Saturday, May 10, 2008

Other Items

Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Center soldier died of non-combat related injuries May 9." Meanwhile, from Leila Fadel's "In big concession, militia agrees to let Iraqi troops into Sadr City" (McClatchy Newspapers):

Followers of rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr agreed late Friday to allow Iraqi security forces to enter all of Baghdad's Sadr City and to arrest anyone found with heavy weapons in a surprising capitulation that seemed likely to be hailed as a major victory for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.
In return, Sadr's Mahdi Army supporters won the Iraqi government's agreement not to arrest Mahdi Army members without warrants, unless they were in possession of "medium and heavy weaponry."
The agreement would end six weeks of fighting in the vast Shiite Muslim area that's home to more than 2 million residents and would mark the first time that the area would be under government control since Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003. On Friday, 15 people were killed and 112 were injured in fighting, officials at the neighborhoods two major hospitals said.

A huge tactical error for Sadr City and for the Mahdi Army and if you doubt it, from Hala Jaber's "Parading of fighters' bodies taunts Mahdi Army" (Sunday Times of London):

A humvee military vehicle idles on a broad avenue as an Iraqi army soldier walks nonchalantly past without so much as a glance at the body slung across the bonnet.
The dead man’s trousers have been pulled down to his ankles, exposing white underwear below a torn T-shirt drenched in blood from wounds to his chest and side.
Behind is a second Humvee with another body sprawled over the front, arms and legs outstretched. On his white shirt, a large bloodstain indicates the wound that may have killed him. A soldier sitting on the roof dangles his legs over the windscreen and seems to prod the corpse’s stomach with his boot.

What the US government couldn't achieve, Moqtada al-Sadr may have just done to himself. He may not have but his physical distance from the area combined with the waiving in of the Iraqi and US military may result in a new leader of Sadr City emerging. If you missed it, Sadr City residents were crying for help, noting the silence from Najaf and the question now will be whether they blame al-Sadr for what happened or continue to embrace their leader in exile?

Since yesterday morning, the following community websites have updated.

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
Ruth's Ruth's Report;

Two things. Betty's chapter is either up or about to be. Thank you to Mike for typing up the previous entry. I did two entries this morning and Mike held them (as he always does, thank you, Mike) for everyone to post. Betty didn't care for her chapter and had other issues as well. So they didn't go up. When we landed, Mike called to say that and took the dictated entry so something could go up. (Posting either about news in the morning would have been ridiculous.)

This is Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Strongest at the Top of the Ticket" (

Strongest at the Top of the Ticket: Several members of Congress released a letter yesterday to other Democrats touting their support for Hillary, saying she is the strongest candidate to have at the top of the ticket in the fall: “[W]e are convinced that Hillary Clinton has the vision, skills and commitment to make the changes our country needs. As Democrats who have run and won in competitive Congressional districts and battleground states, we believe that Hillary is best positioned to successfully lead the Democratic ticket in districts and states like ours around the country.” Read more and more. Click here to view the Power Point presentation.
Automatic Delegate Watch: Yesterday, Texas Congressman Ciro Rodriguez and Pennsylvania Congressman Chris Carney endorsed Hillary. Said Rodriguez, “I believe Hillary Clinton has the experience, vision, and toughness to win a general election and can help expand our Democratic majority in Congress. Not only can she win, I am convinced that she will be a truly great President.”
A Mother’s Day Wish: In a new video, Chelsea shares some of her fondest memories of her mother, and asks mothers across the country to share their mother’s day wishes with her.
Watch here.
Fourth Quarter: Ellen Malcolm writes in a Washington Post op-ed today: “Here we are in the fourth quarter of the nominating process and the game is too close to call…Why on earth should one candidate quit before the contest is finished? Democrats need not be so fainthearted…So why are some Democrats so afraid? We simply need to count every vote, let the remaining states have their say and see the process through to its conclusion.”
Read more.
WV Endorsement Watch: Former West Virginia Governor Hulett Smith and the State Senate Majority Leader Truman Chafin endorsed Hillary yesterday.
On the Air in OR and WV: In a new Oregon ad, U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson tell voters why they support Hillary. A West Virginia ad demonstrates Hillary’s commitment to leveling the playing field against special interests and strengthening America’s middle class.
Watch here and here.
Touting Health Care in OR: “Sen. Hillary Clinton used an hourlong visit with Doernbecher Children’s Hospital patients and their families Friday morning to push for her universal health care plan, which she called the ‘unfinished business’ of the nation.”
Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary attends a Mother’s Day celebration with Chelsea in New York.

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No division, no worries for real feminism

Indeed, 74-year-old Gloria Steinem, a Clinton supporter and icon of the women's movement, riled some younger, pro-Obama feminists with a New York Times op-ed suggesting that they were in denial about America's persisting "sexual caste system."
Ariel Garfinkel,
[an idiot living on Mommy & Daddy's dime says a lot of nonsense.]

Courtney highlighted the AP's nonsense of "Feminists sharply divided between Clinton, Obama" and wanted it commented on. There is no feminist divide currently. There is misinformation.

All women are not feminists. All women do not support women. LIARS support Barack Obama and know his record. IDIOTS support Barack Obama.

I mean someone needs to ask Naomi Wolf (who will never again link to) when her support for gays and lesbians died? Someone needs to ask her how she can support a candidate who willing -- and ignoring protests against it -- put homophobes on stage at a South Carolina event to use gay bashing to snag some votes?

Someone needs to ask these alleged 'feminists' when homophobia became part of the feminist movement?

Who are the feminists supporting Obama?

I've yet to see any. Naomi Wolf? She wrote that hideous book about "I'm a mommy and look at me embarrass myself." This is the woman who, in her best book (Fire With Fire), drew a line for "pretty" -- a White woman could be and an African-American couldn't. Maybe she's atoning for that today? Post-Fire With Fire, I haven't seen or heard Naomi do a damn thing for feminism. I saw her rush to the center as the 90s wound down. I read that really bad Mommy book which truly was cringe-inducing and seemed to argue that biology was destiny -- for the record, not a feminist position. I saw her marriage fall apart and, having been the object of media ridicule for her role in the 2000 Gore campaign (media ridicule she didn't deserve), her float along lost. She didn't turn to the feminist movement.

She went to Republican and Democratic and Radical males. And her causes today don't emphasize women. So what is it? She turned a thesis into a book (The Beauty Myth -- which owed huge uncredited debts to both Charlotte Perkins Gillman and Judith N. Shklar), she wrote one good one (Fire With Fire). She wrote a hideous, rambling book on sex and only she can answer why or what she thought the point of it was but that was a badly written book. It didn't sell. She repacked herself as Mommy and wrote about Mommy's needs for men -- especially during pregnancy. Not for finanical support, mind you, but she just needed him next to her, his size, his smell, his . . .

I'm not seeing anything feminist in that. Her last book dealing with feminist issues was 13 years ago. The media may see her as feminist but most don't see her as such. What happened was she thought she could set the world on fire by writing about female sexuality but she garbled it and didn't grasp how the reaction (forget what Madonna was doing during the 90s) to female sexuality is always reactionary. When she entered into the Gore campaign that book -- and nothing else -- became the means by which she was discredited. She ran from the sex, ran from the rebel role (which could have been found had she pursued Fire With Fire but was instead lost including in the bad sex book), and established herself as a DC matron writing matronly books about the joys of Mommy-dom with a man who works while the wife doesn't and how 'normal' and 'wonderful' that was. That's the ultimate in backlash, it's not feminism.

Now the 'miracle' marriage fell apart. As everyone knew it would. A woman who sells out everything she believes for a marriage is one who wakes up pissed one day as she realizes not only has she been relegated to arm piece, she's turned herself into that. So she recasts herself again. That's not doubting her sincerity. Naomi is one of the most sincere people in the world. That is noting that her entire life is a self-created narrative. And having made her life a joke by any feminist standard (read the Mommy book and prepare to howl), she wrote a new storyline for herself and, to no one's surprise in the feminist movement, it didn't include women's issues.

