Sunday, August 03, 2008

Truest statement of the week

The Senator would never have been able to launch a successful presidential race if he did not already have buy-in from very rich, very powerful people. Not only did he have to secure their support in order to run, he must continue securing it in order to win. That is why he will never investigate the Bush administration's well documented criminal activity. The rule of law doesn't apply to presidents, to their cabinet members, to members of Congress or to criminal corporations. Obama's backers would be most unhappy if they thought their guy was going to get into office and start calling powerful people to account on any issue. All of which means that Barack Obama will never investigate any of the crimes committed in the Bush administration.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Obama Pardons Bush" (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

"Obama draws an adoring crowd of 200,000 in Berlin. He pulls ahead in national polls. Meanwhile, McCain, who has run a near-disastrous campaign, inches up in key swing states? Go figure. I say, give Obama the guitar he so richly deserves and make him a rock star. Give McCain a war to run somewhere. And let voters redo the primaries so they can nominate two more mainstream candidates. Anyone who says the election is over and Obama is the victor reminds me of the Obama partisans drumming Sen. Hillary Clinton out of the race and turning off millions of potential Democratic supporters in the process. They do their candidate a much greater service if they duct-tape their mouths."

-- To The Contrary's Bonnie Erbe in "The Barack Obama-John McCain Race Is Too Close to Call" (US News & World Reports).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another Sunday. We're posting a bit late, even for us. Working on this edition were Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
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,

For a change, we were all together last week -- though Ava, C.I., Jess, Wally, Dona and Mike went to DC on Thursday. I (Jim) think we all had a lot of fun. Ty forgot an e-mail he wanted to include. ToolRules97 e-mailed to express surprise that C.I. didn't cover a Congressional hearing on Thursday about sexual assault in the military. C.I. responds, "We checked a week ago and that hearing was going to be a joke, we were told. We decided to go in on Thursday for the hearing on food safety and again checked to make sure there wasn't any point in also catching some of the hearing ToolRules refers to. We were told it would be a joke. I haven't read any coverage of it -- did anyone cover it -- but I've heard it was a joke with a refusal to testify. Ava and I covered the food safety hearing for Polly's Brew. It's not my job to cover every hearing and there was one more interesting going on that got very little attention." So that's your reply ToolRules97. Back to the together. We were all together and many had to leave today. At a little before 4:00 a.m. this morning, Dona and C.I. called a halt to the edition. They noted people needed to get sleep before they left. We'd finished everything but hadn't worked on typing anything. The agreement was we'd come back and here type. Due to the fact that it took longer than we'd planned to do that, we began posting out of order because Ty was in the e-mails and seeing people assuming we weren't posting. Due to that, things tended to go up as soon as they were typed. (We'll correct typos by Tuesday night.) (Typos we catch.) Ava and C.I. (the fastest typists of the bunch) finished typing up their piece early but we held that to post last since it was so many wait for. As Ty said, "Diana Ross closes a concert, she doesn't come on the middle of a bunch of other acts!" Which, I guess, makes me the announcer telling you that Ava and C.I. have left the building?

Here's what we got:

Truest statement of the week -- Margaret Kimberly.

Truest statement of the week II -- Bonnie Erbe.

Editorial: Open Up The Debates -- This was the last thing we wrote (in long hand) and wasn't our planned editorial. Jess and Elaine said this could be the editorial. We reworked it quickly to make it read like one. The illustration is of Barack, Ralph and McCain's sites. Why no Cynthia McKinney or Bob Barr? Can you really even make out Barack in the photo? Three was pushing it.

TV: Reality, Power and 'Reality' -- Ava and C.I.'s masterpiece. When we heard that, we couldn't believe it. (I read it out loud to everyone at 1:15 this morning.) It's got it all and, here's the thing, they didn't think they had a commentary this week. KPFA was almost dealt with by C.I. Thursday night but Ava and C.I. decided they better hold that because they didn't think they had anything to comment on. 'Reality' TV fans will be glad to see that Ava and C.I. have tackled another 'reality' program. I'm asking them what they've done on reality right now and they say The Simple Life, The Princes of Malibu and that we all did a piece on The Apprentice. They believe that's it. (And I'll put in the links for those three by Tuesday night.) The first two -- the ones they wrote by themselves -- remain hugely popular. We think this one will as well. (Ava and C.I. disagree and C.I. asks that we note that "all of us" together last week includes Dallas. [Added by Jim: I've put the links for the three reality shows in and I think Ava and C.I. wrote The Apprentice review as well. If they didn't, they wrote the bulk of it. It reads like them. To explain, we started this site a month before that review. Everything was a group process in terms of writing here. But Ava and C.I. came up with the best lines. I did not -- speaking just for me -- even appreciate it and would be thinking, "Yeah, yeah, can we focus?" Ava and C.I. would back the other up and say, "That has to go on." Often it was humor and a feminist point all-in-one and back then it just sailed over my head. They fought for their bits to go into these things and it was only due to the reaction from readers to the parts Ava and C.I. contributed that got me to realize they were doing something special and also had me urging them to do the TV commentaries solo. There is way too much Ava and C.I. in The Apprentice commentary for it to be group writing. Before the switch took place, Ava and C.I. had to fight for every line and were lucky to convince me that much was worth going in. So this may be where the switch took place and Ava and C.I. took over writing the TV commentaries solo. I could ask them but they'd say, "We don't remember." I could ask them to read it and they'd say, "Jim, you know we don't read it once it's posted." I could give them a few lines and it would probably jog their memory but that's about it. ]

Nader '08: Health care and dining -- This is our Ralph Nader article. We wish it were longer and planned for it to be but we did this right before we did what became the editorial and Dona was pointing to the clock throughout. We shoved back (for the third week) a feature we're hoping to do next week as well as a technology piece I was hoping we'd have time for. By the way, last Monday, The New York Times got it wrong on CDs, vinyl and cassettes. Repeatedly. They lied and said Walkman's took off in 1979 (among other lies). 1979 was a bad year for music sales. The Walkman took off in the early eighties. Cassette sales weren't even surpassing vinyl until the early eighties.

The Death of Panhandle Media -- I was reading over C.I.'s shoulder Saturday morning and ten paragraphs in this are from that with us reworking them. I really did like it. I didn't, however, try to claim it for Third. I tried to claim something else and C.I. had to think about that (and wanted it offered to Isaiah first) so the morning entries were held. When they were posted later, Dona was looking at the second entry and saying, "We could expand this at Third." C.I. pulled the ten paragraphs and that was the basis for this article.

Captain Caveman Barack -- This came about from a one-liner C.I. had Saturday morning. That's what I asked to be pulled and tried to claim for Third. I thought we could superimpose Barack's face on an illustration of Captain Caveman. C.I. said we could have it for a story but the idea of an illustration needed to be offered to Isaiah first since he is the community cartoonist. He loved the idea. We thank him for letting us repost his cartoon in this feature.

Workin' it for Sister Baracka -- A small number felt this topic was covered at community sites last week (it was covered) and that it didn't need to be addressed here. Rebecca and C.I. pointed out that doing it as a feature article would allow us to link to three organizations ( The Denver Group, PUMA and Just Say No Deal) which sold us on it.

Roundtable -- This is a very basic roundtable. We had two topics we wanted to explore in this (our topics, not from e-mails) but it had gone on long enough. I believe the bulk of the topics -- if not all -- come from e-mails.

Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Rebecca, Betty, Ruth, Marcia, Cedric, Wally and Elaine wrote this and selected all highlgihts unless otherwise noted. To note something here, because it does bother Elaine, she wrote something last week and made it clear that she and I have no problems between us. We do not. In fact the only 'friction' when I read it was my telling her that she didn't need to include the sentences in parenthesis saying we didn't have a problem. We don't. People repeatedly jump to the conclusion that we do. That bothers Elaine so I will include it in the note and say yet again, "Elaine and I get along famously."

That's it. See you next week.

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

Editorial: Open Up The Debates

Journalism is the first draft of history. Or, in AP's case, the first draft of revisionary history. Douglass K. Daneil's "Obama backs away from McCain's debate challenge" notes that presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama was praising ("great idea!") presumed Republican John McCain's offer of "a series of pre-convention debates" last May and has now backed out (caved) on that -- but Daniel then goes on to rewrite history: "Obama's reversal on town hall debates is part of a play-it-safe strategy he's adopted since claiming the nomination and grabbing a lead in national polls." No Barack adopted that 'strategy' (aka hide) after he bombed in the ABC debate with Hillary Clinton back in April. That's when he decreed no more debates and really started running scared.

John McCormick (Chicago Tribune) quoted Brian Roger of the McCain campaign stating,
"It's disappointing that Sen. Obama has refused [our] offer to do joint town hall meetings. We understand it might be beneath a worldwide celebrity of Barack Obama's magnitude to appear at town hall meetings alongside John McCain and directly answer questions from the American people."

But it's not a two person race. Where are Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and Bob Barr? Like McCain, they were left out in the cold when it was 'decided' what would happen. Barack decreed and the world follows the Christ-child?

Ralph Nader continues to hold at 6% in the polling and, yesterday, picked up another state he'll be on the ballot in: California.

We support opening up the debates due to our respect for democracy. Members of The Cult of St. Barack should actually be supporting opening the debates as well.

1) Barack is lousy with questions but especially lousy with the first question. The more people on that stage, the less likely he'll get the first question at least half the time.

2) Barack is lousy one on one. Partly due to the first question aspect. His better performances in Democratic primary debates were when the stage was crowded. When he's being pitted against just one candidate, his flaws are even more obvious.

3) A two-person debate means Barack will have to respond more. When that happens he falls into his "uh . . . uh . . . uh" pattern and looks as bad as the current White House occupant.

For the above reasons alone, The Cult of Barack should insist that their Messiah be joined on stage by Barr, McKinney and Nader. Equally true is that with Nader and McKinney onstage, it will be harder for McCain to insist that Barack's 'radical'.

We don't find Ralph "cranky" but a lot of The Cult loves to use that word to describe him. Great. Put him on stage and make Barack look better by comparison. The Cult likes to label Cynthia a "nut." Again, we disagree but if that's what you believe, put her up on stage and make Barack look better.

There will only be three presidential debates and America deserves to know who is running. They deserve to hear from the candidates about where they stand and what they'd do. A democracy requires an informed citizenry. If you believe in democracy, open up the debates. If you're a Barack groupie, you don't have to believe in democracy to call for the debates to be open, you just have to grasp that Barack did better in the Democratic debates when he was on stage with many candidates and not just one.

Barack can't bone up for a debate with one person. That's been proven repeatedly. His grasp of the facts is too thin and he's not tested any positions beyond bumper sticker appeal. A two-person debate necessitates less questions for each candidate and shorter answers. That's the format Barack performs better in.

There will be one vice presidential debate. We argue it should be opened as well. We make that argument for democracy as well. But those who object to an open society (a real one, not a Soros funded one) should grasp that anyone on stage with Rosa Clemente is going to look a hell of a lot better. When Clemente starts going on about how the US needs to withdraw soldiers from Iran, not only will she provide much unintended laughter, she'll elevate the stature of everyone on the stage with her. Imagine how, just when the laughter dies down, the other candidates can stir it back up by doing a slow double take.

A truly open debate is good for democracy and it also benefits Barack, the corporatist centerist who has run a centrist campaign and really needs to grab those swing voters. No better way to prove he's in the middle than by having Nader and McKinney onstage next to him.

TV: Reality, Power and 'Reality'

Last week, we were confronted with both the reality of TV and the power of it. Where to begin? Let's start with Friday when we were speaking with a network exec about his sorry slate of fall programming and he replied that it truly was the best of the offerings leading us to provide a joke-pitch about a Bizarro World type duo who fancy themselves journalists.

