Sunday, April 27, 2008

Truest statement of the week

I am writing to tell you about my friend, Hillary Clinton, and why I am standing with her in her campaign for the presidency. I know the kind of president Hillary Clinton will be because I know the person she is.
I am inspired by her courage and her honesty. She is a reliable and trustworthy person. She is someone I not only admire but one for whom I have profound affection.
Hillary does not waver in standing up for those who need a champion. She has always been a passionate protector of families. As a child, she was taught that all God's children are equal, and as a mother, she understood that her child wasn’t safe unless all children were safe. As I wrote about Hillary recently in a praise song: "She is the prayer of every woman, and every man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools and a balanced economy."
It may be easy to view Hillary Clinton through the narrow lens of those who would write her off or grind her down. Hillary sees us as we are, black and brown and white and yellow and pink and relishes our differences knowing that fundamentally we are all more alike than we are unalike. She is able to look through complexion and see community.
She has endured great scrutiny, and still she dares greatly. Hillary Clinton will not give up on you, and all she asks is that you do not give up on her. She is a long-distance runner. I am honored to say I am with her for the long run.
I am supporting Hillary Clinton because I know that she will make the most positive difference in people’s lives and she will help our country become what it can be. Whether you are her supporter, leaning towards her, undecided, or supporting someone else, I believe Hillary Clinton will represent you -- she will be a president for all Americans. It is no small thing that along the way we will make history together.
Vote for Hillary Clinton and show your support at I know she will make us proud.

-- Maya Angelou's "I am Honored to Say I am With Hillary for the Long Run" (

A note to our readers

Hey --
Long edition. Partly because Ava and C.I. are sick with the cold that I (Jim) infected them with last weekend. They call me "carrier monkey."

But it's also a strong edition. Here's who helped out:

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 everyone. What have we got?

Truest statement of the week -- Maya Angelou, obvious selection.

Editorial: Panhandle Media earns an F -- We've been saying it for over a year now, Class of 2007 war resisters got ignored by Panhandle Media. They refused to cover it.

TV: Mission Impossible -- Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary. It's a hit with us and we know it's going to be a huge hit with our readers. They're taking on broadcast and cable. Since two of the three cable incidents they are addressing are available for online streaming (links provided), they made an exception to the cable rule and they also bring in two broadcast television programs. And, of course, they hang the commentary on the frame of Mission Impossible. This one was a huge hit when they finished writing it and I read it out loud to everyone.

The truth about Panhandle Media -- Panhandle Media is toxic and breeding hate. In the process, they are running off their audience. It's called karma. And it happens each cycle. Everytime they get a little bit of credit, a little bit of attention, they run off their audience and it's several decades before they build up again only to, again, blow it.

Roundtable -- A more focused roundtable while we try out different techniques to get it into a managable time frame. Illustration by Betty's oldest son.

Vanity, they name is Jess Jackson Jr. -- Those pounds are coming back, Junior. Serves you right for lying to say someone else was vain.

Liar of the Week: David Corn -- Cornnuts. Thank you to a reader for tipping us off to the 'clarification.'

Campaigns -- A quick glance.

Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Cedric, Ruth, Marica, Wally, Betty, Rebecca and Elaine wrote this and selected the highlights except when otherwise noted.

That's it. See you next week.

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

Editorial: Panhandle Media earns an F

On Friday, war resister Leif Kamunen was arrested. His brother Luke, also a war resister, was arrested last year. War resister Leo Kamunen has yet to be arrested but he self-checked out of the military at the same time as his brothers.

Three brothers saying "no" to an illegal war. They went public in early 2007. You should have heard about them. But, outside of Joel Bleifuss (In These Times, June 2007) no one in Panhnadle Media gave a damn. Real Media covered the brothers because three of them choosing to checkout is news.

Democracy Now! never had time for Kamunen brothers, not as a story, not as a headline. And yet Amy Goodman now wants to try to use them as a topic to sell her latest bad book (see "Stop the madness!" cry the Goodmans, "You first," reply Ava and C.I.). In the latest, Goody and brother David write, "There are now many signs of resistance within the military." But you couldn't tell it by tuning into her show. Class of 2007 got zilch from Goody. Eli Israel resisted while serving in Iraq and couldn't even get a headline mention. Brad McCall, Kimberly Rivera and all the others going public couldn't get a hey-hey shout-out from Goody.

Before 2006 ended, Goody had backed off from covering war resisters (Ivan Brobeck was completely ignored even though he turned himself in with an open letter to the Bully Boy on election day). She's never found the time to pick the topic back up.

Despite the Canadian Parliament gearing up for a vote on granting war resisters safe harbor in Canada, Goody's ignored that too. But she couldn't dissect every Democratic debate and primary (and smear Hillary) and still find time for war resisters, now could she?

[Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.]

Panhandle Media has completely failed efforts to end the illegal war and nothing proves that more than the fact that real media, Joel and the police could find two Kamunen brothers but Panhandle Media couldn't find any.

TV: Mission Impossible

"Your mission, should you decide to accept it," the recorded voice would declare before laying out the IMF's task each week. We know Jim Phelps never refused a mission but was he ever tempted? Probably not, he just faced petty dictators and organized crime. Ourselves, we face bad TV each week which is much more draining -- if not deadly.

This week's mission found us traveling to such far flung (read "backwater") locales as MSNBC -- a banana republic if ever there was one -- and, as the re-entry point into the so-called 'civilized' world, PBS. The journey only seemed to prove Joan Wilder's theorem developed in Romancing the Stone: "But if there was one law of the west, bastards have brothers who seem to ride forever." To which we add the axiom: "Yes, and they all appear to have been in-bred."


Proving that point as Pennsylvania voters showed up for their primary Tuesday was MSNBC Live where David Shuster and Tucker Carlson pulled out their tiny puds to see whose was bigger only to quickly put them back in their pants because no one thought to bring a microscope. But David Shuster did 'think' to bring an ink pen mocking Hillary Clinton. Transcript via Media Matters which also provides a video clip for those who missed or want to relive Nerds In The Locker Room:

SHUSTER: And we're back. Just over three hours until the polls close in Pennsylvania. Tucker Carlson is a friend of mine, an MSNBC senior campaign correspondent. And joining us from Washington is Reuters Washington correspondent John Decker. Before we get to predictions, Tucker, I want to present you something that actually was delivered to Chris Matthews today, but he's not here, and I stole it and I'm giving it to you.
SHUSTER: It's a pen. It's "Jabber Jaw Pens." And when you listen to it here --
[laughter from pen]
So in honor of being on the air with you for the first time in a little while, I present to you with a Hillary laughing pen.
CARLSON: You know, I can't tell you, David, how much I appreciate this, how much I appreciate your going through Chris' mail while he's gone and how much I'm really going to miss that cackle. I hope it goes on forever. It's brought light to my life.
SHUSTER: As we -- to the refrain of Hillary cackling, let's start with predictions tonight. What's going to happen?
CARLSON: I think she could do better than expected. I mean, it's impossible to overstate the degree to which this is about impressing the media, basically. She could win, you know, no votes at all, and she wouldn't have to get out. She could win every vote in the entire state, and she wouldn't win the nomination. And so this is about crossing the threshold that we set. And I think she's going to have to do pretty well in order to do that. And I think she -- I think she might.

Tucker Carlson said it "brought light to my life" and that's obviously needed. This is the man who was dropped by PBS (even with his father being the Corporation for Public Broadcasting president), fired by CNN and, just last month, MSNBC cancelled Tucker. He is the Jerry Van Dyke of the gas bag set and he's already had his My Mother, The Car moment (his ridiculous appearance on Dancing With The Stars), so what's left? David Shuster is, of course, just vile.

While voting was going on in Pennsylvania, Tucker and David decided to ridicule one of the candidates. And people complain that reporting early returns influences voting? Surely, the outrageous incident above, rank with sexism, was loudly called out, right?

By whom? Media Matters, yes. But FAIR? David Shuster is FAIR's little pet. See Schuster's credits include being on Fox "News." You may remember Shuster's recent suspension at MSNBC when he accused Hillary Clinton of "pimping out" her daughter. As the remarks got attention and before the suspension was announced, FAIR elected to "republish" (so it would show up as "new" in search engines) their 2005 item fawning over Shuster ("spills on the dishonest journalism and blatant bias at" Fox "News"). Shuster's received a lot of attention in his 'career,' such as when his local TV station had to retract his Whitewater rumors passed off as 'fact.' Shuster was one of the biggest peddlers of the illegal war on cable "news," so it was interesting that FAIR elected to avoid calling him out but did make sure to republish their 2005 item earlier this year to put a little gloss on their pet.

FAIR's becoming an interesting train wreck. As sexism has paraded through what passes for campaign coverage, FAIR's stayed silent. Like most of the left and 'left' outlets, it's become so toxic that it has given up all the standards it ever preached. It doesn't even pretend to give a damn about sexism these days and that's because so many people 'working' at FAIR are in the tank for Obama. That goes far beyond Norman Solomon who made a real ass of himself this week endorsing Barack and comparing him to FDR. They've been offering non-stop defenses of Barack Obama for some time. In a laughable "advisory" sent out on March 14th, they whined of Jeremiah Wright (yeah, we'll get to him), "This is not the first time that the press has devoted significant time to raising questions about Obama's associations or connections with various public figures . . . One example is Chicago real-estate developer Tony Rezko, now on trial for bribery charges." To smear Hillary, they cite -- and remember this is FAIR -- whom? Robert Novak. That's how disgusting FAIR has gotten. In order to smear Hillary, they're citing as trust-worthy a man they have called out repeatedly for falsehoods. Rezko is, of course, the man under federal indictment who is said to have practiced influence peddling, doing favors for politicians so that they would do favors for him. He raised over $250,000 for Barack's various campaigns and when Barack couldn't afford to purchase his mansion and the adjoining land, Rezko toured the property with him (at Barack's invitation) and ended up buying the land. Rezko's slums were in Barack's district and Barack steered federal monies Rezko's way. But what you hear over and over is that, "Barack's not been (legally) accused of any wrong doing!" FAIR even notes that in their "advisory." His friend -- a friendship he's minimized -- is under federal indictment and he wants to be president. It's news.

