodding. We noted Elaine and C.I.'s work and they noted it at their sites while it was going on. We forgot to include Ava. But the three of them were working members of Congress and the press advocating for Burris to be seated. And there was a funny -- I found it funny -- exchange at one point that I overheard.
C.I.: Barack's people wanted me to note that he was for Roland Burris. He'd done a 360 and completely flipped. He originally was against it. He said Burris shouldn't be seated. When the pressure was applied -- and especially the reaction of the African-American community -- he flipped. And a friend on Barack's transition team was yelling at me that I had to note the flip because I had called him out -- Barack out -- for saying Burris shouldn't be seated.
Jim: And C.I. refused to note it. And was yelling back.
C.I.: The argument I made -- there were numerous arguments in the community -- but the one I made was, Barack's been elected president. It is no longer his seat. He doesn't have any say over it. So it would be stupid for me, having made that argument, to then begin saying, "Roland Burris should be seated and Barack Obama thinks so!" I've already said Barack's opinion on this is meaningless. And it is. And if I had wanted to really go to town back then, I could have pointed out that he promised the people of Illinois he wouldn't run for president and would serve out his term which he did not do so having broken that promise, his actions having resulted in the need for an appointment, he should really keep his nose out of it.
Jim: And I wanted that story shared for a few reasons and you can consider this "Jim grabs the closing thoughts." You need to have to standards. You need to stand for something you believe in. You can't just stand for it when it's popular or when it's fun or easy. And we're not seeing that in the left today. It's already been pointed out how we supposedly hate stage managed press conferences but the left is refusing to call out Barack's use of them. We're seeing dozens and dozens of examples of that and its really disgusting. The conversation I overheard took place over speakerphone and the guy was yelling that if C.I. wants Burris seated, well Barack saying he should be seated will help because Barack's so popular. And C.I.'s shooting back, paraphrase, 'My whole point was it's not Barack's business. That was my point when he was against Burris. To now argue that we need to listen to Barack, just because we now agree, on the replacement would undermine everything I've argued." Every week we do an editorial here and there are some that we've outgrown, there are some that we probably wouldn't recognize. But we've never lied. I can't figure out what the hell has gone wrong with The New York Times' editorial board but not only are the editorials badly written, they're badly argued. C.I. noted a shameful editorial recently. We should have noted it here. The paper was advocating for more resources for the national census. Fine. Not a bad position to take. But how do you argue that case? The paper decided to argue it as Democrats benefit from a solid census so they should argue for better funding. How do you do that and, when its census time next, argue with a straight face if it's a Republican president or Republican controlled Congress? That editorial was an embarrassment and it also risked turning the census -- which is nothing but raw data -- into a partisan issue when it shouldn't be that at all. A paper allowed a one-sided and short-sighted editorial to be published on what should have been a non-political issue. And the media watchdogs ignored it, didn't call it out. That was the topic of the piece I was advocating for. So that's the roundtable. We're going to try to come up with some short features and an editorial. Don't be surprised if this reads like the Ava and C.I. edition because they will have three pieces they wrote this week.
But her entire career has made it so very difficult because she's such a pathetic, vain, little girl.
This is the woman who wanted sympathy and compassion for making public accusations -- but not bringing charges -- against a historian. Naomi wanted the world's sympathy. She just didn't appear to want justice.
What she really did was smear someone's name by publicly branding the criminal but refusing to take the matter to court. Of course, in a court of law, Naomi Wolf might not come off so sympathetic or, for that matter, at all believable.
This is the woman who stood by while another woman was gang-raped, after all.
'Feminist' Naomi was oh so very happy to garner attention and sympathy at the start of this decade as she accused the historian of having made a pass. The horror. How ever did Big Hair survive?
Strangely -- or maybe not so -- while painting herself as the ultimate victim, she never felt the need to talk about her days of gang rape.