Each week, they dig to find any injustice they can and, when the pickings are slim (or at least the pickings that interest them), they invent injustices. We did a hilarious bit rife with paranoia and short on facts of how Barack's summer vacation was handled as real news and anyone saying it was fluff was some right-wing radical. In the midst of laughing at 'our' routine, the man finally got that we weren't making it up, we were just spouting the latest nonsense from FAIR's CounterSpin.

We had Peter Hart's almost British delivery (where even declarative statements end like questions) and Janine Jackson's perma-scowl down pat. We knew he'd caught KPFA on the way over and were only surprised it took him so long to grasp 'our' routine. He ran with the idea and who he could cast for which role. He came up with subplots for the leads -- like when Peter Hart is mugged and robbed by 'underprivilegeds' and ends up thanking the two on air and railing against the elitist society in what he hopes comes off like Les Miserables but really plays out like Patty Hearst at the height of the brainwashing.

Though much laughter ensued, the sad thing about the conversation is how easy it's become to lampoon left voices as a result of the sad rot of the left. The reality. The power.

Big Brother is a reality show that's aired for many (too many) seasons on CBS (and airs tonight, in fact, as well as on Tuesdays and Thursdays). A number of different pitches have been made to us in the hopes that we will review it. We didn't buy the pitch that Libra is how America sees Michelle Obama. (Michell's much thinner and taller, to cite one difference.) But to get everyone off our case, we watched three episodes.

Libra is, CBS hopes, this year's Omarosa. There's some idea that an African-American woman America can hiss at will drive the ratings (as Omarosa did on The Apprentice). It's interesting that when a woman of color is credited with the ratings success of a program, the copycats that follow have to be (or be hoped to be) even more negative. Did no one ever think, "Omarosa is water cooler talk! Let's build on that and offer up a wide range of African-American womanhood while interest is high!"?

Apparently not.

In the commercials before Big Brother started airing, America was clued in that they were supposed to dislike Libra because she was supporting Barack. The Cult of St. Barack will take offense to that but it's reality and the reason it's reality is that most Americans do not like politics. She could have said she was for Bob Barr, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney or John McCain and it wouldn't have made much difference. While her future roommates were talking about partying, bodybuilding and teaching, there was Libra going on about an election. Immediately, she became the neighbor knocking on your door to get you to sign some block petition. It telegraphed the message from the start to the reality TV audience, "She's not like us!"

And she's not, if only because she's on TV. But how different from America is Libra?

As always happens on these shows, the other players find out the reality about the Libra characters. She went from being seen as smart to shrewd to worse over the course of the three episodes and, as Keesha revealed at one point through tears, if she hadn't promised Libra at the start, she might put her up on the block to be voted out of the house.

Big Brother works the notion of heavily populated cities: Shove enough people into a cramped space and the fireworks will ensue. So CBS gathers a group and renders them home bound. There's a big pay off coming but only one person will get it. Let everyone fight one another for it. It really is America today in some frightening ways and you have to wonder what Julie Chen would do on one of the installments when someone is voted out if all the players told her, "No, we're not going to do it"?

What if the players banded together against CBS? What if they said, "No one's leaving. We're splitting the money?"

That never happens because the reality shows are all about cruelty and the entertainment cruelty provides for the audience. So people turn against one another and you're supposed to cheer them on.

America sees Dan as the nice guy. He's the Catholic White guy who teaches school. But Dan orchestrated the ouster of one house member already. Steven was a nice enough guy but maybe the fact that he was openly gay allowed some 'reality' audiences to enjoy him being sent packing? Last Thursday, Dan was asked by Chen to be the audience's player. How that works is he has to do the viewers bidding and without telling any of house mates that he is. If he can pull it off, he'll see a $20,000 pay-off.

Dan's a smarmy little punk and we think the heavy emphasis -- by the show -- of his teaching has concealed that. "Miss Chen," he called Julie Chen (everyone else calls her "Julie") leading her to explain she's married (insert snark) and that "Mrs. Chen" wasn't something she wanted to be called either because that's her mother. Just the way he was interacting with her prior to her correction was smarmy. It only got worse as Dan tried to play like he had ethics but that his ethics included a higher calling and, gosh darn it, if America wanted him to be their player, how could he refuse America?

After nearly eight years of the Bully Boy in the White House, we've seen a lot of garbage hidden under the flag but Dan tried his best to top it. Maybe he'll get away with it? He offered Steven a pre-taped good-bye that should have had America hissing but instead CBS thinks Libra's the bad one?

As a general rule, when anyone says -- in a goodbye -- I don't see you as "gay Steven," when they're bringing it up for no reason, then, yes, they do see you as 'the gay guy' and the only thing to wonder presently is if Libra gets voted out at some point in the near future, will Dan's pre-taped farewell include, "I don't see you as Black Libra"?

Big Brother drives home the power and reality of TV. That doesn't make it riveting or great television. It does make it very revealing.

People scheme and lie and you never know what's really happening or what qualifies as truth from one moment to the next. Happy Days provided America with fifties nostalgia. The Mary Tyler Moore Show gave America a sense of empowerment. What do these 'reality' shows sell? It's sure not reality.

And that and their mark was brought home Thursday when KPFA's The Morning Show spoke with Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism, for the first segment. We were in DC and heard about the segment (over and over) from various people before we were finally able to listen. It was jaw-dropping radio at its worst.

Co-hosts Aimee Allison and Philip Maldari . . . Allison is still new and still learning her way so we'll go easier on her. Philip? If we included only a third of the comments we heard and only those coming from people at either KPFA or who work on campus with Malderi, this piece would be dubbed "scalding" because "blistering" would be too mild. It was truly that bad.

Aimee's approach was, "Please tell us something wonderful about Barack that we can hang our hopes on." Philip's was "Don't Say Nothing Bad About My Baby." Philip's questions were openly hostile, Aimee's were like a child begging their parents to tell them Santa does exist.

The whole thing threw Klein. She never got to make the most obvious point, so let's start there.

She was trying to speak of (and later, in public, would) the moment the country is arriving at where some transformations will have to take place. Due to the Obama obsession of both hosts (Philip is publicly supporting Barack and doing so from public radio on the public airwaves, Aimee is publicly undeclared but presumed to be supporting Cynthia McKinney -- that hasn't ended the obsession for her), any talk of transformation was forever put on hold because America matters not at all when more time can be spent gas bagging on Barack.

The point Naomi Klein should have made (and could have had she been speaking to mature hosts) was, "In my book, now out in softcover, I outline how shocks provide cover for a lot of bad things to be inflicted on the people. Shocks can also result in the people pushing advances, if they are prepared and organized."

A few brief comments on FDR -- she was cut off -- were the closest she came to making that point. She frequently sounded dazed, frequently paused before speaking (not a normal Klein response in an interview) and that was due to the behavior of the hosts.

Let's move to a correction. Though both hosts repeatedly insisted they were talking to Naomi about her 'new' article in The Nation, they were wrong. Even presuming that the article could have been spoken about (it couldn't, not with Philip present), the article is not new. The interview took place July 31st, the article was published June 12th. Klein's 'new' column is "Disaster Capitalism: State of Extortion" and was published July 1st. Most KPFA listeners are hip to the fact that The Nation is nothing to rush out and buy, but for those who may not yet have grasped that fact, do not rush to your bookstore for the issue of The Nation containing Naomi's "new" article "Obama's Chicago Boys."

The most laughable moment (identified as such by another professor at Philip's campus) is when Philip has a "snit-fit" (we're quoting) over the University of Chicago. Klein is attempting to speak of the neoconservatives coming out of the business school of the university for many, many years. (And she goes into that in great detail in her latest book.) Philip, with righteous indignation, has to insist that's not true and Klein will clarify something that doesn't need clarifying, that she's speaking of the business school.

It's an embarrassment to listen to, the entire segment. When Naomi's attempting to move to the power of third-party candidates, she's cut off with non-stop Obama love. Any time she attempted to address the realities of Barack, it was time for Aimee to come off stunned and Philip to come off wounded.

Word to Philip, Barack is not your boyfriend.

Word to Philip, even Barack supporters are appalled by what you did.

Specifically, in one of Phil's attempts at a put-Klein-in-her-place (note the 'her') rejoinders, he insists that Barack can't very well come out as a Socialist and hope to win.

Philip, Barack's not a Socialist. And if that were said on Fox "News," Media Matters would be calling them out. You embarrassed yourself beyond belief, you've made yourself a joke at the station as well as on campus and you have no one to blame for that but yourself.

Klein was attempting to address the cadre of neoconservative economists Barack has assembled as advisors. Philip saw his own role not as exploring that topic but in offering some sort of broadcast craziness that had us thinking of Blanche DuBois yammering on about Belle Reve. Throughout the interview, Philip busied himself trying to hang paper lanterns over light bulbs so that all realities about Barack could be diluted. Which begs the question of why the program even booked Naomi to begin with? Was Philip hoping "Obama's Chicago Boys" was soft-porn?

Was Naomi brought on just so she could be argued with? Does anyone give a damn that some friend of Barack's -- Philip thought this was another brilliant rejoinder -- holds "the Edward Said chair." Edward Said's dead. That not only rhymes, it's reality. But there was Philip, dragging the chair into the room thinking that would brighten Barack's 'look.'

As one of his campus colleagues (who is planning to vote for Barack in November) put it, "Phil's no longer just drinking the Kool-Aid, he's drinking the urine." If he gets any crazier, the comparison is going to be Violet Venable and he may have already crossed into that territory last week when, interviewing a novelist we won't name because so very few even know of him, he and Philip commiserated on air about what racists America were. No Name and Philip apparently aren't part of America or else they're so far above the rest of us that we just don't know how they manage to tolerate us. Call it The Banality of Radio.

We have seen Naomi Klein interviewed by openly hostile hosts while promoting the latest book and she's never been thrown or flustered. We can only surmise that it must have been shocking to be invited on the left KPFA -- home of 'free speech' radio -- and find yourself jumped on air. What does Naomi outline in her 'new' article? If any listener knew, they must have read the article because despite having her as a guest for over twenty minutes, The Morning Show rarely allowed her the chance to complete sentences uninterrupted -- let alone make the argument she did in the article.

Philip used the 'strategy' the Cult of Obama perfected in the primaries: Blame Hillary.

Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign in June. There's really no claim to make, if Barack's the nominee, of how 'evil' Hillary allegedly is that advances Barack as a candidate. That should be obvious to everyone but some Kool-Aid drinkers still haven't caught on.

Which is why an attempted discussion of Barack's changing position on NAFTA suddenly had interruptions about Hillary. Well, Philip, Barack's campaign did speak to Canada and did tell them not to believe what Barack was saying against NAFTA. That's reality. You may not like it, but it is reality. Hiding behind Hillary at this late date changes nothing about Barack but it does make you look like a fool.

It was a waste of twenty minutes and a chore to listen to. At least with CounterSpin these days, you can treat it as a sitcom and laugh at them. That an article published June 12th was not new didn't go to the biggest lie told last week. That took place on WBAI.

WBAI is in fundraising mode again. On Friday, hilarity ensued from ten to eleven a.m. EST. That's when Amy Goodman was 'pitching' 'live.' Pull out your wallets, America, Goody insisted repeatedly, or you wouldn't get quality programming. Goody hasn't offered quality programming in some time. So she searched for examples. She offered up that Democracy Sometimes! would expand to two hours shortly to cover the Republican and Democratic campaign. "Only with you," she insisted, could 'alternative' radio provide the alternatives.

