Sunday, June 08, 2008

Truest statement of the week

A genuine alliance with male radicals will not be possible until sexism sickens them as much as racism. This will not be accomplished through persuasion, conciliation, or love, but through independence and solidarity; radical men will stop oppressing us and make our fight their own when they can't get us to join them on any other terms.

Ellen Willis wrote the above in 1969 ("Up from Radicalism: A Feminist Journal"). It was true then and, outrageously, it's only more so today.

A note to our readers

Hey --
As promised, here's the note.

There's a lot to cover and I (Jim) will try to be quick because we just spend two hours putting in illustrations and that's put C.I. two hours behind on The Common Ills. ("There'll be only one entry, blame Jim," says C.I.)

So let's start with who worked on this edition:

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

And of course Dallas. Thanks to Isaiah for his comic we reposted. Illustrations not done by him are either credited (or will be here) or were done for this site. Betty's eldest son worked on the bulk if not all of them and some he may have done by himself. (We're rushed and don't have time for specifics. If you got to school with him and he says he worked on it or did all by himself, that's the way it was.) Here's what we've got.

Truest statement of the week -- This went up tonight. We didn't have a truest and the e-mails today asked, "Where's the truest!" So there's your truest, Ellen Willis.

Editorial: Know Your History! You Have The Right! -- A Courage To Resist and a Sir! No Sir! ad are used as illustrations in this. A war resister contacted C.I. last week and another early Sunday morning. Both are in Canada and know C.I.'s cell number. C.I.'s pretty much had it (to put it mildly) with the fact that all this time later people are still not being told the real history of war resistance during Vietnam. You saw C.I., three weeks ago, go over the basics on the 'draft' in every snapshot that week because people kept saying Canada only welcomed "draft dodgers" then so, since there's no draft today, there's no reason for Canada to give them asylum. C.I. linked to Ford's speech and many other things doing remedial snapshots for an entire week and Mike picked up on it as well to amplify that. Though they still play dumb in the US, a few real journalists in Canada started telling it like it was. That entire history is unknown. Even the brilliant Sir! No Sir! doesn't give you the entire history -- largely because it is focused on the war resisters itself as it should be. But their actions had impact. So last week, C.I. started hitting on the point that no one in Congress today is calling for asylum for war resisters; however, back then, you had Democrats and Republicans in Congress calling for it. It made an impact with two war resisters in Canada that called C.I. and so we bumped the planned topic (also on war resistance) to raid C.I. and Elaine's minds (and C.I.'s journals) for a few incidents from back then that are not known today.

TV: The Ugly People's Orgy -- Your e-mails said you were fine, when Ava and C.I. honored the writers' strike by shelving reviews of entertainment televsion and focusing on non-scripted. When the strike was over and they began blending to the two for one commentary, you said that was cool. But you obviously missed the entertainment TV commentaries. A record number of longterm readers e-mailed today to sing their praises. There was a chance, going into this edition, that Ava and C.I. would blend. They tossed that out the window due to the nature of the rest of the edition. They figured (rightly) with the hard hitting nature of every piece, a strictly entertainment TV commentary would add something to the mix. A few of you are e-mailing to ask, "So they're done with public affairs for awhile?" They don't know. They have no idea what they'll tackle next Sunday. Maybe it will be another like this one, maybe it will be a blend, maybe it will just be public affairs programming. Ava says, "Accept for what it is today because we don't even want to think about next Sunday, we just want to get some sleep."

The VA Computer Breach You Don't Know About (Jim) -- I didn't argue for this to be so high in the listings. I felt it should come after the four-part series. Ava and C.I. pointed out that, "Forget the topic's important, when someone does a byline piece, we try to put up near the top."
The editorial always comes before the note then the most popular feature article (Ava and C.I.'s piece) and then the next slot goes to what we think is the strongest. I don't think this is the strongest but that's fine. I wrote this and have a note at the end where I give credit to Ava and C.I. for their help and I hope I express my gratitude enough. They found the story, they wrote about it three times. I followed their leads. They answered 10 questions before I wrote it (after saying they'd have no involvement with the writing of it) because we'd all forgotten about it. Kat, Mike, Elaine, Rebecca, Marcia, Cedric, Ruth, Betty and Wally remembered the article hadn't been written when they wrote "Highlights." The orginal ending was "southern state." Ava and C.I., when I was reading it out loud, said hold on, talked amonst themselves, and then said, "Jim, the state is Texas." I couldn't find that out. (They know the city, they know the street address of the building, they know the office number where the breach took place, the office number where the investigators questioned people in the building. They found out all of that, after catching an off hand remark, and working the phones.) I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to those in the government who, when I identified myself as a friend of Ava and C.I.'s, spoke with me. (And some hung up. But thank you to the ones who spoke to me.)

Piggies on parade -- This begins the four-part series. Mike, C.I. and I thought this up (a four-part series) while on a morning run last week. It was (a) the male sexism, (b) the Queen Bees, (c) the silent and (d) the lectures to women. This one focuses on the male sexists and, judging by the e-mails that came in since this posted this morning, it's the most noted. We figured that would be the case and that's why it's higher up in the listings. (Again, I would have been fine with my solo piece appearing in the listings after this four-part series.)

What Did You Do In The War, Mommy? -- Mike may remember this differently, but we were talking about all the crap thrown at Hillary and by who on our run and Mike made a joke that I forget and C.I. responded, "What did you do in the war, Mommy?" (A Blake Edwards film, What Did You Do In The War, Daddy?, was just released on DVD. We all recommend it.) That led to a lengthy discussion, during our run, of exactly how these Queen Bees intend to explain, five or ten years from now, their attacks on Hillary?

Norman Solomon remembers 'the ladies' -- Mike, on the run, was specifically talking about Mark Karlin's insulting b.s. editorial where he lectured "the little ladies." We include that in piggies. However, Norman Solomon showed up last week with his own "talk" (talk down to) "the little ladies." So this become a response to that.

Ms.went from playing dumb to outright insulting -- The silence. The lies from Ms. about the silence. It's disgusting. C.I. and Ava hit the roof when it got back to them (from friends at Ms. and the Feminist Majority Foundation) that our criticism (linked to in this article) resulted in Michelle Kort stating a falsehood, that Ms. was barred from covering the political race because they couldn't do endorsements. They called it out in a snapshot (the day Kort made the remarks which resulted in six phone calls to Ava and C.I. of, "You won't believe what she said!") . Kort would be advised that she's already on C.I.'s s**t list and she better watch her words. Anything gets back to Ava or C.I. this time and they'll be writing a story about a non-journalist who begged for help and promised credit and never gave it. They'll talk about appropriation and misrepresentation and it will not be pretty. So choose your words carefully, Kort. If they get back to Ava and C.I., you'll have a lot of explaining to do.

Watch your back, Ralph -- Because we had the four-part series planned, we thought it would be a simple edition. Ava and C.I. were bringing in the sexism in last week's NYT (that's on hold until next week) and we'd have the editorial and Ava and C.I.'s commentary, the "Highlights" and we pretty much had an edition. Dona was wanting some short pieces because she knew the four-part series would be lengthy. Thanks to a longterm reader, we found out about this. We knew about the disruptive liar showing up at John Edwards' campaign site in real time, knew that he was an Obamabot, and when he tried to do the same at Hillary's site, we knew then. But we didn't know much else about him. A longterm reader stumbled upon him a gay chat room and copied and pasted the exchange and his bragging about how he was now targeting Ralph Nader. This is a bit longer than a short piece but we thank ___ for e-mailing us the copy and paste transcript. We also got online Sunday morning and posed as a young man interested in S&M role play in that chat room to get some more information out of "Richard," "Joe," et al.

Nader, McCain & Barr, pay attention -- This is a short piece. Dona said, "I'm not kidding we need some short pieces." C.I. said, "What about Obama's trashing of all the Democrats running? He started out saying those who admitted their vote was wrong weren't electable because they were 'flip-floppers' and, after he knocked them out, he went after Hillary saying the fact that she would only say she regretted her vote made her unelectable. Apologize for the vote and Barack attacks you, don't apologize and he attacks you. That's the way the little thug works."

Name that racist! -- Dona wanted another short piece. During the writing of the Ms. feature, C.I. said, "Dona, do you think this is racist?" C.I. then quoted a passage from memory. Dona said it certainly was racist and assumed it was some White man speaking about this campaign season. C.I. explained it was Donna Brazile in 1988. Thank you to Dallas for hunting down the link in about three seconds.

Typical Obama supporter -- While hunting down links, Dallas said, "I think I've got something for a short piece." He did. We offered him a byline credit but he's too modest so we'll credit him here. He found it and it really does reveal the ugly side of the 'unity' campaign.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Betty, Ruth, Cedric, Rebecca, Marcia, Wally and Kat wrote this and selected highlights unless noted otherwise. Ty has been responding to e-mails. He wasn't supposed to even be reading. His boyfriend has now finished college and moved out here (California) with the rest of us. Ty should be off e-mails this week, he may break that. We're trying to be sure to create time since they were a couple when we (Dona, Jess, Ava, Ty and I) were in NY and they maintained a long distance relationship all this time since. Now we're all at C.I.'s. One big happy family. In the "Note to be done later today" that went up this morning (which this replaces), I noted that Ava and C.I. did the TV commentary and I did the solo piece. Ruth Ann wrote to say, I didn't give credit in that brief note to the gang writing "Highlights". I didn't, I was rushing. Credit for that is given at the top of the piece each week. I was rushing and did not mean to offend anyone nor was I trying to imply anything. I was rushing and I forgot.