Here's how Naomi writes it in her tawdry book Promiscuities (page 178):
When the woman came to, she fled. The joke, as I recall (and my memory of this episode fades in and out of focus), was that she had escaped so fast that her shoes remained. Someone had put her red high-heeled pumps on the wood mantel of the fireplace, next to the collection of beer cans from around the world.
The guys and I were friends. Over breakfast, they did not hide the story from me or from the other girlfriends who stayed the night.
You can read on in vain for the moment where Naomi Wolf turns her prince charmings into the police, where she alerts the authorities or, for that matter, where she shows a damn bit of sympathy for the victim.
The incident took place in 1979 and, no surprise with Big Hair, the incident's all about Naomi. To have spoken out (then) would have been to be called a, as she so scholarly puts it, "lesbo."
That's the biggest insult in the world to Naomi Wolf and why she is known as the most anti-lesbian feminist poser in the US. Search in vain for any supportive statements Wolf has ever made for feminists who are lesbians. You'll never find sympathy for the gang-rape victim and you'll never find any show of solidarity with lesbians.
Big Hair is still, and will always be, the little girl laughing with the boys at the young woman who passed out and was gang-raped. That's Naomi Wolf. Not a feminist, not even pro-woman. Just a cheap, little girl striving for Daddy's love and approval (she didn't get it as child, she'll never get it as an adult).
The joke, as we know, is Naomi Wolf.
We sometimes have hopes for her -- that she'll grow the hell up, but she never fails to amuse as she attempts to redefine a feminist movement into some sort of children's picture book: Naomi Wolf & The Seven Men.
All of the above and much more is the sort of thing real feminist discuss when Naomi Wolf's name comes up. Sometimes we'll toss out how embarrassing her decision to engage in a catfight with an anti-feminist during the 90s was and how, the next time she does such a thing and shows off all her big-haired ignorance, she's on her own. But it's the sort of thing feminists discuss together and normally don't make public.
"I have to say I can't go over the silliness of the objection of Ms. Siskind and of whoever is contacting Ms. magazine," declared Naomi Wolf last week on CNN looking like Delta Burke right before Designing Women dumped her from the cast.
Oh, we're sorry. Is that not fair? Is it not fair to notice Esquire's 'Feminist We Love' from the 90s, the pin-up, has started packing on the pounds?
You know what else isn't fair? Trying to smear someone on national television.
"Although I'm interested in knowing who funds her blog," batty Naomi Wolf hissed, trying to start conspiracy talk, "because mostly what I'm seeing is attacks on Obama and derision of Obama hero worship and right now we know that you know the right wing is very, very skillful at funding kind of voices of dissent that look like something else."
Whose blog, you big-haired idiot?
Amy Siskind blogs at The Daily Beast. As two who have long known Tina Brown, we take exception at the accusation that Tina's receiving right-wing funding. We were speaking about Naomi's little stunt with a feminist of color, a famous poet (Naomi will know who we mean), and she explained to us that she thought Naomi was yet again "flaunting" her ignorance.
Yes, Amy Siskind blogs at Tina's The Daily Beast, but Naomi Wolf is an idiot (and an academic cheat -- we'll get to it). "I think she means," our poet explained, "that women's group."
The New Agenda.
No, it is not right-wing funded (nor is The New Agenda a blog, it's an organization). It is grass-roots funded and there's not a feminist worth her salt that doesn't know that and know the same of other groups that sprung up during and following Hillary Clinton's run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. These groups sprung up because feminist 'leaders' and feminist organizations failed. Repeatedly.
Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan did defend Hillary Clinton loudly at the start of 2008. They were both wrongly called racists (Naomi Wolf is the racist in the feminist movement, ask any feminist of color) and both turned tail and ran instead of standing up. In fairness to Gloria, there was no organizational support for her. Non-feminists showed up all over with astro-turf calling her racists, suggesting she was racists, stating she didn't speak for them. (The astro-turf campaign can be traced to Melissa Harris Lacewell. She led it, she often edited pieces and, in at least one instance, wrote a slam that a student passed off as her own.)
