Sunday, December 23, 2007

Truest statement of the week

Mommy and Daddy broke up, little boy, not because they got tired but because Daddy beat the s**t out of Mommy, because Daddy put her in the hospital over and over.
Grow the hell up.

-- Elaine counsels the Ike Turner defenders for free in "Only women & countries get 'discovered'."

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

If you are or will be celebrating or gathering for any reason, may you build pleasant memories that carry you through rougher days.

Here's who participated on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
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,
Wally of The Daily Jot
and Ruth of Ruth's Report

Our thanks to all of them. Our thanks to Dallas who was a sounding board, a link locator and so much more.

Our apologies to Rebecca whose "nader, the ballet, caving dems" was the building blocks for a feature we worked on that needed additional time. We ended up not having it. (We may pull a quote for a truest statement two for the week. After we've gotten some sleep.)

We especially thank Betty's oldest son who knocked himself doing illustrations, stockpiling them, when we were all in DC in September. Saturday night, before he went to sleep, he asked to talk to us and Betty gave him the phone. Was there anyone one of his illustrations could be used this week. He'd told his friends they'd be coming and only a few had but his sister (Betty's youngest child) wanted to see Santa. One of the things he did was try to pull together some seasonal illustrations. We have three of his illustration posted this week. (He says Kat and C.I. helped him with at least one but they can't remember. He deserves all credit for the illustrations.) We apologize for our long delays in posting his illustrations and we thank him for them. (We also note we have many, many more to post.)

We've had computer problems all morning and would have been done three hours ago were it not for those (which include a "corrupted file" warning on all laptops we were using). But it's up.

Here's what we have . . .

Truest statement of the week -- Elaine was the obvious pick. Most e-mails to all community sites noted Elaine's post and this was one of the often noted passages from it.

Editorial: Should we pray to Santa? -- Betty's son did the illustration. We had a different editorial but couldn't figure out how to work in the illustration otherwise. (Santa is a snowman in the illustration and her son said, back in September, "That's because Christmas melts away so fast." True.) Ruth, Kat, Mike, Elaine, Betty, Wally, Jess, Ava and C.I. wrote this.

TV: The Weak Get Weaker -- This is Ava and C.I.'s piece and this is Ava and C.I. only speaking here. Jess doesn't want to touch it because apparently Jim gets raked over the coals by some readers if they feel he didn't note what was important about the commentary. Here's what stands out to us: We miss entertainment programming! We really miss it. We are so sick of the news programming and all the liars, fluffers and fibbers who seem to inhabit them. A mailbag feature was started but killed. (There was no print edition this weekend. Ty's boyfriend is with Ty.) So since we're not going to comment on what we wrote, let's answer the e-mail. Are we really going to break the strike and review NBC's Medium? We don't know what we're going to do. We know we are sick to death of news programming. We know the network should have settled the strike a long time ago. We're thinking of reviewing a Saturday morning cartoon next week. Is that breaking the strike? (Friends who urged us to stop writing about entertainment programs said no, it wasn't. But we'll toss that out to readers.) We will be tempted to review Medium because it is a great show and Patricia Arquette is amazing. Plus the show does not get the support it needs and you've got some exciting moments this year and some amazing performances (including one guest star and we hope everyone knows who we mean). Along with the e-mail asking, some friends asked about it. What we're going to try to do if the strike is still on is wait. But we don't enjoy writing these pieces to begin with. We're not TV watchers to begin with. Due to the strike, we have to catch a ton of these shows we wouldn't watch otherwise. We can tell you about every Charlie Rose interview last week, we can tell you about five evening newscasts on the networks, we can tell you about all of PBS' public affairs program -- primetime and elsewhere. When we get done speaking, we're either streaming online and watching TV trying to find something that there's a review in. We're logging way too many hours watching this nonsense. And we worry that constant repetition of conventional wisdom will have a damaging effect. So we don't know what we're doing. We do know the networks need to pay the writers' their fair share and that's not happening. We'll probably be tempted to review Medium but will probably wait on that until the strike's over. But we promised another look at that (the original review here was a group project, Jim figured that out last week and told us that we fought over many points others were making -- fought and lost -- so we would like to take another crack at). A friend called this morning and said whenever we get through to call because he has an idea of how we could honor the strike and avoid news and public affairs programming for a week or two. We'll be calling him and blessing him if he does indeed have a workable answer.

The Nation featured 491 male bylines in 2007 -- how many female ones? -- This time last year, "Nation Stats" started. Here's the year run down and it's not pretty and it just goes to show that the answer is not putting a woman in charge, the answer is putting the right one in charge, one who will see to it that women have an equal number of seats at the table. Ruth, Wally, Cedric, Mike, Elaine, Betty, Kat, Jess, Ava and C.I. wrote this.

Roundtable -- Roundtables are nightmares. This one was only a nightmare to type, thankfully. Betty's oldest son did the illustration for this feature and we'll be using it for future roundtables as well.

"I Hate The War" -- Ruth, Kat, Betty, Mike, Elaine, Wally, Jess, Ava and C.I. wrote this, our second feature on The Ballet. Please check out the group.

Dems & Iraq -- A brief look at some Democrats running for president. This was pulled together at the last minute and written by Jess, Ava and C.I. We found Betty's son illustration of Barack Obama (whom Betty's son loathes) and thought we could pull something together very quickly and use the illustration. This is not providing a look at all candidates. The focus is Iraq. We're noting Bill Richardson, John Edwards and Barack Obama. Richardson had to be noted because he was the first to start talking about Iraq and should have made it into a snapshot last week but there wasn't time. Obama's latest dramatics meant that he and Edwards were included. Nothing is intended in ignoring the others except maybe Kucinich because he had a personal tragedy last week and we were too tried to want to go there. (Kucincih is mentioned in this week's TV commentary.)

Iowa -- At last we weigh in on Florida. Thank you to Wally for his patience. (He lives in Florida.) Wally was the leader on this piece and also helping out were Betty, Elaine, Kat, Mike, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Cynthia McKinney announces run for president -- Cynthia McKinney has declared, she is running for the Green Party nomination. This also contains a press release on another Green candidate so please check that out. This piece was written by Mike, Wally, Betty, Kat, Elaine, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Things to watch, things to listen to -- your online TV and radio guide. Elaine, Kat, Wally, Mike, Jess, Ava and C.I. wrote this.

Highlights -- Betty, Mike, Kat and Wally wrote this and selected all highlights unless otherwise noted. We thank them for their great job.

That's it. We'll see you next week provided we wake up after we finally get to sleep.

-- (In spirit) Jim, Dona, Ty, (in the painful flesh) Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Should we pray to Santa?


Should we pray to Santa?

Is there anyone else that hasn't been prayed too?

The illegal war drags on to be sure. But that's Bully Boy and Congress. What explains the rest of the nonsense?

Something isn't right
I don't know how I know
But baby, it's despite
Your dog-and-pony show
I can hear it coming
You're only going through the motions, baby
-- "Going Through The Motions," by Aimee Mann (available on the CD The Forgotten Arm and the CD & DVD Live at St. Ann's Warehouse).

If you missed it, and you may well have because no Pacifica program explored it and The Nation and The New York Times couldn't even be bothered with mentioning it, there was a Congressional hearing you should know about.

In the US House of Representatives Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on the sexual assaults of Jamie Lee Jones and Tracy Barker while working in Iraq. Barker [PDF format warning] submitted a statement to the committee where she noted that "under the direct supervision of Crystal Daniels and Byron Marcee, I was exposed to physical threats, verbal abuse, and sexually explicit conversations on a daily basis" and "[n]othing was done to resolve the sexually hostile work environment or investigate the complaints".

Despite the promise of confidentiality under the HDRP Kara Hall, a human resources supervisor received several of my complaints and forwarded them to Marcee and Daniels. As a result, Daniels and Marcee retaliated against me by escalating the abusive behavior and screaming at me for filing the formal complaints with human resources. After filing yet another complaint, Wesley Lane, a human resources supervisor, called me in to her office and informed that Daniels and Marcee had filed a report complaining of my job performance. While in Hall's office, I was not permitted to leave or call anyone. Lane followed me into the bathroom and watched me as I urinated. When I asked her why she was doing this she said it was to keep me from calling Houston again, or anyone else, to report the abuse. Hall then instructed me to return to my living container and remain there for three days, I was not permitted to speak with anyone, and if I was seen outside, I would be fired.

Iraq or not, US corporations operate under US laws. And what Barker's describing are serious violations. She was moved to the Basra compound where "I was assigned to a shared office space with Sherman Richardson. Richardson had hung pictures of prostitutes and animals having sex with one other on his office walls and he often talked about how he took his Rest and Relaxation time in Thailand where he would hire prostitutes. Other male employees would visit Richardson in the office to seek information on how to obtain a prostitute while on R&R." Let's be clear that this is paid for with US tax dollars. The work environment that wouldn't be allowed in the US (and shouldn't have been allowed in Iraq) was paid for with US tax dollars. Basra Camp contained no HR personnel and she took her complaints to the camp manager Craig Grabien who 'dealt' with them apparently by sexually harassing Barker "on a daily basis by insisting that I sleep with him because he was camp manager and he could provide benefits in exchange for sexual favors."

Complaining to the hotline did not good and, in fact, only caused Grabien to increase his sexual harassment. Barker explains the physical assault by an employee (still an employee) of the US State Department:

On June 23, 2005, I accompanied U.S. Department of State employee, Ali Mokhtare, to his living quarters to complete a work order for an alleged faulty air conditioner and to discuss employment opportunities within the U.S. State Dept. Once we arrived, Mokhtare said the air conditioner was working fine. I immediately felt uncomfortable expressed that I was going to leave. Mokhtare said he wanted to explain the war to me and a story about a 'Filipino woman.' As Mokhtare began to talk about the war, he poured two drinks of Jack Daniels and Coke and offered me one. I declined but eventually took the drink in my hand anyway. Mokhtare then began to talk about a Filipino woman in Saudi Arabia who was repeatedly raped by a prince, and although she reported it to the police, no one believed her and the prince continued to rape her. Finally, the woman became so distraught she committed suicide by jumping out of a window. In the midst of telling this story, Mokhtare grabbed my breasts and tried to kiss me on the mouth. I screamed "No!" and escaped Mokhtare's hold and began to run toward the door. Mokhtare grabbed hold of me again, put his hands around my throat and tried to force his lips on my mouth and against the back of my hand; I pushed him away, escaped his hold, and ran from the living quarters. Mokhtare followed after me screaming in Arabic as I ran in the direction of my living quarters.

