Sunday, March 23, 2008

The 4,000 mark

The US military announced 4 more deaths of US service members tonight. Doing so brought the total number of US service members killed in Iraq while serving in the illegal war to 4,000.

Nearly every week brings news of one or more service members killed in the illegal war and, on a day when people pay attention, it's noted for a second, maybe two.

On many days, it's not noted at all.

That's how the number gets to 4,000.

That's how the number will now suprass 4,000.

At some point, Americans need to ask themselves what number they're fine with? What's the magic number that causes you to say "Enough!"

Until the majority of the country moves from "the Iraq War needs to end," to "End the Iraq War!" the number will continue climb.

Nearly 2 million Iraqis have died during the illegal war.

Nearly 30,000 US service members have been wounded.

The new talking point from the corporatist 'peace' movement is, "Imagine what the money could have been spent on!"

It figures that the Panhandle crowd would have zoomed in on money.

But imagine what the 4,000 dead would have done? They would have come home.

They're not coming home now.

Is it going to take another 4,000 for Americans to demand the illegal war ends now?

As long as you're kind-of, sort-of opposed to the illegal war, as long as you're okay with giving your money to a Panhandle Media that refuses to cover an ongoing, illegal war as something that matters, you're getting what you deserve.

Find your respect, demand the Iraq War ends now.

Truest statement of the week

When it comes to making sense on Iran, Hillary Clinton wins hands down over Barack Obama, John McCain and George Bush.
In his zeal to describe the mess created by the war in Iraq, Obama falls into the trap of lumping Iran in with our "enemies." McCain is even more offensive, borrowing from the president's always-change-the-justification playbook to argue that the Iraq war is ultimately about Iran. And President Bush is more confused than ever, fretting about emboldening Iran if we leave Iraq, but oblivious to how invading and occupying Iraq may have had the same effect.
[. . .]
We throw the word "enemy" around way too much these days. Is that what Obama thinks Iran is? The same country he has pledged to negotiate with?
In his five-year anniversary speech about Iraq yesterday, Obama said Iran "poses the greatest challenge to American interests in the Middle East in a generation, continuing its nuclear program and threatening our ally, Israel." It is time to present Iran "with a clear choice," Obama said, to abandon its nuclear program, its support for terrorism and its threats to Israel.
"Make no mistake," Obama bellowed about Iran, "if and when we ever have to use military force against any country, we must exert the power of American diplomacy first."
Gee, I'm no Republican and have no confidence in the Bush administration. But that sounds like current White House policy.

-- William M. Arkin, The Washington Post, March 20, 2008.

A note to our readers

Hey --
Sunday and we're finishing now. Finally.

Here's who worked on the edition:

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

And Dallas. We thank them all as well as Liang and especially Ava and C.I. but, to steal from them, we'll get to it.

Truest statement of the week -- Iran. The war that still hasn't taken place. But there was Common Dreams, at the end of last week, running another piece on that possibility. Strange isn't it, that The Washington Post can note what our alleged 'independent' media can't? This was hands down truest and the least discussion and debate we've ever had while selecting one.

Editorial: NO judgement -- "Hey, I'm Bambi Obama. I'm super smart! And I know right from wrong." He knew Wright, if not right and he didn't know enough to cut off contact with a man who damns the country.

TV: Broadcasting False Narratives -- Ava and C.I. turn in another masterpiece. Here's the story. We were all sick of one person (see roundtable) and that person's attempt to get around this site, while complaining about an article at this site, by e-mailing people who participated last week to whine, gripe, and insist. Including insisting upon knowing which IVAW members had complained about the really bad panel. It really had us angry and we weren't sure we wanted to do an edition. Ava and C.I. were all for that. A Saturday night off at last! But then we kept talking and talking and they said, "Okay, everybody take three hours, take four hours, go to sleep. We'll regroup after that and in the meantime, we'll write our TV piece." As I (Jim) have noted before, when we're lagging is usually when I'll read Ava and C.I.'s latest outloud to everyone. It always inspires us and give us the extra oomph we need to finish an all night session. This time, it inspired us when we came back from our long naps. Ava and C.I. note that if you read something in this that says it will be addressed in another feature and it wasn't, remind us. We are all very tired. We may have forgotten a feature. (And there are two we weren't pleased with so they just went into the print edition.) They really did not plan to comment on public affairs. They thought they were doing entertainment. But the reality is that they were griping to friends all week and when it was time to write this piece, they realized that the was the story of last week. Not just the spin of Bambi's 'brilliant speech' but the complaints they were hearing. They include it all, friends in the press, friends in Congress. It's an indepth piece and a lengthy one that, when I finished reading it, had Dona saying, "I think we all know we'll be doing short pieces for the rest of the edition." They worked their butts off writing it and they typed it up, did the links and even spell checked while we were sleeping. (Ava notes spell check conked out two-thirds in so live with any typos.) Next week, the plan is to return to entertainment programming. (But you know I won't complain if they don't.)

There's only one fighter in the Democratic race -- This had to be a long piece because it was pulling together two needed topics (planned as two pieces) when we were too tired to tackle writing two articles. This was the last thing we wrote. We think it holds up despite how tired we all were. There's a comment in here that held up the edition. We do not call for any candidate to drop out of a race ever. This statement appears in the article as a parenthetical, usually a clue that it's intended humorously, "Such as Barack doing what's good for the country -- the one he's okay with being damned, apparently -- and the party and dropping out." That is not a call for Barack to drop out. Obviously, he's never done for what's good for the United States or the Democratic Party.

Roundtable -- This is where we address how one Drama Queen can you spoil something for you. Equally true is we do not take well to threats, intimidation, sneaky-ness, et al. Try it on us and we'll show you we're not going to listen because you are not our boss and if you do not like what we write, you can go elsewhere. No one has the right to tell anyone (a) to rewrite something and (b) what to include.

Liang's comments to Barack Obama -- Liang had e-mailed C.I. last week after Bambi's 'Pretty Speech' to note how offensive it was to her as an Aisan-American that the media was treating it as the last word on race. This was supposed to go up today at The Common Ills but C.I. e-mailed Liang while all of us were sleeping (except Ava and C.I.) to ask if it could go up here instead (because we weren't in the mood to write our usual edition). Liang kindly agreed and we're happy to include this. Thank you, Liang. Longterm community member.

Hillary spoke about Iraq, Panhandle Media blacked it out -- On the fifth anniversary of the illegal war, a candidate for president gave a major speech outlining her plan for Iraq. And Panhandle Media ignored it. They were too busy promoting Barack Obama's Tuesday speech that he had yet to give. That was news, to Amy Goodman and Aileen Alfandary, that Barack Obama would be giving a speech later Tuesday. But Hillary's speech given on Iraq wasn't. Let's speak slowly for the idiots of Panhandle Media, a speech delivered may or may not be news. A speech not given is not news, it's barely "coming attractions." Try to learn the difference. It was cute the way Aileen mixed up Reuters and AP for her 'report' and, in both cases, was sure to ignore that in the same wire stories, the bulk was Hillary's Iraq speech. The only thing more embarrassing than that may be the presidential candidate who used the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War to speak to America about . . . Venezuela. As C.I. asked in Friday's snapshot, "What country are you running for president of?"

Mr. Pretty Speeches offers a 'history' lesson -- We love faux history. Elmer Gantry (Ava and C.I.'s comparison for Bambi) really fits here as Bambi raided the Bible to jazz up his speech. He raided others as well. We'll get to it.

Theft, C.I.'s not Bambi's speechwriter -- And here we are. When last week's roundtable went up Sunday morning, a lot of e-mails came in on C.I.'s comments. C.I. only speaks once and it's at the end of the roundtable. But that's what stood out the most to everyone. But before we could get to those e-mails, we had to read the ones that came in on Tuesday (the first time any of us checked the e-mails was late Tuesday). C.I.'s comments were so good that Bambi worked them in. That was 'cute,' as C.I. would say. That's not the first time it's happened (and why Marcia noted two or three roundtables back that C.I. didn't need to play "in fairness" with Bambi). By the end of the week, 82 regular readers had written in to note the theft. (Some wondering, since C.I. has friends on the Bambi campaign, if there was any 'arrangement' worked out as allegedly took place with Patrick Deval? No, there wasn't.) In addition 14 e-mails came in from Bambi supporters who stated we must have something nice to say about Bambi since he is echoing C.I.
Something nice to say about Bambi? He steals from the best.

Highlights -- Mike, Marcia, Kat, Betty, Rebecca, Cedric, Elaine and Wally wrote this and picked out the highlights except where otherwise noted. We thank them for this.

So that's it, that's the edition. We almost took the night off. On that, Ava and C.I., as noted in highlights, plan to go back at some point in the week and note Mike's post in their TV review. They are too tired to do so now. They are too tired and sick of looking at computer screens. To write these editions, we stay up all night. We've done that all along, the core six. All of us, except Ava and C.I., have taken at least one weekend off. Point, for Drama Queen, we don't have time to rewrite any article to please you. If we wanted to, which we don't, we don't have the time. You seem remarkably able to operate a keyboard and e-mail various people who are not signing this note to lobby them against us in your e-mails. We would assume you could use the same keyboard to write whatever article you want. But it probably would carry more weight coming from someone other than you. Which is why you think you can get us to change our opinions and rewrite on your command, to your command. It doesn't work that way.

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

Added: And "The 4,000 mark"-- tonight the number of US service members killed in Iraq reached 4,000. All community sites posted on this mark. It is important.

Editorial: NO judgement

"___ damn America."

That's what Jeremiah Wright stated from the pulpit of his church in a sermon. It's a church Senator Barack Obama, the man who wants to be president, went to for twenty years. Wright is his close friend. Wright has been close friend for over 20 years. Obama has gone to that church for over twenty years. He has given money to that church for over twenty years. He has praised Wright for over twenty years. He has called him "family" and a "mentor."

"____ damn America."

That's what Jeremiah Wright said at the front of the church, apparently speaking to the congregation and the Lord Jesus Christ.

"___ damn America," he cried, presumably using his 'power' to summon God's damnation down onto the United States.

It's offended a lot of Americans. Needless to say, Bambi made sure to avoid in his much touted speech last Tuesday.

Presumably doing damage control, he offered up 4,863 words in a long, meandering speech but somehow never addressed what has offended so many Americans -- his endorsement of and long relationship with a man who would damn the country.

Barack Obama wants to be president. He wants to be president so badly he gave a speech that would allegedly address Wright's offensive remarks.

Instead Bambi stood up and droned on about race.

He stated that race talk goes on everywhere and tossed out "the barbershop."

Jeremiah Wright was not at a barbershop when he damned the entire country.

Barack felt the need to quote William Faulkner and cite scripture.