The feminist movement was caught by surprise. We won't blame anyone for that. Gloria wrote an essay arguing for all women, arguing that all women matter and it was deliberately misinterpreted and said to argue "White women are more important than a Black man." It was nonsense. (Not the least because no "Black" man was running in the Democratic primary -- Barack is bi-racial.) It was an attempt to shut Gloria up because Hillary must not be defended and Gloria Steinem's name stood for something. So it was time to take her out, to hit her with the biggest piece of lumber they could find and send a message to all women that they would be next.
It worked too.
It's worth examing why it worked.
One reason is because Gloria can't defend herself. She's never been able to.
She can stand up for anyone else but she can't stand up for herself. It goes to the fact that she's never realized how tremendous she is.
So the response has always been that the rest of us rush to defend her.
We bring that up because that never needs to happen again.
That's not "Blame Gloria." Gloria is who she is and she led the movement very well. Her own quirks allowed an investing in her that acted as a bonding for many of us.
It worked at the time and it worked very well.
But it won't work in the future. We now need leaders who will stand up for themselves as much as they will the movement.
If ever there was a time to miss Ellen Willis, it was in 2008. The stunts that were pulled, including falsely calling Gloria a racist (or falsely calling Robin one), were a replay of the tail end of the sixties. It was the same attack tactics the New Left males (and some women) used in attempts to pull off support for feminism back then. Ellen called that crap out in real time (loudly) and we needed another Ellen in 2008.
We saw the same "see how they run like pigs from a gun"mentality. The mentality that anti-feminist Robert Scheer was hoping for (he was among those attacking Gloria). They didn't just play mean, they played dirty. And they knew from the past that a charge of racism -- even a false one -- would cause support to pause.
That's what they needed, a pause. While a strong response was not formulated, Harris Lacewell and her New Hampshire 'students' were launching the astro-turf campaign that looked genuine. And Scheer and Robert Parry were attacking Gloria Steinem.
Silence was the response from the feminist movement.
Now Robin Morgan wrote an angry, impassioned, marvelous, intense rebuttal that stands among the best things she has ever written. It was powerful and, had it come earlier, it might have accomplished something.
The feminist movement failed. That goes to leaders (and 'leaders') and it goes to organizations.
Week after week, we were forced here to document the antics of Bill Moyers. We would hear from friends (big name feminists) saying we had to tackle it again and again and again . . . Now we don't care to watch the show. By Friday night, we're exhausted. We've been around the country speaking, we're headed home Saturday morning where (most weekends) we will be until Monday morning when we're flying out again. So we're not that keen to watch any Friday show regularly. But we'd watch because we did agree it was important to document what was going on.
Week after week, Bill Moyers made the Democratic Party primary about race. He did that over and over. It was time to speak of 'historic' and 'historic' was always that a "Black" man was running. It was never 'historic' to Bill that a woman was running. Never. And we called it out and we called it out and we waited for someone else to join us in speaking out.
They never did.
Why was that?
Because the movement split on Hillary and because an actual movement, the feminist movement, wasn't up to fighting the marketing. Feminists have no real access to the media unless they do like Naomi last week and whore themselves out to men.
FAIR's CounterSpin never bothers to feature feminists. A weekly radio show. No feminist guests. They don't bother to try to have an equal number of male and female guests either, but they never feel the need to explore feminism. Democracy Now? With a host who chose to publish in Larry F**nt's H**ler magazine, you know feminists don't stand a shot. A show that airs five days a week for an hour manages to offer two to three feminist segments a year. And wants applause for that. List the shows you listen to or watch, bring in PBS, find an outlet that addresses feminism. Bill Moyers and the boys don't like it. Now find a magazine. The Progressive features which feminist columnist? None. (Kate Clinton's a humor columnist. We like her but her columns in 2008 was all about attacking the woman -- be it Hillary or Palin.) In These Times? Susan J. Douglas offers a feminist take on the media. And apparently that 12 times a year column is all that's needed. (Not a slap at Douglas.) Katha Pollitt does something similar at The Nation. Although, as she admits, she finds it 'feminist' to not call out sexism during presidential election years. Now 2008 finally saw an interest in feminism from Panhandle and Real Media media. When did that take place?
When McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. Suddenly, it was "McSexist" and, goodness, the whole world was interested in sexism. When Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Davy Shuster and assorted others were launching daily sexist attacks against Hillary, no one wanted to hear from feminists.
There was money to be made in smearing women -- be it Hillary or Sarah. A lot of money grubbers stepped forward.
Naomi Wolf was an East Coast contingent in the praise Barack and smear Hillary crowd. The nutty Naomi, who first saw Jesus and then Karl Marx, spent most of 2008 issuing the-sky-is-falling warnings that made her sound more deranged than Alvy Singer when he's offering his JFK conspiracy theory. Erica Jong informed the world Naomi had to go on valium just to make it through the 2008 elections. Yes, she truly went that nuts. One fears for her child and one hopes Naomi seeks out the drug treatment she so desperately needs.
While Gloria and Robin were endorsing Hillary, Naomi was endorsing Barack -- a fact CNN should have disclosed to their viewers last week. That February endorsement ("Why Barack Obama Got My Vote") should have been disclosed. Especially considering that Naomi wanted, last week, to present Barack as a feminist:
I think many of Obama's policies obviously are good for women and children and families whether its raising the minimum wage, shoring up social security cause women are disproportionately elderly and impovrished uh supporting laws against violence against women ensuring that women will have choice on their reproductive lives and especially in an imploding economy your last segment was about record foreclosures.
None of the above made it into "Why Barack Obama Got My Vote." Feminist issues weren't even addressed. She finally alluded to them in a paragraph 32 of her 32 paragraph endrosement. Apparently, that's what a 'feminist' does. She ignores feminist issues for 31 paragraphs when endorsing a candidate and then tosses out some unsupported hogwash ("the man is a feminist") in her final paragraph. In a single sentence of her final paragraph, mind you. 'Feminist' Naomi, thinks feminist issues rate a single sentence.
In September, she'd take to typing up "Sarah 'Evita' Palin," and, no, that's not feminism either. (For the record, the musical Evita is one of the most sexist Broadway hits in the second half of the 20th century.)
By September, the feminist leaders and 'leaders' that couldn't stick up for Hillary against sexism (Naomi Wolf never called out the sexism against Hillary and regularly laughed at sexist jokes about Hillary by several PIG attorneys -- Naomi will know exactly which men we mean) were attacking Sarah Palin.
For Robin, it was because she can't stand to be called racist (despite knowing that it was a false charge). For Gloria, it was because she always schills for the Democratic Party (always has, always will, she may have cried tears in Miami but she was on board immediately after and she was undermining women -- and supporting the male power structure -- at the 1976 convention). Gloria at least had the sense to grasp she'd gone too far.
Bean counters only care about this coming election. Their elevation destroyed the Democratic Party (no, it is not 'back' -- it's benefitting from a repulsion over the last eight years). The feminist movement is a centuries old movement. It will be here one hundred years from now and it will be around even after that. Point?
One hundred years from now, feminists aren't going to give a s**t about some bi-racial male's first. They're not going to dance around reality over some so-called feel good, Field Of Dreams candidate. They're going to look at 2008 in disgust. They're not going to believe what women did to each other and did to each other to promote a man.
It wasn't about combatting racism. Were that the case, the same 'leaders' would have supported the Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente ticket. Instead feminist 'leaders' ignored that ticket. They ignored Cynthia and Rosa, praised Barack daily and ripped apart Sarah Palin with sexist comments and with outright lies.
One hundred years from now this will not be seen as a proud moment. Tomorrow's feminists won't be outrage that today's feminist 'leaders' disagreed with Palin (they will be outraged that they ignored McKinney's presidential run). But they will be furious that today's 'leaders' thought they could fight Palin by lying about her. And that they would lie to please men. That alleged feminists would sell themselves out -- would WHORE themselves out -- for men will be shocking.