Instead of treating it as such, FAIR tries to toss all standards out the window and play enforcer for their crush. The only word for FAIR these days is hypocrite. April 17th they issued another "advisory" and made little effort to hide the fact that they were part of Team Obama. Entitled "ABC's Debate Debacle," they tried to play like they were being . . . well, fair by acknowledging that if you were going to complain about the first hour of the ABC debate, you had to admit that Hillary faced similar questions. Or at least a similar one ("Clinton's gaffe about Bosnia"). That was it. They made no reference to her being asked about whether or not she was trust-worthy or about whispers from some super delegates. Then for twelve tortured paragraphs, they go on to defend Bambi. They lamented that Obama was asked about crazy-ass Jeremiah Wright (overlooking the fact that Obama gave a heavily covered speech about Wright which alone would make it a topic for any debate) as well as "professor William Ayers, who was once a member of the radical Weather Underground group." Once? What does that mean, he was there for the formation meetings and left three months later?

Ayers is with Bernardine Dorhn who was always the leader of Weather. Dohrn called the group quits in the late seventies (it started in 1969) and that was the end of the group. Ayers was a member of Weather when it started until it ended many years later. They whined that George Stephanopoulus asked about Obama's association with one person (George should have asked about Bernardine as well) who was on the FBI's most wanted list. Again, Barack wants to be president and he's associating with someone who was on the FBI's most wanted list for being a player in an organization that bombed buildings and is responsible for the death of police officers (some would say four -- carrying the actions of former Weather members through to post-Weather days -- we'll just go with the plural and leave people to evaluate it on their own). FAIR whines that by pointing out that "on 9/11 he was quoted in the New York Times saying, 'I don't regret setting bombs, I feel we didn't do enough" George was confusing the issue. "Actually," FAIR declares pompously and stupidly, "that quote appeared in the Times on September 11, 2001, it was not, as Stephanopolous seemed to imply, made on the day of the attacks." George didn't imply that. He stated Ayers was quoted on 9/11 in the paper and The Times goes to bed the day before as even a half-wit knows. The "advisory" was turned into an embarrassing audio segment on Friday's CounterSpin proving that stupidity is not limited to cable "news" but also abounds on radio.

So don't look for Shuster and Carlson's nonsense to be called out by the alleged FAIR when they've made a point to ignore sexism throughout the campaign. How proud they must be to expose themselves as opportunistic hypocrites.


Keith Olbermann. As a friend at MSNBC says, "I swear he has crack odor." He certainly appears to on TV. Always rushing to a half-baked conclusion, it's very easy to see him rushing through a shower -- standing under the water for about 2 minutes, and never thinking to wash back there. (Seriously, guys, be aware that the body sprays they're selling you aren't dealing with the repugnant odor a number of you suffer from. If a woman doesn't want to go down on you, it may have nothing to do with not enjoying giving blow jobs, it may have to do with the rank smell coming from your asses. As important as learning how to wipe yourself is learning how to wash yourself.) In his 'commentaries,' Keith Olbermann starts at full blast and never seems to grasp that he has peeked about twenty seconds in. If Van Morrison were to redo "Tupelo Honey" in honor of Keithy, we'd suggest "your love is like Minute Rice, your love is microwave popcorn . . ."

Keith made the news last week with Howard Fineman but we actually found another moment appalling as well.

First up, Keith and Howie. Keith gets a full-on softy for his steady Barack and he hates Hillary. Howie is the man so detached from the truth that even his friend Al Franken once had to call him out on air in the midst of an Air America Radio interview. The two Nervous Nellies teamed up last week to cream their shorts over how dreamy Barack was and to fret over how he might not get the nomination. Howie was citing "some adults somewhere" -- certainly never to be found on cable "news" -- should do something. Specifically, "step in and stop this thing". "This thing" would be the primary elections and, apparently, concerned he might not be dancing with the homecoming king, Howie wanted to toss 'little things' like elections aside. Well who needs elections in a democracy!

Keith was all for it, like the fascist he is, and wet dreaming over who that "some adults" could be: "Right. Somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out."

Jerlyn (TalkLeft) and Susan UnPC (No Quarter) have posted the videos of the exchange. Howie and Keith drooled over the thought of some man taking Hillary into a room "and only he comes out." It's offensive. Is he suggesting Hillary gets assaulted, is he suggesting she gets murdered?

Do the boys have any clues about how a democracy functions? We know they have no clues about decency, but did they even understand that the United States is supposed to be a democracy? Don't expect FAIR to call out this sexism because they call out none. Keith is Katty-van-van Heuvel's buddy and some at FAIR will do anything to suck up to Katty-van-van (even forward private e-mails without the sender's knowledge or permission).

Even with unFAIR proving how useless they could be, the little exchange got enough attention that Olbermann was forced to issue what Joan Walsh (Salon) termed an "apology." We wonder if she read the same statement we did?

It is a metaphor. I apologize: the generic "he" gender could imply something untoward. It should've been "only the other comes out - from a political point of view." You could've called for reaction first if your main motive had merely been criticism.

"You" is Rachel Sklar and our apologies to her but we're not linking. She publishes at Aging Socialite's Cat Mix and, after deliberating over their decision to publish an offensive attack on mentally challenged children, we don't link to that site. As for Olbermann, that's an apology? It's not an apology. And he's still stating that Hillary gets assaulted or killed "from a political point of view" and his disdain for the democratic process is still evident. But enjoy the laughs of: "You could've called for reaction first if your main motive had merely been criticism."

Keith makes a statement on TV and Sklar calls it out. There's no reason to call him. Sports commentator and non-journalist Keithie wants to give a lecture on 'reporting'? Critics don't make calls before reviews. Pauline Kael, seeing a bad Robert Altman film, didn't ring up Bob and say, "Look, you're doing another s**t joke, a sure sign the film's a stinker, and I'm panning it so I thought I would get your input." A critic evaluates. That's so hard for Olbermann to comprehend because he knows nothing about journalism -- as he demonstrates each week night.

And he did it on Thursday as well. It was a very special episode of Chachi Loves Keith as Olbermann teamed up with Rachel Maddow to disinform. Rachel Maddow, a War Hawk for her entire first year on Air America Radio (fond of citing the non-existent Pottery Barn 'rule' of you break it, you bought it), is nothing but a liar and always will be one. Listeners of Unfiltered grasped that rather quickly as she would begin a Monday broadcast with news of what The Washington Post was reporting "today" and "today" was actually an article that ran on Sunday, or Saturday or Friday. Big Brain has Big Problems -- which didn't prevent her from attempting to educate guest host Bill Press on air one week. Being that Rachel's an out lesbian, a lot of people are confused by the fact that she's never called out Barack on his campaign's use of homophobia.

Calling Barack out would take guts and Maddow long ago demonstrated that she has none. This is the woman who, when informed that Unfiltered was being taken off the air at the end of the month to be replaced with a program hosted by Jerry Springer, refused to join Lizz Winstead in the walk-out. Winstead would be the person who not only co-hosted Unfiltered but basically created the Air America line-up. Winstead would also be the person who picked Maddow as her co-host (passing over others including Laura Flanders the self-loathing lesbian). When someone gives you your first national break and you're both informed the program is ending, you might think you would show a little loyalty.

Maddow showed none. She stabbed Lizz in the back in the AAR studios off air. She was angling for a job -- any job -- and loyalty wasn't in her vocabulary. She repeated on air the lie that Lizz was out because Lizz was sick. She allowed that lie to be repeated on the program's blog (which she constantly referenced on air throughout the month). She had her father take to the blog when she finally announced on air that the show was ending. Her father pleaded with anyone still listening to Unfiltered to please, please contact AAR (he helpfully provided contact information) to let them know how important Rachel was. Not content to have Daddy beg for her job, Rachel felt the need to cite the blog post and encourage people to do as he asked.

It paid off in that she got an hour show which was to Unfiltered what Sonny Comedy Revue was to The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour -- which was why it was quickly cancelled. But, having proven that she was a corporate toady, she was rewarded and despite having one low rated program after another, she keeps getting chances from AAR.

AAR is sinking. No one's supposed to notice, but it is. You can only file bankrupcty so many times. You can only bring in new ownership promising a turn around so many times. Rachel's dumb about many things but not about self-preservation. She angled MSNBC appearances early on (and was honestly only invited back repeatedly because the network considered Randi Rhodes physically frightening, Laura Flanders pushy and the woman they wanted, Janeane Garofalo, refused to take part in the freak show). When MSNBC's inherent sexism was being called out, Maddow latched onto that wave to call out Chris Matthews. As soon as she and MSNBC were negotiating a contract, she took to the press to defend Chris. Again, she's a corporate today who will do anything for a job. She proved that at the end of Unfiltered. And, no doubt, her father regularly writes a dozen e-mails to MSNBC each day, under assorted names, to praise his daughter's uninformed commentary.

"Lipstick on a pig" describes Rachel's TV appearances. As a MSNBC regular, and not a mere guest, the make up is turned up to full blast in an attempt to convince viewers that they are not watching Scott Baio. That basically translates as Baio with mascara, painted lips and so much blush it appears he has a fever.

On Thursday, Maddow (called "Maddow the Mad Cow" behind her back at MSNBC which seems unfair because mad cow is a disease one acquires and Rachel was born the way she is) bumped uglies with Keith Olbermann as they attempted to determine whose was bigger?

Maddow won because no one out masculines her. She tortured 'conventional wisdom' to undermine Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania win (you didn't really think she'd have anything good to say about Hillary, did you?). In a voice that expresses more self-pleasure than even Keith's, Rachel Maddow declared:

The numbers argument is that Hillary Clinton's strength in some swing states, so far in the primary campaign, indicates that she would be stronger against John McCain in those states than Barack Obama would. The two that she usually cites now are Ohio and Pennsylvania but the implication is that by winning in those states--in those states the Democrats historically have to win in order to get the presidency -- Hillary Clinton has shown in the primaries that she would be stronger in the general. It's a simple argument. It doesn't necessarily bear out historically. I mean, you can ask Michael Dukakis how he felt in November 1988, looking back and hugging himself, thinking how good it was that he won the Pennsylvania primary that year, when he came nowhere near winning the state in the general election.

Maddow has only one speaking voice: pompous. It was hilarious to watch her claim that Dukakis didn't come close to winning Pennsylvania because she's lying and it reminded us of all the times she'd lie and say, "In this morning's Washington Post . . ." Those were lies -- she was reading from the article on air, she obviously had the article in front of her. She can't help but lie, it's her defining trait in broadcast. The 'logic' reminds us of Michelle Obama's stupidity or lying. Michelle, eager to sell her husband's non-existant electability, was shouting recently about how he had won, this year, in states that usually go Republican in the general election. "When's the last time," Michelle wanted to know, that a Democrat won in these states? Uh, the last time would be 2004 when Democratic primaries and caucuses were held. Michelle's not really so stupid that she thinks, in 2004, a Republican won Democratic primaries and caucuses, is she?

