Sunday, August 17, 2008

Truest statement of the Week I

After weeks of tortured negotiations, the Obama campaign (which now in effect controls the Democratic National Committee) has agreed to allow Sen. Hillary Clinton's name to be placed in nomination.
This is more than just symbolic. It shows the degree to which Obama's team is now willing to try to woo former Clinton supporters into the Obama camp in November. One might also call it an admission that the Obama campaign is desperate to win the support of the 20 percent or so of her 18 million supporters who have been telling pollsters they will not vote for Sen. Barack Obama.

-- To The Contrary's Bonnie Erbe, "Hillary Clinton's Name Will Go Into Nomination" (U.S. News & World Reports)

Truest statement of the Week II

What is awfully irritating is that Katrina Vanden Heuval and the rest of the "liberal" elite criticize supporters of McKinney/Clemente and Nader/Gonzalez for "wishful thinking." Compared to the sentiments and views of the supplicants' letter, supporters of third party candidates are hard core realists. And it is very sad to see some of the signatories of this letter who in better times would have been men and women who put principle over "lesser evil" politics. Read the letter carefully. Look at the signatories. It may bring tears.

-- John Walsh, "The Politics of Wishful Thinking from the Liberal Establishment" (Dissident Voice).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Long edition. Dona says "short pieces" are the norm for next week. (I, Jim, agree.)

Along with Dallas who is our soundboard and link locator and much more, the following worked on this edition:

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,

We thank them all and here's what we have.

Truest statement of the Week I -- Bonnie Erbe continues her strong streak.

Truest statement of the Week II -- John Walsh who was calling out the pro-war Air America Radio as early as 2004.

Editorial: Withdrawal can be done in 100 days -- This topic was almost the Thursday "I Hate The War" topic at The Common Ills. C.I. promised me we could have the topic here provided something else came up to write about. I'm glad we got it, I knew it would be an editorial we could write quickly. And we did. "500 Miles"? Sonny & Cher's Look At Us. I made the mistake of going to Crapapedia which, among other mistakes, says, the duo recorded an album called I Got You Babe (not a compilation). This resulted in C.I. saying, "Jim, I'm going to show the progess of Sonny & Cher and next time you go to Crapapedia, you're not going to question me." (As Mike would say, ":D.") So C.I. hauled out the vinyl and went over it bit by bit.

TV: Transformations -- This isn't the commentary Ava and C.I. wanted (they wrote it). They wanted to spend more time on Eli Stone (which they love -- Dona shouts she does too). They agreed to bring in Norman Solomon. Actually, Ava and C.I. almost scrapped an Iraq snapshot last week and took on Norman in its place. I was on the phone with Ava when C.I. asked her and I said, "No, no, no! You've got to save it for your TV piece!" Which they did. But I tivoed Davy-Cakes Shuster ("Sweetie) with PUMA on MSNBC because I thought they should include that and pretty soon, the topics were so immense that they did not have the time to make it an Eli Stone commentary with a paragraph or two about Norman Solomon. I think it works out great and everyone loves it. They point out that they intended to do a simple review and that flew out the window. ("Again," says Ava.)

Jeremy Hinzman ordered to leave Canada -- We need to scan some stuff for this edition including for this feature.

Open Up The Debates! -- John Edwards . . . Sidenote, this should be an interesting week for Edwards newswise. But the point of this is you can get canned statements that never vary if the debates stay closed or you can get actual issues if they're opened up.

What If Feminists Were Swing Voters? -- Ava and C.I. proposed this for the last edition. We loved the idea but knew it would be a lengthy write. So we put it off until this week. Knowing it would be a lengthy write, we worked on this first.

The race card, what's not feminism, and more -- This was decided as a topic at the end of last week and had a lot of supporters. We knew it would be a long write. We didn't realize how long until Ava and C.I. started adding things about Alice Walker (who they like). We loved what they were contributing and encouraged them to add more. They did noting they wanted to review it before we published it. We ended up taking a lengthy break near the end which allowed them to both review it and sleep on it. We were sure the Alice stuff would be pulled this evening. It wasn't. They did insist that other verbs be used in places (softening the statements) but they say, 'Alice knew she offended people when she justified imprisoning AIDS victims and she knew that she outraged many. For her to stay silent on homophobia and, in fact, endorse the candidate using it makes it now a pattern for her and we aren't afraid to call her out. She needs to take a look at her actions.'

Catching on to the Peace Resister -- Dona came up with this idea and noted it would be a short piece (which is was). Easiest thing we wrote and, hopefully, we'll have more like this next week.

Roundtable -- While Ava and C.I. were doing the TV commentary we decided that, since we would be talking anyway, we should do a roundtable and actually produce something. (As opposed to the usual, Ava and C.I. finish a mammoth commentary, rejoin us and learn we just shot the breeze the whole time they were gone.) Dallas speaks! And without prompting. Because he spoke and because our notes were so hard to read (and took forever to type -- Ava and C.I. usually take notes) we told Dallas we weren't going to provide any links so not to worry about locating them. That was a group decision on the part of all participating.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Cedric, Kat, Marcia, Ruth, Rebecca, Wally and Betty wrote this and picked all highlights except where noted otherwise.

Where it stands -- Dona and my quick note on where the edition stands. We couldn't go on. Wally had crashed out already. Betty was off to church. Everyone was tired. C.I. was reading with one eye. And I fell asleep for a few seconds before Dona and I wrote this note. Due to the length -- and we started early -- Wally and Cedric didn't post until today. They thought they could post late Saturday night. But we kept working. Then they thought they'd post early Sunday morning, but we were still working. Kat wanted to edit a CD review at some point but there was no time for it. It was a very long edition.

So that's what we got and we'll see you next week when we intend to do more short pieces.

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

Editorial: Withdrawal can be done in 100 days

Lord I'm one,

Lord I'm two,

Lord I'm three,

Lord I'm four,

Lord I'm five hundred miles

Away from home.

If you miss the train I'm on

Then you will know that I am gone

You can hear the whistle blow

Five hundred miles

-- "500 Miles," written by Hedy West.

If you missed it -- and apparently all the peace 'leaders' did -- last week demonstrated how easy withdrawal from Iraq is.

Who has the most foreign fighters in Iraq? The United States. After the United States, it's England and after England, it's . . . Georgia. Or was.

When the Georgian government decided their troops were needed back home, it was a very hastily made decision. 2,000 troops needed back, needed home. Immediately.

What to do, what to do? Last Sunday, Deborah Haynes (Times of London) would explain that US Gen David Petraeus had announced the US would provide the transportation home for the Georgian troops and Yochi J. Dreazen (Wall St. Journal) would confirm on Monday that, "The U.S. began flying Georgian troops out of Iraq on American militray aircraft Sunday and U.S. officials expect to have all of the Georgians home by midweek" but, in fact, it happened much quicker than that. By Monday afternoon, Pentagon flack Bryan Whitman was announcing that the transportation was almost completed and would be by the end of the day.

The US military would term the withdrawal "unexpected" (Col. Steve Boylan) and yet in a very brief time, Georgia's entire force was withdrawn from Iraq. 2,0000 service members.

The US has approximately 140,000 in Iraq today.

At the rate of 2,000 a day, now proven possible with no known hardships, US troops could be withdrawn in less than 100 days. With no known hardships and with no known planning.

So all of this garbage about how difficult it is to withdraw and how much planning it takes and oh-you-don't-know-a-thing-about-transporation crap has just been revealed as the garbage it is.

Georgia didn't plan months ahead. It didn't plan weeks ahead. The Georgia withdrawal was at the last minute. In fact, that would suggest that a new US president coming into the White House in Januray 2009 could, in fact, plan a withdrawal following the November election, that would withdraw US forces from Iraq at an even faster rate.

"Oh the equipment!" The bulk of the equipment will be replaced in 16 months -- one of the reasons the US military budget is so bloated. Humvees, tanks and other road vehicles can easily be left behind as a gift to the puppet Nouri al-Maliki that Bully Boy has fawned so over for five years and Barack now seems to think is his best buddy. The Iraqi military -- we are constantly told -- is rebuilding. Well now they'd have vehicles. Airplanes and helicopters? We'd assume they would be used for the transportation out of Iraq. But should that risk delaying the withdrawal, Nouri's always whining about how out of date his air force is.

The US can obviously withdraw 140,000 service members in less than 100 days. But "100 days" should jog a memory for you. "In my first 100 days, I will . . ." how many presidents have made that promise? Nancy Pelosi not only promised great deeds in her first 100 days as US House Speaker, she held a press confrence and issued a release to try to make it appear that she'd actually accomplished something in that time.

The next president of the United States -- whoever it is -- can withdraw all US troops from Iraq in 100 days. That's not impossible and, in fact, judging by the Georgian withdrawal, can be done with many days to spare. And what an accomplishment that would be and how quickly it would send the message to the country and to the world that it was no longer business as usual at the White House. That would appear to be a message that Ralph Nader, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, John McCain and Barack Obama all would want to send.

It's not impossible and, for those paying attention, it was demonstrated in action last week. It's a real shame that our peace 'leaders' had a million other things to do last week. Take Tom-Tom Hayden. We all know he wrote another useless whine (refusing to call out War Hawk Barack and acting as if things just happened) and we'll assume the reports that he also made time to buy himself crotchless panties were only rumors. But he never made the time to write about Georgia's withdrawal and what that indicated for a US withdrawal. That is known.

