Sunday, March 25, 2007

Truest statement of the week

"Call me crazy but it still gets my goat that the entire Iraq debate takes place without the input of the female majority."

-- RadioNation with Laura Flanders' Laura Flanders writing at The Huffington Post -- we don't call her crazy. We call it the truest statement of the week.

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
Another Sunday. And we thought this would be a quick edition.

Here's who helped with the writing of this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

In addition to the above we thank Rebecca for photo shopping illustrations and we thank Dallas for links, soundboard and more.

We actually planned short pieces. Those fell by the wayside.

Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Rebecca, Cedric, Elaine, Betty and Wally wrote this feature. We thank them for it.

Illustration credits for last week -- last week, we didn't do credit on the illustrations because they're usually us (core six) and Kat. But last week's illustrations were done while we were on the road in Texas so everyone helped and one special person helped a lot with one illustration, Betty's oldest son. C.I. reminded us that we needed to note that and I (Jim) intended to but we were all tired and lost the train of thought. Our apologies for forgetting and our apologies that our mistake led some of his friends to doubt that he helped out. He did. We thank him for that and we belatedly credit him for that.

Uh . . . what just happened to independent media? -- We don't know either. Ty said an e-mail's already come in asking what made one person so special that he got a personal reply from C.I.? If he'd written C.I. directly, he would have gotten that. He's a community member. He took it to us (as did many people). Ty mentioned it to C.I. C.I. knows the pledge gifts the person receives and that he also pledges for no gift each fund drive. Because C.I. promotes KPFA at The Common Ills, because the man is a community member of The Common Ills, because he gives "far more" than many do (C.I.: "Not implying he's rich but he is on a limited budget and he does go out of his way to show support for KPFA. For each year, it's probably somewhere at $300. I'm not implying he's bankrolling their budget. I am stating he's giving more, a lot more, than many in his situation would.") he got a personal apology.

Parody: Mud Flap Gals -- Elaine came up with the name sometime ago. (She says it was a joint creation between her, Trina and Trina's husband -- Trina and her husband are Mike's parents, Elaine and Mike are an item -- it's all in the family!) Gina has already called to tell us, "I love it!" Krista's at work but she swears Krista's going to love it as well. Our reservation? We think it's better if you start at the bottom and read up. We almost posted it that way but we decided to "keep it real." Ava and C.I. are singing "Never was a Mud Flap Gal" to the tune of Tori Amos' "Cornflake Girl" right now.

Brave voices -- Ave and C.I. walked mid-way through this. Or it felt like mid-way. Not because they wanted their names taken off (all pieces written by everyone listed at the top except for the TV review which is by Ava and C.I.) but because they wanted to do their TV review when we still thought we might finish kind of early. They note that David Swanson was supposed to be quoted in the feature. David Swanson was a brave voice. We'll note something by him next week. C.I. says the feature "borders on navel gazing and may be inside the area marked 'navel gazing'." This is where Mike would put in a smiley face. Our point (which C.I. and Ava get) was that those are Brave Voices. Not that we are. We don't have anything to lose by speaking out. With so much of the silence on this issue from the moment it was raised, that might not have been the case for others. Especially for John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton who started the week off and the ball rolling with a very strong critique.

I, Jenna: The Shop Around that failed -- Kat's asleep. We wish she were awake. We think this started with Jess and me (Jim) making jokes about how Jenna Bush was going to write a book. (Ty was off doing research for a class, so we can't count on him and Ava and C.I. both say, "Finish the damn thing.") If that's right, Kat then joined in with the jokes and Ava and C.I. reworded a joke to Bully Boy English and then began making up sentences that might be in a real book by Jenna Bush. At which point, Kat, Jess and I did as well. Then Dona screamed at all of us and we were confused. She said we were going to fast -- she had grabbed a pad of paper and pen and was trying to jot it down. We e-mailed what she managed to get down so everyone would know this was coming up. This was actually the quickest piece to write of everything here. It was also a lot of fun. Sadly, in the real book, Jenna intends to write about AIDs in a foreign country (five articles we read gave three different countries -- one just gave a continent: Africa; we believe it's set in Panama). Since we doubt Jenna would tell it like it is (we'd love to be wrong) we're doubting that her father's idiotic and harmful AIDs policies will be addressed. But if we were Jenna Bush, we'd want to write about someone else's life too.

Sad Sirota -- S-s-s-s-ad Sirota. It's as though he's taken the "Kick Me" sign and tatooted it to his skin. Just another faux left preaching the line of people matter . . . when in reality, shades of an old CK jeans commerical, nothing comes between him and his Congress.

The Stateside Army Book Club -- We knew we'd covered Joshua Key in some form. Dona was freaking out that there weren't enough short pieces. So we went with an e-mail exchange for this piece.

How we got to this point -- the nightmare of all nightmares. 6 hours. A great deal of fun. Until the editing and typing. Ava and C.I. typed this up -- C.I. grabbed one half, Ava the other, they typed, saved to disc -- believe that was Ava -- and then they merged the file and asked us, "Do you know how long this thing is?" We didn't. Jess pulled a lengthy section on the prison industrial complex. Some of which was written solely by him. His concern was that it was so late, we were all so tired and if he wasn't clear, he didn't want to hear about it. (This is a very big issue to his father.) When he pulled that Betty, Cedric and Rebecca pulled a section that was mainly their writing on race. Those were both healthy chunks of the original piece. (They pulled race because they'd transitioned from prison and felt there was no set up. Both sections are saved and can be used at a later date.) Even with that, the thing ran 16 single spaced pages.
Utilizing songs from Holly Near's new CD Show Up, we were able to justify pulling out two whole pages. Even after that, it needed trimming. There's a line C.I. intends to remove (read it right away if you want to know what it was) but that was supposed to be removed but who can remember when you're pulling like crazy. We ended up grabbing what we hoped were the strongest sections. Does it flow? Probably not. C.I. just said to point out that Dona and I worked on it until the end. I don't know if that's for blame or applause. (I'm joking.)

TV: "She's been dead for 10 years!" -- Dona was begging for short pieces, literally begging. Ava and C.I. said they could go short here because there wasn't a lot to say. I read over it and loved but felt there was more paragraph to it so, like a good editor (my call) or a ruthless pimp (Ava's term of endearment for me), I asked them to see if they could find something more to say because it just felt like it was missing something. They came back with the paragraph and it was perfect.

Honey, I bought the war! -- This is the editorial. It's short. ("Short pieces! Where are the short pieces!" hollered Dona.) It's to the point.

Truest statement of the week -- we appreciate the brave voices but an issue brewing for sometime in our e-mails and in e-mails to all sites in the community is where are the women discussing Iraq? In some cases (see Mud Flap Gals) they're intentionally leaving themselves out of the debate. In other cases (what Flander's noting), they are being left out of the debate. Not cutting it.

That's it. We'll see you next week.

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

Honey, I bought the war!


It can't be honestly said that in 2002, Democrats didn't hop on board (as a group) to support the illegal war. But as the out of power minority, they could always say, "It's his war." They've done that four years now.

If you take her at her public word, she thinks she sets can set "benchmarks" (without any teeth to them) and Bully Boy will be follow them. If most of the world see's Bully Boy as the drunk he was, they now get to meet enabler Pelosi.

Currently, Democrats in Congress are saying that the White House and Justice Department are lying about the firing of eight prosecuters. More recently, they took public testimony from Valerie Plame who was outed by the White House. Dianne Feinstein belives a prosecutor was removed due to a high reaching investigation that would have proven uncomfortable for many in the White House. The Supreme Court has said no to Guantanamo. Laws on the books say no to torture.

But for some strange reason, Pelosi's convinced that things will be different with her. (She sounds like one of those women who says, of a serial abuser, "He'd never lay a hand on me.")
Taking her at her word, Pelosi is far less smart than she's come off in the past.

He'll listen, he'll honor. That's what the Pelosi measure on Iraq depends upon. To believe that will happen, you have to buy that the same man who lied a nation into war wouldn't lie to continue the same war.

By approving the summental, by endorsing the privatiazion of Iraq's oil, by setting "benchmarks" the bully Boy can ingore and overide, House Democrats have taken Bully Boy's illegal war and made it their own.

Congratulations, Nancy Pelosi, you have just bought yourself some real estate. Sad news is the location's not all that hot and the property value is dropping.

Dennis Kucinich warned you of the consequences:

1) Keep the war going through the end of President Bush's term;
2) Provide money to fuel an attack on Iran;
3) Force the privatization of Iraqi oil;
4) Escalate the insurgency;
5) Increase the number of troops causalities in the middle of a civil war;
6) Increase the number of civilian causalities;
7) Create a demand for more troops;
8) Enforce cutbacks of the agenda of many in Congress because money that could be used for schools, healthcare, seniors and the environment would continue to be spent for war;
9) Forces the destabilization of the Middle East;
10) Erodes the public's confidence in Congress

[Illustration is Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts.]

TV: "She's been dead for 10 years!"

NBC offers a lot of nostalgia. If it weren't for the Bruckheimer franchise, they'd beat out CBS for network most looking backward. So watching Thursday night's Raines, we weren't at all surprised by the nagivation of old waters.

If you're a Friends fan, you may remember season five, "The One With Joey's Big Break." In that episode, Joey's landed a role in an independent film that he just knows will make millions because his character falls in love with a woman only to learn "She's been dead for 10 years."

That's how "Meet Juan Doe" played out. Raines is a police investigator and the episode climax was when he explained to guest star A Martinez that the "Juan Doe" Martinez shot, thinking "Juan Doe" was a a hit man, was actually A Martinez' son! The whole thing had a "She's been dead for 10 years!" feel to it.

Jeff Goldblum's the star -- which doesn't happen very often these days. He plays Michael Raines, a cop whose partner died and he's been haunted with flashes of death ever since. This is supposed to play like "visions" and people are supposed to think he's crazy. Those who remember the first season of Crossing Jordan when Jordan used to talk through/re-enact murders with her father to solve the case or, for that matter, any season of Profiler, will wonder about the "crazy" part?