Where's mailbag? You didn't do a roundtable, Jonas writes, so where's mailbag. When Highlights was written, they realized I hadn't done the VA piece. We had the editorial to write and we also needed to go back to the Piggies piece. I had planned that we'd do mailbag but there was no time. Hopefully next week.

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

Editorial: Know Your History! You Have The Right!

War resistance saw a real achievement last week. On Tuesday, the House of Commons in Canada voted to grant safe harbor to US war resisters in Canada.

You didn't really hear about that from Panhandle Media, did you?

As always they had something else to do.

They didn't have time to tell you about Corey Glass either. May 21st, US war resisters and Iraq War veteran Glass was informed that he had until June 12th to leave Canada or he would be deported.

Amy Goodman isn't interested in telling her audience about that.

Amy Goodman just isn't interested.

Friday, Amnesty International issued "USA: James Corey Glass has right not to serve in Iraq"

Amnesty International believes James Corey Glass to have a genuine conscientious objection to serving as a combatant in the US forces in Iraq, and would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience if imprisoned on his return to the USA. He is facing deportation from Canada on 12 June.James Glass joined the army in 2002, enlisting in the National Guard where he was assigned to non-combatant duties in the USA. His unit was later ordered to deploy to Iraq, where he served five months of active service in 2005.

According to his statement, he had concerns about the legality of the war before his deployment to Iraq. While serving there, he developed further serious objections to the war, including what he saw as the abusive treatment of civilians by the US military and failure within the system to address such abuses. He stated that, whilst in Iraq, he reported his concerns to his superiors and asked to be relieved of duty. His request was denied but he was granted a two-week leave. He refused to return to his unit and went absent without leave (AWOL) in February 2006.Since being in Canada, James Glass has become a member of the "War Resisters Campaign" and has spoken out publicly about his objection to the Iraq war.

US law recognizes the right to conscientious objection only on grounds of opposition to war in any form. James Glass was therefore unable to seek a claim for discharge from the army on grounds of his objection to the Iraq War. Other similar cases where US soldiers have sought to register their conscientious objection and apply for non-combatant status have been turned down.

If returned to the USA he faces a possible court-martial, where he could be imprisoned for between one and five years.

Corey Glass has a story that Panhandle Media isn't rushing to tell.


In the end, that may be a good thing considering how badly Panhandle Media has repeatedly botched the story in the US.

For years, they've allowed people to get away with repeating the lie that there's a difference between Vietnam and Iraq, that there was a draft during Vietnam, that Canada recognized "draft resisters". They've avoided the reality that Canada's asylum provision was never rooted in the draft, that "deserters" were as welcome as "draft dodgers".

They've repeated the lie of no draft making a difference and seriously undermined efforts in Canada with their own stupidity.

They don't know their history, no matter how pompously they gas bag. Victor Navasky and Amy Goodman gas bagged hard on Gerald Ford when he passed but didn't know enough about the amnesty program he offered to get it right. Ford offered a conditional amnesty and it was to "draft dodgers" and "deserters". It required a lengthy process that might allow you to avoid prison. If you did everything just so and were judged adequate.

Jimmy Carter followed Ford in the White House. Carter issued an amnesty for "draft dodgers" only.

Though there were expectations of more to come, nothing ever did and isn't that a brief summary of Jimmy Carter's entire presidency?

This decade has seen "deserters" from that era come into the US and be arrested.

But somehow we were all supposed to play as dumb as the CED fellow and pretend that Canada only opened their arms to "draft dodgers."

We're still supposed to play dumb.

We're not, for instance, ever supposed to mention that Ed Koch, then a member of Congress, later NYC mayor, went to Canada in 1969 to meet with war resisters. We're not supposed to tell people that by 1974, Koch had proposed four amnesty bills. Offering that hidden history only underscores how little has been done by our current Congress and how little pressure our peace 'leaders' have brought to bear. But shove some more painted hands in Condi's face. Hey, it got you a photo in Jet magazine! And isn't that really the end goal? Publicity for yourselves? Doesn't matter if people are laughing at you, just as long as your photo gets run!

Here's history you're not supposed to know. Canada's Minister of Immigration, during Vietnam, Allan J. MacEachen issued the order that all war resisters were allowed to enter Canada. Quote: "If a serviceman from another country meets our immigration criteria, he will not be turned down because his is still in the active service of his country. The selection criteria and requirements applying to him will be the same as those that apply to other applicants." You're not supposed to know that. Either because Panhandle Media's too stupid or they want to stretch it all out to fill their coffers.

But that's the reality. The draft had nothing to do it. "Deserters" were welcome.

MacEachen made that declaration in May 22, 1969.

By 1971, well known people supporting a call for all governments to welcome US "deserters" was supported by the likes of Hannah Arendt, Vanessa Redgrave, Jean Genet, Lenoard Bernstein, Noam Chomsky, Erich Fromm, Dr. Benjmain Spock and Norman Mailer.

Where are the ones demanding it today? The great Shirley Douglas stood tall then and stands tall now. Where are the rest? Can't make demands on them if you don't know the bravery that was shown in earlier times.

Or maybe Joan Baez thinks it's 'enough' that she endorsed the 'anti-war' Barack. You've gone a long way backwards, Joanie.

Lot of crouchers, not a lot of standers.

See how they run like pigs from a gun

See how they run

They could turn the first Camp Casey into a media event but supporting a grieving mother is always less controversial than standing up and publicly supporting war resisters.

You'll never know how very little is being done today until you know the real history of that period and, Sir! No Sir! aside, no one's even trying to educate it. An ignorant population will accept meaningless sop. An informed public will demand action.


Illustration is a card you can purchase from Courage to Resist which is an organization the provides up-to-date alerts, interviews and much more on war resisters. You can also utilize
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. The latter is a Canadian organization that assists US war resisters in Canada.

Song quoted in text is John Lennon (and Paul McCartney's according to the credit) "I Am The Walrus." The title is a reworking of The Clash's "Know Your Rights."

TV: The Ugly People's Orgy

You don't expect genius from summer filler, true, but you do expect something coherent. CBS' Swingtown debuted last Thursday and demonstrated that, outside of tepid voyeurism, it had little to offer. Since it airs on CBS and not HBO, only the truly naive will believe anything "steamy" is in the offing.

What is Swingtown? It's the latest crap from Mike Kelley who someone thinks has talent but, judging by his output, we'll assume he's better at conning suits than he is viewers.

Swingtown is all con. The look at 'suburbia' on the 'lake front' is a con from start to finish.

Musically, it might be considered 'ahead of its time.' See, the show is set in the summer of 1976. For what reason? No thought appeared to go into that. The same lack of thought that had a non-make out scene between two teenagers drag on forever in a car while the radio played Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way."

"Go Your Own Way" is known as many things. It's the song where Lindsey Buckingham really goes to town on Stevie Nicks (didn't take away the guilt over his cheating or over the fact that, throughout their relationship, he was too 'sensitive' to actually work for a living while Stevie held down multiple jobs). Artistically (or "artistically") it was a sign that, yes, Lindsey would attempt to rework the songs of his heroes. (As with "Monday Morning," "Go Your Own Way" has a huge Mamas and the Papas debt yet to be paid.) But although it is known as many things, it was never known as a song played on radio in July of 1976. That's because the track was the lead single to Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album -- the monster seller released in 1977.

"Go Your Own Way" does not fit the mood the scene is trying for, nor does it fit the timeline. But attention to either detail would betray the inattentive show. (Viewers will feel restless -- and we don't mean horny -- watching.)

For the record, the scene is supposed to revolve around the female teenager and not the male. That would be Laura Miller (Shanna Collins), the teenage daughter of the family the show revolves around. The guy? A guy's she dating while mooning over an older man. Translation, a little nothing. How does a song about a man whining underscore whatever Laura's supposed to be going through? It doesn't. And it never would.

It's just a wasted scene. Wasted in the writing. Wasted in the song choice and wasted on the viewer.

Laura's mother is supposedly one of the stars (but Mike Kelley is rarely interested in adults -- see his O.C. work). She's played by Molly Parker. Susan Miller isn't a role on the page and it's not really a character on screen but Parker tries to invest it with something.

It's not easy when saddled with scenes where Laura tells Mother Molly not to worry about her just because she's now the same age Molly was when she got "knocked up" with Laura.

Knocked up?

In 1987's Overboard, one of Goldie Hawn's "sons" (see the movie) will holler at another, walking off with a girl, not to get her "knocked up." Goldie will not only admonish him for yelling that, she'll visibly recoil. That's because, last summer's dull and overrated flick not withstanding, women don't generally use the term "knocked up" unless they're insulting someone. So, for example, Laura might taunt a bitter rival with "knocked up" (e.g.: "Sure you got him, but you had to get knocked up to do it!") but she's not going to use it with her mother unless they're having an all out argument. She's especially not going to use the term since she was the pregnancy in question.

In casual conversation, it's not really a term that women (or girls) use. Certainly not in the White world of suburbia circa the 1970s. But if you dwell on that misuse, you're utilizing more thought than went into the show.