Any sentient being would have grasped that the Green Party convention's last month resulted in no weeks of expanding to two hours to provide 'coverage.' In fact, not even one episode was turned over to the convention. Goodman's full Green Party convention coverage was:

And the Green Party has nominated former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney to be the party's presidential nominee. The Greens also nominated hip-hop activist and organizer Rosa Clemente to be McKinney's running mate. McKinney spoke on Saturday at the Green Party convention in Chicago.Cynthia McKinney: "And when I got to Washington, I saw that public policy is really made in a room at a table. There were real seats at the table. Well, imagine what has happened to public policymaking now. There is a real room with a window and a door, and there's two seats at the table. The window is for us to look through, while our representatives make policy for us, so we can see what they're doing. At the table, one seat is for the Democrats, one seat is for the Republicans. Now, we don't know who did it, but one of them put a lock on the door and slipped a key to the corporate lobbyists who can come and go at will and whisper what they want to Democrats and Republicans, and the result is that we the people, who pay for those seats and determine who sits in them, want one thing, but because the corporate lobbyists can come and go at will, our values get overridden and our representatives give us something else. That’s how we end up with everyone saying they're against the war and occupation, but war and occupation still gets funding. That's how we end up with everyone saying they're against illegal spying on innocent people, yet end up with a telecom immunity bill being signed into law. That's how we end up with everyone saying they're in favor of universal access to healthcare and no one supporting what the physicians, nurses and healthcare really want, and that's a single-payer healthcare system in this country."

A four-day national convention and that was it. A four day convention and Goodman's entire 'coverage' was to provide the above in a headline on July 14th. But for the GOP and Democratic Party conventions, she's expanding her show to two hours each day. (As she did in 2004 for those same two parties while ignoring the Green Party convention.) And she sees herself as an "alternative" you need to fork over money to keep in business?

That was hilarious and you're probably thinking, "'Alternative?' What a big lie!" While it is a lie, it's not the big lie. The big lie was that Amy Goodman was speaking to you live.

Amy Goodman was on vacation last week and, no, she didn't dash down to the WBAI studio to make her pitch.

Listeners are used to the pledge drive pattern where a lot of canned speeches, interviews and documentaries get played (film documentaries played over radio) but this has to be a first, canned requests for money. With phones ringing (and "Thank you for that call!") in the background.

What they did was take Goody's already recorded pitch and 'broadcast' that while pretending Goody was in the WBAI studio speaking live. We were laughing as we listened and only laughed more when Sharif Abdel Kouddous pretended he was interrupting Amy speaking live (like she'd ever let that happen!) to say that, oops, they had run out of time. We wondered if Sharif then left the studio talking to a non-existent Goody to really continue that bit of craziness. We can imagine him standing outside the studio on the street, bickering with pretend Amy about what deli they should take lunch at.

Because Goody was on vacation, Democracy Now! was actually watchable for three days last week. No surprise, those were the first three days, the ones Juan Gonzalez hosted by himself. There was actually diversity. There could have been more diversity; however, were it not necessary to bring on the Soros money. Soros apparently doesn't hire Latinos which is how we got a White Anglo yammering on about alarm in the Latino community. (In the Latino and African-American communties, actually, but note they brought on an African-American to be representive of that community.) Something to consider: As the left continues to express outrage at how John D. Rockefeller used a tiny portion of his money to buy a good name, do they really think they can remain silent on George Soros? Blood money will always be blood money. It doesn't 'clean up.'

Had they finished the week with Juan, it would have been the strongest week for the program since at least 2004. Instead Thursday and Friday were Sharif and Anjali Kamat taking over the hosting duties (they shared the duties, even headlines with Sharif grabbing them Thursday and Anajali taking them Friday). What did we learn? Maybe where the lack of focus is?

Thursday and Friday devoted segments to such issues (and 'issues') as the violence against Palestinians, police abuse in NYC, the DNC convention (no, it hasn't started yet), WTO, Mexico and a US candidate for public office claiming (we are not making this up) that Al Jazeera tried to kidnap him. If the bulk of that struck you as a "war and peace report," you're very easy to please.

Bully Boy declared Iraq a turned corner on Thursday and, for reasons unknown (lack of interest is probably the reason), Anajali repeated his words without question on Friday in headlines. She did add that he never mentioned Afghanistan. Oh, snap!

Iraq hasn't turned a corner at all. The violence was always expected to decrease temporarily as October approached. When Nouri al-Maliki threatened to ban those he dubbed 'militias' from the political process, Moqtada al-Sadr sent out a strong warning to his supporters. Everyone has been laying low for months with the hopes that they can take back Iraq via elections. The Iraqi Parliament hit the 'snooze button' on the elections last month when they forgot no one's ever supposed to mention Kirkuk. Doing so in a bill on provincial elections meant the Kurdish bloc walked out and that the bill, which passed, was shot down by the presidential commission. (The Iraqi Parliament is supposed to meet in special session to address the provincial elections. They are otherwise on summer recess.) What we just listed is only one of the factors. There are many more. But the program felt no urgency to explore any. The White House said it so the program accepted it. And still wants to be considered 'alternative' media.

About all you learned during Thursday and Friday's broadcasts is that Anagali can make some strange faces . . .


And Sharif is so in love with Barack that he's taken to dressing like him.


Note the s-curve of his tie.

Not a lot of information provided in either which brings us back to the point we started with earlier. Reality and power and, yes, 'reality.' Big Brother and other 'reality' shows endorse trickery and deceit to get your way. If you ever doubted the impact those bad TV shows have left on America, check out 'alternative' media and grasp that it has stopped being any kind of alternative. Barack's presumed nomination means that he be covered for and those rare voices that attempt to shine a tiny light on the reality of the Christ-child will be harassed on air. By hosts, not callers.

Panhandle Media now exists for only two reasons. First, to beg for money because working in the real world is scary. Think of them as the forty-year-olds who moved back in with Mom and Dad. Second, to provide non-stop cover for Barack because apparently, years and years ago, when the need for alternative media was obvious it was created to one day rush to the rescue of Barack. Oh, it wasn't? Don't bother telling them that fact. Not only would they not listen, they'd probably tag-team you the way Allison and Maldari did Naomi Klein last week.

Nader '08: Health care and dining

"These guys just want to support insurance guys," explained Mari Anderson to Susanne Cevenka (Florida Today) on why she's not supporting presumed GOP presidential candidate John McCain or presumed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama but is instead supporting Ralph Nader. Universal health care is the issue Anderson's supporting.

And what is independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's health care position? "[A] Canadian-style, private delivery, free choice of hospital and dcotr, public health insurance system." In May of 2008, Ralph wroe about Lisa Kelly who suffers from leukemia and was intially rejected by 'non-profit' (and tax-exempt) M.D. Anderson Cancer Center until she and her husband would put down an initial downpayment for $45,000 (after which they were regularly hit up for five-figure checks or else her 'treatment' was stopped). As Ralph pointed out, "In America, 18,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford health care, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. Many more get sick or become sicker." As he explained in 2000, "These people up in Canada stumbled upon something 30 years ago. It's called a universal human right: health care, and preventive health as well. If they do it 30 years ago we can do it now."

September 22, 1993, President Bill Clinton addressed Congress, "Every generation of Americans has worked to strengthen that legacy, to make our country a place of freedom and opportunity, a place where people who work hard can rise to their full potential, a place where their children can have a better future. . . . Millions of Americans are just a pink slip away from losing their health insurance, and one serious illness away from losing all their savings. Millions more are locked into the jobs they have now just because they or someone in their family has once been sick and they have what is called a preexisting condition. And on any given day, over 37 million Americans -- most of them working people and their little children -- have no health insurance at all. . . . Forty years from now, our grandchildren will also find it unthinkable that there was a time in this country when hardworking families lost their homes, their savings, their businesses, lost everything simply because their children got sick or because they had to change jobs. Our grandchildren will find such things unthinkable tomorrow if we have the courage to change today."

It's fifteen years later and there was no change. The same system is still in place and nothing's changed. In another fifteen years will we again be saying the same thing? Ralph Nader supports universal health care. And he supports it now. (He supported it in all of his runs.) Universal coverage for all. That's one of the things you support when you support Ralph.

Where did he get the 'audacity' to dare to dream of a fair America?

"You know mother, all I am doing is documenting your intution." Barbara Gamarekian quoted Ralph in 1977 ("Bring Up Ralph Nader: A Mother's Food for Thought," New York Times, June 27, 1977). In that article, the journalist got her answer to what Ralph likes to eat when his mother was in DC and she was invited to a meal cooked by Nathra Nader which included hummus, kibbee and a green salad. Ralph grew up in a working family, with two sisters and one brother. Their parents owned and operated a restaurant and a bakery and still made time to educate their children:

"One day, I came home and my parents were in the backyard and my mother said, 'How much is a dozen oranges?' I knew. 'How much is a dozen eggs?' And I knew. Because my father had a restaurant, so I knew the prices. And then they said, 'How much is that breeze that's caressing our faces? What do you think that sun is worth right now? And you hear those birds? What's the price of those birds?' And they were trying to teach me that there are things that are priceless. You don't always measure things by the dollar. And I remembered that as I embarked in my struggle against commercialism and the overwhelming spread of commercial dictates into universities, into government, even into religion, into areas far removed from traditional market place venues."

Ralph would go on to graduate from Princeton and Harvard. But for some reason, you never hear Professor Patti Williams gush, "He was editor of the Harvard Law Review!" Nor does anyone bother to figure out if Ralph was the first Arab-American editor of the Harvard Law Review -- not even Professor Patti, she who gushes over all things to do with the Harvard Law Review.

But back to food which had a very prominent place in Ralph's life.

Which is why it shouldn't be surprising that Team Nader launched an event (July 23rd) where you can win dinner with Ralph. Who wins? "The person who brings in the most e-mail sign-ups by August 7 at midnight to wins." It's already proven so popular that they've added to it: if you recruit five people to sign up, you can "take part in an invitation-only conference call with Ralph and Matt [Gonzales, Ralph's running mate]" and if you recruit 20 people to sign up, you can get a Nader-Gonzalez t-shirt.

Today the Nader-Gonzalez '08 campaign has events in California:

Sun. August 3rd, 1:30pm

Nader for President 2008 Rally w/ Matt Gonzalez

Sebastopol, CA

Sebastopol Community Center

390 Morris St.,

Sebastopol, CA 95472

Contribution $10/$5 student

(415) 897-6989 or

Map it

Sun Aug. 3rd, 4:30pm

Ralph Nader Book Signing and Speech w/ Matt Gonzalez

Healdsburg, CA

Copperfield's books

104 Matheson St.,

Healdsburg, CA

95448 (707) 235-1026 or

Map it

Sun Aug. 3rd, 7:30pm

Nader for President 2008 Rally w/ Matt Gonzalez

Kentfield, CA (Marin)

College of Marin- Olney Hall

835 College Ave.,

Kentfield, CA

Contribution $10/$5 students

(415) 897-6989 or

Map it

The Death of Panhandle Media

The bottom is already falling out of Panhandle Media and has been for some time. That's not surprising. The only reason people began turning to 'alternative' media was due to the fact that it was an alternative to Real Media on Iraq. That was their calling card. They discarded it quickly with a number thinking, "I can radicalize this audience!" Not if you can't keep 'em. Instead of keeping the focus on Iraq and introducing other sub-topics, they dropped Iraq and went running after all their pet causes.

All it did was turn off a number who'd come aboard. Not only did it not help their pet causes, it actually hurt those causes because people don't like being force fed.

No one's supposed to notice but circulation is down for The Nation and all the rest (the drop at The Nation is the largest but Katrina appears bound and determined to run that magazine into the ground -- handed the reigns when the magazine had a record readership, she has run off the readership). Listenership and pledges are down for Pacifica.

They never grasped that the audience was something to be respected. Instead, they thought they could control the audience. For an allegedly "grassroots media," they ignored the wishes of their audience and instead attempted to 'prove their power' by treating their audience like subjects to be ordered around.

While the audiences wanted coverage of the illegal war -- from Iraq, from the homefront, war resisters, etc. -- they decided they wanted this or that issue. Then they decided their 'alternative' role was to get the nomination for Barack. Now they're off to elect Barack. And their audience dwindles. It was never their right to try to control their audiences. Their job was to inform. They didn't do their job. And they didn't respect the audience that came on board out of disgust with the Real Media over Iraq. That was the bond between their new HUGE audience and themselves. They betrayed the bond repeatedly and now it's probably broken. They could up their coverage of Iraq tomorrow and it probably wouldn't mater. It's probably too late for them.