It's also known that CODESTINK -- as usual -- had other things to do. Remember, if a camera's not around, I-Need-Attention Benjamin's not showing. United for Peace & Justice? Leslie Cagan had all the time in the world to whine to Tom-Tom for his bad article, she whined about how her group doesn't have enough money (which apparently explains why there's nothing at the UPFJ website STILL asking you to do your part to stop the deportation from Canada of US war resister Jeremy Hinzman) and to offer that if they had just $100,000, then UPFJ could have people on the ground . . . presumably to work on Congressional elections. Has a non-Democrat ever been so eager to elect Democrats?

The 'leaders' failed again last week. It's becoming a pattern, isn't it?

That's because they have confused ending the war with becoming an adjunct of the Democrat Party. Old peace movement saying: "You're only as useless as you make yourself."

100 days. Not four years (which Barack made clear in the debates wasn't even enough time for him, if elected, to withdraw all US troops). 100 days.

That's now the standard. Or would be, if any of our 'leaders' could do their damn jobs.


"500 Miles" has been recorded by many acts. We prefer Sonny & Cher's version -- both in arrangement and in vocals. Look At Us is the Sonny & Cher album their version first appeared on.

TV: Transformations

"It's Samantha Who with a jock strap." That's how friends at ABC described Eli Stone before it debuted. It's not Samantha Who with a jock strap. In both ABC shows, the lead charcter does a turn around at the start of the series. That's all they have common. But viewers who find Johnny Lee Miller sexy (a large number, we're sure) probably wouldn't complain if they just took Samantha Who scripts and filmed Miller reciting the lines in nothing but a jock strap.


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a rare thing is happening, an actually sexy male is on TV in the lead. Not a boxy, Docker dude but a feast for the eyes. (And a cause for weeping at The New York Times where the Docker Boys run wild.) If only as a contrast to too many male leads, Eli Stone provides relief.

It also provides a cast that is worth watching for their acting. That includes Miller but special credit has to be given to Loretta Devine who has made Patti the heart of the show. Patti is Eli's assistant and she lifts the show every time she's on camera. Devine's played numerous roles on TV and despite holding her own with Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale, it took 12 years for TV to really find a role that was worthy of her. Not to insult her work in small parts (Everybody Hates Chris, Grey's Anatomy, etc.) but no one knew how to use her, not even on Boston Public. Devine's a grand piano -- you cheat her and the audience when you only allow her two notes to play. Patti does not get enough time but when she is on the writers and Devine know how to make the most out of it.

Though it's not Samantha Who in a jock strap, the show could be considered Ally McBeal in a jock strap. It needs the same light touch and that's why Miller and Devine are such standouts.

Julie Gonzalo (Maggie) comes closest to achieving the right balance. Natasha Henstridge (Taylor) is, so far, the weakest in the cast because she comes off too heavy. How much of that is writing and how much of that is acting will become obvious in season two (which starts in October). Victor Garber plays Taylor father's Jordan who runs the law firm everyone works at. And he has thankfully rediscovered the lightness so woefully absent in Swift Justice. This is a show were cad Matt Dowd (Sam Jaeger) refers to himself as "The Dowd" -- a bit of bragging we doubt even Maureen Dowd would resort to. But he does and he pulls it off because the show is a blend of legal drama, office hijinx and comedy.

And, like Ally McBeal, music. Eli Stone sees George Michael when others don't. When George is actually present at the law firm, Eli assumes he is hallucinating. Why is he hallucinating?

Eli has had a brain aneurysm. There was an effort to hide behind that in the attacks on the show before it aired. (The real reason it was attacked was due to first episode exploring the link between autism and mercury in vaccines). It's the aneurysm that leads Eli's life to change, including the break up with Taylor, losing his status at the law firm and taking on cases that others in the law firm might turn their noses at. Throughout the first season (now airing in repeats on ABC's last hour of primetime Saturday nights), Eli's status dwindled and dwindled at the law firm until finally Marci Klein -- a Katrina vanden Heuvel-like character played brilliantly by Katey Sagal -- showed up screaming for his head and also attempting to take over the law firm from her ex-lover Jordan. Marci almost pulled it off but, like Katrina vanden Heuvel's has learned (slowly), the truth has a way of biting you in the ass. So when Marci led the partners in a vote to oust Jordan over Eli's attempts to get San Francisco to close down the Golden Gate bridge due to his belief (and a scientist's) that an earthquake was going to hit on a specific day, she had her brief moment of triumph (it's always brief, ask Katrina) in announcing Jordan was voted out when . . . the earthquake hit. Sucks to be a vanden Heuvel.

And when you watch Eli Stone and grasp that the character was transformed -- for the good -- from a brain aneurysm, you may find yourself wondering what malady should strike others?

Ourselves, we think the only thing that will help erstwhile 'media critic' Norman Solomon at this point is a whip lashing in the town square. We realized that last week when KPFA featured Will Bowers of PUMA on The Morning Show. Now Bowers supports Hillary Clinton so you knew he couldn't be the only guest. Hillary supporters have not been welcome on KPFA (or Pacifica). That's how we got Panhandle Media, after all. The KPFA post-debate 'analysis' featuring the 'unbiased' Barack supporters -- not disclosed on air -- who all found fault with Hillary. Had KPFA bothered to book equally or fairly, they wouldn't look like such idiots. That is what happened. They looked like hypocrites when they aired that garbage. And then came the Texas voting and they looked like idiots. From NYC and DC, 'experts' (and Barack endorsers off-air) could 'see' Texas (where the debate took place) and 'see' that Hillary would lose and that, most laughably, Latinos (though "Hispanics" was the term used most often by all the guests, none of which were Latinos but no one was supposed to notice that either) would go for Barack. Latinos didn't go for Barack and Hillary didn't lose Texas. Sucks to be KPFA.

And never more so than last Tuesday. PUMA -- People United Means Action (though we prefer "Party Unity My Ass") is a grassroots movement. That cannot be denied. As such it should have been reported on. It includes a large number of women (though it also includes males). It is just the thing that allegedly 'free speech radio' should be interested in exploring strictly from a news angle. So there might have been hope that when Aimee Allison interviewed Bowers, listeners could actually learn something about the group.

The decision to book Norman Solomon meant that would never happen. It was embarrassing and it was shameful.

First off, Aimee, you need to read more. You seemed dumbstruck by the notion that Hillary might have a right to a floor vote and, the day before, Michelle Cottle's "Calling All Votes" column was published in The New York Times:

You don't have to be a die-hard Clintonite, or even much of a feminist, to be moved by the significance of her presidential campaign. In 1972, the Democratic presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm made history by having her 151.95 delegates entered into the convention record. Mrs. Clinton amassed more than 10 times that number. Her achievement deserves an official salute.
Symbolic gestures and signs of respect always hold a larger meaning for the campaign that came in second. More than a few of Mrs. Clinton's devotees, including plenty headed to Denver this month, are in need of catharsis and a bit of closure. They remain convinced that their gal got a raw deal, that she was treated unfairly by the news media, that she was cheated out of her Florida and Michigan delegates by hostile power brokers like Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi, that she was a victim of sexism, that the historic nature of her candidacy was callously dismissed in all the hullabaloo over the historic nature of Mr. Obama's, and on and on and on.

Aimee's a Green, not a Democrat, so she can be forgiven for not being aware that men who have come nowhere near Hillary's 18 million votes in the Democratic primaries have been allowed to get a floor vote. She cannot, however, be forgiven for being unaware of a column in The New York Times, printed the day prior, on the topic she was supposed to explore. Sexism? KPFA broadcast plenty of it and no one wants to own up to that. It wasn't limited to Laura Flanders repeatedly using the term "cackle" to describe Hillary's laugh nor to Robert Parry's crackpot theories that a wife does just what her husband did. (That crackpot theory does, however, make us feel very sorry for Mrs. Parry.)

Aimee also can't be forgiven for doing nothing during the interview. She wasn't a moderator. She wasn't anything. She allowed Norman Solomon, a guest, to act as if he was a prosecutor. That's not moderating, that's not hosting. It's just embarrassing.

What is PUMA about? Norman Solomon didn't want listeners to know. He repeatedly cut off Bowers, invented flat-out lies (he has no shame) and made a real ass of himself. He also got that prissy tone that he can't help using when he's lying. If he could fake a decent British accent, he'd probably go with that. Being unable to, he just gets prissy with his delivery and his pronunciation. It does not make for enjoyable listening.

What is PUMA?

Does anyone who listened to the broadcast know from that broadcast?


Because Norman Solomon who regularly has tried to play himself as high minded (he blew that privately last year) and someone who debates issues decided the way to go was screaming character assassinations. Now if that was his 'normal' M.O. -- no prob. We don't care about tone. We do, however, care about consistency. Norman blew not just his consistency but also his 'record' such as it was.

Norman never looked crazier and, in 2008, that's really saying something.

He screamed at Will, he scoffed at Will, he told Will what he just 'knew' Will really thought. He didn't listen. He wasn't there to listen, he was there to attack. The Queen of all Attack Poodles.

As we noted Tuesday:

Queen Norman Approximately. Yeah, he was lying again. Yeah, it was embarrassing. For now, Ava and I will note, Norm was spraying the drapes today and he's never been housebroken, somebody get him to the vet already. We'll tackle that garbage Sunday. If you suffered through Queen Norman today and need some reality, check out Katiebird's post (The Confluence).

Katiebird, like Riversdaughter, is a PUMA and, no, PUMA is not a Republican front group. Norman offered no proof because he had none but he did think if he screamed loudly enough, if he hissed and batted his paws, he could embarrass Will Bowers. He succeeded only in embarrassing himself -- and at this late date, who would have thought that was still possible?