What Raines appears to do is to have a conversation with his subconscious which manifests itself in the form of which ever victim of the week. At one point, in last week's show, it would be really helpful if Raines could speak Spanish. Were these really visions, Juan Doe could have fed him what to say. Instead, Juan Doe offers up the only line Raines remembers from two years of high school Spanish.

We're not arguing that he's the sanest person in the world, but his "visions," such as they are, are psychologically rooted. It's actually a variation on Columbo reconstructing the crime. The show suceeds or fails on how much interest there is in learning about the victim -- as opposed to solving the crime. For some viewers, this may all feel a bit too "special episode"ish.

The show's going to rise or fall based on how much time they give Madeleine Stowe's character. There are a number of reasons for that including, most obvious, she's playing the police psycholgist that Raines is seeing. Another obvious reason is that this is Stowe. Stowe's a strong actress, true, but her best moments have consistently been the moments not in the scripts. In Short Cuts (her finest performance), it's not the dialogue, it's the bits she came up with while inhabiting her character. That's true of all her performances, including the awful Unlawful Entry which she brings alive when the camera's anywhere near her. In Stowe, the show's very lucky to have an actress who's not of the Recite and Rote school. But on the three episodes we've seen, she's been wasted and seems to largely exist as the Captain Harold Dobey to Goldblum's Starsky & Hutch.

Goldblum's not a bad actor. He is an actor that shades and goes inner. There is honestly no way to build a successful TV show around just that. He can be part of a mix, he can be part of a team, but Goldblum solo lacks the intensity to pull in viewers. The casting of Stowe could have fixed that if everyone behind the camera grasped the problem. In Tenspeed and Brownshoe (which ABC toyed with years and years ago), he was the reactor, to Ben Vereen, over and over. He does it very well. But that's second banana or ensemble material. It's not anything that pulls an audience in.

Richard Gere, who is a complete opposite in every other way, also has that problem. That's why a match up with Debra Winger or Julia Roberts results in sparks and box office, but Gere carrying it all on his shoulders leads to his 'dancing' roles (King David and Mr. Jones) that send audiences running from the multi-plexes. There's no revelry in those characters because Gere is too inward to put it across convincingly. He needs a different type to bump up against (Edward Norton is another example of an outward actor, it doesn't have to be a female).

Watching Goldblum squint a great deal through three episodes, we were especially reminded of Gere -- both actors, through their eyes, convey a reluctance of their characters to engage with the world around them.

The show moves to Fridays this week and we'll note there are a plethora of worse programs you can watch on Fridays. The problems that exist most likely will not get fixed. That's because NBC was unsure of the show before they started airing it. For basic cable, it would probably be a treat. For network television, it's just too bland and lifeless. It's like watching a Fred Astair film that doesn't co-star Ginger Rogers, Audrey Hepburn or Judy Garland. You can appreciate Astair's talent, you don't gasp in horror, but the magic's just not there.

That pretty much sums up the problems with Raines. If it is cancelled, we'd strongly encourage the next Goldblum show not to build an entire program around Odyssey With Jeff. It's not going to work, it never will. And the proof of that currently airs on NBC -- where a concept has been mistaken for a fully realized television show.

How we got to this point


A few weeks back, you saw the way the right works and the way the left or 'left' enables them. We're referring to Ann Coulter's latest attack and the reaction. In what could have and should have been a no brainer -- calling hate speech out for what it was -- a number of commentators took to displaying their own homophobia. Ann Coulter offered a two-fer, an insult on John Edwards (Democratic presidential hopeful) and gay men. Even the ones who fancy themselves to be part of a Platonic debate went into knee jerk mode, completely sidestepping the attack on gay men and rushing in to offer the same stereotype the right works from: gay man equals Nancy.

Is it any wonder the country ended up in the mess it did?

For those who don't believe the world began in the campaign of 1992 and the Clinton bashing that followed, the rights actions of the last few decades aren't at all surprising. The attacks on the sixties, on women, on minorities echo the same attacks that followed WWII. The jazz age through WWII had led to many advances. To stick with the issue of gays (mainly because it makes the psuedo left as uncomfortable as it does many of the most demented on the right), there was a huge transformation going on for gays and lesbians. The response to that, post-WWII, was the governmental witch hunts. You hear McCarthyism tossed out but you rarely hear about the efforts to purge the government of gays and lesbians.

Whenever society becomes inclusive there are those who will project onto it, distort it and fan flames of anger to convince a group that their happiness is being prevented by another demographic group. And, in those periods, you will have some voices who will stand up against those demonizations but you have many others who are happy to accept them -- either due to 'expediency' for their own aims or out of their own personal phobias.

We saw it with the Coulter dust up when left and 'left' voices couldn't address the hate speech and immediately fell into (the right-wing) line insisting that John Edwards was being called "girly." What was so offensive about gay men to those making the leap that they had no time to tackle the issue of what Coulter was actually implying?

A question that became especially popular as last year drew to a close was: "Why did The New York Times' Michael Gordon skate by with a pass while Judith Miller got drummed out of journalism?" Why? Did everyone miss the never ending rounds of Bash the Bitch?

Miller wasn't the only reporter selling the war. She became the lighting rod and that had a lot to do with gender. More recently, some on the left went after Maureen Dowd, suggested that the unmarried Dowd needed to be put into a "home." And, if you bothered to think about it too often, you would grasp that Dowd has hardly been the topic of much of their 'analysis.' She certainly has received far fewer critiques than, for instance, Chris Matthews who, for the record, was being critiqued at that time but without any suggestion that he be sent off to a home.

When the left and 'left' focused on the 2000 campaign coverage, they found two villains. No surprise that in a landscape of many, they zeroed in on the 'evil queens' -- CeCi Connelly and Katharine Q. Seelye or, in 2004, the then-Jodi Wilgoren -- who was such 'fair game' that the then Campaign Desk (now CJR Daily) could distort what she actually said even when they printed a correction to the piece noting that they'd "missed" what a Washington Post reporter had said later in her article (Wilgoren had made the same point later in the same piece for The Times but no need to correct that even when it was pointed out to CJR Daily). It's why there seemed to be some legal requirement that the words "knee pads" preceed the name Elisabeth Bumiller.

We're not defending any of the work done by those women, we are noting, as did Jane Mayer in 2000, that there seemed to be a certain sexim at play when the critiques of women are so personal and the critiques of males aren't. We're not concerned with "tone" or "manners." We think "knee pads" and similar remarks can be quite funny -- when used across the board equally.

Why was it off with Miller's head while the ultimate War Pornographer Gordo lived to keep selling you the current illegal war and do the advanced marketing for a war on Iran? It goes to gender. You saw it flare up again when Senator Barbara Boxer made the perfectly sensible point that no one Condi Rice was related to was serving in the illegal war. The right falsely cried that was "sexist" and some on the left and "left" echoed the cry. (Nora Ephron, writing at The Huffington Post, grasped the reality far better than some of our supposed watchdogs.)

What does it all have to do with today? A lot, actually. Because just as elected Republicans weren't the only ones endorsing the illegal war in 2002, right-wing commentators haven't been the only ones advancing the attacks on anyone who's not a White, Straight, Male.

Recently, one of the commentators pulled a Nicky K, self-stroking that he, and he alone, was calling Chris Matthews out on his sexism. He was calling out Chris Matthews on sexism, when it suited his purposes. If Matthews was going after Barbara Boxer, he didn't give a damn. If Matthews was going after Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Edwards, suddenly lefty wanted us to all consider him an honorary feminist -- one who, no doubt, had he been around in July 1848, would have been found in Seneca Falls.

It's as though he was faced with his own personal Sophia Choice -- oh, the tragedy. Then there are the others, such as AlterPunk, who can't even offer token support to (some) women. AlterPunk's fond of lists (considering his prose abilities, we'd recommend he sticks to lists as well) and either women are completely absent or he tosses out a token name. AlterPunk loves to traffic in the attacks on women -- for instance, he repeated a lie about Naomi Wolf (that she was a "fashion consultant" for the Gore campaign -- he's never corrected it though it was pointed out after the book came out in hardcover) and he acted as megaphone to Ann Coulter by repeating all her distortions (without ever challenging them or refuting them) on Gloria Steinem. What a friend women hath in Lord Altherman.

Decisions are made by our left and "left" boys repeatedly about who gets defended from attacks and who gets attacked. Women are usually on the losing end of both. While we were in Texas, community member Martha e-mailed us wondering why the Mud Flap Gals were linked to by all the "biggies" and Maryscott O'Connor's My Left Wing was purged? Because the Mud Flap Gals don't challenge anything. They cover the bottom half of pop cult in a Me Talk Smutty Every Day, do-me-do-me-do-me! "feminism" kind of way. It's not threatening. There's no concern that a politician might be called out (unless abortion is under attack, there's little indication that the Mud Flap Gals even know the United States has a Congress). There's no chance that they will ever explore the topic of Iraq -- superficially or in depth -- the way O'Connor will. The Mud Flap Gals do the light dusting (apparently in tassles and g-string) and leave all the heavy lifting to actual women. They plan dance-offs in the "bars of NYC" -- it may not be Coyote, but it's Ugly. Tearing a page from the Gospel of Hugh Hefner, they reduce the concerns of women solely to birth control and abortion and sex. Linking to those types (and only those types) allow the 'boys' to play like they care about what women talk about -- so long as it's sex, sex, sex! They're like wordy Playboy centerfolds and no one need worry that their posts will go on any longer than a "Turn Ons & Turn Offs" sidebar.

When that happens that hurts women. It gives the impression that women can only write with a hint of nipple and it's as damaging as the 'victim of this week' column type of approach. Why aren't women featured more on the op-ed pages? Institutional sexism to be sure, but it's also true (check out some of our 'left' women at non-feminist magazines) that many bend over backwards to avoid addressing Iraq or anything weighty. That gives the impression that women can write sidebar topics, they can't tackle larger issues and, comedic columns aside, the expectation of a newspaper columnists is that they're going to tackle weighty issues.