Naomi's always been willing to shine up to the boys. Here she is expalining how her friend Cara wants to return to work but Cara's husband Sam says no because he doesn't want them to pay for child care and didn't want to assume any of the child care duties himself (misconceptions, page 249):
Sam wasn't a bad guy. And we did not know what it felt like from his point of view. He was like a lot of the other nice guys in our circle: they believed in fairness. They were men who believed in the values of feminism and wanted to raise their daughters in a world that would be fair to them. They loved their wives. It was just that the child care sacrifice wasn't going to come out of their professional chit pile.
No, Big Hair, Sam is a "bad guy." You can find men who batter women that will tell you they love those women. Love doesn't have a damn thing to do with it. It's about control. And with Sam, it's about control as well. Offering lies and cover for men who abuse is a pattern with Naomi. Maybe they abuse by curtailing women's freedoms, maybe they abuse by gang-rape. Regardless of how they abuse, you can always find Naomi Wolf offering an excuse for them and rushing to assure that they're "good" guys.
For a man, she'll do anything. Women aren't so lucky. Women of color even less so. In Fire With Fire, Naomi decides the 'feminist' thing is to compare and contrast Victoria Woodhull (White) and Madame C.J. Walker (African-American) (pp. 164 - 166). She tells you both women are "power feminists" but, after that, the race is 'won' by Woodhull. Woodhull is "beautiful, sensual, charasmatic" and Walker is . . . well, Black.
It takes a special kind of racism to rave over the looks of a White woman you are supposedly comparing with an African-American woman and offer no praise on the latter woman's looks. Naomi Wolf's been trapped in the beauty myth for decades -- long before she ever stumbled upon the phrase.
The Beauty Myth, the 'book' that made her a 'name'. Parts of it are dead on arrival, others sparkle. Isn't it past time that Naomi gave credit where it's due? The parts that work in the book, she 'borrowed' from Judith N. Shklar.
All of the sparkling literary and historical critiques are ones Shklar built her lectures around. Naomi's largely gotten away with her 'borrowed' passages. People whisper about it and laugh about it, but few bother to call her out on it. Shklar is deceased but, too bad for Naomi, Shklar's The Faces Of Injustice (based on one set of lectures) came out in 1990, a year before The Beauty Myth and based on a series of lectures given in 1988. (Filled with examples Shklar's students -- including the famous political theorist who is the most vocal about Naomi's 'borrowing' -- can tell you were present for over a decade in the woman's lectures.)
The Faces Of Injustice is a masterpiece, one of the finest works of political theory published in the 1990s. (Disclosure, one of us -- C.I. -- knew Shklar and The Common Ills is named after one of Shklar's key phrases for what plagues societies. We both know Naomi -- and work hard to avoid her.) Shklar's book is the best sections of The Beauty Myth with none of the faltering moments where Naomi tries to think for herself.
Naomi Wolf is a fraud and a joke. Every few years, she reinvents herself and a number of feminists pull for her and pray this will be the incarnation that doesn't self-embarrass. Never happens.
On CNN she dreamed aloud, "Well maybe America's about to enter an outside-the-box era where we get that all our problems -- whether you're White, Black, male, female -- are collective problems and let's solve them together."
Together? It's a bit hard to come together when you're uninvited. Naomi's list leaves off lesbians and, again, that's a move she's repeatedly made. During her public catfight of the early nineties, she repeatedly dismissed her anti-feminist opponent with slurs about the woman's bi-sexuality. She thought it was funny and, certainly, many men laughed along with her. She never noticed the looks from women and, when confronted privately on it, she blew it off.
Yet she then wanted credit for her 'progressive' view of lesbians in 1997's Promiscuities which included such 'celebrations' of lesbians as this comparison between herself (a woman who slept with men) and Tonya (a woman who slept with women): "Tonya's attraction was to the illumination of sameness, mine was to that implicit in otherness." No, she didn't grasp how insulting that came off or how it backed up the Victorian 'enlightened' view of gays and lesbians as stunted adults.