Repeating that pathetic scum who assaulted her works for the State Department. The same State Department that would conduct an 'investigation.' Barker turned over a statement to them and asked for protection but was told by Grabien and the State Dept's Brian Hathaway "to just avoid Mokhtara." Barker explains that when Mokhtare was interviewed, he initially refused to talk but opened up in a second interview with the State Dept's Diplomatic Security: "During the interview, Mokhtare admitted to the agents he inappropriately grabbed my breast and attempted to kiss me. He also admitted to telling me the story of a Filipino woman who was raped by a prince in Saudi Arabia. Mokhtare's story was exactly as I had explained to agent Hathaway, he even goes so far as to admit his actions were 'inappropriate' and he 'made a mistake'."

Who's in charge of the State Department? Oh, yeah, Condi Rice. That explains a great deal.
Especially how it got buried when there was no significant differences between Barker's statements and those of the man who assaulted her: "According to the agents notes, when they confronted him about an inconsistent statement he made regarding his alcohol consumption he became agitated and angry." And he remained (and still remains) employed by the State Department all this time later.

Barker submitted a signed, written statement. Jamie Leigh Jones testified in public about being gang-raped by employees of Halliburton/KRB and then held in a container to keep her from talking. She was greeted in Iraq with cat-calls and harassment. Complaining did nothing to end the verbal harassment. Day four arrived and some other (male) employees offered her a drink.
With one claiming that there was no need to worry because "I saved all my Ruffies for Dubai." Jones took the drink and ended up drugged. The next morning she woke up in pain. A rape kit was taken with the doctor confirming "that I had been penetrated both vaginally and anally and that I was, quote: 'quite torn up down there'. She indicated that based upon the damages to my genitalia, it was apparent that I had been raped."

What happened next, Jones explained, was "The KBR security then took me to a trailer and locked me in a room with two armed guards outside my door. I was imprisoned in the trailer for approximately a day. One of the guards finally had mercy and let me use a phone. I called my dad who contacted Congressman Ted Poe who took actions to get me out of the country. I believe he saved my life. I was later interviewed by Halliburton-KBR supervisors and it was made clear to me that I had essentially two choices: '(1) Stay and get over it or (2) Stay with no guarantee of a job in Iraq or Houston.' Because of the severity of my injuries, I elected to go home despite the obvious threat of being fired."

Jones has attempted to get treatment and is still in need of more physical surgery. Meanwhile, she notes, "there has been no prosecution after two and a half years" of any of the men involved.

US House Rep John Conyers chairs the committee Jones testified before and he wondered, "Does anyone in this room feel it is acceptable for an American citizen like Ms. Jones to be drugged, raped and falsely imprisoned? Does anyone think it is appropriate that almost 2 1/2 years after the incident, there has not been a single prosecution in the case? Does anybody believe it is appropriate that the DOJ victims' rights ombudsman summarily rejected Ms. Jones complaint 6 months ago, and she was not even seen by a federal prosecutor until October? This is no small matter given that there are some 180,00 civilian contractor employees in Iraq, including more than 21,000 Americans, plus additional security contractor employees. And there are other troubling reports of similar sexual assaults against contractor employees."

We wonder it too but, then, we also wonder about the silence so much media offered in place in coverage?

Two of the few who have covered it are Marie Tessier's "Sexual Violence as Occupational Hazard -- In Iraq and at Home in the U.S.A." (TWMC) and Stephanie Mencimer's "Cheney: No Justice for Jaime Jones" (Mother Jones).

Shall we pray to Santa for coverage?

Maybe you recognize this:

Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.

Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.

That announcement was made weeks ago. (It runs in each "Iraq snapshot" until the event.) So why is it that IVAW has to ask that other groups and organizations respect the fact that they carved out this date sometime ago for the event they've put hours and hours into planning and staging?

Do we need to ask Santa to give out understanding and common sense this year to various allegedly in touch groups and organizations?

How it will play out is anyone's guess but, in joyful news, United for Peace and Justice's report on the steering committee indicates they grasp the need to start bringing in 'young blood.' (Not a surprise, UPFJ usually has a better grasp of the mood around the country than many other peace organizations.)

And since it is the season for giving, we'll note this regarding Sir! No Sir!:

Happy Holidays!
We at Displaced Films would like to invite you to give the gift that educates, entertains, and puts the move in movement.
Sir! No Sir!
We have been able to get this extraordinary film into the hands of over 1000 active duty soldiers. We could not have done this without your financial support. We ask that you continue to donate to our
"Make a Resister out of a Soldier" program so that we can send out another 200 copies before the new year. Or buy bulk copies (10 or more) yourself at drastically reduced rates and get them to those who need them most.
"...I had to stand in ranks and face the beast. Sir! No Sir! gave me the courage to do that and in turn, my courage empowered other resisters..."
Sgt. Darrell Anderson
We are offering free shipping on all domestic U.S. orders from now until January 1, 2008.
Take advantage of the deal for your last minute holiday shopping.
Also, we have been grueling over a redesign of our new site for several months now. We have new home pages on rotation right now and would LOVE your feedback. Please take a moment to go to our site and navigate through. If you click on the refresh button, you will get a new home page each time. Not only that, but we have made the shopping cart much more efficient.

Many war resisters have seen Zieger's amazing documentary, including Agustin Aguayo.

[Illustration by Betty's oldest son.]

TV: The Weak Get Weaker

Before endorsing Al Gore in 2000, Wesley Clark (former general and 2004 Democratic presidential primary candidate) met with No-One-Could-Have-Guessed (or at least not her) Condi Rice because his wife, a former staffer for Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, said it was only fair he hear from the other side. He made a call and Condi was eager for a face to face. To hear him tell it, the two might have exchanged blows had it gone on any longer because it was obvious to him that Condi and the team she was on (Team Bully Boy) had no concept of the real world, had no concept of foreign relations, had no concept of how to interact with others and thought they could bend reality to their will. He did pretty much everything but call her a nut job (since he didn't, we will, "Condi, you're a nut job."). He offered a lengthy comparison of an election run to parachuting and refused to speculate on whether or not, should Hillary Clinton win the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, he would be her running mate ("I'm interested in getting Hillary elected.")

He explained all of that (and more) in an interview with Krys Boyd for KERA's Think. Think is both a radio program and a TV program. Boyd is attracting some serious attention from PBS nationally for the work she's done including an interview with The NewsHour's Ray Suarez that people higher up nationally are very proud of. (Ourselves, we wish Suarez practiced even half the lofty journalism principles he preached in that interview.) We think Boyd does a strong job and watch the tapes when they're passed on by friends at PBS. We think she is more than qualified to go "national." (KERA is the Dallas-Fort Worth, NPR and PBS station.) We've been repeatedly asked to note her work and we're doing so now for two reasons. One, Dallas was kind enough to check if this show we get on videotape is available online? It is in radio and TV form. (Note that the formats are not offering the same program. Clark was on the TV show.) There are, however, no transcripts. Two, we're about to rip apart another PBS program (national) and our friends at PBS -- who used to beg for PBS to be included in our commentaries -- have gotten a little less thrilled that, due to the writers' strike, they're now suddenly popping up each week. As requested, we will include a link to the show we're about to carve up. As we explained repeatedly last week, there were no links provided in our last review because that edition went on too long and we were too tired.

So, to our PBS friends, we are including links and we have praised Think and the work Boyd does. Those were your kind words and the kind word section is now closed.

What is the worst show PBS offers up? That's far too difficult to narrow down. They provide a lot of bad programs across the land. But of the public affairs/news programs, the worst offender consistently has to be . . . No, not The Charlie Rose Show. Even as bad as it so often is, there are watchable moments and the rare segment that actually works. The envelope please.

The worst is Washington Weak. "I can't believe you're about to attack the show again," said one friend. Well we hadn't planned to and then we watched. (Click here for the program's website.)

We actually had high hopes. Gwen Ifill appears to be modifying her Miss Beasley hairstyle so there was no longer a reason to laugh just because she was shown on camera. However, Gwen was in a giving mood, as she herself noted early in the program, and, at the end of the program, she demonstrated how many laughs she could give when she went out with the worst teleprompter reading the world may have ever seen on an alleged PBS news/public affairs program. What was with the head, Gwen? What was that all about? It was as though she thought she was filming a Wella Balsam commercial and about to become the new Farrah Fawcett or at least the new Brooke Shields.

She also felt the need to wish viewers a merry Christmas ("Merry Christmas everyone and goodnight!") and we had to wonder about that because we don't recall a Happy Hanuka being tossed out this month let alone any other holidays. (And, sadly, we've seen every episode of Washington Weak this month.) But before she got to her gutsy-brava finale, she'd already provided many other comic moments.

The show began with Gwen seated at the table with Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times), Alexis Simendinger (National Journal) and Jeanne Cummings (PO'LIceandTICksOh) and, like us, you may have wondered, does this half-hour of fluff fear it's packing so much information that it needs to drop from four to three guests?

If the show needed to drop down to three guests, the most easy to ditch was Cummings who wouldn't be missed because she has nothing to offer and always needs assistance when she's attempting to make a point. Case in point, speaking of Mike Huckabee's TV advertisement involving a cross, she was all over the place from the start as she noted that he stands "behind what appears to be a very large cross." Oh really? Huckabee, running for the GOP's 2008 presidential nomination, is not front and center in his own TV ad? Well that would be news.