Maddow's "logic" builds on Michelle's stupidity or lies. Her argument is that a primary victory isn't a general election victory and that is true. States will (unless Keithie and Howie get their way) have multiple winners during the primary season -- a Democrat, a Republican, a Green Party, etc. When it's time for the general election, there will be only one winner. Maybe the term "finalist" should be used in place of "winner" when referring to the primary season? But Maddow, alleged Big Brain, should grasp that if, as happened, Hillary was the first choice in Pennsylvania and Ohio, she has a stronger base of support in those states. Therefore, she is the strongest nominee for the Democratic Party in those states. Going with the runner up would most likely hurt the Democratic Party in a general election. Just as, pay attention Rachel, going with Paul Simon in 1988 would have resulted in the Democratic Party losing by even bigger margins. The only big state Simon carried in the primaries, for those who care, was Illinois, his home state. See a pattern?

Maddow didn't. It was far more important to her to lie that Michael Dukakis came "nowhere" near George H.W. Bush. Truth isn't important to Maddow as a manuscript currently being shopped around about Air America Radio's early days (by an on air personality) makes clear --much more so than we have here. "One of the boys" is how it describes her in a milder moment and that's certainly apt. Maddow was happy to charge sexism when it would benefit her and happy to walk away from that charge, to vouch for Chris Matthews, when MSNBC offered her a contract. Maddow's in it for herself and everything she ever says needs to be factored through that reality.

Reality left PBS long ago and that's where we ended last week's mission. First up was Washington Week where Gloria Borger (having smoothed over her forehead problem) was inventing facts that never existed, about the Michigan primary. Declaring that actions Clinton took were "against the rules of the Democratic National Committee" when they weren't but this allowed Slate's John Dickerson to then whine, "Obama wasn't even on the ballot!" Because he removed his own name -- because he knew he would fair poorly. There was no rule that you had to remove your name from the ballot. Barack Obama knew he would perform weakly and chose to remove his name. (Hillary, Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel kept their names on the ballot.) They were insisting -- with no objection from any other panelist or moderator Gwen -- that it wasn't fair to count Florida and Michigan in the popular vote.

The popular vote is the popular vote. Primaries took place in Florida and Michigan. Whether the DNC seats, or doesn't, the delegates, the primaries took place and news outlets shouldn't pretend otherwise. Reporters are supposed to report what took place and, fact, primaries took place in both states and Hillary won.

John Dickerson -- whose outlet created a Hillary Death Watch and likened it to their Saddam-Meter, so therefore really shouldn't be invited on to comment on the Hillary campaign -- was whining that "the arithmetic we were taught in school" didn't allow for including the primaries. Actually, John, it did. Math exercises had you count apples and oranges. You weren't allowed to determine whether a national grocer would carry those apples and oranges before you were expected to count them. You were told there were X number and you added them. The same way that the primaries in Michigan and Florida are part of the popular vote. Martha Raddatz, who seemed the sanest on the panel, brought up the issue of "battle ground states" and Gloria distorted Martha's question, after explaining that she'd "talked to David Axelrod today." David Axelrod is Barack's campaign manager and no real reporter would ever cite him as an authority since he's far from impartial in the race but, then, Gloria's never been a real reporter. Axelrod's bit of "truth"? Gloria shares that he told her Barack didn't "expect to win in Pennsylvania." That's a nice little lie. He spent how many millions on advertisement? He spent how many days campaigning there? If he didn't think he was going to win, Axelrod's confessing to a campaign breakdown because that time should have been spent in Indiana. That's something a real reporter would have grasped.

John Dickerson noted that Barack's trying to change the elitist tag that has stuck to him and Gwen interrupted to note, "Yeah, but cheesesteak and beer didn't do it in Pennsylvania." John explained Barack's new strategy, mentioning jello molds. "What's with you and the jello molds?" Gwen wondered, after John had mentioned it repeatedly causing John to explain that Barack's citing it repeatedly, how he ate jello molds growing up. Was everyone too shy or stupid to point out the obvious?

Grown men don't refer to "jello molds." A homemaker clipping recipes out of Ladies Home Journal in the 1970s might refer to "jello molds." Everyone else would just say "jello." One more example of how out of touch Barack is with the average person today. We look forward to him attempting to woo the Latino vote by declaring that he eats chips and "guacamole dip" -- possibly, he can wear hip huggers and an apron while using that laughable term?

Gloria wasn't done lying for Barack. She seemed to sense that no adult says "jello molds" today and that it was a wee bit too fussy. So she took to speaking for the Obama campaign and claiming that Hillary's electability argument was bogus and "I think the Obama campaing would say it's the other way around." You think? Didn't you just brag about your conversation with David Axelrod? Before anyone might ask that question, she was rushing off to spread rumors about Hillary's campaign. "They say it came through the internet," Gloria declared ominously. "It" was campaign donations. "These things are hard to trace," she added and, sadly, she wasn't speaking of her own smears.

By this point, we felt like we were in season seven of Mission Impossible. We'd left cable "news" finally, praying that the shots we'd received would protect us from the various diseases which inhabit that land. And Mission Impossible left that banana republic storylines in season seven as well with the program deciding to focus on the US and zoom in on organized crime. "Organized crime" may best describe today's media. That was evident by viewing Bill Moyers Journal.

For the record, as we've repeatedly noted, throughout this year, Bill Moyers has done one story on race after another -- superficial examinations, but they've been done. They've actually been overdone. He has never explored gender. It gives Big Bill the willies. And he's made it clear, repeatedly, that his program is in service of the Christ-child Barack Obama. Hillary can be doubted, scorned, called a liar by him, but Barack walks on urine. Possibly Bill's.

Breaking with tradition, Bill leaked video of his interview with crackpot Jeremiah Wright ahead of time and it had a number of people excited. Not us. We were well aware that Bill wasn't hitting hard (someone with the show warned us ahead of time that it was "more embarrassing than anything [Barbara] Walters has ever done") . The point of leaking the bit where Wright says he's a person of the Lord speaking truths and Barack's a politician was to make potential viewers think, in Bill's language, "Hot damn, there's going to be a throw down."

It was more like a press jacking. Or maybe just a jacking. The whole point, and he bragged about this, was to "humanize" Wright. He probably thinks he did but Bill's been missing a few screws for decades now.

The first thing we noticed was that Wright wasn't wearing the ornate caftan he is so infamous for but instead a shirt and tie. Interesting while, declaring on the program, that [White] missionaires sent to Africa convinced people that you "have to have on a tie." We found it amusing that Wright was attempting to equate his mu-mu with African garb since it more closely resemebles the fashion at Monterey Pop.

Bill was very creative throughout the broadcast. We chuckled over this exchange:

BILL MOYERS: When I hear the word "black liberation theology" being the interpretation of scripture from the oppressed, I think well, that's the Jewish story--

REVEREND WRIGHT: Exactly, exactly. From Genesis to Revelation. These are people who wrote the word of God that we honor and love under Egyptian oppression, Syrian oppression, Babylonian oppression, Persian oppression, Greek oppression, Roman oppression. So that their understanding of what God is saying is very different from the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians. And that's what prophetic theology of the African-American church is.

That's the Jewish story? Non-Jew Bill might want to rethink that and certainly Wright, the "religious historian," is factually wrong when he claims that Jews "are people who wrote the word of God" "from Genesis to Revelations." That little 'factoid' would certainly be news to a rabbi. For the brain dead like Wright and Bill, the Jewish faith does not recognize the New Testament. The New Testament is Christian and, therefore, written by Christians. It's appalling that the non-stop yabberer about religion Bill Moyers didn't catch that but it's not surprising that Wright's meager religious knowledge led him to make such a stupid statement.

Wright then wanted to inform viewers that "the prophets" (we're not sure whom he meant because he didn't name them and, for all we know, he meant Simon & Garfunkel) called out Israel, they were "not damning . . . in fact, if you look at the damning, condemning, if you look at Deuteronomy, it talks about blessing and curses, how God doesn't bless everything. God does not bless" gang-bangers, dope dealers, young thugs. (Like too many lost in love over the sound of their own voice, Wright has to repeat often. The three listed are named by him in repetative sentences that sounded like the typical bad chorus to any Eurythmics song.) Then we get to "G** damn America." By Wright's 'logic' throughout the interview, he was cursing America and doing so as a prophet.

Strangely profit never entered into the discussion but Bill couldn't portray Wright as the helper of the downtrodden while also exploring Wright's need to construct a million-dollar-plus home. It didn't really fit in with the workshops (which do not seem to have produced any results since neither Bill nor Wright cited any) to improve the plight of the poor.

If you want a true portrait of the bad broadcast, watch or listen. Those dependent upon text should know that the transcript is scrubbed. They should also grasp that Wright is an idiot, an uneducated one. No one talks "about my government right or wrong." Only an idiot would say that. The phrase the feeble minded Wright is trying to grasp is "My country right or wrong." He may be distorting the phrase intentionally because he damned the country and now wants to pretend he was damning the government (and we're not sure that's an enhancement for his image).

Bill refers to "those soundbytes" and that's been a talking point of Wright apologists and defenders for sometime. Wright whines that he "felt it was unfair. I felt it was unjust. I felt it was untrue." No one's required to listen to (or worse, watch) his mincing act, performed in drag, in full. He's offensive, he's a hate monger. Bill, a semi-trained journalist, certainly is aware that when someone does an interview for a print publication, every word is not run. It's not gotcha, it's not "soundbytes," it's reporting.

Bill didn't flinch when Wright expressed the following, "That the perception of God who allows slavery, who allows rape, who allows misogyny, who allows sodomy, who allows murder of a people, lynching, that's not the God of the people being lynched and sodomized and raped, and carried away into a foreign country." Sodomy would be anal sex and, in this country (which Wright is a part of), it has only really been a "crime" for two men. (Despite being on the books in such a way that it should have also been enforced for male-female couples, it was used to prosecute gays for consensual behavior. Lawrence v. Texas finally overturned it.) Wright knows damn well what he's saying. And he knows damn well how offensive what he says is. He's expressing homophobia and let's all not pretend he's describing slavery because the term "misogyny" is in there.

Hate-monger Wright not only practicies homophobia, he practices misogyny. It was cute to watch what clips Bill chose to play and realize which ones he didn't. When Wright was thrusting his hips like Flip Wilson doing Geraldine to imply sex, Bill wasn't interested in that. Nor was he interested in the hate speech (and political speech, campaign politics that do not belong in a church by law) Wright expressed towards Hillary Clinton -- as he distorted her, raged against her and came to his climax (don't call it an 'awakening') by thundering she had never been called the n-word. There is no excuse for that so Bill chose to pretend it never happened. He also ignored Wright's 'sermon' on Natalee Holloway. She's the young woman who went missing in Aruba and, by her parents accounts, a Christian. But that didn't prevent Jeremeiah Wright from ripping her apart in front of his church. What was Natalee's crime?