"I think many of Obama's policies obviously are good for women and children and families," said Naomi because Naomi's just that way. This is the ridiculous woman who bored the world with 2001's misconceptions -- taking a fluffy, puffy 'feminist' look at the tragedies to be found in the to-nanny-or-not-to-nanny subset. That laughable book is why she had to move to a small publisher. Karma destroyed that 'picture perfect' marriage. It did not, however, bring Naomi back down to earth. Which is why she can lump women and children together and why she can operate as if all women are mothers or will become them.
During her bobble-head moments on CNN, Naomi would insist, "I'm so tired of these debates -- and it's not just CNN -- that are all symbol and no substance." She would insist that after floating her baseless smear against The New Agenda. Let's return to that smear because it was very telling.
Although I'm interested in knowing who funds her blog because mostly what I'm seeing is attacks on Obama and derision of Obama hero worship and right now we know that, you know, the right wing is very, very skillful at funding kind of voices of dissent that look like something else.
Naomi Wolf is seeing "derision of Obama hero worship" and that indicates "the right wing"? Yeah, it does if you're so damn stupid that you believe in hero worship to begin with. Adults aren't supposed to take part in hero worship. It's one of those things you leave behind in childhood. You're supposed to have grown the hell up and grasped reality. But for Naomi, "hero worship" is nothing to deride? For Naomi, it's supposed to pass as political 'maturity.'
That tells you the sorry state of her mind all these years later. Possibly junked out on Valium, she shows up on CNN to make a fool of herself. And that, dear readers, is all Naomi Wolf has ever been successful at.
"I've had my time in the kleig lights." Norma Desmond, there's a new crazed celeb in town.
They never did.
Why was that?
Because the movement split on Hillary. It's shocking and let's talk about some of the reasons the movement split.
In 2006, Jane Fonda was lauding Hillary for president publicly. In 2008, she would be making disgusting 'jokes' about Hillary and, after, trying to pretend she never made them.
The feminist movement needs to get a little stricter in its definition.
CODESTINK is not a feminist organization. It is an organization that women are the public face of. It is not a feminist organization. It is one that Jane Fonda ended 2008 with a fundraising plea for.
As we noted in 2007, we held her our tongues during CODESTINK's summer of 2006 fast and even participated because far be it from us to not do our part to end the illegal war. But we regularly offered cautionary notes.
An "Iraq snapshot" repeatedly cautioned that no one should start a fast without seeking medical advice first. Only after the snapshots repeatedly noted that did CODESTINK -- fast in progress -- finally get around to making that point.
If you're not getting it, no feminist organization today would ever encourage a fast.
Young women are under enough pressure, eating disorders are crippling for many women; therefore, it is idiotic and anti-woman for any group to promote a fast in the United States.
And it is anti-feminist and anti-woman to applaud the withering away of strength in women. That wasn't a two-day fast. It was disgusting and CODESTINK proved they were not about women with that fast. (They are about self-promotion as anyone who writes about them knows. Wally and Cedric once gave them a shout-out that resulted in five e-mails from CODESTINKERS all saying that this book or that project should have been promoted. Self-promotion is the theme of CODESTINK. A sixth e-mail complained that ___'s book was mentioned but no link for it was given.)
Iran is not a friendly nation for women. Iranian feminists fight for their rights. (And they make more advances when the US isn't making war rumbles.) CODESTINK repeatedly acts as a propaganda unit for Iran. Why they act that way, they can explain. But their failure to call out the realities of women's lives in Iran and their determination to misportray the nation goes beyond "No war on Iran!" to what can only be called state propaganda.
Neither Jodie Evans nor I-Need-Attention Benjamin are known as feminists nor have they ever done anything remotely feminist. But they have attacked women non-stop.
Lakshmi got at least one thing right early on, CODESTINK's bird dog campaign was sexist. At the time, we assumed that CODESTINK would expand to include others. John Edwards could not be a bird dogged senator because he was no longer in the Senate. But, as other senators stepped forward to run for president and CODESTINK ignored them, the group's hatred of women was rather obvious.