One good and momentary thought was to cast Grant Show as 'swinger' Tom Decker. The Millers move out of a humble home into a more upscale lake property and the Deckers are their next door neighbors. Tom and Trina Decker (Lana Pamilla) have an open marriage and it's really important that Tom be seen as sexy. So, for a moment, casting Grant Show was a smart move. A moment was about all the time that went into figuring out the men's hairstyles.

Underneath that hideous hair job is a sexy man. But who can get underneath it? We mentioned Lindsey Buckingham earlier. He was considered sexy in his pre-Eraser Head days of the 1980s. His hair wasn't a stringy mange back then. Nor were any of the Eagles saddled with bad hair. But all the males of Swingtown have been given really bad hair. It's generally at least chin length, one layer and matted and/or stringy. No, that is not how sexy men (or even Docker Dads in Suburbia) wore their hair in 1976. It is how some 'swingers' wore their hair from 1968 through 1972. (Although they usually did something with it, generally "the dry look.") By 1976, "key parties" and "open marriages" really weren't a mini-rage in the country either. The Ice Storm was set in 1973 and even that was a little too late for the terrain it was covering.

About the only chronological thing they come close to getting right is putting a Dorothy Hamill do on a female character. Sadly, the woman sporting it is no actress. It's Lana Parrilla who helped sink NBC's summer offering in June 2006 and, sadly, she's actually gotten worse. She's not playing the sad sack in this show, she's supposedly sexually provocative. So Parrilla does her same sad sack routine but also pops her eyes constantly as if that's going to turn anyone on.

The only reason to watch the show is to see Miriam Schor. Her role is a stereotype (and no, her character will not 'develop' over the summer -- even if the show survives). Janet Thompson is her character's name. She's a mother, wife of Rick Thompson, best friend of Susan Miller and the neighbor they leave behind when they make like a White version of The Jeffersons.

She's described as needy and clingy and she's supposed to be a bit of a prude. The latter is underscored when she enters a room at a party, finds Show's character in the midst of an orgy with countless women, refuses to kick off her shoes and leaves the party. We're not up on the proper etiquette for walking in on an ugly people's orgy, but unlike the sexist scripts, we won't blame Thompson for her reaction. It's the only drama in the entire hour.

Schor holds your attention in her supporting role. You don't care for Janet Thompson and you may not even care for the actress. She's playing the role 'straight' but it really seems like one of Molly Shannon's SNL character. We won't call it a bad acting choice because, when there's nothing on the page, you do what you can. And not only do your eyes automatically go to Schor in every scene she's in, you miss the tension she provides in all the dull scenes without her.

Molly Parker's supposed to be the lead but, other than the fawning camera work and careful lighting, you really can't tell. There's no character there. We're not even sure if there's an actress there. Laura Miller is endlessly . . . not in shock. Shock would be an emotion and there's never an emotion. It's more like a "Did that just happen?" doubt. Were we stuck with the role, we'd have plenty of doubts too.

Mainly, we'd wonder who in the world thought Jack Davenport could make it as a leading man? He's cast as Laura's husband Bruce. He's playing the same prig he did in Coupling but there's no laughtrack and, presumably, that's because this hour long show is supposed to be a drama.

When Janet storms out of the orgy, she does so after Laura and Bruce refuse to leave. Her husband Tom (played by Nick Benson in the only performance that can be called acting -- in the only performance that can be called a performance) will look sheepishly at Laura and Bruce. Parker will do another "Did that just happen?" look and we will next see Laura and Bruce the morning after, in their own bedroom, as they've just finished having sex. They will be wiped out and viewers are supposed to wonder, "Okay, they just had sex. But did they just have sex after a night at the orgy? Or is this great sex they supposedly had just the result of titillation at the party getting them all hot and bothered?"

Who knows and who cares. Bruce is running off to the shower. Laura will laugh and give her "Did that just happen?" look to the camera.

We assume the audience gives a "Did that just happen?" look as well. Mainly after they check the clocks and see they just lost an hour of their lives they're never getting back. At some point, CBS suits will be asking themselves, "Did that just happen?" when they watch the ratings sink week after week. What they should be asking is, "How did that happen?"

No question, CBS needs to shake their bran and Depends image. But we're not seeing how a show set in the mid-seventies does that? We're also not grasping how the sort of "swingers" that Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd once sent up to huge laughs on Saturday Night Live are suddenly considered to be worthy of a weekly, hour long drama.

The show's too trashy to be 'high brow,' so the only thing that's going to fix it is to throw out the concept and turn it into pure soap. For that to work, you have to bring a Donna Mills or a Heather Locklear into the cast. Neither woman could be considered a "star" before they saved TV programs (Mills saved Knots Landing; Locklear helped save Dynasty and saved Melrose Place), but they were already "known." However, "known" works both ways and Swingtown's already being ridiculed so badly we're having a hard time thinking of any "known" actress who would be willing to sign up. Something's just can't be saved. We have a feeling that before summer's end, that's a point CBS will grasp.

The VA Computer Breach You Don't Know About (Jim)

Last week, the Veterans Administration announced a breach of their computer security system in May 2006 involving "1,000 patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center". They stayed silent on a computer security breach that happened after. Though the number of records accessed and/or changed is smaller in the second breach, it's the more alarming one.

It's alarming because the investigation into the breach really revealed nothing. The investigation was rushed through, a key witness was never interviewed and the investigators didn't know what to make of the suspect and which parts of his statement were true or false.

What they did know was that he was a veteran. What they did know was that he was not accessing his own records. What they did know was he accessed at least one Vietnam veteran's records and the veteran was of no relation to him and he stated he had never me the man. (Ava
and C.I., who know all the details of the story and chased it down last week are not participating in the writing of this. Because it's a last minute feature they gave me ten questions that they would respond yes or no to. I asked, "Well did the man know the veteran?" Their response was, "No, he never met the man." For their coverage, see "Princess Tiny Meat's Big Day (Ava & C.I.)," "The federal government's got problems" and "Iraq snapshot" from last week; they broke the story.)

When the system was breached, the VA knew almost immediately. They dragged their feet in starting the investigation and, due to orders from above, they rushed the investigation to a close once it started.

The breach took place in the basement of a civilian, non-federal building. Present during the breach was the man and a woman. (Again, Ava and C.I. responding to my question.) During the hurried investigation, the woman was never questioned. (Ava and C.I. and an investigator.) The computer used to breach the system was her computer. Due to a family emergency, she was not at work during the one-day investigation. The investigators could have reached her but they were not given the time and were being ordered to wrap it up before they had even started the investigation.


The vet who breached the system (he admitted to that during the investigation) told two conflicting stories. Short on time and under pressure, no conclusion was reached. An investigator not part of the investigation but aware of the steps taken and of the final report states that, after comparing notes with Ava and C.I. Friday morning, he thinks their view (which he stated was that the veteran was not attempting to alter any records) is correct and that they are correct in their belief that the veteran stories conflicted because he was attempting to cover for the woman who was only observing his actions.

The woman could verify that but, though Ava and C.I. were able to speak to her, the government didn't bother to track her down.

The only witness to the breach as it took place was never questioned by the government.

Why the rush to wrap up?

The breach happened not by any great computer skills.

This wasn't a hacking piece of art.

Somehow the veteran who was deployed this decade was given passwords and he plugged those in until he found one that worked.

Ava and C.I. have repeatedly stressed in their reporting that the "who" (the veteran) wasn't really the big story. They have stressed that there are multiple human interest angles that could produce many feature stories. But they have time and again stated the "how" is the issue.

In 2006, OMB ordered the VA to increase their security systems.

Basic security includes regularly changing passwords. Had those orders been followed, the veteran would never have been able to breach the website.

Something as basic as regularly changing your password, a system any corporate outfit has set up to automatically prompt all users to do on regular basis, is not being followed at the VA. As a result, people who gained passwords they should never have had access to can plug in a password that was good as far back as three years ago and stand a good chance of playing open sesame with the VA system. In this instance, the password utilized would have allowed the veteran to alter records and not just view them. (Again, the investigator I spoke to had spoken with Ava and C.I. Friday and he agrees with their judgment that no records were altered.)

The Vietnam veteran's records appear to be altered. Not through any tracking on the part of the VA that shows an alteration but due to a physical detail that does not add up. (Ava and C.I. say that detail was wrong when the Vietnam veteran was inducted into the service all those years ago. And that, had the investigating team been given time to do a real investigation, they would have been able to see that paper records now on microfiche backed up that the error occurred at induction.)

In admissions of breaches to the press, the VA regularly states that it just happened or no one knows how it happened or that new measures prevent it happening again. This breach is important because it resulted from basic security guidelines not being followed and from the OMB order being ignored. That is why the VA wanted the investigation rushed. That is why they have not spoken publicly about the breach.

Unless and until basic orders and guidelines are followed, the VA computer system is a sandbox anyone can enter at will and, if they're lucky, the VA may know someone breached the system and an after-the-fact investigation may be able to determine whether records were merely viewed or also altered. Along with the passwords issues, there is an issue of trap doors that needs to be addressed.

Since the stolen laptops incident, the VA has publicly maintained that they are doing everything to secure the records. That is not reality. Were it the reality, the breach from a civilian building in Texas would not have taken place.


