Saturday, April 19, 2008

Roundtable, snapshot

Rebecca: I'm Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and tonight we've got a roundtable. Participating are 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), Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ, Trina of Trina's Kitchen and The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona and Ava. The Third Estate Sunday Review also includes Jim, Jess and Ty. They aren't participating but in case they're mentioned, FYI. For the same reason, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It! and Wally of The Daily Jot are being noted now. In case they are mentioned. C.I. and Ava are responsible for typing this and we can knock out those links right at the start and not require them later on. This is a rush transcript. We're going to be talking about a number of topics including the prospective presidents, Iraq and more.I actually did some planning ahead of time. I have questions from e-mails that we'll hopefully get to. In addition, in honor of Tuesday night's debate we have two hot seats. Everyone was informed of that ahead of time and asked to vote. The 'winners'? Elaine and C.I. As moderator, I wasn't eligible. So I will periodically go to them, or that's the plan. Betty's participating by phone and I think that gets all the background out of the way. First hot seat moment. I have a number of readers at my site who hate my guts and enjoy e-mailing me to tell me just how much they hate me. Yes, they are all men. And I generally ignore them but I e-mailed them to inform them of this debate. TrickRick self-describes as a White male, 23 y.o., Republican. He states, "We" meaning the GOP "will wipe the floor with BO" Barack Obama "but the only reason you're for Hillary is because she's a woman. My question is are you ready to lose?"

Elaine: C.I. is pointing to me. If I was just supporting Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary today because she was a woman, I would've voted for her in my state primary. I didn't. I voted Super Tuesday for Mike Gravel due to his past work regarding the Pentagon Papers and ending the draft. Best of luck to him in his new party but it's not a left party and I won't be supporting him in the general election. The non-stop attacks on Hillary Clinton bothered me. I had made the decision, weeks ahead of time, that Mike Gravel stood up in the past and, if nothing else, my vote said, "Thank you. It was appreciated." I've called out Hillary Clinton at my site before for any number of things. I suffer no illusions that she's perfect. I also know she's not the anti-Christ. I also know that there are standards and they weren't applied. I also know what blatant sexism is and am happy to list the 'left' participating in that. It would include "There's no such thing as global warming!" crackpot Alexander Cockburn, the pathetic Matthew Rothschild who thought a word that rhymes with "runt" was apparently delightful, the insane Robert Parry who claims to be a journalist but thinks he can resort to some form of spousal tea leaf reading to peer into Hillary's soul and see things with no backing, David Corn who will let no fact interfere with his need to rip apart Hillary, the twin punks Ari of the Nation who think the thing for a 'left' magazine to do is repeat false charges from the 90s that the right-wing started . . . It's a very long list and along with these evil and overt sexist, you need to include the bystanders. The ones who sat on the sidelines and did nothing. Include Ms. magazine on that list and the laughable lie that they can't cover a race because it would hurt their tax status. I don't know which is worse, that lie or that they hired a homphobe.Donna Brazile's little public snit fit against gays and lesbians means her ass needs to be fired. Let me be clear, Ms. wasn't saved repeatedly so that it could be this -- on the sidelines or publishing a homophobe. Dona Brazile needs to be fired. And a number of us who have given big money have decided next time Ms. is in trouble, tough s**t. We didn't support that magazine, we didn't donate all that money, so that they could ignore women running for president. But that's what they've done, that's what they're doing. And don't even get me started on Bill Moyers. Ava and C.I. have documented how he has refused to explore sexism but every other damn week it's time for him to wallow in his own White guilt and pretend to explore racism. I blame the ones on the sidelines. I'm not standing on the sidelines. I'm for Hillary and I can give you a hundred reasons and, trust me, the fact that she's a woman doesn't even enter into it for my support. The fact that she is a woman and that Ms. won't explore her candidacy does piss me off. But my support for her is not predicated on her historical run. I was able to note that history being made and not support her earlier. I was able then, as a non-supporter, to do that. Some may support her because she's a woman and if so more power to them. Candidates have been selected for far less worthy reasons.

Rebecca: C.I.?

C.I.: Well I could repeat what Elaine just said or I could expand on it and since she did such a wonderful job, I'll expand on it. Elaine and I honestly planned to sit this out. Electoral politics wasn't anything we were interested in writing about. We assumed that Hillary would rise or fail on her own. We assumed there would be some level of fairness. We assumed that Barack Obama would be probed. We actully assumed that if that happened in depth -- and it still hasn't -- he would be out of the race. He's not qualified and he's a fraud and Elaine and I know that very well. I assumed the race would come down to Clinton, Edwards and Biden. And, of the three of them, I assumed the battle would be between Edwards and Biden who represent two different aspects of the Democratic Party. Hillary might or might not have benefitted from that but that's what I assumed would happen. I wasn't following it. I was paying attention to Iraq. I had no idea about Iowa until after the caucus. Now Real Media, the kind who are trained, has a million and one excuses for why they didn't probe Barack. And Ava and I can back up the fact that they promised over and over that they would publicly. On chat show after show. It's coming. We're going to do it, they'd say. But they really didn't. America still doesn't know Barack Obama. Now that's Real Media. Panhandle Media? They claimed they had standards and that they were higher standards than Real Media. We saw something completely different, didn't we? We saw KPFA do two hours after the Texas debate, two hours of allegedly free speech radio, where every guest was pro-Obama. Not only were they pro-Obama, they had already endorsed Obama. But Larry Bensky and KPFA didn't feel the need to inform the audience of that. Probably not a good idea to inform the audience that you've rigged the show before you started broadcasting. Amy Goodman is disgusting filth. Ava and I will be taking on that beggar in Sunday's commentary. But she did 'roundtables' where no one was supporting a candidate. The guests all came to the conclusion that Hillary was Pure Evil. Of course, disclosing that your guests are supporting Barack would have allowed the audience to factor in all the Hillary hatred. Frances Fox Piven endorses him, then goes on Democracy Now! and is an 'objective' and 'impartial' guest who just happens to think Hillary's done poorly on something. Listeners and viewers had a right to know FFP had already publicly endorsed Barack Obama. Amy Goodman likes to talk a lot about Michael Gordon and Judith Miller's 'ethics,' but she has none of her own. She flaunted that again this week but Ava and I are taking that on, so I'll bite my tongue here.

Rebecca: Elaine?

Elaine: I didn't realize we were going back and forth. I hope this isn't boring for anyone. I meant participating but reading as well. Let me pick up with Amy Goodman. People were calling me, friends, saying, "I've told C.I." That Amy Goodman was willingly slanting the show. C.I. was giving Amy the benefit of the doubt. I wouldn't, she's a total fraud. It's always great when a beggar grew up 'nicely' and enriches herself but continues begging. But Ava and C.I. both were hearing the warnings. Then, the week before Goody created her Geraldo moment, how proud her pathetic family must be, a mutual friend presented Ava and C.I. with proof of how close Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Goody were. Melissa Harris-Lacewell had just been on Goody's show. Goody had presented her as a professor not vested in any candidate. That was a lie. Melissa was actively campaiging for Obama and had been for months and Amy Goodman knew that. But Amy didn't disclose it to her audience. Not only did she not disclose it, she allowed Melissa to lie to viewers by bragging -- as a disinterested party -- on a speech by Barack. Now I want everyone to absorb that because that's the sort of thing that gets people fired. Amy Goodman knew Melissa was part of the Obama campaign. She didn't tell her audience. When Melissa bragged about Barack, Amy still didn't tell them. Now tell me what world Amy Goodman thinks she lives in that what she did, that her actions, are allowed? They aren't allowed. That's not journalism and she can never lecture anyone on ethics without being laughed at by real media because she is hypocrite.

Rebecca: C.I.?

C.I.: Like Elaine, I assumed we'd speak a bit and then you'd move on. Well what followed that -- the immediate following was I was sick to my stomach -- was that Ava, Elaine and I did 'reporting' -- we started working everyone we knew, we started speaking to people and we started finding out just how deep this goes. And where it's coming from. And my attitude today is, "If I burn your Red Playground down, oh well." This is a campaign driven by closet Communists. They have no business in a Democratic primary.

Rebecca: Trina's nodding so I'll toss to her.

Trina: My father smelled it from the start. My father's a Socialist. Never been in the closet on that. Never hidden even when it cost him. Who are the ones who made sure he paid a price during the witch hunt years? The ones who betrayed him were closet Communists. And that's because the rats always save their own asses. That's a rat by defintion. For awhile, there was a big rumor going around that Barack was a Socialist. Barack's a corporatist Democrat. But his benefactors were feeling like they weren't getting their due and they didn't like the shadows so they started whispering that lie. But the mania, the devotion, the whole thing had cult of personality written all over it and today people may, for example, criticize the fact that it built up around Putin but it built up because that system requires a cult of personality. Or it requires from those people. They are the same ones that created "Uncle Joe" -- and refused to later get honest about Stalin's crimes. Maybe this will change in this country because of the young. But, I mean, I knew this growing up. I knew these people, these rats, they lived in our neighborhood. They were authoritarian. They needed a daddy figure. And each daddy had to destroy the previous one. That's one of the reasons that it falters today. They disown to embrace the newly selected leader. They run off a Trotsky, they rewrite history. They need that daddy. And that daddy must be supreme. And we would see their hand picked candidates running for local office -- sometimes labor offices -- and we would know just from the campaign, just from the slogans, just from the fact that a new 'man of the people' had sprung up and the devotionals and the testimonials, just from that we'd know who was backing this candidate. We'd find out we were correct at some point, but just the way the campaign was being run, we'd know. So it's not a surprise to me.

Betty: I hope I'm not stepping on anyone who was about to talk but think about what Trina just said about the way those campaigns were run and tell me she didn't just describe the Obama campaign.

Dona: I was actually thinking the exact same thing.

Marcia: I agree and, if I can take the conversation in a different direction, and you know I can, I'm a lesbian. I'm out of the closet. I can't imagine the self-hatred involved in placing yourself in a political closet. Myself, I have no respect for any gay person who stays in the closet. At some point, you need to step out or admit you're a fraud and a fake. So I really don't have any respect for these closeted Communists. David Corn's not a Communist, here's where I go off topic --

Rebecca: That's fine we'll probably return to this later.