They were not calling out the illegal war, they were attempting to humiliate Hillary Clinton with I-Need-Attention even showing up in DC for one last bit of bullying when Hillary stood no chance at the nomination.
That's all CODESTINK is, a bunch of bullies.
They started out promising more but that's what they became.
Jodie always wanted to be a power player in Democratic circles but she always made a fool of herself and, as a result, had to buy her way into any campaign that gave her a for-show title. Medea wandered over to the Democratic Party after leaving the Communist Party (she did leave, right?) for the Green Party. All of that went a long way towards making people believe that the organization would focus on ending the illegal war and not attempt to become an organ for any political party or hacks for any politician's campaign.
But that's what happened. CODESTINK existed to attack Hillary and to fawn over Barack. (Jodie is said to have tapped into principle in her efforts to have Barack elected. Not a smart move for a woman who 'made' her money via marriage.)
We have called out Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and will do so again. But Nancy offers an interesting peek into CODESTINK. Nancy is against the illegal war. No matter what smear Benjamin may offer, Nancy Pelosi wants the Iraq War ended.
Could she do more? Absolutely, she could. And she needs to be pressured and she needs to be called out. But when Nancy was signaled out for so much CODESTINK 'action' (including sit and sleep-ins outside her home), we were told it was because Nancy knew the Iraq War was wrong and was doing nothing.
So what people should grasp is that it was wrong for Nancy to do that but, in CODESTINK's mind, okay for Barack to. This is the man who spent all of 2008 trying to rewrite history as if he were an anti-war Senator. He repeatedly lied that he was in the US Senate when he spoke out against the Iraq War. (It is a lie or it's a sign of insanity when someone repeatedly and publicly makes a demonstratively false claim.) He repeatedly gave the false impression that he got into the Senate and began attempting to end the illegal war. He did no such thing. He voted to support and fund the illegal war repeatedly after he entered the Senate in 2005. And where was CODESTINK?
When did they bird dog him?
There is no excuse for not bird dogging him. When confronted on that, some CODESTINK members have told us that he entered the Senate in 2005 so there wasn't time to bird dog him. Really? In three years, there was never time to call him out.
Strange because John McCain announced Sarah Palin was his running mate August 29th and September 3rd, Jodie and roll dog Medea were at the Republican convention heckling Palin during her speech (and issuing the press release). They also 'blogged' on it ("CODEPINK ACTIVISTS INTERRUPT SARAH PALIN'S RNC SPEECH AT THE SIDE OF THE STAGE!") and deleted numerous comments they disliked but allowed this to stand for days despite immediate complaints:
Woo-hoo! WAY TO GO, CODE PINK! Show that fucking breeder bitch and her retard baby that if she doesn't drop out of this race she's in for a thumping! Back to Alaska, you small-town loser!
That crap, by Youngstown Democrat, was posted on September 4th at 3:40 a.m. Beginning the morning of the 4th at 5:47 a.m., the blog's administrator began leaving pissy little comments (under "admin). "admin" began leaving pissy little messages to those who disagreed with CODESTINK and explaining she was deleting offensive comments. Offensive comments did not include Youngstown Democrat's quoted above. Despite repeated complaints, that comment stood and stood.
Finally, two days later (Sept. 6th, 12:41 p.m.) the administrator decided to delete Youngstown Democrat's comment and offered:
We made an initial error in judgment by posting a comment that was inappropriate- we have modified our comment policy and have decided to snip this comment thread as the submitted comments are now mostly repetitive and pointless. Thanks for your understanding!
No, we do not understand. And it is not okay. CODESTINK is disgusting trash. Only disgusting trash would allow a child to be picked upon. Only disgusting trash would allow a special-needs child to be called the r-word. "Initial error in judgment"? You have no judgment and no right to present yourselves as feminist because any woman who doesn't know it's wrong to mock a child -- let alone a special-needs child -- isn't a feminist. Isn't even a damn grown up, to be honest about it.