He had time for that and time to note a child. He had time for everything except what has outraged so many Americans: That someone who wants to be president thinks the perfect mentor is a person who damns the United States of America.

Barack wanted to avoid that issue and the press went along, focusing on what he responded to and not what he avoided.

For someone who allegedly wants to break with the past (wants to disown it), he wanted to go there and offer up slavery and Jim Crow. Neither of which existed when Wright was damning the United States.

The speech was a distraction.

Last Tuesday, many Americans were willing to listen in the hopes that he would address it, that he would apologize for it and that he would admit it was a horrible mistake for someone running for the presidency of the United States to embrace anyone who publicly damns the country, let alone anyone who does so from the pulpit, anyone who does so in their role of a servant of God, calling on God to "damn America."

It is not a faux pas. It is not a minor offense.

It is big. It is huge.

And as Americans listened and listened to Barack drone on for nearly 5,000 words, it was never addressed. That has been noticed by the public.

You can't run for the presidency and run with someone who's damning the entire country. Not just the government of the United States, mind you. That would be bad enough for someone who wanted to be the head of the executive branch. But someone who wants to damn the government, the land and the people.

Barack spoke of a wave of air (we believe it was gas) that came over the church when he first visited and seems to think that excuses all comments by Wright. No, it does not. And if that church can't make clear to their preacher that damning the country is unacceptable, that would indicate they either agree it with the sentiment or are too pathetic to call it out.

Barack didn't call it out. Not while Wright was his pastor and not on Tuesday when it was the only issue Americans wanted addressed and it was the issue he refused to address directly.

While we're not for anyone being forced to say a pledge to a flag that they don't want to, we're also not for anyone running for president who either agrees the country should be damned or is too pathetic to speak out against anyone who does damn the country.

Barack loves to brag about his 2002 judgement. (It's a lie, see Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary this issue.) Where was the judgement in his 20-plus-year embrace of a man who damns the country?

Some Bambi defenders (including one idiot posting a comment to The San Francisco Chronicle) want to confuse the issue and lump it in with Wright's remarks that the US invited the 9-11 attacks through their behaviors. Those stooges want to say, "Well the right-wing did it right after 9/11!" Yes, two did and the White House condemned them for it immediately. Not a year later, not a week later. Even the Bully Boy grasped that their statements were offensive.

But even the lunatic Pat Robertson didn't declare, "___ damn America." Even that nut-job didn't call on the Lord to damn the country. Wright did.

Repeating, when The 700 Club thought the perfect thing to do was to blame Americans for 9-11, the White House loudly called it out. Barack Obama showed no such judgement.

TV: Broadcasting False Narratives

TV's big narrative last week was that the country gets to talk about race. You saw it on chat and chew after chat and chew. If TV was finally going to address race, it would probably require noting who has prevented race from being honestly addressed for several decades. It would probably require noting that Barbra Walters can host a 'documentary' exploring the 'after life' but race is off-limits. Most of all, it would require noting that race in the United States does not boil down to just Black & White.

But you're never going to get an honest exploration from the media that lives on, thrives on, the stereotypes and the silences. Last week was no different. The usual set-up was a sea of White faces with one token African-American guest invited on. We'll get to the faces of all present soon enough but it's worth noting that the set-up was no different, nor the direction, on one of the few major TV shows that an African-American actually hosts: Washington Week. Wall St. Journal's David Wessel stepped gingerly to the question he posed to Gwen Ifill, noting first that her father was a man of the cloth and then tossing a question at her leading her to note that she would now be the guide for all White people.

That really is what happened repeatedly, over and over last week. The other tokens in White Gas Baggery Land usually jumped right in to offer their opinions so credit to Gwen (who we've certainly slammed before) for at least noting how bizarre this 'role' was. In fairness to those who never bothered, they were invited guests and not the hosts of the show.

We have a real hard time believing that, come Sunday, Gwen's going to any church espousing hatred. And, honestly, we have a real time believing the gas bags on parade last week -- White and African-American -- spend much time in church. Not calling them non-believers but noting that if they aren't guests for the Sunday Chat & Chews, they're front and center before their TVs watching to see the pearl of wisdoms offered up.

Equally true that gas baggery is its own subset of the species and not one infamous for being in touch with Americans. It's not supposed to be, as Noam Chomsky has long noted, it's about the manufacturing of consent. [The New Press has issued The Essential Chomsky in paperback, edited by Anthony Arnove and with a list price of $19.95.]

And you saw that on Tuesday, before Barack Obama gave his speech -- following and 'responding' to the week prior when ABC's Good Morning America's broadcast of clips from Jeremiah Wright's sermons in which he declared that AIDS was created by scientists to destroy the Black race and beseeched the Lord to damn the United States.

Bambi hadn't even delivered a word yet already you were being told it was a "major speech" and that it was on "race." It wasn't just Corporate Media trying to manufacture consent, it was the dregs of Panhandle Media as well as anyone who watched Tuesday's Democracy Now! or listened to KPFA where both Amy Goodman and Aileen Alfandary ignored a Monday speech Hillary Clinton delivered on Iraq -- didn't even mention it -- to drool over Bambi's upcoming speech.

Even a casual news consumer should have been asking why a speech delivered on Iraq (during the fifth anniversary of the start of the illegal war) was being ignored while a speech not yet delivered was being pimped?

Bambi delivered the speech. He did not address the damning of the United States, he did not address the junk-science (at best) conspiracy theory that AIDS was a plot. He spoke about race. Wright had offered, in sermon after sermon, a critique of race relations (if race is reduced solely to Black and White) and Bambi focused on that -- likening his White grandmother and Geraldine Ferraro to Jeremiah Wright. Wright is the man who brought non-believer Bambi to God, he is the man who was his pastor for twenty years, he is the man who inspired him, the man whose words inspired the title of one of Bambi's book, the man who presided over Bambi's wedding, the man who "blessed" the Obama mansion, the man who served on Bambi's campaign for president.

Geraldine Ferraro noted that Barack Obama was getting better press coverage than any female candidate would of any race and her comments echoed the critique that Peter Hart had done for FAIR's Extra! a year before. Ferraro's remarks echoed Bambi's own remarks (as quoted by Hart in the article and as noted here). Ferraro, a passionate for her country Italian-American, did not damn the United States, nor did she offer up junk science. Nor did she offer up anything as embarrassing as Obama defender John Kerry who declared last week, sounding a great deal like men on the left and 'left' that Rebecca wrote about on Thursday, "Because he's African American. Because he's a black man who has come from a place of oppression and repression in through the years in our own country." In that statement, Kerry explains (unwittingly) why Obama's maternal grandmother has been buried.

First off, we assumed his maternal grandmother was dead. We were shocked to learn she was alive and thought it was further testament to the way the press has played this election cycle. We've seen a second or third wife of Barack Obama's paternal grandfather on CNN (repeatedly) vouching for Obama whom she met once in the 90s. It's not just the fact that the woman only met him three decades after he was born that had us raising eyebrows, it's that she's not the wife who gave birth to Obama's father. We're not sure whether it is five or six multiple wives that his paternal grandfather had. We do know it was multiple marriages, not marry-divorce-marry. In Obama's paternal family, men were expected to have more than one wife which is why his own father was already married before he came to the US and reportedly married Obama's mother. His father would continue the multiple wives tradition. So it was always an eyebrow raiser to see Wife Number Two or Three of the multiple wives offered up as "grandmother" by CNN. (We noted polygamy last here.)

Obama's maternal grandmother is alive. And being smeared in his Tuesday speech as a racist in a story at odds with what he wrote in his overpraised book. Later in the week, Obama was claiming his maternal grandmother wasn't racist just a "typical White person." It was the wrong thing to say but not due to the fallout from Whites offended at being called racists. It was the wrong thing to say because it raises reality.

See you were never going to get a serious conversation about race via Obama. Not from one of his long-winded, meandering speeches and not from the press that has covered him. If Obama believes his maternal grandmother is a "typical White person," the obvious follow-up question is, "What are you?"

And that's the thing the press tries real hard to avoid talking about. John Kerry lies so well that some believe him. Barack Obama is hardly a "typical Black person" because he's not Black, he's bi-racial. Hiding his maternal grandmother away is done to push the lies that were manufactured for his run.

Chief among them are that he grew up poor in the United States. He loves to tell that lie. When he finally lived in the United States, it was after telling his mother he didn't want to live with her anymore (his father abandoned him when he was two-years-old). Not wanting to live with his mother, he was raised by his maternal grandparents in Hawaii. Not only were they White, they were well off. The hidden grandmother was a banking wiz and a woman who broke glass ceilings. You don't hear about that but you hear Barack repeatedly excuse his attendance at a posh prep-school in Hawaii with the assertion that he was on a scholarship. That's mean to continue the lie that he lived in poverty. He didn't. Those scholarships weren't going out to the most needy. It was the typical White scratch White back maneuver. But he plays it off like there was some sort of inner-city battle (in Hawaii?) for a scholarship to this posh prep-school.

Again, his maternal grand parents were well off and he pretends otherwise.

Though he traveled all the way to Africa in the 90s to meet the relatives he never knew, he didn't get around to making it to Kansas (the birthplace of his late mother and where his maternal grandparents hailed from) until it was time for Kansas to hold a primary. That's really puzzling (unless you factor in his hostility towards women). He wanted to know about himself and he travels hours and hours to Africa but can't catch a flight to Kansas? Were he really attempting to connect with his Kansas roots, as opposed to show boating for votes, you would assume he wouldn't just visit his maternal grandparents old home, he would make the journey with his maternal grandmother.

But those humble beginnings (decades before Barack was born) do not reconcile with what happened in Hawaii. His maternal grandfather went to Hawaii to make his fortune, Hawaii having long been a target of US imperialism and having just been made a US state.

You really can't tell the story of Barack Obama's family life and play him as a victim (though John Kerry tries real hard). You can't talk about Barack Obama and race honestly because he is bi-racial, not Black (and certainly not African-American). That was on display in wire reports as well (the ones Aileen Alfandary reads from) where it was declared that his father was from Kenya and his mother was White.

Not everyone in Africa is Black. But if you're going to state, as AP did, that his father is from Kenya, then you state his mother is from the United States (or you go for the "K"s and state, "His father was from Kenya, his mother from Kansas . . ."). You can't have an honest discussion about race with Obama.

You can get lies from the media, you can get reductions but you will never, for instance, hear from the native people of Hawaii about what they thought of Whites like Barack's grandfather 'claim jumping' for a 'gold rush' at their expense.

That is a story of a racism. That is a story of imperialism. And it's so much easier to just pretend that Barack is Black and that he grew up in Philly and not Hawaii. It's so much easier to pretend that the posh prep-school student knows all about racism and suffered. As Dave Lindorff infamously (and wrongly) declared, "I think it is ridiculous not to acknowledge that a black candidate at this level is fundamentally different from all white candidates who have come before or who are now competing. the more so a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs, and who has relatives TODAY living in the Third World (Kenya)." He risked jail by doing drugs?