Marcia: Well I mean what kind of sick mind thinks that setting bombs and serving on the board of Wal-Mart is the same thing?

Ava: I need to step in here. This topic isn't a problem, pursuing it, isn't a problem with C.I. or I but we're addressing it Sunday in our commentary so we're not going to be able to say much on it if anything at all. Just to explain that.

Marcia: Sure. To me that's the perfect example of how biased Panhandle Media has been. You can argue the complexities all you want and I have no problem listening to them. However, at the very basic level, Weather Underground set boms. They wanted an armed revolution that would overthrow the country.They broke laws. What did Hillary do? A new member of the Wal-Mart board, before Bill was president so we're going way back into the past, focused on areas she thought she could have an impact on? I mean, do we all get that? Do we get that Hillary's being slammed for not using her junior position on the board to go after every flaw in Wal-Mart? And we're talking about things that weren't even known as flwas at the time. Two decades after she joined the board, we're holding her accountable for everything the company did?

Betty: Well, let's offer that perspective. You're talking the Reagan and Poppy Bush presidency when jobs were in decline and times were tough. Wal-Mart was a job creator. It wasn't perfect but, like Marcia's saying, what the left emphasizes about Wal-Mart now wasn't big news then. What was she supposed to do? I don't really understand that and, if David Corn wrote that, he is an idiot. He's made a non-stop embarrassment of himself for some time now and I don't read him. Ruth's ignored him because he lies on NPR.

Ruth: Oh, does he. I thought he was a journalist. He slants everything. He is not supposed to be on as a columnist. He is presented as a reporter. How about telling the facts then? I have no respect for him and the snapshot today is hilarious. Mr. Corn insisting "everyone knows" that Bill Clinton gave a pardon to two members of the Weather Underground when President Clinton never did any such thing. He should probably hang his head in shame. He was shouting in that conference. He came off not just like a jerk, but like an ignorant jerk and, sadly, that has happened far too often lately.

Rebecca: It really has and I actually have him in my prep work. He's been working overtime to lie for Samantha Power. Was Power fired, C.I.?
C.I.: No. Barack should have fired her. He didn't. I was told that by friends of Power and by friends in the Obama campaign. Samantha Power resigned. She did not resign strictly for calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." She also insulted Gordon Brown. Which was a big deal in England although you didn't hear about it from Corn or John Nichols --

Rebecca: Let me stop you for a second. You noted that John Nichols in his sob-fest for Sammy Power LIED and stated that Power knew Hillary "for years" and that wasn't true. You quoted her on The Charlie Rose Show and in October 2007 stating she'd only met Hillary once. For the record, The Nation has never corrected their LIE.

Ava: Do they ever? Come on, they never corrected their lie about John Kerry where they slammed him for saying something at the DNC convention that he never said at the DNC convention and they knew about that lie, the writer of the piece even admits it's wrong. But they never corrected it. They just lie. They have no standards, they just lie and they lie again. And they don't seem to grasp that all these lies build and build until no one believes a word they say.

Elaine: Well look at who's in charge. I can remember her pissing her panties and lying about that. Foul, foul odor -- you had to wonder what the child was drinking -- and she'd lie and say she hadn't.

C.I.: We are off topic. I'm laughing because it is true. But, back to the topic. Samantha Power couldn't stop spilling the beans. Rebecca's referring to David Corn writing that 'everyone knows' that Obama saying he's going to end the illegal war is just a "proposal" and not a "plan." Everyone knows that, Corn? Just like everyone knows there were pardons for Susan Rosenberg and Linda Evans? When there were no pardons? David Corn's made himself a joke, he's far from alone, but it's embarrassing to see. I'd be very happy to go through life without calling Corn out. I know the thing you're talking about Rebecca, it was a post to his own website/blog. I just ignored it. But I'm not going to ignore the Constitution and that's not an option with me. I thought he was smarter. I mean, it's stupid to write about "pardons" without researching to find out if pardons actually took place. But to be so arrogant about it when you are so wrong. I mean, the next time he calls in, instead of yelling over the phone, he needs to immediately apologize and Mother Jones needs to issue a correction.

Dona: Can I talk about corrections a minute? Years ago, Ava and C.I. had nothing to write about one weekend and an actress called them, a friend of their's, who had been on a program and the program had turned a rapist into a boyfriend. They wrote the commentary on that. And then it turned out that he was drugged or something, I don't remember. They heard about it as soon as the commentary went up. Now, just so you know, we're working at The Third Estate Sunday Review starting Saturday night until we drop. We were all going to bed when the phone rang on that. Ava and C.I. didn't blow it off. They stayed up and worked three hours on a new commentary. As soon as they knew it was a mistake, they wrote a note at the posted piece explaining that. They then rewrote and posted every half hour as they finished the piece. They were completely transparent. They took full responsibility for it. And that's what you do. Mistakes will be made. That's a given, my degree's in journalism, it's a given. But what blows your credibility is refusing to make corrections.

Kat: I agree with Dona and to talk about that, there was a difference of opinion. Jim wanted a correction note at the end and thought they were making too big of a deal out of it. But Ava and C.I. acknowledged their mistake. They rewrote the entire piece. The opening they wrote acknowledges the mistake and then they explore the plot twists. The piece actually was stronger and that's got to be in part because they owned their mistake.

Dona: And I'm trying to remember the title. Ava and C.I. won't because Jim comes up with the titles to Ava and C.I.'s commentaries. And our archives at Third are so screwed up. I can't even remember the show.

Ava: Veronica Mars.

C.I.: "TV: We're losing ground and now is not the time for silence." We actually did write that title. I don't remember if it was the original title or not.

Ava: But we made a mistake. As Dona pointed out, it does happen. And the test is how you handle that. Do you do so honestly or do you do it dishonestly? I agree with Kat that it was stronger because of the entire process. But I also know I said to C.I., "I don't know if I'm writing another one." That had nothing to do with the mistake. It had to do with having to stay up throughout the rewriting of that piece. We didn't just insert a correction. We completely rewrote that piece. Because we did, Jim argued that the correction, which we put at the top in all caps, could be dropped. He said it could be added to his note to the readers. But our feeling was that it was our mistake and we owned it. And I think you saw Hillary do that in the debate Tuesday by the way but I have to bite my tongue there because that's one of the topics we have on our list that we're hoping to address Sunday. I can say that if you think you're infallible, you've got problems. I remember C.I. freaking out in a cab one day. I'll let Elaine pick up that story if she wants.

Elaine: Well, C.I. called my office and I was between sessions. Sunny hollers, and she's not a screamer, for me to grab the phone. Because C.I. was so upset. I pick up and C.I. asks, "What is Dorn's first name?" I'm thinking, "Dorn who?" It was Bernardine. C.I. and I both know Bernardine and have known her for years. Some radio program --

C.I.: Pacifica's From The Vault.

Elaine: Thank you, I didn't listen, had an announcer repeatedly call her "Bernadine." And C.I. was thinking, "I've insulted her for decades by getting her name wrong. I don't even know her name." While I'm saying, "No, you've got it right," Bernardine's speaking and says, "This is Bernardine." I say, "See." But I mean, C.I. doesn't operate under a "I'm right!" philosophy. C.I. never has a problem saying, "I was wrong." And when someone's so sure of themselves, like that announcer was to that Women's History program back in March, C.I. will immediately go to, "I must be wrong." And I know the argument there will be, "Well, they do have a staff and they're just compiling tapes so if they're saying 'Bernadine,' maybe they're right?"

Kat: And when C.I. wrote the thing Thursday night, Ava and C.I. had already covered this topic in the morning and C.I. was still making sure it was right -- how there were no pardons -- even though C.I. knew it for a fact.

Marcia: If I can add to that, I once corrected C.I. in an e-mail. This was like March 2005. I got an e-mail back saying, "I'm so sorry. I'll fix it and note the correction and credit you." I was, this was before my blog obviously, pleased. I felt really good. That's what I expect when I'm reading something. The sad part comes after. I feel so good and mention it to my mother and she says, "Marcia, you're wrong." And I was wrong. I had to immediately e-mail C.I. with a heading of "911! You were right!" But I didn't have a problem admitting to that and, obviously, C.I. had no problem owning a mistake that, it turned out, wasn't one.

Dona: What ticks me off is when you go to the trouble of explaining how something's not an error -- I don't do this anymore and don't do it because it was Pig Male Journalist the last time and I said never again -- and they still want to argue. There have been court cases that Ty and I -- we read the bulk of the e-mails at Third -- have had to research because someone's convinced that Elaine and C.I. are wrong. So we research and find out they were right, provide the section of the majority opinion and someone still wants to argue. But in terms of Piggy, I went out of my way to be nice --

Kat: Always a mistake.

Dona: Agree. And he writes back to Jim. Not to me and basically calling me "emotional." Look, Middle Aged Man, if I want to get emotional, I'll tell you what I think of you. I went out of my way to be kind to you even though there is NO defense for a man who beats a woman. A man who beats a woman repeatedly, throughout their marriage. And, for anyone who doesn't know this, Jim and I are a couple. So it wasn't just offensive that he's running to Jim about how 'emotional' I am, it was stupid.

Rebecca: Men or women, who are the worst in e-mails?

Betty: Men. No woman has ever called me the n-word. No woman has ever threatened me.

Ruth: To use the word Dona was accused of being, "emotional," disagreements in e-mails I have received from men have been vrey "emotional." Women who disagree with me tend to write a basic, matter of fact e-mail. Men can be very threatening. Wally was really helpful to me when I started my site and has been since. But when I got the worst e-mail I have ever received, he listened and did not try to fix it, just let me vent, and then explained to me that Cedric gets screamed at in e-mails and he never gets those. He and Cedric are doing joint-posts and the same men, writing both of them to complain, call Cedric vile names but with Wally act like the picture of maturity.

Betty: It's the race. It really is. I mean Marcia had to delete over 30 comments to her Kovco post because the people were using the n-word as they screamed at her or Keesha and Latrice, community members who had left comments. And if you talk to Cedric -- who has written about Kovco and written with the exact position Marcia expressed -- he gets that in private. Cedric allows comments at his site and his mirror site. But they won't call him the n-word at his site. They'll call Marcia that, they'll call her a "lez" and other things. I can only imagine what her e-mails must be like.