Notes: In the rush of this edition, I forgot all about this article. Due to time constraints, Ava and C.I. (who wanted no part of this article) agreed to answer ten questions with "yes" or "no" but went a bit beyond that in each reply. I thank them for that. In addition, Friday, I spoke with three people familiar with the report and familiar with the investigation in the department that carried out the investigation. I also spoke with a friend of C.I.'s in upper management at the VA.

The consenus of those familar with the investigation is that Ava and C.I. -- in one day -- nailed down what the investigation didn't. The VA source states that especially after Senator Patty Murray and others have called for resignations at the VA, this is a story the department would like buried. For those who don't have time to read Ava and C.I.'s previous reporting, a casual conversation on Tuesday with a government official about the breach AP was reporting led to an offhand remark by the official which Ava and C.I. caught and then followed up on. I would not have known about this if they hadn't written about it (so though my byline is on it, this is also their story and they certainly broke it and could write a whole series on it). Had they not handed me their cell phones and said, "Figure out who are sources are, Big Shot," I would not have been able to root out or confirm anything. The investigation was rushed and the system is not secure. Those are the reasons people other than Ava and C.I. spoke to me. I did not speak to the man who breached the system or the woman present. Ava and C.I. have spoken to all participants except the man who breached the system.

Piggies on parade

A genuine alliance with male radicals will not be possible until sexism sickens them as much as racism. This will not be accomplished through persuasion, conciliation, or love, but through independence and solidarity; radical men will stop oppressing us and make our fight their own when they can't get us to join them on any other terms.

Ellen Willis wrote the above in 1969 ("Up from Radicalism: A Feminist Journal") and, sadly, it's still true today. If you ever doubted it, you only had to follow the 2008 primary coverage from Panhandle Media.

Whatever they thought it would pass for, what the men contributed was anything but journalism.

Matthew Rothschild writes for, edits and is CEO of a publication called "The Progressive." But it's not all that progressive and neither is he. While writing about losing his mother, he chose to 'honor' women by linking to the conservative Weekly Standard because he was just so tickled by an article there about an anti-Hillary group whose initials spelled the c-word. 'My mother has died,' Rothschild seemed to say, 'and that's sad, so let's laugh at all women and enjoy.'

Throughout the campaign season, Rothschild would watch the debates and, in his eyes, Hillary never won. He wouldn't call it sexism. Who knows what he would call it? Immediately after the New Hampshire debate, he would write in praise of Barack's debating 'powers' (powers not a lot of other people saw). When, days later, Barack lost New Hampshire to Hillary (and polling showed those late breaking voters based their decision on the debate), Rothschild would suddenly declare the performance he had praised "lackluster." How could it be both? Possibly, when you'll go to any lengths to avoid giving Hillary even one iota of praise, you'll worry less about whether or not your contradicting yourself.

Considering his small output online (when contrasted with The Nation -- which does have more writers producing online content), one theme sticks out in Matthew Rothschild's coverage: Hillary is not nice. She's not nice and the example he loved to cite was that she didn't mention Barack in this or that concession speech or wasn't glowing enough to Barack in that speech or blah, blah, blah.

C.I. caught the sexism at work here when others of us missed it. Why was it Hillary's job to be gracious? Like us, you may be saying, "Well everyone should be gracious." You might want to, as we did, check out Howard Dean's speech after losing New Hampshire (his second loss in a row). There was no praise for John Kerry. And press reports (such as by the then Jodi Wilogoren for The New York Times) noted that he didn't even mention John Kerry in the speech. It wasn't an issue for Panhandle Media to wring their hands over in 2004. They sounded no alarms. They didn't puzzle over the meaning or slam Dean for it.

The reason is it's not really an issue. Nor is it uncommon. But for Hillary it was made an issue. And the reason for that most likely to goes the sexist notions that men like Matthew Rothschild have which decree that women, whether winning or losing, must always take into account the opponent's ego and praise him.

Someone should ask Rothschild why Dean's refusal to be 'gracious' was never a topic that had him exploding in text form but it was one of the driving themes of his 2008 coverage when it came to Hillary?


David Corn was just outright nasty. He didn't like Hillary, he hated her and he made that perfectly clear every time he participated in conference call with the campaign. (His attitude was fostered at Mother Jones where everyone from the receptionist -- a woman -- on up feels they can be as rude and nasty as they want to be to anyone who calls to point out a factual error in their non-stop Hillary hatred. Few callers even got up the chain, so determined was the magazine to avoid correcting errors. "They're working on copy, they don't have time for your Hillary fan club!" the receptionist snapped on one phone call that was accidentally tape recorded.) Corn at one time prided himself on being a journalist. We don't know how much pride there is in writing of Camilio Mejia when his name is Camilo Mejia, but whatever.

When Hillary Hatred infected Corn, spelling was the least of his problems. The only writer at The Nation magazine that the mainstream press took seriously, moved over to Mother Jones and had everyone scratching their heads as he repeatedly bent facts and out and out misrepresented.

Following the April ABC debate the holler monkeys were out in full force and no monkey hollered louder than David Corn. In that debate, Barack Obama was asked about his relationship with Bill Ayers who was a member of the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground detonated bombs on US soil, were on the FBI's most wanted list and Ayers and his partner (and then wife) Bernardine Dorhn (the leader of Weather) had to go underground for over a decade due to being wanted by federal authorities for their actions.

Barack lied about the relationship (implying they were only neighbors when his campaign had previously admitted they were close but tried to lie and say their children went to school together) in the debate, then offered he was eight-years-old when Weather Underground was active (Weather was active through his teenage years) and besides, as president, Bill Clinton either pardoned or commuted the sentences of Linda S. Evans and Susan Rosenberg. He all but said "So there!" and stuck his tongue out.

Did Barack deliberately confuse the issue? It's likely he did but he's also a legal idiot.

But the press was presented, in the debate with two alternatives. The Obama campaign, as they always do, spun it privately to the press as "pardoned."

What real reporters do is check it out for themselves. That never happened.

So the next morning, David Corn could be found throwing a screaming fit during the middle of the Clinton campaign's media conference call. Bill Clinton pardoned the two women, he insisted at loud volume, and everyone knew that. Everyone, David?

It would be hard for "everyone" to know something took place when it never did.

That same morning, Ava and C.I. had explained Linda Evans and Susan Rosenberg were not pardoned. Obviously, Ava and C.I. didn't "know" what had never taken place had. By Thursday night, the press still wasn't doing their job so C.I. addressed the topic again and made it real simple providing links to the list of people whose sentences Bill Clinton commuted and to the people whom Bill Clinton pardoned. It was good enough for ABC and Jake Tapper who corrected their story to read that Clinton commuted the women's sentences but did not pardon them. (Pardon takes away guilt. Commuted sentences means you get out earlier. Not that you are innocent.) But that wasn't good enough for David Corn who, four days later, was still writing at Mother Jones (having already gotten it wrong four days prior) that Bill Clinton pardoned the women so what did it matter if another member (Ayers isn't just a member, if Bernardine was the president -- she was the leader -- than Ayers would have been First Spouse which put him near the top of the food chain) was someone Barack sort of knew?

For those not familiar with David Corn, he was one of the press hit man who destroyed Gary Webb's career. Webb wrote about the drug smuggling aspect of Iran-Contra. He got most of the details correct and nailed the big picture. But some CIA-friendly members of the press did the CIA's dirty work and smeared Webb. They picked apart tiny details and printed outright untruths. They ruined Webb's journalism career. Corn was one of those. (Though he wrote an angry blog post after Webb's suicide denying that he was in any way responsible.) Corn would justify his actions publicly with the claim that facts were facts.

That was his motto, facts were facts. Except when they weren't. Has anyone high-horsed it as much as David Corn? Has anyone self-patted so? (It was cute the way he claimed all the credit for the outing of Valerie Plame story. He doesn't mention her or her husband today because they endorsed Hillary Clinton.)

But there was Mr. Facts Matter David Corn screaming in a press call a "fact" that wasn't a fact and going on to write not one but two pieces calling out the 'lies' and 'distortions.' When forced to correct one of his pieces of writing, he would offer a self-serving comment that it was easy to confuse the two: "Clinton did not issue pardons to Rosenberg and Evans; he commuted their prison sentences. Media accounts often conflate the two different actions. These two commutations were announced by the White House on January 20, 2001, as part of a long list of almost 140 pardons and commutations, which included the infamous pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich--which was a pardon." Where in that correction is the obvious: "I was mistaken. I was wrong." Apparently, he might not have had the room for it, including it might have required taking out his snide little remark about Marc Rich.

Corn worked overtime to paint every move Hillary made as devious and calculating. She was Mata Hari and Tokyo Rose to read Corn's purple prose. How proud he must be to have let his sexism run wild and allow him to make a perfect fool out of himself to all his peers on the conference call. (David, they still laugh about it.)

Robert Parry, someone not usually to be found in same gang as David Corn, did his best to be noticed as well. He took to Democracy Now! to explain what Hillary Clinton would do as president. Based on what she'd stated or done herself? No, based on what Bill Clinton did. Apparently a woman doesn't have her own thoughts or actions, she's just a reflecting pool for her husband. It was so bad, even Hillary Hater and non-feminist Amy Goodman had to call it out ("Now, of course, this is not a comment about what his wife, the New York senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton, would do if she were president.").