Aimee just sat back and let it all happen. Here's a tip to Aimee, new at broadcasting, when any guest is being attacked while you're moderating -- even if it's Charles Manson -- as host, it is your job to step in and say, "Let the guest speak." That's why you're there. If that's too difficult for you, you don't need to be a host.

We love Aimee but Norman couldn't have pulled his little stunt without her refusing to do her job. It was embarrassing and Pacifica better start watching those stunts because guess who's paying attention right now? The RNC and Republicans in Congress.

If Pacifica thinks the start of this decade was difficult, they haven't seen anything yet because disgruntled Democratic members of the US Congress are pretty disgusted with Pacifica's election coverage stunts as well. You are public radio, you are not commercial radio. You operate under different guidelines. You are held to those guidelines. We were lobbying a Republican senator who privately is now opposed to the illegal war and he changed the subject after five minutes to ask, "What's the deal with Pacifica?" He meant all the complaints he's hearing from other senators. Pacifica is not your own private playground. You can't take to it and act crazy and get away with it. You have to be professional and professionalism has been in short supply at KPFA and WBAI for all of 2008. Your little stunts won't seem so funny and so cute if there's Congressional fallout for the s**t you've been pulling. And KPFA has so alienated listeners that they better not count on being helped out by the public this time.

Though it was a step-up that Norman was finally identified on air as a Barack delegate, that alone wasn't enough. Will Bowers was invited on the program. Bowers didn't curse, didn't scream, didn't offer up hate speech. There was no reason to stand by while another guest talked over him, shouted over him and attacked him. That was embarrassing and shameful on KPFA's part. It better not happen again because if it does, it's yet another example of how allegedly public radio has turned over its public airwaves to serve one campaign. That's not what Lew Hill created and it's not what the government allows.

Commercial broadcasting can do whatever it wants. Which explains the sewer that is MSNBC and a sewer that doesn't even require Norman Solomon to take it to Crazy Land. Last week, sexist (when you're suspended for two weeks and almost lose your job over sexist comments, you're a sexist) Dave Shuster and all of his chins went after Will Bower and Darragh Murphy. We know neither but would strongly urge Bower to hand his public duties over to Murphy whenever possible.

Bower seemed taken off guard by Norman's attacks (we don't blame him for that, who expects to have a snarling, lisping poodle go at you on 'the home of free speech radio'?) but with Shuster? Murphy seemed far more prepared and far more comfortable. She didn't take Shuster's bait, she didn't lose her cool, she didn't even let his distortions make her nervous.

Among his distortions was the one started by John Edwards worker and 'appropriator' of the work of women of color Amanda Marcotte. Marcotte likes to play it that conservatives were responsible for her departure from the Edwards campaign; however, Terry Moran's compilation makes it clear that Marcotte can only blame conservatives if she thought no one was reading. Hot off her very public crash and burn, Marcotte decided to float that Gloria Steinem was a racist this year. Yeah, she's that pathetic.

Shortly after doing that, she wrote an article for the unmentionable website where she refused to credit the work done by others and would go on to claim that she'd credit brownfemipower before so what was the big deal? Take a moment to absorb that. Gloria writes a column arguing that all women matter and Marcotte's floating racist charges at Gloria. Months later, Marcotte's ripping off a woman of color blogger and then plays injured party when people are outraged by her theft.

Her problems only worsen when she publishes the book. It doesn't set the publishing world on fire and that might bother her the most. However, the original cover got a lot of attention online in 2007 . . . due to its racist nature when Marcotte thought it was so delightful that she just had to share it with her readers online. This year, the book was published and racism was again the charge -- due to the illustrations. As Katrina can tell Marcotte, truth can really bite you in the ass.

With such a history, for some reason Marcotte was allowed to smear Murphy as a McCain donor in 2000 while leaving out how much Murphy donated to Hillary in the primary cycle. It was so stupid and the Barack campaign was none to pleased with Marcotte's little stunt. Murphy donated to Clinton this election cycle (and states she voted for Al Gore in 2000). What is Barack supposed to be? The Uniter. He's supposed to be bringing in Republicans and not just swing voters. And there's Marcotte going nuts online about someone who donated to McCain in 2000?

She probably won't get it but the Barack campaign did. These are the people they are trying to bring in, they don't need Marcotte treating a 2000 donation to McCain as a cardinal sin. Her actions sent the message, unintentional on her part, that the Democratic Party tent is closed to you if you donated to Republicans, even if it was eight years ago. Marcotte is one of the Barack supporters doing his campaign damage and someone needs to explain that to her.

So there was Shuster, chins a-flapping, stridently screeching that Murphy donated to McCain. When Murphy pointed out that she also donated to Hillary, Shuster wanted to make an issue out of the size of donations. Apparently he's unaware that the country and most of its citizens were better off in 2000 than they are in 2008?

Bowers attempted to note Hillary's 18 million votes and let Shuster dismiss it and distort it. Murphy should have been speaking then -- and she attempted to many times but, sexist that he is, Shuster kept tossing to Bowers.

Bowers didn't come off as a bad person and we're not trying to hurt his feelings. We're merely noting that Murphy -- in her limited time -- did a far better job of conveying PUMA. (And we aren't trying to suggest she would have faired any better than Bowers did on KPFA -- that was a set up before it ever broadcast.)

Since KPFA listeners couldn't learn about PUMA, here's the deal as we understand it having spoken to several members of PUMA after Norman's stunt: PUMA sprung up not from the GOP and is not GOP controlled. It came out of Hillary supporters. The movement is not about Hillary at this point. They would love to see Hillary get the nomination.

The movement is about the huge disrespect shown the first viable female presidential hopeful. Joseph at Cannonfire (we didn't speak to him) has done a great job repeatedly of showing exactly what created PUMA: The non-stop attacks, lies and distortions (usually including sexism) on Hillary. It's something that Norman Solomon can never grasp because he's apparently sold his soul to become Barack's Boy Toy. We called out his crap awhile back where he pretended -- for a brief passage -- to be concerned about sexism (noting that his slight remarks on sexism were nothing but slight of hand). On KPFA, Norman proved how right we were as he repeatedly refused to address the very real sexism that came out during the primaries.

He can't address it because he and his baby (FAIR) were part of it. FAIR isn't 'fair.' Their weekly show CounterSpin couldn't stop noting perceived racism, week after week. When they finally got around to noting sexism (only once this year) in the campaigns, it took Hillary being called a bitch on TV and they were so uninterested in sexism that they rushed off to do three lengthy items on racism (perceived or real) aimed at Barack. In that episode, you saw what FAIR thinks of sexism and women. As with female guest, they need multiple items on a man before they can note a woman. They're like the CHR stations in 1986 fretting about the playlists because so many women (including Whitney Houston) were on the charts and they didn't want to play two women in a row. They could play four men in a row without a care, but the idea that two women might be played in a row apparently made them, like Tucker Carlson when he hears Hillary's voice, cross their legs.

Some PUMAS are now supporting John McCain. Some are supporting Cynthia McKinney (and from our conversations last week it was obvious that if Cynthia issued a serious statement decrying the sexist treatment of Hillary, she would see an influx of donors). Some are planning to support Hillary (if she's not the nominee) by writing in her name. Some are planning on not voting. We were told some were supporting Ralph Nader but didn't speak to any Nader supporters.

On KPFA, Norman was screeching that it was time to get behind Barack, all that for-the-good-of-the-party b.s. What he failed to grasp (or refused to) and what Bowers was never allowed to address is a lot of Democrats (PUMAS included) do not believe you reward bad behavior. Murphy, on MSNBC, was very clear that she thinks you call this out now or you suffer the damage for many years to come. That position are not unreasonable, no matter how prissy and loud Norman wants to get. If you honestly believe that homophobia and sexism are not Democratic principles, you are going to be frightened by the campaign Barack ran and you are going to fear for whatever's left of the party's soul. After each election, the Norman Solomon's show up with their criticisms of the Democratic Party and how its betrayed this or that. If you believe that to be the case, you call it out when its happening.

Shutting up for the good of your crush does no one any good. We're so very glad that Norman has finally found someone to love, we honestly feared he'd go to his deathbed only having known the love of self, but his courtly desires toward Barack do not trump the message of PUMA.

Here's a question for Norman, how would you have responded if someone had tried to silence you when you declared, " This week's cave-in on Capitol Hill -- supplying a huge new jolt of funds for the horrific war effort in Iraq -- is surprising only to those who haven't grasped our current circumstances"? You published that ("Deadly Illusions, Rest in Peace") in May of 2007. What if you'd been screamed at then that you needed to focus on getting with the program for the good of the Democratic program?

It's a serious question. It's asked seriously and it's serious issue. On the latter, Norman's arguing that a floor vote is bad (or was arguing it on Tuesday, now that it's a done deal, who knows what he'd say). Well it can be argued that your critiques in 2007 weren't 'good for the party.' You don't get to decide when others choose to stand up. You can scream as loud as you want, you can speak as phoney as Joan Crawford in any of her 'cultured lady' roles, but you don't get to decide. You've abandoned your position as a media critic, you've forsaken the transfer of information and are now nothing but a crotchety old man screaming at strangers.

It's not attractive and it's not winning converts. Bullying rarely does.

Norman's associates at FAIR do not infuriate us because they are so comical. They used to be intentionally funny but now they've become a lot like Jack and Karen on the last seasons of Will & Grace, caricatures of their former selves. Take the now always scowling Janine Jackson. Friday she was babbling on about Cokie Roberts: 'Oh, how dare Cokie say that Barack should have gone to Myrtle Beach. Oh, Cokie must have said that because she has property there. Oh blah, blah, blah, oh whine, whine, whine. Oh listen to me disgrace myself so that no one will ever hire me again.'