Marcia: They're actually not as bad as the comments I deleted to the post where I was defending Judy Kovco, the mother of Jake Kovco, the first Australian soldier to be killed in Iraq.

Kat: Well we all know the story of Ava and C.I. In January 2005, The Third Estate Sunday Review starts up. For three or four weeks, all of them -- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I. -- are writing the TV commentaries. No threatening e-mails. Some people disagree but no cursing, no threats. Ava and C.I. start doing those all by themselves and it's not announced that it's just them. Still no problem. The first time Jim gives credit and notes they are writing it by themselves, e-mails start pouring in with threats. There are certain categories of people that apparently allow for attacks.

Rebecca: Kat's right because that is the perfect example. No problems when everyone was writing. No problems when readers thought everyone was writing, the second it's identified that Ava and C.I. are writing them, it's non-stop attacks. There's not a better example. I find that in my e-mails as well, by the way. And why not when the males of Panhandle Left -- and the women -- have declared open season on Hillary Clinton and will tell any lie, use any smear, to attack? Trina?

Trina: I really don't get a lot of hate mail. If you need a lot of men, or a certain type of men, I may drive them away automatically due to the fact that I'm offering recipes. Of the small number of vile e-mails I have received, I believe all but one was from a man. My biggest problem is a lot go into the spam folder and I always forget to check that so I'm writing someone back two weeks late because I never saw their e-mail until I happened to remember to check the spam folder.

Dona: Can I say something here regarding e-mails?

Rebecca: Go for it. I think I know what you're going to say.

Dona: Don't ask for a highlight if you've slammed Hillary since the start of 2008 unless you've also slammed Barack Obama. I don't mean you've smeared Hillary and said, "Maybe Bambi's really not a peace candidate?" That's not equal standards. I'm getting damn tired of all the e-mails to Third begging for links, especially from third parties, who think they can slam Hillary and then beg us for a link. Reality is the bulk of the beggars have never done s**t for Third. They've never linked to us. But they regularly ask for links.

Ruth: I agree with Dona and understand this was actually a discussion.

Dona: It was. Everyone helps out at Third and we thank them for that. But, at the end of the day, Jim, Ty, Jess, Ava, C.I. and I am responsible. So we did have a discussion and our feeling is that we've done enough to help others at this point. I'm talking about repeat e-mailers. And we also held to a standard. We've explored Hillary. We were doing it in real time. Third exists as a corrective. When the whole world's bashing Hillary, when we're not highlighting your site if you're doing that. We're not interested. There has been no equal standard and we're sick of it.

Trina: I agree with that. I have been very tough on Hillary and I am glad I was. Because I was using a standard. I applied to all the candidates. Now? I've played fair. I'm not going to lie for Hillary -- who I am supporting and who I voted for on Super Tuesday -- but you're b.s. nonsense that you rehash the same points while excusing Barack, I'm not interested. I don't even reply to those people. I just delete their e-mails.

Betty: There was a topic raised in the roundtable we did for the gina & krista round-robin this week. I thought we could talk about that but I feel like Ava should address it because of Jess.

Ava: Sure. Jess, my boyfriend, brought it up. It was bubbling under but no one was mentioning it. Jess is a Green Party member. I think that's all the backstory anyone needs. But Barack Obama made comments that offended many Small Town Americans. This week, Amy Goodman interviewed Matt Gonzalez whom Ralph Nader has picked as his running mate. Always eager to advance Barack's political campaign, Amy asked Matt about Barack's offensive comments. Matt Gonzalez said it wasn't a big deal. That sets it up. Jess isn't going to be angry with any comment made here, he thinks Matt Gonzalez needs to apologize, so say what you want, no one's going to offend him.

Betty: Okay, well he's not here and none of us want to hurt Jess. I thought that was the most stupid thing in the world. I agree with Jess that Matt Gonzalez needs to apologize and, if he can't, I don't know where Ralph Nader thinks he has the right to expect any votes.

Elaine: I have group on Thursday nights so, unless the roundtables are done at another time, I never participate. If it's okay, I'll comment first?

Rebecca: Go for it.

Elaine: Well Matt Gonzalez may think it's no big deal. That may be his opinion. But it really doesn't matter what Matt Gonzales thinks. What matters is that people are offended. Ralph will need every vote he can get. I wouldn't be so quick to assume that Ralph won't get those votes. If Barack gets the nomination, a number of Democratic voters will go elsewhere or leave the spot blank. Ralph Nader is known for his work on issues that impact the lives of working Americans. He also has name recognition. That was a stupid remark by Matt Gonzalez. It was already known that Barack's statements had offended and for Matt, running on the Nader-Gonzales ticket, to interject himself in there and say what he did was offensive. And it was stupid because the problem was known. If I can add something else, it is not the "Nader/Gonzalez" ticket. It is the "Nader-Gonzalez" ticket. Otherwise, you're implying the ticket is "Nader or Gonzalez." I'm sorry to bring that up but we all use "Nader-Gonzalez." However, the campaign's site uses "Nader/Gonzales" and I have received e-mails on that.

Rebecca: It's like the polls by CBS and the New York Times. They do that as well, implying it's a CBS or NYT poll. No, it's a joint poll. You use a dash. I believe the Washington Post uses a dash for their joint polls with ABC News. But what Elaine said is exactly true. A third party candidate needs votes and you're not going to get them by defending comments that have already been seen as offensive. In fact, you are saying -- Matt Gonzalez was saying -- "You're feelings do not matter." I don't think a vice presidential candidate is picked to run off voters. It was a mistake.

Betty: It really was and when Jess brought it up, everyone came up alive. We're not noting Ralph until Monday -- community wide -- at the earliest. The campaign's not being noted. C.I. imposed that for The Common Ills and Jess carried it over to Third. It has offended people and no one's promoting Ralph right now as a result. Cynthia McKinney could be promoted but probably won't be because all she's offered is a video at her campaign site. And let me speak for Hilda and other hard of hearing and deaf community members, a video with no text may as well not go up. Whatever message you think you're conveying, you're adding an addition one: "You don't matter if you can't hear." Hilda's Mix has really opened my eyes to how many barriers exist for the disabled.

Ruth: I would agree with you on that. I really think Hilda's done an amazing job. And now there are two Hilda's Mixes. There's the newsletter in text and there is an audio version. I think all the newsletters add to the community but the focus on the disabled really has made a big impression on me.

Kat: I think it has on all of us. And what's really amazing to me is that we've got two wars going on, going on for years, and veterans are returning disabled and there's so little awareness of that in the press coverage. To focus on hearing issues, ringing of the ears and loss of hearing are very much a part of the Iraq War and where is the coverage? I mean, C.I. can and does cover the Congressional hearings. Where are the news outlets? Where is The Nation? They've got time to smear Hillary several times each day but do they offer anything of value ever? Is that what they want to be remembered for?

Rebecca: Good point. Hot seat time. There were questions for everyone from Weston who didn't provide his age or stats even after I had asked. But for the two of you. Elaine, I'll start with you. "She never writes a word about her life. I would assume she's been married. I don't know why everything has to be such a big secret. Is she the Queen of England?"

Elaine: Yes, I am the queen of the England. What the heck kind of question is that? I mean how tired is that phrase? I don't write about my personal life. Rebecca has written about her personal life before. That's her comfort area. I have no interest in putting my personal life online. If I have been married, if I have children, I will never write about it. I really have nothing more to say on the issue. I don't talk about my personal life outside of my circle of friends. I've acknowledged that I'm in a relationship with Mike. Mike respects my privacy and doesn't blog about that at his site. He'll mention it or me but he's not blogging about us.

Rebecca: Okay. Weston notes that he knows C.I. was married -- "at least I know that. But I have a problem. What's with the not talking about religion?"

C.I.: Like Elaine, there are topics I'm not going to discuss.

Rebecca: That's it?

C.I.: You can ask any question, I don't have to answer. Which, for the record, Barack Obama, if he was so offended in the debate Tuesday could have done.

Rebecca: Well then let me substitute. Something was pulled from today's snapshot, so will you talk about that?

C.I.: Sure. That was only pulled as a result of space. I'm assuming we're back to the closet topic, right?

Rebecca: Yes.

C.I.: We, this was what was in the snapshot, will highlight Socialists and Communists. I have no problem with that. We're a site for the left. But we don't highlight closeted types. I explained that Ava and I grew tired of one man and we don't include him. Ava noted it was going to blow up in everyone's face and we weren't taking part in that. The man is a Communist and he hides that to the public. We don't include him on the list of war resisters. He's really not one though some other sites count him as one. His story is fake. He was against the illegal war and signed up. Why did he do that? I think we're all smart enough to figure that out. Despite the fact that he has considerable advanced education, he tries to play like he doesn't and tries to speak as if he's a high school drop out. I'm not putting forward the lie -- any of those lies. Ava publicly noted, at Third, two years ago that we're not getting behind that nonsense. We knew he was a member of the Communist Party. We weren't bothered by that. Then we heard the interview where he was playing like he was politically naive and playing like he wasn't a college graduate and that was it. Go tell your lies somewhere else. Go advance your crap somewhere else. There is not a "no Communist" policy at The Common Ills. They are part of the left, we're a left site. But I'm not interested in closeted types. And I may start doing that across the board.

Marcia: Carl Webb is a radical and he's open about it and someone who does get highlighted but I want to toss this in, I'm not highlighting MySpace for anyone, I'm not signing up for Facebook or highlighting Facebook. I want to mention that because I did get a Facebook something from him. I respect him. I don't respect Facebook. I get Facebook stuff in my e-mails all the time. I don't believe in that and am not taking part in it. I believe that's true of all sites. In terms of what C.I.'s saying, if they had stayed out of electoral politics, the closeted types, that would be one thing.

Trina: But they didn't stay out. They lied and called themselves "progressives," or presented themselves as "Democrats." They're not. And I agree that if you're endorsing a candidate in a primary, it needs to be your own political party's primary or you need to be upfront about who you are politically.

Kat: That's just basic. It's political primary. If you're not a member of the primary, butt the hell out. The general election, as C.I. notes, is open to all. There's no reason for non-party members to be endorsing.