But she was wrong and Gwen helped Cummings float back down to earth by correcting her that Huckabee stands in front of the cross. Nodding eagerly and sporting a thousand tics, Cummings agreed, "Yes, in front of." She is an Estelle Parsons character come to life and, in a news medium, that isn't a good thing. McManus tried to provide a bit of logic and honesty when he suggested that everyone stop obsessing over polls and provide them with "not so much attention". Gwen and the other two weren't having anything to do with that suggestion. Doyle, if they stopped talking about polls, Gwen would be required to do more than 2 minutes 'research' for her weekly show. "Money," one offered as to the influence of polls causing Cummings to nearly go cross-eyed as she cooed of a candidate, "Yeah, he's got a lot of money."

"Yeah, he's got a lot of money." And Huckabee stood behind a cross. (She was wrong.) Why is this woman even brought on TV? As hideous as Washington Weak is, when you are the character actress of the news set (one who seems determined to parody Kim Stanley in the closing of The Goddess), why are you even invited on? We could provide more of Cummings' nonsense but we fear doing so might create a She's-so-bad-I-love-her! response and lead some to begin e-mailing Washington Weak requesting that she be featured even more often.

The segment was over very quickly and we were already wondering about the lack of a fourth guest and about to turn off the TV when Gwen revealed that she had more guests but they were too numerous to fit around the roundtable. Instead, she was doing one-on-one interviews with them. (Taped ahead of time.)

As awful as the show is, the most recent episode demonstrated that it can get even worse. What's worse than four gas bags chatting and chewing with the ultimate gas bag (the latter would be Gwen)? A plethora of them. A parade of gas bags. All offering the verbal equivalent of can-can kicks as they moved quickly on and off, tossing out key phrases and exploring very little.

That's probably how you grab the time to note that Scooter Libby left the White House, that he had to because he was indicted but you, somehow, never say the words "Valerie Plame." (Plame was an undercover CIA agent. The White House outed her in retaliation for her husband Joe Wilson speaking out about Bully Boy's lead-up to the illegal war lies. Scooter was indicted for lying to the grand jury during the investigation.) Facts and issues? Really not present. But a lot of faces, a lot.

We're pretty sure we only fantasized Broadway veteran Ann Miller in the proceedings, but that's because, while it was awful, it moved so quickly. And a rush to include everyone (Michael Duffy?) left no time to address anything. Most of all we were confused because US and World Reports' Gloria Borger looked like she needed her face sanded. (Or, worse, that she'd had a skin peel and it had burned her facial skin. What were those vertical -- vertical, not horizontal -- lines spaced out across her forehead?)

The New York Times David E. Sanger demonstrated, if nothing else, why print was a wise medium choice and, though we've seen Sanger before, we weren't aware that he had developed so many more chins than common sense. What he had to say was useless and, in his case, we were thankful it was over very quickly.

Humanized pond scum John Harris (PO'LIceandTICsOh) vied with Borger in The Biggest Lie Most Pompously Delivered Derby. We're not sure who won and we'll let you judge for yourself. Harris, a really bad 'reporter' and someone whose departure from his previous job actually led to his former employer throwing a bit of a celebration party, got a tiny dollop of reality out before he started spinning. He dubbed the illegal Iraq War "the biggest disappointment." Having gotten that bit of truth out, he was off to the derby and insisting that the Democratic leadership in Congress had done all that anyone could (not true -- they didn't filibuster, they didn't send bill after bill to Bully Boy on Iraq to force him to veto it, they didn't make everyone do a roll call vote on Iraq every day for a prolonged period of time), insisting that hoping the other side would change it's mind qualified as a strategy ("peel off Republican support" sounds so much more active than the 'plan' was if only because it was so weak to begin with) and that this all goes to history (he's talking the southern strategy) which has "made the Democratic Party more liberal." More liberal, John-oh?

More liberal than nut jobs that want to deny evolution? More liberal than pigs in a sty who want to launch non-stop attacks on women? The fact that Pat Buchanan's controversial 1992 GOP Convention speech (or for that matter Dan Quayle's nonsense at the same convention) now seems 'normal' to the mainstream media only indicates how far right-ward the media and the country's two largest political parties have gone. Two, John, two parties, because the Democratic Party is far from liberal today. But he founded that trashy site whose slogan could be "Proud to Be a Republican Apologist Daily," so lying comes very easy to him. Just as easy as future employment at The Washington Times if the plug gets pulled on his 'brainchild'.

Before we get to Borger, ABC News' Martha Raddatz showed up -- looking like Martha Stewart and bubbling like Annette Funicello. Here's the thing with Raddatz and Iraq, you have to let her bubble. You have to wait until she's burped up all her Happy Talk and then, at the end, she may slip in a little does of reality. But when you're talking about a news person who uses 'words' like "totality," probably most are already snoozing by that point. Maybe her talk of Bully Boy's "legacy" (and how "that has to be on the president's mind" -- it has to be, has to?) had already sent them dozing? Our notes show that Raddatz "flashed a frightening smile." We've both added exclamation points beside that note so, obviously, at that moment it left a mark. However, the long parade of faces allows it to now fade from memory.

In our notes, we also noted The Washington Post's Peter Baker looked good on camera and wondered what could be done with AP's Charles Babington's hair? (We do like Charlie, but that hair has really become a problem and, if nothing's done and done quickly, we feel he will soon be auditioning for an off-Broadway production of David Lynch's Eraserhead) Time magazine's Karen Tumulty was wasted in her brief moments commenting on the election due to Gwen selecting the most obvious, most belabored points (such as there "is no front runner"). Like Tumulty, The Washington Post's Dan Baltz might as well have avoided sitting down with Gwen considering what made it to air ("frustration").

Jeff Zeleny demonstrated he will have a long career at The New York Times since there's no fact he is not willing to bend and misshape in order to lie to the people. In his brief bit, he was speaking of senators and 2008 Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and noted that there was no difference between the two's health care plan (there is a difference, Clinton's is more inclusive and maybe the paper's own Paul Krugman needs to walk Zeleny threw that). Having bent reality, he was now ready to offer up the paper's version of an acid trip. Watch, kiddies, as the walls run liquid gold and the carpet turns to fire while Zeleny goes on to insist "and really all the candidates . . . there's no difference on health care." Dennis Kucinich doesn't have a difference on health care? (Kucinich favors true universal health care.) We'd suggest the paper begin drug testing but, the truth is, they love Zeleny doped up.

Gloria Borger is just a dope period. After we got over the shock of her face (and a new hairstyle and color), we were left with the same old Gloria, pushing water cooler spin off as fact. We watched in wonder as she lied and proclaimed (prefaced with the weasel words "I think") "the big issue that surfaced on both sides is immigration." "We think" she's got too many miles on her to think anyone sees her as young and fresh despite all the work done.

From FAIR's "The Lou Dobbs Primary" (December 7, 2007):

Media coverage of the 2008 presidential election identifies immigration as a key issue for the U.S. electorate--even though, according to most polling, it does not rank as a top priority for voters.

[. . .]

That's not what voters have been saying, though.The Iraq War still tops the list of priority issues for both Democrats and Republicans. "It's raised twice as often as the next-ranking issue, the economy," according to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll (11/30/07-12/1/07). Another recent poll (L.A. Times/Bloomberg, 11/30/07-12/3/07) found only 15 percent of Americans ranking immigration as one of the top three issues of concern to them. In fact, noted L.A. Times columnist Tim Rutten (12/1/07), "more than nine out of 10 Americans think something matters more than immigration in this presidential election."

The FAIR release, in fact, notes Borger and that she has claimed that immigration is one "killer issue" -- you kind of picture her pulling a large comb out of her back jean pocket to work on her feathering while saying that -- as well as "Independent voters are unhappy that nothing has been done on the matter, and anyone who wants to be president needs to keep independent voters happy." Facts really don't matter to Gloria. Except maybe one: Anyone who wants to be on TV needs to work on being presentable. We'd suggest a dermatologist visit immediately.

What stood out the most were the bits of bravery from Bloomberg News' Janine Zacharia. True, Zacharia did note Condi Rice was "putting out fires everywhere" without noting that all of those fires she started or co-started (Lebanon, Iraq, go down the list) but Zacharia also noted how unpopular Gwen's evening meal time pal was. When you know who's cooking with Gwen, it takes a lot of guts to discuss how Condi had the press cheering her on in 2005 and now people are a wee bit wiser. It wasn't up there with Wesley Clark's remarks about Condi but, considering the forced smile Gwen was giving Zacharia, we think Gwen's head would pop off if she'd been sitting across from Clark.

Gwen called this nonsense a "gift" and we think calling it a "gift" is a lot like calling Gwen "the managing editor" of Washington Weak. Which, for the record, they do. We're not sure whether that's repeated so often to give credit or to make sure all viewers know who deserves the blame. Gwen more than earned it as she presented Night of 100 Snores. We look forward to seeing next year's extravaganza when she will, no doubt, be decked out in an off-the-shoulder Nolan Miller original.

The Nation featured 491 male bylines in 2007 -- how many female ones?

In one of her "I just remembered I'm a woman!" posts at The Nation's Editor's Cut, Katrina vanden Heuvel felt the need to weigh in that 20 million women (she labels them "unmarried," we'll just note that none are recognized as married by federal law) didn't vote in the 2004 elections and that, in 2006, the number rose to 30 million.

Oh, the humanity!

Of course, one could argue that anyone truly concerned about the number of women who vote would realizae it might be larger (and this is numbers, not proportions -- there are more adult women in the US than adult men) if women were actually invited to the table.

vanden Heuvel is both editor and publisher of The Nation magazine. So who's she had over for dinner?