All that's known is that she went missing and is still missing. Nothing else is known but to hear Wright screaming from the pulpit she was a whore, a drunk and a dope fiend. Now Wright never met the woman and there's no conclusive evidence about anything that happened in Aruba so exactly why did he feel the need to make her the subject of a sermon and to smear her? Why did he feel the need to trash her? If he mentioned her at all, as a person of God, it should have only been to ask everyone to pray for her safe return. Instead, he libeled her with rumors and false charges and he scorned her. He's a hate monger and he's a misogynst. Natalee Holloway never did a thing to Jeremiah Wright. There was no point to his sermon and no factual basis to it.

The allegedly educated man, the one time "cardiopulmonary technician," also declared that AIDS was a plot against African-Americans, a government plot. Bill avoided that clip and that issue. The man is a crackpot and a hate monger. He makes baseless charges from the pulpit in order to enrage his congregation. Sorry to upset any members of that congregation but when you listened to it, you took part in hate speech. If you applauded, said "Amen" or stood up, you are a hate monger. Natalee Holloway's treatment proves it. She wasn't "powerful" (though he clearly thinks the powerful are to be hated), she wasn't a racist, she wasn't a vile person. She's a young woman who went missing and Wright thought he could shred her apart from the podium. Because she was a woman? Because she was White? We don't know. We just know that no one claiming to be a person of God has the right to do what he did.

Bill Moyers obviously knows that as well which is why he refused to include that clip.

He thinks he "humanized" Wright (whom the radicals on the left insist has been "demonized") and helped his candidate Barack Obama. He did no such thing.

He only reminded us of Mission Impossible. Specifically, the season seven episode entitled "Ultimatum." In that kitchy episode, the IMF team takes on 'respectable' Dr. Jerome Cooper. The scientist is unhappy with the American government and attempts to blackmail the president of the United States via threatening to explode a bomb. He has a list of demands including replacing cabinet members. It's all really pathetic, on every level, because changing cabinet posts doesn't change foreign policy. Bill Moyers is pretty pathetic as well which is why he's the perfect modern day Jerome Cooper. They even look a little alike. No one looks like Madlyn Rhue which is a real shame. With her long hair curled (though not cut) into a shag, she's clearly supposed to be modeled on Jane Fonda (the episode aired in 1972) and she's his radical partner. The team tricks Jerome into disarming the bomb by making him believe he accomplished his goal. Once he disarms the bomb, Rhue's Adele shows up laughing.

Like Jerry, Bill accomplished nothing. He gave Wright time to 'explain' his hate mongering but he had to show clips, even selectively chosen ones. In doing so, he only drove home what a crackpot Wright is. Since the part of Adele wasn't cast, let us crib her last, caustic line, "Oh, yeah, Bill, you conquered the world alright!"

The truth about Panhandle Media

Last week, Tom-Tom Hayden felt the need to spew about Hillary in a patronizing manner and hid behind his current wife to do so. Sexist pig of many decades Tom-Tom really thought-thought he could put one over on readers by hiding behind a woman. It's really pathetic.

But pathetic is all Panhandle Media is these days.

Remember when

We were fresh in love

Your eyes were pale like the moon

We'd sit on the porch in summer

Listen for the breezes

Spinning melodies up from the river

I dressed you up like a god

-- "Make Me Feel Something," words and lyrics by Carly Simon

Yeah, we used to dress up Panhandle Media like a god. We used to praise them. We bought their little con job and thought they practiced the ethics they preached. But if campaign 2008 (which Panhandle Media began covering before the 2006 mid-term elections) taught us anything it was how lacking in ethics Panhandle Media was.

Those days are gone and the sheen was knocked off by Panhandle Media itself.

It certainly didn't help, in 2007, when Jess replied to an organization that e-mailed C.I. at The Common Ills only to find that private e-mail (nothing embarrassing it for Jess) passed on to another outlet. Not really that surprising, as C.I. noted when learning of the passed on nature, the same organization had passed on a journalists private e-mail to C.I. (Unrequested by C.I., for the record.)

It didn't help that the illegal war fell off Panhandle Media's radar repeatedly. (We'll get to some of the things that replace it in a bit.) It didn't help that Amy Goodman, who used to ridicule Judith Miller (because Queen Bees love to target women) while letting males off, turned her supposedly 'independent' show over to schilling for Barack Obama. Ava and C.I. first documented that in "TV: Democracy Sometimes?" -- and they've continued to document it in feature articles. Goodman is a sorry excuse for a journalist but, then, she's not really a journalist. Her business is grant money.

"Movement" and "community" talk of Obama is a laugh. He has none. It was created for him and campus forums and meet-ups were used to do that. Radicals (Communist and otherwise) wanted to control the Democratic Party. Or as Katty-van-van once said, "Take Back America!" and the easiest way to do that, since the Communist Party in the United States is in utter disarray, was to attempt a hijacking of the Democratic Party.

To be clear, we are not and have never suggested that Barack Obama is a Communist -- closeted or otherwise. He is a corporatist Democrat and he is a user who will grab any break from anyone (see Tony Rezko). He did not glom on them, they glommed on him. The reason was very simple, he lacks experience, he lacks a record, he's completely unelectable.

If they could turn a toothy grin into the Democratic Party's presidential nominee and, hope & pray!, the next president of the United States, he would owe them! (They missed the part of the public record where Obama never pays back political debts.) Owing them, they would be in the driver's seat and, by golly, the country would be their country to steer!

They flirted with John Edwards for a brief period but John Edwards is nobody's dupe. So they went from rah-rah John in 2005 to cutting him out of the coverage and then whining, as he got close to dropping out and after he dropped out of the race, that Big Media ignored him. They did the exact same thing.

Joe Biden is too much of a Democrat for their tastes. Dennis Kucinich was the Democrat that came closest to their way of thinking but they'd seen the 2004 results and termed him a "loser" (which is why the bulk of them refused to cover him, John Nichols infamously ridiculed Kucinich in the pages of The Progressive). Chris Dodd? Too "stalwart." (Again, we're quoting.) Bill Richardson? They didn't trust him and he was associated with the evil woman.

The evil woman? Hillary Clinton. Hillary is the nemesis of the radicals. They've carried a grudge against her for years. (Surprisingly, it's never improved their body tone.) Hillary is their nightmare because she is a Democrat and she's one who can connect with people.

She doesn't need them. She doesn't need their help and would never be indebted to them.

They try to pretend like it's her record or Bill Clinton's record but that's not reality. The bulk of things they whine about today they didn't waste a moment on in real time unless it was to help sale those polices. (There's a reason they only open up some of their archives.)

They like to play, "Look what the Clintons did to Lani Guinier!" Guinier is a law professor who was nominated by Bill Clinton to be the Assistant Attorney General of the United States. She withdrew her nomination and Panhandle Media wants to tell you that, as a result, Bill Clinton stabbed Guinier in the back.

(Guinier is on The Nation's editorial board along with other curious folks.)

Guinier was the victim of a great deal of racist press during her nomination (and since) but equally true is that she supported (and still does) an election system that goes against the principle of one person one vote. That alone would have been controversial. The racist press coverage included calling her "a quota queen" (racist because it traded both on Ronald Reagan's "welfare queens" and because the "quota" -- which she did favor -- was not, as often implied in the press, based on race). But she did favor quotas (for all minority groupings -- not just racial minorities) and she felt that a new system of voting would bring more fairness to the country.

You can agree with her or disagree with her but, leaving racism aside, an assistant AG who doesn't believe in the current voting system is always going to be a hard sale.

Panhandle Media loves to invoke her name (and so does Melissa Harris-Lacewell, although she appears to belive Guinier was a man named "Lonnie"). How dare Bill Clinton turn on Lani! They leave out the part that Democratic senators were saying they wouldn't vote her and that she should withdraw her nomination (those senators include their hero Ted Kennedy). Were they racists to suggest that?

No, they were realists. They grapsed that the Republicans in Congress were determined to undermine every proposal and nomination Clinton made. They wanted to portray him as unfit to rule to the American people. And Guinier comes along at a bad time for nominations. Most will recall Janet Reno was the Attorney General of the United States. Some may recall that she wasn't Bill Clinton's first nominee. Some may be able to reach back far enough in the mind to remember Kimba Wood. Wood was not the first nominee. Before her came Zoe Baird who had employment issue involving a nanny. Wood's only problem with her nanny was that the woman was an undocumented worker (whom Wood paid the payroll taxes on). If anyone was treated unfairly, it was Wood who was forced to withdraw not for any opinion she held or action she took but because her situation could recall the Zoe Baird controversy.

The Clinton White House had to propose three women for Attorney General before they found the one (Janet Reno) who could be confirmed. They were supposed to make an issue out of supporting Guinier? Guinier likes to say, since the nomination, that she wasn't allowed to defend herself publicly. The reality is that it was her private conversations with senators that led to Democrats saying they wouldn't vote to confirm her. This was when the Democrats controlled the Senate (George Mitchell was Majority Leader) and if the Democrats weren't going back to Guinier, she wasn't going to be confirmed.

There's no foul in that. It hurts The Nation's feelings but it's how things go. There were many battles to be fought and digging on an Assistant AG while still trying to find an AG wasn't a smart battle. Somehow that's been turned into Lament of Lani.

Another little con job they love to promote is that Hillary couldn't get through healthcare. Who refused to let healthcare proposal go through? That would be the Senate. Attack ads were run, Minority Leader Bob Dole was insisting that there was no crisis (echoed by Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan) and Democrats were squeamish or else offering alternative plans at the last minute. Where was the left outlets during this? Since we've got a full blown healthcare crisis, they might need to fess up. (They were tearing apart the Clinton proposal.)

What you basically have is those who couldn't work within the Democratic Party system (either due to their own personalities or their politics) creating an echo chamber for the weakest candidate in order to prove their 'power.' All they proved was how easy they lie.

While the joke would be on them were Barack to become president (he's not qualified and he's not their lackey), laughs would be tempered by the destruction his inept skills would do to the country.

So it's really past time they were called out. They're useless malcontents. They've either destroyed their own party or refused to work within the system. The latter would be fine if they didn't now attempt to hijack the system via trickery and deceit.