No one ever wanted Rush Limbaugh from the left. That's why Air America Radio is going under and has been since before it went on air.

One of the most amazing things we keep hearing on campuses across American is students stating that this has taught them that the excesses of the left are no different than the excesses of the right.

For those of us old enough to have lived through truly political times, it's appalling that the left today blew it without having a damn thing to show for it. The conversation taking place on campuses across the country about the left's excesses is appalling for that reason. In an earlier time, when those comments popped up, it was generally because of the Weather Underground and other elements of armed resistance. You'd hear people say, "Nixon's bombing Vietnam, the Weather Underground's bombing the US." Said with disgust. And they'd groan about the excesses of the left. Regardless of what you think of the Weather Underground (they were a response to the context of their times -- and not a surprising response considering the violence the government was regularly deploying), at least things were being accomplished up to that point. You already had protests and marches, you already had an awareness that went beyond just what was taking place in Vietnam.

None of that's happened today. (There are protests and marches but not on the same scale and there hasn't been a big protest against the illegal war since January of 2007.) College students have already reached the point where they talk about the excesses of the left (and these are left college students) . A movement leader from back then stopped over to talk last week and was asking those who regularly speak to campus groups (C.I., Ava, Kat and Wally) what they'd been hearing on campuses. We all went to that point right away because it's been springing up regularly (and loudly) since April. His comment was, "They blew their wad to elect Barack." Crude but true.

If it's not clear, how about some examples?

We can start with those who did their job. Dennis Bernstein and Nora Barrows-Friedman cover occupied Palestine. That's always been their beat and always will be. They don't treat it like a pet cause. They also managed to cover Iraq (and did so better than any other US radio program). The illegal war and the occupation of Iraq was naturally going to raise awareness of the Palestinians. People were naturally going to make correlations between the two. And Bernstein and Barrows-Friedman were there (on Flashpoints) to assist with that. But they were never ham-fisted. Yes, Dennis can get loud. (He can also drop to a whisper.) That's his radio style. And that's not ham-fisted. Ham-fisted is what too many other programs (include Amy Goodman's crap here though she's far from alone) did. In part, that's because she's too indebted to too many to ever cover that region honestly. So it played out like tantrums where Goody ignored it and ignored and then she was outraged (then?) by some assault (as though assaults don't take place every day in that occupation?) and everything else would fall off the radar.

She had no sense of balance or perspective. Bernstein and Barrows-Friedman do because it's not a topic they pick up only when it's front page news. They work that topic all the time. They knew what they were doing and their audience knew they could trust them. Goody played it like (infamous 'sixties' insult) she was a hitchhiker on the highway of causes.

The Nation did as well. The cover story on the suffering of Egyptian bloggers? Did someone forget the title of the magazine? (The Nation?) Probably when they also forgot the illegal war. They thought they could be a global grasshopper and then, as Katrina vanden Heuvel did on Goody's show, have a meltdown and tantrum when people didn't know all the facts on Putin's attacks on the new Russian oligarchs. Why didn't they know that? Well people like Katrina hadn't used their forums to cover it. But when it was news, it was time to throw a tantrum on radio, TV and online. 2006 was when they finally decided on a 'focus' and that was the 2008 presidential election. That's when they started their take-down of Hillary (as is obvious just by going through the magazine's cover illustrations). Their focus became Barack. And that's all the so-called left has to show for it.

As Winona tells Ethan in Reality Bites, "That's not real much."

And it really isn't.

But some people never aim higher than their shins and yet wonder why they're still standing in the gutter?

Barack is the creation of Panhandle Media and, like his creators, he thinks he can play the American public. Last week, Barack yet again played the race card and hilariously declared he doesn't look like "other presidents." Other presidents? Did we miss the election because we kind of thought the November election hadn't rolled around yet.

The John McCain camp immediately responded (something past opponents should have been doing) and called him out on his craven use of race. Barack immediately tried to deny that he was injecting race into the discussion but he's gone to the well on that one too many times. From Friday's "Iraq snapshot:"

Joseph (Cannonfire) explains, "McCain never said anything about Obama's patriotism or his name, and he certainly never said anything about race. Yet the Obots actually have defended this rhetoric. They applaud their candidate for running against a hallucinated line of attack." Marcia weighed in, "Barack has played the race card non-stop throughout his run. As an African-American, I know what the bi-racial blunder's doing, he's trying to egg up support from the African-American community. He's trying to turn us into his street team. His 'okey doke' and all of that other bull was an attempt back in the primaries. It is the only card he has left to play and it's not going to play in a general election." Silly Barack declared today, "There was nobody there who thought at all that I was trying to inject race in this" because, apparently, none of our presidents have had two ears, two eyes, one mouth and one nose. Is that what Barack's trying to say? Or was he trying to draw attention -- yet again -- to his 'divine' figure? is he running to become the bulimic president? Barack's Cult has trouble with facts so that probably sailed over them.

Josh Micah's Marshy & Hairy Ass Crack tried to play the race card all last week. At one point they were trying to conflate other words with "uppity" and say someone was calling Barack "uppity" and that was racism! Well if they were trying to call Barack "uppity," we tend to think most people could use the term "uppity." Second of all, "uppity" has a long and excessive history at Josh Micah's Marshy & Hairy Ass Crack . . . applied to Hillary. Who knew Hillary was bi-racial! Reality check, "uppity" is an insulting term. It is not a racist term in and of itself. It can be a sexist term when coupled with "woman" but that was nothing for Josh Micah to ponder as he picked at his Marshy & Hairy Ass Crack for months while "uppity" was regularly utilized at his site to describe Hillary.

Unlike his Cult, Barack knew he'd gone too far. He knew his use of false cries of racism throughout the Democratic primaries were already backfiring and creating a backlash among people damn tired of being called "racists" because they don't support a weak and record-less candidate. So the campaign dialed it down a notch, a smidge, and backed off from responding to McCain's announcing he wouldn't let them play the race card on him. [See "THIS JUST IN! HE'S SUCH A CELEBRITY!" and "Sexism got his tongue."]

Realizing the dangers of yet-again playing the race card, Barack immediately tried to walk it back in his public statements offering various explanations. Such as this:

"I was in Union, Mo., which is 98 percent white, a rural conservative, and what I said was what I think everyone knows, which is that I don’t look like I came out of central casting when it comes to presidential candidates."

Central casting? What a drama queen. Sidebar, Joe Biden badly worded a statement in 2007 and the press appointed Barack the 'decider' of whether it was racist or not. Barack let Biden sweat for a bit before pronouncing it non-racist. It had the effect of scaring off a lot of his oppenents and of inflating Barack's already healthy self-love. And today, Barack can make up any lie and have it repeated without question. Take the above quote which The New York Times recycled. Is Union 98% White? Not according to the US census. It took about five seconds to find out that it's 95.9% White. But no one must ever question (or fact check) the Christ-child. At River Daughter, garychapelhill noted the way the Obama campaign tried to spin it to AP ("What Barack Obama was talking about was that he didn’t get here after spending decades in Washington," Gibbs said.) and scoffed at the notion that George Washington or Abe Lincoln could be said to have spent "decades in Washington".

It's not been a pretty time for Barack. The bloom went off the rose in February and it's been downhill nonstop ever since. Poor Barack. He really could have used Amy Goodman -- never afraid to fearlessly whore whatever's left of her reputation for Barack -- last week; however, she was on vacation. Which is why audiences got to see the first Asian-American guest in forever on the program. Goody's back at Pravada On The Hudson this week so look for her to sling it like there's no tomorrow.

Barack is their baby and they have the stretch marks to show and then some. It's why they let him do everything they call out in the current White House. Remember all the outrage over Bully Boy using 'linkage' to falsely connect 9-11 and Iraq? It was faux outrage on the part of Panhandle Media. They weren't bothered by the lie, they were bothered that Bully Boy lied. That's become increasingly clear as they not only refuse to call out Barack using the same 'strategy' but they enable him. "McSame." MoveOn's 'contribution' -- repeated by many. Barack says John McCain is four more years of Bully Boy. Uses the names "Bush" and "McCain" in the same sentences. And then wants to pretend he's running some high minded campaign.

John McCain is not George W. Bush. We're not voting for him but find it rather said that the lie is promoted by all the losers of Panhandle Media and their candidate. It was wrong for Bully Boy to falsely link but it's okay for Barack. For them, anything that Barack does is a-okay. We sort of picture Gary Younge rushing to insist he'd drink Barack's toilet water. (We don't doubt that he would.)

As C.I. noted Saturday, McCain's next ad needs to take on this crap:

John McCain: Hello, I'm John McCain. I've been in the US Senate for a number of years and most Americans know me. For some reason, Senator Barack Obama doesn't seem to know me. He keeps linking me to George W. Bush. As most Americans know, I am my own person [McCain would probably say "man"] and it's really strange to hear Senator Obama repeatedly cry that we need to deal with issues while he repeatedly tries to turn me into someone else. Barack Obama, let me introduce myself, I'm John McCain and I'm your opponent. You don't have a record to run on and you seem to think you can refuse to let me run on mine. You seem to think you can trick the American people into believing that George W. Bush is running for re-election and not me. You already wrongly stated in public that the United States has 58 states so maybe you're not up on the Constitution but the way it works is a president can only have two terms. George W. Bush's second term is expiring. I am your opponent. You toss a lot of words around about wanting to deal with issues, then you lie and say I'm a clone or a twin of someone else. The American people are not stupid. Stop insulting them and me. It's 2008, Senator Obama, not 2000 or 2004. If you want 'change, try changing your calendar.

Until McCain confronts him on it publicly, Barack doesn't have to try to run on anything, he just has to keep linking McCain to the Bully Boy -- knowing the whole time that his minions will do the same. And, as a general rule, radio stations receiving your tax dollars via the government should not be allowed to use "McSame" as a 'critique' or 'discussion' of McCain. They are in violation and they can have their licenses pulled because they are not commercial radio and they have to meet a set criteria of standards. Apparently having no case to make for the object of their lust, they think they can falsely link McCain and that it's okay. And that they're performing, get ready for the punchline, 'journalism.'


If you look at the way Hillary won the primaries and had it stolen from her and think, "This is like something the Republicans pulled in 2000!" Or if you think of all the smears against Hillary during the primaries coming from the 'left' that were nothing but recycled right-wing lies from the 90s? You're not mistaken.

There are two reasons for that. Whores don't value honesty. They're all about the money. Panhandle Media has a lot of them in its midst. (Not sex-workers because, look at them, they couldn't pick up a drunk at last call if they needed to in order to make rent.) The second reason is because it's not really the 'left.' It's Arianna and The Daily Toilet Scrubber -- Republicans who swear they've changed but behave exactly the same way. It's LaRouche groupies put on The Nation payroll. Panhandle Media has imploded. And still they beg.

Captain Caveman Barack

Captain Caveman strikes again!


In the latest in a string of caves (Iraq, NAFTA public financing, FISA . . .), Barack Obama announced Friday that he was open to offshore drilling thereby stabbing US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the back. In a rare show of spine (and to please her big donors), Pelosi took offshore drilling off the table and declared that she would refuse to even let it come to a vote. Friday, Barack showed up wearing a skimpy thong of solidarity and talking "compromise."

Captain Caveman's gives away the farm before he's even signed the lease.

Pelosi, after nearly two years as the House leader, finally finds something she can stand firm on and Barack cuts her off at the knees. He can't support the people and he can't even support his own party.

For Barack, it is always and forever about Barack.

It took a lot of stupid for him to get this far and stupid even reached the great Howard Zinn. Hopefully, it's the only stupid thing that Zinn will do for the next four years, but it was stupid of him.