For those late to our own party, in the summer of 2006, a number of women -- established and emerging writers -- brought to our attention that The Nation wasn't publishing women, that solid articles by women could be easily snapped up elsewhere but The Nation was consistently sending out a message of "Men Only." We hadn't noticed. We'd been focused on Iraq and hadn't noticed the imbalance (which did exist). They wanted the issue addressed at The Common Ills but (a) the site had already switched over to the Iraq focus (at the request of members) and (b) the year was half-over. Would it be okay if we monitored the imbalance at The Third Estate Sunday Review? It was. So we agreed that we would monitor 2007.

The December 24, 2006 edition featured "The Nation Stats." The plan was for that be a weekly feature but time issues and boredom with the magazine as well as mail delivery made that impossible. We did, however, cover every issue of the magazine for the first half of the year.

July 4th, our results went up: "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," and "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis." That went up at all sites and it was a feature written by all.

The results weren't 'pretty'. During that time frame (January 1, 2007 issue through the June 25, 2007 issue), the magazine published published 255 male bylines and 74 female ones. As was noted then, just to achieve equal numbers of women, the magazine would have to publish 181 female bylines in the second six months of the year.

To have an actual day off, for everyone, we didn't wait until July 4th to write our planned article. We worked on it throught June and nailed it on the last Sunday before the first of July. That was it, at last! A day offline for all.

What we hadn't counted on (and weren't aware of then) was that a 'professional' had passed on the plans for the feature. To be clear, the plans were announced here. Seven people from The Nation magazine e-mailed while we were doing "The Nation Stats." (Six mentioned the figure and said it was about time.) C.I. had spoken to friends with the magazine and the foundation about the article throughout (including -- as with this feature -- calling two to check the gender on some writers). But the magazine wasn't concerned until a 'professional' passed on Jess' e-mail to score points. We didn't learn that until after the 4th.

What we knew before the 4th was that Ben Wyskida, publicity hack for The Nation (and so much more interesting when he was just obsessed with sex and sarcasm) was writing us via the public e-mail account at The Common Ills. He wrote twice. In an insulting e-mail (where he blamed Ava and C.I. for the lack of women writers at The Nation and pulled the nonsense so many of his kind love to -- "glaring errors" which of course they never identify), he noted, "On the subject of women and the magazine; you should also know that the magazine is more than aware of the imbalance, and has taken steps in the last several months to recruit and bring in more women writers." Great. We were thrilled they were aware of the problem. We thought it would only take a month -- at most -- of "The Nation Stats" for the problem to be dealt with. It had taken longer than that but a July 2nd e-mail says it's known and being addressed, great. The whole reason the feature started was women were being shut out.

Ben went on to explain, "Between now and the Fall there are six new writers being added to our blogs, as well as new staff added to the editorial ranks." On the first point, we were (and are) covering the print edition -- the one people pay for. The one that has more prestige (and pays more money) than "online exclusives." So women bloggers might be nice in terms of online, but that really wasn't our focus. (We've received many e-mails pointing out that it hasn't translated that way online. Some have noted that Katha Pollitt now has her own blog at the site. She also has her own blog online, away from the magazine. But in terms of feedback here, Pollitt's the only improvement our readers have noticed in terms of online content at The Nation.) But editorial ranks? Along with Katrina vanden Heuvel at the top, we were aware of many women in positions at the magazine. Ben added, "Its worth noting, I think, the extent to which women ARE the leadership of the magazine -- from the editorial side (print, web, and almost all of our senior and executive editors) to the business side (President and the heads of advertising and fundraising) -- but there is an ongoing effort to bring in more women in to the magazine and the website." Again, our focus was not the website. It was women being published in the magazine.

But Ben's e-mail told us (a) the problem was known and (b) the problem would be addressed.

We're not going to call Ben a "liar" on this. We'll assume he thought it would be addressed. 181 bylines of women were needed to bring women up to an equal position to men. From the July 2, 2007 issue through the December 31, 2007 issue, 289 pieces with bylines were published.

It was possible that equality might be achieved. Not likely, but possible.

How did they fare?

Not good at all.

289 articles with bylines (many with more than one writer receiving billing for an article) and 236 men received bylines while only 75 women did. In terms of the simplest math, in July we were noting 255 men received bylines and only 74 women. That meant 181 more bylines were for males. "Improvement" and "awareness" translated into 75 women receiving bylines to 236 males. 161 more males received bylines. So all that talk of any improvement was really just empty talk. For issues dated 2007, The Nation published 491 male bylines to 149 female ones.

And Katrina vanden Heuvel wants to score points talking about low numbers of women voters?

It needs to be pointed out that the magazine now does a rip-off of Rolling Stones' Random Notes column and also regularly offers a comic. Those features weren't included in our study because they didn't exist at the first of the year. The weekly magazine added those in the October 15, 2007 issue. "Noted" (the rip-off) is unsigned. The comic? Apparently, women don't draw. Who knew? Had the male comic artists been included in the count, it would have been even worse. Could someone explain that? How, when you know you have a HUGE imbalance, you end up with a male cartoonist?

Maybe at the interviews, only 'single' women applied and it was thought they might not vote in the 2008 elections?

You might think women columnists helped beef up the numbers. There are three regular female columnists: Naomi Klein, Katha Pollitt and Patricia J. Williams. But that's not reality. They did help in one area: When you compare the first period studied with the second, the first obvious thing you note is that at least the magazine didn't (AGAIN) manage to go an entire issue without featuring the byline of any women.

Instead, you got the October 22, 2007 issue that included Katha Pollitt . . . and eleven men. You got the October 29, 2007 issue that included Patricia J. Williams . . . with eleven men. You got the November 5th issue with Katha Pollitt . . . and -- well you get the idea. The female columnists greatest contribution (in terms of our study) was in making sure that no issue was published where not a single woman received a byline -- a problem the magazine had in the first period.

The second thing you quickly notice is that (true in the first period as well), women have an easier chance of getting a byline if they're commenting on books, art or writing a (brief) poem. The "girls" are apparently thought to be able to handle that 'soft' terrain . . . if not much else.

The numbers also benefit from co-writing. Though not one issue feature two or more women sharing the byline of a single article, women could be paired up with men and, of course, men were paired up with men. Maybe they're all following Katrina vanden Heuvel's lead? She apparently needs a partner with a penis when it's time to co-write. Or maybe she just needs to be Queen Bee?


It bears noting that they ran the writings of a War Criminal. Before you rack your mind trying to figure out what woman we're talking about, please -- they didn't search so far and wide for women that they asked Mad Maddie Albright to write an article. However, they did make time for a former left-winger (former by many, many years) who is thought -- by the international community -- to have killed poet Roque Dalton. Jack Hirshcman (at CounterPunch) was among the many aghast by how low the magazine would stoop.

But maybe you have to resort to publishing War Criminals when you work so hard at refusing to publish women?

Having started the year featuring a 'book review' by her friend Pig Bergman which went several years back to find a man to praise after sharing his impressions of a whorehouse in Afghanistan and ripping apart the books of Ann Jones and Sarah Chayes (Jones is a conspiracy monger, to hear Pig tell it, how nice of vanden Heuvel to allow her centrist friend to rip apart the work of a Nation contributor on the pages of The Nation; Chayes isn't 'objective' -- apparently she never visited a whorehouse in Afghanistan), vanden Heuvel rushes in at the end of the year to pretend she's got any thoughts of women and wants to share her shock over the fact that a number of 'single' women don't vote. Women, single or not, make less money than men and are more likely to be responsible for young children.

vanden Heuverl spares them a moment of time only because they might be voters. Make no mistake, this SEXIST rag hasn't written one word about Tracy Barker or Jamie Leigh Jones. Jones testified before a Congressional committee last Wednesday about being drugged and gang-raped in Iraq. Tracy Barker submitted a written statement about being sexually harassed while working in Iraq and being sexually assaulted by a State Department employee. Both women were profiled on 20/20 two Fridays ago. (20/20 broadcast noted at this site here.) March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza was gang-raped by US soldiers, while two gang-raped her, she also had to endure hearing her parents and five-year-old sister shot in the other room by a third US soldier who then allegedly (both of the two have confessed and identified Steven D. Green as the instigator, a co-rapist and the murderer) killed her. By June 2006, these events were being reported in the mainstream media. An Article 32 hearing was held for those soldiers still in the service (Green was discharged before the crimes came to light, he will be tried in a civilian court -- scheduled to begin April 13th). In 2007, Alexander Cockburn would become the first Nation journalist to write about Abeer in the pages of the magazine. Katha Pollitt would then offer Abeer in a half sentence.

Last Tuesday, AP's Ryan Lenz described the events as "four U.S. soldiers who helped gang rape and kill a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in one of the war's worst atrocities. . . . The allegations of rape and murder at the hands of U.S. soldiers in July 2006 enraged the world community, including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who demanded full accountability." Enraged the world community. One of the war's worst atrocities. Lenz, for the record, has covered the story repeatedly. The Nation, by contrast, hasn't. (That's in print, that's in 'online exclusives' and the magazine's 'blogs.')

That a weekly magazine, allegedly left (but look at all those New American Foundation contributors in a recent issue), wants to ignore Jones, Barker and Abeer (along with many other women) is disgusting. That a woman holds both titles of editor and publisher at said magazine is appalling. (By contrast, Mother Jones has written about it, Stephanie Mencimer wrote about it from DC -- of course Mother Jones has a strong bureau chief. Maybe The Nation could consider asking him to write for their magazi . . . Oh, wait. Never mind.)

As noted before, Ben accused Ava and C.I. of being responsible for the lack of women. Apparently, so almighty powerful are Ava and C.I. (some of our readers might agree with that description) that one comic critique from them and all women writers shrivel away. So they avoided noting the writing of any women done during the second period with the exception of the disgusting attempts by the magazine to tear apart Cindy Sheehan. They avoided, for instance, noting that Patricia J. Williams -- allegedly a law professor -- was off writing about Oprah when you'd think a law professor would be far more interested in War Crimes and not in offering bad attempts at humor (see especially August 27th's "The Protect Alberto Gonzales Act of 2007"). But maybe they misunderstood the title of Williams' columns? Maybe the "mad" in "The Diary of a Mad Law Professor" isn't meant to indicate that she's angry about the state of the world, maybe it's meant to indicate that her brain is cracked? She certainly writes (in scope and meandering nature) as if she's unhinged.