So who are these feminists supporting Barack?

You've got people who really don't do causes (or don't do them for long) like Naomi. You also have a bunch of closeted Communist women and Communism has never been friendly to women in this country. What you see with these closeted Communists are that they have internalized the Party line of the last decade which is biology is destiny, women aren't worthy enough for serious goals or causes and the Party must continue to push any Black/African-American cause because it's only claim to fame in the US remains it's peripheral involvement in the Civil Rights Era. Listen to Obama's White supporters sometimes, they turn him into a child. It's the Communist Party from last century. "We can make the Civil Rights happen! We can give it to them!" It's condescending and it overvalues their own limited skills while acting as if African-Americans are not actors in their own lives.

I'm not seeing the feminism. Frances Fox Piven? Not a feminist. Not a Democrat either.

Here's your test for feminism: Did the woman write about Abeer?

If she never did, she's not a feminist. Robin Morgan did write about. Women who had other things to do then have other things to do now and they're not feminists.

In fairness to some, Barack's use of homophobia, his reference to women as 'sweety,' his going on a job interview with Michelle (Michelle's job interview), his refusal to stand up for abortion rights, all non-feminist stands.

Now I'm focusing on White women. I'll let feminists of color hash out for themselves why they decided to support a bi-racial man. I'll let them explain for themselves why they insist upon calling him "Black" and stabbing the multi-racial movement in this country in the back.

But that's another thing.

Young White women? I'm not seeing a lot of feminism in the Barack supporters. Look at the push-up bra set's leading 'voice' (Jessica Valente's sewer of a site). They're praising Betsy Reed this week. That's not feminism. Feminism is calling her to the carpet for publishing 491 men in 2007 and only 149 women. They have all the time in the world to chuckle over a book called C*nt being brought in to an Abu Ghraib hearing but no time in the world to get serious. They can wonder if their damp panties at a Justy video betrays womenhood. They can work themselves into a frenzy over a Van Fair cover. But real feminists (especially at this late date) would not be sitting silent while women were silenced and they certainly wouldn't praise Betsy Reed -- or any other woman at The Nation, for that matter -- when the figures were 491 men and 149 women.

In feminism there is a wide range of thought, no question. (Betsy Reed sneers at 'mainstream feminists' but Betsy a political closet case, not a feminist -- like the Communist Party of the last century, Betsy Reed looks down on feminism and always has. There's come confusion about Betsy among the mainstream because she wrote a book on women and economics! She wrote a book espousing Communist principles and tied women to it to have a market and to be marketed as a women's writer. There was nothing feminist about her book and only the politically naive would have been deceived into thinking otherwise.)

Now Betsy Reed is the executive-editor of The Nation. She's one of those women who shot down other women. She's not interested in racism. She shot down the article on Native Americans and that shoot down was taken public so there's no reason for anyone not to know about it. Betsy didn't think they (Native Americans) were an interest. And the writer was a woman. So the article was never have gone to be published by that magazine.

Today's Communist Party is made of two groups -- those open and those not. The open includes brave people of many years who refused to be put in a closet or who saw the nonsense of the closet and young people who laugh at their elders. The open ones want to build a party. The closet cases think the party is a dead in and that they have to, instead, latch on to an established political party and try to control it through subversions, trickery and lies.

As I've said before, I have degrees in poli sci and I'm not threatened or alarmed or even concerned by any non-violent political theory. And I have no problem highlighting Socialism or Communism publications or articles here. They are a part of a left. They are not, however, the Democratic Party. And Elaine and I spent our entire lives refusing to answer the big question people our age grew up with: Are you a Communist?

We did that out of solidarity because there was a very real witch hunt going on. But it's 2008 and there's no government witchhunt going on for Communists. All who are Communist should have come out of the closet no later than the mid-seventies. They didn't, did they?

Now at The Nation you had to stay in the closet to be with the magazine (then and now). And there's this talking point that always gets trotted out about how the magazine turned it's back on Communists, refused to publish them and bad, bad Nation magazine. That's not the reality. The reality is that refused to be around those who admitted publicly (to the press) that they were Communists. An examination of the magazine's masthead in any year would find multiple Communists, but they were closeted. (But they are closeted. Remember, I said, any year. Grab the latest issue and you'll see them.)

Look at The Ego Of Us All. She wrote a bad book that she ripped off and it started to sell (The Feminine Mystique). She wasn't a feminist. She had already published at length in Communist publications. They had a small, underground circulation but it was well known that she was in the political closet among the press. She had closeted friends who were able to get her tremendous coverage by the New York Times -- that paper more than any other promoted her as a leader of the feminist movement throughout her life. But she wasn't a feminist. Her (bad) writing is rooted in Communist theory and that's no surprising. Anyone who ever was around her in a feminist setting quickly grasped that women's rights were the last thing on her mind.

She wanted the limelight (and her best friend, still on The Nation masthead and also a closeted Communist) convinced her to sell herself as a housewife who just wrote a book. "It types." That was the hook she was sold on to the mainstream. The little housewife who produced a book. People wrongly say that her bad book is about middle-class (White) feminism. That lie was repeated by one of her own in the closet at The Nation when she died (that column is a laugh). That's not really true. The focus on the middle-class, the indictment of it, is a Communist critique. Of course she would focus on them considering her own politics. And she wasn't applauding them -- not the males, not the women.

Repeating, there's nothing wrong with a Communist critique, a Socialist critique, any kind of critique. But people need to be honest about what they're writing. That book was just Awake and Sing for the junior division (the Communist Party considered women the junior division). It is not a feminist book and that's why it reaches so few women who stumble upon it today. Her mind was very juvenile and all the screens she throws up throughout the book only undermine any points she might hae made, but a young woman today told that this book is the last word in feminism, flipping through it will be hugely disappointed.

Now The Ego Of Us All (and, explanation, when she died, we didn't mention her name, she got far too much publicity in life and "Ego" of us all is a slam at her giant vanity -- I'm not suggesting that she's woman's ego because she's not) got into screaming yelling matches with feminists on a number of issues throughout her life. And that often confused them, why was this old, ugly, piece of trash, for instance, so hateful to lesbians?

Because the Communist Party was always hateful to gays and lesbians in the last century. (That's why Panhandle Media didn't cover Barack's use of homophobia.) McCarthyism was a witchhunt. It was not, however, as they love to play it a witchhunt for just Communists. Gays and lesbians were the first (and the most acceptable) target. The term was "subversive" and the Communists were included. But after WWII the purging of gays and lesbians from various branches of government remains the story that's not told. And part of that reason is because closet cases and their sympathizers didn't like gays and lesbians and aren't about to let gays and lesbians have their place in the history book. No Communist lost a cabinet post, for instance.

But a popular man in Truman's administration who was also loved by Eisenhower's administration lost the post he was nominated (by Eisenhower) for. The press, in real time, was thrilled with him. Then came one DC paper (no longer around), days before the confirmation, with a sour note. A question mark. It bothered some on the Senate. Some Senators met with him, he was informed he wouldn't be confirmed and if he continued to pursue his nomination, it would become public why he wasn't 'fit' for the post. He went from publicly thrilled in a 24-hour cycle to 'I've decided I'm not interested in the post.' Strings were pulled and he got a job in the entertainment industry where he became a film censor. He lived in a home next door to his lover's home with a connecting passageway.

Gays and lesbians were the first targets of McCarthyism and that's been written out of history because last century's Communist Party found them 'distasteful.' They actively barred gays and lesbians. And, to focus on the entertainment industry, you can see it in the union work in the 20th century. They didn't want the costumers, they didn't want the stylists or set designers. They didn't want anyone in their party that might 'hurt' their party. For all the sympathy given to Communists for the witchhunt years, it needs to be noted that they actively discriminated against gays and lesbians and were silent and hostile when gays and lesbians were the first to be attacked.