Like Robert Scheer (a pig of too many years, we'll gladly attend that funeral), Robert Parry went after Gloria Steinem. Repeatedly.

Steinem's 'crime' was a column based on the premise that women mattered -- all women. Parry, Scheer and Liar Melissa Harris-Lacewell (a part of the Obama campaign -- a fact she rarely disclosed in her on air appearances) went into overdrive trying to smear Gloria. (Who was the professor actively recruited female students to write letters, blog posts and 'columns' slamming Gloria? That's one of the details not well known but many of the women regret doing that and are now talking. And, professor, get nervous, they're talking to the press.)

And it was important the she be smeared for two reasons: 1) keep people from listening and 2) try to scare other women into silence; so the chief talking point to falsely smear Gloria Steinem as a racist by saying she'd argued African-American men got the right to vote before women (they did) and that this was just beyond the pale because what about Jim Crow laws!

Steinem's sentence was: "Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any woman (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter)." To scream racism and gin up the faux outrage it was really important to play dumb on the second part. It wasn't just the vote in that sentence or in Gloria's argument. She was rightly noting that the progression in this society always goes first to males. And that's only news if you're a pig or a liar -- or, in some cases, both. The argument Steinem makes in that sentence is sound so they had to reduce to half a sentence and ignore the latter half. They also had to ignore the "before women of any race" was included. Can't note that and lie that Gloria's a racist.

Gloria Steinem is the face of feminism. It's not a role she sought. Many times throughout the years, she's spoken of wanting to get away from the road, of wanting to just work on her writing. But women mattered to Gloria. She had this 'kooky' idea that in a modern world women mattered just as much as men.

Gloria doesn't have a racist bone in her body. She was and is an inspiration to countless women. When she spoke out for all women, and that is what she was doing, it scared a lot of Barack supporters. So the pigs came out in full force. If they could LIE and get away with calling or inferring that Gloria Steinem was a racist, they might be able to scare all Hillary supporters into silence.

We include Amy Goodman on the pig list because when you've praised and fawned over Larry F**nt on air, when you've disgraced all women by choosing to publish in his magazine, you really don't deserve to be included with women. You've made a point throughout your life to be one of the boys, so you get lumped in with the boys.

Goody broke every guideline and ethic of journalism to push Barack's campaign. That included ignoring Hillary endorsements while regularly leading her headlines with Barack endorsements. If there wasn't an endorsement that day? Hell, the day before you had included that Chris Dodd had endorsed Barack in the headlines so just repeat it the next day but make it the lead headline. [For more on Goody's 'antics' this campaign season, see Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Democracy Sometimes?," "TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past," "TV: The Christ-child fumbles,"
"TV: Basic cable rejects," "TV: The return of I Dream of Jeannie" and "TV: Nothing-ness."]

It included doing long, solo interviews with Barack supporters. That sometimes meant allowing those who had financially contributed to his campaign come on your lousy program and play like they were undecided but offer up praise for Obama. And, lucky them, they weren't telling the truth and you weren't even. It's deceiving the audience when you know and Goody knew.

It reached its most extreme with Harris-Lacewell whom Goody knew before she brought on her on the show in January -- knew and knew she was part of the Obama campaign.

But Goody didn't need to tell the audience that. Supposed supporter of a free media didn't feel the need to free her audience by telling them who Melissa was campaigning for. And Melissa knows to lie real good so she didn't reveal it either. But she did praise a speech she caught of Barack's. She never mentioned Hillary. When she drooled over Barack's speech, Goody was required to tell her audience, "Melissa Harris-Lacewell is campaigning for Barack." But Goody didn't do that.

The next week, the cat was out of the bag to the audience when Goody and Harris-Lacewell schemed to trash Gloria. Throughout her career, Gloria Steinem has refused all efforts to appear in what the media could call a "cat fight." She knows it's bad for feminism and she avoids it. It's also not her style. She was sold on the Democracy Now! interview with Goody telling her that she wanted her to take part in a conversation on race and gender. Gloria was up to it but had she know that at the same time Melissa and Amy were planning a public takedown, she would have passed.

The friendly conversation quickly became Melissa lying, distorting and attacking. And Amy loving every minute of it. The same Goody that knocked Sally Jesse for doing far less on her own trash TV program. It wasn't 'news' programming, it wasn't public affairs, it was Geraldo.

Throughout, Gloria is visibly confused. She repeatedly accepts whatever charge Melissa's hurling as something that Melissa obviously feels is true and attempts to have a discussion about that thinking that the conversation will come in there. But Melissa (and Amy) were never interested in conversation. They were bound and determined to see Barack elected and Gloria had to be taken down, bruised if not bloodied, or who knew what other women might step foward and point out, yeah, the US is sexist?

Gloria wasn't the only woman viciously attacked in 2008 to prop up the slender resume of Barack. Many women were and that's why it's not just about Hillary.

Pig Mark Karlin took to his laughable BuzzFlash (aka Lotta Links) after the New Hampshire primary, after Hillary won. He felt the need to lecture the 'ladies.' The point of his 'editorial' was that women shouldn't vote for Hillary just because she was a woman. Sexist pig that he is, the only reason he could see for Hillary getting support was because of blind devotion to gender. Strangely, not then or ever, did he feel the need to rush out an editorial telling African-Americans of any gender that they shouldn't vote for Barack for racial reasons.

And that was at the heart of the pigs argument and their hatred of women. You saw it over and over. Women were 'emotional,' 'stupid,' 'unenlightend' and so much more if they supported another woman. But if any African-Americans supported bi-racial Barack, there was never any urge for the same men to lecture them about how politics is about policies.

With the exceptions of liars, we've never called out any African-American for supporting Barack. We didn't find it all that surprising that some would support the candidate the media sold as "Black." We also didn't find it all that surprising that some women (not all) would support Hillary just because she was a woman. We assumed that the bulk of both groups had numerous reasons.

But isn't it funny how many White men felt the need to lecture women this campaign cycle? How many men felt they were entitled to lecture women? It's not like Robert Parry, Robert Scheer or Mark Karlin has ever done a damn thing to help women. They don't cover issues that effect women. They don't make a point to feature women in large numbers. (Parry and Scheer have no women who write for their sites regularly. That may confuse some people because Scheer reposts articles written for newspapers and some people may think, for instance, that Marie Cocco works for TruthDig when all that's taking place is Scheer's reposting her columns syndicated by The Washington Post.) But here were these men who do nothing to advance women or to get them real exposure suddenly deciding they had some ground to stand on, some pull with women, that allowed their insulting and demeaning remarks to go over well?

New Hampshire was the key moment in the Barack campaign because that's when "hope" went out the window. In the lead up to the primary, Gloria Steinem was savaged by supposed 'friends' with false charges and deliberate distortions.

The day before the election, speaking about the troubling path the country was on, Hillary teared up (she did not cry, no tear ran down her cheek). That was an important moment. It didn't turn out votes for her as exit polls demonstrated. That's the lie the pigs invented after the fact. What they went with when she teared up was that she had just lost.

They were gleeful and mocking her. They were trashing her and doing their victory dance. The woman cried! (Only she didn't.) She proved she wasn't tough enough. (When your candidate is wimpy Barack, "tough enough" is a serious issue.) They were thrilled by that tearing up.

But then New Hampshire voted.

It was a travesty! How did it happen! It was so unfair! It was because she cried! It was because New Hampshire was full of racists! (The so-called Bradly effect was endlessly pimped.)

No, late breaking voters (predominately women, but not just) went with Hillary, as they stated in the exit polling, because she won the debate.

In the aftermath of New Hampshire, you saw everything that the Obama campaign would repeatedly hit on. Jesse Jackson Jr., a pig, was dispatched to MSNBC where he lied and said Hillary cried and then, calling to mind Hurricane Katrina, suggested she was racist. That charge really mattered because Barack hadn't shored up the African-American vote in South Carolina. That was the next primary and if he lost to Hillary there, it would have been him dropping out and not John Edwards.

The usual pigs joined in quickly. Bill Moyers called it "crying" and 'confessed' he didn't know whether it was genuine nor not. The same Moyers who never questioned a word or action from Barack stated he couldn't believe anything Hillary did when he made that confession.

Hillary was running for president and she noted, correctly, that if LBJ hadn't signed (and strong armed Congress into passing) the Civil Rights legislation, the dream MLK championed wouldn't have come to pass. Even Moyers, a former LBJ aide, had to back her up on that. But others were far less concerned with the historical record and with Barack's campaign telling reporters and sending out faxes that Hillary's remarks were demeaning to MLK (they weren't), suddenly the racism charges that Jesse Jackson Jr. had attempted to ignite were out in full force.

Bill Clinton rightly notes Barack's shifting position on the Iraq War and dubs Barack's claims that he was always against it a "fairy tale" and that's called racism as well. Because, of course, we all remember during the 1800s when White slave owners used to call out, "Get to work, you fairy tale!" Don't remember it? Because it never happened. "Fairy tale" is not a racist remark.

But that's how it played. Any criticism or comment of bi-racial Barack was a racist remark. Barack could use his past experience with drugs as fodder for books and as jokes on Jay Leno's Tonight Show but if anyone else mentioned Barack's drug use, it was racism!

