Monday, June 30, 2008

Montana Blue--this one's for you

I used to walk on the beach every Sunday, early, with my dog Blue. She and I would watch the sun come up, our paws and feet in the water, she tearing around, sniffing the wind, dancing in the surf.

Today was my first trip back to the beach since she died last November.


My dog Blue was one of those great furred personalities almost everyone loves. And she was totally  indiscriminate in her affections. Obama or Hillary would be just fine. I cannot remember a human being she avoided. Well, ok, if they had a stick to ward off the pesky creatures--and these often proved to be Republicans--  she would give them a wide go  around. But otherwise she adored humans and they adored her. In Manahttan where we lived for  several years  I can still hear the piping voice of the boy who lived on our block calling out to his Mom as we passed,

Look,  it's the singing wolf!

To his young mind the whoooowhoo whooo-oohthat all huskies do  sounded like singing, although the same happy sounds often sent older Manhattanites scooting to the edges of the sidewalk sometimes wide-eyed in terror as they asked,

Is that a wolf?

Blue never suspected the terror she aroused. She thought it was a game.  And for Blue life was a game. She especially loved:

I have it, now you try and get it back.

But if you did succeed in gaining the upper hand she just laughed and whoooowhoo whooo-ooed at you.    In Manhattan Sunday mornings were a special treat for both of us as we'd get up early and walk from the East river across 79th  Street  to Central Park where we would tramp  for more than an hour through the Ramble.  I always wondered if it reminded her  of being back in the woods in Montana.

In the beginning I had tried a polite turn around the great circle where all the fancy Manhattan dogs pranced and gamboled loose until 9 a.m., but Blue deemed most of these pampered pooches a little short on the rambunctious side of life. No, the Ramble was more her speed, and mine too with its trails cut through a profusion of trees and streams full of mossy boulders. The Ramble  even has a lake although a mean swan often partolled the shore and Blue instinctively knew to give that honker a wide go around. [ok. ok. Yes. It was a Republican swan.]

Thinking back on that time I still have no words to describe how fondly my heart would swell at the way she  would bound off into the brush only to  turn up somewhere down the trail, looking back, waiting patiently for me to catch up.

Blue loved everything to play at in life except swimming. I don't know why, now,  I thought she should swim? But when she was 2 years old I threw her of the dock in Montana's Whitefish Lake. Blue was born not far from Glacier Park, and that is where we first hooked up. But she hated water over her head, and she  never, ever forgot getting tossed in. She also never forgave me, so that whenever she and I were in close proximity to a large body of water  she'd lower her head, roll her  big blue eyes at me and then dash well out of reach.

But Blue loved the great southern California  beaches. Some mornings she would dash into the surf up to her chest and then raise her head and sniff the wind. Dolphins often come in close to shore and maybe she smelled them or maybe something else. I will always wonder because it is one of the secrets she took to her grave.

Beside curiosity about  her secrets Blue left behind a brown teddy bear with a red bowtie that  she adopted the second I walked in the door with it from a trip to Japan. It is sitting in a corner of the house alongside   a  grey and white rubber monster with spiky hair that squeaks  and a small, furry  Siberian husky with blue eyes mailed to us from some animal rights group in return for a contribution.

But to Blue, all stuffed animals were attractive, ownership being a slippery  issue because at street fairs she would lift them off counters and sometime even swipe one from an unwary child's hand. She also loved in no particular order trucks, cars, walks, rabbits, chickens  and my mother's wheaten terrier, Duffy. Unfortunately. Duffy went off Blue forevah after he tried to swipe a tidbit from the Big Girl's bowl. Blue was an alpha female and well, you do not mess with the food of the  Goddess. Although I was delighted when she stopped standing over the water spout in dog parks issuing commands   about  exactly  when her minions could have a swig--or not.

I never wrote about Blue's death. What do you say when your best friend dies after losing use of her back legs from liver cancer. After 13 yeears she lived inside my very cells. And I was not ready to say goodbye. I knew she died, of course But that question of saying goodbye in your heart is a whole other matter. I cried for a week and then sporadically after. I am crying now. Because I am saying goodbye. She is dead, and I am still here and wanting a pal to ramble with.

I read somewhere recently that if you have a good relationship, when it ends you are more likely to want another. Whereas if you had a bad experience, you will be less likely to want another. So I am seeing my desire for a new four-legged friend in this light. It is a tribute to Blue and all she gave  me of her great hearted self. Of course, she was my first  dog love. And you never get over the first one. I don't care how many come after.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hillary Knows Barack Supports Women's Rights

Hillary supports Barack because she wants women's rights. And so does he.

Should the state control female sexuality? Should the government control a woman’s ability to reproduce? Or should the woman control her own body? This is the defining issue of our era.

Both Islamic Fundamentalists and Christian Fundamentalists may go to war over whose God is supreme, but there is one subject on which they both agree: state control of a woman’s body. From Osama bin Laden to George W. Bush, throw in the warlords of Afghanistan, Pope John Paul II and the mullahs of Iran—if you are a woman, they all want control--of your body. And now there is another man clamoring to join the club. All together now: it is John McCain.