Myrtle Beach is in South Carolina. The state that shows Barack is now either in a tie with or trailing behind (some polls say hugely) John McCain. Barack elected to go on yet another vacation (at least his third this year) and elected to go to Hawaii. And Cokie, on NPR, described it as "exotic" to some people. Oh, the racism of it all, stewed Janine. Janine Jackson, finding racism where its not present. Type in "exotic hawaii vacations" (we did) and you get 399,000 results. Type in "exotic hawaii getaways" and you get 75,400 results. Search Hawaii and exotic and you'll find such results as "Exotic Tropical bouquets: Hawaii florist and Plumeria flowers." There are many reasons for that.

For example, last week when we got off the plane in Charleston neither we nor anyone else had someone rush up to put a lei around our neck. Daniel Akaka was offended by Roberts statement and felt the need to issue a press release objecting. Funny, he didn't object to a May 16, 2008 press release from Rep Neil Abercrombie stating, "Exotic pests in Hawaii cause $300 million in yearly financial losses due to crop damage and lost export markets." While Akaka was making the usual fool out of himself, the Maui News took a different angle in "Cokie, thanks for the plug:"

Hawaii spends millions to promote the islands as a tropical vacation destination. Imagine the worth of having the media make a big deal out of a commentator's description of Hawaii as "foreign" and "exotic" on a national television show.
The description has a number of people - including Sen. Dan Akaka - with their tails in a twist. With the visitor industry slumping, resort destination Hawaii should be celebrating the description.

Monday on NPR's Morning Edition, Cokie declared:

I know that he is from Hawaii, he grew up there, his grandmother lives there, but he's made such a point about how he is from Kansas and, you know, the boy from Kansas and Kenya and it makes him seem a little bit more exotic than perhaps he would want to come across as at this stage in the presidential campaign.

The previous day, on ABC's This Week, Cokie had declared:

I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place. He should be in Myrtle Beach, and, you know, if he's going to take a vacation at this time.

Cokie did not call Hawaii a "foreign place," she noted "it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place." There's nothing wrong with using "exotic" to describe Hawaii. It is exotic, it is tropical, that's part of its charm. We wish Cokie had said it was "foreign." We certainly consider it that. It wasn't a state until 1959 and that was after many, many years of colonization. We love Hawaii. We grieve over what has been done to it. So, had Cokie said it was foreign, we would have applauded her. She didn't say that.

What she did was note that he was taking a vacation and that it might not be a good time to take a vacation. She noted Myrtle Beach because his fall (in some polls) in South Carolina is shocking to many. And when you constantly give speeches claiming that you're going to be said to appear foreign, maybe you should take into considerations impressions you create before acting. Certainly if John Kerry had known (or someone had the guts to tell him), "John, you look ridiculous in the compression shorts," he might not have gone windsurfing. "Windsurfing" was never the issue or even the focus of attack. It was seeing Ichabod Crane in compression shorts, all gangly.

Should Barack have gone to Hawaii? Not if he's not going to campaign there. (Fundraisers don't count. Remember he didn't 'campaign' in Florida but he held fundraisers -- he also held a press conference until the press pointed out he was breaking the rules and he left in a huff.) Were we on his team (yes, we'd have to be doing some heavy drugs for that to happen), we would have said, "Grand Canyon or something similar." For the simple reason that when you whine incessantly that people are going to try to make you look foreign (whining that can end up re-enforcing that opinion), you should probably be focused on a vacation that screams "America!" Take the kids to Disney Land. Do something that low income workers could identify with. In March, he jetted off to the Virgin Islands (so pure!). Now he's off in Hawaii. Again, we would have gone with Grand Canyon and think he could have many of those mythic photos he so enjoys posing for on such a trip.

But Janine wanted to cry racism (we warned you in May it was going to be a long summer) and, the way things are going, not even Eli Stone's aneurysm could give Janine a 'lift.' She's became the Dour Queen. And we're all supposed to be as amused by what she says as she is. Little too much (bad) comedy shining through and not enough facts. Add to it that her already problematic delivery has only gotten worse.

Eli Stone is only getting better. This Saturday, ABC airs the finale of season one. In October, new episodes return (on Tuesday). ABC has a great series. The sad thing is they still don't grasp that. "We renewed it," huffed one suit when we were talking up Eli Stone. He made it sound like the network was doing it a favor. A favor would be giving it the promotional push it deserves. Until that happens, ABC's hiding the show and blowing their own lineup because for all the attention they've given to Pushing Up Daisies, they've yet to grasp the basic implosion that will most likely take place on that show. They've also failed to grasp that, as hard as they've pushed that show, Pushing Daisies, it's not a hit.

Not only is it not a hit, it's lost viewers. Not due to the writers' strike. Pushing Daisies aired new episodes from October through December. When it finished that run, the last episode trudged across the finish line at 54 for the week. That's not a hit, it's not even respectable considering all the monies ABC spent promoting it (including bus billboards). What you have with Pushing Daisies is a quirky show (read Twin Peaks) that most viewers cannot relate to. They know about the show, 13 million people watched its debut (approximately half watched its final episode in December). They've heard it pimped like crazy by the Water Cooler Set. After Studio 60, the networks should be leery of any series the Water Cooler Set pimps: Their approval is the kiss of the death.

Eli Stone's about life. A tragedy befalls Eli and it changes him for the better. It expands his understanding and his circle. In an election year that's all about constriction, it should make for an entertaining alternative. With any luck, fall 2008 will be when it takes off just as ABC finally realizes that Pushing Daisies is tanking (and, no, as one suit asked us, the problem is just the eyebrows on that show's lead). Eli Stone is also about transformations and, unlike what the so-called 'alternative' media has exhibited, it's a transformation you can believe in.

Jeremy Hinzman ordered to leave Canada

In July, the Canadian government extradited US war resister Robin Long. Last week, the Canadian Border Services agency announced that US war resister Jeremy Hinzman -- the first to publicly apply for safe harbor -- had until September 23rd to leave the country. Friday, Jeremy appeared on Democracy Now!:


Jeremy Hinzman: Well, essentially, it turns our lives upside down. We [wife Nga Nguyen], as you said, just had a baby [daughter Meghan]. Our son [Liam] knows nothing else aside from Canada. And if we do go back, which it's looking like, I will undoubtedly be court-martialed and serve some time in jail.

Juan Gonzalez: Is there any appeal process left to you yet that might delay the September 23rd deadline?

Jeremy Hinzman: There is. It's not guaranteed that we'll be granted leave to appeal, but if my lawyer can find errors in the compassionate and humanitarian decision that the Canadian Border Services rendered, then we can--we can appeal. But there's no guarantee that the court will grant us leave.

Juan Gonzalez: And what were the arguments the court used in rejecting your appeal?

JEREMY HINZMAN: Well, in a compassionate and humanitarian case, you need to show that there would be undue hardship if you returned to your country of origin, and we--and you also need to show that you've been established in Canada and can live independently. And we did that. In the decision, the officer said we've established ourselves well in Canada. We haven't been a hindrance to the social assistance programs. But he said that wasn't enough for us to stay. He said the US has a fair justice system. My First Amendment right to free speech is protected. And they also mentioned that--for whatever reason, I don't know--they mentioned George Bush's No School Left Behind program to say that our son would be able to get a good education. I found that kind of humorous.

Did the government mention daughter Meghan? Or was the 'assessment' written before Nga gave birth? It's not a minor question. Meghan is a Canadian citizen and the immigration 'board' is supposed to weigh additional guidelines when considering the status of any applicant who is the parent of a Canadian citizen.

One of the best signs last week was seeing how many articles and how many spokespeople raised the issue of Meghan. Robin Long's child was not raised by the press or most spokespeople until after he had been extradited. Judge Anne Mactavish called it "deportation" but she actually "extradited" Robin and did so with complete disgregard of all rules, laws and guidelines.

Did the government factor in Judge Robert Barnes' decision in Joshua Key's case? It should have been factored in, Jeremy is mentioned in Barnes' decision:

It is apparent to me that the Board in Hinzman did not have before it the kind of evidence that was presented by Mr. Key and, therefore, neither the Board nor Justice Mactavish were required in that case to determine the precise limits of protection afforded by Article 171 of the UNHCR Handbook. I do not consider Justice Mactavish's remarks to be determative of the issue presented by this case -- that is, whether refugee protection is available for persons like Mr. Key who would be expected to participate in widespread and arguably officially sanctioned breaches of humanitarian law which do not constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Decisions have been flawed. That's why Judge Barnes issued his ruling. It was supposed to have an effect but it appears that it is being ignored. Reuters reported Alyssa Manning (Jeremy's attorney) is filing "a new appeal in Canada's Federal Court" and arguing that the ruling/order "did not take into account the effect on his family if he ended up in prison".

Along with ignoring the ruling, the Canadian government is also ignoring the will of the Canadian people who overwhelmingly support war resisters remaining in Canada and it ignores the will of the Canadian's elected officials: June 3rd Canada's House of Commons voted (non-binding motion) in favor of Canada being a safe harbor for war resisters. Canada's CBC noted, "Federal NDP citizenship and immigration critic Olivia Chow, who put forward the June motion, called Wednesday's decision "mean-spirited," and called on Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley to halt the deportation of Hinzman and other war resisters immediately."