Why does Bambi have a youth cult? Because they worked campuses -- either as visiting speakers or as professors. And they worked it with lies and deceit. There are a huge number of Bambi followers who believe (a) that he voted against the 2002 Iraq resolution and (b) that he voted against the 2007 Iran resolution.

Barack voted against neither. He wasn't in the Senate in 2002. (And the audio of his 'famous' speech was a recreation because it wasn't important enough in 2002 to record.) He wasn't running for the US Senate in 2002, despite lying two debates ago that he was. He was in the Senate in 2007 and it takes a lot of lying on the part of Panhandle Media to convince people he voted against the Iran resolution. The reality is that Barack elected to skip that vote (he was informed of the vote). He and his press cronies want to crow that he was against it. If you're against it, you vote against it. It's that simple.

So liars like Tom-Tom, Professor Patti Williams and Loony Stephen Zunes have to work double time to keep the truth from getting out.

Tom-Tom. Is there a more pathetic person in recent history. Remember when Tom-Tom endorsed Bambi before Super Tuesday? Remember how, after Super Tuesday, he declared that people should hold candidates feet to the fire (which would require not endorsing them)? He's back to Barack Lovin all over again. It's as pathetic as his dreams to get into the US Senate and his hopes to follow that with the presidency. It was his efforts to achieve those outlandish dreams that destroyed his meal ticket marriage but Tom-Tom never tells-tells that story.

In 2006, Panhandle Media began setting their sites on destroying Hillary. At first, it appeared that they were merely establishing a standard by which they'd judge all candidates but they never used that standard. It's been open season on Hillary for two years now and nothing but fawning over and lying for Barack.

You need to examine the charges against Hillary. If you do, you'll find out that a great deal of it is the lies the right-wing circulated, the same lies the left was calling out prior to 2006. You also need to examine the liars smearing Hillary and endorsing Barack Obama. Take nut job Dave Lindorff who feels Barack should be president because "he risked jail by doing drugs."

That would be the same Lindorff who, in September of last year, was launching his "Quit The Democratic Party." Well, Dave, what happened? If you quit, as you wrote you did, and did so over the failure to impeach the Bully Boy, what are you doing endorsing Barack Obama now?

Nut jobs are having a harder time these days. That's because people are catching on. (It's why Amy Goodman now has to include disclosures on her guets . . . sometimes.) They're grasping that when the left outlets all sing from the same hymnal, something's screwed up in River City. They're also grasping that these "Democrats" publicly endorsing Barack . . . aren't Democrats. The lies are getting a little harder to sell. And the liars are freaking out.

Common Dreams has run off readers with their non-stop attacks on Hillary. So it's especially amusing to read what happened in the comments when Dave Lindorff posted another worthless piece of crap. He got called out. It obviously bothered him because he began commenting in the comments and, honestly, sounded like he needed to check the dosage on his meds:

I believe if Clinton gets the White House, we will go to war with Iraq as surely--maybe more surely--than if McCain wins, since she, unlike McCain, will feel the need to prove she’s tough.
She's also a crook and a greedhead.

Gee, Lindorff, we don't want a war with Iraq. Better vote for Obama! Oh, wait. The US declared war on Iraq in March of 2003. "She's alos a crook and a greedhead." Considering your ratty hair, you're the last one to talk about anyone's head but we'll note that these inflamatory remarks didn't appear in the column, they only popped up after Lindorff was unhinged over being challenged.

He then pulls the echo-chamber effect. He references another in the tank and thinks that demonstrates 'free will.' Or sound judgement?

The most brazen liar this year has probably been Melissa Harris-Lacewell whom Ava and C.I. have documented appears on programs as an "objective professor" when, as she herself bragged in her attempted smackdown of Gloria Steinem, she's actually part of the campaign. As Ava and C.I. explain in "TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past," Harris-Lacewell pulled off quite a stunt on The Charlie Rose Show the night of the Texas and Ohio primaries. First up, it was a panel of journalists but somehow Obama campaign worker, who is not a journalist, got herself invited on and neither she nor Rose informed viewers she was part of the Obama campaign. But her biggest moment of lying was when she referred to Tavis Smiley and noted that he was under attack without ever noting that she took part in the attacks and was one of the ones who launched the attacks. Possibly she tells so many lies that she couldn't be expected, in March, to remember her February 15th piece entitled "Who Died and Made Tavis King?"

David Corn's become such an embarrassment that, as we note this edition, not only did he refuse to do his own work (he went with what the Obama campaign fed him, a false lie) but when forced to correct the lie he (a) calls it a clarification and (b) blames the media. Hilarious when he's already bragged online about getting the information from the Obama campaign.

They lie. Then they lie some more.

And they're thugs. All of them. Lindorff, Goodman, Nichols, Katty-van-van, etc. They shut out the voices they applauded and sought if those voices now support Hillary. It's why Joe Wilson, Paul Krugman and Larry Johnson (among others) vanished. You can't have a disagreeing note in an echo chamber.

They are 90s Republicans. If they were honest, they'd admit that. We're not talking in terms of their politics, we're talking in terms of the game they're playing. It's not really a surprise if you think back to the creation of the current echo chamber. They weren't interested in fighting with information, they were interested (as Laura Flanders bragged to the now defunct Clamor) in creating their own echo chamber.

They have certainly done that and facts don't matter in an echo chamber, only talking points.

The problem they never saw coming is that Democrats, real ones, know exactly how an echo chamber works. They discovered it during the Clinton years as a right-wing echo chamber tore Bill and Hillary apart.

They recognize it today coming from the left and 'left.' They recognize it at The Progressive where Matthew Rothschild (non-Democrat) can't shut up about the primaries and joins Ruth Conniff in piling on Hillary with attacks.

Panhandle Media is destroying itself. And people watching are aware of that. They're aware of it because they paid attention when Panhandle Media was lecturing Real Media on ethics. They heard the criticisms, they instilled them. Now they can grasp how out of bounds Panhandle Media is and has conducted itself.

That's the real problem for Panhandle Media.

It's thrown away it's power to enlist in a primary campaign.

People are realizing how toxic it all is. Panhandle Media does not offer a Democratic critique. It offers a radical critique. But only sometimes. Had it held Barack to any standard (it didn't), they could continue doing their radical critique and no one would bat an eye. They would continue consuming it.

But when they demonstrated that they only held some people to standards (the tip off was long ago when they refused to hold their peers accountable), it became obvious how toxic and hateful Panhandle Media is.

Holding all candidates to the same standard? That's a radical critique. Holding one candidate? That's toxic and practicing hatred. And you see it flare up when they get really upset about Barack's inept campaign. They lash out and bring up faux Clinton scandals or they create new ones. Like the idiot Barbara Ehrenreich and Mother Jones insisting that Hillary's doing 'weird' religious things while failing to tell you that Barack is active in the same group.

They're out of touch with the working class. That's the audience they allegedly want to reach, allegedly want to help but they've scorned the group, called them racists and stupid. In doing so, they've demonstrated repeatedly what they really think about the working class and how much they loathe them.

The problem for Panhandle Media is the next political prisoner or 'political prisoner' they want to champion they'll be doing so to a smaller audience. They've betrayed the trust the people placed in them. And they've betrayed the people they claim to serve.

When begging for money on all Pacifica stations, Amy Goodman likes to indict Real Media with statements, you'll note, she never makes on her program or in her columns or books. She's a lot more specific during pledge drives when she doesn't expect it to register with anyone but the faithful and counts on the fact that no transcript will turn up. "Only with you, not without you," is one of her catch phrases as she begs you to dig deep in your pockets for money. Amy Goodman, why don't you release your tax statement? You were quite vocal on Hillary's tax statements and you found what they recorded to be news, so why don't you release your own and allow everyone to see exactly how inauthentic you are?

But she begs for money and the lie is that, by donating, you are supporting real media, you are supporting unbaised and honest media. Then along comes Larry Bensky hosting the two hour broadcast on KPFA after the Texas debate and never identifying who his guests have endorsed. They had all endorsed *Barack Obama*. No surprise that not one guest could find a nice word to say about Hillary. A debate was 'analyzed' for two hours on 'free speech radio' and it was done via a chorus of Barack supporters never identified as such. It was non-stop lying, non-stop spinning and 100% biased. It was disgraceful and KPFA and Pacifica better hope no one files a complaint because they could be in serious trouble for the little stunt they pulled.

But they don't care and that's how independent media destroyed itself after Vietnam drew to a close. They saw themselves not as news outlets but as king makers and, as their consumers grasped that they didn't practice the same standards they applied to others, the audiences left.

Remember that because in a decade or so, they'll have begun to rebuild their audiences and they'll again start lying.

In the meantime, they're going to have a really hard time amplifying their radical causes because they're audience has decreased and their facts will now be challenged. So when they drop Iraq to rush off like the Red Cross to another area of the world, no one's really going to give a damn. When they have yet another story of injustice (domestic would generally be an African-American lead, non-domestic would generally be a Palestinian), they don't have the audience they once had to rally. Hope losing their audience and their credibility was worth it to them when they're trying to rally for a prisoner release or stopping an execution.

They've never offered a Democratic critique. That wasn't a problem until they attempted to endorse in a Democratic Party. Their pet issues and causes are out of the mainstream and, in part, that's due to the silence on those issues but, it's also true, some of their causes and pet issues would be out of the mainstream regardless. Either way, their ability to rally is going, going, gone. They brought it on themselves.

They're in Panhandle Media for a reason: No one would hire them in the real world. It's a fact they want you to forget just as you're supposed to not catch on that the bulk are not Democrats and have no business endorsing in a Democratic Party.


4-27-07 "*Barack Obama*" indicates a change. Thanks to community member Janine who caught that. Grant references and references to actions on college are confusing to some community members e-mailing. That's due to pulling three paragraphs on the Roosevelt Institution. A board member spoke to us on the record with the agreement that they would be anonymous. In reading over the section, I (C.I.) asked Jim to call ____ because it seemed it would be obvious (from the words) to everyone who it was. ____ listened and asked if we didn't mind pulling the comments which we didn't. We'll use ___'s points at a later date and paraphrase them.


Jim: Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania and we've got a roundtable. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and, 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. This is a rush transcript. As usual, Ty has some e-mails and we'll try to get to as many as we can. Okay, Hillary's win. Mike and Rebecca, why don't you bring us up to speed.


Mike: Tuesday Pennsylvania voted. This was supposed to be a race that was over. Barack Obama was the choice of the people. That's what the media said. You heard he was closing the deal. We were told it was over. He outspent her at least three-to-one. But Mr. Pretty Words lost. By ten percent. And, oh, did the Bambi Groupies go nuts.