Is it surprising to anyone that Nora Ephron's tackled the Iraq war (at The Huffington Post) more than Katha Pollitt? Only for those who fail to grasp that Pollitt's more and more cast herself as den mother to the Mud Flap Gals ("always learn from it!" which is frightening, in and of itself, for a woman her age).

So, to be fair to the boys, a lot of women work overtime to fit into the stereotypical roles alloted. They're the types who take a pass on Abu Ghraib until a spectator (female) shows up at a hearing with a book entitled C*nt. To answer Martha's question, someone like O'Connor who is seriously attempting to address what's going on in the world is just a little too scary.

If you've missed it, the White Straight Male tells you that a focus on anything other than the three things that define them is "identity politics." (Because, in their thinking, White Straight Male is universal and the measurement.) So the intentional highlighting of the Mud Flap Gals by boys with political blogs while purging O'Connor is part of the same process. "Oh, look what the girls are talking about now! They sure are funny! And sexy!" A woman like O'Connor scares the hell out of them.

If you can reduce women's point of view to nothing more than sex, sex, sex with birth control and abortion sometimes tossed in, you can futher the idea that women are a "niche group" -- most importantly, you reduce feminism to sex and reproductive issues. If you're peddling the myth that that the universal is White Straight Male, you don't want to ever recognize the complexities of feminism or that feminism is very much a world view that encompasses much more than sex.

I'm tired being smooth
I'm tired being nice
I'm tired of making it sound all pretty
I want you gone like the wind
I want you gone like the wind

"I Want You Gone Too" can be found on Holly Near's latest release Show Up. (The song is written by Laura Love -- not Laura Nyro as two articles in the mainstream press have already falsely claimed -- with addition words by Near.) Along with the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready To Make Nice," it strikes us an anthem.

A real left would be rising up in response to some of the nonsense that's taken hold in the last decades. (And a real left is.) But some of the left and 'left' have done a lot to enable the rise of the right-wing. They've pushed stereotypes or accepted them.

Gays and lesbians can be tossed on the woodpile and used for the purpose that resulted in the term Coulter used. Women can be reduced to sexual play things (and some will gladly play with themselves if it means attention). People of color can be rendered invisible. There's a 'larger' battle to fight. That's what the DLC (in all of it's Slimey Rosenberg forms) has long pushed. That's what the supposed progressive males (like a guest on Democracy Now! last week) push when they hail an outmoded family structure that less and less reflects the American people. In their more idealistic moments, some would put forward that they're tossing out the bathwater and saving the baby.

But what's really happening is that they're endorsing the right-wing's extremely limited view of the world. They aren't combatting it. They'll gladly argue that John Edwards is not gay (we didn't know that was even up for debate). They'll grab the homophobia in a remark by Coulter and rush to endorse homophobia by failing to call out hate speech, accepting the stereotype, and popularizing it even further.

What does that have to do with the illegal war? It's the same sort of calculation that allows them to go along. It's a path of no resistance. It takes you to the same destination but you get there a wee bit slower due to the asides and footnotes.

Why wasn't the gang rape and murder of Abeer called out? We heard a lot of talk last week about how 'the blogs' had led on the Alberto Gonzales scandal (that goes up to the White House).
Well, if true, could the blogs not have led on Abeer?

They might have if they gave a damn. But Abeer was bathwater. They've spent years now accepting the right-wing's unquestioning and uncritical embrace of the military, hiding behind it. They didn't, in November 2000, call out the notion put foward that not all voters were equal in a democracy. While votes went uncounted, while African-Americans were targeted at polling places, while a laughable ballot was accepted as "fair," they rushed to adopt the right-wing's talking point that military ballots deserved special status. They didn't call Joe Lieberman out for tossing the recount on Meet the Press by saying that all military ballots deserved to be counted.

It didn't matter if the ballot arrived by the deadline, it didn't matter if it followed the rules, it didn't matter if it had a postmark, count them all!

Like Baby Cries A Lot, Lieberman was pushing "special status" for 'service.' The last time a foreign country has attacked US soil was Pearl Harbor. We don't believe Iraq is a "noble cause" or that the nation's interest are "served" in that illegal war. We regret that anyone's been ordered over there and believe that all the deaths are a tragedy brought on by the crimes of the Bully Boy.

But when the right planted their jingoistic flags, the left and 'left' was more concerned about moving the flags over a little for their own comfort than in questioning the very premise being put forth. After you've wrapped yourself repeatedly around the crotch of the military, it's not very easy to call out US soldiers who gang raped and murdered.

So Abeer becomes the bath water, the one not defended, the one ignored. A lot's made of Dan Rather's enlistment speech on David Letterman but the truth is so many of the left and 'left' have made similar comments and acted from a similar premise.

The right-wing steering the conversation (and staking out the territory that too many willingly venture out onto) believes "Might makes right." They dismiss issues that question that notion whether it's the historical genocide of Native Americans or whether it's what's taking place in Iraq today.

So the rapes and murders in Iraq are things to ignore (the mainstream press tends to help out there frequently). And they utilize the slogan created to clamp down on dissent.

They accept the attacks by arguing fine points (or, in the case of 'friend of Susan Sontag' AlterPunk, deeming the piece in The New Yorker Sontag wrote that resulted in the trashing of Sontag "objectionable"). They fail to reject the very premise being advanced by the right.

And they've done that for decades now. The revisionist "We could have won! Our hands were tied!" b.s. about Vietnam wasn't just put forward and popularize by the right-wing. The war on Vietnam was illegal and damaging. That, by the eighties, this very obvious fact could be in dispute goes to the soft underbelly that's passed for far too much of the left. To argue that those serving in Vietnam were misused by their government is one thing, to put forward falsehoods about the very nature of that war is completely different and it's not "supporting" anything but lies and futher illegal wars.

That's one way the US ended up in another illegal war so quickly. The revisionism was pushed to overcome the "Vietnam syndrome." And it was very successful but only because so many refused to refute it. Just as they refuse to refute Iraq today. The right's not the only one arguing strategy and avoiding the issue of the nature of the illegal war itself.

And too many voices who could be strong voices are happy to address any other topic in the world except Iraq. Take the Pelosi measure that just passed in the House and ask yourselves why the left is supposed to applaud the privatization of Iraqi oil? (The bill's not worth applauding for many reasons, we're focusing on that aspect.) That's a left principle?

Well it is when you fail to explore the realities of Iraq -- when you fail to tell people what's really in the bill or what really happens in the illegal war. But when the left and 'left' reduce their current critique of Iraq to "too many US soldiers have died," that's what passes for a left critique.

One of the ones who was right about the illegal war, though AlterPunk didn't choose to include her (or any hers in his first column on the issue) was Molly Ivins. With Ivins' passing, if you thought the people publicly lamenting her death were going to pick up the torch and explore the illegal war, you learned quickly that was not to be the case.

There is a strong likelihood that Bully Boy will declare war on Iran before he leaves office (either because his term expires or because he's impeached). That's only possible due to the fact that so many who self-present as left have enlisted in the service of the military. Not in support of US service members, in support of the US military. Support of US service members would be calling out what was done to Abeer and her family -- silence indicates that you find it the norm and not worthy of comment.

Feminism, true feminism, always rejected the "Might Makes Right" sloganeering. Which is why feminism called out the military industrial complex (as well as other issues). It's a good thing, for Bully Boy's aims, that so many 'feminists' today are entralled with consumerism and pop culture. "Stab" attacked Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda last year (and Democracy Now! broadcast that shit this year) and it was shocking not only because she was basing her attack of GreenStone Media on what she'd learned from the Idiot Bellafante, it was shocking because she honestly seemed to think that either she or Katha Pollitt had, in any way, used their voices productively in 2006. Let's be really clear because apparently a marker needs to be set, if you're a feminist or claim to be and you've not written or said one damn word about Abeer, your claim to feminism is questionable.

2006 was Pollitt's worst year as a columnist (and 2007, BE HONEST, isn't shaping up to be a marked improvement). Stab seemed to think the fact that Pollitt was cantankerous qualified for feminism. We'd argue there have been as many grouchy women as men throughout history and an ill disposition is hardly feminism (but it does push a right-wing myth, way to go, Stab!). Abeer was the marker. Are you silent or do you call it out? (Off Our Backs and Robin Morgan called it out strongly in 2006. Though Jane Fonda's 2007 speech wasn't featured on Democracy Now! -- it was apparently more important to hear from Bill Moyers -- she also called out the war crimes against Abeer.)

And I feel the witch in my veins
I feel the mother in my shoe
I feel the scream in my soul
The blood as I sing the ancient blue
They burned in the millions
I still smell the fire in my grandma's hair
The war against women rages on
Beware of the fairytale
Sombody's mama, somebody's daughter
Somebody's jail
-- "Somebody's Jail" written by Holly Near, Show Up

That's feminism. Silence about a 14-year-old girl being gang raped and murdered by US soldiers isn't. Silence about Madre's report isn't feminism.

But before we get there, we've got a non-feminist friend who's agreed to read over this and he cautions that the very boys who will write their fiery e-mails have probably heard too much about feminism and are "on the verge of tuning out."

Bill Clinton.

Now they're interested. A number of the boys are big supporters of Bill Clinton. His policies aren't the focus of this article. But the treatment of him is very much about how the right-wing demonized women and installed Bully Boy -- with the help of the boys. The boys are very aggressive as they maintain that it won't happen again, what was done to Clinton (or Al Gore) but, despite writing about little else for years, they still don't appear to grasp what went down.

They can tell you incidents. They can tell you smears. They can defend Clinton against smears, but they're not too interested in refuting the smears or addressing what the basis was.