(WWII opened up a world of possibilities for America. For gays and lesbians, the draft and the service brought them out of small towns where they might have felt alone or isolated and demonstrated to them that they were many other gays and lesbians in the world. For the existing gay and lesbian sets that was a bit of pain because these men and women refused to be closeted in the ways their elders had been and created a vibrant scene that was not hidden the way it had been prior. They also tended to create communities in certain areas and most would say NYC and San Francisco but it also included DC -- and many others, but it's interesting how DC is always left out. The same way we're all supposed to deny how LBJ forced a gay member out of DC and back to Texas over a gay scandal. Maybe someday Bill Moyers can devote a program to that or maybe he intends to end his life without ever commenting on that shameful incident and the way LBJ turned his back on the man.) (The 'excuse' that the LBJ administration put out was the man had "worked hard and was under stress.")

We don't our country's history. Even with people like Howard Zinn doing a marvelous job, we don't know our country's history. Not just the beginnings but even our most recent history.

McCarthyism wasn't started by McCarthy but most of us aren't even aware of that. We're also not aware that it was a governmental witchhunt for 'subversives' in government. Or that it was indeed popular with many Americans. Why not? "Subversive." It sounds so sinister. (The same way terrorist is bandied about today.) Thank goodness the government is protecting us from the subversives! But it got applause and members of Congress are always hungry for applause and the limelight. So they expanded it to include non-governmental posts. That allowed for some easy headlines. As long as they focused on writers, they were okay. When they started going after the likes of Lucille Ball and others, it became a problem. Some people might not, for instance, be able to identify Lillian Helman (whom many had never heard of across the country, let alone seen one of her plays), but Lucy was in their homes. (To be clear, Lucille Ball was not a Communist. Or a lesbian, in case anyone misreads. Her grandfather was a member of the Socialist Party. It wasn't illegal to be one.) And suddenly the targets didn't just have a name, suddenly the 'subversives' were known. And, when that happened, the 'save us' nature fell by the wayslide slowly. Accusing Ball (Desi famously said, "The only thing red about Lucy is her hair and even that's fake" -- I believe that's the quote) and others is what ended McCarthyism because suddenly the 'protection' McCarthyism seemed to be offering was revealed to be a joke.

And that, for the record, is how this terrorism nonsense will fall by the way side. (I'm not talking about real terrorists. There have always been terrorists. I'm talking about the US government's efforts to label anyone a terrorist and scare the country into silence. John Walker Lindh, for example, is not and was not a terrorist. Lynne Stewart is not and was not a terrorist.)

But feminism doesn't support homophobia and those women who are supporting Barack are either ignorant of the use of homophobia or okay with it. If it's the latter, you've found a closeted Communist. And though they have surely tried to control, to corral and destroy the feminist movement, they are not part of the feminist movement.

Does a feminist have to support Hillary?

No. There are Republican feminists. There are Green feminists. There are Socialist feminists. There are non-political party feminists. But any women who are feminists will not prop up a man (through lying) while tearing down a women.

And that's how you can determine your feminists.

Feminism is in no 'trouble' today. This is the best thing could have happened for feminism -- regardless of how the Democratic race goes.

For Elaine and I, it's forced us to drop this nonsense of refusing to answer the Communist question. It's 2008 and we've spent our lives ignoring that question out of solidarity with a persecuted group that has no reason to remain in the closets today because McCarthyism ended long ago. And it is letting go of that. It's letting go of baggage we had to carry that we had no business carrying. It wasn't our job to prop them up or defend them by refusing to answer that question. By the time we came of age there really was no reason for any Communist to be in the closet. And I could offer other examples of 'Freeing' that many feminists are now talking about.

But what's really happened here is that Hillary's been held to a standard and Barack Obama has not been held to a standard. What's happened is that the deck was stacked by idiots like Amy Goodman. That would be the same Goodman who published in the trashiest of skin magazines by choice and put the man behind the magazine on her program as a voice of truth and one to be applauded. Only a Movement baby could have done that. And I don't mean the feminist movement. Amy Goodman's not a feminist and she doesn't give a damn about women. Look at her victims of the month club and try to find women in them? She goes all out for African-American men. She doesn't for African-American women or for any women.

Like her elders she's attempting to poison the well. She's using propaganda tactics and pretending to be a journalist. I don't know how to state that any more clearly.

The Communist Party in the 20th Century set their sites on the African-American community because (a) they (the party) were paternalistic and (b) they thought they could easily sell victimhood and use that to destroy the current system.

They also went after the White working class for the same reason. The big change in the last few decades is that they have turned on the White working class (I'm referring to the closet types in all of this). You saw it in the non-stop insults by alleged 'informed' writers this election cycle. If the Communist Party is ever again to become an actual force in US politics, it won't be by insulting the people most likely to be sympathetic to their systematic critiques (and that's one of the biggest beefs you hear from some young Communists -- about their closeted elders -- today).

No women, even Democrats, have to support Hillary. But they do, if they're really feminists, have to call out the very strong sexism that's been at play here. It's not surprising some alleged feminists have ignored it, they ignored Abeer as well. They ignore most things that matter and focus on fluff or, in the case of the closeted bunch, their 'issues.'

It's equally true that we live in a society where being called a sexist doesn't cause the reaction that being called a racist does. Check out your TV any night of the week for the chuckles (even in non-sitcoms) over discrimination based on gender. You won't find that, those 'good' male characters, also expressing racist thoughts. There's a line that can still be crossed. It's crossed regularly.

But what's going on is an education. And that always helps the feminist movement. The feminist movement will be stronger than ever after this election. Rebecca (righly) used to say feminism isn't elastic and we're allowing far too many women (there are male feminists, the focus of this entry is White feminists and those who pose as 'feminist') to use that term. It was the perfect cover for women who wanted to be political but didn't want to be public about being Communist. "I'm a feminist," they could and did say. But they weren't.

Did feminism get too soggy? Obviously, it did. Obviously, this approach of we have differences but we can work together did and the proof of that is in the failure of so many women supporting Barack to call him out on using homophobia (or for the campaign bragging after that they got what they needed out of the event). That's a lesson that every feminist who's given a pass to questionable women needs to be thinking about. (I include myself in that.) We've made allowances for those women time and again. We've tried to be inclusive. But look what they did, they stayed silent on homophobia and they backed a candidate who used it.

That's not feminism. Feminists learned long ago that the mainstream would try to divide us with "You're just a feminist because you can't get a man!" or "You're a feminist so you must be a lesbian!" We knew it was a trap, a tool used to divide us. (And also meant to insult us -- gay or straight.) People like The Ego Of Us All (never a feminist) took part in trying to divide us. There's a reason she ended up doing work for the Reagan administration and not for feminist causes.

As any community member can remember, Sandra Day O'Connor announces she's stepping down and some 'feminist' bloggers were so out of it that they spent that day and days following posting photos of themselves in swimsuits and never seemed to have gotten the word of what happened. (O'Connor was not a feminist, was not an abortion rights fighter, she regularly undermined choice. But she was someone who did it slowly and with her gone the collapse of Roe was even more likely to happen quickly -- as opposed to the incremental assaults she took part in on Roe.)

Read Betsy Reed's garbage from a distance and you quickly grasp she is saying it's okay for African-Americans to support Barack (did they need her permission?) but it's not okay for women to support Hillary. She then says White. But why isn't it okay for one group to consolidate their support. And when you think of articles and posts written accusing Hillary supporters of racism, it's amazing that despite the blantant sexist attacks by the likes of Jesse Jackson Jr., no one has questioned the very real sexism used by the campaign and it's surrogates.

Betsy Reed has nothing to say to women because she's responsible for 149 women to 491 men in 2007. She doesn't champion women, she doesn't try to bring about equality. She's just another Queen Bee who got her own ass elevated and will work double time to ensure that other women are denied.