The New York Times has largely taken a pin to that balloon Bambi created to paint himself as 'authentic' in his college years so what we're left with is that he smoked pot in his posh prep-school in Hawaii. As did many others attending that prep-school. It was the seventies and students smoking pot was hardly unheard of. (See That 70s Show.) But Dave Lindorff has to get worked up and turn it into a sign of suffering, a sign of bravery. He's one more attempting to manufacture consent which was all you saw last week.

The press, already eager pimping the 'greatest speech of our times' before it was delivered, wasn't about to point out that it whimpered, that Barack looked and sounded tired or that the country (including the press) had been taken in by Elmer Gantry.

The primary issue was the damning of the United States and it had nothing to do with the race. It was such an issue that all the usual Bambi groupies who rail against 'conspiracy' talk on AIDS (hello, Richard Kim, hello, Alexander Cockburn) avoided the junk-science that Wright was tossing out as fact to his congregation.

Damning the United States of America. It was avoided, it was not discussed. Michele Norris, making a rare appearance on NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday (noted by Cedric and Wally), would declare that Wright's comments "resonate with a large number of African-Americans." Oh really? A large number of African-Americans think the US should be damned? No, Michele Norris was playing the same game the rest of the press did, the same game Bambi did, try to turn it into a race issue, try to act as if people were appalled because Wright offered a social critique (including calling the the US the "KKK"). Avoid the issue of damning, avoid the issue of patriotism.

On Friday, Bill Moyers Journal explored Body of War, a new documentary, with the filmmakers Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue. The documentary's focus is Tomas Young and Bill Moyers explained of Young, "After the attacks on 9/11 he enlisted in the army because he wanted to fight the terrorists in Afghanistan. He was sent to Iraq, instead. And five days after arriving there, he was shot in the chest and severely wounded. He was 24 years old at the time and will spend the rest of his life in a wheel chair."

Why did he sign up? Patriotism. Why has his brother Nathan served in Iraq after Tomas was wounded? Patriotism. Though some of the 'intelligentsia' may scoff, patriotism does exist and it's not an 'unnatural response.' Had Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier been televised last week on any of the major channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, CW, MSNBC, CNN or Fox 'News'), America could have been exposed to multiple veterans explaining that they signed up for patriotism. They might have heard Garrett Reppenhagen explaining in the last panel on Sunday:

The men and women that I served with, many of them, that was their career, that was their job and they took an honor in that and they didn't want to give that up. They might not have wanted to go to Iraq or Afghanistan over and over again, but they did take pride in the fact that they were soldiers and they didn't want to lose that. Many of them have wives and husbands and kids that they're trying to support and they thought that the military would be a good way to do that, a good career and a good job to do that. They didn't ask to be sent to Iraq and to an illegal occupation of another country and basically oppress a people who don't want us there. They just wanted to be used in a just way when all peaceful solutions have been exhausted. That's when they thought they'd be sent in harm's way.

They would have heard Reppenhagen issue a call to join in a struggle to make America a better place: "And they can join this movement and there's a lot of pride and loyalty in joining our army and our corps, and fight for a cause that they believe in, to fight for a cause that will change America for the better and stop these occupations." That's not "America hating" as the loons on the right like to dismiss it, that's about patriotism. With all he's been through and all he's seen, Garrett Reppenhagen still believes in making this country better. He's still fighting to make it better. The word for that is patriotism.

Women's eNews' Dominque Soguel spoke recently with US service members Chrissy DeCaprio, Luz Gonzalez, Carolyn Schapper and Emily Stroia about what they wanted to see in the next president of the United States and the chief answer was "vision, experience and patriotism."

But patriotism was the word the press worked overtime to avoid all last week as they churned out the "great speech!" reports, columns and broadcasts followed by the usual "what he meant to say was . . ." and basically scratched their heads over the fact that a size able number of Americans were not impressed with the speech.

Why would they be?

Wright offered up a perverse Juliet speech on the baloney, "Barack, Barack, decry thy country, refute its name." That was what ABC viewers saw -- though Panhandle Media quickly reduced it to Fox "News" -- when they saw Wright standing before the church and damning the United States in his position as the head of the church.

The media, Panhandle or Corporate, never intended to address race and that was a given before they first started airing their gas baggery. But they rushed to prop up their candidate of choice and, to do so, they had to ignore the damning of the United States.

When you look at Panhandle Media's own silence, you begin to realize that they missed the chance to demolish the stereotype that they were anti-American because, whether it was The Nation or some other outlet, they willfully avoided the issue. It's a very big issue. Wright and Obama have a long-term (20 years) relationship. Barack wants to be president of the United States and he makes Wright his mentor, goes to the church, gives to the church and thereby gives his consent to the damning of the United States.

Trying to make Wright his Juliet, Barack took to referring him to as a family (he'd previously likened him to a "crazy uncle"). Jeremiah Wright was not Barack's family. Jeremiah Wright was his pastor and his friend and when his pastor and his friend damned the United States, Barack had no problem with it. That's how some Americans see it and that's why Tuesday's speech, the big statement, should have addressed it. It didn't. Bambi is in free-fall now and will continue to be because this thing is toxic and viral.

Some gas bags took to saying that you can't take a few lines out of context. There is no context for a person of the cloth using their power to damn the United States and a presidential candidate being okay with that. It's end of story. There's no need to rush off and buy more crap that Wright's burned to disc and sift through the man's sermons. That is so blantantly offensive to so many Americans -- of all races -- that it's really the end.

Gas bags on program after program ignored it and preferred to speak of what "Black" Barack said about race -- largely that Whites like Ferraro and his grandmother were racist and Wright was his family. That's what Barack wanted them to focus on, that's why he made it the thrust of his speech. But Americans are not easily directed as some in the press like to believe. On this Sunday, it will be discussed in many church parking lots across the country and all the hype the press churned out pre- and post-speech really won't matter. Last Tuesday, Barack should have made clear that he found it offensive that the United States was damned. He should have stated that over and over and admitted that it was a mistake for him not to break with the church, that it was a mistake for him to give his money to the church, that it was a mistake to put Wright on his campaign (where he remains because, as Larry Johnson pointed out, that photo the Obama campaign floated on Friday had to come from Wright).

That's all Americans really cared about, an explanation and an apology from a man running to be president of the United States for electing to embrace a man (for 20 years and counting) someone who damns the United States of America.

A lot of people miss the point of the media's flag pin lapels and think it was just an attempt at show boating post-9-11. While that was certainly part of it for some people, it's equally true that journalists are supposed to (by the nature of their profession) be objective. The flag pins became popular because it was thought they wore them and it puts to rest -- throughout their on air report or commentary -- that they were proud of their country and let what they were saying be absorbed. It was hoped, by many, to be short-hand. It wasn't a cheap tactic, the way so many insisted. We think it was the wrong tactic but we do grasp that everyone utilizing the pins wasn't attempting to be disingenious. But patriotism really isn't a topic for the media because it as odds with objectivity. They stumble over it badly so frequently not because they don't care about the country they are part of but because there is a natural road block that demands objectivity or the appearance of it.

We're not insisting that those in Corporate Media aren't patriotic. We know that many of them are. But this is a topic they naturally shy from. That was true long before the right-wing echo chamber came along to insist (wrongly) that holding leadership accountable was unpatriotic. So we do understand that some missing the boat last week did so due to the nature of the topic (and we would have understood that even if we hadn't heard that repeatedly from friends in real media). The thing we heard most often last week was that if the polling demonstrated it was a problem, the press would tackle the subject.

At present, to tackle the subject would look like they were injecting it because Barack had ("cleverly" said one reporter at one of the top three dailies) ignored the subject and the Clinton campaign hadn't really "pounced" on the issue. A friend at NBC, on Friday, confirmed that he too saw all that followed the speech as "shallow" talk on the part of all Corporte Media and asked what we were seeing on the road speaking out against Iraq?

What we're seeing is real offense to Wright's damning of America and a greater offense at Barack Obama that he thinks he can continue to embrace Wright and continue to ignore what happened.

The Obama campaign knows that as well which is why they avoided the issue and tried to shift the ground by focusing the speech instead upon race. The hope is that the damning of America, if ignored, will die down. Which only demonstrates how out of touch the campaign is.

But the narratives have been out of touch all along and the press can't be let off the hook for that. Barack Obama is a first-term US Senator and there are two other credits that usually get trumpeted. The first is "He was president of Harvard Law Review!" That's really not much for a man of forty-something years, is it?

And it's really not anything that excites the average American though it bowls over the elitests in Panhandle Media. The second thing is a 2002 speech, before he was in the US Senate or running for it, where he accepted the spin the White House was presenting (he was not right as the narrative tries to maintain) but argued for containment which, for the record, would mean a continuation of sanctions -- the same sanctions that Hillary Bashers hold her responsible for. The same sanctions that they tell you killed millions of Iraqis. So his pretty words were pretty pathetic even in 2002.

But he accepted the White House's argument. Here is what he said, after declaring he wasn't opposed to war in and of itself:

Now let me be clear - I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

"Contained" is sanctions -- the same ones that Jeremy Scahill decries today and did at Winter Soldier. There were no chemical or biological weapons. There has never been any proof that Saddam pursued nuclear capacity. But those were White House talking points and Mr. "I Was Right!" was as wrong as so many others.

He also wasn't in the US Senate and has noted, to the press, repeatedly before 2007, that he didn't know how he would have voted had he been in the Senate.

Speaking with Moyers on Friday, Phil Donahue took you back to that time period, "Certainly the White House scheduled this vote to precede the the November 2002 election. You know? How is it you've got Congress people facing reelection in three weeks. Now, how do you vote on the war? And how does that influ-- remember, we're an angry nation. This is October 2002 — the election being November. How are you gonna vote no on the pressure, especially when you remember how angry we were. I mean, it was very difficult to say no or dissent in this country at that time."

It was a year after 9-11 and, from the safety of the Illinois legislature, Barack Obama didn't have to decide, from the safety of the legislature, he didn't have to think about the country or the people of a state he was representing because he wasn't voting on the issue. In 2007, suddenly he was all ready to attack and, in fact, attacked John Edwards in a debate. For reality, here's Elizabeth Edwards explaining to Ruth Conniff (The Progressive) what the 2002 resolution was:

And the resolution, if you remember, was forcing Bush to go to the U.N. first. Of course, we expected him to actually listen to the U.N., which didn't happen. The resolution was actually a slowing technique, so he [John Edwards] felt like maybe it wasn't ideal but I think he made a very difficult and good faith decision.