Bill Clinton was "soft." That was the right's easiest critique. The town halls were ridiculed as much as Hillary Clinton's listening tour in 2000. Not for whether or not a real exchange was taking place but because the idea of listening was something to be ridiculed and dismissed. It was "soft." It was "womanly." They couldn't have a Bully Boy who prides himself on ignoring the people he's supposed to be serving without first attacking the very notion of listening.

In refuting the "soft" claims (which included that Clinton was "womanly" in his desires), some rushed, in real time, and some rush, currently, to refute that Clinton isn't in any way, "soft." They don't challenge the premise, they accept that a leader -- a real one -- doesn't listen. (Clinton may have accepted it as well as evidenced by his claim that the American people prefer someone who is "strong but wrong" to 'weak but right' -- a belief that appears to be driving Hillary Clinton's current presidential campaign.) The right truly has engaged in a war of attrition and when our voices have been so weak that they've rushed to refute the charges while accepting the premise behind the attacks, that goes a long way to explaining how the US ended up at war with Iraq and may next add Iran to the list.

The "sixties" brought forward many developments and have been under attack ever since. When those advances aren't defended but accepted because some 'brave' voice considers same-sex sexuality 'icky,' or thinks people of color need to stop 'complaining,' or think the macho high they've lived on for years is somehow reflective of the country, the whole nation takes a giant leap backward.

Last week, a number of us heard an interview (that wasn't about Iraq though it was promoted that way, even in the introduction to the interview) and heard about how Ann Richards was tagged as a lesbian by the Bully Boy in his campaign to become governor of Texas. It was good that it could be addressed even though the person bringing it up seemed to have an aversion to lesbians judging by his statements and apparent discomfort (one wonders whether he grasped he was being interview by an openly gay man and an out lesbian?). Possibly the discomfort accounted for his errors. He seemed to suggest a whispering campaign took place. He laughably noted that this was in "coffee houses" in East Texas. It was in East Texas. It wasn't in coffee house. (The only real coffee house in most of East Texas at that time was run by a woman divorcing a Texas rep then campaigning for office and denying that they were divorcing.) It wasn't whispered, it was openly discussed. It was leafleted. Church parking lots and some parking lots at Trade Days in Canton, Texas were leafeted with a page proclaiming Ann Richards a lesbian. The community has many Texas members and we heard this story long before the guest discussed it (poorly) on the radio last week.

That's how it works, a woman is a lesbian and a man is girly. Coulter tried to up the formula and, the more we think about the 'left' reaction, the more surprised we are since they apparently were unaware that the right has long attempted to portray Hillary Clinton as a lesbian (with plenty of hate speech tossed into their presentations). And how it's worked on the left and 'left' far too often is accept that premise (that, for instance, gay = bad) while denying it's true about whichever candidate this election cycle.

Last week, Friday, the Online, Latter Day Dylan was pushing Al Gore (again) and pimping so hard he was fawning over 'civility' and he scraped the bottom of the barrell. We heard about it in e-mails from Texas community members and Texas readers of this site. Ralph Hall was so courtly? Really because Online was the only one who saw it that way. Forget that Al Gore and Ralph Hall's politics often merged when both served in Congress, the idea of praising a man like Ralph Hall -- praise from what one called "The Democrat's Democrat" -- was shocking because of how ignorant it was.

It was ignorant. Ralph Hall has openly attacked the rights of gays and lesbians (their very existance from one 2002 interview that aired on KLTV). More importantly for Online Latter Day Dylan, the 'courtly' days were no where to be found before Bill Clinton was elected. Hall may have lathered it on about Gore last week but the reality is Hall didn't associate with the Democratic Party (which he was still a part of) during the 1992 campaign. In fact, he so undermined the campaign that one consultant had no qualms about telling a county headquarters to pull the sticks off Hall's yard signs and use them for Clinton-Gore yard signs when they ran out one weekend in September 1992.

Online Latter Day Dylan wrote: "The courtesy of [John] Warner and [Ralph] Hall recalled an earlier time in our politics, before the Inhofe wing of their party defined so much of modern Republicanism--and before the criminals of our 'mainstream press corps' began their long, ugly war on Gore's character." Well let's see, we're told that Hall distanced himself from the campaign, that he refused to show up at Ron Brown's much publicized appearance in Tyler, Texas, that, as we were told on the phone Saturday, "I couldn't begin to list everything he did to undermine the Clinton-Gore ticket," we'd prefer the free for all today because it's quite a bit more honest -- as was Hall's crossing over to the Republican Party when Bully Boy came to power.

But Mr. I'm Not Baking Cupcakes! because he's so serious about the current state of politics chooses to write about Hall. It has no basis in reality. It could have been written by Joe Klein -- and we'd suggest the next time the urge hits him, he go and bake cupcakes --because it's not concerned with reality, it's just concerned with tone. His fellow was warmly greeted and Online Latter Day Dylan felt the need to turn courtly. What a suiter.

But not helping the left. In fairness, the lack of support for the top of Hall's own party (then party) happened B.C. -- before Bill Clinton and Online Latter Day thinks the modern world began on or shortly before Bill Clinton became president. Regardless, he should be aware of statements Hall has repeatedly made such as this, "The country is at war. When the country is at war you need to support the president. Some of my fellow congressman have not been doing that." Still think he's courtly? Do most "courtly" people rush to defend the "right" of a 14-year-old girl to dance naked? Hall did that. He also brags about opposing every minimum wage proposal since he entered Congress. (If he had to work a real job and didn't have trips paid for by the likes of Jack Abramoff, he might feel differently.)

But Online Latter Day Dylan booted up that morning not to service the left, he did so to service Al Gore. Therefore, he could praise Ralph Hall, the same Ralph Hall who tars and feathers those in Congress who question (not just oppose, question) the illegal war.

Again, make some cupcakes next time, everyone will be a lot better off. That's the sort of crap that gets served up when you're pushing a personality (at all costs) and not addressing reality. Save your candidate (or former candidate) at all costs, regardless of what damage you do.

February 11th, we ran a feature entitled "Women in the military." While we're glad others have recently picked up the topic (even if they were weak ass about it like The New York Times), this is apparently another topic we're not supposed to spend too much time on. It can get a little more attention than Abeer (which isn't saying all that much -- if you missed it, there was a development last week -- another soldier confessed ), but not much.

Why don't they get picked up? Because too many have spent too long trying to prove their "bonafides" and too many are silent. We can get questioning of the way the battles are fought and "bravery" is supposed to be the few who question the war's legality. But from most, we get no discussions on the war itself, on what is actually happening, on the reality of the house raids, on the reality of the rapes, . . .

And while avoiding reality certainly allows the illegal war to drag on, it also makes it all the more likely that Iran moves from potential target to latest battlefield.

Returning to MADRE, they released a report "Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq" (which can be read in full in PDF format or, by sections, in HTML) that didn't a great deal of attention, certainly not the attention it warranted.
(You can read C.I.'s commentaries: " Wednesday, section one ("Towards Gender Apartheid in Iraq") was noted, Thursday, section II, "Iraq's Other War: Imposing Theocracy Through Gender-Based." Section III is "The Rise of US-Backed Death Squads" was noted Friday, section four, "Violence Against Women Within Families" was noted Monday and yesterday part five is "Gender War, Civil War," part six is "Gender-Based Violence Against Men," and part seven "Violence Against Women in Detention"; and "Conclusion: Standing With Iraqi Women In A Time Of War.") The report makes it very clear that what's going on Iraq didn't just happen, it resulted not just from US intervention but from US planning. As women are targeted (especially professional women and lesbians), as they are raped, as they are murdered, where is the outcry? At this point, we might settle for just a raised eye brow.

But you can't have an outcry when so much of the left and the 'left' are bound and determined to go beyond empathy for US service members put on a battlefied as a result of lies and become the biggest cheerleaders for the military industrial complex you can find. We don't think they're all Hawks for the Left. We do think that due to the attrition on the part of the right, the continued assault, they've long ago given up. They'll fight 'til their dying breath for Al Gore but they're not able to use the same energy to preserve anything the left once stood for.

The Stateside Army Book Club

A possible explanation of the backstory to recent events.


to: George
from: Chris
OMG, I'm on page 44 where this Marine's daughter goes to an Army recruiting center and her father comes in and drags her out saying, "There is no goddamn way that any daughter of mine is joining the fucking army." I love this book!

to: Chris
from: George
Dude, you JUST DON'T KNOW-OW-OW! Wait till you get to page 61 when he's in Ramadi.
Fright back at ya!

to: George
from: Chris
You were SO right. And page 77, where Joshua Key's rigging up the makeshift shower, he is smart! I can't wait to see how this ends!

to: Chris
from: George
Don't take this the wrong way, I'm not like drooling over Joshua Key or anything, but he's like really smart and the more pages I read of The Deserter's Tale, the more I want to meet him.

to: George
from: Chris
I get what you're saying. I was just like that on John Grisham after I read The Client. My buddy Mac was the same way after he read Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm.

to: Chris
from: George

to: George
from: Chris
Do you ever wonder what it would be like to meet Joshua Key?

to: Chris
from: George
Oh dude, all the time!!!!! There are so many things I'd like to ask him. Or just tell him how much his book moved me. I'm on page 194, where he's about to go underground. I can't wait to see how this turns out!

to: George
from: Chris
Dude, he goes to Canada. This is a true story. Don't you follow the news?

to: Chris
from: George
My bad.

to: George
from: Chris
Hey, my buddy Mac says we should try to meet Key. You up for it?

to: Chris
from: George
Does a horse crap standing up? Hell yeah! But how? I mean, he might just think we were silly groupies. I don't want to be going into anything makes me less of a man, you know?

to: George
from: Chris
I feel ya. Let me toss it around and sleep on it.

to: George
from: Chris
Mac just said we should all go to Canada. He says the three of us should find out where Key lives and we can pose as police because Canadians are so laid back they don't give two shits about impersonating an officer.

to: Chris
from: George
Dude. That HAS to be true. Sure, count me in. When do I start packing?

to: George
from: Chris
AH-SUM! Right now. Mac says he's up for it and we should leave right away. Dude, this is so awesome!

to: Chris
from: George
Word. To the father. I'm on it. Pick me up in half an hour.