Ben maintained the magazine was aware of the issue of women writers not being printed by the magazine and they would be addressing it. The first period featured 181 more male bylines than female ones and the second period featured 161 more male bylines than female ones. At this rate of 'progress,' in four years the magazine might be able to publish only one more male than woman? Is that what we're supposed to assume?

The reality is that going from 181 more males to 161 more males is disgraceful when you admit there's a problem, when you admit you are aware of it and when you claim you are addressing it. Again, the post of comic illustrator opened up while they were allegedly aware of the problem and yet not one female has been given that page.

The Nation is supposedly a left magazine and yet they think it's acceptable to run 491 bylines by male in one year and only 149 by women. If you want to embrace that sop Katrina vanden Heuvel just tossed out to appear 'interested' in women, do so. Wallow in it. But have the guts and brains to grasp that it's sop and that a magazine where one woman holds the position of editor and publisher has repeatedly demonstrated throughout 2007 that it was no friend to women.


Jess: I'm going to toss right to C.I. and Ava and then we'll get started.

C.I.: Last week's "Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature)" dealt with the wave of justifications for torture stemming from the death of serial torturer Ike Turner who beat Tina Turner and many other women and created, for the children in his orbit as well as the women, a constant sense of violence about to emerge. It was unhealthy, it was disgusting and it was criminal. It was torture.

Ava: Out of all the ones taking part in that wave, we noted only two writers because we felt the rest were trash. The two we made exceptions for were Danny Schechter and Elijah Wald. Five journalists wrote to complain and Elijah Wald also e-mailed.

C.I.: Ty read us points from Wald's e-mails and we replied via Ty. Elijah Wald's piece at CounterPunch originally appeard in The Los Angeles Times where it was meant to represent one take and rock critic Ann Powers was intended to represent another view. In addition, Wald is a musical historian. He's identified as a "musican" and a "journalist" at CounterPunch but really what he is a musical historian. He is going to be grappling with Ike Turner's death, Turner's place in history and other examples of torture in music history for some time.

Ava: Wald, as Ty told us over the phone, appeared to be attempting a genuine dialogue so we were more than happy to reply. Our time is very limited and we don't read the e-mails at this site unless Ty's on vacation. Jess, Dona, community members Martha, Eli, Shirley, C.I. and myself are attempting to deal with the huge number of e-mails coming into The Common Ills when we're in inboxes. Inboxes are not C.I. and my first priority, we're on the road every week speaking with various groups about Iraq and how to end the illegal war. Wald didn't ask that anything be noted but C.I. and I were talking aboutit throughout last week and both agreed that, putting aside the fact that he was commissioned to write one point of view piece that was to compliment another writer's point of view piece, he is a historian and he's going to be evaluating and re-evaluating Ike Turner and others throughout his career so we thought that was very different from the multitude of men weighing in with the Ike wave.

C.I.: Wald and Danny Schechter made public statements and we weighed with our own take. We noted in the piece that they weren't trash. We try very hard not to link trash. Once, we linked to Rush Limbaugh in a review and only did that because we knew Ty, Dona and Jim would face a slew of e-mails of saying, "That's not true!" We, Ava and I, went back and forth over linking to that piece of trash but we don't hit the e-mails and we didn't want the right-wing pouring in with their "That's not true!" nonsense and taking up all of Ty, Dona and Jim's time. On the piece last week, there was a wave of nonsense and we could have linked to many. We went with those two and noted they weren't trash and noted how saddened we were they were part of the wave.

Ava: We regularly link to Danny Schechter here, we have used his book for a book discussion, we have regularly mentioned his film WMD and many other things. In addition, C.I. does know Danny Schechter and, at The Common Ills, Danny has been linked to and defended repeatedly. With Elijah Wald, we're not aware of any links or mentions at this site or The Common Ills prior so we wanted to note that he was a historian and that he will be addressing the topic repeatedly over the years. Especially as a historian, that is his role. We disagree with his evaluation strongly but it needs to be noted that he will have to address this topic repeatedly due to his role. Hopefully that will include a re-evaluation.


Jess: I'm dealing with the five journalists to note a few things. I have read all five e-mails and have spoken to Jim and Jim's father who is a real journalist. Jim's father read over them and noted that the entire thing seemed to have an echo chamber fact and wondered if it was part of campaign? He also thought three were "rather stupid" to reply to replies from Dona and Jim with what were clearly insults and describes those three in terms we won't include here. He noted that those three who want to accuse Ava and C.I. of errors have the burden of proof of demonstrating errors. One of them wants to say that he doesn't remember it that way and, as Jim's father pointed out, he wasn't "there" to remember in the first place. Mid-week, Jim went through and researched every fact mentioned in Ava and C.I.'s piece. He checked with friends of Ava and C.I.'s, many of whom they'd spoken to prior to writing the piece, and especially helpful was a former Rolling Stone reporter who noted not only pieces in Rolling Stone but other publications as well as I, Tina. Jim typed up an annotated version of Ava and C.I.'s piece, e-mailed it to his father who looked over it and said, quote, "No surprise, Ava and C.I. knew their stuff." Jim's father asked that this be included to the five journalists: "Before commenting on a piece, you are required to read it. When alleging errors, you need to note the errors. You then need to explain why they are errors. None of you did that and you really embarrass the profession with your actions. You also embarrass your gender rushing in to vent that two women 'dared' to point out the obvious about Ike Turner. As men over fifty, your first thought should have been, 'Why am I rushing to defend a criminal?' As journalists, your e-mails should have been professional enough to offer more than baseless assertions. All of you embarrassed yourselves and your profession." We're not done with this topic, I know Elaine has a comment, but we wanted to open with that. Ava and C.I. intend to attach their comments regarding Wald to their piece from last week. But they did want to note Wald at the top of this roundtable and that's why we started the roundtable off that way. Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava and me, Jess, 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. Ruth of Ruth's Report is on the line. She says, "Just to listen." But we've told she can jump in at any point. I'm moderating the roundtable because C.I. and Ava didn't want to and that's partly due to the fact that they are the ones taking notes in all our transcript pieces and it can be difficult to do that and moderate. Jim usually moderates so if you think I've done an awful job, e-mail and Jim will love you for it. I'm going to toss to Elaine and anyone can jump in. We do have other topics but this topic is the reason Cedric's participating. Last weekend, he told us he intended to take this week off. Then this nonsense started and Betty, who feels very strongly, asked him if he could make time for the roundtable. Okay, Elaine.

Elaine: Jim called me last week and was furious regarding one of the five journalists. They all ticked him off, rightly, but one especially. He read that nonsense, which was actually two e-mails from the same journalist. I wrote about it at my site ("Only women & countries get 'discovered'"). I was offended, and still am offended, for many reasons including responsible adults do not make excuses or justifications for domestic abuse. On another level, I was offended, as was Jim -- and he said if I spoke about this to consider the comments from both of us -- about the attitude in the e-mail which included the suggestion that Dona, who had replied first to the asshole, apparently doesn't speak plainly. Jim read that e-mail to me and only a fool and a sexist could read a simple statement as to why Dona was disturbed by the e-mail could e-mail back that he was confused. As Jim's father noted, the whole thing had an orchestrated feel to it and that includes e-mailing that, paraphrase, "I haven't read the article but I'm bothered by it." Read the damn article before you comment. Along with the insult to Dona -- which enraged Jim who is involved with Dona . . . Let me stop for a second. Dona is the most basic and straightforward of any of us. That comes through here in book discussions, roundtables and mailbags. Dona doesn't go philosophical, she doesn't go esoteric, she is the most plain spoken of any of us. If you can't grasp a simple sentence from her, you have cognitive issues. More likely, you couldn't grasp plain English because you have problems with women which, again, would explain why you felt the need to defend a man who spent his entire life beating women. Also on that e-mail, those two e-mails from one journalist, there seemed to be a feeling that 'poor Ike' only beat Tina -- he beat many women -- because of his cocaine problem. As I told Jim on the phone and noted in my post, Ike was beating women long before he did cocaine and Jim should, which he did, call a record producer who is a friend of C.I.'s and ask him about introducing Ike to cocaine in the late sixties. The "late sixties." Ike was beating Tina long before then. The Dona aspect is important because Jim was offended and it is the reason that C.I. weighed in at The Common Ills which normally would not happen. I saw C.I. on Friday and we didn't speak of this. That's usually the case. We have important topics like the illegal war as well as our own lives and general friendship topics to catch up on. C.I. does not know and will not know who wrote those e-mails. But, in case that was a question in C.I.'s entry on this, no, this isn't a journalist you've slept with, just one you know. As you guessed, if it was one you slept with, I would have been even more vocal in my post. He is so not C.I.'s type.

Jess: And on types, I will note that a planned roundtable shortly will explore types. An e-mail came in on that from reader Suzette, it's on two aspects actually. Rebecca was all for it but the rest were undecided. C.I.?

C.I.: Hold on. Okay, we can answer Suzette's question because it is specific and can be used to draw attention to a topic that needs more attention. The concern on Jim's part was that it might be trivializing a topic and I do understand where he's coming from. But I also understood Rebecca's arguement and if it makes anyone who reads it think about the main topic, which isn't attraction per se, then good and if it's seen as frivilous on our part, I really don't care. I think it could backfire on us, so be it. If we're seen as less 'serious,' then, as Cedric would say, "Oh well." The fact is it's an important topic, one that has to do with the illegal war, and at this point, we're willing to do anything to get people to think about that topic. And if it does that for even three extra seconds, I'm fine with it.