The Rapid City Stevens High School (South Dakota) graduate served in Afghanistan performing noncombatant duties while he awaited news of CO status. Like many, Jeremy found that the CO process is far from fair and his application was denied.

In 2006, Peter Laufer quoted Jeremy (in the book Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq) explaining:

I object to the Iraqi war because it is an act of aggression with no defensive basis. It has been supported by pretenses that cannot withstand even elementary scrutiny. First, before the U.S. dropped the first bomb, it was quite evident that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Second, the Bush administration had the gall to exploit the American public's fear of terrorists by making the absurd assertion that a secular Batthist government was working with a fundamentalist terrorist group. There was nevery any intelligence to substantiate this. Third, the notion that the U.S. wants to export democracy to Iraq is laughable. Democracy is by the people, not an appointed puppet theater.

The decision has not led Jeremy to back off from his opposition to the illegal war. AP quoted him stating, "I'm disappointed but I think that every soldier that has refused to fight in Iraq has done a good thing and I'm not ashamed." Michael Futch (Fayetteville Observer) spoke with Jeremy who declared, "I don't regret what we've done. I've had the opportunity to speak out against the war. No offense to the soldiers over there -- I have respect for them as soldiers -- but it was a bogus war based on false pretenses . . . and I'm happy to have not taken part in it."

Brett Clarkson (Edmonton Sun) quoted Jeremy stating, "Iraq was an unjust war based on false pretences, and every soldier who refused to fight probably saved a lot of lives." In another AP report last week, Jeremy explained, "I went through all the training. I served honorably in my unit. I used army provisions to try become a noncombatant and remain in the army as a medic or something, but I still would be subject to going on combat missions as a medic. I can't bring myself to shoot another person. If people want to criticize me for that, then I'm honored to be criticized because I'm not a killer."

Those are among his reasons for checking out and refusing to deploy to Iraq. May 26, 2004 was when CBS News noted, "A U.S. soldier who deserted his Iraq-bound regiment and sought asylum in Canada said the U.S. war in Iraq was illegal and he accused the United States of committing war crimes. Pfc. Jeremy Hinzman, 25, is believed to be the first U.S. soldier to apply for refugee status in Canada after refusing combat duty in Iraq." December 2004, Scott Pelley (60 Minutes II) reported on war resisters in Canada including Brandon Hughey, Dan Felushko and Jeremy Hinzman:

The first deserter to face the Canadian refugee board is likely to be Spc. Jeremy Hinzman of Rapid City, S.D. He joined the military in Jan. 2001, and was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. He wanted a career in the military, but over time, he decided he couldn’t take a life.

"I was walking to chow hall with my unit, and we were yelling, 'Train to kill, kill we will,' over and over again," recalls Hinzman. "I kind of snuck a peek around me and saw all my colleagues getting red in the face and hoarse yelling -- and at that point a light went off in my head and I said, 'You know, I made the wrong career decision.'"

But Hinzman said he didn’t want to get out of the Army: "I had signed a contract for four years. I was totally willing to fulfill it. Just not in combat arms jobs." While at Fort Bragg, Hinzman says he filled out the forms for conscientious objector status, which would let him stay in the Army in a non-combat job. While he waited for a decision, he went to Afghanistan and worked in a kitchen. But later, the Army told him he didn’t qualify as a conscientious objector, and he was ordered to fight in Iraq.

Hinzman decided to take his family to Canada, where he’s been living off savings accumulated while he was in the military. Wasn't he supposed to follow orders?

"I was told in basic training that, if I'm given an illegal or immoral order, it is my duty to disobey it," says Hinzman. "And I feel that invading and occupying Iraq is an illegal and immoral thing to do."

"But you can't have an Army of free-thinkers," says Pelley. "You wouldn't have an Army."

"No, you wouldn't. I think there are times when militaries or countries act in a collectively wrong way," says Hinzman. "I mean, the obvious example was during World War II. Sure, Saddam Hussein was a really bad guy. I mean, he ranks up there with the bad ones. But was he a threat to the United States?"

Still, isn't it worth fighting to free the people of Iraq?

"Whether a country lives under freedom or tyranny or whatever else, that's the collective responsibility of the people of that country," says Hinzman.

Courage to Resist alerts, "Supporters are calling on Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to intervene. Phone 613.996.4974 or email,"

Iraq Veterans Against the War also encourages people to take action, "To support Jeremy, call or email Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and ask her to intervene in this case. Phone: 613.996.4974 email:" In addition to that, Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign is staging an emergency meeting this week (August 20th, Wednesday, 7:00 pm, Steelworkers Hall at 25 Cecil St.) and planning a day of action (September 13th) where "[a]ctions, demonstrations and pickets will take place in cities and towns all across Canada."

Open Up The Debates!

Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy. And I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and so does John Kerry.

That's the 'moralizer' John Edwards prattling on in 2004 at the vice-presidential debates. The 'enlightened' and 'highly moral' Johnny was back at the stage on July 24, 2007:

I think Reverend Longcrier asks a very important question, which is whether fundamentally -- whether it's right for any of our faith beliefs to be imposed on the American people when we're president of the United States. I do not believe that's right. I feel enormous personal conflict about this issue. I want to end discrimination. I want to do some of the things that I just heard Bill Richardson talking about -- standing up for equal rights, substantive rights, civil unions, the thing that Chris Dodd just talked about. But I think that's something everybody on this stage will commit themselves to as president of the United States. But I personally have been on a journey on this issue. I feel enormous conflict about it. As I think a lot of people know, Elizabeth spoke -- my wife Elizabeth spoke out a few weeks ago, and she actually supports gay marriage. I do not. But this is a very, very difficult issue for me. And I recognize and have enormous respect for people who have a different view of it. [. . .] It's not. I mean, I've been asked a personal question which is, I think, what Reverend Longcrier is raising, and that personal question is, do I believe and do I personally support gay marriage? The honest answer to that is I don't.

Wow, imagine that, John and Elizabeth Edwards with a disagreement, who could have ever guessed? Three years later and he's got nothing new to say despite the laughable repetition of "enormous conflict" felt over this decision. John Edwards, your scarlet letter is showing, zip up your pants.

That's what passes for discourse in presidential debates. In 2004, John Edwards thinks he's pulling a fast one by pointing out the Dick Cheney has a gay daughter (Mary). Oh, such unbelievably intellectual discourse! How fortunate the nation was to have John Rona Barrett Edwards participating in the debates.

But John's not really the problem in and of himself. That garbage that passes for a discussion of the issues is brought to you by the Democratic and Republican parties.

Had John Edwards been this year's nominee we could have looked forward to him saying exactly what he said in 2004 plus that it caused him "enormous conflict." Maybe we could have counted on that being raised even 'higher' via Jay Leno doing a bit about the "enormous conflict" and, looking in the camera, asking, "Is Edwards trying to tell us he's in the midst of a homosexual panic?"

Edwards' 2004 moment quoted above was all the talk of the press for days and days and, in fact, Bully Boy would bring it up in his debate with John Kerry. Gossip. The press would debate endlessly whether Edwards and Kerry noting Mary Cheney was gay (she was already a lesbian) was appropriate or not when, in fact, they should have been decrying the rigged debates themselves.

Don't like gossip posing as "issues"? Well open up the damn debates. The debates are now controlled by the Democratic and Republican Party (and brought to you via corporate donations). That has been true since 1988. As Crapapdeia notes:

In 1988, the League of Women Voters withdrew its sponsorship of the presidential debates after the George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis campaigns secretly agreed to a "memorandum of understanding" that would decide which candidates could participate in the debates, which individuals would be panelists (and therefore able to ask questions), and the height of the podiums. The League rejected the demands and released a statement saying that they were withdrawing support for the debates because "the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter".

In 2004, on NPR's Tavis Smiley Show, Connie Rice (cousin of US Secretary of State Condi Rice) broke down the basics including;

(10.) "A debate is a head-to-head, spontaneous, structured argument over the merits of an issue," Rice says. "Under the ridiculous 32-page contract that reads like the rules for the Miss America Pageant, there will be no candidate-to-candidate questions, no rebuttal to your opponent's points, no cross questions or cross answers, no rebuttals, no follow-up questions — that's not a debate, that's a news conference."
(9.) The debates were hijacked from the truly independent League of Women Voters in 1986.
"The League of Women Voters ran these debates with an iron hand as open, transparent, non-partisan events from 1976 to 1984," Rice says. "The men running the major campaigns ended their control when the League defiantly included John Anderson and Ross Perot, and used tough moderators and formats the parties didn't like. The parties snatched the debates from the League and formed the Commission on Presidential Debates -- the CPD -- in 1986."
(8.) The "independent and non-partisan" Commission on Presidential Debates is neither independent nor non-partisan.
"CPD should stand for 'Cloaking-device for Party Deceptions' -- it is not an independent commission on anything. The CPD is under the total control of the Republican and Democratic parties and by definition bipartisan, not non-partisan. Walter Cronkite called CPD-sponsored debates an 'unconscionable fraud.'"

First step this year is opening up the debates. For the future, the CPD needs to be dismantled. Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader are running for president but they're not the Democratic Party nominee or the Republican Party nominee (both parties are expected to soon declare their nominees) and so the CPD thinks it can shut them out of the conversation. The CPD thinks that, in a democracy, they can shut presidential candidates out of the discussion and deny the people the right to see all candidates debate.

What has the DNC and GOP so scared? They can't make their backdoor deals about what will be asked, what won't be asked, when a candidate can use a pen to take notes, blah, blah, blah.