Sad Sirota


Is there anyone sadder than David Sirota?

Like the troll you just can't ban, he's now hollering "conspiracy theorist" at people who've stated that Barbara Lee wasn't allowed to offer an amendment to the Pelosi measure that passed Friday (and let the Dems buy the illegal war). Al Franken's Sirota wants to tell you only conspiracy theorists believe this. Well he is Al Franken's Sirota.

Stinking Sirota, meet your 'conspiracy theorist,' US House Rep Lynn Woolsey, appearing on Democracy Now! last Thursday:

REP. LYNN WOOLSEY: And that's true, but also new members who ran on the very issue of, I am going to vote to bring our troops home, are not going to get that vote today. We should at least have that on the floor. That should be one of the amendments. But more important than -- there will be no amendments. But more important than that amendment, there should be stronger enforcement in the bill, so that each step along the way, where we're saying to the President, one, the troops have to be trained, rested and equipped -- we shouldn't be giving him waivers. He can waive those, and he will.
Then, when we say at each date certain that we want the benchmarks -- we're going to measure the benchmarks that the President has set and that the Iraqi government is supposed to have met, when they haven't met those benchmarks, there is nothing in there that says, "And now, here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to sequester the money, we're going to now put that money in place to bring our troops home, because obviously the Iraqi government isn't living up to the benchmarks." And then, when we get to the end of August 2008 and the war is still going on, we’re going to say to the President, "Alright, now you have to bring them home." The only way we can force him to do that in this bill is to sue him.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Representative Woolsey, when you say that there will be no amendments, given the heated nature of this debate, wouldn't it be more advisable to at least, for those of you who are in opposition to certain aspects of it, to at least allow amendments on the floor and have debate on them?
REP. LYNN WOOLSEY: Well, I believe so. I believe this is a democracy and it's still America, and that's why we supposedly have all of our troops in harm's way, that we should have amendments. And, actually, I disagree with Bob. I think if our amendment, the Barbara Lee amendment, is made an order, which it wasn’t last night and it's not going to, there’s a lot of people that would like to vote "Yes, what I really want is to bring the troops home, but, yes, I will vote with the supplemental, but I want my constituents to know that I really want to bring them home sooner than that."

"There will be no amendments to the bill." Even the other guest on the show agrees with Woolsey's statement that amendments will not be allowed and says that they can't have any amendments at all because if the Lee and Woolsey amendment (a co-authored amendment but Sirota can't very well mention Woolsey since she proves him wrong -- AGAIN) then the Republicans will want an amendment and, like the theory Diane Keaton debunks in Love and Death, there will be anarchy over blintzes! ("I know. And if everybody went to the same restaurant on the same evening and ordered blintzes, there'd be chaos. But they don't.") Lynn Woolsey, member of Congress, co-author of the amendment with Lee, said that on Democracy Now! the day before the vote.

It's pretty simple unless you're Stinking Sirota who, for humor?, also writes: "However, what I don't respect -- and what no one else should respect -- are people who fabricate stories out of whole cloth in order to justify their own political relevance." Yeah. That would be you -- the one screaming "Conspiracy Theorists!" That would be no one but you, the Stinking Sirota, Al Franken's little buddy. Hard times now that Baby Cries A Lot doesn't have a radio show, eh?

Sirota, one of the main reasons In These Times became In The Toilet (they ran off the wrong Dave -- no matter how many laughable e-mails Joel sends out), also wants to stick up for MoveOn and, as usual, he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about there either. Pajama blogger and apparent shut in for the group wants to dispute John Stauber that MoveOn didn't alert members to their poll. Well, first they sent out their poll on March 18th. Pajama blogger, in his own defense of MoveOn, reveals, by the way, that "members" are anyone who gets an e-mail from MoveOn.

So we turned to a friend of C.I.'s whose a member 25 times over and asked him to pull up the e-mails from any of his 25 accounts he signed up with and forwarded them over. MoveOn doesn't send one e-mail a week. The day before, the friend was advised of local Iraq actions ("Important Decision on Iraq"). (The friend is, to repeat, a MoveOn member, in fact, he's 25 MoveOn members. C.I. says that's not uncommon and knows a number of people who signed up repeatedly to vote in the 2004 polls -- a studio executive in Los Angeles is thought to hold the record with an even fifty e-mail accounts -- signed up as fifty different people. The 25 member friend wanted it made very clear that has he never given money to MoveOn, not under any of the 25 e-mail accounts that allowed him to vote for his Democratic candidate of choice during the last presidential election cycle -- vote 25 times.) [Clarification for one reader: Those voting multiple times were voting in MoveOn elections, not in real elections -- no laws were broken.]

Now they sent out on the 18th, a Monday. When did the polls close? Who the hell knows? But before eleven o'clock in the morning (EST), March 20th (Wednesday), they were rushing out the e-mail on the results ("The results are in"). Hope the most important thing on your mind Monday morning was seeing what MoveOn wanted this time. If you saw the e-mail in your inbox in time, considering the title (which says nothing about "Vote" or "Poll"), you'd probably assume it was another request for money ("Emergency: Reps Trying to Weaken New Plan For Iraq Exit" -- March 8th, and that e-mail was just begging, no information) or yet another request that you sign one of their petitions ("It's time to take on Fox" -- March 2nd).

No mention of a "vote" in the subject heading, the polls opened and closed very quickly. (Zogby, by contrast, allows those receiving the e-mail to take part in their poll for several days after the original e-mail goes out.) Before Sirota brings his b.o. our way, we're not saying that was a "conspiracy." We're saying MoveOn is run by idiots.

Stinking Pot wants you to know that what he says is just the way it is. He's just a straight-foward reporter. Of course, a real reporter wouldn't, as The Washington Post reported last week, have "dashed off a memo to progressive lawmakers Wednesday night, imploring them to 'accept the congressional world as it is right now,' not to insist on the world as they wish it to be, and vote for the bill." That's not a journalist, no matter how many times The Nation and In The Toilet publish his scribbles. In fact, if any of those outlets operated under even the most basic journalistic principles, Sirota would not be writing for them after that. There is supposed to be a very strong wall between journalism and activism. The much criticized New York Times would even be forced to address Sirota's employment were he covering politics for them.

See, Sirota's not a journalist by any use of the term. He's a political hack (or "operative" if you prefer) who pads out his non-campaign days by jotting off pieces for journals that once featured thinkers but now will provide the badly written scribbles of the next James Carville. No, it's NOT a conspiracy. It's bad writing. It's lowered standards. It goes to the fact that The Nation has been so watered down (featuring every writer they could for every other publication) that it doesn't even have its own identity anymore. It goes to the fact, as Cedric pointed out, that a White Man always has a place at the table, regardless of qualifications or talent.

But, no, it's not a conspiracy. We don't think anyone with Sirota's mental capacities is capable of participating in a conspiracy (let alone planning one). We'd argue that's more than proven by the fact that Ned Lamont ran a strong and successful primary campaign and won on August 8, 2006 only to lose the general election to Joe Lieberman on November 7, 2006. What changed? Well Lamont seemed to stop running on Iraq and begin running from it. How does that relate to Sirota? Sirota joined the campaign as a consultant on August 31st. Call him the new Bob Shrum.

We don't think that's a "conspiracy" either. We just think that where there is craven, there is David Sirota.

And, Sirota, you're own conspiracy theories are showing:

Congressional progressives now face the same pangs that come with evolving into a movement with majority power, rather than serving merely as contrairian voices in the minority. They are undoubtedly being pressured by a small but very vocal group of organizations that make up what's known as the Professional Protest Industry -- organizations that exist solely to see the world as they want it, not as it is (a note: not everyone working to kill the supplemental is part of the Professional Protest Industry -- many folks just legitimately believe stopping the supplemental is the best way to go, and I absolutely respect that even though I think it is the wrong strategy -- however, there is no denying that there is a loud, vocal Professional Protest Industry -- check out International ANSWER or the LaRouchies for a few examples). As a matter of existence, this industry wants -- no, needs -- to prioritize the public debate over wielding real legislative power, because that is the niche that makes them relevant. That these organizations have attacked some of the most steadfastly progressive groups for not being antiwar "enough" shows exactly where their priorities are.

Can you be more stupid or more insulting? A.N.S.W.E.R. gets tarred and feathered all the time. We won't engage that, we won't support it. He mixes them in with "the LaRouchies" (he is aware that he publishes in a magazine with a supposed former "LaRouchie," right?). We don't like that group, we don't support it, we've made our feelings quite clear. The two groups have nothing in commong but Sirota wants to tell you they do and to see a conspiracy. He wants to smear and defame A.N.S.W.E.R. and wants to whine about the pressure from progressive groups. If it appears that the non-objective, non-journalist is taking it personally, he is. From the same column (at Working for Change, "A memo to the Progressive Caucus on the eve of the Iraq vote") he adds this "update:"

Say the binding anti-war language gets eliminated or weakened to allow the President to get out of it. That is a possibility. But it does not negate my position that progressives should vote "yes" because remember - if that happens, then we have a chance to stop it by voting down the conference report because the conference report (aka. the final bill) comes back for a final vote before being sent to the President's desk.

"We"? We can vote it down? Sirota's identifying up. He's been a Congressional lackey but he's never been a member of Congress. For the record, the long list of groups opposed to the weak and non-binding Pelosi measure included: CODEPINK, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Oil for Change, the Green Party, Democracy Rising, Veterans for Peace, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity . . . As of Friday, A.N.S.W.E.R. had nothing up at the main page of their website indicating a position one way or another regarding the Pelosi measure. But Sirota wants you to think they were actively campaigning against it. Unlike MoveOn, A.N.S.W.E.R. has an actual membership who can be mobilized and can show up because they aren't a few people in a virtual world posing as many. Had A.N.S.W.E.R. posted anything by Friday, a position on the Pelosi measure, it would have been noted in the "Iraq snapshots" at The Common Ills.