It's amazing to hear the defense of Wright's remarks coming from the same group that wants to reduce a resolution down to the title. 9-11 was a year prior. The United States was attacked (even if Wright wants to blame the United States, the reality is that citizens and the government are not the same thing -- it's a distinction some on the left will make with regards to the state of Israel but seem loathe to make with regards to the United States). An election was weeks away, the media had helped the White House whip up hysteria (starting in 2001 with Chris Hedges' front page article for The New York Times falsely linking Iraq to al Qaeda). It was a difficult decision to make. What if the White House was right? Barack Obama bought into the White House lies but argued for the continuation of sanctions in his public speech. No wonder he repeatedly stated that he didn't know how he would have voted. It's a bit hard to vote against the 2002 resolution when you're convinced the White House is telling the truth about WMDs.

For those in Congress who voted for it, some, like John Edwards, weighed everything including the fact that United Nations approval was necessary before a war could begin. (For those who are really slow, that's why, after the resolution passed overwhelmingly in both houses, the Bully Boy did not launch the Iraq War immediately -- the resolution did not authorize that.) They took the resolution at its word as well as Condi Rice (and others) offering assurances that the United Nations would have to sign off on any war.

That did not happen. What happened was the UN weapons inspectors had to flee Iraq (and you saw it on your TV) because Bully Boy made the decision to invade Iraq without UN approval.

We wish Moyers would have pursued that topic with Donahue because it's an important conversation to have. Donahue spoke of never wanting to see this happen again and that's a comment that was voiced very often when public opinion turned against Vietnam. (Donahue was opposed to the Iraq War before it started.) But the reality is that for thirty years, Americans remembered a lesson from that earlier illegal war but all it took was 9-11 to give Bully Boy the pass to start another large-scale illegal war. As Donahue briefly noted, there were huge passions at the time. They were fueled by the White House and the media, yes, but they were also present in many Americans. 9-11 was a tragedy. It was preventable, but it was a tragedy. It was not treated as a tragedy. There was no day of mourning declared. Instead Americans were urged to get back to work (not that they had ever stopped) and that allowed the tragedy to be avoided, emotions to be suppressed. The only acceptable emotions were anger and rage and don't kid that they didn't fuel and benefit the White House.

Don't kid that a year after 9-11, the mood was high and that people like Max Cleland would lose their Senate seats in the 2002 elections for being falsely linked to terrorism. Don't kid that when Republican Senators, such as Olympia Snowe, were publicly hesitant, ads weren't run against them as they faced re-election.

Did the members of Congress who voted for the resolution do the easy or the hard thing? Only they know. Only they know what they were weighing and what they gave more weight to. One who voted for the resolution and was facing re-election told us two weeks ago that you had to remember the time "and what Bush was already pushing through Congress." For him, it came down to vote for it, let the UN decide, save his seat and try to work inside Congress to prevent the Bully Boy from destroying the country more. That's a valid concern and he, rightly, noted it was one we never gave any weight to in our criticism of him (to his face) over the last few years. The Iraq War did start. It was being floated at the time but it was hardly the only thing on the White House agenda. And other members of Congress, noting that a UN resolution was said to be required before the Iraq War could start, may have also felt there were other battles to pick because inspections would work.

They were wrong. But they were weighing other things and we will note that. And we wish Donahue and Moyers had explored the time period more. Mainly because 2002 no longer matters.

Those aren't words anyone likes to hear, but it is the truth. All the dead, Iraqis and foreign fighters, are not coming back. Those who lost loved ones, like Judy Kovco whose son Jake was the first Australian to die in Iraq during this illegal war, have lost them and they know it better than anyone. The dead are not coming back tomorrow or the day after. They are gone. These are real losses.

Iraq is like an open wound from a gun shot at this point. The bleeding continues, Iraqis and foreign fighters, and 2002 really isn't the issue in 2008. That's hard to grasp for some on the left as evidenced by last week's nonsense that 'addressed' an ongoing, illegal war by dropping back to 2002 or 2003. The year is 2008. The dead are dead, the wounded are wounded, the money wasted is gone. None of that is coming back.

And it's really offensive that someone thinks one of the three things he has to offer in his run for president is that he was "right" about the Iraq War in 2002. (He wasn't, he bought into the myth of WMDs. He was in favor of sanctions.) The 2008 election will not undue the selling of the illegal war. The 2008 election could help end the ongoing war. The only ones who are going to end the illegal war are the American people. But when one of the candidates (Barack Obama) has a foreign policy advisor (Samantha Power and she was still was his chief advisor -- bragging constantly about how he text-ed her cell phone repeatedly) going on the BBC and declaring that his campaign pledge to withdraw combat troops (and only combat troops) within 16 months of becoming president isn't a pledge, isn't binding, and that he'll actually decide what he'll do after he enters the White House, red flags should be flying.

When Power, Sarah Sewall and so many other of his advisors are promoters of counter-insurgency (attack civilians) strategies in Iraq, that's a red flag. When he talks of adding more mercenaries in Iraq, if he becomes president, that's a red flag.

But because of a 2002 speech (in which he accepted the same lies of WMDs that so many others did), he's supposed to get a pass. He's supposed to also get a pass on his Senate voting record (note how that brief record isn't anything he's running on). Until the summer of 2007, he repeatedly voted to fund the illegal war.

As Elizabeth Edwards noted to Ruth Conniff:

And honestly, the other candidates? Obama gives a speech that's likely to be extraordinarily popular in his home district, and then comes to the Senate and votes for funding. John, the first time funding came up, he was already suspicious. What he said was we've got two issues, one is information and the other is not trusting your President. And he gave plenty of speeches at the time saying, "I'm not voting for the $87 billion because he has no plan." You've got to do that for the men and women who are there: You've got to have a plan. And he didn't vote for the $87 billion, and never voted for any dedicated funding. So you are going to get people behaving in a holier-than-thou way. But John stood up when he was in the Senate for exactly the thing he's asking these people to stand up for now. . . .

In a holier-than-thou way? Exactly. Again, the Iraq War is an open gun shot wound that continues bleeding. What you did or didn't do in 2002 really doesn't matter today if you're in the Senate and/or running for president and aren't attempting to end the illegal war.

Past words are not going to stop the bleeding, only what you do today will.

Obama's campaigned on distraction. He's offered a pledge to pull combat troops and it's one that doesn't end the war (even if it were binding, which Power revealed it wasn't) and talk of replacing troops pulled with mercenaries. That's not an anti-war candidate. He hasn't been called on it anymore than he's been called on for endorsing Jeremiah Wright's damning of the United States. When he does get called, they like to distract, to get the press talking about something else.

You saw that at the end of last week when Bambi gave his pretty speech (yes, we are aware he appeared inspired by the words of one us in last week's roundtable as so many e-mails have pointed out) and talked about the need to rise above and then, on Friday, peddled to the press photos of Jeremiah Wright at a White House breakfast -- one of many members of the clergy attending -- when Bill Clinton was in office. The speech wanted to say, "Wright is my family and let's all forget about it." On Friday, the campaign did what it always does, run from the high ground it claims it wants in order to dive into the gutter.

Speaking with members of Congress last week and hearing them bring up Obama (not favorably), we were bothered and reminded of a long running storyline on the sitcom Friends. Ross and Rachel had an argument, Ross slept with another women, Rachel called him a cheater and he maintained it wasn't cheating because Rachel had said they should take "a break." As Barack falsely amplifies his "I was right!" words regarding his lame speech in 2002, the reaction of members of Congress is a lot like Rachel and would suggest that, far from being a uniter, his (wrongly) insisting that he was "right" is as much an impedient to ending the illegal war as Ross' continuing to insist "We were on a break!" was to his relationship with Rachel. Those in control of the US Congress, regardless of party, largely voted for the 2002 resolution and we're really not in the mood for four years of Obama playing Ross from the White House and (falsely) insisting, "I was right!" That's not going to end the illegal war (though ending it isn't really a goal of Obama's anyway).

It would alienate Congress, it would harden positions. But that's really all the bulk of Panhandle Media offered in their Iraq commentaries last week, wasn't it? An ongoing illegal war and all they could do was go back to "I was right!" All those years ago.

Last week, if you consumed the chat & chews you saw very little about Iraq despite it being the fifth anniversary of the start of the illegal war. Bill Moyers Journal was a noteable exception. Let's state clearly that Bill Moyers (and Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue) provided a look at what is going on today as opposed to rushing for sensation (which was the bulk of the tiny write ups and post-broadcasts of Winter Soldier went for). They deserve strong credit for that.

But last week others elected to ignore the Iraq War and instead focus on what they claimed was the race narrative. It was embarrassing, it was superficial, it was a lot of lies. Watching, you may have wondered when the issue of gender was ever going to be examined?

It's been a race where Jesse Jackson Jr. could and did take to the airwaves to lie and stated that Hillary cried in New Hampshire over her appearance. She didn't cry, her eyes teared up and they teared up over not her appearance but over the destruction of women's rights in this country. Jackson didn't get called out for that anymore than Obama supporter Tony McPeak gets called out for (The Los Angeles Times) stating that his candidate choice, unlike Hillary, "doesn’t go on television and have crying fits." Last week, a CBS News poll found:

Voters are slightly more likely to say that a woman candidate faces more obstacles than a black candidate when it comes to presidential politics even as they see racism as a more serious problem for the nation overall, according to a new CBS News poll. Thirty nine percent of registered voters said a woman running for president faces more obstacles while 33 percent said a black candidate does.

And yet that topic isn't considered worthy of exploration. Interesting considering what was offered on 'race' during Washington Week Friday. "If we elect Obama, then we can be done with race" was one choice bit (quickly and superficially questioned but presented none the less). A "speech that sounded like a sermon" (meant as praise). "How did Joe Six-Pack react? It's not clear that they reacted to it the way we did." No, that's not clear but it was clear that women would be overlooked -- unless they could be slammed.

The New York Times' Linda Greenhouse, who covers the Supreme Court and was on to talk about that, asked a very basic question. Could Hillary win the Democratic Party nomination? There was no honest answer given. The honest answer is that neither she nor Barack Obama seem able to win the nomination before the convention because it's been a pretty much evenly split race. The super delegates will decide at the convention. The show really needed an older reporter on last week to explain a misconception regarding super delegates. Many outlets run counts with "pledged super delegates" and the reality is that -- like Obama with Iraq -- there is no pledge. Right now, some super delegates are saying they will support Barack Obama. Anyone who's witnessed a Democratic convention floor battle for votes knows full well that such a pledge is meaningless until it's time to vote. Super delegates can change their minds on the floor of the convention. (Some are going to -- as a result of learning that they were astro-turfed some announced supporters of Obama have stated they will be voting for Clinton at the convention, as we've noted before.) In the delegates awarded in caucuses and primaries, neither Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama appears to be able to hit the magic threshold that would give the nomination to them.