Let's seem some real debates to demonstrate that the United States has a real democracy. That means open them up and invite all the candidates. That is the only way we'll see real democracy let alone a discussion of the real issues.

This is Ralph Nader. The only time when tens of millions of Americans tune in for a couple of hours and pay attention to politics is during the prime time presidential debates. For our democracy to survive, prevail and thrive, we must have an open debate about the challenges we face and the solutions that we must apply. We really don't need two-candidate debates that sound like canned interviews. We don't need debaters prepped to look like a couple of game show contestants. We don't need show business, we need serious debate.

A 2000 Zogby poll showed that nearly 52% of the people wanted other candidates in the debates. In 2004, another Zogby poll showed 57% of likely voters wanted the debates opened up. A July 2008 poll by Zogby found that 44% of the public agreed that the American system is broken and cannot be repaired by the traditional two party politics and election. Another poll had 61% of the people saying both parties are failing.

It's time to open up the debates to third party candidates. I'm running for president because our democracy has been the target of an accelerating hostile corporate takeover. Control of our government by large corporations results in huge corporate welfare payouts, mega-fraud by military contractors, a pay or die system of health insurance, continued man-made global climate change and a collapsing financial system being propped up by the day on the backs of the American taxpayer with no restrictions, guarantees or return on investment. This and much more has happened with the craven complicity of both major political parties and politicians in Washington.

Friends, as things stand, the three debates run by the two parties through the private Commission on Presidential Debates, a corporation, will exclude critical discussion of the control of our democracy by large corporations We need honest talk in this campaign. It's time to respect the will of the American people, to expand their access to arguments and facts that address issues central to their daily lives. It's time for the American people to take control of the political system. We can begin by opening up the presidential debates. I'm Ralph Nader.


That's independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's "Open the Debates" and you can hear it in audio at Ralph's Daily Audio, a new page at the Nader-Gonzalez campaign site. The campaign is keeping issues on the table. Thursday, Jess spoke with Junue Millan at the newly opened Nader-Gonzalez Denver Headquarters.

The headquarters intends to be open not just business hours Monday through Friday, but from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. That's due to the fact that not only are they a campaign headquarters with all that entails, they're also gearing up for the Denver Super Rally August 27th. They are expecting between 5,000 and 7,000 people at the University of Denver's Magness Arena.

And they need volunteers. If you're in the Denver area and interested in helping, you can e-mail Junue Millan at as well as call the office (303) 832-2509 or walk in.

The Denver Super Rally will feature Ralph and running mate Matt Gonzalez as well as many guest speakers such as artist, activist and rocker Jello Biafra. Junue Millan described the mood to Jess as very up and noted that five outlets (including Univision) had sent reporters Thursday to cover the opening of the Denver headquarters. Millan was able to quickly -- without pausing -- tick off the issues that the Nader-Gonzalez campaign were raising and intended to keep on the table. None of that, "Check Saint Barack's website for issues, I am just here to talk about how groovy Barack is and how, when he cries, the heavens rain. I first came to Barack . . . a street junkie who had run away from home and was turning tricks on the side, selling a little blow and scamming this old lady at the homeless shelter, but Saint Barack has changed my life and cured my irritable bowel syndrome. Praise be, St. Barack." Instead, Millan was informed and a total pro which says a great deal the Nader-Gonzalez campaign.

The Super Rallies are about opening the debates and allowing the real issues that matter to the American to be addressed. Will impeachment be raised by a Dem or Repube nominee at the debates? It is doubtful. But here's the Nader campaign's "Impeachment:"

This is Ralph Nader. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are the most impeachable president and vice president in the history of the United States. The Constitution of the United States structures our democracy within the rule of law. Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barack Obama and their Republican associates are seriously subverting the rule of law by blocking the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Bill Clinton must be shaking his head in wonderment. High Crimes and Misdemeanors are what get a president impeached. That's in Article II, Section IV of our Constitution. Let's consider the case of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.
High crimes and misdemeanor number one: The criminal war, invasion and occupation of Iraq in violation of our Constitution, federal statutes and international treaties that our country belongs to. The second is systemic torture condoned at the top of our government. That even violates the US Army Field Manual as well as FBI procedures. High crimes and misdemeanor number three: the arrests and imprisonment of thousands of Americans without charges, denying ha beaus corpus the fundamental requirement for a restraining power to show why the liberty of a person is being restrained. High crimes and misdemeanor number four: spying on millions of Americans without a judicial warrant. This one violates the FISA Act which provides for a five-year jail term. High crimes and misdemeanor number five are all those signing statements that George W. Bush declared when he signed one bill after another from Congress saying that it would be up to him to decide whether or not to obey the law. I guess one could call him King George IV.
The American Bar Association, the largest barre association in the world, quite conservative, has sent three major reports to President George W. Bush outlining his serious violations of provisions in our Constitution. I stood in front of the White House for 45 minutes a few weeks ago and declared the reasons for the impeachment or resignation or subsequent prosecution of Bush and Cheney for the five categories of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
If we allow rampant, recidivist criminal activity in the White House -- as Speaker Pelosi, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain have done week after week, month after month -- that'll simply set the stage for future presidents to think that they too can break the law with impunity and run our civil liberties, our civil rights, our safety, our freedoms, our status before the world into the ground. I'm Ralph Nader.

The CPD controls the debates and is funded by corporations. Do we really expect the Democratic or Republican nominee to take on the corporations? Here's Nader doing just that in "Corporate Tax Cheats:"

A report just out by the well regarded US Government Accountability Office concludes that about two-thirds of corporations operating in the United States did not pay taxes annually from 1998 to 2005. Imagine that. Senator Byron Dorgan, the Democrat of North Dakota, called the findings "A shocking indictment of the current tax system."
He continues, "It's shameful that so many corporations make big profits and pay nothing to support our country. The tax system that allows this whole sale tax avoidance is an embarrassment and unfair to hard working Americans who pay their fair share of taxes. We need to plug these tax loopholes and put these corporations back on the tax rolls."
Senator Carl Levin says, "This report makes clear that too many corporations are using tax trickery to send their profits overseas and to avoid paying their fare share in the United States." The GAO report said that 28% of large corporations paid no taxes during that period between 1998 to 2005. It's suspected that a lot of these global corporations were using transfer pricing to reduce their tax bills. This allows these multi-national corporations to transfer their goods and assets between their internal subsidiaries so they can record in the jurisdiction with low tax rates like the Bahamas.
David Cay Johnston, in his great book
Perfectly Legal concluded, and I paraphrase him, he said, "These global companies have now reached a point of power and manipulation where they can decide how much taxes they're going to pay, where they're going to pay these taxes, and when they're going to pay these taxes."
That's the leading tax reporter for the New York Times, a Pulitzer Prize winner, David Cay Johnston. It's something to think about when we ponder the double standard between working people on the one hand under our tax system and those tax escapees the global corporations on the other. This is Ralph Nader.

Another corporate issue was addressed by Nader in "Outsourcing:"

This is Ralph Nader. You know how often these big corporate executives, when they're shipping jobs of American workers to fascist or communist dictators abroad who know how to keep their workers in their place . Do you know how often they say "Well we have to do this to keep up with the global competition"? But one thing they don't do to keep up with the global competition is to outsource themselves, outsource their own CEO jobs or their own faulting commentators and editors jobs.
Let's start with the New York Times editorial page. It would be hard to replace Maureen Dowd, no doubt. But Thomas Friedman? He of the rah-rah, pro-corporate, globalization, cheesy metaphors? Well he could easily be replaced by a hard working Indian or Chinese bi-lingual columnist at a much lower rate. And how about Wall Street? All those investment bank executives, the executives of Citigroup or Merrill Lynch. Imagine how many first rate Indian or Chinese executives could have done a much better job than Bob Rubin who helped drive the giant Citibank into the ground. I'm sure good executives from India or China could replace Rick Wagoner as CEO of General Motors at a much, much lower salary. That's the way to meet the global competition: Outsource CEOS.
"What's good for the worker," says the CEO, "is not good for the CEO." The shareholders know better they've got to demand outsourcing CEOS for a new fresh. energetic start for the management of their country. I'm Ralph Nader.

The debates need to be opened. The US is supposed to have a democracy and the people are supposed to be informed. All candidates need to be up on stage. Until that happens, don't count on hearing issues from the corporate sponsored debates controlled by the duopoly. If you're hungry for issues right now, you can check out Ralph's Daily Audio.