Rebecca: Dave Lindorff, who feels that Barack deserves to be president because he "risked jail" by doing drugs, wanted to debate the ten percent win. It was really important that he argue about fractions. But when your mind is as cracked as his is, you focus on the most meaningless of details. It was pathetic.

Ty: A longterm reader, George, e-mailed a quote from Harper's magazine's John R. MacArthur: "The mistake of the former left-wingers, from Tom Hayden to Todd Gitlin, is that they want to be players in the Democratic Party and academia. This is not what the left is supposed to be. The left is supposed to be outside the system. The attempt by the left to take control of the Democratic Party failed with McCarthy and George McGovern. The left, at that point, should have gone back to organizing, street protests, building labor unions, and the mobilization of grassroots activists. Instead, it went for respectability." I saw that Friday and e-mailed back for the source but haven't heard back yet.

C.I.: It's Chris Hedges from The Philadelphia Inquirer, "The left has lost its nerve and its direction" it ran last Sunday. He's quoting the statement in his column.

Ty: Thank you. I looked at Harper's and couldn't find it. McCarthy is Eugene McCarthy, the peace candidate of 1968 who flipped with a vengeance. Trina wrote about independent media in "Corn-Stuffed Bell Peppers in the Kitchen" and I thought we might be able to discuss what's going on now, what MacArthur is talking about, with what Trina's talking about that happened before.

Jim: Good idea. Okay, Ruth?

Ruth: I did read Trina's piece. I'm hearing the quote from Mr. MacArthur for the first time. But I agree with Ty that you can tie them together. Trina was writing about how independent media died following Vietnam. And how it did, which goes to Mr. MacArthur's comments, because people stopped trusting them. They became about candidates and that's not what built them up. But once they had a following of some form, they began itching to be king makers and they threw the standards out the window. Trina's account jibes with my own memories of that time and, like her, I see the same thing happening today.

Kat: I'll jump in here because we're talking about my school years when there was a really vibrant independent media scene. And then it went away. To use one counter-culture bible as an example, Rolling Stone. There's been a great deal of ink wasted on how music died and Rolling Stone did as well. Or Rolling Stone lost touch with music. There are those who don't think it did enough to promote for punk, for instance. But the reality is Rolling Stone became a non-stop cheerleader for Jimmy Carter, long before he was in office. I like President Carter and voted for him. I would vote him for again if he were to run. However, we saw slanted coverage on Carter and that's when the kids turned on Rolling Stone. We weren't idiots. We saw it happening. We realized that there were standards for some and standards for none. And as Carter got closer to the White House, Rolling Stone lost its steam and its importance. It seemed to suffer from self-importance. It's really easy to blame it on something like music but the reality is that there was a fundamental shift that took place and it effected not just how the magazine was seen but also how the magazine self-presented. It became a professional and lost its vibrancy. So that's one concrete example of a periodical that was in touch with the politically aware and destroyed itself by becoming a cheerleader and a biased cheerleader at that. If I can add something to that, I'd note that they have the "Rock Issue" for 2008 onsale today and no one but a pathetic magazine -- which is all it is today -- would put Madonna's picture on the cover as an example of 'rock.'

Elaine: I think Kat provided the best example and I think you can apply that to all of what was the underground press. You weren't reading for pretty. You were reading for the life in the publication. But they all went into professional and avoided controversy. You started seeing the 'dining out' sections appearing in the 'alternative' weeklies, for example. And all of them began editing out certain words and also editing long pieces down. It was an attempt to go mainstream and that's not what drew anyone to them in the first place. No offense to Jimmy Carter, but he wasn't my Democratic choice in the primaries in 1976 and I remember the very slanted coverage coming from 'independent' media at that time. It's similar to what we're seeing with Barack Obama today.

Jim: You compared him, Barack, to Jimmy Carter at least a month ago.

Elaine: Well that's another example. But you grasped that they had no respect for you, that they thought you were idiots and you had no reason to read them. That's why they died. That's why they lost importance. They would argue they were maturing but I think the critics were right, they were selling out. MacArthur's two examples are good ones, Tom-Tom and Toad. Two sellouts surpreme. As disgusting as both men are today, they were that disgusting then. The only thing that surprising is that Tom Hayden, the notorius pollster, didn't learn from his first sellout. He's selling out again. I'm not surprised by Toad. But Tom-Tom knows where this path leads. Of course, he probably fools himself that this time he'll be sitting pretty in the end. Short of divorcing his current wife and marrying another money maker who can bankroll his campaign dreams by the millions, he's going nowhere. Going nowhere real slow.

Jim: Rebecca?

Rebecca: Well, my view would be more distant because Elaine and C.I., in college, were much more up on the underground press. For me, the thing that stood out would be after college, when I was working in my first professional job. I was feeling very sad, very lost and one day I saw a rack with the free papers, which would be the underground press. I picked one up thinking it would remind me of my friends, Elaine and C.I., and pick up my spirits and instead I was reading the equivalent of the culture section of a mainstream newspaper. I didn't follow closely enough to see the sellout, I only saw it after it happened. But I had friends who would just scream about writers, the way people complain about sellouts like Amy Goodman today, and I know the grief we feel today over the death of 'independent' media was felt then as well.

Dona: I'm going to jump in and, obviously, I didn't live through that time period. But we know it, Jim and I, from class projects and digging into C.I.'s library. C.I. has most of those periodicals in bound volumes. And you can, just turning the pages, see the life leave those publications. It's really noticeable once Nixon resigns. They're sort of in a static state of flux until they hop on board the Carter campaign. In terms of today, let me speak for the community and note that there wasn't much plan to cover the campaign that's ongoing. We only got involved when so many lies were being told and repeated. I would prefer to cover other things but there is some real sexism going on and there are some real issues with a lack of standards. I can remember Bill Clinton as president. I'm old enough to remember him as president at the end of his second term. But what I really know about Bill Clinton came from the response after he left, the response to the right-wing attacks. Those lies were called out and it's amazing to see some of the people and some of the sites that called them out now repeat them. It's not a level playing field. I'd like to think I would object regardless but the fact that it also includes sexism means I damn well will object. And loudly. I'm censoring myself somewhat in this -- we all are -- because we plan to do a feature on how toxic 'independent' media is today. But the point MacArthur's making is solid and I wish I was able to add, "And that's why we're not covering the political race." But we are covering it and we would for the issue of sexism alone. Ava and C.I. introduced feminism at this site from day one. When the rest of us didn't know what they were doing, let alone what we were doing, they did. And it's something we're all aware of, sexism, and something we make a point to call out.

Jess: Well, if you go back to 2007, you'll see we made every effort to note all Democratic contenders and Dennis Kucinich got the most praise, followed by John Edwards, followed by Bill Richardson. We held Hillary to a standard and we held Barack to a standard. Even then, Hillary came out ahead because Barack's so disgusting and we knew all about that from Elaine and C.I. None of the 'scandals' have surprised us. The only thing that has surprised us is what's still not being covered.

Jim: Okay, well let's go there. A number of e-mails to this site were about C.I.'s piece on Sam Graham-Felsen, people claiming to be longterm readers, claiming they e-mailed all the time, showed up to say that they were offended. None of these people have ever e-mailed. We have copies of all our e-mails. Jess started that the first month of the site. He's got them all in a notebook. So, first off, when you astro-turf us in the future, grasp that we know who's written and who hasn't because we have every e-mail from the three-years-plus of this site printed up. Second, among regular readers who were e-mailing, it's the most requested thing to be included in this week's "Highlights." I've got a few comments to make on it but I thought we'd get a few comments here before I spoke. So C.I.?

C.I.: I wrote it. I think it speaks for itself. I'm not trying to stop the discussion, I'm just noting, I wrote it so I've already said what I said.

Jim: Okay. Kat, why don't you give us the backstory because I know you were involved in this. First, the astro-turf accused C.I. and us of being part of the Hillary campaign.

C.I.: Let me respond to that charge. I'm not part of any campaign. No one involved is. I had no idea someone would be so stupid as to make such a ridiculous charge. If I were a part of the Clinton campaign, I would be asking members to send money to the campaign and I've never done that. Last week, I was willing to link to everyone's store because the Ralph Nader store had just gone up. I thought that was news but grasped that some might see it differently. So I asked the friend I was dictating the snapshot to to go to all the stores. Cynthia McKinney had no store, that was noted. Barack's store said there would be a two to three week delay because they were out of stock. That was noted and no link provided. Hillary's store, like Ralph's was linked to. To be sure that no one thought there was bias in that, John McCain's store was also linked to. Had McKinney a store or if Barack hadn't had that two-to-three weeks headline, they would have been linked to as well. Donation requests that appear in the HUBdate do make it up at The Common Ills. I don't edit the HUBdate. Members know that, they know that because there is a publication I loathe and do not link to. If it's in the HUBdate, as it has been twice so far since we've been reposting that, it gets linked that way because I don't edit the HUBdate. It goes up word for word. If I was part of the Clinton campaign, it would be run a lot differently. We can come back to that but I want to be clear on that point because some idiot will try to tie them together. I am my own person, we all are our own persons. Our statements represent only ourselves.

Jim: Okay. Kat, you know a lot about the backstory and with it being noted that it's "as I recall it" and may or may not be agreed to by C.I., why don't you bring us up to date on the Sam piece.

Kat: I always talk politics in the things we do. The speaking engagements Ava, C.I. and I do. They don't. They will pick up something as a favor to a professor or something. But it's made clear that those are two different things, that that's a campaign speaking thing and that Iraq is its own thing. But because I'm the one talking about the political race, anyone wanting to talk about that after we're done seeks me out. So I get a lot of stuff. Where C.I. found out about Sam only C.I. knows. But I do know, from being on the road, that C.I. was researching that for about four weeks now. I know C.I. had Sam's resumes from past jobs and I know C.I. had a chart of all of Sam's friends. C.I. was nailing that story down. What happened was that on Tuesday the morning entries were dictated to a friend who taped them to then type up. C.I. finished as we arrived at a campus. We went and spoke and after a former friend of Sam's approached me and started speaking of the person blogging for the Obama campaign. He said, "I'm not making this stuff up. I was just talking to ___ at ____ about it." A daily paper. I said, "Hold on a minute." I waived C.I. over and I had the guy repeat what he had just said. I assumed that C.I. would want to know that because it could be breaking at any minute, the Sam story, and I knew C.I. had worked like crazy nailing it down. C.I. got on the cell phone and asked if the pieces were up and was apparently told that one was but the other wasn't. C.I. said, basically, stop the presses. And C.I. was flipping through notes to give out web addresses. If you read that entry, you'll see that Sam's at the top. The original entry was what goes below and anyone reading The Common Ills even semi-regularly would have grasped that. My opinion, had that not happened, the almost scooped by a daily paper, you would have seen more than you did. I'm not insulting what is up but C.I. notes that's just sticking to the public record. I know for a fact that there are other details but C.I. was looking for four confirmations and only had three on some of them. But that's the backstory on it as I witnessed it over the last four weeks.