But you didn't get that answer. What you got instead was Alexis Simendinger of National Journal declaring that Hillary could stay in until the convention and come off "more petulant and petty." You might need to read back over that, Simendinger stated that one candidate in a tie appears "petualant and petty" for continuing the race. (This topic will be addressed further in this edition.) We'll assume that's supposed to pass for the discussion of gender by Washington Week.

Last week, you saw two examples of the sexism prevalent in the United States if you paid attention.

You saw Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell decide to note the anniversary of Iraq by looking back (like so many others) and he compiled a list of five worthy of applause. No woman made the five although a comic and a singer-songwriter did. The fifth spot was "McClatchy Newspapers bloggers" and that is men and women. Mitchell went on to note that the women had received an award for their journalism and then to offer quotes as he did in all other four spots on his list. But with the other four spots, he let the people 'awarded' speak (in the case of Neil Young, he quoted Young lyrics). Instead of letting the McClatchy bloggers (an important voice) speak for themselves, he chose to quote two White men. In the only time that his column celebrating 'important voices' could have offered words from women, he silenced them -- while claiming their words were important.

Then, on Friday, you may have caught Jeff Cohen's tired act on CounterSpin. Cohen, as with a bad column he wrote, was listing how all the major corporate newspapers ignored Winter Soldier (except The Washington Post). He is not mistaken. But if he's going to list those who ignored Winter Soldier, he would need to include the big websites (especially for magazines) of Panhandle Media and he might start with The Progressive which didn't think Winter Soldier was worth noting when it was going on (they have since published an article written before Winter Soldier) but did think that the Amway convention of the faux left (Take Back America) last week deserved "LIVE" blogging. Winter Soldier was not a political party event. It was veterans offering truths and realities. But the supposedly independent Progressive, overseen by non-Democrat Matthew Rothschild, wasn't interested in promoting it. Let a motley crew of rejects from the Democratic Party stage their own partisan convention and Rothschild's all on board with live blogging of that. Cohen has a lot of nerve lecturing big media while staying silent on the many silences from Panhandle Media.

In his dopey column, he overlooked KPFA -- he also lied and claimed he caught the hearings on WBAI out of NYC which only aired them on Friday (it was more important to play old, dusty records on Saturday). In his dumb column, he credited Pacifica Radio stations for their coverage. The reality was that Pacifica Radio stations didn't cover it. We have no idea what the DC station did because no one takes it seriously. (What should be the crown jewel for Pacifica Radio is instead a never ending embarrassment of one music program after another.) But KPFT in Houston, like WBAI, didn't air the hearings on Saturday choosing instead to offer "classic rock" and other nonsense. Los Angeles' KPFK broadcast the hearings and KPFA broadcast them. The hearings originated at KPFA and were anchored by the station's Aimee Allison and Aaron Glantz. (KPFA covers California's Bay Area and, living there, we frequently forget to note that. Our apologies.) Days after his dopey column celebrating alleged 'independent media,' he's on CounterSpin and listing this person and that person. Who does he forget? Aimee Allison and Aaron Glatnz.

Forgetting Allison is especially shocking when he was jawing her ear off on-air Tuesday. But that's how it goes. He can be pleased as punch to appear on KPFA and be interviewed by Allison but when he goes elsewhere, he feels no obligation to note that the woman co-anchored the live coverage.

Years from now, someone stumbling upon a recording of that broadcast, hearing Cohen, would be under the impression that, while Corporate Media ignored Winter Soldier, Panhandle Media went full out. That is not reality. And when a critic can't offer reality, he's really not much use to anyone. When a critic's listing off people to praise and overlooking Allision -- who not only co-anchored the hearings but interviewed him about the hearings last Tuesday -- he's got additional problems. (He mentioned one woman, a personal friend of his for many years and that was an obligated shout-out to a friend who did very little.)

Listening to his dopey comments, especially years from now, people might get the wrong impression that while Corporate Media ignored it, not only did 'independent' media cover it, it was available to all. Such was his supreme denial and/or idiocy that he honestly believes every American has a satellite dish or access to the internet to stream on. If you didn't have a satellite and if you couldn't stream (or if streaming wouldn't work for you due to hearing difficulties -- ) then you were left out in the cold. Along with economic realities preventing many from catching the hearings it's equally true that AP recently reported of US veterans:

U.S. soldiers and Marines caught in roadside bombings and firefights in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home in epidemic numbers with permanent hearing loss and ringing in their ears, prompting the military to redouble its efforts to protect the troops from noise. Hearing damage is the No. 1 disability in the fight against terror, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and some experts say the true toll could take decades to become clear.

With the exception of Bill Moyers, last week saw a lot of 'news' and 'public affairs' programming offer up a lot of lies, a lot of narratives that pretended to be about something they weren't. In some cases they 'explored' an ongoing illegal war by dropping back to the start of the war. In other cases, they pretended to 'explore' race. Realities of the ongoing illegal war, like actual realities of race, gender and the sorry state of the media weren't explored. We felt we were seeing and hearing the "new-told lies" (Hair!).

We really don't think that's going to end the illegal war but, outside of Moyers' show, we didn't catch a single program that seemed honestly concerned with the Iraq War.


If you are able to enjoy streaming and missed Winter Soldier you can stream online at Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz were the anchors for Pacifica's live coverage. We found Democracy Now!'s coverage disappointing to put it mildly. But you can check there for transcripts. Monday's broadcast had to share time with the My Lai massacre from forty years ago. Winter Soldier was the focus on Tuesday and Wednesday and Goody went for whatever struck as the most sensationalistic bits -- if it bleeds, it ledes. By Thursday it was on to China and the Fed and on Friday it was all but forgotten except for Goodman to claim she provided four hours of Winter Soldier.

Added: Mike's "Hillary talks Iraq Panhandle Media plays dumb" last week also pointed out Panhandle Media ignored Hillary's speech. Our apologies for not remembering and including it in the above. We did ask that it be noted in highlights and noted we'd add a note here.

There's only one fighter in the Democratic race

Florida. The 2000 election. One state decided it because one state was the last counting.

One state decided it because it was decided before the election (with the disenfranchisement of voters) and after (without a fight for recount).

One state.

The left said never again.

Maybe they just meant never just one state again since many Democrats and assorted other mongrels are willing to disenfranchise Florida and Michigan this go-round.
But wait, they couldn't mean that.

They said every vote should count.

They made such a big to-do over it that the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nominee, John Kerry, would have to promise that he would not allow a repeat, that every vote would be counted. Sure enough, John-o buckled and Ohio was not recounted.

There was much booing and hissing following the 2004 election.

It's four years later, eight since Florida was disenfranchised.

And yet some want to argue that Florida and Michigan's primaries shouldn't count.

You know the drill, we've covered this here since last year and Wally, Cedric and C.I. covered it at their sites. Wally, is in fact, from Florida and takes the issue very personally.

Florida and Michigan, like other states, moved their dates up. Iowa and New Hampshire weren't penalized, just Florida and Michigan. Before the primaries ever took place, we came out against it. Our position would be the same if Barack Obama had won because voters are more important than candidates. That's a basic truth that Amy Goodman and John Nichols can't grasp. Both ignored what was going on in real time but wanted to pretend recently that they gave a damn. If they gave a damn, they would have had their facts right.

Basic truths.

It's going to be real hard for any Democrat to win the White House without Florida and Michigan.

Florida and Michigan had high turnouts. Florida had the biggest turnout for a Democratic primary ever.

Hillary Clinton, who won both primaries, argued for a do-over if that was what it took to get Florida and Michigan's delegates seated.

Barack Obama was against it.

That hasn't gone unnoticed. Florida has only amplified their talk of staying home during the general elections if Florida is penalized.

That talk was present in 2007 and, in fact, some posted comments to Cedric's site about just that when he and Wally would do one of their many joint-posts on the topic.

The Democratic National Committee cannot expect to win a presidential election if they piss off Florida and Michigan.

Since a do-over now seems impossible, earlier methods are now being more seriously addressed.

Some argue that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should split the delegates evenly.

No, they should not.

In Florida, Barack Obama advertised on TV. Wally saw the ads repeatedly leading up to the primary election (as did Gina and Krista and many other community members in Florida). Hillary, that would be the winner of the primary, didn't advertise. (There was supposed to be no advertising. Barack claimed they were national buys and he had no control over it. They weren't national buys as community members in Iowa and Nebraska have pointed out in the gina & krista round-robin.)

Neither campaigned in Florida. Both attended private fundraisers (permitted by the DNC) and Barack Obama held a press conference (not permitted by the DNC), one where he approached the press and began speaking until reporters pointed out that the press conferences weren't supposed to be allowed and he left in a huff. That's bend the rules until they break Barack.

Barack lost the primary. The winner was Hillary Clinton. No way in hell does he deserve an even split of that primary and no way in hell are the bulk of Florida Democratic voters going to put up with that.

The votes are counted, Barack wanted no do-over, the delegates should be apportioned as they normally would be and the delegates should be seated.


Michigan's a bit different.

In Michigan, neither campaigned (though both campaigns had surrogates). Hillary won there as well. Bambi supporters say the delegates should be split evenly between the two.

No, they should not.

The DNC didn't ask anyone to take their names off the ballot. Barack Obama made the decision to take his name off. Hillary, Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd and others did not make that decision.

Having eliminated his name from the ballot, he now wants to scream, "Half are mine!"

No, they aren't. You forfeit a game, you lose. You don't show up on the field, you lose. That's basic in any match up.

Again, the actual winner, Hillary Clinton, was willing to have a do-over. Barack Obama opposed that. Partly because he can't win big states and thinks a do-over would drive that even more home.

But Barack isn't entitled to any votes when he didn't even place his name on the ballot.

The Obama tries to argue that "uncommitted" was their voters. They also try to argue that their voters voted in the Michigan Republican primary.

Let's deal with the latter first. Should someone talk sense into Barack (lots of luck) and Michigan get a do-over, no one who voted in the Republican primary should be allowed to vote in the Democratic do-over. You had your choice and you chose to vote in the Republican primary. The do-over is only for Democrats and, for all intents and purposes, a Democrat in Michigan is someone who voted in the Democratic primary. That's pretty basic.

The former. While Obama dispatched John Conyers, among others, to campaign for him and tell people supporting him to vote "uncommitted"; he wasn't the only one doing that. John Edwards, who also chose to keep his own name off the ballot, also had his surrogates telling his supporters to vote uncommitted. The notion that Edwards is out of the race so his supporters automatically go to Obama isn't a notion with any scientific backing nor does it allow for the fact that some of the uncommitted might not have yet decided (Michigan doesn't hold it's primary that early usually) or they might not have liked any candidate. Or they might have just liked voting "uncommitted." Or they might have been protesting. Regardless, those voting "uncommitted" did not choose Barack Obama.