Jess: Which is the reasoning that has us all on board and Suzette e-mailed three weeks ago. We just haven't had time for a roundtable and we know people have been thinking about their answers so don't want to grab it for this roundtable when many aren't present due to the holidays. Rebecca and her husband are spending today through Christmas Eve with his family and then Christmas Day with her family.

Mike: Rebecca, Flyboy and their baby.

Jess: Correct. And Jim and Dona are at her parents' home and flew there on Thursday. Ty flew to his grandmother's to celebrate the holidays. My parents have come out to California to celebrate. Cedric is helping out at his church with several elements of their Christmas service and that's why he intended to take off this weekend. I'm going to toss to him.

Cedric: This is a topic, Ike Turner, that Betty feels strongly about. That wave of Ike Defenders was disgusting on every level and it offended me and many other people.

Jess: Right. Cedric stopped and I think that's my indication to note the overwhelming positive response to Ava and C.I.'s article from victims of domestic abuse and from women who weren't victims but their sisters were or their mothers were or their best friends were. By last Thursday, this was the most response on anything this year. We thought "Who's killing the peace movement?" would be the one the most responses because that was overwhelming and big enough to actually surpass Ava and C.I.'s TV commentaries. But their feature regarding the realities of Ike Turner topped that.

Cedric: I talked to Dona who was working the e-mails more than usual due to the fact that Ty flew home last Tuesday and was off the e-mails after that. She stressed how it was painful to read those e-mails because women were sharing so much and that, although she knew domestic abuse was a problem and knew Ava and C.I. had written something strong, she really had "my eyes opened" as to how common and brutal domestic abuse was in many women's lives. And that's my big point here, all five of those jerk-offs posing as journalists in real life, they didn't give damn about the victims. They minimized, and this is true of those writing pieces defending Ike as well, a very brutal, very deadly experience that so many women live through. There's no excuse for that. They should all be ashamed of themselves.

Betty: Last weekend, Jim suggested that topic. We all heard it. The way it works is you've got the West Coast group at C.I.'s -- that's usually C.I., Ava, Dona, Kat, Ty, Jess and Jim. You've got Wally on the phone from Florida, me on the phone from Georgia, Cedric on the phone from the mid-west which is as personal at Cedric intends to be online, and from Mass., you've got Mike, Elaine and Rebecca participating. Now Jim knew, my guess, he can correct me if I'm wrong, that Ava and C.I.'s first reaction would be "no." So he brought up it up not before we all got together for the endless conference call, but when we were all present. Ava and C.I. are tired and they're having a hard enough time doing the TV commentaries due to the strike. Regardless of topic, they're not looking to do another piece by themselves. I didn't weigh in before they said yes only because (a) I know how tired they are and (b) Jim was going rapid-fire. They only agreed to write the feature when Jim started reading outloud from a woman who e-mailed this site to share how that 'Poor Ike' nonsense made her feel, a victim of domestic abuse who has to put up with that crap about her own abuser. Had Jim not been arguing so quickly, I would've weighed in and I would've said, "I know you're both tired and I know you have other reasons for not wanting to touch this topic, but it's too important and none of us can write that as strongly as you can." I would've asked them to write it. And that was before Jim read from the e-mail which, honestly, had me crying as I was listening. My father saw the pieces that went up Thursday -- "Jamie Leigh Jones and other realities ignored," "the strong women (and thank god we have them!)," "Only women & countries get 'discovered'" and "Torture, Dave Lindorff, Dave Zirin" -- and he called with the same question I had: Were those journalists whining White men? He wanted to also know if it was okay to call Jim and ask him? I told Jim had probably already boarded the plane but I'd call that night, at Dona's parents' house, and ask. They were all White. Big surprise.

Cedric: That's when Betty called me and wanted to do a three-way call with Ty. On that call, Ty apologized because there's no way he can participate. He goes to his grandmother's only three times a year. Like Wally and me, his father died when he was very young. His grandparents raised him for the most part, as did mine. We are all three African-American, Betty prefers Black which is fine, but we are the voices in this community that are online. There are others in the community, such as Gina, who weigh in via newsletters. But we are the most public faces for Black and African-American members. And as such, we need to weigh in on topics like these. Ty was trying to figure out how to juggle Sunday's events or if he could just go without sleep on Saturday night to be able to take part in this writing session. I told him to forget it. I said I would make time for the roundtable and pointed out that I don't have to travel to be with my family and I could swing the time. I really did want a weekend off. I enjoy this, but I really did want a weekend off. But this topic is too important and if it means Ty doesn't have to try to juggle his weekend, which is with his grandparents, his family and his boyfriend and that needs to be noted too because Ty's boyfriend is on the East Coast and they've had to be long-distance since Ty moved out to live with C.I. That hopefully changes in May when his boyfriend graduates, but that's another reason I didn't want Ty trying to juggle this.

Betty: Right. Ty's got a lot on his plate this weekend and the purpose of the three-way call was to figure out if we should write something that I'd post at my site or we could all post at our sites or if that wasn't possible -- and I didn't think it would be -- we could address it on the phone so that I would be all the stronger when I brought the points up in the roundtable.

Cedric: There's a word I don't use but it is the only term for it: Wigger. I'm really sick of these White men who distort my culture. Behaviors that are juvenile, offensive and/or criminal get mass marketed as the 'norm' and 'authentic' by corporations and any White journalist who wants to take part in that is, in my opinion, nothing but a Wigger. Whitey needs to grasp that he will never be African-American or Black and he can defend gun toting, abuse and everything else but it's not going to make him African-American or Black. And anyone it does make him look 'down' to isn't really all that smart to begin with.

Betty: The gun-toting, woman beating, drug addict Ike might be someone's idea of what it is to be Black, but it's not and it's offensive. It was offensive to read that crap during the wave. It was offensive to hear excuses that his father was lynched. So what? Or do you think that is the natural Black response to oppression? That we say, "Oh, we're oppressed. Let's find someone else to oppress!" Like Cedric, I don't use the "W" term. I'm glad he did for this discussion. But I can't force myself to even say it. But you're not 'down' with us. You're not helping Black people by justifying criminal behavior. We don't need that 'help' and we don't want it. So don't paint yourself as friend of Black people because all your nonsense defence of Ike did was put out the idea of "What do you expect from those people?" That's what it really says. It says that we're less than White people and so if we do something criminal it's to be excused because we aren't fully functioning people. I think Keesha said it best in the round-table for last Friday's gina & krista round-table when she said, "That's not normal and it's not normal in our community." But we didn't get those voices. We got a lot of White men, many of whom may or may not have beaten women as well, saying that it was excusable and offering childhood experiences or drugs or that the music business is so hard that the Black man can do this and we shouldn't be surprised and we shouldn't be appalled. That is racism. And my people were not helped by that wave of "Poor Ike." I'm practically shouting right now, I should add. And if you think I'm angry, you should have heard my father. Noted with Dad's permission, his younger brother beat my aunt. And he did it for a number of reasons including the fact that he thought it made him "a man." My father didn't call that out all those years ago in his own family only to have, all these years later, a bunch of White men show up and act like abusing women was excusable because the abuser may have suffered racism. It's not excusable for any reason and we don't need you to trying to be 'down' with us by saying, "Poor Ike."

Cedric: Do we have any more time?

Jess: We have all the time you want to take for this topic.

Cedric: What the Whiteys defending Ike don't grasp is how this plays out in my community. They may have seen the film What's Love Got To Do With It? and been appalled, although reading their writing, I'd be surprised. But there is very real hatred towards women marketed to my community and there are young men who do not know any better and pick up on it. They make jokes about it. Like, "Don't make me go Ike on you." We are already suffering from the toxic gangsta rap in my community and the last thing we need is outsiders, alleged professional thinkers, coming along to say that a man who tortured women isn't a criminal because he's not White. We don't need that 'pass,' we don't want that 'pass' and you insult my community when you attempt to provide it. I think you're all racists, I think you're disgusting and I think your valentines to Ike are criminal because they justify criminal behavior. And let's point out that you won't be living with it. Women will and predominately African-American women. Your desire to make Ike 'cool' during that wave will have effects and it will be seen on the faces and bodies of women while you continue living in your White worlds far removed from the damage that you have taken part in.

Betty: Which is a really important point. And Cedric and I are fully aware that the nonsense also has an impact on non-Black culture but we're also aware that the whole point of grown men defending Ike is so that they can look 'street' and 'down' and 'authentic.' There's nothing 'authentic' or Black about beating women. But perpetuating the myth that there is allows many women to live at risk. You should all be ashamed.

Jess: Okay, anyone else want to add anything to it?

Wally: In Elaine's piece, I was really glad she included C.I.'s remark about who gets discovered. Jim read the piece to us all and, after that, C.I. made the comment. Our reaction was, "That needs to go in!"

Ava: But we had written the piece while everyone else was supposed to be working on another one and we didn't want to go back to that piece and we also didn't have the time because the edition was so far behind. But it is true. And Betty had something she wanted to say about that, I believe.

Betty: I forgot that. I was on the phone with everyone last week and with Ava I was pointing out that not only were they elevating a criminal and endorsing criminal behavior but they were downgrading a strong Black woman who was a true artist. I'm talking about Tina Turner. The whole wave was about degrading women and the wave promoted violence against women; however, it's equally true that one woman in particular, Tina Turner, was being robbed of her accomplishments. I talked about this with C.I. and I want to toss with C.I.