Jim: Okay. Mike, I was talking to your mother, Trina, and your grandfather about it so let me let you toss out anything first because, since you're all family, I may end up stealing your points otherwise.

Mike: I loved it. We all did. I think it goes to judgement. Is Barack saying that's who he wants in his campaign? If so, is that the sort that he would appoint? The entry has taken off on the right-wing blogs. So obviously, it's news. And I think for someone who brags about superior judgement, who's running a Democrat campaign, we have a right to wonder what this says about whom Barack would hire and appoint and how well he would vet them. I think if Sam were nominated for a cabinet post with the same background, it would be an issue.

Jim: That was the point that your mother and grandfather made. You grandfather talked about Barack's "airy chatter" about how he can reach across the aisle and how if this is an example it's a poor one and indicates poor judgement. Does anyone else want to weigh in?

Betty: I will! I'm surprised there was any problem with that entry. As Kat noted, C.I. stuck to the public record. All that information was out there. Good detective work on C.I.'s part. Great entry.

Jim: Well I agree with Betty. It is news. I figured what Kat just recounted was how it was going on because I know Sam's friends have called the house, C.I.'s house, while Kat, C.I. and Ava have been on the road. So I knew there was something in the works. But, yeah, it's journalism. It's real journalism. If Sam's hanging the Communist flag -- and bragging about it for publication -- turning his roomates onto Marx and publishing in a Marxist publication, what's he doing being picked by Barack for his campaign's blogger? It's news. It clearly reflects on judgement. It clearly begs the questions of did they not research Sam or were they okay with Sam?

Cedric: I'm thinking this goes to a stupid charge of 'red baiting,' am I right?

Jim: Yeah, that's what the astro-turf said.

Cedric: Sam Graham-Felsen's comments were made for publication. Tough. Get over it. And, just FYI, it's not a good idea for someone who's a closeted communist to cry "red-baiting." That would be where it would come from, of course. I'm referring to a broadcast this week. One the day after C.I.'s piece went up. Oh boo hoo, closet doors may break down. Here's a thought, don't hide in a closet. But if you're too much of a chicken to be open about what you are, then stay out of Democratic races. Don't pretend you're a Democrat in public so you can comment on a Democratic primary and endorse Barack. If you do, you're asking to be exposed.

Betty: As C.I. has said for two weeks now, fair is fair. When the Democratic Party was offended that Ralph Nader was getting support from Republicans in 2004, they went public. Their belief was that people had a right to know who was supporting a candidate. I happen to agree with that and, to the red, I know who Cedric's talking about, shut up, you big baby. If it's worth knowing who's supporting Nader in 2004, it's worth knowing who's supporting Barack today. But all these closeted communists in 'independent' media think they can smear Hillary and offer their "Democratic" critiques. They aren't Democratic critiques. They are radical critiques. And, to get back to the point Elaine and everyone was making before, they aren't applied fairly. They're applied to Hillary but with Barack nothing gets applied. And that goon Dave Lindorff is saying that we can hope he will be different. Oh go hope your ass off, Lindorff. I'm sick of your mouth. Back in September you were running your "Quit the Democratic Party" campaign and now you're cheerleading Barack. What a bunch of losers.

Ava: I agree with Betty. And fair is fair. Betty's angry and went beyond what we probably wanted to talk about here -- because we're hoping to do a feature on the toxicity -- but she's right, there aren't offering a Democratic critique. And, let me just note, all this talk about Barack being the next FDR? Usually coming from the closeted Communists. When we got back, Jim tried to pump me on information, the backstory about the Sam article. I told him I wasn't talking and I'm not on the backstory. But in terms of what it was, it was real journalism. Did it embarrass little Sammy? Probably so. When people live in closets they are likely to be embarrassed. That's life. On Dave Lindorff, he has a real problem with facts and I've long noted that. He invents things or reads wrong before he writes and his pieces are riddled with inaccuracies. I'm referring to his online writing, I would assume his paid writing in magazines are fact checked -- but I may be giving too much credit to Panhandle Media. Here are some basic facts people should file away as life lessons. 1) Closets are for wardrobe, not for hiding. 2) A Democratic primary is the business of Democrats. If you're not a Democrat, you have no business endorsing during a Democratic primary. If you must endorse, you are obligated to disclose your politics. Now Republicans are known. So the ones hiding are Communists and Socialists. If you're unable to identify your politics honestly, that's your first clue that you have no business making a political endorsement. Once you do, or go to work for a campaign, you will be subject to scrutiny. In terms of the closeted Communists, they've destroyed the Communist Party and you have to wonder if that's not why they're trying to infiltrate the Democratic Party today? Their vicious infighting caused their own party to splinter into several factions. They don't seem to think they can build a party today so they want to latch onto the Democratic Party. The only good in this is that young Communists, people my age, aren't in the closet and they can and should take control of their party right now while their usual leaders are pretending to be Democrats. I'm serious on that, redraft your rules, redraft everything to prevent the eyesores from coming back in a few months and trying to take control. Shut them out. It's the only hope your party has of making an impact.

Ty: I was actually going to read an e-mail from Zoie, who is a 21-year-old Communist, a regular reader of this site and was among the people praising multiple entries by C.I. including the Sam post. Her point was that with all the closet cases focused on the Democratic primary and passing themselves off as Democrats, she felt like she could put in measures, in her local party, to shut these types out. She made the same complaints that Ava did about how those people have splintered the Communist Party and how it's time to "shut the door while they're out of the house."

Ava: My apologies to Zoie. If I'd known you had an e-mail to quote on the topic, I wouldn't have sounded off. But, to Zoie, go for it. While the malcontents are posing as Democrats, take control of your party and steer it to prominence.

Cedric: Well, I think it's important to remember that we have covered Communists and Socialists here. But we have never intentionally covered closeted ones. There is a difference. Would we cover a Republican pretending to be a Democrat? No. Not unless we were calling them out. Ava, Dona and C.I. spoke in last week's roundtable about how there's a kind-of war resister who is a closeted Communist. We don't cover him. His whole life is about fakery. He hides his past political involvement, he pretends he doesn't have a college education and lies about why he enlisted. Knowing that, if we cover him, we either have to call him out or we have to be liars. So we just ignore him. It would be dishonest for us to pretend like we believed a word he was saying when we all know better. He wants to lie to people and if we repeat it, knowing what we know, we're guilty of lying too.

Betty: Well I think people need to get real. There's no law against being a Communist. If you're a Communist and you're hiding then you've got no reason to speak out on anything. If you're closeting yourself, you're sending and enforcing a message that your political beliefs are something to be ashamed of. As for 'red baiting' or the more ludicrous charge of "McCarthyism," you start endorsing in a Democratic race, people have a right to know where you stand. But, to get back to Dona's point, there's another reason we'd be covering Hillary. There's the sexism, no question. But she's also become the underdog and we exist to counter-balance. That's the lies of the right-wing, absolutely. Sadly, the left and 'left' are lying so much now that we need to conter-balance that as well. I don't know about the liars' lives on a day to day basis, but I've got three kids and I've got to tell them, "Do this" and "Don't do that." They expect me to be honest and with three pairs of young eyes looking back at me, I have to be honest. I can't even lie about hiding their Halloween candy anymore. They've gotten too smart for me. Used to, I would just play dumb and act like I didn't hear them. But last October, my oldest confronted me the day after and I had to say, "Yes, I hid your candy and you can have some on the weekend but not until then." Imagine if I was lying about what I believed in. How would I be able to do that when I knew my kids were watching me? I wouldn't. Sam chose to publish in a Marxist publication and chose to do that less than a year before he went to work for a Democratic presidential campaign. It's news.

Jim: Elaine, you wrote last week about a topic that kept getting pushed aside, one we hope to do this weekend, and I was wondering if you could talk about that here?

Elaine: In terms of this subject? Well I drank the Kool Aid, I was a good little leftist but I'm recoiling in horror at a number of things. That includes Alexander Cockburn floating rumors about John McCain as a prisoner of war. I do not like John McCain, I would never vote for John McCain for any office. But I found Alexander Cockburn's writing highly offensive. What's been going on with left voices and their 'toxicity' has been a real shock, we've all talked about that, and it really has shocked me. In terms of Communists, some of the the radical left loves to accuse Israel of 'hiding behind' the Holocaust, of using that as an excuse to shut down discussions about the Israeli government's crimes. Well McCarthyism, though an awful period, was not the Holocaust. My point is that this idea that they are some group, Communists, beyond comment because of McCarthyism is ridiculous. And when it's someone like The Pooper, Marc Cooper, making that charge, it's only more ridiculous because he smeared A.N.S.W.E.R. as Communist this decade. But he loves Barack Obama and nobody better lay a hand on his lover boy. So suddenly he's screaming "McCarthyism!" And doing so about a domestic terrorist being covered in the press.

Jim: Okay, I'd asked C.I. to talk about this topic right here, the one Elaine just got to and C.I.'s held off on other things as a result. What are your feelings about Weather Underground?

C.I.: Well, it's strange. Usually I'm in the position of saying, "Okay, here's the context for their actions." I have no problem with doing that.

Jim: I'm stopping you for a moment because Ty handed me an e-mail. It's not from a regular reader who's ever written before. He signs it "Obama Gets The Nomination, Go F**K Yourself." He wants to know why you and Elaine have never denounced violent actions?

C.I.: Elaine, jump in if you want to. But Elaine and I never took part in violent actions. We never set any bombs. We never attempted to overthrow the government, violently or non-violently. During Vietnam, our work was speaking out against that illegal war and helping draft resisters, draft dodgers, war resisters. Now I have a poli sci background and I can put into context what happened with Weather. But not only were Elaine and I never tempted to join them or any other violent group, we also wouldn't have had the time. So we have nothing to denounce. But back to the point, there was a criminal government and, from a poli sci angle, and as someone who studied revolutions, rebellions and resistance, the Weather Underground exists as a very real point on the history of those times. I have no problem saying that and I have no problem understanding why people joined up -- some of whom Elaine and I knew very well. But we don't deny the actions that took place. We don't say, "It's perfectly fine that they did ___." We say, Elaine and I, here's what was going on and here's why people felt powerless and when people feel powerless there are certain responses . . . But what's going on right now is a denial of the actions that took place. It's as if Weather Underground's been turned into an animated film put out by Disney and all the characters are cuddly, little animals.