Dona: I think that's true. I -- it's basic. But if they were open about who they were their endorsements would not only be meaningless to many people, they would also taint Barack. His "Democratic" support among the gasbags isn't Democratic. But if they don't present themselves as Democrats, then people would be making this very point: "It's not your party, butt the hell out." It really is amazing how they're trying to subvert and control the Democratic Party. If they're allowed to, they'll destroy it the same way they splintered their own party.

Rebecca: This has been a long roundtable and we'll probably wrap up in a second so I want to give everyone a chance to bring in anything on this that they want.

Ava: I'll go next because I want to touch on what Dona was saying as well as the point C.I. made. It is a Democratic primary. Not a Democrat? Stay out of it. It doesn't concern you so there's no reason for you to be endorsing. You're a liar and I have no respect for you. In terms of the non-war resister. I'm not going to be around for when that explodes. Someone against the Iraq War chooses to enlist and then does attention getting stunts while telling the world that he's apolitical and he's a member of the Communist Party? I'm not interested in your 'work.' Trickery and deceit do not interest me but, no surprise, the closet cases would resort to that. They've build up Barack through trickery and deceit, it's all they have to offer. In terms of the 'war resister,' when he lies he risks everyone being seen as a liar if he's exposed. I'm sick of it. There are war resisters of all political types. The ones who aren't closeted -- regardless of what they belong to -- add to the fabric of the movement. The ones who are closeted and go around lying risk the entire movement being called liars.

Ruth: Which is the damage that could result from it. And that same damage could result from their promotion and endorsement of Obama. In either case, they brought it on themselves. No one forced them into closets.

Betty: I'm going to grab that and go somewhere else. The closeted Communists think the Civil Rights are their story. They think, these White Communists, that they gave Black people a gift. They didn't. We fought for our rights. I have no problem giving Communists -- especially Black Communists -- credit for their part in the Civil Rights struggle, but there is a preening attitude about some. You saw it during Jena 6 as well. You saw the lie that reduced it to a town with all the Blacks on one side and all the Whites on the other. As Ava and C.I. pointed out ("Stop the madness!" cry the Goodmans, "You first," reply Ava and C.I. ), that wasn't the case and they did it by pointing to what Amy and David Goodman left out of their book but what Amy Goomdan broadcast on her show. I think the White, closeted Communists think they're going to "give" Black people another gift: Barack! That really is all they have to latch onto, the Civil Rights struggle. But they go back to that over and over, the early days, before MLK emerges. They seem to think they birthed MLK. They didn't. Nor did they give Black people rights. We fought for the rights we have. I don't know how clear I'm being here because I'm condensing many points but my point is that White, closeted Communists may think Black people are tickled pink -- or is it Red? -- that they're doing all this for us. They're not. And they need to get off their high horses because no one considers them an "honorary Black" or even honest.

Marcia: That's such a strong point. You really can trace it back there. These good Whites, these northern Whites, so helpful, saving us Black people from the mean White folk. Reality is that Black people fought for their rights. Reality is the Black people died doing so. Reality is MLK was interested in addressing the racism in the north but that offended some people. Reality is that you have your own problems in your "People's Republic of" whatever. I think we anyone who paid attention grasped which Whites were Communists and which weren't by the way they amplified their lies. Some were at least honest about it like that White woman going on her speaking tour to 'get out the word' and bending most facts while doing so. I'm sick of it and I'm sick of them. Their faux missionary work among the alleged savages. I'm sick of their simplistic b.s. and how they lie and it's African-Americans left holding the bag. And I'm sick of Bill Moyers. Next week, Mr. White Guilt sits down with Jeremiah Wright. Yes, Bill, the world has been waiting for that interview. Not. Be a yeller and screamer or a shuck and jive artist and Bill Moyers will invite you onto his show. Be a competent person and forget it. In fact, the way he's set up his show this year, the conservative Shelby Steel came off better than any other African-American because he was intelligent and not putting on a ministrel act for the White folk. He doesn't do that with White people, does he? But his White viewers are left with the impression that we're either yellers or shuck & jive artists. It's insulting. I can make my point without raising my voice or without mentioning Jesus every other word. Look at who Bill Moyers has booked. I'd call it Prissy, from Gone With The Wind, but it's all men. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the show telling White America that African-Americans are all a bunch of screaming, superstitious people. It's insulting.

Kat: I would agree with you and Betty and I talked about one of his screaming guests and how, no matter what the man said, who gave a damn? He was so loud that who wanted to hear him? You're in a TV studio. Bill Moyers might not respect you but there's no reason for you to disrespect yourself by putting on a ministrel show for Bill and his audience's benefit. I really think if we had an actual movement, a lot of shows would be the focus of protests and I'd put Bill Moyers program on the list as one to picket.

Rebecca: Trina?

Trina: Sorry, I'm watching Ava and C.I. take notes and thinking about how long this is going to take to type up. The point's been made before, by Ava, C.I. and Dona, but I think history will not be kind to a number of women who have taken part in these attacks on Hillary or stayed silent while they went on. It went beyond criticism, it was a non-stop bashing. It continues and still some women stay silent. All women are not feminists. Even those who claim to be. C.I. would you talk about the idiot who writes for The Seattle Times?
C.I.: Not this week but last, she felt the need to self-describe as a feminist and explain why she was supporting Barack. She explains, in her column, that she doesn't think there's a butter knife's bit of difference between Hillary and Barack. She also explains that she's tired of Hillary, Hillary's been around too long, she argues. She uses the term "goldenboy" to describe Barack. And she wants to claim to be a feminist. There is nothing feminist about that argument. That argument says a young man comes along and you toss aside a woman with experience and you do so happily because he's a "goldenboy." It says that experience doesn't mean anything. It says that you valued "newness" more. There's nothing feminist about it.

Trina: Thank you. I think women willl like that will be exposed for the non-feminists they were when it mattered. I want to plug Paul Krugman really quick because it was his going over the differences between Hillary and Barck's healthcare plans that led me to vote for Hillary on Super Tuesday. While I thank him, I think it's very disturbing that a number of female voices didn't write that column. I think it's very disturbing and I'm all for revoking membership in the club. I also think it's hilarious that C.I. worked to ensure an event by a Hillary hater was ignored by the press. I know no one else will mention that but I thought that was wonderful. You can't say you're pro-woman, let alone a feminist, stage your crappy event on the backs of African-American's misfortune, hide in your political closet and get away with it. And C.I. worked overtime calling in favors to make sure your 'big event' was a non-event. That's exactly what you deserved for your attacks on Hillary while claiming you were pro-woman. Don't expect anyone to take your "I want to help the women of the world!" lies seriously. You're nothing but a semi-closeted Communist. You play like you're not a Communist to the rest of the world and hope and pray no one reads the pieces you've written for Communist 'art' magazines. Those things do have a low circiulation, granted, but I thought it was wonderful how C.I. did a little press package assembling all your crappy writing that most people are unware of.

Elaine: C.I.'s not going to comment on that but I will say I agree with Trina 100%. And that little self-styled leader better grasp how many women no longer support her. As for women stabbing Hillary in the back, and that's what a lot of this is, Ava and C.I., in one of their TV commentaries, mention the disgusting George McGovern and note the scars of Miami. Those are scars you don't know about because you have worthless gender traitors like Amy Goodman who bring McGovern on and fawn all over him. McGovern lost and he lost big time. And Amy Goodman who published in Larry F**nt's skin magazine H**tler never tells you the reality about his campaign. When the battles in Miami went down and, over and over, women were losing -- not just on abortion by the way -- it destroyed his campaign. McGovern and his people were shameful. Today he's as disgusting as he always was and that's only a surprise if you bought into the Amy Goodman Truth which, hate to break it to you, is never the truth. It's never reality. But I don't remember Robin Morgan mentioning Miami in her wonderful essay "Goodbye To All That (#2)." She may have and I may be remembering wrong. But Robin Morgan certainly knows what happened in Miami and, briefly, what happened was a significant number of women joined men in selling women out. Women were thrown under the bus for McGovern. So those little namby pamby women today who want to criticize Robin Morgan, get your facts first, find out about Miami. We saw it happen then, what's going on now, we saw little girls posing as women betray us. It wasn't pretty and payback was hell. Again, that's not part of the 'official' McGovern story as told by Panhandle Media today.

Rebecca: We're going to close and I'll just note, Amy Goodman isn't the one to ever go to for the truth. She gets her facts wrong accidentally -- such as this week when she made a real howler -- and she gets it wrong intentionally because she's not working in journalism, she's serving a higher 'calling.' As for Elaine's points about Miami, exactly right. And battle lines are being drawn. Gender traitors -- especially those who are serial gender traitors -- better grasp that regardless of what happens in the Democratic primary, life as they know it is over. There is no 'let's forget about it' as too many sellouts had to learn following Miami.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, April 18, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces a death, Sadr City remains under assault, Bambi threatens to take his marbles home, what's up with the closeted Communists' interest in a Democratic primary and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Chris Carr (KBS Radio) reports the latest on Kyle Snyder. Before the latest, Kyle Snyder self-checked out of the military after serving in Iraq (and being lied to repeatedly -- before joining and after). He then moved to Canada. Following Darrell Anderson's returning from Canada to the US and turning himself in, others wondered about that. Ivan Brobeck would be among the ones who did. Kyle did as well. At the end of October 2006, he came back to the US and turned himself in under the agreement that had been worked out. The military that lied to him before had lied again. Kyle self-checked out again. He went on a speaking tour. The unit that tracks AWOL and deserting soldiers (the one that doesn't exist to read most press accounts) phoned in a tip to the local police on the West Coast hoping to have Kyle arrested while speaking out. Kyle was too smart for them and when they showed up, he showed up to speak by phone. He went back to Canada to reclaim his life. He was set to be married and the US military was getting antsy. With the help of the Nelson police, they managed to get him arrested. Right before his wedding. Drug him off in handcuffs, his robe and underwear. The Nelson police changed their story multiple times. Kyle had to be released because he was arrested on trumped up charges.