C.I.: Let me catch up. Okay. We dealt, Ava and I, with the nonsense of discovery. But, briefly, there are a number of other falsehoods to be noted. Ike Turner was a big fish in a small pond and would be a one-hit wonder, a minor charting one-hit wonder, were it not for Tina. The Ike and Tina Revue was a visual experience and let's be clear that Tina grabs at least half the credit. More is deserved because she was the star and the focal point. But Tina and the Ikettes came up with their dance routines, they decided what to wear -- clothes and hair -- and while Mick Jagger made the moves his own, Tina did teach him steps. This nonsense of he 'discovered' her was nonsense. The lie that he 'molded' her was also a lie. Here's an example of an Ike 'contribution.' Tina's performing "I've Been Loving You Too Long," a song she loved, Ike hated Otis Redding, and developing it into a real concert moment, night after night. It's a sexual moment, no question. It wasn't, however, a filthy moment until Ike began to 'add' his own 'inspirations' which included, long after it was an audience favorite, filthy trash talk from the stage after the song and moaning during it. Ike was along for the ride, he was not a star. The public makes stars and the multitude of people never considered Ike one. It's a bit strange because when the 'frontman' is a man, there's never so much effort to downgrade him to elevate someone else in the band. The closest thing to the nonsense of the wave were the attempt to tear apart Janis Joplin -- attempts that have never gone away -- and build up men in the band. Janis was the star. Janis walked into a room or on stage and electrified the room. The same with Tina. To give an example of a male, the same with Jim Morrison. Tina was the star and what carried Ike into semi-fame. As a songwriter, Ike's got nothing to brag about even if you're generous and call contributions his just because they were published with his name on them. Tina's vocal makes "A Fool In Love" and for those who want to believe Ike wrote it and want to claim it's a great song, consider the reality that it's not a classic song. It's a classic recording, largely due to the vocal. But it's not a song that everyone rushes to cover. Unlike Otis and many other people from the same period, nothing with Ike's name on it -- deserved or not -- ended up being an evergreen. He's got no "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay," he's got not "A Change is Going To Come," he's got no "For Once In My Life," go down the list. The songs with his name on them -- erratic in scope due to the many different writers who wrote those songs -- aren't covered. And I don't just mean now, I mean throughout. I'm sure at some point, some wack job will do a tribute, the Lemonheads recorded Charles Manson's 'songs,' but the fact of the matter is that songwriters of that period, sixties through 1976, include Ashford & Simpson, Stevie Wonder, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Otis Redding and many more. Ike was no songwriter even if he's given "authorship" for songs that bore his name but he didn't write. Pre-sixties, pioneers include, but are not limited to, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Both managed to not only score hits they wrote but also write songs that have had long lives. So what are we left with? His guitar playing? Not all that, in my opinion, but go for it and make your case elsewhere if you disagree. Band leader? Ike underpaid everyone, he cheated everyone, he invented fines for everyone. The Ike and Tina Revue had a huge turnover and before you make the claim that this was otherwise, you better talk to some of the men and women who worked for the revue and walked out. There is still huge bitterness over that. If 'success' means something, anything, made it out on stage in the non-stop performances, fine. If that's how low your standards are, fine. But too many talented people were kicked out or run off for a logical argument to be made that he was a 'bandleader' worthy of praise. It's equally true that he was old and out of it while attempting to appeal to a young audience. That's another reason Tina deserves more than half the credit for the revue. Along with the visuals, it was up to Tina to make the case for updating the sound -- really the only reason the revue is known for the bulk of the sixties and the early seventies -- and people attempting to make the case to Ike knew it wasn't going to work that way and they'd go through Tina who would attempt to make the points. So we're talking about someone who wasn't a star, has no songwriting that's stood the test of time even if authorship doesn't enter into it and made sure that the Ike and Tina Revue would always be second rung by running off musicians who were actually talented. Nothing in that speaks of legacy and, note, the abuse was set aside for that argument. His torture, of many women, shouldn't be set aside. But for those eager to do so, you have a really hard time making a case for Ike's 'legacy.' It's equally true that he made no real contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. We're not talking about the Staple Singers or Dick Gregory here. We're talking about a very inward man. Betty, there were some points your father raised with me in terms of Tina's comeback. Did you want to cover those?

Betty: I will. I didn't my father had called you. He wanted it noted that Ike regularly minimized and denied his behavior after it was widely reported and also repeatedly belittled Tina's talents and accomplishments. That include his lying to the press that he was going to tour with Teena Marie, that included his trashing "We Don't Need Another Hero" and sticking up for Ronald Reagan who was in the White House at that time. That's the reality of the piece of trash that some people, some White men, want to defend. I've summarized and simplified that because I do know we have other topics. But I'll add that Ike was repeatedly tearing Tina down after he comeback. That was Dad's big point.

Cedric: And that's something I wasn't planning to bring up. If I'd known about that point, I would've gone into it more but I will note that my grandmother was very vocal on how the attacks didn't end when Tina left and that, this is more or a less a quote, all Ike was left with to hurt Tina after she escaped was words and he tried to use his words to hurt her repeatedly. I'm going to stay for the rest of the roundtable but I think Betty and I've covered the points that Betty, Ty and I felt were most important. I know there were other topics and --

Jess: Don't apologize. Readers love anything having to do with music so that alone made it worthwhile. The fact that we were discussing race and gender only more so. Ruth, I know you just wanted to listen, but do you want to say anything before we move on?

Ruth: Sure. All the ink on Ike Turner reminded me of a basic reality, and I'm old so this goes far back, it's always the men. Dionne Warwick could probably benefit from an evaluation of her legacy as a singer. One of the things I love most about Kat's CD reviews, and that's a hard thing to narrow it down to just one, is that she writes with a historical context and, shocking for some, it includes women's role in history. I was in college when JFK was assassinated so I have seen a great deal in my lifetime and there is no denying that women have regularly been stripped from music history and that they continue to be which may be one of the most offensive aspects of the Ike wave since it was, in part, about stripping Tina Turner of her deserved and earned credit.

Jess: Thank you for that point and feel free to jump in anywhere. We've got the illegal war on the agenda and there are several points we've got on the list. I think we can probably do this best and quickest if we just weigh in without "Here's a point, let's discuss. Okay, here's another point" etc. So I want to start with Kat and then go straight to Wally. After that, everyone jump in as you want but I think that will get the ball rolling. Kat?

Kat: First, thank you to Ruth for her kind words. Well, I'll offer up a campus report. Most courses either ended this week or the week prior so we were picking up a different blend on campus. Dona's taken over scheduling so it's not fly here, fly there, fly here, fly there and we can hone in on an area which is a big help. And we also had more high school groups this trip, but I'm talking about college age. Now maybe during semesters these people are so busy that they're not able to follow the news regularly -- or the tiny output that passes for 'news' -- but the big thing for me this week was realizing how little information is getting out there for some people. Now the Myth of the Great Return has been dropped by big media, finally. It imploded. And of course little media never bothered to call it out. That's in real time and that's since it imploded. But that was what stood out to me. There were so many students, college students, who honestly thought that Iraqis were returning and that the refugee crisis had been halved if not done away with. I'm not insulting anyone and, let me note, even the students who thought the Great Return was taking place knew that the crisis numbered over four million. There was a comment C.I. made last week in an entry, I don't remember which one and Dallas doesn't need to try to hunt down a link for it, but there was a report in The New York Times which stated that the myth was based on two caravans, that the Iraqi government only sent in two caravans. And C.I. said something like, "If true, that's a hell out of a lot of publicity off two caravans." And it really was. I was talking to Ava and C.I. all last week about this, the Great Return, and about how surprised I was to find so many students believed in it. But what it underscored was two things in the end, for me. One: Big media continues to sell the illegal war. Two: Little media is prolonging the illegal war by refusing to call out the lies of today. Wally?

Wally: I didn't get Jess' concept until now. I'd noted "Judith Miller" on the topic suggestions. What Kat's just addressed perfectly sets up my topic. Is it time to gather round the campfire, kiddies, and hear again about what Judith Miller did in the lead up to the war and in the immediate time after the illegal war started? No. Miller wasn't the only one lying to begin with but my point in "Judith Miller" was that her name gets repeated and repeated and it's because it's easy. It's not because people are trying to make sure we're informed. If we were supposed to be informed, they'd tackle Dexter Filkins who was more important to selling the illegal war after it started. They'd have tackled the myth of the Great Return. And Rebecca's not here so let me repeat her point which is C.I. hit on those lies starting in November. It didn't take big media finally telling the truth in December for C.I. to call it out. Why the silence from little media? From now on when any media critic utters the words "Judith Miller," my response is to check their own output. And I'm not grading anyone high if they've done nothing on the illegal war. In fact, I consider them a damn liar because by being silent they're allowing the illegal war to continue and the lies to sell the war to continue to spread. The Iraq War hits the five year mark in March and what's passed off as independent media coverage is disgusting. It's too little coverage and it's too superficial.

Cedric: I know I've talked a great deal in this so I'll be brief and just say I agree with Wally 100% and there's not a day we're on the phone working on our joint-entries that we don't raise that point. There's a war going on and no one wants to address it.

Mike: I put down "vets" and this does flow because my point here was that there are a few I talk to because they're Elaine's patients and I'm usally at her office Thursday evenings so I'm talking to them before the group session and after. I also hear from vets who see something at my site. And there is just so much disbelief and anger at ALL media for their lack of coverage. One guy was telling me Thursday, after the group session, that he has to remind himself not to get angry at people he bumps into who are focused on whatever or talking about whatever because he reminds himself how easy it is, even if you're reading the paper every day, to forget that the illegal war is going on. He thinks it's intentional on big media's part, and I agree, but he listed off a lot of little media, and he included blogs in that which we don't consider little media but just to note his point, and just noted how disgusting it is to, basically have a voice or platform, and not use it. When he was in Iraq, if he had computer access, which was often because if you're out in Iraq and not just stationed on a base, you're computer access is a lot less. But he did two tours of Iraq and he remembers some of the big names early in the illegal war who were strong voices and just calling it out. He said he hopes they don't expect credit for that because they've done nothing in the last year. I told him I'd talk about that in a roundtable that was planned here and then after I'd copy and paste that section at my site because he is really angry about that. He said if I did to add one more thing. He knows the war is illegal, he observed it, took part in it. But now he's back here and the easiest thing to do right now would be to deny that and go along with the lie that it's "noble" and the reason for that is because the only people who really seem aware of the war are the right-wingers. I grabbed paper and wrote this part down, this is him speaking, "Do you know what it's like to take part in something you're wrong and come home and want to, need to talk about it but find out that no one gives a __ damn ___? One thing to do is to stop talking and just shove it all inside. But the easiest thing to do is just sort of talk about it to war supporters because they at least listen." That's included with his permission. And before anyone e-mails to say, because Elaine's not going to say a word about it, not even to me, Elaine doesn't talk about her patients. I'm talking about him in terms of what he spoke to me about and with the understanding that he wanted it shared. I tried to think about a way to give an example all weekend and the only thing, which is probably a bad comparison but in case anyone can relate to the illegal war, I could come up with is you're mugged on the street. You've got a lot of pain, anger and other things from that. You want to talk about it. When no one cares except the group going, "You da man! They pulled a gun on you and you're still alive!" after awhile it probably is tempting to turn around and go, "Yeah, I am da man!" just because you need to talk about your experiences and no other group gives a damn. He's considering signing up for IVAW's event by the way. He is going but he's considering signing up to talk.