Jim note: Thank you to community member Lynda who e-mailed C.I. (see this morning entry). This posted without noting Jess' call to the Nader headquarters in Denver last week. It was an oversight that took place in the typing and I've added those paragraphs to article. In addition, I'll go ahead and include Nader's "Open The Debates:"

Good morning, this is Ralph Nader. As you know, Nader/Gonzalez is being blocked from the presidential debates. The corporate controlled so-called Commission on Presidential Debates will not let any independent candidate in unless they show 15% in a series of polls in September. That's no surprise. What is surprising is the failure of other debates to fill the vacuum. Part of this is due to Senator Obama's reluctance to engage his opponents.
On May 4th, Obama told Tim Russert on Meet The Press that he was willing to debate with "any of my opponents about what this country means, what makes it great." But earlier this month, Obama's campaign manager backed off, saying that Obama would debate only Senator McCain and only in the three rigged debates that's sponsored by the two parties and paid for by corporations.
Senator Obama's also refused to participate in a number of other debates including the Google debate in New Orleans, the Texas Ft. Hood debate that is being organized by veterans groups and the series of ten townhall meetings proposed by Senator McCain. Senator Obama's refusal to participate is a mistake and is costing him in the polls. Just yesterday, the Gallup tracking polls put McCain and Obama tied at 44% each. If Obama doesn't agree to more debates he could end up at the end of a sentence that starts out "Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry.
With only McCain and Obama on the stage , there will be no debate of key issues and redirections important to the American people . Just go down the partial list. Single-payer Medicare for all healthcare, supported by the majority of the American people, the majority of doctors and nurses, and just recently, unanimously, by the US conference of mayors? Obama says "no," McCain says "no." Reversing US policy in the Middle East? Obama says "no," McCain says "no." Cut the bloated, wasteful, redundant military budget? Obama says "no," McCain says "no." They want a bigger military budget. Empty the prisons of drug possessors and fill 'em up with corporate criminals? Obama says "no," McCain says "no." Nader-Gonzalez says "yes" to each.
The only way to change this systemic exclusion is for millions of Americans to become engaged now. If you can, please join with us at our two Super Rallies-- on August 27th in Denver at the University of Denver Magness Arena or September 4th in Minneapolis at Orchestra Hall. And help us raise the banner for all to see: "OPEN THE DEBATES."
If you are not able to attend, please go to and donate now whatever you can up to the legal maximum of $4,600 to help fund our Open The Debates Campaign. Our goal is to raise $50,000 by Wednesday night. Last night, we were close to $14,000 in less than three days, but we have a ways to go. So join with us in Denver and Minneapolis if you can. We're planning to have some prominent activists and musicians with us. Stay tuned for more information on that. And we have some surprise, giant, inflatable visuals that should be a lot of fun, that will travel with us as we move from Denver to Minneapolis and then, hopefully, will bring attention to our Super Rallies from the press.
Thank you for your ongoing and considered support to our campaign. Together we are making a difference. Onward to November. I'm Ralph Nader.

What If Feminists Were Swing Voters?

August 8th Peggy Simpson filed another report (Women's Media Center) on the 'leadership' (current) in the feminist movement sucking up to Barack Obama yet again. Over "30 leaders of national women's groups," Simpson explained, met with Barack at the end of last month where they made "no demand for favors" and doesn't that just about say it all about how pathetic the current 'leadership' is?

While the gals were conceding issues that are not their issues to concede, others were working their asses off. To The Contrary's Bonnie Erbe (at US News & World Reports) was reporting on JustSayNoDeal's Diane Mantouvalos:

Mantouvalos told me that without Clinton supporters behind him, Obama cannot beat McCain: "We contend [that lack of unity is] the reason Senator Obama is in a dead heat with a 71-year-old Republican, and—no disrespect for Senator McCain, but age is a factor to many voters. He represents the incumbent party, [which] most of the American people are unhappy with. Why is it that they are tied right now?"

While the 'gals' deciding what is news (that would be "gatekeepers") couldn't tell you about reality or, for that matter, a grassroots movement, Erbe could and on Thursday she would be back to explain Barack and John McCain were tied in a statistical deadheat and that explained a great deal why the Barack controlled DNC had decided to 'allow' Hillary Clinton the same rights men who got far less than 18 million votes: her name will "be placed in nomination." Erbe noted:
"One might also call it an admission that the Obama campaign is desperate to win the support of the 20 percent or so of her 18 million supporters who have been telling pollsters they will not vote for Sen. Barack Obama."

No offense to Bonnie Erbe (whose work is appreciated) but it's a real shame that other so-called 'women's media' can't tell you the same basic facts. In July, Peggy Simpson reported on the NOW convention and the underwhelming reaction Kim Gandy got when she attempted to sell Barack to the organization -- apparently forgetting that she was NOW convention and not at a NOW PAC convention. Someone might need to let Kim Gandy know that not only was her stunt unpopular but it risked NOW's tax exempt status. NOW PAC can endorse candidates. NOW cannot. As president of NOW, Gandy's little act of prostitution crossed the line. And gals, you better start worring. Rebecca's first husband is big in the RNC and he's begun asking questions about Panhandle Media and women's organization's tax exempt status. (Rebecca has thus far taken a pass on women's organization but has been very clear about how 'independent' media has been spinning. The matter is now under review at the RNC.)

Kim's public service announcement for "Sister Baracka" not only risks the tax status of NOW, it insults NOW membership which does not exist to take orders from Gandy. As president, Kim is supposed to be responsive and acting on behalf of the membership. She's far from the only 'leader' failing to grasp that basic reality. She is not Moses leading anyone out of the desert. She was put in her current position to represent on behalf of women, not to sell them out to politicians.


Of all the attacks on Hillary (which Feminist Majority Foundation and Feminist Wire Daily ignored -- two 'briefs' over five months is not paying attention), one of the most offensive was when Hillary was attacked for her husband's involvement with Monica Lewinsky. It's the sort of sexist smear that blames a woman for a man's actions. It's the sort of sexist smear that only blames the woman but, by blaming the woman, suggests she's the problem and not her husband's own actions. You see that garbage floated regularly about Hillary and, no, Feminist Majority Foundation has never called it out when Homer's repeated it to Marge on The Simpsons (and everyone had a 'good' chuckle) or on Family Guy (too many times to mention). Little surprise that, in Texas, Barack elected to advertise heavily on both program's syndicated repeats in the lead up to the March primary.

When did the campaigns start playing dirty? How about this statement:

That one of the most important things that we need to know about the next president of the United States is, is he somebody that shares our values? Is he somebody that respects family? Is a good and decent person? So our view was that, if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House. So, so we've adjusted our schedules to make sure that our girls are first, so while he's traveling around, I do day trips.

Media Matters went into overtime trying to justify the remarks -- by Michelle Obama -- saying that she was speaking about herself and not other candidates! Bull-f**king-s**t.

First off, note the "he." Second off note her comments (a veiled attack on Bill Clinton) and how she then goes on (and on and on -- we cut it short) selling herself as the sainted wife of the sainted one. This was an attack on the Hillary Clinton campaign and it took place in August 2007. Michelle Obama launched it and damn well knew what she was doing. (The Obama campaign is very proud of that moment.)

When 'leaders' think they can sell Michelle as the reason to support Barack or that they can boo-hoo about some inflated claim that Michelle's been wronged, what they miss is that feminists have not forgotten that moment and will not. Michelle Obama is not a feminist and the grassroots is damn well aware that 'leadership' refused to call her out for her remarks which were an attack on Hillary and other women who had been in the same situation. It's not surprising that Media Matters' missed the boat. It's a male heavy organization. It is surprising that female 'leadership' elected to play dumb and now think they can sell Michelle as a poor, put-upon victim. Feminists aren't buying it and there is very real rage boiling over Michelle's actions and the silence of 'leadership.'

In those August remarks, Michelle invited the country to picture the next president and it was a "he" because others can't keep their houses in order the way she, Super Helpmate, and her husband can. Michelle Obama launched many attacks on the Clinton campaign and the press giggled and and enjoyed the cheap laughs then showed up in 2008 huffing about Bill Clinton (whose remarks had to be distorted by LIARS and the Obama campaign in order to stoke that rage).

While the 'leaders' have made asses out of themselves, women around the country (and a lot of men) have stood up to the sexism and their reward for that is to be blacked out by NOW, Feminist Majority Foundation, Ms. magazine, WMC, Women's eNews and Feminist Wire Daily? That's the response to women using and owning their own power?

Well it says a lot about how cowardly and foolish the current 'leadership' of the feminist movement is. Peggy Simpson reports Kim Gandy was at the end of the month meeting and was among the many 'leaders' not pressing demands on Barack. That becomes outright hilarious when you grasp that July 31st NOW sent out (NOW news) a mailing highlighting Gandy's "Obama, Are You Listening? This One's for Your Girls."

In that hilarious column, Kim wanted to press Barack to pick Hillary for his running mate. All the more hilarious when you realize that, when face to face with Barack, Gandy (as Simpson reports) had no demands.

So what is it? Is it the 'oikey doke' (to use Barack's term)? Do the 'leaders' think that they can toss out crumbs to the movement but rub elbows and trade quips with Barack?

That's not how it works.

And the feminist movement what has always worked: Demands.

When the second wave feminists emerged they were a wild card. Who was going to compete for their votes?

Tricky Dick's "southern strategy" was highly effective and would have been only more effective had the Democrats not picked up the emerging majority vote (women became majority voters in the gender quake elections of 1992). Without women supporting Democrats in such large numbers throughout the last three decades, the party would have collapsed.


Demands, not concessions.

"Leaders" want to get giddy with Barack and want to try to sell the women they are supposed to represent on the idea that because he has a "D" listed after his name, he's some sort of gift to women. He's not. His record on abortion in the Illinois legislature was appalling and a lot of lies (and liars) emerged to sell it as, "He was asked to vote this way!" No, he wasn't. And not only was he not asked to vote that way, the "present" strategy was invented for those representatives with conservative or conservative-trending districts. Barack represented one of the Chicago's most liberal districts. He was supposed to vote "Yes" and stand up for abortion rights but Barack was planning his someday presidential run and didn't want abortion rights 'tied to his neck,' so he sold abortion rights out and voted "present." That's the reality we all knew by the spring.

What we've seen since then is his comments about women "feeling blue" and having abortion and his other right-wing talking points, what we've seen is his spitting on Doe v. Bolton. It's not just about Roe and if 'leaders' don't grasp that, throw some cold water in their faces and wake them up.

Sarah Weddington argued Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court and she recounts the battle for reproductive rights in A Question of Choice: The Lawyer Who Won Roe v. Wade. The last chapter in her 1992 book should not be overlooked, "Beyond Casey."