Coming at the same time as the US military crossing into Canada and posing as Canadian police to locate US war resister Joshua Key, it helped create an incident. There would be an investigation! And of course the best person to investigate what happened in Nelson was . . . the best friend of the Nelson police chief. It was always going to be a white wash.
Carr reports that the white was has found charges "unbsubstantiated." What a shocker. Kyle Snyder did get married. He is now the husband of a Canadian citizen. Translation, the US military can't touch him.

However, in Canada, other US war resisters are waiting to find out whether they will be granted safe harbor. The Canadian Parliament will debate a measure this month on that issue. You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Last month
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier took place and KPFA has a live program coming up April 22nd: Live On Air and Online at!
April 22 from 10am-1pm Join us on April 22nd for this very important follow up to Pacifica's groundbreaking
Winter Soldier live coverage. We will be following the San Francisco trial involving wounded vets and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In this first class action lawsuit U.S. Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder sue the VA, alleging a system wide breakdown in the way the Government treats those soldiers.During this special broadcast we will be bringing our listeners live updates from the San Francisco federal courthouse, we'll speak with wounded Veterans attorney Gordon Erspamer, (taking this case pro bono because his father was permanently disabled in World War II and never received proper health care) and speak with Veterans advocates including Veterans for Common Sense, and Vets for America.Read more about the broadcast here.

That announcement will appear in the snapshots until the broadcast. If you missed Winter Soldier you can stream online at
Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz were the anchors for Pacifica's live coverage.

Yesterday at the Pentagon, US Defense Dept flack Geoff Morrell did a song and dance before reporters. Reuters Kristin Roberts asked a question:

Can you help me understand how it is that there are 163,000 troops in Iraq now that you're even beyond the halfway point of pulling the surge brigades out? And 163,000 is even higher than what was originally expected when the surge was announced, for all five BCTs [Brigade Combat Teams]. Now you have three out out. How do you have 163,000 troops?

Yes, how does Morrell explain that? By ignoring it and stating he isn't "the best person to ask in terms of the daily numbers as to where we are in terms of forces in Iraq." He concluded with, "I'm sorry if that's not a satisfactory answer. I'm just not the expert on that one." Numbers are hard for Geoff. No doubt they're hard for the Bully Boy as well which must why the press avoided asking him about them during his joint press conference yesterday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Gordon Brown -- apparently chafing at his lack of nickname (Tony Blair was "poodle") -- kissed up big time: "The world owes President George Bush a huge debt of gratitude for leading the world in our determination to root out terrorism, and to ensure that there is no safe haven for terrorism and no hiding place for terrorists." He chatted up the "special relationship" between the UK and US. He claimed that Iraq (and Afghanistan) was the topic "of much our discussions" and went on to declare, "We praise the commitment of the troops of both America and Britain and all who serve in these two countries. And we believe that our program of overwatch in Basra in the south of Iraq is making substantial progress." In response to a question, Brown delcared Iraq "now a democracy, that democratic rights have been restored to the Iraqi people, that we're now building schools and hospitals" -- you know, the usual lies.

Andrew Porter and Thomas Harding (Telgraph of London -- link also provides video of the press conference) report, "The Prime Minister faced questions" throughout his visit, "over the decision for British troops not to get involved in the recent fighting in the city of Basra". The Telegraph of London asks readers whether the time has come for British troops to leave Iraq? Meanwhile Sam Coates (Times of London) finds the correct verb for Brown's brown-nosing: "lavishing" and notes how it was a "coup" for Brown to meet face-to-face with Senators Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama. (Obama blew off Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during his recent visit and Coates notes only Clinton met with France's president "during his visit"). At the White House press conference, Brown declared, "It is, if I might answer your second question, it is for Americans to decide who their President is going to be. I was delighted to meet the three presidential candidates who remain in the field. What I was convinced of after talking to each of them, and talking about the issues that concern them and concern the world, is that the relationship between America and Britain will remain strong, remain steadfast, it will be one that will be able to rise to the challenges of the future." Yes, there are other candidates for president besides the ones offered by the Democratic and Republican Party, take it up with Gordon Brown.

AP's Terry Hunt asked Bully Boy, "You said last week that Iraq was not an endless war, but others have called it an open-ended war and a war with no end in sight. Do you agree with those descriptions?" Bully Boy, never one to miss a chance at laughing at the deaths his illegal war caused, joked, "One of those three has a good chance of winning." He then claimed that Iraq was "succeeding" in terms of security, "getting better" in terms of economy and "improving" with regards to politics. Sadly, those remarks weren't also received as jokes. In the real world,
Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott (McClatchy Newspapers) report, "The war in Iraq has become 'a major debacle' and the outcome 'is in doubt' despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon's premier military educational institute. The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President Bush's projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions. The report carries considerable weight because it was written by Joseph Collins, a former senior Pentagon official, and was based in part on interviews with other former senior defense and intelligence officials who played roles in prewar preparations."

Turning to Iraq.
Simon Assaf (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reports, "The US is laying siege to the Baghdad slum of Sadr City in an attempt to crush the Iraqi resistance. Thousands of US troops and their Iraqi allies are surrounding the Shia Muslim neighbourhoods in a new battle for control of the capital." The assault on Sadr City has continued -- even when the assault on Basra briefly stopped, the assault on Sadr City continued. The region is seen as a strong hold for Moqtada al-Sadr. Arthur Bright (Christian Science Monitor) reports, "US forces began work this week on a concrete barrier to protect against militia intrusions" in Sadr City. The move may be a sign that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki is no longer willing to make a token show of support for Moqtada al-Sadr (see also the shutting down of al-Sadr's offices in Basra). When the US first proposed erecting "walls" throughout Baghdad (as well as creating a moat around the city), al-Maliki denounced the plan and hurried back into Iraq to protest. As the barriers go up (which won't protect anyone, just trap them -- and that really is the point of the 'walls'), Noah Barkin (Reuters) reports that Sadr City today witnessed "what was described as some of the heaviest fighting in Baghdad for weeks." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) maintains that US troops are "caught in crossfire between Shiite militiamen and the mostly Shiite Iraqi army." (Apparently, she's still smarting over a US soldier's comments.) Fadel informs you of the 'horrors' for the US military in the two-story home they took over (abandoned "just before the fighting started"), "It has rats and clogged toilets but no electricity or hot water, and no air conditioning or heating." Ahh. That's so sad for the temporary guests. The only thing that might be sadder, of course, was the fact that an Iraqi family had to live there . . . with no electricity or hot water, and no air conditioning or heating. Somehow that thought didn't enter Fadel's head. Fadel will be a guest on Bill Moyers Journal tonight -- hopefully, she'll have a stronger sense of perspective. As the Los Angeles Times (credited to "staff") observed yesterday, "In Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, the scene of frequent clashes between militia fighers and Iraqi and U.S. forces, the storm was heaping problems on overstretched doctors. They already are dealing with casualties from the violence, but the choking dust was sending them additional emergency cases of people with respiratory problems. Doctors at Imam Ali General Hospital in Sadr City said they didn't have enough medicine to meet the demand. Medicine shortages are a problem across Iraq, where many people buy their drugs on the black market because of shortages at pharmacies. Many people in Sadr City, though, are poor and cannot afford black market prices. Fighting there has also limited their movements, making it harder for them to shop around for medication if they don't find it at the hospital." Fadel misses all of that. Despite the fact that an Iraqi family is now homeless (unless they're dead).

In reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Baghdad car bombing that claimed 1 life (two wounded), a Baghdad roadside bombing that left two people wounded, a mortar attack on a US base in Baghdad, a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded three people, a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left four more wounded and a Diyala Province roadside bombing that claimed the live of 6 farmers and left four more wounded. Reuters notes a Baquba roadside bombing that claimed 6 lives (all members of the same family) and a Tuz Khurmato roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers.


Reuters notes that the ongoing assault on Sadr City left 3 residents dead and another ten injured.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed in an improvised-explosive device attack at approximately 1:45 p.m. April 18. The attack struck the vehicle the Soldier was riding in while conducting a combat patrol just north of Baghdad."

TV . . . As already noted, Leila Fadel will be on
Bill Moyers Journal discussing Sadr City (tonight on PBS, check local listings). NOW on PBS (also tonight in most markets) focuses on healthcare. On Fox tonight, Canterbury's Law concludes it's debut season. Julianna Margulies stars (the strong cast also includes Aidan Quinn as her husband) and she's just escaped the threat of disbarment and prison in the previous episodes. Radio . . . Sunday on WBAI (11:00 a.m. EST), The Next Hour offers Theatres Against War (THAW) presents live excerpts from "Dirt," "The Fifth Column," and "Rapsida" (A play from a Rwandan theater group that uses theater to educate people about HIV/AIDS). Hosted by Joanie Fritz Zosike and Suzanne Hayes while Monday, Cat Radio Cafe (2:00 p.m. EST) offers:Representing the PEN World Voices Festival are journalist/playwright George Packer, PEN Freedom to Write and International Programs Director Larry Siems and Sameer Padania from WITNESS, the New York-based international human righs organization; and cast members of the new musical adaptation of Elmer Rice's "The Adding Machine." Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.

Turning to US presidential politics.
Ruth and Marcia addressed Hillary's big win in the debate. Mike focused on Barack Obama's attempts to blame the media for his bad performance (blame that's not deserved -- Bambi was awful). Kat and Rebecca focused on the threat Bambi floated yesterday: NO MORE DEBATES! When you lose, when you're reduced to flipping off your opponent in a speech, you really can't afford another debate that would reveal just how hollow you are. Women's eNews reports it's co-sponsoring "a non partisan forum on the power of the women's vote at Bryn Mawr College, just outside Philadelphia" on Sunday. That will begin at one p.m. in the Thomas Great Hall and, the day before, starting at eleven in the morning, Women to Women Voter Turnout Workshop will take place at Pennsylvania's State College. Earlier this week US House Rep Darlene Hooley explained, noting the state of 'progress' for women in the US, "I want them to see a change, and that's why I want to see Hillary Clinton in the White House. Hillary knows what it means to fight for equality in the workplace, and she knows what it means to fight on behalf of women across America. She has championed the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen women's negotiating position and give them the tools they need to get the paycheck they deserve. That's real change, real progress, and with Hillary in the White House, I believe it is change that counts." In other news (news ) Hillary picked up three more super delegates todaay: Jim Florio and Brendan Byrne, former New Jersey Governors, and US House Rep Betty Sutton.