The only votes he got were if someone wrote his name in. They'd have to write his name in because he chose not to appear on the ballot.

You can't skip a match and claim afterwards that you deserve credit for it.

Whether it's pee-wee, high school, college or professional, you miss the game, you lose.

He has no right to any delegates and only due to the fact that the press has so catered to his demands does he feel he's entitled to delegates who did not select his name.

Hillary gave him a chance at a do-over in both states. The winner gave the loser a chance at a do-over. That's called "good sportsmanship."

It wasn't necessary on her part. There are many people, like us, who were arguing that Florida and Michigan delegates would have to be seated long before 2008 rolled around. She had to know many still would be arguing that. But she was sporting enough to offer a do-over. Bambi wanted nothing to do with it. He just wanted to claim half the delegates that he never won. That's not how it works and if a grown man who brags about his love for b-ball doesn't grasp how embarrassing his attitude is, then he truly isn't fit to serve as president.

In 2000, Al Gore threw in the towel. You can argue the reasons for that until the cows come home. In 2004, despite pledging he wouldn't do the same, John Kerry . . . did the same.

In both instances, Democrats were outraged. In both instances, we were stuck with four years of the Bully Boy in the White House.

Allegedly, this election matters. 2008's election matters. And allegedly Democrats wants fighters.

Hillary's already done more with regards to the Florida and Michigan primaries than Al Gore did for Florida and John Kerry did for Ohio. That's because she is a fighter.

That would be the fighter that we've been waiting for. The Democrat who doesn't roll over and say, "Oh, it's no big deal."

That would be Obama. MoveOn ran an ad about General Betray-Us. The right screamed their heads off. It was insulting! It was unpatrotic! (It was funny and we'd been calling him General Betray-Us long before the MoveOn ad, The Times of London had as well.) Republicans staged a show-vote in the Senate in an attempt to get Democrats to condemn MoveOn for the ad. Many did. Barack, not having the option of merely voting "present," elected to skip that vote. Hillary didn't skip it. She voted against condemning MoveOn.

MoveOn was no friend to Hillary. (Or to Bill, though they like to pretend otherwise.) Hillary could have skipped the vote as well. But she didn't because she knows how the right-wing works and she knows if you don't stand up to them, they don't just get their way, they grow hungry for even more.

Hillary stood up. She's a fighter.

Barack gives speeches full of the words that FAIR usually calls out when they're coming out of the mouths of mainstream columnists and editorialists. Barack claims that it's time to put partisanship behind us. If true, then let's do away with the Democratic Party because if there's no partisanship, there's really no reason for political parties.

As FAIR likes to note every election cycle but this one, when someone starts talking that bi-partisan nonship, it's to Democrats. They don't do it to Republicans. With Republicans, they speak of them having a "mandate" (even when they don't). With Democrats, it's time for bi-partisanship.

If you missed it, with Bully Boy at the helm, the government tilted to the right. Now is not the time to 'reach across.' (Nor is it time for a reach around which really seems to be what Barack's promising.) But Bambi's giving away a store that not only isn't his to give, it's not his to run. Still running for the nomination, he's talking about making nice with those who have worked to tear apart the country. Under Bambi, the message is being sent, you make your crazy demands and he'll meet you half-way. And, probably, if you don't like that offer, he'll meet you two-thirds of the way. If that doesn't work out, he'll come over to your side.

He's never had to fight. In the Illinois legislature, others wrote bills and his mentor put Bambi's name on them in preparation of a US Senate run. Once elected to the Senate, despite promising he would complete his first term (that would be the term he's still serving, serving until 2010), he didn't. And he didn't make votes. And he didn't chair the subcommittee he was put in charge of. And point out any of that and you'll be told, "HE WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!" Yeah, and he wasn't doing his job.

Hillary's done her job. And if Republicans try to steal votes in the 2008 general election, you better believe she's not going to be figuring out what sop to toss out to voters. She's going to be out there fighting. She is the fighter Democrats have been waiting for.

The blank slate, unvetted Barack was a distraction. When examined, his public life is full of unsavory details. Not the least of which is he electing to attend a church, and be a member, where the pastor damns America. He continued in the chuch and is still a member.

We can't picture Hillary staying with a church that damned her country.

Right now, the Bambi campaign is amping up the volume that Hillary must drop out. She's not going to win! That's what they insist and the press goes along. The same press that told you she was going to lose New Hampshire, by the way. Which, for the record, she did not lose.

They want her to drop out because Wright's only one detail in the offing. There is the trial of Barack's buddy Tony Rezko. That would be the man under federal indictment whose trial is currently ongoing. The man who attempted to buy favors with politicians. That would be the man who toured the property, at Barack's inviation and with Barack, that Obama couldn't buy. There was a mansion and a parcel of land. The Obamas couldn't pay for both. (Why they needed to move from a condo to a mansion when he'd just been elected to the US Senate, not made CEO of Del Monte goes to Bambi's grand ambitions.) Rezco and his wife bought the land. The Obamas the mansion. On the same day. The same rubbing the pennies together Obamas were given a discount on the mansion while real estate developer Rezko paid cost. If that sounds "normal" to you, you've drunk too much Kool-Aid.

As Hillary noted in a debate, Rezko is a slum lord. And, indeed, some of those slums were in Barack's district when he was in the Illinois legislature. People went without electricity in the Chicago winters. And Bambi didn't know that? No constitutents complained about that? Since he was writing letters on behalf of Rezko -- to receive government contracts -- one would assume he knew about Rezko's business.

None of the above came out in the debate. Instead Bambi stated he'd done about five hours of work for an organization that was working with Rezko.

A federal witness is expected to testify that Bambi visited Rezko daily while Bambi.

Bambi used to say that he had given all the moneys for his campaign that Rezko donated or raised to charity. He said that when he gave away $70,000. He said it again when the figure reached $100,000. He repeated it when it reached $150,000. Two weekends ago, he revealed it was $250,000. As Regis would ask, "Is that your final answer?"

$250,000 (probably a great deal more) via someone Bambi pretended to barely know. There is more in store. On top of the toxic and viral revelations about Jeremiah Wright, it's not making for a pretty picture. It's only natural that Bambi would want Hillary to drop out because the longer she's in, the less electable he looks. Not due to Hillary's actions, due to the fact that the press slowly starts examining who Obama actually is.

Reality is that Barack Obama is not winning. Hillary's not winning. The two are basically tied at this point. The Democratic Party, up to this point, has been evenly split.

No one leaves the field during a tie. But Bambi wants to eject her from the field so that, as more of his trash becomes public, the Democratic Party has no choice but to rally around him, having made him the nominee.

So he and his pitiful surrogates scream for her to drop out, the LIAR Melissa Harris-Lacewell threatens a "Black-out," the press goes along with it and puts forward the narrative -- the same one they used against Al Gore -- that Hillary's not winning. The two are tied. It is as close as Florida right now and we all know Al Gore would have won if he'd fought.

Despite the surrogates and the campaign screaming for her to drop out, despite the press screaming for it as well, what does Hillary do? Does she go home like Al Gore or John Kerry with her tail between her legs?

No, because she is a fighter.

Over the next few weeks, you'll hear that Hillary needs to drop out more and more. People will start moving the topic to the super delegates and claiming Barack has more. He doesn't. And pledged delegates before the convention do not have to honor their pledges at the convention. (Rebecca, Elaine and C.I. have seen pledged delegates break their pledges at DNC conventions before.) More importantly, Barack Obama doesn't have the support of most pledged delegates.

One thing that Ava and C.I. are hearing over and over from super delegates they're speaking to is: FUNDRAISING. That's the magic word. Money makes the party go round, if not the world. Bill Clinton has been an incredible fundraiser for the Democratic Party since leaving office. They do not want to piss him off, they need him. Hillary's also been a star fundraiser. Bambi? When it was all gloss, he was. Will Americans show him the same sort of loyalty they've shown the Clintons after they've been called every name in the book by the right-wing echo chamber? That's a question super delegates are asking.

Equally true is that Barack's super delegates aren't plugged into the party's power structure. Fools like Amy Goodman go giddy over Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Bambi. Consider it the kiss of the death because Ted has some power in the Senate but no power in the party. Even being the brother of RFK and JFK combined he's not been a star fundraiser. What the party thinks of him was made clear in 1980 when those in charge didn't want him for the presidential nominee. John Kerry? That would be loser Kerry who had to take a vacation and travel following the 2004 election before he could return to his Senate duties and, no, John Kerry is not a fundraising superstar (or even star) for the Democratic Party.

To score some cheap points and easy publicity, the Obama campaign called Geraldine Ferraro a racist for making statements that were similar to what Barack himself had made. Then they took a 'high road' -- one of their momentary truces -- and said she wasn't a racist. Then, last Tuesday, Bambi's likening to her to the NUTSO Jeremiah Wright who not only damns the country but preaches that AIDS was created by scientiets to do away with African-Americans. How nutty can you be? Super delegates do not take well to one of their own being attacked and that Bambi yet again used the racist club (apparently his bag only has one golf club) has truly pissed off a large number of super delegates. Ferraro could, if she wanted to, talk about the supportive calls she's received from other super delegates. She knows what the reaction to Bambi's dirty tricks was.

As it stands now, neither Hillary or Barack currently has enough delegates to claim the nomination and will have to depend upon super delegates unless there's a major change. (Such as Barack doing what's good for the country -- the one he's okay with being damned, apparently -- and the party and dropping out.) In the super delegates, as it currently stands, Hillary's doing very well and better than Bambi.

He can scream "I want!"s in commercial after commercial. It's not his Democratic Party. The party belongs to the Democratic people and they've not crowned him.

Hillary realizes that and keeps fighting.
Democrats post-2000 election and post-2004 election said they wanted a fighter. Open your eyes, she's here.


Jim: Repeating, we are still working out the kinks in our roundtables participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and me, Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ. If there's an illustration when you read this, Betty's oldest son did it. If there's not, no one had the time to mess with Flickr. This is probably a brief roundtable and included mainly so we have something we can contribute, audio wise, to Hilda's Mix' audio edition. Before we get into any other topics, Dona's going to read a statement that expresses the opinion of many of us participating, though not all. Dona?

