Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Hate The War

One of the big complaints about elections and the media is that some voices and candidates get shut out. Ralph Nader's campaign had a strong essay on that just today. But it's not always the media's fault.

I'm not talking about Nader. KPFK decided to present three (and only three -- despite all the candidates on the California ballot) party reps for a roundtable on Monday. You had a Republican, a Democrat and a Green.

So you should have heard each advocate passionately for their candidate.

But you didn't hear that.

Instead, you heard a Republican who wanted McCain to win. You heard a Democrat who wanted Barack to win. And?

You had a worthless Green.

That's not calling all Greens worthless. That's noting that Donna Warren's ass doesn't belong on air. A few failed campaigns to her name and she's supposed to be some sort of Green Party standard bearer in California.

But apparently someone either forgot to tell her that Cynthia McKinney had the Green Party's presidential nomination or Donna Warren just didn't give a damn.

So she yacked on and non-stop about? Groovy Barack.

Make no mistake, there are many Greens in the LA area who could have been put into that roundtable and could have sung Cynthia's praises very easily. They could have cited her strong legislative record, they could have talked about where Cynthia sees the country going, they could have offered the narrative of Cynthia's life.

They could have, in other words, done what they were booked for: Provide a voice for the Green Party.

Donna Warren? She couldn't. She didn't. She's a useless voice for the Green Party and her lame ass should never have been invited on.

Now the Republican voice never forgot why he was on. He didn't suddenly start talking about how wonderful Barack was or how this or that was unfair to Barack. Ditto the Democratic voice who never felt the need to yammer on about poor John McCain. But Donna Warren? She was happy to take up the Green Party slot and waste the time talking about Barack.

Again, there are times when the media deliberately ignores candidates. They've done it to Ralph and they've done it to Cynthia many times this year. However, sometimes people have to get honest because it's not always the media's fault.

So when KPFK elects to do a roundtable featuring three parties with presidential candidates and one of the voices is too enthused on someone else's party, the whole roundtable suffers.

Donna Warren is a failed candidate many times over. So maybe she never learned how to successfully run for office?

That would explain how she could be so lame as to not use each turn she had to sing Cynthia McKinney's strengths. No one had to explain to the Republican and Democratic voices why they were booked for the roundtable. But Donna Warren was clueless and, honestly, in love with her voice. Warrned clearly dominated the end of the roundtable and she didn't mention Cynthia once. While taking the seat that was supposed to be occupied by a Cynthia supporter.

Now maybe she really is that big of an idiot. Or maybe she supports Barack.

But when Greens are upset by some of the very real and valid criticism coming at them for the way they're finding time to chat up everything but Cynthia's run for the presidency, they only need to examine Donna Warren's miserable performance as an advocate for Cynthia on KPFK.

James Carville is actually a media star. But even so, when he's on a show to talk up the Democratic candidate, he does his job. He doesn't say, "Oh, I'm a media star! Let me talk about myself." He goes on a program and does the job for his party.

That's apparently never occurred to Donna Warren who thinks that after Barack Obama's run, the most important to the Green Party is Donna Warren herself.

For Greens who are confused, let's break it down to the basics.

1) Cynthia McKinney? That's your presidential candidate unless you're voting for someone other than your party's candidate.

2) If you're voting for a candidate who is not Cynthia, you don't need to be taking up a slot as a Green 'voice.'

3) When, on one of those rare occassions, you finally get invited to the table, you're there to promote your party's nominee. You're not there to score points for another party's candidates, you're not there to tell your life story.

4) You are not the candidate or you would not be invited onto a roundtable featuring voices for other candidates. If you were the actual candidate, you'd be on a roundtable with other candidates. Translation, it's not about you. It's not about your thoughts and your musings and, goodness me, one time . . .

5) Every time your turn to speak comes up, you mention your candidate in your first sentence. Unless your cut off for time, you mention your candidate (by name) in your last sentence. In between those two sentences, you make the case for your party's candidate. That is why you were booked.

6) As much as you may have always wanted to do a monologue on yourself, a political roundtable is not the place for it.