When Barack was getting close to caving on FISA, a number of his supporters took to his campaign's official site to register their objection.

Because The Nation is run by the brain dead and the socially stunted today, they decide to copy that with an open letter. (They only know how to do what was done before, no visionaries or dreamers they.) The open letter is called "Change *We* Can Believe In" and if the starring of "We" didn't indicate to you there was a lot of ego tripping going down, you only had to read the names of those who signed on to the garbage -- including non-Democrat Frances Fox Piven (billed as Francis Piven -- what happened, she looked in a mirror?), The Ego Of Us All's Red Buddy who pimped her hard to The New York Times and did more to lie for Friedan than even she herself did, Democratic Groupie (in the worst sense of "groupie" in the rock world) Norm Solomon, Tom-Tom Hayden (still fretting about the 1969 violence we pointed out recently), Red Billy Fletcher, Take Me To My Divorce Pay Day! Jodie Evans, Emma Goldman lookalike Barbara Ehrenreich, Does-Marlo-Know-You-Signed-That-Garbage Phil Donahue, School Girl Katrina vanden Heuvel (who reportedly came up with the embarrassing phrase "the long night of greed" -- to which C.I. responded, "Oh, she's turned her hand to autobigoraphy?") and, yes, Howard Zinn.

The 'open letter' is not about accountability. It's about fawning and we're reminded yet again that when the non-democratic Don't Run Ralph! crap started in 2004, Zinn sadly hopped on board that as well. "We recognize that compromise is necessary in any democracy!" insist the pathetics as they lick Barack's boots. "We understand that the pressure brought to bear on those seeking the highest office are intense." Blah, blah, blah, garbage, garbage, garbage.

Although John Pilger, Adolph Reed Jr., Doug Henwood, Glen Ford and Paul Street (among others) have made perfectly clear that there is no movement, the open letter lies and pretend there is. They 'source' that false claim with such interesting evidence as, "The millions who . . . visit your website are a powerful testament to this new movement's energy and passion." Ah, yes, the website. Who among us can forget how website traffic kicked off the labor movement at the turn of the last century, how MLK decided to skip speaking to the public and instead post videos to get more 'hits'?

Why does Barack keep caving? Partly because of garbage like this:

Your candidacy has inspired a wave of political enthusiasm like nothing seen in this country for decades. In your speeches, you have sketched out a vision of a better future--in which the United States sheds its warlike stance around the globe and focuses on diplomacy abroad and greater equality and freedom for its citizens at home--that has thrilled voters across the political spectrum.

Barack promotes 'fighting' the 'war on terror,' proposes more US troops in Afghanistan and his advisers want war in Africa. He's never sketched out anything. He's been vague and it's been the liars like Tom-Tom and Katty-van-van who've supplied 'details.'

No change will come from this letter. Hopefully the signees will all receive what their letter truly indicates they want, an 8x10, glossy, autographed photo of Barack.


Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels" and the teen angels are: Matthew Rothschild, Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel and Betsy Reed. At least Rothschild showed the good sense (thus far) not to put his name to that garbage. (We're told Betsy's taking lessons in cursive so that she can sign.)

Workin' it for Sister Baracka

At NOW's national convention last month, the organization's president brought 'greetings' from Sister Baracka who apparently has been imprisoned for the brave Obama battle to ensure 'liberty' for all women and 'sweeties' who aren't 'feeling blue' and whose 'claws' have not come out. [See "Sister Barack's cool reception,""THIS JUST IN! SISTER BARACK BOMBS!" and "Iraq snapshot".]

No surprise, it did not go over well with those assembled.

Apparently Kim will have to double up on her efforts to betray feminism in order to throw support to Sister Baracka.

In an exclusive call from Corporatist Country Club Prison (aka "The Mansion That Tony Rezko Made Possible"), Sister Baracka stated, "All the sweeties need to join my struggle. There's nothing in it for them. But Free Sister Baracka! I am not permitted to have shoestrings or razor blades, although I am not considered an escape risk! I am allowed to eat breakfast but either on the floor, on the toilet or at a formal dining table with my friends from Wal-Mart. I am in a prison of my own making and I invite you girls to join me because what is freedom really? Free Sister Baracka! Until I'm free, I can't launch more attacks on women and on abortion rights! Or at least not as many attacks as I'd like to!"

Go on, girl, tell it like it is!

Poor Kim, it should have been an easy sell. After all she was just speaking to . . . women. How much do they know? Just because they saw rampant, non-stop sexism, that didn't mean Kim couldn't shill and get them on board with Sister Baracka, right?

The mistake Kim made was in underestimating how strong women are.

Across the country, women are showing their strength and, sadly, it's a strength missing in the leadership.

Leadership thought they could sell feminists out by addressing 'sexism' against Michelle Obama. Now 'sexism' isn't very important to non-feminists, so to get in good with the Boys, the gals in leadership tacked on 'racism.'

And where did it get them?

First off, MoveOn -- that greaty lefty! -- took part in action where their spokesperson was Nas -- infamous for such ditties as "Pu**y Kills." As if that slap in the face wasn't enough, VIBE decided last week to flat out lie about feminists. [See "Martha tells VIBE to f**k the hell off," "nader, womencount pac and idiot at vibe" and "I Hate The War."]

There is nothing you will ever do that will appease the thugs in Barack's Cult. Wise up.

For the record, this site contacted VIBE by e-mail and Jim spoke to them on the phone last week. VIBE states they aren't interested in correcting their lies about feminists.

'Leaders,' you done been played.

And after staying silent on Ludacris last week.

Yeah, Ludacris.

From C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" last Thursday:

January 16, 2007 Barack Obama declared his intention to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Interesting. Before Barack told the American people he was running, months before, he met with a rapper. Deanne Bellandi (Chicago Sun-Times) reported November 29, 2006 on Barack's meet up with "rapper Ludacris . . . Obama declined to comment after their meeting but walked with [Chris] Bridges [Ludacris' legal name] to the elevator as he left." Nearly two months before Barack would tell the American people that he had decided to run for president, he was sounding out Ludacris. By that time Ludacris was already gutter trash with a long history of misogny. It got him kicked from the Jackson County Fair in 2003 -- three years prior to Barack's first known 'counseling' with Ludacris. That wouldn't stop Barack from praising him to Rolling Stone and bragging that he had Ludacris on his iPod. Presumably the feminist manifesto "Move Bitch"? Ludacris is in the news and a complete reflection on the gutter trash campaign Barack has run. And Barack's praised him as among the "great talents and great businessmen." [See Cedric's "Gutter Trash you can smell" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! THE LEADER TRIES TO CONTROL THE CULT!"] The Guardian of London has long been in the tank for Barack. They're a laugh and not real journalism. It's only on this side of the ocean that they're taken seriously. In England they're seen as the party organ for the Labour Party. So let's see how they lie. Ewen MacAskill 'informs' that: "Obama, seeking to become the first African-American president, was not helped by a song by the Grammy award-winning rapper Ludacris endorsing him and abusing McCain, George Bush and Clinton." To be clear, Rev. Jesse Jackson is disrespected in the song. In a rap song, that's not surprising. In one attempting to help out Ludacris' lover-man Barack, it's appalling. Way to pimp that 'unity.' The remark about John McCain would have people screaming if anyone had said it about Barack. But what does Ewen Pig leave out? Hillary.
Laura Yao (Washington Post) explained it this way, "On YouTube yesterday, rapper Ludacris released a song called 'Politics,' in which he denigrates President Bush, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- all in the space of about two minutes. . . In the next line, the three-time Grammy Award winner calls Clinton an 'irreleveant [slur for female]'." It's a campaign song for Barack and it's recorded by the man Barack's not only praised but sought out for 'counsel' since November 2006. What was Barack's response? As usual NOT A DAMN WORD. His campaign flack was sent out. A detail Foon Rhee (Boston Globe) and many others fail to grasp. Barack's not condemned a thing. Feminist Wire Daily finally decides they can call out sexism. Of course, they fail to connect it to Bernie Mac's sexist routine at Barack's campaign event earlier this year which led to boos and heckling -- and to Barack finding it so delightful, he had to 'joke' too. WomenCount PAC (which FWD doesn't even think to link to) "is calling for an apology as well as a blanket condemnation by the Party leadership. . . . These lyrics are outrageous, offensive, and unacceptable. In an e-mail this afternoon to its membership, WomenCount states, 'It is another example of hateful, sexist language being used on the campaign trail, and now is our moment to make it clear: not on our watch! The leadership of both parties must step up to condemn such hateful speech and demand apologies. The Obama campaign has criticized the lyrics, but we call on the presumptive party nominee, who is the celebrated subject of the new song, to go even further: Publicly condemn the song. Demand an apology on behalf of the targets. Now." Now? And where our the little girls of NOW? The same useless 'leadership' that could insist The New Yorker DESTROY copies of their magazine bound for overseas (while ignoring the Bernie Mac event) can't seem to say a DAMN THING. Did Kim sleep in this morning? If you're missing it, check the news coverage and note how ha-ha and 'minor' this is being treated. CBS News online? Could Scott Conroy explain how calling Hillary a "bitch" doesn't strike him as "harsh"? Are our 'leaders' going to stay silent again? Are they going to betray women again? And when does CBS plan to public respond to what they allowed online? As Ava and I noted in "CBS 'cares' enough to promote sexism," the network's news site shut down comments on Barack stories when they felt racist comments were being left ("too many" was actually how it was worded -- apparently CBS will accept an undefined number of racist comments) but they didn't do a damn thing about the sexism and, in fact, their online policy does not even name sexism as being off limits. It does name comparisons to Hitler off limits (no surprise after CBS' problems with the mini-series earlier this decade) but they waived that rule repeatedly to allow Barack's gutter trash to post that Hillary was Hitler. Feminist leaders, if they're really leaders, will get off their asses and call this out because we don't need you as leaders if you don't. Women have been trashed -- this isn't just about Hillary -- non-stop for months now. Leaders either show they can lead or face the threats of boycotts that are already rumbling in the grassroots. (If a boycott is called, Ava and I will do our part to get the word out on it when we speak to women's groups.)

A sorry item from Feminist Wire Daily that didn't even link to WomenCount and silence from NOW?

In the real world, women and men appalled by the sexism have created their own leadership and organizations because the feminist 'leaders' are FAILING. Among the groups saying sexism is not acceptable are The Denver Group, PUMA and Just Say No Deal. If you're having trouble grasping just how powerful those three groups are, keep in mind that Feminst Wire Daily is TOO AFRAID to even mention these groups.

While established 'leadership' gets played over and over (and acts like they like it), others are loudly calling out sexism. Start visiting some of the sites and you'll see women are really starting to notice how SILENT our 'leadership' has been and how we can't count on Feminist Majority Foundation or NOW to stand up for women.

'Leadership' that can't get with the grassroots are make themselves useless. Repeatedly for nearly three months now, C.I. has explained to women's groups (when someone brought up the idea of boycotting NOW and Feminist Majoirty Foundation) the downside of such a boycott. The downside matters less and less when they refuse to stand up for feminism. If a boycott is called (and women around the country are eager to call one), you better believe that C.I. and all of us on the road with C.I. will be promoting that boycott and getting the word out on it. Truth is, the boycott's already started and, if you doubt that, ask to see Ms. circulation figures for the last two months and especially focus on how many subscribers are choosing not to renew.

The real leaders today have been devising some very strong videos and reminding us all of some very strong songs by women: Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good," the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready To Make Nice," Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler's "You Don't Own Me," Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking," Meredith Brook's "Bitch" and Cyndi Lauper's "Money Changes Everything" among them. Others have already suggested that Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" is the perfect song to illustrate Barack so we'll head in another direction with our suggestion: Pat Benetar.