Dona: Iraq Veterans Against the War held their Winter Soldier event. We covered it last week and Ava and C.I. cover it again this week in their TV commentary. That's really going to be it. The original plan was that this week we'd do an article on resistance based on the testimonies at Winter Soldier rounded out with other details. We had two other features as possibilities. Those features, all of them, were killed. If you read a feature posted here, it's done by The Third Estate Sunday Review. Whether it's Ava and C.I. doing a TV commentary or anything else, it's done by this site. We did not appreciate it when The Nation magazine elected to go around this site by rushing off to C.I. and we do not appreciate the fact that people participating here last week, the same ones participated this week, received private lobbying by one person. If you have a beef with the site -- not that I personally care that you have a beef -- you bring it up to this site. You don't start e-mailing others participating to attempt to lobby them. Last week's edition, 03/16 - 03/23, featured 13 pieces. Ten of them noted Winter Soldier. Some of the ten were strictly about Winter Soldier. But all noted it. "Negative Critisicm of Winter Soldiers Investigation" resulted in one person attempting to privately lobby people who participated in that feature. We do not accept that, we didn't when The Nation ran to C.I. to 'tattle' on us. In that article, we noted that sexual attraction is not the same as sexual assault and, we could have stated more clearly, that any fool who thinks it is really needs help. We were kinder than we wanted to be because C.I. was urging niceness. Despite that and despite the fact that we appear to be one of the only ones to address the very serious issue of "Veterans Healthcare," one little idiot wanted to e-mail a private lobbying campaign and an offensive one where she insisted to women participating that the comments in it weren't very feminist and questioned their committment to feminism. Sexual attraction is not sexual assault. I don't know how to make that any clearer to you, you stupid, stupid, stupid twit. We were offended for many reasons including the veterans healthcare article results in no comment from the twit -- and again, we were one of the few to cover the issue and we were certainly the only ones to tie it into Congress. But as a general rule, when you go try to lobby people about things that appeared here, we shut off any coverage because we find it offensive. Other people began getting e-mails on Tuesday. Had we seen an e-mail here, we didn't, it may have gone straight to spam, we wouldn't have seen it prior to Tuesday morning. We rarely check the e-mails here on Monday when we're still tired and living our lives. Tuesday is generally the first time anyone dives into the e-mails. There are usually at least a thousand waiting on Tuesday and there is no rush to the top of the list. Ty, Jim or myself will read from the most recent. We do that on our time. Since we were all in Boston on Monday, we didn't even get back home until mid-day Tuesday and, no, no one had checked Tuesday morning. But already someone was e-mailing other sites to lobby. That's offensive. We never got your dumb ass e-mail to begin with but there was no reason to e-mail anyone else involved with anything other than "Could you pass this on Third, I'm not sure they got it." Instead, a lobbying effort took place and we do not support that, we think it's cowardly and I'm offended that, among the ones dragged in apparently was C.I. I'm offended because I'm one of the ones working the public account of The Common Ills. That's me, that Jess, that's Ava, that's Eli, that's Martha and Shirley and now Heather as well as C.I. That's because there are so many e-mails coming into the public account. No one needs to clog up that account with anything not related to Iraq or to what has gone up at The Common Ills. If that's not clear to you, it's because you're an idiot. There was never any reason to clog up The Common Ills public account with your lobbying efforts about a piece that ran here. It is noted, nearly every week in Jim's note, that Ty is checking the e-mails Sunday morning as things go up and that we won't be checking again until Tuesday at the earliest. Had your e-mail been received -- it never was -- it would not have been the only one to arrive nor do you have some special rank that allows you to jump ahead of anyone. We don't even make a point to start with our longterm readers. That's something Jim, Ty and I discussed this week as a result of the twit. We have decided that starting this week, we will scan the first 25 displayed before opening any and longterm readers will be read first. Prior to that decision, we read them from the top, which was the most recent. You seem to have a strong sense of entitlement and, funny, checking our weekly credits for this site, I don't see your name on it. If you don't like what we write, get over it. I think Jess wanted to speak on this.

Jess: In the words of Paul Kantner, "F--k you, we do what we want." Ty and I added a note to that piece which points out what should be obvious to even the most challenged visitor, "The Third Estate Sunday Review focuses on politics and culture. We're an online magazine. We don't play nice and we don't kiss butt. In the words of Cher: 'If you can dig it then I'm happy and if you can't then I'm sorry.' We're not really sorry, we just wanted a 'dig it' quote. Don't like it? There are millions of sites online -- move along, you're blocking the view." That's displayed at the top of the site, at the top of any feature you read at the site. You didn't commission us to write an article, you didn't pay us to write an article. If your beef was just taken to this site, we'd address it or ignore it as we saw fit but we are damn sick of people lobbying others about what we write here.

Ty: I just want to add, as co-author of that note at the end of the article that Jess and I added Friday, that the panel was offensive to me as a gay man. Marcia's noted that at her site, she and I were both offended as gay people. We could have gone on at length about that. And maybe we should have? But what we wrote is what we wrote. Don't like it? Oh well, as Cedric says. We saw the damage article control article on that Sunday evening and laughed at it when we noted how little of that article came from the panel. That's because the panel offered so little that even a 'friendly' couldn't be counted on to focus on it. The idea that IVAW members who complained to C.I. about that article would want to talk to you is laughable and they don't want to talk to you but how dare you ever write any outlet and expect them to give you a hook up? They know you. If they wanted to talk to you they would. And how dare you include that in your lobbying to other sites. Did you really think, for example, that Mike's going to say, "Okay, here are the names . . ."? My belief will always be that you went lobbying to other sites to find out the names of who complained and though I am not planning to ever work as a paid journalist, I do have a degree in that and I find that extremely offensive. Sources are confidential unless they choose not to be. How dare you attempt to find out their names by lobbying individuals who participated in the writing of that article. Not only did you run tattleing to other people with your insulting e-mail, you also then expected others to tattle back to you.

Jim: Is there anything anyone else wants to say on this topic?

Betty: I meant to check my e-mail when I heard about the lobbying effort but never got around to it. I've got a full time job, three kids that I'm raising by myself and limited time. I'm not going to be anyone's penpal. But had I seen such an effort in my inbox my response would have been blistering. And I will note again that Winter Soldier was not supposed to be about endorsing political candidates. I will note I didn't hear anything like that on any other panel. I will further note that the rules for every other panel were if you weren't a civilian, you served in either Iraq or Afghanistan. That panel didn't follow the rules and I could go on at length about it. I brought it up in a roundtable we did and you can blame me for getting the ball rolling on the story but it was only when we were working on other things and calls came in from IVAW members bothered by and, yes, offended by the panel that we decided we would write about it. Even in the article labeled clearly as "negative criticism," we still stressed some positives. But we don't write for you. And the minute we start being dishonest to try to please others, we really have nothing left to say of any value.

Jim: C.I., Ruth and Kat continued to cover Winter Soldier last week after the e-mails became news. The rest pretty much stopped. Everyone was soured on it due to that lobbying effort which we saw as sneaky and underhanded.

Cedric: Well, Wally and I posted a video in our posts on Friday morning. But, it did become a huge problem and it's really hard to get excited about covering something when all the coverage -- community wide -- of it is not even acknowledged by some idiot who wants to show and whine over one article. Dona's statement of "we were the only one" is worded that way because there may be other articles but we didn't see them and we were looking. We saw no other article at all that addressed the healthcare issue as an important issue. What we saw were the same stories over and over about abuses in Iraq. Adrienne Kinee's revelation about the decision by the VA not to screen for traumatic brain injury should have been a HUGE focus and I didn't even catch Amy Goodman's coverage emphasising that. It certainly didn't result from any of "The life is grand, I listened on my radio and watched on my satellite TV" b.s. columns. I think it was Marcia, and maybe Ruth, Mike as well that blogged that the article was the thing they were proudest of writing ever. And that was before the week continued and we found that no one else was covering it. So it is offensive that some idiot wants to argue that sexual attraction is sexual assault in an e-mail campaign and can't even bother to note, while arguing with us, "Hey, that's a good article on veterans healthcare." I mean, I was proud of it. And I'll toss to Wally because he was one of the ones advocating that article.

Wally: C.I., Elaine, Mike and I have been arguing for that article repeatedly and if Winter Soldier hadn't included a panel on healthcare, it might not have gotten written. In terms of importance, that was the most important panel, the one that needed to be covered, because all the stories are important, the testimonies on the panels by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but in terms of what Americans can do right now it is healthcare. Congress isn't going to end the war this year. Press them, I know I call my senators' offices and my rep's office, but realistically, it's not happening in the middle of an election year. The testimonies about a wife miscarrying and being denied healthcare, being denied an ambulance, the testimonies about the refusal to screen for TBI because they didn't want to pay out benefits, are things that can have immediate results. The same Congressional crowd that won't end the illegal war wants to be seen as caring about the troops. This was the one area that the peace movement could have focused on and the media as well and brought about change, especially because this is an election year. And as C.I. has repeatedly pointed out, if it's not dealt with before the illegal war's over, it's not going to be dealt with seriously. While the illegal war continues, people care. 2016, if the war's over, the attitude's going to be, "I'm so tired of talking about Iraq!" It happened to the Vietnam veterans and they still have to fight for the benefits they are owed. So that was an important article and it was an important panel.

Rebecca: The e-mail I read took offense to "wet panty response." Grow up. A woman gets up and tells a bulls--t story about going to an adult night club and seeing a man in a recruiters t-shirt and likening that visual to a sexual assault it just being stupid. The same woman repeatedly stressing that he's her "type" and that he's a "big, strong man" is expressing a hormonal response she had. Repeatedly. It was embarrassing to have that passed off as sexual assault. And wet or damp panty response describes it perfectly. You may not like the word choice, but you remembered it.

Marcia: When Elaine wrote about it, she noted something C.I. had said and that must have been outside of the writing of the piece.

Elaine: It was. C.I. said it while the hearing was being broadcast and while C.I. was between phone calls.

Marcia: Okay, well the comment was that the testimony in that case was like the spoken raps between songs on The MisEducation of Lauryn Hill and that really is the perfect analogy. It wasn't about assault in most cases or harassment in most cases -- it was, "Hey, girls, you think you know about love, l-o-v-e, but I'm going to tell you about love." Between providing time to a witness to declare he was gay and never had any problems with homophobia -- so why are you on the panel -- and between offering dissections of "third world" drivers, it was not about homophobia or sexual assault or, for that matter, gender. I don't remember who came up with damp panty response, it may have been Rebecca --

Rebecca: I wish it was me.

Marcia: But whoever it was, I agreed with it instantly. And unlike the message KPFA chose to distill from that panel, that sexual assault begins at recruitment which was from the speech about sexual attraction passed off as sexual assault, I thought it was hilarious. Long before I started my site, I was a community member who read C.I. and this site and Rebecca and the others as they emerged. It's exactly that sort of observation that kept me coming back. You don't like it, then you're not the intended audience, go away. You don't like the way things are written here, find another site to read.