And the always inspiring and amazing
Dolores Huerta explains:

When I look to the strength of our country, I look to the mothers who built homes and raised families, and to the working women who were and are this nation's lifeline. All during my childhood, it was my mother who kept our family going. She worked two jobs as a cook to support our family through the Great Depression and through her hard work bought her own business, two hotels that she would run herself.
In families all across America, mothers like my own are working hard everyday just to make sure their children have food on the table. My mother taught me to hold my head high and to work for a better future, but mothers and daughters alike have to work harder than their husbands or brothers just to make the same amount.
April 22, Equal Pay Day, marks the day when women's pay will finally catch up to men's from the year before -- earning 77 cents to ever dollar made by a man, it takes us an extra four months to earn what they would have made in a year. Almost a century after women earned the right to vote, we live in a world where we afford only 77 cents on the dollar worth of rent, health care, education, and opportunity for our children and families. Our children deserve better; they deserve a change.
Throughout her life, Hillary has refused to wait for change to come. She has pushed for change with the full weight of her body and soul and she has done so all over the world, from Arkansas to China to Washington, D.C. She's fought for equal pay, a living wage, health care for our children, and security for our families.
Any mother knows that these are all issues we face together, and we need a president who will help us answer the call for change, who will help us to make the world better, and who won't shy away from the hard fight. Hillary is that leader, and I know she'll stand with us.

Dolores Huerta has been fighting the good fight for decades.
Paul Krugman (New York Times) explains the insult to Small Town Americans (by Barack) was "cling" and explains why that was. Bud White (No Quarter) attempts to address the Barack's relationship with William Ayers and why it may offend a number of Americans. (Tries isn't an insult but everyone's making the same mistake. It'll be flipped on Sunday. I'm not calling Bud White factually incorrect, I'm noting a detail is missing. It's a big one.) (Repeating, I'm not insulting White. Nor am I noting the defense for the actions taken by Weather Underground which we've gone over already. I'm speaking of a chunk of the puzzle -- known and out in the open -- being ignored.) Joanna Weiss (Boston Globe via IHT) also attempts to walk through the issue. Fernando Suarez (CBS News) notes Hillary's response to Barack's non-stop whining about how 'tough' it was for him: "We were both asked some pretty tough questions and that's part of what happens in a debate and in a campaign. And I know he spent all day yesterday complaining about the hard questions he was asked. Being asked tough questions in a debate is nothing like the pressures you face inside the White House. In fact, when the going gets tough, you just can't walk away because we're going to have some very tough decisions that we have to make." Time magazine has video of Hillary addressing that topic from an earlier interview today. A Houston Chronicle blog notes the "meltdown" on the "far left" -- the offensive video 'announcing' the death of George Stephanopoulos (ABC News, all he did was ask, Amy Goodman -- yeah, Ava and I will be taking on Goody in our Sunday piece at Third) and writes: "OK, so Obama was asked some tough questions, questions for which he may not have been prepared, questions about his associations and his patriotism. That's part of the political game, like it or not, it is what it is. Whining about it doesn't make it go away or make it any better." Gene Lyons (Arkansas Democrat Gazette) notes that the comments by Barack (about "clinging"), " A more perfect expression of pseudo-Marxist / academic cant--or a greater gift to Sen. John McCain and the Republicans--would be hard to imagine." How right he is. Joe Wilson (link goes to explains that there were other insulting remarks made by Barack in the Cling-gate speech that were equally offensive to those serving in the country overseas diplomatically and more.

"THAT'S NOT WHAT I ASKED!" screamed David Corn sounding like the Village Idiot and harming his own reputation in the process. On a media conference call yesterday, David Corn decided he needed to remind people how easy it is to be wrong when you don't do your own work and are instead fed your 'facts.'
Susan UnPC (No Quarter) has posted the audio of the disgraceful meltdown and tackles that. Let's tackle the facts because David Corn is NOT ALLOWED to make up his own facts. "You didn't ask her what she thought about the pardons!" cries Corn determined to expose just how stupid he can be and does not delight me to point out that fact. But David Corn was STUPID. He opened with "On the Bill Ayers front, so just called it one of the important issues, you guys obviously know, we all know that President Clinton pardoned two Weathermen . . . uh . . . activists, terrorists, whatever you want to call them." David Corn, the Male Cokie Roberts, isn't sure what to label the two women? But he's comfortable calling the two women "Weathermen"? What a fool. What a stupid, stupid fool. No, David, "we" don't "all know that because IT NEVER HAPPENED. I can't believe how low David Corn has sunk. He's a reactionary that tilts to the center but he's usually -- Gary Webb aside -- stuck to the facts. There are NO FACTS here because the two women were not PARDONED. Ava and I addressed that issue yesterday morning, I grabbed it again last night. If you listen to that call, you'll hear David Corn embarrassing himself acting like a blowhard, maintaining that he's right when he is soooooooo wrong. It's embarrassing. I don't call out Corn most of the time, I usually just roll my eyes. But this is soooooooo wrong that there's no excuse for it. David wanted to showboat in the phone call, wanted to play attack dog. Well, David, get your facts right. There were no pardons for Linda Evans (of Weather Underground, not Dynasty) or Susan Rosenberg from Bill Clinton.

David Corn wants to humiliate himself so let's help him.
Clicking here takes you to Mother Jones where, after the phone call, David was drooling over what he'd done for his man crush Barack Obama: "I asked an obvious one: Did Hillary Clinton believe that it had been appropriate in 2001 for President Bill Clinton to have pardoned two members of the Weather Underground as he left office?" No, David, it's not an obvious question because IT NEVER HAPPENED. Quit bragging, start apologizing. That's embarrassing. You've embarrassed yourself. You've demonstrated that when fueled by your own hate you will gladly rush to print any charge without even investigating it. You need to take a look at yourself and the damage you're doing because it is beneath you. By the way, Sunday, Ava and I flip this issue and explain what the press is missing. And they're missing it. For obvious reasons.

Back to the issue of pardons, didn't happen.
Credit to Jake Tapper (ABC News) who did correct his piece from last night. Wally and Cedric lampooned Tapper yesterday. Meanwhile, in endorsement news . . . Obama's endorsed by Carl Davidson, just another "progressive" for Obama? He's not a "progressive," he is a Communist. That is the bulk of his long (and tedious) writing (academic and pamphlet) and it's typical of the so-called "Progressives" For Obama. What the hell is a Communist doing butting into a Democratic Party primary?

Because, if the issue was left to Democrats, Bambi wouldn't stand a chance. He needs all the red diapers in the world to keep him clean and Carl Davidson is only one example of one.
Here's an exchange Carl had with Louis Proyect (The Unrepentan Marxist) and it's cute the way he claims, that during Vietnam, the Communist Party deserves credit for war resistance because they were in the ranks "doing SWP revolutionary propaganda work among the GIs." Yeah, all four of them. There is nothing wrong with being a Communist, a Socialist, a Green, a Democrat or what have you. But there is something sad about hiding in the closet -- especially those middle-aged an older. Carl Davidson hasn't hid except in his endorsement of Bambi. He's not a Democrat and, frankly, he needs to butt the hell out of Democratic Party politics.

He's far from alone. That rag-tag group (of non-Democrats) has really steered this primary and the coverage of it. When people are talking about the 'movement' behind Bambi, there's no 'movement.' There are some genuine supporters of him but the base, the framework, was documented years ago by Max Elbaum -- writing of a different cycle. Carl's very familiar with that cycle. (And to avoid big whiners, Carl self-describes as "Marxist-Lennist." That would be, pay attention, Communism.) So let's all repeat the question: "What is a Communist doing endorsing ANY candidate in a Democratic Primary?"

The general election is open to all Americans. But a primary is supposed to be for political party members. And for those (like the Communist bating Marc Cooper) who want to scream, "That's McCarthyism!" No, it's not. That's noting where the support for Barack comes from. The same way Panhandle Media thought, in 2004, it was fair game to note that Republicans were donating to Ralph Nader's campaign. Fair's fair. Thing is, Republicans weren't in the closet. Panhandle Media thought, at that time, that America had a right to know who was 'really behind' Ralph's campaign. So maybe it's time to take a glimpse at who's really behind Bambi?

And Carl's long been behind Barack. They go way back. So far back that Carl was screeching to people last year about his "disappointment" in Barack. ("Triangulator!" was Carl's charge then.) But, hey, the bulk of the SDS males (which were all political persuasions, to be clear) were nothing but sexist pigs to begin with so it's no surprise that, when it's down to Hillary or Barack, Carl thinks the 'good thing' for the (Communist) Party is to silence his criticism and hop on board! And, just FYI, they didn't care for "liberal" back then either. They were "radicals" and "revolutionaries." So it's no surprise they'd dub themselves "Progressives" for Obama today -- they spent their lives rejecting liberals (and Democrats). Here's another hint for those wanting to play "Who's Really A Democrat?" Any pundit/gasbag/writer claiming they made the decision to endorse Bambi based on "the movement" behind Bambi and not Bambi himself? Nine times out of ten, that's a Communist. Apparently, you can't anchor programs or write books or columns or gas bag and be open about what political party you belong to. Who knew?

kyle snyder

aaron glantz

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hillary beats Mr. Roboto

Tonight's debate. First, neither agreed to be the other's vice-president. Nor should they. I'm not for Bambi Obama, but neither he nor Hillary should agree to that. It's the death of the campaign of either. The minute one of them says, "Sure," you're going to have a push for that person to announce that they are withdrawing. On that, Bambi was smart. His answer was worded poorly but it was the only smart move he made. No surprise, Hillary had already answered the question before he did.

I don't know how you could watch the debate and (a) not grasp how similar to the current White House occupant Bambi is and (b) not grasp that Hillary really is ready on day one. When a candidate has to stumble for answers as much as Bambi did, they're not ready. Hillary not only did better than Bambi, she did an excellent job.

I think this was her finest debate. She was on top of the issues, she was warm, she was funny, she was insightful. She just seemed to be connecting throughout.

