Sunday, August 29, 2010


Jim: Roundtable time and this'll be an Iraq roundtable. Our e-mail address is Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration.


Jim (Con't): Okay, Ty wants to note something right away.

Ty: If you have enjoyed the work Ava and C.I. have done here -- and at The Common Ills -- calling out the counter-insurgency gurus and their strategies, please check out this video. It's pointed and to the point and you will enjoy it.

Jim: Okay, now I'm moving to a topic Elaine's covered at her site:
Jim: (Con't) and she has been grappling with it. The issue? In Tuesday's snapshot, C.I. called out The Christian Science Monitor for repeating the lie -- in an editorial -- that peace activists spat on Vietnam veterans. C.I. called it out and began working behind the scenes to get what she termed "a blood libel" stricken. Elaine -- and others in the community -- tackled the issue online. I'm going to ask C.I. first if there's any comment?

C.I.: As you noted, I worked behind the scenes, offline, on this issue. The choice the news outlet made isn't one I would have ranked highest but I can live with it. I have no comment other than that.

Jim: Alright. So they print "a blood libel" about peace activists and, Elaine, what happens next?

Elaine: The editorial went up around 3:00 p.m. Tuesday and by 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, the blood libel was pulled from the editorial and they noted they had pulled a statement. They did not, however, issue a correction.

Jim: And while your concern is with the peace movement and with lies not being spread -- a noble concern, and that's C.I.'s as well -- mine's with journalism. I would argue that the paper had an obligation to issue a correction. You grappled with it on other terms and even tossed it out to your readers.

Elaine: Right. I did that. I understand what you're saying and agree on journalism points; however, in terms of what did happen? I'm just torn. I mean, I know C.I. worked behind the scenes and I know that the blood libel would have done even more damage --

Ruth: I am interrupting. I am doing so because I want to talk about the damage. If that had stood, if that libel had stood, what would have happened? Think about it for a little bit. Grasp that there are many times when the libel does get repeated and it does not matter as much. Why did it matter so much now?

Wally: Well if it had stood what we would have been left with was -- intentionally or not -- a clampdown. It would have clampeddown on criticism of the illegal war today. It would have -- and maybe it was intended this way -- have scared off criticism of today's illegal war.

Mike: They corrected it but I think they did run it as an attack on today's peace movement, I do believe that was the point.

Wally: And I think a strong case can be made for that. Especially if you go by the wording of the editorial.

Kat: What I want to point out is that C.I. was the first to call it out and in less than 15 hours after she called it, the statement got pulled. FAIR can't claim that kind of success ratio. Nor did FAIR even bother to write it up or comment on it in any way. And it was, C.I.'s correct, a blood libel. Where was the left 'leadership'? Snoozing as usual.

Elaine: That's an important point and I would argue that, especially offline, the credit for the removal goes to C.I. That's why I can live with what took place, I know the kind of work it took to get it pulled and it needed to be pulled so I'm glad that it was pulled. I applaud the work that went into that.

Jim: And those are valid points. I don't dismiss that. Last week, Barack was talking Iraq. It wasn't pretty.

Trina: He asserted that the Iraq War had made America safer. He actually pulled that Bush lie out and people did not call him out on it. He's such a damn liar. The Iraq War has inflamed tensions around the world. It did not make the country safer. The US service members stationed in Iraq did not make the US safer. That's reality.

Jim: Okay. Ruth, talk about that.

Ruth: Well it is appalling for the reasons that Trina just outlined. It is also appalling for historical reasons. Barack Obama is lying. And this is how they lie, this is how history lies, this is how wars get whitewashed.

Betty: I agree with Ruth and I think it's appalling how -- look around -- the so-called left it just letting it take place. The Nation, The Progressive, et al should be leading the way each day with a pushback on these lies. They are refusing to do so. They are failing and we can't afford it.

Jim: He speaks this week during prime time. About Iraq. Any thoughts on that?

Cedric: I agree with something C.I. wrote about that, how Barack just makes it worse for himself. I think that's very true. He's digging his grave by trying to happy talk Iraq.

Ann: Well, think about it, everytime someone tries to do that, they are exposed as liars by real life events. So I agree with C.I. as well on that. This is now an established pattern whether it's George W. Bush, John McCain, Joe Biden, Barack Obama or whomever.