Elaine: Obviously sexual attraction is not sexual assault. One of the motivating factors of human kind is desire. When you pass off your attraction to someone else, attraction that is never acted on, as a sexual assault, you're offensive to the actual victims of sexual assault. I remember a psych conference in the 80s when a man was trying to explain that he was "raped of" some belief and the therapists, male and female, who worked with sexual assault victims being outraged by that usage and comparison. As one of those lobbied by e-mail, let me be very clear here that I've had many patients who were the victims of sexual assault and I will never be silent when anyone tries to convey that a sexual attraction is the same thing as a sexual assault. That is offensive. Offensive, uninformed and uneducated.

Jim: Listeners will enjoy the deadly finality in Elaine's voice on that. Ruth had wanted to share a positive note.

Ruth: I just wanted to point out that there were so many testimonies and, even if you listened the whole weekend live, you would have to go to the bathroom or answer the phone or fix something to eat or whatever. I missed Dahlai Wasfi's testimony live. Kat wrote about it during last week ("Dahlai Wasfi: Rock Star") and I caught it yesterday. Dr. Wasfi was well worth hearing. I think there were probably others like that, others that I missed and I know our plan was to focus on those but I do understand why everyone felt a sour taste in their mouths over the lobbying campaign.

Mike: Well, I mean, we're not going to play along with that crap. We haven't let the right-wing intimidate us from day one. When others have come along from the corporate peace movement left, we haven't let them intimidate us. The first person I called, when I read the e-mail, was Jim and his attitude was very clear: We're not going to be pushed around. And we're not going to be. Not by the right, not by the left, not by the PTA or the CIA. Like Betty was pointing out, the moment we start censoring ourselves, we're useless. We're one more section of an echo chamber. I've got people who read me just cause they disagree with what I say. That's cool. A few years ago, I wouldn't have thought so. But one thing I've learned over the last few years is you can find out a lot about who you are by what you agree with and what you disagree with. And look at the disgusting left today, all on the same page with Obama. Is that what I want to be? One more voice in the choir? Forget that it would be lying, do I really want to use my time to type up the same chorus lines? No. I have no interest in that not only because it's dishonest but also because what's really the point? On your best day, you can write something that makes a difference to someone, maybe someones, but at least someone. And you're never going to do that if you're grabbing a script to write from. You either tell your truth or you don't and if you don't, people will catch on and stop reading.

Jess: It is an issue of speaking your truth and the lobbying effort trying to divide the group, all of us, who wrote that by pinning it on "one blogger" was offensive. That piece was written by all of us and all of us are not "bloggers." This is an online magazine, it says so at the top. At his site, Mike's a blogger. When he's working here, he's a contributor to a magazine. The e-mails were offensive for many reasons but how about you try to get your facts right before you write? How about you start out there?

Marcia: I don't think C.I. plans to speak in this, because I was teasing beforehand, "Don't speak! Obama will steal your words again!" But I am ticked off about that. But to be clear, The Common Ills was ground central for the Winter Soldier hearings. I blogged about that on Friday. And while C.I. carried the weight on it, as Elaine had stated ahead of time would happen, it's equally true that we were all doing our best to highlight them while they were going on. Not after the fact. And to get that creepy e-mail just really did sour you on it. I found The Real News Network videos and I posted one of those and others posted them as well and that allowed us to continue to note Winter Soldier without writing about it. But you do start thinking, "What's the point?" I mean, after we wrote the piece on healthcare and some twit wants to ignore that and screech about the laughable panel on nothing being called out, what's the point of knocking yourself out to write about Winter Soldier?

Betty: I agree completely. I was narrowing down, all week, who I was going to highlight on Saturday. But after those e-mails, my attitude was why bother? If my honest opinion isn't going to be appreciated, I have other things to do at my site. I've got an outline I'm working from, I've got key plot points to get to. You think I'm going to try to work in Winter Soldier again after that lobbying effort? No. I've got better things to do and, as Marcia noted, we covered it. While it was going on.

Elaine: As of last Friday morning, Mother Jones, supposed radical magazine that reads like Consumer Reports for the semi-left, had offered nothing on Winter Soldier. Including David Corn, whom, as C.I. pointed out, had a veteran praising his book. If there was time for a lobbying effort, it certainly wasn't to people who participated here. Include Trina in that too because she covered Winter Soldier and provided the links, like we all did, to live coverage while the hearings were going on. What did Mother Jones do? Nothing. What did CounterPunch do? Nothing. Common Dreams printed Jeff Cohen's miserable article and then reprinted a column from a newspaper and that was pretty much it for their 'coverage' until Amy Goodman's column on Friday. During a Democratic presidential candidate debate, they can fill up their homepage with one attack on Hillary after another and run continued attacks day after day. Winter Soldier is apparently not very important to them. So if you've got time for a lobbying effort, you need to be lobbying the outlets that aren't covering Winter Soldier. A highly conservative estimate would find forty piece written by this community of which one was negative. That's easily thirty-nine positive pieces but that's not good enough for you. I don't know what would you live in, but thirty-nine for and one against is an amazing number for anything presented publicly, be it a concert, a play, a film, a hearing, what have you.

Wally: And again, the veterans healthcare panel was ignored by others. It was a very important panel. With over forty pieces filed, we consider our work done. We did our bit. We noted what happened. We didn't write, "I was in my car and it had me thinking about . . ." We presented actual voices. And Ruth and C.I. and Kat can be nice about it but no one, not even them, are tolerating this insulting e-mail campaign.

Rebecca: Just to share, C.I.'s not tolerating it. Don't read C.I.'s refusal to comment on this -- in this roundtable or outside of it -- as disagreement. With kids, C.I.'s own or other people's, if one of them threw a tantrum, they got the same freeze out that's going on right now. So don't read C.I.'s expressionless expression on this to be "I disagree" or "I have no opinion." I know that response and it's the response a child gets when they throw a tantrum. C.I. not only doesn't reward that behavior, C.I. generally makes clear after the tantrum just how much the tantrum cost the person throwing it. It's something Flyboy and I have been discussing because C.I.'s children never threw tantrums in public and we don't want to raise a spoiled brat ourselves. So Marica's joking is probably not the reason C.I.'s saying nothing, it probably goes to C.I.'s belief that to comment on it would reward attention seeking bad behaviors.

Mike: Well, like Wally said, we covered it. We had planned to cover it more and then came the e-mail campaign, which was a tantrum, Rebecca's right. And, we're not rewarding that. We've never rewarded anyone going to others to tattle. We covered it. C.I. and Ava cover it here this edition and C.I. plans to wrap up The Common Ills coverage in Monday's snapshot. There are other things going on. At a time when Mother Jones can't even offer a blog post, the fact that this community did over forty pieces on it and the tantrum thrower has no appreciation for that means we're done.

Ava: I will note that if you missed Winter Soldier and can stream, it's available online online at Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. We think Aimee Allison and Aaron Glantz did a great job anchoring the coverage. We had hoped to do an article on that this edition and C.I. and I may pick that up ourselves at some point in the future. We do note Allison in our TV piece.

Jim: So I guess that's going to end it.

Ruth: No!

Jim: Okay, sorry. What's up?

Ruth: Jeff Cohen made some ridiculous statements on CounterSpin Friday. They included that only a few underground newspapers covered Winter Soldier. That is not the truth and, although I am the oldest, Rebecca, Kat, Elaine and C.I. are certainly old enough to remember the coverage.

Kat: Well, first off, "underground newspaper," the term he used, was not defined and many listening to him or reading this may not know what that is. As part of the Free Speech Movement, newspapers sprang up around the country. Many were weekly but some were dailies. They were "underground" because they were part of that movement which meant people spoke frankly and swear words weren't a problem. The Village Voice was an underground newspaper for decades. Today it's part of a conglomerate. We had a lot in my area, the Bay Area --

C.I.: The Berkeley Barb.

Kat: The Barb, and many others. The Berkeley Daily Planet, my opinion, is the only one remaining that holds true to the core beliefs. But they were all over the country and, no, Winter Soldier, the original one, was not covered in only a few. That's ridiculous. And as C.I. and Elaine pointed out a shortwhile ago, it was also covered in the GI coffeehouse newspapers.

Elaine: I agree with Ruth that Cohen was a complete idiot. Kat's correct about the newspaper coverage from the underground press. He sounded like a complete idiot, a Pollyanna bound and determined to stretch any fact, resort to any lie, to praise so-called 'independent' media today when, in fact, they did a lousy job with few exceptions. I'll just add to this one section. He claimed that electronically the reach was greater today. That may be but it was also diluted and didn't reach as many and that's partly due to those outlets that refused to publicize Winter Soldier and also due to the fact that with so many entertainment choices, radio listenership is not as high as it once was. In terms of the percentage of the population, you can be sure KPFA had a larger percentage listening during Vietnam than they do today. He may have also made the claim that people could stream around the world. If he made that claim, he was also stating that the foreign press covered Winter Soldier this go round and, if that is the case, I would assume that reached more people than online streaming. I'm not trying to undercut today's efforts but it's worth noting that many did not promote it so when you want to talk about issues like awareness, during Vietnam, you were aware of Winter Soldier. This go round, less so.

Rebecca: I will echo everything that's been said and, Kat's correct, this was covered here by Elaine and C.I. not so long ago. As I understand it, Cohen was at the original Winter Soldier so his survey of who covered it and who did not probably is based on the national coverage at that time and anything he could pick up in Detroit. Elaine and C.I. were bringing back articles on it from the road for weeks after -- they were on the road over and over speaking out against that earlier illegal war. A Nexus search isn't going to turn up, for instance, Berkeley Tribe, Other Scenes, etc. He was making ridiculous claims that he couldn't back up but he didn't expect anyone to fact check him, he thought he could play proud parent of 'independent' media and not critic. Peter Hart appeared to want to address 'independent' media in one question but it got passed over. Aimee Allison, interviewing him and John Stauber -- who didn't play cheerleader -- did note the silences from the left and if I can note one more thing quickly, I wasn't aware that CODEPINK sent out an e-mail two Fridays ago. That would be when Winter Soldier started their testimony. The e-mail doesn't mention Winter Soldier once. I don't know if anyone else saw that.

C.I.: I had. That's why I called them out on the second day of testimony. The e-mail didn't note Winter Soldier. It did take up the corporate peace movement's new talking point which is the illegal war costs too much. That's going to be the big talking point for the 2008 elections. Apparently, death and destruction won't sweep Democrats into office since they've done nothing to end the illegal war, so now they want to talk about the costs. The backfire there is that they can't make that argument and also continue to vote for funding -- a point they haven't grasped as we'll see play out in the next round of votes. The e-mail plugged actions as well but it did not include Winter Soldier. To be clear, because Monday the plan is to note Nancy Lessin in the snapshot, she's speaking about the costs. She's spoken out about the costs for some time. She's not part of that corporate peace movement. If she was, we wouldn't note her.

Jim: And on that note, we'll wrap it up.
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