When people mentioned Bill Clinton's pot use in 1992, no one ever cried racism. Barack admitted to not only pot but "blow." A presidential candidate admitting to cocaine use was not to be noted? Mentioning it was racism? In what world.

When Bob Johnson, an African-American, mentioned it and made some jokes, they had to try a different tactic because they couldn't call Johnson a racist. But they could still smear him, and, goodness, didn't they.

By this point, Panhandle Media had created a psuedo movement where was there was none. (A real movement behind Barack would have meant winning New Hampshire.) Screaming racism, falsely tarring Bill and Hillary as racists, meant you had finally had the match to throw on the gasoline. And for February, you had the fire.

But then people started finding out just a little about Barack.


There was crackpot Jeremiah Wright and his crackpot theories that AIDS was a government plot to do away with African-Americans. Just being non-scientific should have been enough for the same Panhandle Media that has regularly decried the attacks on science by the current admistration. But it wasn't. They didn't call it out. The fact that Wrights' remarks could be viewed as an attack on government, the sort the GOP regularly engaged during the Gingrich 'revolution,' didn't lead to them calling him out. The fact that he was stimulating the sex act from the pulpit didn't lead them to call him out.

Panhandle Media, for all the coziness with Jim Wallis, is not a religious friendly medium. It's a rare month when one of their members doesn't explode at religion in all its forms. It might be Katha Pollitt, it might be Matthew Rothschild, you never know when it's going to flare up.

But they bit their tongues this go round. Wright was railing against Hillary from the pulpit in one of the clips Good Morning America aired and those with longer memories might remember Panhandle Media calling out churches being used for political campaign purposes in violation of the church and state wall. But that calling out took place when it was the GOP benefiting. On Wright, they fell silent.

In his role as pastor of the church, Wright stood in front of the congregation and called down the Lord's damnation on the United States. And that was no biggie to Panhandle Media either. Apparently, who knew, we have a long line of presidents who belonged to churches that damned the country.

There were no ethics in Panhandle Media and they made no effort to hold Wright accountable for anything. They ignored it or tried to justify it. There is no justification for anyone wanting to be president to belong to a church where the pastor damns the country. It doesn't fit into any definition of patriotism.

Wright was a crackpot and a loose canon. But no one in Panhandle Media wanted to tell you that. A real shame because Barack could have used that foundation when Wright publicly turned on him weeks later.

The biggest of all pigs were the ones who were pigs in the period Ellen Willis was writing about. As a second wave feminist during Vietnam, Willis saw the ridicule heaped upon women for 'daring' to think they were capable of accomplishments or actual thought.

She saw the 'sensitive' White Male 'Left' embrace and decry all injustices from the slaughter in Vietnam, to the Native Americans, from the Civil Rights Movement to the Student Movement, any and every injustice led them to grab the bullhorn, stand before the crowd and call it out.

Except one.


Pigs back then couldn't call it out and they still can't today. Robert Scheer was a pig then, he's one today. Tom Hayden was the chief pig then and remains so today.


A woman who actively took part in expelling Hayden from a commune over his blatant sexism pointed out to us that Hayden snarled and hissed at any woman who raised the issue of sexism but grew silent and wide-eyed when an African-American (male) spoke of racism. She said she was reminded of that when Hayden continued to play cheerleader for Barack even after Barack had insulted him with the phrase "Tom Hayden Democrats." She remembers an African-American male denouncing racism, noticing how cowed and silent Tom Hayden was and doing a real number on Hayden (one that he laughed about later with others -- White and African-American).

In one of Hayden's worst moments of attacking Hillary, he tried to hide behind his current wife. It was as pathetic as 'tough guy' Bully Boy hiding behind the skirts of Karen Hughes and Katherine Harris during the Florida recounts.

These pigs are still around today because ugly dies hard.

Ellen Willis was right to call it out in 1969 and the reason it has to be called out today is because feminism got a little too comfortable. It broke bread with enemies and pretended that because we were all left, we were all friends.

When the government was raising the postal rates for magazines, Katrina vanden Heuvel was grabbing any forum she could. And she was noting the 'coalition' protesting the increases. Was no one supposed to notice that while she could list various left magazines, while she could even list the right-wing National Review, she never gave lip service to Ms. magazine? Was no one supposed to care?

Was no one supposed to notice that CounterSpin not only had a lousy record of interviewing women, they also had only one host who was a woman and only one host who was African-American? That might seem like an okay figure until you grasp that the program has three hosts and two are White men. Janine Jackson is the African-American and, of course, the woman. Because they rotate the hosts and pair up two each week, you chances of hearing two men was very likely. But you never, ever heard two women hosting the radio program.

Were we never supposed to notice?

Were we not supposed to notice the lousy rate of publishing women in Panhandle Media? Or that the rate was lousy whether the person in charge was a man or a woman?

Were we not supposed to notice that, following the 2004 election, 'left' men began actively saying that abortion needed to be ditched from the Democratic Party? It was, they informed us repeatedly, a drag on the party. Interesting when the majority of the American people support abortion rights.

In the eighties, Molly Yard, then president of NOW, was attacked by the press for floating the idea (which came up from membership and was not Molly saying, "Here's what I want") that it was time for women to break with the Democratic Party and start their own party.

The bulk of Democratic Party voters are women.

But somehow women were not to be excited that a woman was running and had a chance at the party's nomination this year. If they were excited, they were lectured to by White males. And that was supposed to be okay.

Just like it was supposed to be okay that so determined was the DNC to "cowboy up" in 2004 (apparently to make John Kerry come off as "macho") that they refused to invite any women to speak in the prime time hours of the convention? Only through intense pressure did they finally relent and give Hillary Clinton a few moments. A few.

Hillary was not only a former First Lady, she was a sitting senator and a huge fund raiser for the party. But just to get one woman on during prime time, we had to fight. In the meantime, the keynote address was being delivered by someone most Americans had never heard of, an Illinois state legislator running for the US Senate.

Strangely, men want to argue that Barack paid his dues. Really? Was that before or after he had everything handed to him?

What the pigs don't grasp is that women have been paying attention. Click. Yes, those moments of realization are going off again. Women are making connections. This isn't about Hillary anymore. We stated that two weeks ago. This is now about women, the attacks on women, the disrespect towards women.

You've battered women with a two-by-four and now, because you can't win any election without them, you want to show up with a lecture? You want to talk 'unity' after you've launched a months long campaign to destroy Hillary and other women? You want women to hop on board with a candidate who regularly and repeatedly disrespect women? Who thinks it's okay to call a female reporter "sweetie" as he brushes her off?

Here's some reality for you. We don't think Barack's a Muslim and we don't think he's a Christian. We think, like the bulk of Panhandle Media, he's a non-believer. But we do think that both religions have had an impact on him and go to his disrespect for women. It's not for nothing that he wrote a book praising the father who abandoned him while he ignored the woman who made all of his dreams possible. We don't think it's "cute" that he refused to let Michelle Obama go to an interview on her own, that he said he had to vet the interviewer. We don't think that is offering to kiss a woman to get her vote is "charming." We think he's a disrespectful pig.

And we think that pigs recognize their own. They don't see a duck and think, "Oh, I need to go and stand by that duck." That's why Panhandle Media supported him, they recognized their kindred.

You can offer your sop of "unity" till your blue in the face. We're not buying it. He has disrespected all women, he has refused to call out the sexism used against Hillary, he has insulted her ("You're likeable enough") and behaved like a spoiled brat (flipping the bird while mentioning her and basking in the cheering of his supporters for that gesture).

You can't show up now and talk unity to us. Especially since all you unity talkers are the same ones who stayed silent while sexism was being used. While you continue to refuse to call out Keith Olbermann, don't expect any woman to take you seriously.

Want some more reality? Barack's not selling a food product. He grins too much. That translates as lightweight and all you have to do is flip through any year book and look at the studied serious look on many males. It predates the scowl that's become 'street' for some. Grinning idiot conveys that he's a lightweight and awfully pretty but not a leader.

All you would be 'macho' boys couldn't see the biggest defect in your candidate when it was staring you in the face. It's the greatest weapon John McCain will have in any debate. And, unlike John Edwards, he won't think he's on stage to lead the pep squad in a cheer for Barack. If Ralph Nader and Bob Barr get on the stage as well, you'll have three seasoned policiticans only underscoring how flappable and inexperienced Barack is with every remark. And none of those men is a cheerleader. There will be no free pass from those men the way Barack got it from his Democratic peers like Dennis Kucinich (always sure that if he laughs at himself, he's not the joke -- wrong, you're the embarrassment), Chris Dodd (always apparently confused as to where he was); John Edwards (making like prom queen to Barack's prom king), Joe Biden (the first attacked for praising Barack in 'racist' ways) and the rest.

It's going to be a blood bath. You want women on board, you better start telling the truth and issuing your apologies. Apologies, pay attention FAIR and Norman Solomon, are insincere when they go after the easy targets and ignore the biggies like Keith Olbermann. Yeah, you might have to toss Keithie on the bonfire. How badly do you want the women vote?

You dragged Hillary through the gutter. You want to talk 'unity,' crawl on your belly and beg for forgiveness first.

What Did You Do In The War, Mommy?

Already questions are being asked. Years from now, there will be even more.