This is the sort of thing that builds the feminist movement, the attacks from Reed, the attacks on Hillary. People still don't grasp how Hill-Thomas played out. Anita Hill had some support in real time. That support grew and grew after the hearings. It's the same thing that will happen here. What is going down right now is leaving an impression and, after the election, you're going to see the strongest wave of feminism the country's seen in some time.

Feminist publications aren't going to be allowed to get away with ignoring the sexism at other publications unless they want to lose their audiences. The Nation is sexist. The Progressive is sexist. On that, Matthew Rothschild just did an interview -- a stroking interview -- with an 'expert.' The 'expert' can't get on air with the mainstream and the reason is because he was twice busted for being a sexual predator online who sought out underage females. That was it, that's when the mainstream washed their hands of him. But Amy Goodman, Matt Rothschild, Laura Flanders and a host of others are more than happy to cozy up to him.

It's disgusting.

And it's gone on without being called out by the feminist movement. You're going to see those days end. You're going to see a very vocal feminist movement and if magazines like Ms. think the crap they're currently offering is going to be well received, they're in for an awakening of their own.

Ava and I speak to women's groups across the country. Ms. LYING and saying they couldn't mention Hillary's run because it would jeopardize their tax status is offensive. More offensive was finally weighing in by allowing Donna Brazile to write that insulting article in the current issue of Ms.

And this idea that women only warrant a quarterly is another big issue. What was the point of a tax-free status, feminists ask over and over across the country, if the magazine can't even be a monthly again? It's a good question and Ms. is going to quickly learn that women are pissed off at it. They are disgusted that it did a lengthy tribute to The Ego Of Us All. Most feminists know that woman was not a friend to feminism and not a friend to Ms. They are disgusted that the tribute took place and only after tacked on a tribute to Corretta Scott King. ("Tribute" is actually insulting. And, having asked Martha, I now explain how that tack-on came about. Our own Martha called Ms. to the carpet in an e-mail over having posted a tribute to a White women who attacked other women and ignored the passing of Corretta Scott King. Applause for Martha.)

Ms. is currently a joke. It's bad writing too often (Martha Burk is one of the few strong writers the magazine currently has). It's superficial writing too often. Ms. will not be saved in the next few years if it needs saving. It's pissed too many women off. Gone are articles, instead you get briefs. What is allegedly an article is broken with 'visuals' and the reality is women supported Ms. when it left ink stains on their hands. They never needed it 'prettied up'.

But a long with the physical make over, it's launched a textual make over and the general feeling is, "If it's going to die, let it die." It's not pertinent to women's lives these days, not even as a remedial tool. It's as appalling today as the "ladies" magazine it was created to counter. It's weak, it's dull, it's boring. And, in fairness to it, part of the reason for that it is reflected a movement that allowed itself to go soggy.

I am the last to call out another women. By the time I'm callling one out, they've got a rap sheet, a lengthy one. And I've heard complaints repeatedly as we've gone around the country. Otherwise, I do stay silent. And that's reflective of the current stage of feminism. We've lost our roots and lost our moorings. What's happening today is pissing women off -- the sexist attacks on Hillary, the failure to hold Barack to any standard -- and that's the best thing that could have happened for the feminist movement.

In the second wave of feminism, women forced issues. They made feminism come alive. And feminism is more alive around the country than in the pages of Ms. magazine which recently promoted a 'women's conference' that was nothing but a War Hawk parade. Is that's what feminism has come to? They're promoting female warriors gathering to promote counter-insurgency?

So, yeah, feminism got soggy. It's why the push-up bra set was seen by some as an answer. They were never an answer and largely appeal to men because the reaction is, "Look, they're talking dirty! Heh-heh."

They're not an answer but Baby Jessica sure did get to post at The Nation, didn't she? She did nothing to call them out and she did nothing with her space of value. (Maybe consumer value: She proved she can't write. And for any who didn't grasp that via her book which bombed, it probably became clear.)

Ellen Willis was a friend of mine. I liked Ellen and wrote about her passing. It's appalling that Ms. REFUSED to note her passing. Yes, Ellen could be prickly, yes, her relationship with the magazine was strained at times. But they pushed The Ego Of Us All as a hero and that woman did nothing but attack Gloria and Ms. Right away that tells you how screwed up their priorities are.

Equally true, and the argument being made by many of us have dipped deep into the pockets to save Ms. repeatedly, it seems to think publishing an issue four times a year is an accomplishment.

That's an accomplishment? That's an indictment. Ms. magazine didn't start out as quarterly and in the world we live in today print is falling by the wayside. Ms. has no blogger today. They got rid of Christine. They replaced her with two women. I believe we all pulled the links to those two this week from our sites. Not out of protest. Not because they weren't writing (they weren't and hadn't been for nearly two years) but because Ms. couldn't even bothered with keeping The Smeal Report and A New Leaf up. Not updated, even up. If you clicked on the link, you were taken to a page error.

They offer nothing in an online world. They offer no new content. They offer nothing. In terms of print, in 1974 if you had told Ms. readers that the magazine was going to be a quarterly, they would have gone into fits. (I would have but so would many others.) Today, they can't even manage to do what they used to. And today the terrain's shifted to online and they have NO online presence.

They're failing the movement. And all they have to show it for it is some glossy pages with a lot of bad writing. (Burk is the strongest regular writer. They do have at least one strong feature writer an issue who is free lance.) And while they make room for that bad writing -- THE BIGGEST COMPLAINT AVA AND I HEAR ACROSS THE COUNTRY -- they've reduced the letters from readers.

The magazine is a HUGE failure today. There's no denying it and sugar coating won't change the problem. The feeling among most feminists across the country, is let the damn thing die if this is what it stands for today. If you don't read the magazine, you won't get that. If you read it, you will be offended as many are by the victim mind-set.

That's generally the big article and big briefs every issue. Victims! Victims on parade! And some of these stories are worth telling and need to be told but when you're looking at them in context of the rest of the issue, it's veering dangerously close to True Confessions and other pulp publications.

Burk is applauded because she writes from strength. That's not true of most of the writing in the magazine these days which is usually so genteel you might think you'd picked up Town & Country by mistake.

Elaine's stated she won't write another big check to save the magazine and, though I hadn't said it, I feel the same way. There's no reason for women to dig deep (or as deep as they can, small donations have kept Ms. alive as well) for what it's 'offering.'

That's embarrassing and insulting. No web presence. It's now a bad quarterly. It AGAIN accepts advertisements after we were told those days were over. And after it took on a TAX FREE STATUS.

This is a horrible time for Ms. magazine and the sign of hope for feminism is how many women are calling it out across the country.

Readers of Ms. have repeatedly written the magazine asking that if they can't provide online content, can't they at least provide message boards? As it is, women are dying and they're passing isn't even being noted by Ms. Oh, it might get a blurb in a magazine, months and months from now, but Ms. readers can't even go online to post, "I heard today that ___ died and it made me remember . . ." It is appalling. Ms. is supposed to connect feminists and all it's doing today is creating barriers.

It's apolitical, it's full of nonsense and it has no online presence.

The first two are exactly what Ms. was created to confront and the latter is appalling because the online revolution isn't about to happen, it happened years ago.

So the AP can fret and worry but feminism isn't in danger. Feminism is growing stronger. The failure has been the refusal to create a nation wide feminist community. Feminists are all over the country but they have little places to gather online. They can't go to the push-up bra set. They're not two years old and actually have opinions that go beyond, "Justy is so dreamy in the new video!" They can't go to Ms. because there's nothing to do at Ms.' site except read portions of articles that were printed in the current issue.

But that only increases awareness in spit of itself. It only demonstrates how weak and ineffective feminist 'leadership' has gotten. (To be clear, Gloria Steinem is not a part of the leadership responsible for Ms. I have never said an ill word against Gloria and don't let friends speak ill of her. Because too many identify Ms. with Gloria, I want to point that out. Were Gloria responsible for the magazine today, it would be worth reading.)