C.I.: Mike's referring to IVAW's, Iraq Veterans Against the War, March 2008 DC event, the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation that will take place March 13th through the 16th.

Elaine: I can't say whether others are considering or will be participating but I will note that they are all aware of it and would encourage anyone who encounters veterans to get the word out. It's a really important event. And that was my topic. Thursday's "Iraq snapshot" resulted
in all community sites getting astro-turf from one organization that sometimes addresses the illegal war and sometimes doesn't. First of all, Thursdays I have the veterans group in the evening. I do not post on Thursdays unless I'm on vacation. That's been true for well over a year now. I think it's something like 18 or 20 months. So Thursday's snapshot didn't get posted at my site. Thursdays doesn't due to group. On nights when I do post, I always copy and paste the snapshot in as do all community sites. So Sunny sees this e-mail Friday, Sunny runs my office, and she's asking me what that's about? And I mentioned that to Ava on Friday when we were all at Mike's and she said that e-mail came into the public account at The Common Ills as well at which point Rebecca says, "Oh, I got that crap too." I hadn't mentioned it to Mike so he didn't check for it until Saturday but he had it. Betty, who doesn't post on Thursdays, had it. Wally and Cedric had it as well. The same e-mail but not with all our e-mails in the "sent to" address. Which made me wonder if they thought we wouldn't, at some point, mention it to one another. But -- Look it, this is going to be a monster to type. And it needs to be noted "rush transcript" as well.

Jess: Right. Elaine's referring to the size this thing is going to be. It's a monster. When things are this long, Blogger/ Blogspot gets hung up. We'll split up the typing -- Ava, C.I., Kat and myself -- but even so the problem's going to be that at a certain point, Blogger/Blogspot is going to start slowing down and we're not going to be able to see what we're typing because it will lag so far behind. Spell check also won't work on something this long. So it is a "rush transcript" and people can just live with typos when this goes up. Elaine?

Elaine: Well I think we can include C.I.'s comments in a repost but to quote it in full here will add even more length to this piece so I'll just sum it up. Hopefully, not sum it up badly. But IVAW is asking that other organizations not plan any national or DC events during the days that the Winter Soldier Investigation is going on. There's nothing wrong with that request and it should be pretty obvious how that needs to be followed. Just putting this together has required a huge amount of time and planning. So C.I. noted that request and noted, in what was an editorial comment by C.I. but one we all agree with, that IVAW had announced this event in plenty of time for everyone to be aware of it and know that time was carved out and called. That's really basic. Ideally, voices of US service members and survivors of Afghanistan and Iraq will be sharing testimony. This is an important event. So that goes up on Thursday, in the snapshot, and we all get this e-mail on Friday. Even those of us, like myself, Betty and Trina who hadn't reposted the snapshot because we don't post on Thursdays. Sunny's remark won't translate because you really needed to hear the cutting tone in her voice but she said, "Oh, I guess that means they weren't planning to focus on a national disaster that month." But the e-mail, addressed to all of us, as if we wrote Thursday's snapshot, wanted to whine that this was "undemocratic" and that no one should be able "to dominate." I'll speak for everyone, because I've talked to everyone about it, including Jim, Dona and Ty on Saturday: tough. It's not "undemocratic." Basic decency should especially tell the organizations that drop Iraq all the time that this space is reserved. I think it was the fact that this is an organization that rushes off to any other topic -- and away from Iraq -- that offended me so much. They want Iraq during that period and they want it only because it's the anniversary of the start of the illegal war a few days later. Too damn bad. IVAW lives with the illegal war every damn day. They're not picking it up while it's 'hot' and then dropping it to move onto another topic when it 'cools' off or media interest does. So that's what really offended me, that a spokesperson for an organization that does little on Iraq to begin with wants to whine that it's unfair to say they can't grab those days. I mean, the only reason that organization plans or hopes or wants to 'rediscover' the illegal war at that time is due to the anniversary. So I found that very offensive and I wanted to note it here because it is clear that IVAW didn't just ask that no national or DC events be scheduled at the same time out of some unfounded fear. Due to the nature of the anniversary, it's an easy time for groups that do nothing for the bulk of the year to get a little press coverage and at least one worthless organization grasps that. C.I.'s already stated that no other organization or event will be promoted during that period -- that point was checked out with all of us [prior to the snapshot posting], by the way -- and you better believe we're going to stand by that. It's not about being "undemocratic," it's about basic decency. A group that regularly addresses the illegal war has poured time and energy into planning this event and no one else deserves to be noted.

Ava: The e-mailer, I'll just note I'm sick of dabblers. I'm sick of the dabblers and they're rushing off from one topic to another. I think it's disgusting. I think it defocuses and I think it prolongs the illegal war. On a related topic, we don't consider Courage to Resist "little media." I consider them people doing brave, needed and noble work. But if you consider them media, strip them out of the equation for a moment and strip The Common Ills out as well, which C.I. doesn't consider media. Where have you heard, domestic sources, about Eli Israel or any of the war resisters that have emerged this year? You haven't. There's only a number of days left in this year and it's going to end without the stories of Kimberly Rivera, Eli Israel, Brad McCall, Phil McDoweel and countless others never being told by media -- big or small -- in the US. That's disgusting. The fact that it's happened goes to just how defocused everyone is. When we were speaking to the college groups that Kat was talking about earlier, we also had to do a primer on war resisters every time and that's due to the lack of coverage. And that goes to Wally's point that, my opinion, someone who's not addressing the lies about the war being told today who wants to score easy points by name checking Judith Miller should be booed. It's easy, it's building on old work from the past. I have no problem with Miller being mentioned and think she does need to be; however, if you haven't done anything on your own since Judith Miller was exposed, you need to stop using her name to make yourself look good because, in your continued silence, you are just as bad as she is. My reply, when that e-mail came into the public account for The Common Ills, was two words and we'll put a blank in here but I'm sure everyone can figure out what word I used, and it wasn't "love": ___ you.

Wally: That was actually my opening statement but I had a bit more when I replied. I didn't think anyone else would reply. If I'd known Ava was replying to the asshole, I wouldn't have bothered. I'm sick of a lot outlets right now. And I don't know if Ruth wants to comment --

Ruth: I agree with all points made and am enjoying listening.

Wally: Okay, well I'm going to quote you from last week. Ruth had an e-mail asking why she was noting NPR so much lately at her sight? And she had a solid reply but I think this one line she wrote says it all: "If I was going to summarize public radio in 2007 in a single sentence, it would be: '2007, the year NPR won by default'." That really does sum it up. And I was mad before but I'm thinking about what Mike shared and I'm like . . . intensely disgusted now.

Betty: I'd agree with that. And we can, and have, called out the silence on Iraq. But, and I'm thinking about C.I.'s "I Hate The War," people can use their power or not or misuse it. If you ask me, in 2007, a lot of people misused their power and their alleged 'independence.'

Ruth: I will jump in, if that's okay? Since Betty mentioned that entry, which I love, I will jump in to plug The Ballet's "I Hate The War." There are plans for a feature on that this edition and I am going to contribute there but I really want to plug that song.

Ava: As often as possible and it is needed.

Jess: We're going to wind down and since C.I. didn't speak much in the second section, do you have a closing comment, C.I.?

C.I.: I actually think Kat could provide the closing remarks.

Kat: Sure, I'll grab it. We were at Mike's on Friday and Mike and I were talking about the illegal war while he, his dad and I were digging through his father's vinyl collection and spinning records after the Iraq study group. Mike mentioned a story but we got off on something else. The story he mentioned was the one he shared in the roundtable and I think that goes to the problems independent media is creating. Big media is always going to spin and distort. It's a given as sure as the sun will rise and Nancy Pelosi will cave and call it a compromise. So when little media can't be bothered with Iraq they prolong the war. And they allow the myths to take root, myths that it seemed like Ava, C.I. and I spent all last week refuting and calling out. But they damn well better start to think of it in terms of the ones returning to the US and how upsetting it is for them. I'm really, what was Wally's phrase, intensely digusted? I'm really intensely disgusted and think that sums up my attitude towards little media these days. We talk about, and this was a point C.I. made to a group on Thursday, how the Democrats have moved away from talking about the illegal war but it's equally true that so has independent media. It's disgusting and I completely relate to the vet Mike quoted in terms of those voices who had something to say in 2003 and yet, four years later, they're off on a dozen other topics despite the fact that the illegal war drags on.

Jess: Kat did do a wonderful job with closing remarks. To Jim, Dona and Ty who will be checking the site out Sunday, we miss you. To Rebecca, enjoy the holidays. To Cedric, thank you for participating. To the readers who matter, thank you for always being there and thank you for letting us know when we're missing something. We may or may not have a roundtable next week. Jim, Dona and Ty plan to be back next Sunday. I may take some time off. Community sites that usually post on Monday will be posting. In terms of Tuesday, Mike intends to post and, of course, C.I. will be posting throughout.
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