Women especially better be prepared for those questions. You may hear it from your daughter, from your granddaughter, from woman you mentor at work who sees what you've accomplished and not only thinks she can go that far too, but also that she can go ever further.

Sky is the limit.

Except when it isn't.

Senator Hillary Clinton became the first viable female candidate for one of the two dominant parties in this country.

Post-mortem in the media point to her campaign's mistakes and mis-steps. The media fails to point back at themselves.

But it is very much true that a number of women will face uncomfortable questions in the future when they're asked to explain exactly what happened during Hillary Clinton's presidential bid?

We'll help you with that part. Sexism was deployed daily (hourly?) to destroy Hillary's bid. It never stopped. It was done by the scum at MSNBC (Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, et al), it was done by the scum in Real Media (Gail Collins earned herself a special spot in hell, right next to Bob Herbert, for her 'commentary' in The New York Times). It was done by alleged 'independent' media. And, as the Collins reference underscores, it was done by women as well as men.

See, the sexism couldn't have been deployed and utilized constantly without the help of women. Had women stood together and railed against the sexism, it would have stopped. Historically, when women stand together, they move mountains.

But this election cycle proved that not only do so many men dismiss sexism, a large number of women do as well.

To those women, we say, "Get ready for the follow up question."

Because after you've explained the very real war against women that took place in the 2008 Democratic primary, you're going to be asked: "Well, what did you do?"

What did you do?

It's an important question and one that future historians will explore.

Did you call out?

Great. You supported equality. You fought the good fight. Pat yourself on the back.

We're serious about "pat yourself on the back." Many women can't do that.

There are two other groups.

There's the group that stayed silent.

That's not very brave. But bravery really isn't a hallmark of the human condition. If it were, it would be seen, like breathing, as a natural trait and not anything requiring praise.

The women who stayed silent, they can take comfort in the fact that while they did nothing to end the sexism, they didn't contribute to it.

Which brings us to the third group: the women who actively attacked another woman in the midst of a pile-on. The ones who refused to call out the sexism, the ones who refused to say, "It needs to end right now! It is not acceptable!"

This tale has few heroines. There are some, to be sure. But it has plenty of villains.

These women will have a really hard time justifying their behavior in a few years and, in fact, they should have.

What did you do in the war, Mommy?

These women can lie or they can be honest and say, "I did my best to tear apart another woman. I ignored sexism or used it as an opening paragraph and then jumped in and ripped another woman apart and, you want to know what, I got high off it as I did it."


That would be the truth that Katrina vanden Heuvel could tell (if she had any honesty in her system). Betsy Reed could tell that truth. Laura Flanders could tell it. Sharon Smith could tell it. There are a large number of women who allegedly support other women that could confess what a rush it was to rip apart Hillary Clinton. They could brag about how 'honored' they felt when their actions resulted in a temporary pass to the Boys Club. The temporary pass lasts as long they don't really call out sexism. That's how it works. So as long as they hob-knob with the likes of Keith Olbemann, Robert Scheer, Robert Parry, et al.; as long as they refuse to call those pigs and any other 'left' 'friends' out, they can get into the club on their temporary pass for years. Under pressure, they may issue tiny critiques against Tucker Carlson and Chris Matthews, but they know that's allowed. After all, both men have been called out by 'left' males for years.

The gender traitors got into the Boys Club on a pass and they never for a moment forget that. Tomorrow Besty Reed could take offense at a statement by Olbermann, think, "That's just about enough!" and write something up. The result would be all the women in the club would ignore and shun her. They don't want to risk their passes being revoked.

Katrina vanden Heuvel and Betsy Reed are no friends of women. They aren't even pro-woman. Though the publicity director of The Nation magazine loves to brag about how many women are at the 'top' of the magazine, it doesn't mean s**t. In 2007, with vanden Heuvel and Reed in charge, The Nation published (in print), 491 male bylines and 149 female ones. Quit kidding yourself that Queen Bees at the top benefits the sisterhood. Not only were Reed and vanden Heuvel able to have changed that if they gave a damn, in 2008, they could have prevented the sexism so many males under them contributed online at The Nation's website. They did nothing.

Queen Bees at the top benefit only themselves and other women like them -- women who refuse to use their power to put a stop to sexism, women who refuse to use their power to make the work places they control equal. That's how a magazine 'controlled by' women ends up printing 491 men to 149 women in one calender year.

Laura Flanders is a special case because she is a lesbian. When she did radio on the local NPR station in the Bay Area, that wasn't a secret -- big or small. When she moved over to Air America Radio, apparently she went back into the closet with all but the gay press. But Flanders is a lesbian and, as such, she'll have a number of things to answer for. That will include her refusal to call out Barack Obama for his use of homophobia to scare up votes in South Carolina, for putting homophobes on stage at a campaign event and letting them spew their vile hatred. She's in her own personal hell now and we doubt she can get out of it but we're sure historians looking back will wonder about: Why would a lesbian stay silent about a political campaign using homophobia, let alone endorse that campaign?

That's far from Flanders' only problems. Long after the general consensus in the MSM was that "cackle" was sexist when used to describe Hillary's laugh, Flanders showed up on KPFA for an 'analysis' of the Texas debate and, yes, used "cackle" to describe Hillary's laugh.

Medea I-Need-Attention Benjamin wants you to believe CODEPINK is woman friendly and women controlled. She only keeps the rumor mill churning with her own actions. As the pile-on gathered more and more force, I-Need-Attention decided that the thing to do, the 'womanly' thing to do, was to attack Hillary. So she showed up at a DC event for Hillary and began her usual stamp the feet for attention antics. If you're looking back over the campaign season and wondering when Medea fed her hunger for attention by showing up at a Barack event, stop wondering. It never took place.

CODESTINK's public figurehead decided the perfect way to defend women was to attack one. She tried to pass it off as "sisterhood" but it's the same sexist crap from last century.

A lot of non-Democratic women went to town on Hillary (and never said a peep about Barack). That includes professional joke Eve Ensler who endorsed, with another pathetic, Barack. That would be the same Ensler who tries to flog her tired act (The Vagina Monologues) as a 'political event' (one she receives royalties on) and tries to lecture about the power of women. There was Eve, Eve, Evil endorsing Barack, from beneath the bangs of that ridiculous dye job that she pretends makes her come off like Louise Brooks but really makes her look like Emo Phillips' fat sister.

Remember that when they come rushing out from their political closets next time begging for attention and speaking of the power of women. The easiest way to deal with those traitors is to ignore them and Ensler's still fuming about the media blackout on her little self-love soiree in April. She should get used to the silence. (And anticipate the booing should she try to 'write' another 'play.' As a playwright, she's as much a failure as she was as an actress.)

If these women try to tell historians in the future that they were opposed to Hillary because of her 2002 vote on Iraq, historians should then ask, "So you also called out John Edwards? You also called out Joe Biden? And Chris Dodd?"

No, they didn't. They never did.

They went to town on Hillary and joined the pile on. Katrina vanden Heuvel helped manipulate it from behind the scenes.

They scorned and dismissed the few women who stood up publicly. Women like Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan were alternately ridiculed and falsely called "racists."

Recently Gloria Feldt felt the need to say that Hillary did little to distinguish herself as a woman in the campaign because she never noted women's issues. Feldt obviously missed Hillary's proposal on research for breast cancer.

Find the Hillary Hating woman who ever praised Hillary for that proposal. You won't. You won't find an article praising it at the "woman controlled" Nation magazine.

These woman, and many more, went out of their way to lie about Hillary. Over and over. They went out of their way to join the pile on. They wanted to prove to men that they weren't like 'those feminists.' And, success, ladies, you proved just that. Men know they can say whatever sexist remark they want and you'll never call them out. But, guess what, women now know you are the last to ever be trusted.

As vile as Medea Benjamin was, Sharon Smith wanted to get in on the act. Last week, she 'wrote' "Clinton's Wreckage" and if you ever wanted to see how pathetic Panhandle Media has become, you only had to read that trash filled with one lie after another. But what do you expect when someone's utilizing Matt Drudge (while crediting Insight 'magazine') as a source?

You'd be hard pressed to find any written or spoken commentary attacking Hillary in 2008 with more lies in it. Sharon Smith proves women can be pigs too. Even when they think they are feminists. They can be pigs by having one standard for men and another for women. They can be pigs by 'writing' garbage that is so inaccurate they should be sued. Sharon Smith came off as insane as the actress in the bad wig who can't figure out that the entertainment industry is done with her and she needs to catch a flight out of LAX back to her own home. Pronto.

Sharon Smith's an interesting case and not just because she knows attacking women gets her attention. (She previously tried this stunt on Naomi Klein.) Smith is also publicly a Socialist. It's really interesting how many non-Democratic women have felt the need to weigh in on the Democratic primary -- put Green Kimberly Wilder in this category as well -- and issue hugs and kisses for Barack, decry real or imagined racism and never say one damn word about the blatant and undeniable sexism.

To write about that, they'd have to honestly believe that women mattered and what 2008 telegraphed throughout the primaries was that women don't matter to many men and they don't matter to a lot of women.

In a world where women mattered, the sexism that never ended would have led to all women and men calling it out. Instead, a large number of women (including those named as villains in this article) engaged in it. They have a lot to answer for and they should all fear being asked, "What did you do in the war, Mommy?" The only answer is, "Sided with the enemy."