Sirota's a funny sort of boy. He thinks it's praiseworthy that his man crush (he must really get off on the smell of pit stains) Brian Schweitzer lied to voters. That's what tricking voters is: lying. Now Sirota was "senior strategist" for Schweitzer's campaign, so trickery and deceit are apparently in his arsnel (no surprise after he smears A.N.S.W.E.R. or Hugo Chavez, or any of his other targets he's trying to slay as he lays down the faux liberal line). Here's the Trickster from the same Working for Change column (which, you'll note, praises the Schweitzer's campaign without mentioning Sirota's own involvement in it):

As just one example, in Montana in 2004, a strongly progressive populist gubernatorial candidate named Brian Schweitzer used his love of hunting to publicly package himself as a supposed "conservative Democrat." This helped him win over the independent voters he needed to carry the deeply red state of Montana. It also made some Montana progressive understandably suspicious of him at the start of his term, just as some congressional progressives are genuinely suspicious of the conservatively packaged Iraq bill. But to be a mature political movement in a majority position, progressives in Montana learned to understand the difference between political rhetoric and packaging, and the wielding of political power. And they've seen a supposedly "conservative governor" champion the most progressive agenda the state has seen in a generation.

Please note, Sirota pushed the myth of "Red" states. We don't push that. We know it's offensive. (We heard about it again when we spent the week in Texas.) We know it's insulting. Faux populist Sirota -- first with the stereotypes, last with the truth. And Texas community members were very vocal about the damage done in their state (longterm damage that happened over many years) by the likes of Ralph Hall and Martin Frost -- Democratic candidates who insulted other Democrats as they rushed to assure you they weren't like the other Democrats. That may have been good for getting those individuals elected -- as it may have been in the campaign lies Sirota helped sell to people in Montana -- but it does long term damage to the Democratic Party. Bean counters like Carville and Sirota can't be concerned about that. That's not a "conspiracy." That's simply noting that Sirota is so stupid he will defeat the party to win one race.

Here's a question everyone who is foolish enough to trust a word Sirota puts on paper: Having admitted that a campaign he was "senior strategist" for set out to trick voters, why should anyone ever believe a word out of Sirota's mouth? He lied but he lied to the right? Is that the logic that allows some people to believe the crap coming out of his mouth? He lied to get what he wanted, what he thought was "possible" (someone so mentally limited shouldn't be allowed to define human possibility), so what makes anyone think he wouldn't lie on another issue? He's not interested in truth, he's bragging about a campaign (one he forgets to mention he worked on) that tricked voters.

That goes to the disrespect he shows the people. It's there in his hectoring, it's there in his use of "we" to refer to members of Congress.

He's craven. He's an admitted liar (he might prefer "trickster" -- but we take elections seriously and we take what politicians tell the public seriously so we call "Lie" when we see it). He's constantly telling people to stop protesting and accept whatever is the least path of resistance. Of course, 'journalist' Sirota didn't just tell readers that, he also told Congress and, again, at real publications, a memo like that would get your ass fired.

Sirota's not a journalist, he's not even a commentator. He's just a Party Hack who will sell whatever is the easiest thing to sell and he will resort to any falsehood to sell it while claiming, as he laughably did, "However, what I don't respect -- and what no one else should respect -- are people who fabricate stories out of whole cloth in order to justify their own political relevance." Fabricate stories? Like lying to the people of Montana that a candidate was conservative when, according to you (who worked on the campaign and crafted the message) he wasn't.

We're not surprised Sirota doesn't respect himself. If we were in his shoes, we wouldn't either. We are appalled that The Nation continues to print him. As bad as things are at The Nation (no coverage of Abeer, 4 male bylines for every one female byline, no coverage of war resisters, little coverage of Iraq -- Katrina vanden Heuvel's husband wrote the best piece thus far on Iraq, it should have been required reading for everyone involved witht he magazine), we really don't think that the magazine has sunk so low that they need to regularly feature the writing of a party hack. This should have been a wonderful period for the magazine. Instead, nothing seems to be working.

Do you feel like a pawn in your own world?
You found the system and you lost the pearl
-- "Money," written by Laura Nyro (off the Smile album)

I, Jenna: The Shop Around that failed

Later this year, 25-year-old Jenna Bush will follow in the foot steps of literary giant Patti Davis as she embarks on a publishing career with her first book. The book to be published is Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope and Jenna decided to write about others only after samples of her autobiography resulted in no offers.


For years, Mama used to be on me over and over to read. That begging taught me how to say "no" -- not that I ever needed that lesson once I got my menses. I didn't want to read. It wasn't my fault, I'd tell Mama, them people in books just talk too darn fast.

As soon as Daddy got voted into office by them judges, people would come up to me and my sister and say, "You should write a book. You're American Princesses."

We were. And not in that nonsese about "every girl is a princess."

I looked like a princess even if my sister, Little Babs, didn't. Little Babs was always mousy. Daddy used to call her "the sidekick."

"Jenna, sidekick, Daddy's sobered up so we can open Christmas presents now!"

Truth be told, Little Babs looked like the writer. And she had a name like a writer: Barbara.

I was named like a small town, Home Coming Queen who lost her panties in Sunday school. "Like" or "after." Back when Daddy was really hitting the sauce, it could be hard to understand him.

You may not believe me on that because today Daddy is just like the ultimate talkmaker.

I don't know how he does it but he's got all these big, fancy words like "analyzation" and "resignate."

Mama told me Daddy got to be a talkmaker when he laid off the booze. I be real proud of him but if the choices are to be a spoker or get a buzz, you can find me knocking one back at the bar.

So Mousy sidekick, Little Babs, should have wrote down the book you are holding now. But she did not wrote it. I did. Every word.

The publisher asked me if I wanted a ghost writer? I told them, "I'm a good 'ol gal, and, yes, I spend about 90% of my time on my knees but at least 2% of that is for praying."

I am a very spiritual person who talks to God. I pray all the time. Like yesterday. I was just in my car, weaving across the road at 3:00 AM when something caught my eye.

"Jenna," I spoke. "You done passed you a smokey."

Right away, I started praying.

"Please God, don't let the copper pull me over. Not because I'm loaded. Though, Jesus, I is. Not because the speed limit is 45mph and I'm clocking in at a little over 80 MPH. Though, Jesus, I is. Not because I be's afraid of a ticket -- them boys know who runs the country. But, for reasons I still do not understand, I've lost my panties and bottoms and either me or somebody else, decided to tie my bra round me like it was a thong. If word gets back to Mama, I will hear about it. Bless my family and screw the poor. Thank you, Jesus."

"No! No! No!" my publisher screamed. A "ghost writer" isn't a ghost.

Learn something new every four years.

So she started to explaining to me what a ghost writer does and I'd just noticed the polish on my big toe was starting to flake off. So I was only semi listening and it sounded a lot like Bobby Ray.

I known Bobby Ray all through high school. Little nerd always chasing me down in the hall. But he was smart and if I let him touch my sweater, he'd make sure I got a B. For under my sweater action, I could get an A. So Bobby did all the work, like a ghost writer, and I just had to look pretty and let him touch my tits.

It wasn't no big deal. I bet if you gathered all the men in Texas in one place probably 63% of the men under 30 would say they'd touched 'em. And probably 90% of the ones under 60. Over 60, I think it's just Dick Cheney.

He swore to me that his pacemaker spit out pina coladas every time he cupped a feel. Didn't happen. Then he goes, "I'm sure something's spitting. Look a little lower."

Ha-ha, real funny. I fell for that trick with Big Greg in sixth grade wood shop. I fell for it with Ramon in seventh grade Spanish. I fell for it with Mrs. Thomas in eight grade home ec. But after awhile, a girl wises up. So it seemed nice, having a new Bobby Ray to do the work, but, and maybe this is part of getting a little older and wiser, I just didn't want some guy jerking on me like I was some dairy cow.

I said I felt like I could write a book now. Cause of being older and wiser. I'm at an age where you really start to question how it all is? Like, growing up, Mama would sometimes let us play with her Chrissy doll. It had red hair and you could pull it and it would grow. And there was this button that you used to make the hair all go back in.

And like, now, every five or six weeks, I get really dark roots. When I put the peroxide on, I rub it into my scalp. So like the roots should be fixed too. But still I got dark roots growing in and it had me wondering like how much hair do I have inside my head? Sometimes, I'll jerk on it real hard trying to see if I can make it grow. I can hurt myself doing that and I could warn people so when they hurt themselves they know what they did and will know it the next time they do it too.

So it was all of that that made me decided to write a book plus the fact that Mama Big Babs gave me a book for Christmas. I took one look at it, all wrapped up, and said, "Mama Big Babs, you have got to be kidding. Don't you even know your granddaughter? Are you be getting the old timer's disese?" She told me, unwrap it.

I did. The title alone changed my opinion of books. I've heard people be talking about how a book changed their life and I swear tell the title of this book promised the anwser to several of my dreams -- How to Make Love Like a Porn Star. That just seemed so right and so needed. I didn't get around to reading it yet so I'm not sure where to put the cameras or where to buy the soundtrack but I know someday I will know.

And like a sign from Jesus, the author of the book was named Jenna Jameson. That's my name! Well, the" Jenna." And she proves that Jennas can write.

Brave voices

Pelosi and Reid have a job to do. The antiwar movement has a job to do. The jobs are not the same. This should be obvious -- but, judging from public and private debates now fiercely underway among progressive activists and organizations, there's a lot of confusion in the air. No amount of savvy Capitol-speak can change the fact that 'benchmarks' are euphemisms for more war. And when activists pretend otherwise, they play into the hands of those who want the war to go on . . . and on . . . and on.

That's Norman Solomon from "The Pragmatism of Prolonged War" (CounterPunch). We picked it last Sunday for "Truest statement of the week." This week there were other brave voices tackling many issues. We wanted to focus on some of the ones who spoke out against the Pelosi measure because you may have missed them. They weren't given a lot of platforms.