Bambi seemed so lost. If it's not his stump speech, he really can't manage words. He also appears to have a lisp I hadn't noticed before. "Frustration" was a difficult word for him at times. He'd say it "fwustration" and then he would say it correctly and then repeat it wrongly again. Which had me wondering whether he had a noticeable lisp and, if so, that's why he speaks to mechanically?

He lied about his relationship with Bill Ayers. He knows he's lied, I know he lied.

He lied about a great deal, actually.

But the most noticeable thing was that Hillary can apologize and Barack can't. Bosnia and Jeremiah Wright were brought up. Hillary noted -- at least twice -- that she'd apologized and still stated she was sorry. She laughed at herself and came across as someone you could have a conversation with. Barack was shooting daggers at George and nodding his head repeatedly in a "shut up and let me speak" manner. He said he'd disowned Wright and George caught that. When he tossed it back to Bambi, Bambi said he'd just disowned the words.

On the issue of his insult to Small Town Americans, he couldn't apologize there either. He was the angry child who got caught doing wrong, gets sent to the principal and still wants to argue it wasn't his fault. "I can see how some might be offended," he said (that's a paraphrase and not a direct quote). On Wright and on his own words, he could not apologize.

He lost the debate. He will lose all debates with John McCain if he gets the nomination. That is obvious. McCain will rip him to shreds. He lacks Hillary's warmth and he's unable to string together a sentence without repeated "uh"s.

McCain will also take the gloves off. He will go after him for a knockout blow.

I keep hearing the left trying to put foward that McCain's too old. He's too old against Hillary. Against Bambi, McCain looks mature. That's because McCain can speak and because McCain has a presence. I don't care for his presence, but he's got one.

When McCain hits hard, Bambi's going to go nuts. He nearly came unhinged when George was questioning him. He will lose it if McCain hits hard. It will be just like that moment when Tim Russert punctured Bambi's balloon in a previous debate by noting the bill about Congress members having their lunches bought only stopped the practice if the Congress member was seated. Bambi stammered like a fool then and what I remember most was the big grin on John Edwards' face during that. Edwards is a nice guy. McCain isn't. McCain won't stay out of it the way Edwards did. McCain will move in for the kill.

So, come November, if the Democratic Party is foolish enough to give the nomination to Bambi, America gets President John McCain.

"HUBdate: Debate in Philadelphia" (Howard Wolfson,
Previewing Today: Tonight, Hillary participates in ABC's Philadelphia Democratic Primary Debate. Earlier today, she delivers remarks to the Building Trades National Legislative Conference.
In Case You Missed It: The front page USA Today article is headlined: "Obama tied to lobbyists, but boasts of not taking money."
Read more.
First Hundred Days: Yesterday, Hillary told the Newspaper Association of America: "Starting from Day One, the Bush-Cheney era will be over in name and in practice" and outlined her plan for the first 100 days of the presidency.
Read more and more.
Pennsylvania Mayors for Hillary: Over 100 Pennsylvania mayors endorsed Hillary yesterday, citing her "Pennsylvania roots and commitment to Pennsylvania values."
Read more and more.
Speaking Out: In a letter yesterday, mayors across Indiana wrote to Sen. Obama and said his comments "demeaned the values of small Midwestern towns." The mayor of Oak Hill, WV said: "I think that [Sen. Obama's comment] characterizes the fact he is out of touch with West Virginia, and many other states -- the Heartland of America." The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says Sen. Obama's "'bitter' pill is going to be tough to swallow...What Obama dished out was a cold, stinging slap, and not just to Pennsylvanians but to Americans across the country."
Read more, more and more.
Tar Heels for Hillary: The campaign announced 1,500 North Carolina women for Hillary yesterday. Gladys Graves, former president of the North Carolina Association of Editors and Hillary supporter, said, "[Hillary] is an intelligent and caring woman and we need someone like that in the White House."
Read more.
Stronger Against McCain: A new Rasmussen survey of likely Florida voters shows Hillary leading the state against Senator McCain...The same poll shows Senator McCain would beat Senator Obama in that state by 15 points (53-38).
Read more.
FL Voices Count: In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Hillary said voters in FL are "tired of being disenfranchised. They saw a Democrat deprived of a congressional seat in 2006 because mysteriously thousands of votes weren't counted. They saw problems in the '04 election. And everybody remembers 2000...We're Democrats. I thought we believed in counting votes."
Read more.
Tax Day Test: "For all of Sen. Obama’s rhetoric about the need for tax return transparency, you'd think he'd have released all of his tax records. Guess again... Sen. Obama has refused to release his tax returns for 1997, 1998 and 1999, even though he was in public life as a state senator during those years. During this period of time, Sen. Obama was accepting contributions from special interest lobbyists, PACs and even directly from corporations."
Read more.
Stretch on Ethics Reform: Politifact reports on a new ad airing in PA that "Obama claims he was the driving force in the Senate on ethics reform. We find he was a player but not the quarterback...This new ad both exaggerates the role Obama played in the debate, and fails to put the new ethics law in any sort of context."
Read more.

Hillary was amazing throughout. I don't know that she needed to win the debate. I'm not following the polls. But she clearly won. She seemed like a person up on stage as opposed to the robatic Obama with his statements of, "Word word word . . . word word uh word . . . uh word . . . word . . ." He seemed so lost on stage. It's not like this was his first debate but it certainly played like it was.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, April 16, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Pulizter Prize winning photographer Bilal Hussein is finally released by the US military in Iraq, a Senate committee makes noises about war funding, the US military announces more deaths, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Courage to Resist has compiled a page providing names of war resisters and we'll note Jose Vasquez's sketch: "Staff. Sgt. Jose Vasquez served fourteen years in the Army and Army Reserve. In January 2005, he applied for conscientious objector status requesting immediate discharge from the military which was approved. He was honorably discharged in May 2007. Jose is an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) serving as Co-chiar of the Borad and President of the New York City chapter. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the City University of New York." Vasquez helped verify all witnesses testifying at Winter Soldier Investigation last month and also chaired the March 14th's first panel. Vasquez also organized the successful Operation First Casualty II last May (Memorial Day) in NYC.

That's the US. In Canada, US war resisters are waiting to find out whether they will be granted safe harbor. The Canadian Parliament will debate a measure this month on that issue. You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Last month
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier took place and KPFA has a live program coming up April 22nd: Live On Air and Online at!
April 22 from 10am-1pm Join us on April 22nd for this very important follow up to Pacifica's groundbreaking
Winter Soldier live coverage. We will be following the San Francisco trial involving wounded vets and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In this first class action lawsuit U.S. Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder sue the VA, alleging a system wide breakdown in the way the Government treats those soldiers.During this special broadcast we will be bringing our listeners live updates from the San Francisco federal courthouse, we'll speak with wounded Veterans attorney Gordon Erspamer, (taking this case pro bono because his father was permanently disabled in World War II and never received proper health care) and speak with Veterans advocates including Veterans for Common Sense, and Vets for America.Read more about the broadcast here.

That announcement will appear in the snapshots until the broadcast. If you missed Winter Soldier you can stream online at
Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz were the anchors for Pacifica's live coverage.

Bilal is free.
The Committee to Protect Journalists notes, "Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein was freed today from U.S custody in Iraq, ending a two-year ordeal in which he fended off unsubstantiated accusations from the U.S. military that he collaborated with Iraq insurgents." Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reminds, "The military never made public its evidence against Hussein" and that they announced their decision on Monday when they "released a statement with a slightly gruding tone". "Two years and four days" of imprisonment, Daryl Lang (Photo District News) calculates, also noting the "five-month judicial process" that ended last week. Robert H. Reid (AP) explains, "Hussein, 36, was freed at a checkpoint in Baghdad, where he was taken by the military aboard a prisoner bus. He left U.S. custody wearing a traditional Iraqi robe and appeared in good health." Dean Yates (Reuters) quotes Bilal stating, "I want to thank all the people working in AP . . . I have spent two years in prison even though I was innocent. I thank everybody." Editorial Photographers United Kingdom & Ireland describes the scene, "The photographer was embraced by sobbing family members, including his brother and mother, and spoke to other well-wishers on a mobile phone as he was showered with flowers and sweets. He later was honored with a traditional feast." They also quote professor Yassir Hussein (Bilal's brother) explaining, "I cannot describe my happiness at seeing him again. The family has been going through a hard time over the past two years, but now we thank God that we will have some rest." AFP notes Bilal's Pulitzer Prize win and that he was released at "an entry checkpoint near Camp Victory near the Baghdad airport" according to US Maj Matt Morgan. Paul Colford, Associated Press' Director of Media Relations, announced Monday, "After two years in detention, Bilal Hussein needs time to spend with his family, to rest and to catch up with the rest of the world."

"We need to trust" declared Jim Nussle at the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing today on tossing away more American dollars on funding the illegal war. Nussle is the budget director for the White House so his credentials on "trust" remain murky. US Senator Robert Byrd is the chair (despite attempts by US Senator Patrick Leahy to oust him) and, appearing robust, he opened the haring by noting first
US Senator Arlen Specter's "health has hit a small bump in the road. While many of us know what it's like to face a health challenge, I know this man. His strong fighting spirit will quickly lead him on the path to recovery." Byrd then moved the topic of the hearing:

Eleven months ago, Congress sent the president a war funding supplemental that included clear direction to bring our troops home by December of 2007. The president chose to veto that bill. If he had signed that bill, most of our troops would already be home. But instead of bring our troops home, the president decided to increase our commitment of US troops and treasure to a war that has now entered its sixth year. Over 4,000 US service members have died. Over 30,000 US service members have been wounded. By the end of 2008, the war in Iraq will have cost a whopping $600 billion. In the next few weeks, the Appropriations Committee will consider the president's request for Congress to approve another $108 billion of emergency funding, most for this endless war in Iraq. We will be considering the president's request at a time when the US ecnomy is, by most accounts, in serious trouble. Under the president's fiscal leadership, the US government will have piled up the five largest deficits in the history of our Republic. It took 212 years and 42 US presidents to accumulate one-trillion-dollars of foreign-held debt. But in only seven years, President George W. Bush has more than doubled the debt our country owes to China, Japan, and other foreign entities.