It's a little too little

It's a little too late

I'm a little too hurt

And there's nothin' left that I've gotta say

You can cry to me baby

But there's only so much I can take

Ah, it's a little too little

It's a little too late


Jim: Roundtable time. We hadn't planned to do one but it was pointed out that we were all together in one location, a rare thing. So here goes, this is a rush transcript. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, and Ava and me Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ. We're going to work in some e-mails and topics include sexism, the presidential race, the Iraq War and more. Illustration done by Betty's son. Ty's gone through the e-mails Saturday. First off The Los Angeles Times dropped their book section. Ty?


Ty: Amanda e-mails to say we should really think about returning to our book discussions. She points to The Los Angeles Times and worried about reading in the country now. She wondered if anyone wanted to touch this?

Elaine: Let me start that. World Can't Wait has a reading club. The Nation is now copying them and even got some ink with their lie of "Oh, look what we're doing! Reading club for the left!" The World Can't Wait already has a book club. We've tried to include that for several weeks so let me toss that out right now.

Ruth: Dona told those of us who do not generally speak a great deal to try and grab early on, so I will go next. I do not believe most people who buy a large number of books rush out to buy one based on a review somewhere. A strong book review may make me rush to get a book already on my list sooner but I have never bought a book because some newspaper recommended it. In fact, most of the 'reviews' are useless and filled with errors. That is especially true when someone decides to review 'left' books and to do several in one review. In terms of the left, I do not see it as a great loss -- papers dropping their books section -- because all that means is less lies and elss snark. In terms of fiction, most fiction reads I know avoid book reviews until after they have read the book to avoid twists and turns being revealed. The literay section was always a way for minor names to show out. It was not about reading, it was not about encouraging reading.

Mike: I can't add much because I think big points have already been covered. I will point out that we're really not interested. A number of people we might have raved over a book by or at least been kind, we're not interested. A lot of liars on the left have demonstrated that they're nothing but liars. Are we supposed to get on board another bad clip job by Jim Hightower? Where he says the same thing he's said for the entire decade? Forget his lying, I'm not interested in bad sequels that do the same thing over and over. A lot of people have provided lousy reads and what's the point? We did a book discussion of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism right before the book came out and that was the last book worth it in my opinion. That was September 2007. I'm not interested in most of the garbage that's come out in non-fiction and I'm not interested in all the garbage passing for fiction that, at best, would make a good column about the foibles of life. Last April, Ava and C.I. reviewed the new 'book' by Amy and David Goodman. That was a lot of work and there's no way we could have done that in a book discussion. Or that we'd want to. Ava and C.I. found a way to provide laughter, to provide a fact check and to warn you about a really bad book. We had hoped to discuss Ann Wright's book which we all enjoyed but book discussions take a lot of time and we were waiting to pair it with something. Nothing ever came along. If a war resister puts out a book we will do a discussion. Otherwise, there's probably not going to be one. If Klein's book ends up being our last one, good. That was a powerful book to go out on.

Jess: I'd agree that was the best book to go out on and I know, from Ava and C.I., it will be mentioned again this week in their TV commentary. Jane Mayer's got a good book out and, if it weren't getting attention, we'd probably graft Ann Wright and Mayer's book together to do a book discussion. But most of the books coming out are garbage. We originally, in our first year, included fiction. We went to non-fiction because we thought there was enough escapism in the country. We then zoomed in on Iraq. That minimized the scope. But, as everyone's pointed out, there's nothing worth reviewing and that goes to the embarrassment that is today's so-called 'left.' When we did book discussions we included people like Tariq Ali, people who had something worth saying. A lot of gas bags mistake themselves for book authors, they aren't and my attitude is that no trees should have died to feed their egoism so by not rushing to do another book discussion, we're doing our part to save the environment.

Dona: I want to make three points. First, community member Folding Star did book discussions at A Winding Road. When FS shut the site down, that really only left Martha and Shirley in the community. They do a year-in-review book piece at the end of each year. If you look at the books we discussed here, a number of strong beliefs and ethics were promoted by the writers and, as we all saw, they are nothing but liars. To use one example only, they spoke of the need for more options and for more coverage and to break from the MSM. As they've demonstrated at their websites this year, they practice nothing they preached. They played us. We're not interested. Third, there is the time factor. Mike does his own site, is now in grad school, works and does a column for Polly's Brew each Sunday. He actually has covered two books this summer in those columns. But that's a time limitation. Ava and C.I. are on the road every week speaking out against the illegal war, they're doing the TV commentaries here, they are doing two Hispanic TV programs a week at El Spirito. C.I.'s doing a column for all community newsletters. There is a limit to the time any of us have. So for all of us to read a book, it better be worth reading. That hasn't been the case. Jim Hightower's the best example of that. Why did he even put out that 'book'? I'll read anything and saw that when a friend of C.I.'s sent it over in galley form. I'll read anything but I made it to page 21 before I sat it aside because I'd already read that garbage before and garbage is the word for it because he's nothing but a Barack cheerleader. When all you have to offer is cheerleading, you're not a critic. You have no high ground to mount.

Jim: Okay. We are trying to work the e-mails. Ty, there were two angry ones?

Ty: Yep. First up, Sylvia is "highly offended that you chose to quote and link to that woman allegedly writing about sexual assault who couldn't even use the term sexism." I have no idea what she's writing about and she hasn't replied back to my e-mail. Anyone?

C.I.: She's referring to a woman who wrote an article that never connected the dots. Syliva's correct that the woman did not use the term "sexism" while writing about sexual assaults, institutional sexism and a variety of other topics. I linked to the piece in the snapshot and it was at all community sites except Elaine's. I purposely waited to link until it was Elaine's day-off because I knew Elaine would have been faced with whether to edit that portion of the snapshot out or not. She loathes the woman and has made that very clear at her site. I don't care for the woman either. She was linked to for the topic. As Sylvia points out, it was a half-assed piece of writing because she couldn't use the term "sexism." If it's any consolation to Sylvia, the woman has used the term on this topic, at least in private conversations, and I can remember an exchange a year or so ago when she was using it to describe the same events -- using it with me. I would assume she was too chicken s**t to use the term. I'm sorry that Sylvia was offended that I linked to the piece. I did so in the larger scope of sexism against women and I clearly use the term "sexism" in that passage. If that counts for anything, great. If not, I'll be more careful about linking to that woman in the future. Repeating, I share Sylvia's concern and agree that the failure to use the term or connect the dots made the article almost entirely useless.

Ty: Okay. I'll be asking who after this roundtable is over. Elaine's whispering who it is to Mike right now. Next angry e-mail, Brad, not community member Brad, writes "Ava and C.I. use 'bitch' all the time. They used it twice two weeks ago! Who are they to criticize anyone else for using it?"

Ava: First off, we don't say that word in our own lives. We really don't. Second of all, the two pieces he's referring to are "TV: Gossip Girls and Barack's Bitches" and "Editorial: Faux outrage drowns out actual news" -- the latter is a group piece but our comments are identified as such. In both instances -- try reading, Brad -- there is an explanation that we are responding/commenting on inter-office e-mails at a 'feminist' institution which used that term to describe Hillary repeatedly during the primaries. If we're reviewing a soap opera or a body wash operetta, the term may pop up because it's a soap opera archetype. When Tina Fey used the term she was using it as a sense of power -- and we noted that -- but when Tracy Morgan was using it he was just being a pig -- and we noted that. If a woman wants to use it, it's the same as an African-American using the n-word meaning that it's loaded with complexities and it can be misinterpreted. Obviously, Brad would be one of those who would misinterpret. In terms of the two pieces in question, the term is applied to both women and men and, when we've used "whore," we've done the same. If you can't grasp the difference between Fey's usage and Morgan's usage, you're probably one of those White boys moaning that you can only use the n-word to your friends. Regardless, both pieces Brad whines about note why we used the terms -- and I don't mean in Jim's note to the readers. We were very clear in both pieces why we were using the term. Again, it's not a term we choose to use in our lives. It was used for a reason and I stand by the usage.

C.I.: As do I.

Ava: Brad needs to try reading harder. There are many things that are proposed here that C.I. and I kill because we say, "Yes, it's funny but some people aren't going to get that far." For example, one year -- it may have been this year -- April Fool's fell on a Sunday so Jim really wanted to do an April Fool's feature. People aren't going to all read all the way through and will mistake the feature. We did one where C.I. and I had to yell to get a note at the opening that this was a parody. We got that note and, even so, e-mails poured in about how "That never happened!"

Jim: I know the feature Ava's talking about, so I'll just add, we said that in the opening sentence and labeled it as a parody. After that happened, I became less inclined to do those pieces because Ava and C.I. were correct that drive-bys don't read. For that reason, if we were still doing this site next year, I wouldn't even propose an April Fool's Day feature. I think I need to add to Ava's comments here. There are many words we have considered using over the years and, when we do, Ava and C.I. always ask, "Would you say that if the person was ___?" or "If you change ____, would you say that?" It's been a learning experience. And I mean that in a good way. In terms of both pieces, we've all seen the e-mails Ava and C.I. are referring to and the b-word was hardly the worst term used. Ava and C.I. were comfortable for those features using the b-word, there were other words that could have been used to respond to those 'feminists' that Ava and C.I. weren't comfortable using, such as the c-word. If you can't grasp the difference, you need to find some remedial sites to go to. Maybe Highlights will beef up their online content? Ty?

Ty: Sarita e-mailed with a question about the mirror sites. C.I., Rebecca and Cedric have mirror sites. Sarita wondered why they don't always post immediately after?

Rebecca: I'll start that. If I'm on the road with Ava, C.I. and Kat, I'm using my laptop. If there's wi-fi in the area, I'm on by that, otherwise I'm on dial-up. Blogdrive has some ridiculous video footage that they run across the top. If I'm on the laptop, that's slowing it down and it's just easier, after I've got a post together finally and had several browsers open, to just reboot because I'm low on memory space. If I shut it down, I sometimes don't bother to log back on. I'll let Cedric talk about the way we divide that up.

Cedric: Okay. If I'm the last one posting, I usually grab Rebecca's site for her and cross-post as well. On Thursdays, because C.I. is the last to post, C.I. offers to cross-post for us with the note that it may not go up until Friday morning. That's fine with us, one less log on and cut and paste. So our Thursday posts often go up Friday morning. In terms of Friday or Saturday posts, we will try to cross-post while we're working on these editions. If we don't, C.I. will usually cross-post for us on Sunday night when doing "And the war drags on" at The Common Ills. I actually am on dial up all the time at home because we don't have DSL in my area. I have never complained to C.I. about videos at The Common Ills but, for the record, I do understand why there are requests that none be posted on the weekends. It slows the page loading and it's not just a little bit slow. And if you try to do something else while waiting for it to load, you're asking for that to be slow as well. Those little clips Blogdrive runs at the top of the page also slow me down. I know what Rebecca's talking about. But the short answer is that all of us with mirror sites, help each other out. I post C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" at the mirror site for The Common Ills most days and cross-post it at my mirror site as well. Since Wally's always been on the road with C.I. and Ava and Kat since May at least, if Wally and I do our joint post late, I will ask him to see if C.I.'s willing to cross-post for me because I'm just trying to get into bed. By the same token, Rebecca and I will swap out throughout the week on who's doing the cross-posting. Those of us with mirror sites are always doing that.

Jim: Why don't you talk about the mirror sites in terms of why? Start with Cedric.

Cedric: I started my site at Blogdrive. Everyone had -- I believe this is still true -- asked C.I. to talk them through setting up on Blogspot/Blogger. I started on a weekend and didn't want to bother anyone. I figured out Blogdrive largely because my nephew had a site there for about two weeks and said it was easy. The Common Ills mirror site was already on it and I knew European members preferred it so I thought they'd appreciate the gesture. A few months after I started, I switched over to Blogger/Blogspot. I'd mentioned to C.I. that I wanted to and C.I. called and talked me through. Since then, that's been my mirror site.