Elaine: I would agree with everything C.I. said and I would also note that it's difficult to talk about for C.I. because C.I.'s always been able to see both sides. So when the current coverage is such that it reduces the crimes of the Weather Underground, it is uncomfortable. We know Bernadine Dorhn, we know Bill Ayers. We like them as people. We're happy to defend them but we're not going to deny what took place. One area we strongly defend them on, and have here, is the notion/smear that Weather destroyed the left. No, it didn't. That's as dumb as saying Charles Manson destroyed the flower children. It's a popular narrative but it's lacks truth. But we're not going to pretend that they weren't trying to overthrow the government. As C.I. pointed out, during Vietnam, our work was on ending the war. We weren't part of the "Bring It Home" crowd. We didn't condemn that crowd -- whether they resorted to violence or not -- but it wasn't anything we believed would work and we didn't have the time for it. We were on the road every week after college -- and during college. I remember some group of women were going to make the Pentagon or Wall Street levitate and we always wondered how the press on that came out but we didn't have the time to follow that. Note, I said the press. We knew it was going to rise in the air but we were interested in how the press was going to cover the non-happening. There were a lot of actions going on and that was a good thing because they kept the interest level up but our focus was on ending the war and helping war resisters. We never made bombs, wouldn't know how to make them. We do know how to shoot a gun. We actually traveled with one due to the fact that we were often in areas where a lot of violence, such as during the Civil Rights era, had taken place. We never shot anyone. We certainly never robbed anyone. We don't have any violence to renounce because we never took part in any. I mean, we could renounce the five dollar tip we left for a witch in Nashville in the early seventies who was trashing "hippies" and war resisters. She really ticked us off and we used the catsup bottle to put catsup inside the folded five because she just tossed the tips into this pocket on the front of her apron. But other than that, the only other thing would be a few knees in the groin to men who didn't know how to take 'no' for an answer.

C.I.: I had forgotten that waitress. She had a red beehive and a dark mustache. But what Elaine's saying is correct. Now, we would wonder, when we were on the road and would hear about some bombing, if we weren't focused on the work we were doing, would we have felt the need to take part in that? It was a very frustrating time and while our answer was always no, we weren't a part of that world. We can say we would have said no but who knows? We had a different perspective because by that time we both were not dependent upon anyone for money. Due to our backgrounds, we had contacts and were less frustrated than some.

Elaine: Right. Then, like now, we could hear from members of Congress that they wanted the war to end and they would outline what needed to happen for them to get on board with that. And if you weren't having that dialogue, if you were just left with the press, it could be very frustrating because Nixon swore he was going to end LBJ's war and he didn't. So you could see it as both the Democrats and the Republicans were liars. C.I. wrote a thing, I think it was last week, where the wording stood out. C.I. was talking about how we believed there was spying going on. That was another part of it. Yes, post-Watergate, we all knew spying was going on. But we could tell it before the press exposures. So you knew you were being spied on. Weather really got into violence after Fred Hampton was slaughtered. I never met Fred Hampton but there's no question -- unless you're Gary Hart -- that he was slaughtered. He was drugged, it was a set-up. My point here is: It wasn't like it was all sunshine and one day Bernadine decides, "I don't like sunshine, let's declare war." She and others were responding to very real things -- crimes -- that the government was doing. She and others lost faith in the government and didn't feel it could swing back to anything that would create a liveable existance for many Americans. C.I.'s background is poli sci -- or includes poli sci, C.I. has multiple degrees -- my background is psychology. There is a context for the actions Weather took. But while we have no problem providing the context for those actions, we have a huge problem with those actions being ignored or minimized. It's especially appalling to see them minimized by people we have had to defend Weather to because it makes it clear that they will tell any lie today to get Barack elected.

Jim: Would you vote for Barack if he got the nomination?

Elaine: Me?

Jim: Yes.

Elaine: Absolutely not. He lacks experience and I know too much that the press still hasn't reported.

Jim: Okay, well you're lobbying super delegates on behalf of Hillary and there was an e-mail questioing whether you were part of the Hillary Clinton campaign?

Elaine: I am not part of the Hillary campaign. That's an important point to make. My actions represent my own actions. I am only lobbying super delegates that I personally know.

Jim: This roundtable has zipped along and anyone can jump in. I'm semi-stalling due to the fact that Wally and Marcia had to speak, they're campaigning for Hillary and doing that on their own, outside of the campaign, and were going to be joining us late. So I'm going to turn to C.I. You said you weren't a part of the campaign -- which you aren't -- and that if you were, it would be run differently. How so?

C.I.: That's not slamming the campaign. But there are mistakes being made and I wouldn't worry about them. My focus would be on a hard hitting campaign. The myth, the lie, is that the campaign has been too 'dirty.' It hasn't been hitting hard enough.

Jim: Okay, well the press keeps citing polls that say people do not like negative campaigning and that it's been too negative.

C.I.: Lies. First off, a question such as: "Do you like negative campaigns?" will always find a response of "no." But the reality is that negative campaigns rarely hurt a candidate. In fact, an argument could be made that one reason Democrats do poorly in so-called Republican states is because they refuse to fight. Negative campaigns do not turn off voters. Studies show just the opposite. They follow them much more closely. Now negative is a problem for Barack because he's running as "I'm a political virgin and I'm not going to play their game!" That's a lie but it's the lie he's presented the public with and they've willingly bought it. But Hillary can and should hit hard. Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to get into the White House and he didn't do that by waffling. I understand there's a gender dynamic but, actually, the sexism in the media coverage may have now immunized Hillary's image. So much has been thrown at her that she can probably throw a great deal back without any problem. I also think the issue of "negative" campaign should be addressed. I don't remember Hillary accusing Barack of beating his wife. Now his campaign has tried to get reporters to dig into her husband's sex life and that's clearly negative. But in terms of his record, I don't think you can hit hard enough. He has a small record and what's there isn't good. Pointing out reality may be uncomfortable for him but it's not going "negative."

Jim: But people say they don't like negative campaigns. I get your point about let's define negative but that's what people say.

C.I.: I don't know if I'm supposed to repeat myself here or what, but people follow tough campaigns. And the one who is the strongest in those is the one who generally gets elected. You can study that over and over and you'll find that to be true. No, no one wants to admit they like "negative" campaigns. But they follow them the same way they follow other things that no one wants to admit to. I wouldn't suggest that Hillary stand up and scream, "Liar! Liar! Liar!" over and over. But when she hits hard, the voters pay attention. It was the same with Bill. Al Gore, who did win the popular vote and did win Florida, tried to nice guy it. You're not fighting for the press to like you, you're fighting to get into office. Barack flipping off Hillary, as he did, may be true negative campaigning but the reality is that Barack looked like a scared little punk doing that. He did that and only underscored that he could be 'brave' when Hillary wasn't around. It pleased his groupies but it was an idiotic thing to do because it went against his narrative and it was done behind her back. It was cowardly. That's part of his image now. He's the little coward doing something that might be considered brave in third grade but it disgusting for an adult.

Rebecca: I would agree that Hillary's been immunized by the press coverage of her. They've been so nasty to her that she can be tougher. But, like C.I., I agree that depends upon how she picks it. Her image now is someone who is knocked down and gets back up. Within that context, she can do a lot of things. And because of that image, which the press didn't mean to create, it's created this stronger image of her that people are responding to. And when I say, image, it's who she is but it wasn't coming across in the press by the press' own design. Now it is. And people are connecting it with the mud that's been thrown at her for years and how she's withstood that. It's the point she made in the last debate -- which may be the last debate -- about how they've gone through her garbage. She's still standing. And people root for that. Barack's taken his own shine off with scandals indicating his poor judgement. But it's also true that the myth of Saint Bambi isn't interesting. We're not electing a healer, we're electing a president. Barack may kiss all your boo-boos and give you a pep talk but that's not what a president is supposed to do. If it were, Hillary wouldn't be the first woman we've had to make a serious run for the White House. He is the stereotype of women. The frail, little creature who can't stop babbling. He's a drama queen and he decided to play Joan Crawford in this election cycle. It worked only while he was being treated with kid gloves. When just a little of the fawning ceased, we saw he was just another effete candidate who couldn't close the deal. As C.I. was saying, he can't break that image without breaking the narrative he's created. If he goes nasty, and one more time giving the bird will do it for him, he loses the cult completely.

Mike: That's why Wally and I were saying John Edwards should have stood up to him. He was doing that at the end and could have continued to do it. But that's probably the main reason men are leaving Barack. He's so weak. He's like the 'special' candidate that everyone has to make different rules for and different allowances for. Or that's how everyone acted. He got a free pass. Hillary stood up and that's something that we can respect because so many people don't. And I was talking about "negative" campaigns with C.I. this weekend and you really need to define "negative." Because, like we were saying, Hillary calls out Barack's falsehoods and you've got the Bambi groupies reaching for the smelling salts and whining.

Jim: Okay, we have Marcia and Wally so I'll go quickly to them. We're talking about Barack and Hillary. Marcia and Wally are calling in from Indiana.

Marcia: I know we're late so I'll just be brief and say that each day I'm more and more surprised by how strong of support for Hillary there is. Happily surprised but -- it's something to see. I'm feeling really good about Indiana. And I'll add that Wally's had to put up with a lot from me so let me thank him publicly.

Wally: I would echo Marcia on what we're seeing in Indiana and add that Barack's got an ad that is going over very badly. Other than that, I'd just say it's great to have Marcia here and the insults she's been writing about herself at her blog aren't really accurate. She had to find her footing but she's been a strong speaker all week.

Jim: Okay, we are going to wind down then and Jess gets the last word.

Jess: I'm a Green Party member. If Hillary gets the nomination from the Democratic Party, I'm voting for her because she is a fighter and has survived everything that's been thrown at her. When I stated that a few weeks back, I felt a little bad in terms of Cynthia McKinney who is running for my party's nomination. However, now that the official word from the campaign is that she's running not to win but to get 5% of the vote, I don't feel troubled my vote at all. In addition, we're not breaking our backs to cover her. Five percent sounds an awful lot like a safe-state strategy. It may not be. But in 2000, I was too young to vote then, Ralph Nader got the Greens on the national map with his campaign. The Greens wasted that in 2004. Until I hear something that suggests Cynthia's trying to do more than regain the losses from 2004, I'll be saying "Kill" whenever anyone proposes Green presidential coverage.
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