As he concluded his opening remarks, Byrd also noted, "This year, we will once again take good care of our troops. But we must also invest in our own economy and take care of our people here at home. To fail to do so will only further dampen our economy, work a hardship on our our citizens, and deplete our ability to pay these endless, every-climbing requests for more money to fund this war in Iraq. The well is running dry, and it is time to prime the pump." The senators worthy of note include Patty Murray who pointed out that the White House repeatedly underfunds in the US (infastructure, etc) and that when Congress attempts to address the underfunding, the White House threatens a veto. She stated that Congress was attempting to fund the needed programs "in a responsible way" but there's no effort on the part of the White House to reach out to the Congress and that can stop. "If that means," Murray declared, "we're going to to have to wait until we get" the next president, "then that's what we're going to do." Senator Byron Dorgan echoed Murray's point and noted that "the game is over." He referenced the New York Times story (C.J. Chivers' "
Washington Blocks Exports of Munitions Firm Suspected of Fraud") on the 'businessmen' providing ammo to Afghanistan (emphasing "massage therapist" repeatedly) as well as the fact that Halliburton gets US tax payer funds and then "runs the payroll through the Cayman Islands" in order to avoid paying the US payroll taxes. He stated that everyone -- Congress, the administration -- bears responsibility for the lack of oversight but that "there comes a time when you have to say enough." Senator Ben Nelson noted the "blank check policy" the administration has attempted to utilize repeatedly.

The big surprise may have been Senator Dianne Feinstein who may have done her best job in a Senate hearing period. She was to the point, she knew what you wanted to say. She noted the frustrations everyone on the committee felt and maybe that's what it took but Feinstein, repeatedly holding her forehead as she held the administration accountable, Feinstein was professional and focused. "Never before in history has a war been funded on the debt," Feinstein pointed out. "I think it's a . . . problem for the survival of the nation." She was referring to the climbing debt and the White House's request for yet another 'emergency' funding bill. Feinstein noted what wasn't getting funded, she noted the failing infrastructure across America, and the lack of funding to prevent wildfires or the leveys in Califonria that need to be fixed. "My problem is," she explained, "I've got a part of a state that might well burn over the summer again and we can't provide" the needed funding. She noted the tax cuts for the wealthy throughout the years of the illegal war and the domestic programs cut and re-cut during this emphasizing, "It's rather cyncial what happens: You fund the war off budget, on the debt, and you press for further tax reduction." Regarding the latest 'emergency' request, Feinstein declared, "I think maybe the time has come when we do have to put our foot down" to make clear that "we're not going to do" this "and I'm going to have a very hard time for $108 billion knowing what's happening in the United States, . . knowing we need to do some things just to protect our own people. . . . It's not right and it's not why we" came to Congress.

"The legacy that this president will leave," Senator Mary Landrieu pointed out, "is that he drove the country into a war and for the next six years . . . refused to submit a plan to pay for it. There's nothing, Director, clean about this bill -- it's either a cover-up . . . or a sloppy sales job."

At the conclusion of the hearing, the chair, Robert Byrd, spoke noting in "the next few weeks the committee will mark up a supplemental that meets the needs" of the military and the civilians. A lively hearing and a
CODEPINK activist chanted "Fund them home! Fund the home!" repeatedly at the end; however, it needs to be noted that some of the life in the hearing may have had less to do with the illegal war (and the drain its placed on the US economy -- present and future) and more to do with the White House's threat to veto what Congress sends up if they add any additional spending to it (which is their right, they control the purse and the White House does not have line-item veto). Senator Ben Nelson hit especially hard on the issue of the money going to the Iraq War and reminded that he and Senator Evan Bayh had, early on, requested that the monies for reconstruction, et al in Iraq be given in the form of a loan. Nussle apparently missed last week's hearings because this was a new concept to him. He spoke of taking the idea back to the White House and begged off additional questions noting he was not the Secretary of State. In terms of the waste Dorgan emphasized, he also acted as if this was news to him. He suggested Congress explore that. That's what they were attempting . . . while he played dumb.

Dumb travels. "We are today more confident than any time before,"
CBS and AP quote Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, declaring, "that we are close to the point where we can declare victory against al Qaeda . . . and its allies." String it along, al-Maliki, string it along. He needed some good (false) news to promote because other news wasn't reflecting on the US established government in Iraq. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports, "The Iraqi army and police commanders in the southern city of Basra were reassigned today in what the government described as routine staff movements but which came amid controversy over troops' preformance during a recent offensive." It's the puppet government so no sooner was the announcement made to the press then an alternative was released. Reuters notes, "The top Iraqi military commander in the southern city of Basra has not been replaced, the Defence Ministry said" and then quotes Maj Gen Mohammed al-Askari stating, "He is still in his job.". Or maybe he defected or deserted? (Or maybe his scheduled retirement next week is how the 'firing' is being fudged.) Nancy Moran (Bloomberg News) reports, "About 50 Iraqi troops fled a joint fight with American soldiers in Baghdad's Sadr City last night, setting back U.S. efforts to get Iraqis to take the lead in gaining control".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 Baghdad mortar attacks which claimed 1 life and left thirteen wounded, a Mosul car bombing that claimed 1 life, and a Kirkuk roadside bombing that wounded two people. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) notes a Basra US attack with "an unmanned US Predator aircraft" which killed 4 people with missiles.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that, last night, an assassination attempt "on one of Al-Sistani representatives in Kut" which left the man wounded and which followed an attack Laith Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reported yesterday on al Sistania's representative Ali Al Fadhil. CBS and AP note an attack outside Muqdadiyah oon a vehicle that left 2 women dead and three males wounded. UPI, citing a US military announcement, notes that the US military killed 1 person they suspected of being a 'terrorist' and another who was "a bystander" (in Mosul).


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad

Meanwhile the
US military announces: "Two Multi-National Force – West Marines were killed in action April 14 when their vehicle was attacked by an enemy force with an improvised explosive device in al Anbar Province." This brings the death toll of US service members in Iraq to 4037 since the start of the illegal war.

"We have so many candidates that say that they're against the war. Well if we had these candidates that say that they're against the war actually vote against the war then we wouldn't be talking about the war anymore,"
declared former US Congress woman Cynthia McKinney, who is running for the Green Party's presidential nomination over the weekend in a LA speech (link has video only). "Some of us took those hard votes early on and voted to stop funding the war but then, of course, something happened along the way -- it always does -- and that is that the War Party which has a Democratic wing and a Republican wing got together and counted their votes. They understood that they had 218 votes they needed, 218 votes in order to keep us in the war. They knew from their experience in 2002 which, I hope all of you have seen American Blackout, that they had a sure-fire way to get one of those votes out of the Congress, one of those no votes. And so they did it. That very first vote to fund the war after the Democratic majority took place passed exactly by 218 votes. If I had been there, we wouldn't be talking about ending the funding for the war. We'd be talking about how we're going to build a single-payer healtchcare system in this country. We'd be talking about why it is that students have to be a hundred thousand dollars in debt just to get an education. We could be talking about how we're going to green our economy, how we're going to provide jobs for the environement people and, at the same time, refuse to accept that the so-called 'American way of life' is something worth killing for. We would have a whole different conversation about what true American values really are. But instead, because the corporate media allows those who actually fund the war to claim that they are against the war, then we have to continue to have the same conversation. And that's that same conversation that I've rejected."

Staying with US presidential politics,
Susan UnPC (No Quarter) wonders if ABC's Charlie Gibson intends to ask Senator Barack Obama about Nahdmi Auchi whom Obama claims he doesn't remember but Michael Sneed (Chicago Sun-Times) thinks Bambi might be showing "a Pinocchio problem". When would Gibson ask that? In tonight's ABC News debate between Barack and Senator Hillary Clinton where Barack will attempt to put Bitter-gate behind him -- or persuade the press that it is. Or maybe put behind his really bad ad regarding oil. Ken Dilanian (USA Today) notes, "It's accurate that Obama doesn't take money from oil companies; neither do his opponents, because corporate contributions are illegal. But Obama, like Clinton and John McCain, has accepted donations from oil and gas company employees -- $222,309 in Obama's case from donors from Exxon, Shell, Chevron and others, according to campaign-finance data. Two oil company CEOs have pledged to raise at least $50,000 each as part of Obama's fundraising team." In a busy day for Bambi, he also found time to slam former US president Jimmy Carter. In other news, the US Congress' newest member, Rep Jackie Speier endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination yesterday:

"Nothing makes me more proud than to announce my endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President," said Speier. "As a woman, a lawmaker and a mother, I understand what electing Hillary will mean for this country. She will not only bring an extraordinary grasp of the issues to the White House, but also a uniquely feminine skill set - consensus building, negotiation, and patience - that will serve our nation well. As President, Hillary will set an example for how to run a country with diplomacy and restraint."
"I am thrilled to have the support of the newest Member of Congress, Jackie Speier," said Clinton. "Jackie has been a force to be reckoned with in California politics for more than two decades, standing up for children, families, and consumers across the state. Congress is fortunate to have someone with her fortitude and vision, and I look forward to working with her as we bring real change to Washington."

And Gettysburg College's Cory Waldron writes about Chelsea Clinton's campaigning for her mother:

To see a passionate audience captivated and enjoying political conversation outside on a college campus is especially fun to be a part of as a student. The sharing of ideas and the collective energy at Wilson College embodies the experiences and stories I've attained from my multi-state campaign adventure. The resiliency and hope of Pennsylvanians was displayed and I can't wait to see more of it as the election draws closer. It was simply a gorgeous day filled with energy and eloquence -- and it was a particularly proud occasion for myself as a student, volunteer, and as an American.
This is why I support Senator Clinton: because she gets how our nation works -- all the way from the halls of Congress to the family dinner table, and she deserves the opportunity to show our nation her very best from the Oval Office. I have worked as an intern in Laconia, New Hampshire, traveled on my own dime to South Carolina, and I am proud to be a grassroots organizer in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (and yes mom, I still go to my classes daily at Gettysburg). I am rewarded knowing that I'm helping to create a better country because Hillary will implement sound policies. Despite the problems Americans face, our mutual devotion to our families, friends, and communities will enable us to heal this nation. Hillary Clinton has the policies to aid everyday Americans, to turn our nation around, and allow us as citizens to be treated fairly and justly after languishing under the pains caused by the Bush Administration.


aaron glantz