Rebecca: My readers are largely high school and junior high. I hadn't planned to have a mirror site. But this year, for some reason, new filter program began blocking out my site at many schools. Probably because "Sex" is in the title. I changed the title for a brief time, just dropped "Sex," but that didn't help. So I created a mirror site called "Politics and Screeds." There's no problem with the mirror site being accessed on campuses. That's why I keep the mirror site and why I started it.

Jim: C.I.?

C.I.: The UK Computer Gurus were long urging a mirror site. That goes back to the end of November 2004. At one point, Blogger/Blogspot was down completely. The next time that happened -- I'm referring to being down for several hours -- I got a call from UK Computer Gurus saying they'd already set up a mirror site at Blogdrive for The Common Ills. They went with that site because of the look and because it was easy to copy and paste in it. So that day, entries went up first at the mirror site due to Blogger/Blogspot being down. That's happened many times since and why it exists. Many members prefer the mirror site and that's why things continue to be reposted to it. It's a hassle. DSL is what I'm on and Sunday night when I'm going through e-mails and have several browsers open to hunt down things on Iraq, the computer will be so slow. And I understand what Rebecca and Cedric are saying because you really just want to be done. You just want to get in bed. And you're waiting and waiting for everything to load. Originally, I just used cross-posted and that was it. Now if I'm late, I try to put it on the right day because there's a calender you can navigate at Blogdrive and members will complain. So on Sunday, I may be cross-posting Saturday entries but I'll put them with a date stamp for when they went at the main site.

Jim: People ask why we don't have a mirror site and the reason is that Dona, Ty, Jess and I have all cross-posted for C.I. and it can be a pain in the butt. It seems like it would be easy and go quickly. But that's not the case.

Ty: Betty and Marcia, these questions were e-mailed just for you. "Are the community sites all going to dark after the election as planned? Would you really shut down your sites? Marcia, you just started."

Betty: Marcia's pointing at me. Yeah, I would if everyone else went dark. If I was starting a site today, it wouldn't be a fiction site. There has been so much I wanted to comment on this year that was beyond Betinna's scope. If the community sites continued -- even some -- I would seriously consider continuing my site but doing it as a blog. I have a lot of kind e-mails and I know people enjoy it but I still have to write my latest chapter and I have put that off forever. It's just too much of a hassle these days. And while commenting on what's going on in the world seems easy to me, I know that many feel it is a hassle to do a website period. I don't know what everyone's going to do and assume that we'll all decide the day after the election. Some will probably stop. My own guess is Elaine would be the first. And I don't mean that in a Rachel on Friends kind of way about how Phoebe just drops right out. I know Elaine's busy and I know she was drafted by the community into doing a site. So I always assume that the day after the election, we'll all be on the phone together discussing do we continue or not and that Elaine will say, "You do what you want, but I'm tired of it."

Elaine: I could see myself saying that.

Betty (Con't): So I don't know. And I'm sure Elaine doesn't even know. If I stick to my outline, it's a very dramatic ending for Betinna and I love her so much -- she's like a real person to me -- that I'm not sure I'll stick to my outline. I don't know what's coming and I know it's not that far off. I'm just trying to get through each week, honestly. Marcia?

Marcia: Unlike everyone else, my site really did just start. So I don't know the horror stories that so many do. I mean there are posts that people have worked hours on and lost. That's really not happened to me. I've lost one post -- that I worked 30 minutes on -- and to me that was the end of the world. So I can't speak for them. Speaking only for me, if I was going to continue, I would probably want it clear to all who read that I am not necessarily doing a post every Monday through Friday. I mean, TCI's is about four years old now and C.I.'s never had a day off. I couldn't do that and I wouldn't do that. And C.I. does seven days a week. I would also ask/suggest that the Iraq snapshots be shorter. That would be one of my demands. That's not because it's a chore for me to repost them. That's because I think C.I.'s putting way too much work into them and I don't feel it's fair. I know at roundtables for the gina & krista round-robin, C.I.'s often talked about how the site, if it continued, might do a one day post. But we're dropping back to a 2006 roundtable for that. I just post five times a week. And there are times when it's too much for me. If it weren't for the Nader campaign, some days, I would blow it off. I'm being honest here, I hope that's okay. But if I've got nothing to say, and sometimes I really don't, I know that I can repost the snapshot and get the word out on Iraq and post something from the Nader campaign and get the word out on that. There are days that I wouldn't post if it weren't for that. Can I talk a bit more?

Jim: Sure.

Marcia: One thing I think we all know is that C.I.'s going through a ton of e-mails. But the rest of us do have e-mails -- not anywhere as many -- and we do have to do research. C.I.'s doing an odds and ends e-mail daily now on things that had to be pulled from the snapshot to get it to a size that would let it 'hit' the site by e-mail. So we go through that. And that helps. But even so, we're hunting down things and that means we're reading a lot more articles than we're posting about or linking to. There's a lot of work that goes into it before the first word gets typed. I didn't realize, until I started my site, how much work went into it. If you were just doing three lines, it would probably be easy. And you see sites that do that. Three lines on one article and they've worked! We all do a lot more work than that and because we are spread out around the country, we all are reading different papers. Which, at its best, allows us to pass on things to others. And I wanted to mention that because there is so much help and support from everyone that probably never gets noted enough. Kat will find something and pass it on. We really are on the phone throughout the day talking to each other. Ruth and I are on the phone before we both start blogging. That's our routine. I boot up and grab the phone if Ruth hasn't already called me. We then discuss different things from the day and what we're finding online. After that, we're blogging.

C.I.: Just to be clear, because some may think Marcia 'just started,' she started her site at the end of January.

Kat: If I could make one point here, there's nothing wrong with saying, "I'm not in the mood." I did that last week. Put up some Ralph information and the snapshot and noted I wasn't in the mood and whatever it was that had pissed me off. That wouldn't work for C.I. but the rest of us need to remember that. When time runs out for Mike, he doesn't get angry e-mails, "You should have posted more!" Or he's never mentioned it to me. When Rebecca's baby is very hyper and she has to type, "Okay, gotta stop," no one holds it against her. Like Elaine, I'd be one of the ones saying, "Do what you want, but I'll probably stop." Or that would be my opinion right now. But Elaine has repeatedly stressed to me that if it's not in you to blog, don't pretend. Don't sit in front of the computer for hours trying to get a few paragraphs so you can call it a blog post and call it a night. Now that won't work for Betty due to her current set up. But most of the rest of us can use that advice.

Wally: And that's something Kat, Cedric and I have talked about. We can, if we're just so tired, Cedric and me on our joint-posts, just do three lines. We're humor sites. We don't have to knock ourselves out when we don't even want to blog. Kat's got three reviews right now in her head that she needs time to write. And there is no time. That's the reality. Betty, if she could take a minute, has her chapter. She's talked about it with me. But she's waiting until the first break in this writing edition to try to dash it off. There just isn't enough time. If your entire life was online, there might be enough time. But there's no one participating in this roundtable that's a pajama blogger who lives in a basement and isn't out there active in their communities trying to end the illegal war. I'm on the road with Ava, C.I. and Kat and I love speaking with the groups and try to go to everyone. But there are late night ones I have to bail on because Cedric and I have to figure out our joint-post. I don't know how I'd vote -- and I don't know that we'll have a vote. I think we'll all look to C.I. and say, "Do you have another year in you?" If the answer's no, then that will be my vote as well. But if the answer is 'maybe' or 'yes,' I still don't know how I'd vote. I want to up my engagement in the world and I know we all do. Since I've heard of no new discovery of an additional hour in each day, I'll probably lean towards closing shop. Other than C.I., the thing that would change that for me would be if most wanted to continue and especially if Cedric wanted to continue. We started doing joint-posts, Cedric and me, back when we were both working on getting out the vote for 2006 and didn't have the time. I couldn't have done solo posts and done that. Cedric?

Cedric: No, I couldn't have done both. I was going to pack in my site then. I mentioned that and Wally said, "How about we do joint-posts?" That's a lot easier and has been a lot of fun. And I agree with everything Wally's saying. My engagement level offline is intense and I want to increase -- Dona's got a look on her face.

Dona: I'm sure I do. The question was for Marcia and Betty. Cedric can continue his comments but I don't want this to turn into everyone commenting. First off, I don't want everyone to feel bound in November by remarks they make here. Second of all, this type of conversation means this site and C.I. will get non-stop e-mails about "Don't stop." We don't have time to read those. Don't write them. Wally, Kat, Elaine, Cedric, Marcia and Betty have weighed in as to how they would vote in some form. That is at this minute. If they are tired, a bunch of e-mails asking them to please reconsider will not 'refresh' them. November is a long time away. We have many editions to focus on between now and then and our focus here will be on that. Cedric, thanks for stopping to let me speak.

Cedric: No problem. And Dona's right. There have been many times when everyone was sick of it and consider packing it in. That happened at the start of last month, as a matter of fact. So the responses given were just people thinking out loud. Come November, we may feel differently. But efforts to change our minds will, as Dona pointed out, only add to our feeling that we have no time. I was saying that I want to up my offline engagement. The illegal war is not over. All this time later and it's not over. We're all going to have to up our involvement and, on one level or another, we're thinking about that. Elaine's considering closing her practice to go on the road with Ava and C.I. This isn't a minor issue with us. Our 'leaders' have failed us. That's in the White House and Congress and it's in the alleged 'anti-war' movement. I'm going to say something here and I'm speaking only for me so no one else needs to comment, I find it disgusting that in Canada, a supposed anti-war movement, a supposed movement to help war resisters is so IGNORANT that they honestly believe Barack Obama is an anti-war candidate. I read that kind of crap and just think, "Why am I bothering to advance them?" I'm very serious and we all know one war resister in particular. Barack's not going to change a damn thing and you sound like a damn fool every time you go on record saying otherwise.

Elaine: I'll jump in to back up Cedric. Cedric's exactly right. When that war resister starts talking his garbage it only becomes clear how little he knows and it makes me uninterested in mentioning him, let alone quoting him. If he's that stupid today about politics, what else is he getting wrong? Let's also be clear that we know where the nonsense came from. It is exactly those type of stupid 'helpers' that don't need to help. But if we can take this to a larger point --

Dona: Absolutely!

Elaine: That has always been the problem and why, though we applaud IVAW, we have always said that the peace movement should not be turned over to any one group. IVAW is the only one doing any work today. They are the leaders and would be so if only on the default aspect of everyone else. But, to use a slogan of a group that's vanished, 'We know, we were there,' that's garbage if that means the whole world needs to listen to you. You have one area of expertise you can contribute. Others have other areas. A movement requires all of those. A war resister in Canada repeating the garbage lies that Barack is going to end the illegal war is of no use to anyone. First off, he's exposing how he may know what he saw in Iraq but he doesn't know the first thing about politics. Second of all, there are enough betrayers of the movement to end the illegal war without a war resister hopping on board. Third of all, if he really thinks Barack is the Christ-child, he should shut his mouth because "Vote for Barack! War resisters support him!" won't help Barack in a general election. To the contrary, it could lead to advertisements of, "They deserted. They took an oath and left the country. Now, as they try to make new lives abroad, they endorse Barack Obama. What does that tell you? Vote McCain." Jess, can you pick up this point for me?

Jess: Sure. Elaine, Kat, Mike and I have discussed this at length. And it's a topic discussed by all community members because why we became members of TCI is that the illegal war was dropped. In 2004, the peace movement decided their larger goal was not ending the illegal war, it was electing John Kerry. That destroyed the peace movement in the US. And after the election, MoveOn and all the other cowards didn't want to pick up the Iraq War. They wanted to run from it. So if you're really wanting to be part of today's peace movement, you either push Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader. Those are the only three committed to ending the illegal war. That's reality. By promoting them, you can put pressure on the two big party candidates. By promoting them, you're promoting an end to the illegal war. By getting on board the cowardly, constant caving Barack, you're prolonging the illegal war. I found it very interesting that Adam Kokesh, during Winter Soldier, was able to leave politics out of Winter Solider even though he supported a candidate, Ron Paul, who was for actually ending the illegal war. There was one person who couldn't leave politics out of it and her candidate is a War Hawk. It cheapened Winter Soldier. Betty may want to add to that because she called it out in real time here.