To also be clear, we support Women's Media Center. Since Peggy Simpson (a wonderful writer) has repeated the nonsense that Barack was 8-years-old during Weather Underground, I don't think anyone in the community has highlighted it and know that I haven't. I'm not highlight Margaret Kimberley these days (at Betty's father's request) because she covered how someone was shot but left out the fact that he ignored orders to stop. That's not a judgement on the case, it is a judgement that I'm tired of people getting the facts wrong. Intentionally or accidentally. In terms of Peggy Simpson, no, Barack wasn't 8-years-old. Weather was not a one year action. That was one of his many lies told over this campaign and I don't expect that one to be repeated (though Diane Rehm also embarrassed herself repeating it). It was as offensive as the people repeating the LIE (pushed by the Barack campaign) that Bill Clinton pardoned Linda Evans and Susan Rothberg. It's insulting, it's a lie and did you notice no one bothered to point out, "Susan Rothberg was considered by many to be a political prisoner and she was not arrested for Weather actions." That's why the lies are insulting and that's why I have no patience for them. Susan Rothberg should have had her sentence commuted (which Bill Clinton did do) and she should have because the sentencing she received for what she was charged with was out of bounds. She was not charged with Weather activities and it would have been DAMN NICE if just someone in the working press could have taken a moment to explore that and to explore how a woman ended up sentenced to so many years on a charge that no man ever got that kind of sentence for.

But that didn't get told, did it? Again truth took a back seat to promoting Barack. Again, it was necessary to imply that Bill Clinton did the same thing as Barack. When he did not do the same thing and when Barack's lies about his very long relationship with Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers can be called out in the British press but not in the American press. Instead, they rush to repeat the lie he stated without challenge. And the lie benefits Barack and casts aspersions on the Clintons which is the whole point of pushing the lie to begin with.

Women's Media Center needs to create a message board of some form and hopefull will at some point very soon because it already has a stronger online presence than many others. But, for me, after that nonsense about Barack was just an eight-year-old boy when Weather . . . got repeated, I haven't been in the mood to highlight anything from it and since no member has e-mailed asking it be highlighted, I would assume that's the community's mood. I'll try to highlight it in some form next week.

Feminsim is not splintering. This is one of the renewal periods and, if you get out of your own tiny world, you'll grasp that very quickly. In 2006 and 2007, women would talk about their wishes for Ms. They don't do that anymore. They're tired of the magazine and washing their hands with it. They're done hoping. And the death of false hopes always lead to renewal. As a woman in Dayton said earlier this year, "The magazine is like a Lifetime movie." And it really is. Begging for your sympathy, begging you to embrace this victim or that. Refusing to stand up. Refusing to cover the feminist movement. Refusing to hit hard. Too genteel. Too focused on the 'saintly' nature of victimhood. You need a box of tissues to get through the bulk of the magazine and that's why it's become so worthless.

Feminists are pissed off and that started before the sexist attacks on Hillary. They're pissed off at the 'normalization' of sexism. They're pissed off that women are relegated to 'spaces.' They're pissed off that 'feminist' writers write 'cute' on 'cute' topics. They're sick of a number of women claiming to be feminists who aren't. (One woman in particular has been ridiculed for the last seven months as feminists have wondered if she has it in her -- she's very old -- to turn her back on feminism and return again issuing 'I've connected with my feminist side' statements again. I'm sure we all know who they mean. It's not rising from the ashes when you repeatedly burn yourself and leave feminism only to come back when no one else wants you. I mean the media but, equally true, you can apply that to the woman's very public relationships.) (To further that, when you pass seventy, either wear a bra or stop wearing the plunging necklines because no one's seeing you as 'still sexy.' They're seeing you as a joke who, wig firmly in place, thinks you can still play forty.)

Will Hillary supporters support Barack if he gets the nomination? A number won't. And feminists have no reason to hold their noses and vote to reward homophobia, sexism and silence on abortion rights as well as on the silence of victims of sexual assault (another 'present' vote from Barack when he was in the state legislature in Illinois). He has no record. Ralph Nader would be smart to make some sort of statement on abortion and do so quickly.

But whatever happens to the Democratic Party they've made it perfectly clear that sexism is a-okay. They've actively called out any statement they read as racial and they actively ignored any sexist statements. That video, that wonderful video, using Meredith Brook's "I'm A Bitch." Listen to Chris Matthews ridiculous statements, his attacks on Hillary. We elect, you are our servant blah, blah, blah and grasp that Matthews didn't apply to the current White House occupant. He's right about politicians being public servants but note that he's never screamed that about a male. And note that Hillary's campaign is based upon let me serve you. There's no elitism in Hillary's campaign. But that the man who could take part in turning Bully Boy into a Stalin, who could wax on about 'the leader' then wanted to remember that all politicians, including a president, are public servants was very amusing. And very telling.

FAIR never issued an alert on any of the sexism on the part of the media. They can't stop issuing alerts to push Barack -- they're begging for money right now, people should ignore the begging -- but the supposed media watchdog never called out the sexism. Maybe they were too busy forwarding e-mails without permission, they do enjoy doing that, don't they?

These things are being noticed. These things are being noticed around the country. How our 'left' has stayed silent over and over about sexism. It's sent women a very strong message. So feminism's future isn't in doubt. Feminism is going to become very much more alive. And one question some who study it may be asking if Barack's the nominee (and most likely goes down in flames) is why didn't we follow Molly Yard's suggestion (from NOW membership) that another political party be started?

It's like the Green Party, the Democratic Party, they don't seem to grasp how they're about to shoot themselves in the foot. Too many in the Green Party have been joining in with sexist attacks on Hillary and they should have stayed out of it because they're supposed to be an independent party and they're the ones most likely to benefit from a large number of Democrats going elsewhere if Baradk gets the nomination. Instead, they've had far too many of their public 'faces' spit on Hillary and shine up Barack. Don't piss off the supporters that could be coming your way. If a bandwagon effect in the Democratic Party could push out many voters, as a party in competition with the Democrats for votes, don't hop on that bandwagon. How stupid do you have to be not to grasp that?

Thursday night or Friday morning, I mentioned a Green e-mailing and she really doesn't get it. She really doesn't know a damn thing about Barack's record. She knows his easy press and she repeats it and then doesn't understand how she's pissed off this community. She piles on with regards to Hillary -- at her Green site -- and offers hugs and kisses for Barack. And she's puzzled that she's outraged people. Why isn't she writing about Green races which go beyond the presidential? Why is she making non-stop slams on Hillary and ignoring her own party? And, too bad for her, this community does include her as the 'public faces' and is among the reason that the community has made Ralph Nader their 'safety school' (Mike's term) if Hillary doesn't get the nomination. Those could have been voters for her party. A party she allegedly wants to build. But she got addicted to the toxic nature of the campaign against Hillary to wise up to the fact that her little attacks were only hurting her own party because they were driving away potential voters. No Green should be praising Barack Obama who is pro-nuclear energy, takes money from the nuclear industry. But she made it very clear to many that what she did is Green behavior and the Green Party lost significant support and interest from the community as a result.

I'm not a Green but I was happy to promote them. I can't now, the e-mails from members pour in. And they're right to complain. The Democratic primary is not their race and when they've made idiots out of themselves buffing an image of Barack and demonizing Hillary, they've sewn their fate this election cycle. But that's an editorial for Third.