The topic of that chapter only further calls into question Democratic support for reproductive rights. "Casey" is Bob Casey, the anti-choice idiot. No, he's not in the Senate, that's JUNIOR. That's Bob Casey Jr. spawn of idiots. Junior was the 'man' to get behind even if the DNC had to muscle a candidate who supported reproductive rights out of the race (of course, she was a woman). The lessons of the last two decades are lost on leadership. In 1992, in "Beyond Casey," Weddington would note that Roe hung by a single vote. And it was true then. That it still is goes to a Democratic Party that has not fought to keep Roe legal. Two men have occupied the Oval Office since then. Roe gets chipped away over and over to the point that it's little more than legal language today and not an enfranchisement for women in most parts of the country.

While two men have sat in the Oval Office, multiple men and women have been senators and that's the thing; see, presidents make nominations, the Senate approves or shoots down the nominee. Bully Boy's stacked the courts! Only with the help of the US Senate.

Bob Casey (Snr.) loved to lie and say he was kept out of the 1992 convention. He wasn't. (Nat Hentoff is already at work typing yet another deranged rebuttal to that fact.) But guess who's speaking to the convention this year? Bob Casey JUNIOR.

Last week Rick Klein and Teddy Davis (ABC News) reported, "The Democratic Party is planning a convention designed to soften the edges on the party's support for abortion rights, with a revamped platform and a speaking lineup that reinforces efforts to broaden Democrats' appeal on the hot-button issue." [See also Cedric's "The battered syndrome is what Bambi works" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BARACK SPITS ON WOMEN AGAIN!"]

For those who don't know their history, let's drop back to more recent times. When "Sure Thing" John Kerry lost the 2004 elections, it was time to (as usual) attack women. Interesting Times (allegedly left) trashed women standing up for abortion rights while hissing that fools like James Dobson needed to be heeded and listened to. To set the stage for the Democratic Party becoming even more like the Republican one, the myth of "values voters" was invented and sold by The New York Times (even though their own raw data did not back up the sweeping conclusions/lies they front paged).

Feminist 'leaders' should have read the writing on the wall back then and grasped that 'friends' were not friends and that feminists were really going to have press demands in the coming years. Instead, they didn't. They showed no guts, no courage unless you think Kate Michelman crying in the halls of Congress is somehow a show of strength? (C.I., Ava, Kat and Wally found it humorous and took pictures and were sure to point it out to others present.) Poor, pathetic Kate. Let down yet again by Democrats in the Senate who refused to vote against Bully Boy's anti-choice nominee. They did that twice in 2006. And 'rage' and 'action' for that sell-out was . . . Kate sobbing in the halls of Congress. Is it any surprise that William Saletan would publish "Player of choice: How ex-NARAL head Kate Michelman learned to play by Washington's rules -- and was taken down by them" (Washington Monthly -- and the article makes the perfect companion piece to the photos of Kate bawling.)

How did it come to this? How did feminism go from marching in the streets to crying in Congress? Because 'leaders' want to be 'players' and that requires them being cozier with the Beltway than with their own members.

And because 'leadership' becomes more cowardly each year. Feminists especially should know that when you don't stand up to a bully you get beaten down. Too many abused women can tell that story. But 'leaders' want to play like contestants on a new Fox 'reality' show: Best Battered Bride In The Whole Damn World. The Democrats slug in the face and they just smile bravely and make excuses.

When women were swing voters and the unknown, the Democratic Party had to work for them. The party's leadership didn't like or respect women anymore than it does today, but they had to attempt to win them over.

Now they don't have to attempt anything. If you've missed each, each presidential election cycle becomes "swing voters!" Feminists would have far more power today (or tomorrow, if they wanted to get wise) if they'd stop propping up the DNC candidates and start standing up.

To put it blunt terms, Democratic leadership knows the feminist 'leaders' will put out so they make no effort to woo them. The ones getting screwed are the grassroots. In the 2004 presidential election, the Democratic Party went out of its way to run from its base. That's how you got John Kerry's campaign losing promise of he would fight the unpopular Iraq War "smarter." That's how you got no scheduled women for the 2004 convention. (Hillary was added late and only after intensive lobbying. Barack, whom no one had heard of, could give the keynote speech but one of the party's biggest fundraisers and most prominent faces wasn't even invited originally.)

The Power Of No. Unless you're willing to say 'no,' unless you're willing to walk away, you're going to get stuck with a lot of lemons. The Democratic Party needs votes. That's all they care about. They think they can push women around because women 'leaders' have let themselves be pushed around.

The Barack Obama campaign was built with attacks on women (from their surrogates, from Barack, from Michelle). Now is the perfect time for feminist 'leaders' to exercise real power and say, "You want my vote? Work for it." To make clear that feminists can and will walk away from the table. When we can't be counted on, we'll be as wooed as the mythical 'values voters' and 'security moms.'

Ralph Nader has rightly noted that the left doesn't know how to play poker. It's past time they learned. The future of America goes far beyond one election cycle. No election is worth selling out your beliefs.

But 'leaders' don't get that. Take crackpot E. Faye Williams who is not a feminist and not a leader (other than at her crackpot 'health' industry where she's CEO). Simpson quotes E. Faye Williams drooling (at the meet up with Barack -- her candidate of choice from the beginning) about the interaction between Sister Baracka and women 'leaders,' "There was not even a hint of confrontation. The tone was how can we help you and how can you help us in working with our members."

Williams is a crackpot. Her 'business' is the sort that advertises in tabloids (next to 'miracle pills' that make your boobs bigger). But pay attention to what that non-leader said, what she told on about alleged 'leaders.' They didn't go to make demands, they didn't pressure the candidate. They wanted to know "How can we help you?" That was their first issue. What good little ass-kissers the 'leadership' has become. The second question is even more embarrassing, "How can you help us in working with our members?"

Read over that again. Alleged feminist 'leaders' are asking a man how to interact with their own membership. If that doesn't digust and turn your stomach, you're probably still singing along to "He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss."

E. Faye Williams may have gotten scared or may have just decided to sell out, but she's no feminist (yeah, we all know about her losing 1986 campaign and her horror about being called a Communist and how she elected to tell that story years later in a . . . Communist periodical) and that was obvious by her crackpot theories she served up about Hillary in May -- at the Obama campaign blog. Like its leader, the National Congress of Black Women is not a feminist organization. It's the equivalent of Future Homemakers of America on a grander scale and reminds us a great deal of Red Betty's efforts at trickery in the 60s and 70s.

In July, Barbara Cohn Schlachet outlined (at WMC) the basic realities for women:

It occurs to me that, among marginalized groups, women uniquely live with those that marginalize them, in a context of intimacy, loyalty, love and, often, dependency. Women are not literally ghettoized or ostracized. To the contrary, we are fully integrated into every community--with the exception of the power echelon in academia, business, media and politics--at least to the naked eye. However, ghettos (not to be advocated) offer the opportunity for a kind of solidarity; one knows who the enemy is, against whom one has to fight back, who is US, and who is THEM. This has played an enormous role in the civil rights struggle for African Americans, in the struggle for gay rights, religious freedom, and is now playing out in the effort to gain rights for immigrants.
[. . .]
I can't help but think of the statement about sexism made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of the most powerful women in American politics today. When questioned about sexism during the primaries, Speaker Pelosi commented to the effect that she was aware of sexism, and had certainly had to face it herself, but that she didn’t let it bother her. Where would the civil rights movement be had Rosa Parks or the Reverend Dr. King not let racism bother them? Yet, if we do let it "bother us," we end up having to face in our homes and families what we regularly face on the TV screen. I'm sure that media commentators, the majority of whom are male, do not see themselves as bigots or misogynists. How can they be, when they love the women in their lives?

If feminist 'leadership' can't grasp reality, they need to be replaced (and not allowed to go off to another organization and 'lead' from there). Reality is that women have always been scapegoated since the beginning of time. It's not about race, it's not about ethnicity. Women have overwhelming been the most targeted throughout history. In Iraq today, it's easier to be a Christian male than it is to be a Christian female -- and it's deadly to be a Christian male in Iraq today.

In the September 2008 issue of Harper's magazine, Vivian Gornick offers up "Radiant Poison: Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and the end of the Jew as metaphor" which really drives home who is always the scapegoat and how it's only more so when the issue is an under-represented group:

In Portony's Complaint, probably for the first time in Jewish-American literature, women-hating is openly associated with a consuming anger at what it has meant to be pushed to the margin, generation after generation; humiliated time and again into second-class lives; deprived, in egalitarian America, of a place at the table in matters of social importance. For men like Bellows and Roth, the sense of pent-up outrage was so instense that it was inevitable not only that it vent itself on those closest to hand but that it confuse them with the powers that be. Thus, humiliation goes kinky. Beginning with Herzog and Portnoy, theirs was a literature that screamed, "Don't tell me I don't run things around here!" only it was screaming it at the women its authors slept with.

And so it has always been and so it is today with attacks on Title IX, with the 'music' of gangsta rap, with one attack on women after another and we're all supposed to look the other (repeatedly) especially when it comes from a group that's still striving for equality itself.


We can't expect to live in a world where women matter until we make sure that women matter in our own worlds. That's feminism. Everything else is just a side-issue better left to another organization to take up the call for.

And when the women's liberation movement is willing to put the liberation of women front and center, real leaders will be more than willing to walk away from the table instead of begging for crumbs. When that day comes, equality will be a reality and not a longing.
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