7) If you lack the skill or intelligence that would allow you to avoid a sidebar tangent, you catch yourself in the middle of it and immediately turn the topic back to your candidate.

There's a lot of valid complaints about the media shutting out third party and independent candidates. There's also some whining. It's whining if anyone feels KPFK is at fault for Monday's nightmare. They booked a Green voice. They did so thinking that they would have a lively discussion about the Democratic, the Green and the Republican presidential candidates. It's not their fault that the Green voice didn't care enough or know enough to do her damn job.

She didn't just fail. That would have been bad enough. She might have, for example, referred to Cynthia McKinney as "Cindy Kinney" or she might have completely screwed up some position that Cynthia has. That would have been failure. What Donna Warren did was much worse than failure.

She let her ass take a slot that could have gone to a voice advocating Cynthia and instead made it about Barack. In doing so, she sent the message (willing or not) that Cynthia's run is unimportant and anyone listening took away the message that even Greens would rather talk about Barack so their own candidate must have nothing to offer.

That's how it's worse than failure. Failure would have been making a mistake (even repeatedly). What Donna Warren did was undercut Cynthia's run, undercut the Green Party as a valid alternative and a valid political party.

Earlier this week an e-mail came into the public account asking that we note the roundtable. I noted it. My mistake. We won't note anything to do with Donna Warren ever again. 61 e-mails coming in complaining on what she did. 39 of those coming into the public account. My mistake, my apologies. These were very angry e-mails from Greens who could not believe that their party finally got a seat at the table and their 'voice' couldn't even advocate for the party's candidate.

One complaining to the public account noted that "if Warren wanted to talk about racism, I'd argue Cynthia's entire career has been about fighting racism and she has repeatedly been the target of racist attacks. Warren seemed completely unaware of that."

The entire roundtable on her part played out like someone on week five of a six week diet who hears someone else mention a danish in a passing comment and latches onto danishes even though she's not on to talk about danishes.

Whether she meant to undercut Cynthia's run or not doesn't matter. That's what she did. In doing so, she sent a message that the Green Party had nothing to offer because, if they did, she would have been talking about it. This was not an interview to get Donna Warren's thoughts and reminscenes on life. This was a political roundtable, a presidential roundtable and she failed to advocate for her party. The Republican and Democratic voices appeared to have the points they wanted to make nailed down. Warren appeared to wing it.

Opportunities for the inclusion of third party and independent runs in media coverage are too rare for any 'voice' to blow the chance but that is what Donna Warren did.

Again, there are many valid complaints. There is also whining. Anyone unhappy with KPFK's coverage this week who blames KPFK for that is whining. The problem was Donna Warren. KPFK did not exclude the Green Party (they did excluse Ralph's run and he is on a political party's ballot in California). The Green voice is the one who excluded the Green Party. It was more important to her to fight Barack's battles than to advocate for Cynthia. She didn't just waste her own time, she denied someone who could have advocated strongly for Cynthia a spot in the roundtable.

A few e-mails to the public account were angry with me. I don't blame anyone for being angry with me. I copy and pasted the e-mail in which made the case for a real roundtable. That was my mistake. Again, my mistake. I apologize. We will never promote Donna Warren in any manner at this site again. We will not even mention her name again. She is either hopelessly inept or yet another Green 'voice' who has something better to do than promote her party's nominee.

Since the Green Party (and Cynthia) stand for actually ending the illegal war, there's no reason for any Green 'voice' to promote a War Hawk at all. In fact, every bit of air time or paper space should be used to draw a very clear line for Cynthia's stand against the illegal war and determination to end it as opposed to Barack's desire to decide what to do when he gets into office and 'listens to the generals'. Samantha Power told the BBC that Barack was not bound by any 'campaign promise.' June 5th Barack went on CNN and repeated the same thoughts. July 4th he repeated them to the press and it got enough attention that Tom Hayden finally found a reason to call Barack out. There are many other examples and you can go back to 2004 on Barack and his all over the map positions on the illegal war. Failure to do so is inviting people to see your own alleged desire to end the illegal war as mere words.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4155. Tonight? 4168. Thirteen in a week. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,267,401 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war up from 1,255,026.

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