No feminist 'owed' Hillary their vote. But what they did owe Hillary, what they owed all women, was to call out rampant sexism. Instead, they laughed about it, giggled about it, encouraged it and took part in it. When the next Backlash is written, a lot of women will appear in the pages as the enemies they revealed themselves to be this primary season. Congratulations, 'girls,' you proved you could be as much of a pig as any man.

Norman Solomon remembers 'the ladies'

June 3rd, Norman Solomon, erstwhile 'media critic,' showed up at FAIR (or 'FAIR') to offer "Obama, Clinton and Anger to Burn." It was a laugh riot, even if Norman didn't intend it to be.

Norman wanted to have a little talk with the ladies. (Laura Flanders tried the same tactic but pulled it off a little better last week.) Norman thought he'd start by opening with a joke. Or that's how we're seeing his citing the increasingly crazed Bob Herbert (who made it up from The New York Daily News to The New York Times in the standard press manner -- bashing African-Americans -- and now seems guilt riddled, as he should be, and determined to see racism everywhere).

Herbert feels that "months" were "spent" on the "toxic terrain of misogyny, racism and religion". Do tell. And who climbed Mount False Charges, Herbie? It would be Bob himself. In column after column. So it's cute that Norman wants to cite Bob Herbert as an authority on anything.

Norman has the good sense (it vanishes quickly) to note Herbie "doesn't spread the blame evenly" and then Norman, apparently wishing he could be "Charlie Harper" and not "Norman Solomon," brags he himself doesn't "either."

The Blusters of St. Norman?

We're not seeing it as an eternal classic but we'll anticipate the clip job that's, no doubt, currently be compiled.

Norman's never called out the sexism in the campaign season and don't think for a moment that he's really going to now. He just tossing it out in an effort to reach out to women -- you know, the gender he has repeatedly slammed and slimed this decade when he couldn't ignore them.

"They're about to go over a cliff," he types supposedly meaning voters but, read closely, it's those damn women drivers, Norman infers.

If you didn't catch on, his next paragraph makes it clear because the problem is, he says, "The anger that's churning among many Hillary Clinton supporters is deserving of respect. For a long time, she's been hit by an inexhaustible arsenal of virulent sexism, whether from Tucker Carlson, Rush Limbaugh or Chris Matthews." Tucker Carlson? His show is gone. Rush Limbaugh? It's garbage from Norman who likes to play "media critic" but really doesn't want to be one. A real media critics names names. Even the casual observer long ago grasped that no one's provided as much sexism per second as Keith Olbermann. Norman ignores that -- just like 'FAIR.'

He's not interested in calling out sexism and he's really not interested in sexism. That's really all he has to offer in the entire column, directed at the 'ladies.' Instead, he's back to racism. Racism matters to White man Norman. Sexism? He doesn't give a s**t.

Which is why he's moaning about some racists quoted in the press saying they'd never vote for a "Black man." (Word to Norman, we're not aware of any "Black" man running for office. Barack is bi-racial. He also ignores all the press quotes from 'average voters' who stated they would never vote for a woman.) In his best Cokie Roberts (the column reads like Norman dressed up in drag -- with pearls), he tells you that emergencies bring out the best people because they "put aside differences, at least for a while."


Yes, it's time for another man to tell women what to do. It's time for another smug, pompous prick to think the women of America are just waiting to hear what he has to say.

And though he's got zilch to say on sexism, he's got a ton to spew. Don't you know, Norman insists, that the Bill of Rights is burning!

How can we sleep when our Bill of Rights is burning!

Pour on that Midnight Oil, Norman.

And do you know that children from Baghdad to Los Angeles are dying! Dying!

Apparently, they're sitting on tops of buildings, on the verge of jumping, due to some feminists announcing they won't vote for Barack Obama. Dramatic little things, aren't they?

The social contract has been scorched, Norman insists.

There's an "electoral opportunity" just over the horizon, Norman insists. He can see it! He can almost taste it! The only problem, he tells you, is "the long Obama-Clinton battle has depleted precious time with little good to show for it."

Well it certainly hasn't produced anything worth seeing from Norman but that's a given when sexism is used non-stop and a 'media critic' pretends not to notice -- week after week, month after month. Reading, you start to get the idea that Norman's real panic is that of a kid who's trashed the home over the weekend and realizes the folks are due back any minute.

Norman feels he may be losing people with his scribbles, after all, he came close to singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," but never quite made it. What to do? What to do?

Oh, yeah, toss in the word "gender" and maybe the 'ladies' will nod in solidarity.

So Norman does that and, like a criminal returning to the scene of the crime, also includes the "prejudices . . . of sexual orientation."

Golly, Norm, Gay Pride month is this month and we saw Hillary's statement on it. We didn't see Barack's. Why do you suppose that is? Oh, yeah, he used homophobia to scare up votes in South Carolina.

Hey, Norman, give us the link to the column where you called that out?

Oh, wait. You never wrote a column calling that out.

"Furious supporters of Hillary Clinton are now talking about Michigan and Florida" -- as they should. If Norman wrote this the day it appeared at FAIR or even one day before, he should know Barack Obama received more delegates than Hillary for Michigan. Interesting considering his name wasn't even on the ballot because he made a big show of pulling it to show 'solidarity' with New Hampshire and Iowa. Hillary wins the state and she gets less delegates than the man who took his name of the ballot? Florida's punished when other states who jumped the starting gate are not (such as Nevada). But we're not supposed to notice that either. The DNC 'rules' committee makes a complete mockery of popular will and fair and free elections. And no one's supposed to protest?

"Understandably, they’re apt to see recent developments in the context of despicable male chauvinism and unfair caricatures in the press," Norman writes when the reality is that what's being seen is an unfair process rigged against a candidate. We know "despicable male chauvinism" when we see it -- we did, after all, read Made Love, Got War.

Normy tells you that there is "more than enough anger to burn" but warns that John McCain will benefit. Oh, the horror.

If John McCain becomes president, Norman's setting out the media template here, it will be the fault of those angry feminists who just can't show the same disrespect for themselves that the media, the Obama campaign and, in fact, Norman does for women.

He tells you corporations are cheering on a victory by McCain. Strange. As John Pilger so aptly noted last week, Barack's the candidate of Wall Street. Norman wants you to know "outright militarists" are cheering on McCain as well. "Outright militarists?" As opposed to the closeted ones? Look, Norman, when you put Sarah Sewall (aka Sarah Sewer) on your campaign (as Barack has), you really can't have your surrogates play the anti-militarists card. Sewall was over the counter-insurgency manual. (Obama's other adviser, Samantha Power, blurbed the book in gushing praise.)

In what is surely supposed to make the 'ladies' gasp Norman thunders about "Men on the Supreme Court"!

Let's break it down for Norman. There have been two women on the Supreme Court in the entire history of this country. One was appointed by Ronald Reagan, the other by Bill Clinton. Reagan's dead. Another Clinton was running for the Democratic nomination. Anyone worrying about the Court would have supported Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton's appointments stand up.

Equally true is that Democrats in the Senate rolled over when Bully Boy appointed Roberts and Alito to the Court.

Peddle your hysteria elsewhere. Your theatrics come off as neither wise nor informed.

Normy ends on a cautionary note, "Unfortunately, the angry often end up burning themselves." Yes, that may be the case. If Barack's the nominee in November, it appears he will lose the nomination and we may all begin saying "President John McCain."

That won't be the fault of feminists. It will be the fault of those "angry" people "burning themselves" by insisting upon Barack Obama who is unqualified to be president, has no record to speak of, used sexism himself ("periodic," etc.), allowed his surrogates and the media to use sexism without ever calling it out (where was that speech, Norman), made homophobia a standard campaign device for all Democrats to come and has associated with some of the most unsavory characters.

Instead of tut-tutting to the 'ladies,' maybe you should be explaining where the hell you get off mentioning sexism when you, the great 'media critic,' haven't once called it out this year? Or where the hell you get off making a fleeting reference (so inclusive!) to homophobia when you're supporting the candidate that did what even Republicans don't do in presidential races.

You almost destroyed a marriage recently with your 'friendship.' It's past time for you to stop being so 'helpful.' You want to be a media critic that anyone listens to? Stop re-writing the same columns every year. We've all read and re-read your "The media never tells you that MLK was against the war" column you phone in each year. We've read all the garbage you churn out over and over. It's tired. It's old. You're boring.

The one thing a media critic cannot afford to be is boring.

But that's what you are today as you refuse to call out 'friends' and repeatedly go after the easiest targets.

Someone lied to you.

Someone convinced you had some pull with women. You don't.

Not with women angry about the non-stop sexism.

And you make the same mistake Laura Flanders does. You assume it's only women who are appalled by the sexism.

Norman, you've become a good foot soldier for the Democratic side of the establishment. You of all people should grasp that doing so means you're a lousy media critic.

Run along, the grown ups have real issues to discuss and don't need to hear anymore of your scary campfire tales. If it's still not clear to you, it takes a lot of nerve to hit a woman with your fists and then tell her not to fight back, but that's just what you're encouraging. You really should be ashamed. Scoot along, Solomon, you aren't king here and we're not going to make like Sheba and lift our hemline for your sick amusement.
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