Rebecca: And, to provide some context or something here, please note that the speech was only talked about after, after, polls started showing that the Iraq War was seen by a number of Americans as better in some way and with his low polling numbers he's desperate to grab onto something to lift his sinking boat. You saw that in yesterday's weekly address where he repeatedly interjected himself into Iraq.

Mike: Well if you're going to call the illegal war a success -- and I never would -- then I do think a lot of people who hear, watch or read about the speech will be asking why Bush isn't getting any credit? It's an illegal war but if Barack -- or Biden earlier -- are going to claim success, the next thing to rise up is the quesiton of, "Then why isn't Bush included?"

Cedric: I think that's true and I think that goes a long way towards explaining why his attempts at spinning are not working. At the same time, were he to include Bush in his speeches -- giving him credit as well -- it would only more expose how hollow Barack's claims are.

Stan: If I can change the topic a bit, Friday C.I. noted Jim Michaels and Mimi Hall (USA Today) report which included Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan as a voice of peace and supposedly Howard Dean as well. From the article:

Howard Dean, who rode a wave of anti-war sentiment to come close to capturing the 2004 Democratic nomination for president, says no one knows yet whether the war was worth it.
"If Iraq should, against the odds, turn into a liberal democracy, then we should say it was worth it," he says. "The problem is, the odds are against it."

Stan (Con't): Okay now here's C.I.'s commentary:
And that is why Howard Dean didn't deserve to be president. If Iraq becomes "a liberal democracy," he insists, then the ILLEGAL war would have been worth it. The rule of law isn't big for Howie. And that's why he's about as pertinent today as Walter Mondale. Fade Away, Howie, fade away. (And possibly "radiate," in a nod to Debbie Harry and Chris Stein's "Fade Away" song for Blondie's Parallel Lines.) The ends do not justify the means. Howard Dean is George W. Bush's ideological twin. Bush waived through warrant less, illegal spying on American citizens and, presumably, did so because he believed he was making the country safer. He destroyed our Constitutional rights, he might argue (in the old Vietnam analogy of the village) to save our Constitutional rights. He was tasked with upholding the law -- that was what he took an oath to do. But he apparently felt he was above the law and Howard Dean today embarrasses himself by arguing 'the ends justify the means.' Howard Dean was never the big anti-war opponent he was supposed to be. If he's even a footnote in history, it will be about how he was a trial run for the Barack campaign.

Stan (Con't): That's a really important point. Is the Iraq War wrong because it's illegal? I would say yes but I notice that Howard Dean won't do that. Howard Dean's a fake and a phoney.

Dona: Stan, I'm remembering in late 2004 and early 2005 at The Common Ills and how the community decided on Howard Dean as the DNC Chair. And how C.I. wasn't for Dean and noted that but noted that the community had endorsed him.

Stan: I thought of that as well. I think -- The key to me is that part about Barack's campaign being tried first with Dean. And I think that's true. And I think we were tricked and fooled and that we need to recognize that.

Jess: But what does that do? Awareness is great and I agree with Stan we need to know the enemy. But in terms of the takeaway from this, I don't know what it is because I'm not a Democrat and I see Dems catch on to this faker or that faker repeatedly but don't see any real change in the party itself. Am I missing something?

Marcia: I don't think so. I think you're exactly right. And we gave the Democrats control of both houses of Congress in the November 2006 elections and we didn't get an end to the wars then or since. We are lied to repeatedly. I do wonder about Jess' questions because I'm really not sure what comes about from this awareness.

Ava: Well I think -- and this may seem Pollyanish -- I think that each bit of awareness helps. Not only with politics but with everything. And I think that it helps the journey. Maybe the change comes -- the creation of a new political party possibly -- in my grandchildren's time but that we help build the foundation for that with our increased awareness.

Jim: Isaiah? You get the last word.

Isaiah: Well I don't know. I think Ava makes a point about the slowness of change, real change. I also get Marica's point. I don't think that they are in opposition to one another. But I don't know. I think there's a big push going on within the press right now to deceive us and portray the Iraq War as ended and as a success and neither of those two portrayals is correct.

Jim: And that is going to have to be the last word. This is a rush transcript.
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