Betty: Yeah that was disgusting, the dog-whistles that woman offered to prop up Barack, not once but in two panels. And the larger issue is why she was even speaking since she didn't serve in the Iraq War. Like Jess said, I give Adam Kokesh tremendous credit for using Winter Soldier to address Iraq and not to prostitute himself out for a candidate. Let me just repeat that Winter Soldier was sold as only Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans would be speaking. If that had been followed, the prostitution for a politician would never have taken place. It should not have taken place. Ron Paul needed a lot more promotion than Barack. Adam Kokesh is a highly intelligent man and no doubt realized that. But he didn't try to pimp his candidate of choice at Winter Soldier. It's a shame that another didn't have the same ethics. Back to you, Jess.

Jess: So the point is, Barack's not against the illegal war. Maybe you don't get CNN in Canada and missed his CNN interview June 5th where he revealed that the 'plan' that had so many idiots cheering wasn't even a committment on his part? But the 'plan' is not "end the war!" The plan is to remove a few troops -- as Ava and C.I. pointed out last week, he refused to give a number when Katie Couric repeatedly asked him for one -- and to continue the illegal war. The lie is that "combat troops" leave and only technical advisors and trainers and al-Qaeda fighters remain. Does anyone really believe that al-Qaeda is in Iraq? The limited number there came in due to the US starting that illegal war and being there. Technical advisors? Isn't that how the Vietnam assault went for a low-degree conflict to slaughter? Didn't we keep technical advisors in Vietnam for years? Trainers? Training in what? Counter-insurgency? Assault on civilians? Mike, you may want to add something here.

Mike: Sure. Barack never promised an end to the illegal war. An end to the illegal war is US troops being pulled out. Not a few, all of them. Now that his 'plan' and 'promise' has been revealed by him as neither -- and Samantha Power revealed that back in March on the BBC but now he has as well -- look and see who's calling him out? Where's the pressure on him? Where's the outrage? It's not there. He's not a movement. He's not anti-war. He's nothing but another War Hawk lying to the people. And I don't have six months of my life to give to trying to end the illegal war while all of his Cult wipes his ass and burps him while ignoring the illegal war. The peace movement can't afford it. And the war resister in Canada made his pro-Barack remarks in July. A month after Barack himself revealed the truth. There's your proof that you're not qualified to speak. Your proof probably should have been the fact that you're not in the US so you can't follow the realities -- as opposed to the hype -- as closely as you'd like to. But as if that wasn't insulting enough, what does Barack want to do with the ones he pulls from Iraq? Send them to Afghanistan. Talk about spitting on your host country. The 'anti-war' movement in Canada is very vocal about how Canada needs to pull out of Afghanistan. And here's a US citizen in Canada endorsing a presidential candidate who wants to continue the illegal war in Afghanistan. Like Elaine said, when you're that stupid, we don't even want to be tainted by quoting you. C.I. will do it -- and that's not an insult to C.I. C.I. covers many people and doesn't have to like them to do so. But the rest of us take the attitude of, "You choose to wallow in igorance? You're on your own." We're not as nice as C.I. We were all at C.I.'s last week and a friend dropped by joking about someone C.I. had quoted at The Common Ills. We didn't know -- maybe Rebecca and Elaine did -- that C.I. loathes them and has loathed them for years. We're not talking dislikes, we're not talking doesn't care. Loathes. Has loathed for decades. A very personal and very strong loathing that predates this decade. C.I.'s response was, "It's not about who I like or dislike." And that's a great attitude to have. It's not one that the rest of us have. I'll leave out Third which is weekly and an online magazine, but those of us with blogs do not take C.I.'s high road. So if you make yourself useless by being too stupid to grasp what a War Hawk is, we're not interested in you. Those are the breaks. We've got a lives to live and it's not our job to prop up your stupidity.

Kat: I agree with what Mike's said. To get back to Elaine's point, a warrior or former warrior has a place in the peace movement, no question. They can even rise to leadership as IVAW has -- for which we're all thankful because without IVAW there would be no peace movement today. But the movement is not going to work with only one segment participating or leading. On the road each week, one day a week, we're bringing along real leaders from the peace movement and students are getting the actual tools they need to take the lead. They are doing a lot that goes uncovered and unremarked on. They are the hope because so many 'leaders' have revealed themselves as frauds. The peace movement's job is not to provide cover for a War Hawk so he can be elected. The peace movement's role is to end the illegal war and to hold all who enable its continuation accountable. To return to what Cedric was talking about, when he or Wally is talking about upping their offline action, that's what they're referring to. They're referring to the fact that we all need to up our actions. I think Wally needs to share some news.

Wally: Okay, I told Kat, C.I. and Ava this two weeks ago. I'm not going back to school in the fall. College is on hold. My family's okay with that. Being on the road with them has really underscored how much work it is going to take to end the illegal war. I called Elaine at one point last month and asked her what, during Vietnam, made her decide to put everything on hold and just work towards the end of that war. She outlined it and probably guessed why I was asking. I then told Ava, C.I. and Kat my decision. So that's where my primary focus is now going to be. I'll also add -- and my mother told me to when I discussed this so keep quiet, C.I. -- there are three minor things that C.I. has to do every week. So I've got some form of income coming in, C.I.'s given that to me and is paying me for doing that.

C.I.: I will add to that. It's not minor. We were heading back from Boston one Saturday when I mentioned some stock that was about to go bad and how glad I was that I had dumped in but then couldn't remember if I had or not and had to reach my broker which wasn't easy on a Saturday when he was off in the Hamptons. So Wally's interacting with my stock broker which I don't have time for. It's not 'simple.' He's following a large number of stocks. It's not minor and Elaine's been on my case for three years now about how I'm not following that. I don't have the time. It's one of the things I've pushed aside to focus on the illegal war. So Wally's now overseeing that, which goes to his major and will hopefully help him have real life experience that will look good on resume as well as increase his knowledge base. He's not doing busy work and I don't want him to give the impression that he is. Someone needs to do it and I don't have the time. He's doing me a huge favor by taking that job. Elaine will back me up on that.

Elaine: I will. I was appalled when -- Let me back up. A friend called about a check C.I. had written and was mentioning the amount because he was hoping I would then donate in kind. It was a huge amount and C.I. can be a soft touch if someone tosses out a good song and dance. I blogged about this in real time. We're dropping back to the summer of 2006. I was also on C.I.'s case and saying, "No more instant donations." During Vietnam, C.I. never said "no" to anyone and ended up broke at the end of the illegal war. I don't want to see that happen again. I asked to see the bank statements and everything. C.I. has not worked since the start of the illegal war to focus on that. C.I.'s got the money to do that. But it really needs to be overseen. Marcia blogged two Fridays ago about how much the upkeep here -- we're all at C.I.'s -- must cost. It costs a lot of money. Among the many lectures that I've given repeatedly in the last two years is, "You have to follow your stocks more." C.I.'s a stock wiz and can turn a profit easily. It's a knack for C.I. But you have to pay attention to it and there wasn't time. The job that Wally's going to be doing is a real job. It's not a make work job. I doubt Wally needs any advice but I will offer that the stock broker's opinion doesn't matter and to always remember that. If C.I. is saying buy or sell, trust that. With the stock broker, you're only paying close attention to recommendations of sell. Not purchase. People tend to freak about the roller coaster, C.I. never minds the ride. Don't let yourself get pressured into agreeing to something just because the broker is doing a hard sell.

Wally: I will remember that and thank you for it. Also, thanks for sharing on the phone. Elaine's reasons were observations from the road, things she was seeing that made her grasp it was more important to put things on hold and really focus on ending that war. I see similar things today and that's why I made my decision.

Ty: Let me ask a question. Does that mean, Wally, you're moving out here?

Wally: Yes, I'll have my stuff in the room next to your's.

Ty: I noticed it was being repainted ahead of schedule two weeks ago and figured something was up. Which brings us to an e-mail from Gene who wondered "who of you" lives at C.I.'s. First answer, C.I. and Ava don't. They're rarely here. But it's C.I., of course, Jim, Dona, Ava, Jess, my boyfriend, myslef and now Wally. Kat, to answer Gene, doesn't live here. We're back to book for Chuck's e-mail. This is to Dona and Ruth and he wants to know what they're reading?

Dona: I feel bad because I read anything. My answer is Virginia Woolf' Jacob's Room. I feel bad because if you'd asked that last week or next, it would have been something less highbrow. Like Ruth, I read anything. I'm only on page 83 so I can't offer anything other than I'm enjoying it. And laughing out loud at some points such as "I could never marry a man with a nose like that." My summer project was to finish out authors I've enjoyed so I've been reading Wolf and Edith Wharton a good deal this summer. I've also been reading the books you can find at any supermarket. I'm not a reading snob, I truly will read anything. Ruth?

Ruth: Like Dona, I'm wishing the question had been asked at another time. I have two of my grandsons with me this weekend, Jayson's who is a teenager and Eli who is a toddler. With Eli, Rebecca's son and Betty's two youngest children here -- her oldest son is too mature to be read to -- I've been focusing on reading to the kids. One book that I read to all -- including Betty's oldest son who really loved it -- was Jamila Gavin's The Robber Baron's Daughter and I don't know if that's out here yet. C.I.'s copy was from England. I thought it would be a lighter read than it turned out to be, but all of Betty's children loved it and even Jayson got caught up in it when he heard me reading it. I would really suggest that adults read the book. I loved it and my summary, without revealing twists and turns, is "Things are never as they seem." Including this book which I picked up from a stack of books at C.I.'s based solely on the cover and it is so much beyond the cover.

Betty: I'll jump in just to back Betty up on that. My kids can't stop talking about that book. If it's not out yet here, I'll be going to Amazon UK next week to order the book because they love it too much for us not to have it in the house. We also need it because my daughter, the youngest, forgets plots twists and when she's telling me about the story, my middle child will correct her. They can't stop talking about the book and to avoid large arguments over what was in it, I'm going to need to get a copy. C.I.'s mouthing to just take this copy but I actually think one person who really loved it wants it: Ruth. Ruth and I will talk about it later but that's how good it is. As much as my children can't stop talking about that book, Ruth can't either. She means it when she says adults need to read the book.

Ruth: I do. But your kids loved it and I have already got a stack I am taking with me. I do not think your kids can wait for a delivery from England. Every day, you will be asked, "Is it here yet?"

Jim: So, Amanda, we did end up with a mini-book discussion this edition. And Dallas says the book isn't released in the US but Amazon -- US version -- does have two used, paperback copies, signed by the author. Click here to order it from Amazon UK and let me add that I heard about that book all week -- it sounds like an exciting read -- and I don't know how Ruth managed to read it outloud. First off, it's a thick book. Secondly, you've got the fact that when she would get to a natural stopping point, all the kids would plead for her to continue, which she would. I heard the last section, about the last fifty pages probably, and it really is a strong book. I wished I'd been hearing it read the whole week. It's not just kids that get caught up in the story of Nettie. Let me also point out, those are Amazon links. Once upon a time, we went out of our way to give 'independent' online bookstores a shout-out but there's really no point in that since they really aren't -- like just about everything 'independent' -- that different from the 'majors.' Also, we've never gotten an e-mailing complaining about the service anyone's had with Amazon, just FYI.

Dona: Let me point out that Jim didn't 'happen to hear' Ruth read the last of the book. Betty's oldest son was telling Jim about the book all week and all but dragged Jim into the room for the ending. They really loved that book. Ruth picked that one because it was a long book. She figured she could read a portion of it out loud to all the children each night and it would be paced so it would go through the entire week. "Are you going to read now?" became the big question every evening.

Jim: And on that note, we'll close the roundtable. Rush transcript.
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