That is CODESTINK. Do not mistake them for feminists.
And while they bird dogged Nancy Pelosi (as they did Hillary). They never called out the Christ-child.
They never called out Harry Reid either even though it didn't take Nancy Pelosi pointing out (as she did to The San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board) that the obstruction to ending the illegal war was not coming from the House but from the Senate.
That would be the anti-choice Harry Reid. Pro-war, anti-choice. Were CODESTINK a feminist group, it would have bird dogged Reid who is the Senate Majority Leader. They never bird dogged him. They wanted to scream and hiss at Nancy but, even when it was clear where the logjam came from, they never went after Harry Reid.
CODESTINK is not a feminist organization. It should not be mistaken for one. It regularly villifies women in elected office while refusing to call out their male peers (peers many elected Democrats), it provides cover for foreign governments that are hostile to women and it pushes actions that no feminist of the last thirty years would ever push (fasting is only one example).
But as a woman fronted group, they were wrongly seen as feminists. And other women (ourselves included) wrongly listened to them as such.
Criticizing Hillary or Nancy doesn't make anyone a non-feminist. We've criticized both women and will do so again. We've also criticized many men. In fact, we've criticized more men in elected office than women. There's a reason for that, more men hold elected office in the United States. CODESTINK has regularly trashed Nancy, Hillary and Dianne Feinstein. Can they show us a list of (Democratic) men they've also held accountable?
No such list exists.
And feminists need to remember that the next time Jodie or Medea shows up in the media attempting to speak 'on behalf of women.'
CODESTINK made their goal to take out Hillary. They were far from alone in that goal but they and their members were the loudest women smearing Hillary.
Their actions went a long way towards destroying Hillary's chances because they supposedly represented women.
The Barack Lie to the public was that he was always against the Iraq War (you don't vote to fund what you're against and what you know is wrong, nor do you tell The New York Times in 2004 that you and the then occupant of the White House agree on Iraq if you're against the war). The Barack Lie in private was that the man was a Socialist. A secret Socialist, mind you.
And a number of dumb idiots (male and female) bought into that lie. (It's the lie Philip Maldari, still believing it in the summer of 2008, repeated on air.) Barack was a secret Socialist and he would reveal it at some point in the future -- if not via direct statement then possibly by a secret handshake?
In fairness to the idiots, the campaign cultivated that lie. They were aware of it (as early as March 2007) and they would offer little things -- never from Barack himself -- to keep that belief alive -- the political equivalent of "Paul Is Dead." Hillary is many things but a left-leaning Democrat will never win "leftist in the land" when competing with a supposed-Socialist. When the campaign really wanted to pimp that lie, they'd make a point to note that David Axlerod has a Socialist background and Barack picked him to run the campaign so what do you think that means, wink-wink. A number of idiots fell for it.
If you examine Barack's most ardent public supporters from early in the Democratic Party primary season, you'll be hard pressed to find a single Democrat among them. (To their credit, many of them realized before the primaries ended that Barack was no Socialist.) This is why, for example, non-Democrat Barbara Ehrenreich (she's a Socialist) not only came out in support of Barack but also attacked Hillary every chance she got.
There was never any popular movement behind Barack. That was always the lie. He had a wonderful advance team who hyped him like crazy. And they knew to offer freebies (foods and bands) to make sure crowds showed up. And the Socialist and Communist argument (pay attention here, if you heard this argument on TV, radio or print, whether they admitted it or not, the person making it was most likely a Socialist or Communist) that it was what the 'kids' wanted. The kids converted them to Barack! And the kids would do that across the country. And this lie made a number of wanna-bes rush to Barack because they wanted to be 'cool' as well.
If Barack had a movement behind him, the vote would not have been so close: 45.7% voted for McCain, 52.9% voted for Barack. Forget the millions and millions Barack spent (McCain stuck with public financing), if there was a movement behind him, he should have come in at 60% or higher. There was no movement, only marketing.