As Solomon points out the peace movement is not Congress and Congress is not the peace movement. That was hard for a few to grasp. (David Sirota is only the most embarrassing example of the challenged set.) It wasn't hard for Howard Zinn to grasp. Zinn's done more than most to teach us all where the power comes from: the people. Writing for The Progressive, in "Are We Politicians or Citizens?," he once again told the real truths:

As I write this, Congress is debating timetables for withdrawal from Iraq. In response to the Bush Administration's "surge" of troops, and the Republicans' refusal to limit our occupation, the Democrats are behaving with their customary timidity, proposing withdrawal, but only after a year, or eighteen months. And it seems they expect the anti-war movement to support them.
That was suggested in a recent message from MoveOn, which polled its members on the Democrat proposal, saying that progressives in Congress, "like many of us, don't think the bill goes far enough, but see it as the first concrete step to ending the war."
Ironically, and shockingly, the same bill appropriates $124 billion in more funds to carry the war. It's as if, before the Civil War, abolitionists agreed to postpone the emancipation of the slaves for a year, or two years, or five years, and coupled this with an appropriation of funds to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.
When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them.We who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable, in a shamefully timorous Congress.

The real truths? Some like Sirota wanted to play like they were the reality-based community. They were The Last Pragmatist Standing. More like No Hope Walking. They knew, because they can see the future, how things would turn out if everyone didn't hop on board with the Pelosi measure. Apparently, The Psychic Friends Network imploded and all the seers became Beltway Babies for the 'left' determined to save us from ourselves. Lucky us.

Of course, the peace movement wants to end the illegal war and the Democrats have to face an election in 2008. Something our Psychic Friends Network couldn't tell you about but a thinker, a professor, Frances Fox Piven could voice (last Tuesday on KPFA's The Morning Show) the the US should "begin withdrawal immediately and we also should push for an interim authority in the area made up of other national representatives that's either nations in the area or UN authority that tries to surpress violence while we are withdrawing. We should withdraw as fast as we can. The Democrats are as timid as they are not because they don't have the support of the American people for withdrawal but because they have their eye on the 2008 election and they want to avoid any circumstancing which they can be attacked, including attacked for 'exposing the troops' or . . . adding to the 'losing' of the war, or whatever, politicans are always going to be cautious, especially in a two-party system where there is no alternative to the left of the Democratic Party so they can position themselves very moderately and still hope to gain electorally."

Careful, Piven. We know you're highly educated. We love your work. But too much more talk like that and Sirota will be screaming your a "conspiracy theorist." He's already got his talons out for John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton who came out swinging last week:

Politically, the Lee amendment cannot pass; fewer than 100 members of Congress are expected to vote for it. However, the same thing is true of weaker legislation that MoveOn is currently supporting, in league with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha and David Obey. The Pelosi bill merely establishes "benchmarks" of progress in Iraq, so that all Bush has to do is certify that he is making progress on those goals to keep funding flowing for the war. Instead of withdrawing troops this year, the Pelosi bill talks about beginning to withdraw them in March 2008. Even so, it faces united Republican opposition and is not expected to pass the U.S. Senate, even if it is approved by the House of Representatives. And even if it does pass, Bush has already said he will veto it. So why was the Democratic Party leadership so determined to prevent the Lee amendment from even coming to the floor -- and why has avoided even mentioning the Lee proposal to its members?
On Sunday, MoveOn distributed a survey asking its members to vote on three options: support the Pelosi bill; oppose it; or "not sure." MoveOn's
Eli Pariser described the survey in an email as an opportunity for members to participate in "a big decision coming up this week. ... MoveOn is a member-directed organization -- we believe that all of us, together, are smarter than any one of us." In fact, however, MoveOn's survey was designed to conceal from its members the option of supporting the stronger anti-war amendment put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
There are, of course, other ways of running a survey. When recently surveyed its members about the best way forward, they offered three choices: the Lee plan, the Pelosi plan, and the option of demanding that Congress reject any further war funding, period. Only 24 percent of TrueMajority's members supported the Pelosi plan -- which appears to be the reason why MoveOn's survey gave their members no choice but the Pelosi plan.
Even MoveOn's rules for the war's fourth-anniversary candlelight vigils expressly exclude anything specifically aimed at ending it. "There are many ways to commemorate the war anniversary -- but MoveOn and other coalition members are coming together around solemn candlelight vigils," explains their website. "Events other than vigils that honor the sacrifice of our servicemen and women and their families
will not be publicly posted here."

That was hard hitting and it was needed. We were more than a little shocked by it because it was so strong. (And, again, that was needed.) Two popular themes in e-mails that disagree with us (from the center or the left) are 1) "You hate everyone" and 2) "You hate everyone but Russ Feingold." We don't hate "everyone." (Ava and C.I. swear that they're so busy hating Patricia Heaton, they don't have the time to take on anyone else.) We're angry and we're pissed off. If you're not after four years of an illegal war, we praise you for your Zen-like nature. We have praised people and we have slammed them. And it's often been the same people receiving both responses. Amy Goodman got it for, like the majority of the media -- big and small, dropping Iraq as a topic in the summer of 2006. If you read everything we have up here, we think you'll see much praise for Goodman (and she deserves much praise) but we're not going to act like something that we're appalled by didn't happen.

We may not have time for a "Mail Bag" feature this edition. In case we don't, two people e-mailed about Kat's Thursday post, wondering why she was mad at C.I.? She wasn't. Offline, C.I. is the first to admit to the "in fairness" practice. Elaine and Rebecca will tell you C.I. was that way as long as they can remember. Online, community member Yazz has been pointing it out (and objecting to it) since the second month The Common Ills started up. C.I.'s general attitude would be not to note it when the left embarrasses itself. (The "left" is a whole other issue.) The rest of us are much freerer with our comments. In these sessions, C.I. is usually the one who is saying, "Are we sure we want to put that in there?" (And, in some cases, saying, "Take my name off. I can't be part of that.") Most recently, the biggest disagreement for a piece here was one where C.I. wanted to insert a compliment for some writing Christopher Hayes had done. (We all overrode that and C.I. agreed to go along with the group.) Two of the funniest lines to appear here both came from C.I. and both had to be fought for to be included. In one case, it was Jim's father fighting and begging C.I. to include it. In another, it was a number of people begging and pleading. (We won't cite either line because C.I.'s saying, "It made it in once. Don't push it.") So the minor point here is that Kat wasn't angry with or mad at C.I. She was merely pointing out something as obvious as eye color.

The larger point here is that when you take a strong stand, you're going to catch flack. That's fine and we can all live with it. (We don't generally deliberate over an e-mail from a reporter for two days, the way C.I. will but that's the "in fairness" kicking in.) So we were honestly amazed by Stauber and Rampton's critique because it was so hard hitting and the target was the supposedly beloved MoveOn. We think that took real bravery and some of the ones staying silent last week didn't want to burn any bridges. That's what something that strong does. Short of pulling a Mel Brooks (kissing Carson's ass on air after you threw your lot in with Joan Rivers and her show got cancelled) there's nothing between MoveOn and Stauber and Rampton again. That's because MoveOn's not interested in criticism -- they're so touchy Ava wonders if they write for a left periodical? (If that's a private joke to you, you haven't been paying attention.)
That took bravery.

We had an article planned for this feature and Kat was the one advocating it the strongest but we pulled it and Kat was the one advocating that. We disagree with Stauber on something. We'll address that in a later feature (he wasn't going to be mentioned in the article as planned and he may or may not be when we do address it later on). But in the aftermath of coming out so strong, we didn't want to do anything that would undermine that.

Otherwise, we'll say what we think and what we feel. And if someone can't take it (or can't grasp when somethings are intended as humor), oh well. We've received enough e-mails from people who probably are very well intentioned when they warn us that we're going to end up paying (in 'traffic,' in 'recognition') for what we said or are saying. We're sure Stauber and Rampton received similar e-mails.

Unlike them, we don't make a living via anything online. Stauber and Rampton are. When they stood up, it wasn't just offering a critique that could result in nasty e-mails, it was really laying it on the line and we respect them for doing that. We applaud them for doing that.

This edition, we finally offer our take on the Mud Flap Girls. How come?

From Friday's "Iraq snapshot:"

A number of women have been using their voices loudly and proudly (Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Medea, Robin Morgan, Dahlia S. Wasfi, Missy Comley Beattie, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Diane Wilson, Kim Gandy, Laura Flanders, Kelly Dougherty, . . .) but if all the women opposed to this war would use their voices and own their power, the war would be over. The GI resistance is very important and it was important during Vietnam but it's equally true that women were actively leading the cry for an end to the war as well. It's the group that's always 'forgotten' by history.

Peace is a feminist value. We're tired of the do-me feminists (or 'feminist') who have nothing to say on the war. We're tired of their constant obsession with pop culture and we're tired of the implied message that that's all feminism cares about. We're appalled that sites claiming to be feminist have nothing to say on the war but can tell you about this celebrity or that and mix in a little reproducitve rights and tie it all in a smutty little bow.

We think it's past time for people to stand up strongly against the war. If you can't or won't, we don't pull punches. We're not trying to be popular, we're (as Ava informed several lefty journalists one morning when she was on a tear) trying to end the war. We tried sugar and honey and that really didn't do much. As the deaths have grown, over voices have grown louder. One lefty wrote (to The Common Ills, they all tend to run to C.I. to complain about 'the naughty kids') that we're going to turn off "the very people you are trying to reach." Actually, lefty got around to Iraq after the e-mail. Finally. (Ava's reply that, quote: "Your boring drivel isn't reaching anyone as it is," may have helped speed up the process.) We have a core of dedicated readers which we built up (as we've pointed out before) with no real help or assistance online from anyone other than the people in this community and friends. They are our intended audience and they are who we are reaching. We think there's been too much silence and too much complacency. Thursday, C.I. got off the phone with a friend in the news department at one of the networks and asked, "Do I just yell at people all the time now?" No. But when people, four years later, still aren't doing the work they should be (we're just talking volume here, not even quality) on the issue of the illegal war, someone's got to yell.