Repeating, feminism is alive and well and thriving. It's not waiting for 'leaders' at Ms. to help, it's washing its hands of Ms. (and if the calls for a delinking become any louder, we will be delinking from Ms. -- again, no great loss, it has no online content and I've given up previewing the issues before they go on sale -- and made that very clear to friends at Ms.). Feminism has been written off many times, written off for dead. It never dies. It is the long lasting movement in this country and around the world. It is a strong and vibrant movement and the mistake made was to segregate it into "niceness." That's meant that it has consistently refused to support women. If it could turn them into victims (NANNIES BROUGHT IN FROM OUTSIDE THE US!), it would cover the topic. That means when women found glass ceilings as supposedly 'liberated' publications, they stayed silent. Those days are over. Ms. has treated the concerns that so many women face on a daily basis as unimportant and not worth covering. It's gone for the tabloidish. To be clear, the nanny story was a solid story and one worth reporting if it's balanced with other concerns. Otherwise, it's just a Lifetime movie in serialized form. And that's all Ms. offers today. That and a few rah-rah features that could appear in Good Housekeeping. By the time it's dealing with the non-feminist issue of 'sleeping,' it's lost its way. (Feminist who have trouble sleeping have trouble sleeping because they're doing so much already. We don't need dippy little articles insulting our intelligence.) It's a life-style magazine and it's not about feminism.

So feminists are rejecting it, rejecting sexism, rejecting political 'movements' and damn tired of the women who never do anything for other women cloaking themselves in 'feminism' to sell their closted Communist politics.

What some want to pretend is a moment of defeat is actually a rebirth.

The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, May 09, 2008

Iraq snapshot

Friday, May 9, 2008.  Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Sadr City continues, Barack loses a campaign staffer who was in talks with an organization the US has labeled a terrorist group (no, not Ayers & Dohrn) and more. 
Starting with war resistance.  Who is Ehren Watada?  The answer is fairly obvious, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.  But facts is hard for little local weeklies.  Nina Shapiro (Seattle Weekly) takes time out from attacking Hillary but it's too bad she and her editor couldn't take the time to be factual.  "Not Every Deserter Gets the Watada Treatement" is the headline and she matches that choice with her own writing.  She writes, "When it comes to the military's handling of deserters, there is little consistency.  Some, like outspoken war opponent Lt. Ehren Watada, face courts-marial and potentail jail sentences, while . . ."  Where to begin.  They do not generally face "courts"-martial.  Watada may if double-jeopardy is thrown out.  The face "court-martials."  The "court" is singular.  "Outspoken war opponent"?  He can't just be a "war opponent," to Nina, he has to be "outspoken."  That's curious considering he's given one interview since the failed Feb. 2007 court-martial.  That was over a year ago.  And prior to the court-martial, he'd already shut the press down.  But there's Nina, trumping up the charges, just like she does with Hillary.  Let's go slow for Nina: "Report to the nearest Army post with your Army ID or other picture ID and any documents or records in your possession which pertain to your Army service.  On the installation, go to the Military Police station and turn yourself in to the MPs."  What's that from?  Fort Knox Law Enforcement Command's "US Army Deserter Information Point."  Ehren Watada did not desert.  He wasn't charged with desertion for that reason.  Watada did not desert.  It's a shame that Nina has to (again) put her name to lies because 'facts is hard.' But she's not interested in war resistance, she's interested in pushing lies.  There's no war resistance in the story (which isn't about Watada, she just wanted to slime him and see if she get away with acting stupid in public).   When trash likes this gets shoved off on the public, everyone loses.  The serial liar was pushing conflict between today's veterans and earlier ones.  That was a laughable article ("Camaraderie is in short supply").  So is this one.  Is no one capable of a basic fact check at Seattle Weekly or do they just not care?
In Canada, war resisters are hoping the Parliament will take action on a motion waiting to be debated.   Currently, you can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: 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.  In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses 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).
Turning to Iraq and starting with the press.  In February of this year, (PDF format warning) Reporters Without Borders released "Freedom Of The Press Worldwide in 2008."  which noted 57 journalists killed in 2007.  If you're in Iraq and trying to report, just FYI, you're a journalist.  You're not "a media worker" (RWB uses that phrase). "More than half the recorded physical attacks on the media were in Baghdad despite the huge presence there of Iraqi forces and US troops. . . . On top of the violence, Iraqi journalists face new restrictions imposed by the authorities, including a ban in May 2007 on filming the sites of bomb attacks and another in November on going to the Kandil mounatins, near the Iraqi-Turkish border, to talk to Kurdish PKK rebels."  Earlier this week, The Committee to Protect Journalists posed Joel Campangna's report on the Kurdish region of Iraq which included the story of Nasseh Abdel Raheem Rashid whose reporting "railed against the political in Iraqi Kurdistan and the actions of uncscrupulous political officials."  Campangna continues:

As he strolled through the central market on his hometown of Halabja in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan last October, four armed men wearing military uniforms forced him into a waiting Nissan pickup, bound his hands and legs, and covered his head with a sack.  "I didn't know where I was going.  They drove around for a few hours and then went over what seemed like an unpaved road," Rashid told the Committee to Protect Journalists during an interview in Sulaymania shortly after the incident.  Rashid said he was pulled from the truck, punched and kicked, and threatened at gunpoint to stop working or be killed.  The assailants sped off, leaving Rashid bruised and shaken.
That is only one story in Campagna's report.  Click here for audio of him talking about report.
177 is the number of journalists who have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.  CPJ divides up "media support workers" and "journalists" as well, we don't.  Support workers in a war zone are doing a number of jobs they are journalists and, if they are targeted for who they are working for, the "I am just a media support worker!" is not a magic shield that protects them.  On a related note, we have consistently avoided highlighting the work of US reporters who 'report' on Iraq from the US but attach themselves to the work done by local population.  That's led to a number of mainstream stories being 'missed' but it's not missed because there is something pathetic and dishonest about it.  Mentioning it today because among the links pulled from this site (The Common Ills) was a 'news' site where, article after article, an American journalist in the US feels the needs to attach his name to a reporter in Iraq's writing.  When said journalist was supposed to go back to Iraq (he lost focus and ended up in Lebanon in the summer of 2006 instead), the Iraqi journalist was more than able to write his own reports for the web outlet.  He had no problems with English (though if he had, no one would have been concerned because his voice is of value).  He did a great job.  But "I WANT ATTENTION!" can't make it back to Iraq and feels the need to put his name to first hand reports from Iraq.  We're not highlighting that crap.  It's insulting and offensive.  And, hate to break it to the 'left,' it's the height of colonialism.  So bye-bye. The community won't miss you.  It is grossly offensive for an American in the US to feel the need to add his name to these first-hand reports of an Iraqi journalist in Iraq risking his life.  We won't applaud that crap and shame on anyone who does.  It has gone on now for over a year and it is offensive and people in the press are starting to talk about it.  We draw a line.  We also draw a line with 'respectable' source Pig -- twice busted for sexual predator activities online.  Matthew Rothschild interviews Pig this week.  Didn't listen, didn't need to.  He's been delinked.  The Progressive will be delinked from all sites.  The Real Press kicked Pig to the curb because of his arrests.  Panhandle Media wants to pretend like he's a 'respectable' source.  He's not.  If a young girl is raped or assaulted by Pig, it's on Panhandle Media's hands because they can't stop promoting him. 
Back to the threats journalists in Iraq operate under.  Selcan Hacaoglu (AP) reports that the BBC's Baghdad bureau was "damaged" by a rocket attack on the Green Zone and quotes Patrick Howse explaining, "It caused structural damage but no one was injured."  Deborah Haynes (Times of London) notes, "It was one of a number of rockets fired towards the heavily fortified Green Zone by Shit insurgents taking advantage of a sudden sandstorm, which gave them cover from counter-attack by US aircraft."   Meanwhile a McClatchy Newspapers Iraqi journalist blogs at Inside Iraq that "6 days after the occasion of World Press Freedom, Iraqi media witnessed a new violation against freedom of speech.  Yesterday Iraqi forces closed Al Ahad Radio Station an excuse of adopting provocative political speech.  I have many friends who listen to this radio as I do; I asked my friends if they notice any instagative tones in the programs or newscast of this radio . . . the answers were negative -- as always."  Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, made it clear in the summer of 2006 that he had no respect for a free press and he's only continued that pattern.
Somethings get little or no coverage, somethings get massive coverage.  Like yesterday's big news (which was rightly ignored in yesterday's snapshot) that THE leader of al Qaeda in Iraq leader was captured!  In today's paper (so filed hours and hours before sunrise), Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) noted the capture with qualifiers and, as a result, has no egg on her face -- unlike all of those 'reporting' it had happened!  It never happened.  Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) traces back over the lie and US Maj (press flack division) Peggy Kageleiry stating, "This guy has a similar name."   BBC leads with: "The United States military in Iraq says a man detained in the northern city of Mosul is not in fact the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq." As Tina Susman notes (LA Times' blog Babylon & Beyond), "For a few hours late Thursday and early today, it seemed the Al Qaeda in Iraq chief might actually be in custody."  Yesterday afternoon, Tina Susman noted that the US military backed off from their usual declarations of charges against Iran and she writes:
A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. . . . Iran, meanwhile, continues to seethe after an Iraqi delegation went to Tehran last week to confront it with the accusations. It has denied the accusations, and it says as long as U.S. forces continue to take part in military action in Iraq's Shiite strongholds, it won't consider holding further talks with Washington on how to stabilize Iraq."
In Iraq the assault on Sadr City continues.  Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Casualties in Sadr city for the last 24 hours stand at 14 men and 1 woman killed and 112 wounded many of whom are women, children and elderly people according to medical sources inside Sadr city."  Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) notes the Thursday order by the Iraqi military for "residents to evacuate" and that "Sadr City has been a battleground since late March, enduring U.S. airstrikes, militia snipers and gunbattles between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to Sadr.  Already some 8,500 people have been displaced from the sprawling slums of some 2.5 million people, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent."  Said Rifai (LA Times' Baghdad & Beyond) reports that one of the stadiums set up for Sadr City refugees (Shaab Stadium) is currently empty, that 25 tents are empty and other tents are nearby unassembled and: "Only Sadr City residents are allowed at this camp, which has made for some awkward moments.  Seveeral families from other areas arrived Thursday but were turned away. . . . Sadr City residents have to get accreditation from one of their local police stations to qualify to stay in the stadium."  And when someone calls it an Iraqi operation, note Eric Owls (NYT's Baghdad Bureau) statement yesterday: "The American military is fighting daily battles for the control of Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City."  al-Maliki started it but don't think for a moment it's al-Maliki 'on the line.'  That trip down to Basra was purely for show.  AFP reports, "An aide to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr lashed out on Firday at Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for keeping silent over clashes that have killed hundreds in Baghdad" and quotes him (Sheikh Sattar Battat)stating, "We are surprised by the silence Najaf where the highest Shiite religious authority is based. . . . For 50 days Sadr City is being bombed. . . Children, women and old people are being killed by all kinds of US weaspons, and Najaf remains silent."  Howard LaFranchi (Christian Science Monitor) notes, "Residents of this city's embattled Sadr City district are growing increasingly anxious that an escalation in fighting is imminent."  Chris Floyd (Baltimore Chronicle) rightly notes, "George W. Bush and David Petraeus are preparing to make a new Fallujah in Sadr City, home to two million Shiites in Baghdad.  Thousands of people are already fleeing the area before the full-scale slaughter and destruction begin.  As in Fallujah, the multitudes who cannot escape will be trapped in a 'free fire zone' subjected to ruthless bombardment and ground assualt.  Thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- of innocent civilians stand in the shadow of imminent death."  But Panhandle Media largely stayed silent during the slaughter of Falluja and they're even more silent during the slaughter of Sadr City. 
In other reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad rocket attack that wounded three people, US air strikes in Baghdad left eight people wounded and 2 Baghdad mortar attacks claimed 2 lives and left eleven wounded.  AFP reports, "A rocket attack on a coalition military base in Basra killed two civilian contractors Friday . . . . The two civilian contractors died when rockets slammed into the US-led coalition's base near Basra's international airport, wounding eight others, including four coalition soldiers, the military said."   That was reported late yesterday in the US (by five p.m. EST, it's already midnight in Iraq).  Reuters notes four members of the Iraqi military were injured in a Kirkuk roadside bombing.
Reuters notes 3 "Awakening" Council members shot dead in Baiji and three police officers and five people were wounded in an attack outside Balad utilizing "rifles and rocket propelled grenades."
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Yesterday's snapshot noted: "Murray wasn't just noting a hearing the day before (see here and here for that hearing), she was also noting the very real frustration with the Veterans Affairs Department on the part of the Congress which includes begging off and blowing off the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee."  That's here and here.  Links weren't included. Yesterday's snapshot detailed the Senate Veeterans Affairs Committee Wednesday hearing on benefits.  Today Paul Kane (Washington Post) reports that "Blue Dog Democrats" are in opposition to a House measure specifically because of "the creation of a program that would guarantee veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan a year of in-state college tuition for each year served in the war zones."  Now let's get this straight, the "Blue Dogs" are okay with funding the illegal war and argue that not to do so would be sending a message to the troops in Iraq; however, they're okay with sending the message that your tours of duty aren't even worth in-state tuition if you're fortunate enough to survive?  That's some message.  Meanwhile Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that the Pentagon is stating that stop-loss/back-door draft numbers have "risen sharply" and that the "number steadily declined through May 2007, when it hit 8,540. But since then, the number of soldiers subjected to stop-loss orders began to increase again, reaching 12,235 in March 2008."  Drop back to the February 26th snapshot where the Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony from the Sec of the Army and Gen George W. Casey:
In regards to the issue of the months involved in a tour, the committee chair, Carl Levin, had to be rather specific repeatedly finally asking "shorthand, you have to drawdown to what level?" Levin also had to pin Casey and Geren down regarding stop-loss. Beaming, Geren declared that the Army will get the number of stop-lossed soldiers down to "a little less than 8,000 today" and insisted -- at length -- that the Army wanted to "move away from" using stop-loss. Stop-loss is the backdoor draft. It's when you're service contract is ending and you're told, "Forget what your contract says, you're staying." Pressed by Levin about the decrease in the number of soldiers stop-lossed that Geren was so optimistic about, the Secretary of the Army swallowed and stated, "It might get to 7,000." Wow. It might drop to 7,000. To hear him spin and spin before Levin pinned him down you would have thought the figure was going to be significantly below 5,000. Geren insisted, "We're growing this Army faster than we planned."