You've got to shake your fists at lightning now
You've got to roar like forest fire
You've got to spread your light like blazes
All across the sky
They're going to aim the hoses on you
Show them you won't expire
Not till you burn up every passion
Not even when you die
Come on now
You've got to try
If you're feeling contempt
Well then you tell it
If you're tired of the silent night
Jesus, well then you yell it
Condemned to wires and hammers
Strike every chord that you feel
That broken trees
And elephant ivories
-- "Judgement Of The Moon And Stars (Ludwig's Tune)," written by Joni Mitchell, For The Roses.

Parody: Mud Flap Gals



March 25, 2007



I don't have all the facts yet, but I've just found out we're about to lose one of our biggest supporters on the bench! Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has fought tooth and nail to advance our rights to be reproductively free, is retiring.

I'm searching the wires for this story but don't see anything yet so this may be an EXCLUSIVE! I overheard a couple talking about it at the bar last night. I always liked Sandra Day, she was a calming voice. Especially when she sang "Good Morning Heartache." Veronica asked us to all try to write about a "big topic" today because she said someone called our site "trite, frivilous and reads as though it was written by a sex-obsessed teenager."

-- Trixie

UPDATE: Sandra Day O'Connor has retired! I'll be posting a list of my favorite tracks of all her recordings shortly.

UPDATE 2: I've just been informed that Sandra Day was not the singer I was thinking of. I was thinking of Billie Holiday. Woops! My bad. But she still fought harder than anyone else who ever served on the Court for our reproductive rights. I think she was appointed by Clinton.

UPDATE 3: Turns out, this isn't an exclusive. Sandra Day O'Connor actually retired awhile back. She announced her intent to retire on July 1, 2005. I missed that because I'd just graduated and was about to start law school. I was blowing off steam in Rome! Believe me, you don't not know how hard it is to be a girl and go to college. I needed that trip. I was so busy blogging twice daily on my trip for three weeks and posting pictures of myself in bikinis that I must have completely missed the fact that Justice O'Conner retired. But at least we're all learning about it now, right? If you missed those posts from two years ago, I have collected all 196 photos of myself on the beach that I posted. You can click here for my Flikcr Photo Album entitled, "Screw You, I'm In Law School."
posted at 7:27 a.m.

What is with this obsession with sex that men have? Anna Nicole Smith is dead. Australia's Herald-Sun is reporting that sex is now a turn off to Anna Nicole Smith. Well, doh! She's dead. First they came for Jon-Benet Ramsey and I said nothing, then they came for Anna Nicole . . . I haven't been so offended since Newsweek didn't apologize to Susan Faludi last year!

-- Cindi
posted at 7:15 a.m.

A number of e-mails have come in and comments been left (commenting is now closed until further notice!) suggesting that I might have been wrong to slam someone else for what I saw as a lack of appreciation for body diversity. It was pointed out that I am White. I have no idea what that's supposed to have to do with anything, but, yes, I am a white girl.

It was further pointed out that our site's logo pictures women on Mud Flaps and that the women are obviously White. Well I don't see how anyone can tell that. I think some people are reading just a wee bit much into a logo. When I slammed Eve Ensler, I did it out of love, out of respect, and out of intelligence! This nonsense suggesting that my logo of the site I started is non-inclusive is just a bunch of f**king sh*t, if you ask me. What was I supposed to do? Find some chic with a 'fro? Would that have made any of you happy?

If you take a look at my posts this morning, you'll see I'm very inclusive. I have covered politics, an actress, a singer, an actress-singer, a singer, a guy who is not hot, a legal like lawsuit for God's sake, the difficulties of being a mother when you're a famous singer, and I've addressed the will and wishes of the people by covering a poll. I'm not really sure what more you people want. I'm giving a feminist view and addressing feminist topics. I think we all need a break.

-- Veronica
posted at 6:32 a.m.

Rooters is reporting that Pink's latest CD is zooming back onto the charts, I'm Not Dead Yet. One listen and you'll wish she was. (Click here for my review.) If anyone's forgotten, the one time leader for young girls my age decided to step away from the worthy cause of getting the party started and write some really downer songs. Ugh. Give me the fun time girls! I know Britney's going to bounce back and return to singing and panting into the mike. I can't wait! And like me, Britney's not afraid to show some skin!

-- Veronica
posted at 6:15 a.m.

Yeah, I get naked. So what? On Thursday, I took Vanity Fair to count for their semi-latest cover (the issue's been out FOREVER but I'm a slow reader) featuring what appears to be female nudity. As a result, I have been slammed in the comments (comments are now CLOSED until further notice). It's been pointed out that my forthcoming book uses a naked woman on its cover. Partial! What's the problem. You don't even see her face. (Oh, wait, that was one of the criticisms of Vanity Fair.) And even my book title is being called into question. "What's the difference?" asked one comment. The dif is that Vanity Fair is owned by a man somewhere. My book is owned by me! Or by the publisher. I'm not really clear on that. But I made the choice to use nudity. Like Madonna, I chained myself. By choice! And if a girl wants to use nudity, that is a feminist statement. If a girl wants to show her boobs, that is feminism. I am so tired of hearing from you prudes. I think the cover, featuring a woman's naked body from hip to just below the breast is tasteful and serves to remind everyone that women are sexy and fun. And that really is the mission here at Mud Flap Gals. One troll had the nerve to write, "If Veronica had to choose between brains and boobs, she'd choose boobs!" Yeah, so what of it? And my boobs are none of your business. So screw you. It's always "whore" or "madonna" with you guys, "whore" or "madonna." Can't a girl use a mud flap for a logo without it being a federal crime? (I'll post on that shortly.) Can't a girl use nudity to sell a book? It's not even my body on the cover, people! It's some little model. So me using a woman, exploiting a woman, is saving her from being exploited by a man! When I exploit her, she's being exploited by a sister and that's the dif!

-- Veronica
5:44 a.m.

Monster & Critics reports that Pamela Anderson and Denise Richards are being sued!

Just because they both work to get attention and they both enjoy taking off their clothes and they both enjoy attention does not mean that photographers have a right to try to take their pictures out in public. This reminds me of Mardi Gras where I flashed my tits 44 times by choice and then this dude comes up to me and says, "Show 'em again." Now where the hell did he get off thinking that he could ask me to show my boobies? My body, my choice! I'm here for you Pam & Denise.

-- Veronica
5:41 a.m.

OMG! The National Ledger reports that even though Britney Spears has just been released from rehab, she is not getting custody of her kids! She has visitation but her estranged husband has custody! This is just the kind of sexism that pisses me off and why I started Mud Flap Gals to begin with.

Britney has completed rehab! The second she stepped out the door (March 20th), she should have been granted custody. It's not like she's planning to spend a lot of time on her hair (now that's she's shaved her head). So why won't the courts give her the custody she deserves? This makes me want to puke puke puke!

-- Veronica
5:40 a.m.


EntertainmentWise polled people (I don't know how many or where) and check out these results:

1 Angelina Jolie

2 Elvis Presley

3 Marilyn Monroe

4 Beyonce Knowles

5 Brad Pitt

6 Lara Croft

7 George Clooney

8 Kylie Minogue

9 Johnny Depp

10 Scarlett Johansson

Six of the ten spots are occupied by girls! We sexy, we rock, we rule, we rock ya world! Yea to home girl Lara Croft who taught me the best way to get attention was to show your boobies!

-- Veronica
5:38 a.m.

Try 3.1 on the scale. You could open a can of peaches with that chin.

-- Veronica
5:36 a.m.

The Fashion Monitor is reporting that Carmen Electra's new role as an adult movie actress required no research because, she explains, "I didn't really need to do any research for the part, like watch lots of porn films, I've already seen enough!"

She also explains that her new book (please don't let it outsell mine) is titled How To Be Sexy and she says her "number one tip for any woman would be dress up in sexy lingerie!" She's practically Albert Einstein! (And she's stolen my last chapter!)

-- Veronica
5:31 a.m.

Star Pulse News Blog reports that, despite previous reports, Hilary Duff's new CD does not contain any songs about Nicole Richie or her ex-boyfriend who now dates Nicole Richie. I like Hilary because she's like Doris Day, no matter how much make up she wears or how she tries to look different, she always look the same. I find that comforting. I think we should all try to look the same. Especially if we're blonde. And she's not afraid of taking on an acting challenge. I also like Hilary because she hates Lindsey Lohan. I hate LL too, she always seems so uppity. Who does she think she is?????????

5:29 a.m.

FemaleFirst is reporting that Madonna wants Al Gore to run for president. (Who's Al Gore?) I always listen when she speaks and I know the whole world does. As a child, her "Express Yourself" video was a touchstone. I don't know anything about this Al Gore but if Madge is endorsing him, you better believe he'll win.

5:28 a.m.

I went bar crawling. From Friday night until noon Saturday. Then I crashed. Slept it off. Crawled out of bed and over who ever I brought home. I stepped into the living room and the TV was on CNN. CNN!!! I must have really been wasted.

They were talking about a "war" and for a second I thought, "OMG, we're at war!" But then I said, "Veronica, calm down. If your country was at war, you'd know." Sure enough, it wasn't us. It was somewhere far away. The people fighting are like the Baghdidians or something. I was too busy flipping the channels to pay much attention.

I had an interesting e-mail this morning. I like games and someone e-mailed me a puzzle. They wrote that if I could guess who the person in the picture (to the right) was, they'd send me a $100. I have to admit I was stumped at first. Then the hair style gave it away -- it's Little Lucy from Peanuts! Pay up!

Besides winning an easy 100 bucks, my plan for this morning is to go through all the important news sources and give you the news that matters. That's what we're all about at Mud Flap Gals, keeping you informed about the world. We're like CNN but with cleavage! :D

-- Veronica
5:26 a.m.
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