Translation, they lied to Congress.
His name wasn't even on the ballot!  Oh how the losers have cried that -- including an elderly woman with a shaky voice who really needs to be told "Step away from the microphone" -- about Barack Obama and Michigan.  Michigan's Secretary of State on October 9, 2007: "Four Democratic presidential candidates -- U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards -- filed affidavits with the Michigan Department of State requesting that their names be removed from Michigan's Jan. 15 Democratic Party Primary ballot.  This means four Democratic candiates are still on the Michigan ballot: U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn), U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich and U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D- Ala)."
Hillary won Michigan.  She received 328,209 votes.  594,398 votes were cast in the Democratic presidential primary.  "Uncommitted" received 238,168 votes.  As Jerlyn (TalkLeft) points out, Barack's attempting to claim those 238,168 votes and more: "It not only gives Obama all of the uncommitted delegates, a number that includes those who voted for uncommitted for Edwards, it includes those who voted for Dodd, Kucinich and Gravel and gives him some that voted for Hillary."  It takes a lot of nerve to remove yourself from the field and then claim you earned a trophy.  But hasn't that been the Obama campaign from day one?
Way back when, Peter Slevin (Washington Post) explained it all: "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the only top-tier Democrat on the Jan. 15 Michigan primary ballot, but followers of her chief rivals are hoping to wound her all the same. . . .  The campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards are urging their supporters to cast ballots for 'uncommitted,' according to stae Democratic party chairman Mrak Brewer." "Uncommitted" should be divided between the four.  If any "giving" is to be done, that's done on the floor of the national convention.  But it's not enough that he try to steal what he didn't earn, he also wants to steal from Hillary Clinton.  Now as I understand spots from my children participating when they were younger, you forfeit a game, you're the loser.  When the championship's being awarded to another team you can't run up and say, "B-b-but, we forfeited and we should get credit for that!"  Barack wants credit for a race he chose not to take part in.  Talk about a sense of entitlement.  It's not even the rules.  (The rules were X number of delegates -- non-pleged -- would be sent to the convention.) 
I thought the media said he was 'winning,' that he had the nomination all 'sewn up'.  If so, why be such a little thief?  Because he's not winning.  Because he's not closed the deal.  Because Hillary is expected to beat him in several upcoming primaries.  Because he is probably unelectable in a general election nation wide.  Nation wide is 50 states, not 48.  A general election isn't a primary.  If he gets the nomination, he'll be dragged through the mud and this is, after all, the fussiest candidate since the current occupant of the Oval Office.  "I must have down time in the Virgin Islands!"  "I need two days off from campaigning!" 
The latter was last week.  That was cute.  He took Wednesday off by staying home when his weak ass should have been in the Senate for the Veterans Affairs Committee -- which he sits on -- hearing on Veterans Benefits.  But he wasn't there.  Again.  He managed yesterday to hobble through the House but he wasn't elected to the House and he's unable to do the Senate's business.  But somehow, he wants America to believe, he'll be able to do their business.  Susan UnPC (No Quarter) has posted the RNC's first video roll out against Bambi -- it's not pretty and this is the GOP taking baby-steps.  (About the Louis. election, the elected Dem is a conservative and he started out with a double digit lead and barely squeaked by on election day after only a few weeks of the ads by the Republicans attacking him for his 'link' to Barack.  Repeating, Barack at the top of the ticket risks Democratic control of Congress.)   What group doesn't he have a lock on?  I know that's a tough questions because there are so many; however, I'm referring to seniors and he's taken to knocking John McCain because of his age, doing the typical crap Barack does because Barack has no issues to run and no record to run on.  John McCain's campaign (PDF format warning and link goes to USA Today) responds: "First, let us be clear about the nature of Senator Obama's attack today.  He used the words 'losing his bearings' intentionally, a not particularly clever way of raising John McCain's age as an issue.  This is typical of the Obama campagning.  We have all become familiar with Senator Obama's new brand of politics.  First, you demand civility from your opponent, then you attack him, distort his record and send out surrogates to question his integrity.  It is called hypocrisy, and it is the oldest kind of politics there is.  It is important to focus on what Senator Obama is attempting to do here: He is trying desperately to delegitimize the discussion of issues that raise legitimate questions about his judgement and preparedness to be President of the United States.  Through their actions and words, Senator Obama and his supporters have made clear that ANY criticism on ANY issue -- from his desire to raise taxes on millions of small investors to his radical plans to sit down face-to-face with Iranian President Ahmadinejad -- constitute negative, personal attacks. Senator Obama is hopeful that the media will continue to form a protective barrier around him, declaring serious limits to the questions, discussion and debate in this race.  Senator Obama has good reason to think this plan will succeed, as serious journalists have written off the need for 'de-tox' to cure 'swooing' over Senator Obama, and others have admitted to losing their objectivity while with him on the campaign trail."  You need to pay attention closely to that memo.  Had John Edwards, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson or Chris Dodd done anything like that, they'd still be in the race.
The reality is no one likes a brown noser, no one likes a teacher's pet or a little prince given everything.  Hillary's a fighter and the fact that she is has turned the Democratic primary into a deadheat.  John McCain appears to grasp what will work and what won't with Barack.  Grinning like an idiot on stage next to Barack?  Chuckeling?  Playing his groveling little buddy to the point that you like a scared puppy exposing your belly?  Getting punked and taking it with no challenge?  Didn't work and all the men found that out, now didn't they?  The only one who has held their own is Hillary and she's done that because -- though the pundit class hates strength -- the American people love it.  Mark Salter, with that memo, goes from writer of McCain speeches to campaign operative to watch and you better believe Newsweek's gearing up their glossy profile.  In terms of Barack's attacks on McCain's age, it's dumb, it's stupid and it will hurt him with seniors.  If Barack's given the nomination, he's just given them the ammo to become "Democrats for McCain."  Tom Baldwin (Times of London) reports that Robert Malley has left the Obama campaign after bragging to the paper that "he had regularly been in contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza but is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation."  By the strictest reading of the Patriot Act, I believe Team Obama could be locked away. Good thing Barack voted against the Patriot Act!  Oh, wait, he voted to reauthorize it.   And, yes, it does go to judgement, it does go to leadership and, yes, once again Obama has failed.
Perry Bacon Jr. (Washington Post) reports Hillary was in Portland today speaking about healthcare, "The plan I have proposed would cover everyone, children and adults.  An artificial distinction between children and adults is unworkable, you have to have [a] seamless health care system that covers every single American.  My plan does, my opponent's doesn't."  AP quotes her saying, "If you don't start in favor of universal health care, you'll never get there. How can you run for the Democratic nomination and not have a universal health care plan?"  David Chalian (ABC News) notes that the Clinton campaign's Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson "offered a power point presentation looking at 20 competitive House districts currently held by freshmen Democrats that also went for President George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election.  Of those 20 districts, Clinton has defeated Obama in 16 of them during the course of the nomination battle and Obama has been victorious in four of them.  Eleven of those 20 members have yet to endorse in the Democratic presidential race. Five have endorsed Clinton - including two this week - and four have endorsed Obama."  The argument is correct.  It was obvious in January to anyone studying the results (Obama has a larger portion of voters who only vote for him and in no other race -- indicating they are Republicans who will cross over only for him or that they're entire 2008 vote is for Obama only).  With him being handed the nomination, the risk is that you drives away the base.  That puts Congress at risk.  But as Donna Brazile indicated in an e-mail Wednesday, it doesn't matter.  Or, as she put it, "Message to the base: stay home."  Message to Donna, stay away from buffets.  You're going to have heart failure with all the pounds you're packing. Brian Goldsmith (CBS News) interviewed West Virginia governor Joe Manchin and asked about Tuesday's primary and whether the race should continue to which the governor responded: "Oh, absolutely.  I truly believe so.  And it's an exciting time to be a Democrat in the United States of America.  And we have so many of them here.  They're all excited about our primary.  Myself, I'm up in the primary election.  So we're all geared up for this.  And having both of the candidates come to West Virginia adds that much more excitement to it." 
Matt Tepper has a photo essay at and writes: "Hillary Clinton proudly became the first Democratic Presidential candidate to visit the Mount Rushmore State on Thursday afternoon.  Nearly 2000 South Dakotans packed the Landmark Aviation Hangar in Sioux Falls to hear Hillary speak about her Solutions for America.  Hillary clearly demonstrated that she is ready to lead this nation starting on day one and she is best prepared to beat John McCain in November.  When Hillary is president, the voices of South Dakota families will finally be heard.  On June 3rd South Dakotans will get their opportunity to vote in this historic primary!"
In other news, Cynthia McKinney's campaign has not refuted Ted Glick's statements (that they linked to last week) so she's not a real candidate for president.  This will be an editorial at Third.  We are done with her in the primary coverage and it's doubtful she'll be mentioned too often in the general election.  We're covering candidates running to win the office, not to run a tiny percentage.  Team Nader announces Ralph needs "$50,000 to get Nader-Gonzales on the ballot in Illinois.  Land of Lincoln.  Where Ralph Nader was bumped off the ballot in 2004 by the state's Democratic machine.  Where already in 2008, state Democratic machine operatives are making threats about keeping us off again."  Oh come on, Ralph, the Dems would never do that, they believe in count ever vote.  Oh, wait.  Florida and Michigan.  That's right, they don't believe in count every vote.  They believe in count every vote that they want counted which is far less than universal suffrage.

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