Because McCain will continue Bush policies with regard to women’s rights, lets take a quick refresher. In 2003 George W. Bush cut off funding for a highly praised AIDS program for refugees from Africa and Asia because one member of the non-profit consortium running the project was also working with a UN program that was accused, falsely, of colluding with China's policy of forced abortions. Who suffered? The poor in Angola, Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Eritrea, and other poverty-stricken areas around the globe.

Bush also cut off all U.S. funding to countless family planning services in the poorest regions of the world. This ban applied to any clinic that so much as mentioned abortion as an option to its clients, even if the agency itself did not provide abortions or referrals - – and even if the woman had been raped or she might die in childbirth.

Clinics were also cut off, if its workers took part in lobbying campaigns to secure legal abortion in their countries. Many of these clinics provided the only maternal and post-natal care available for millions of destitute women and their children. They were the only place where the world's most downtrodden and uneducated women could receive information about reproduction and birth control, or treatment for AIDs, genital mutilation and rape.

All across Africa and Asia, these clinics closed. How many thousands of women and children died needlessly? Bush made America an ally in the war against women, and in the quest for state control of women’s bodies. To this end the Bush administration regularly formed alliances with Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and other repressive states to derail treaties on women's rights.

Bush's war on women

Now listen to the words of John McCain:

If I am fortunate enough to be elected as the next President of the United States, I pledge to you to be a loyal and unswerving friend of the right to life movement.
[Statement by Sen. McCain read by Sen. Sam Brownback at the March for Life in Washington, DC, January 22, 2008.]
The rights of the unborn is one of my most important values.

[Transcript, Hardball with Chris Matthews, April 15, 2008.]
I’m proud that we have Justice Alito and Roberts on the United States Supreme Court. I’m very proud to have played a very small role in making that happen." McCain explained further that he "will try to find clones of Alito and Roberts" to fill future court vacancies.
{[Transcript, Republican Presidential Candidates Participate in a Debate, May 3, 2007 and Carl Tobias, On judges, don’t doubt McCain’s conservatism: He pledges to appoint clones of Alito and Roberts, Christian Science Monitor, February 11, 2008.]

On the Federal Abortion Ban, Sen. McCain said:

Today's Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who cherish the sanctity of life and integrity of the judiciary. The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children. It also clearly speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written, and do not usurp the authority of Congress and state legislatures. As we move forward, it is critically important that our party continues to stand on the side of life.

[Press release, April 18, 2007 (accessed February 4, 2008).4/18 press release

Sen. McCain said that he has supported

the rights of the unborn for 24 years without changing, without wavering.

[Michael Finnegan, Republicans Enter the Ring in Iowa; At a Key Party Dinner, Frontrunners for the Presidential Nomination Take a Beating From Lesser-Known Rivals, L.A. Times, April 15, 2007.]

When asked about whether he supported supplying condoms to Africa to assist in the fight against HIV/AIDS, McCain had the following exchange with a reporter:
Reporter: "What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?"
Mr. McCain: (Long pause)

Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.

Reporter: "So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?"
Mr. McCain: (Long pause)
You've stumped me.

[Adam Nagourney, McCain Stumbles on H.I.V. Prevention, The New York Times, March 16, 2007.]

I do not support Roe v. Wade. It should be overturned.

[Ann Althouse, Rudy & Mitt Hem & Haw on Abortion, The New York Times, February 24, 2007.]

Sen. McCain's 2008 presidential campaign website states that he believes

Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned.

[John McCain for President 2008 campaign website, On the Issues: Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life (accessed February 4, 2008.)

mccain issues

progress ohio

Contrast these statements with those of Barack Obams’s on women’s rights:

A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women.
I have consistently advocated for reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. I oppose any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling in this case.

obama defends choice

Obama has received a 100% score from NARAL ProChoice.

I believe that few women make the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman feels the full force of the moral issues involved when making that decision… I fear a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country. I think instead we could agree on ways to reduce the number of women who feel the need to have abortions in the first place.
[From The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 197-198 Oct. 1, 2006.]

Obama has received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood.

To learn more about Barack Obama's committment to women’s rights: women's issues

Now I ask you? Can anyone who supported Hillary for President in good conscience support John McCain? I don’t think so. Supporting McCain is like slapping her in the face while ignoring everything she has stood for her entire political life. Hillary knows what is at stake. And it isn’t only the rights of Amrican women. It is millions of women all over the globe who are counting on the USA going back into the women’s rights business.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dishonoring Hillary!! [updated]

cross-posted at mydd clintonistasforobama

[UPDATE--I have now been thrown off Hillarysvoice, a site owned by Alegre. Dissent, it seems, is only a quaint idea to someone who has made so much about her abuse for dissenting with others!]

Does anyone care about Hillary anymore?

A website whose reputation and business quadrupled when it backed Hillary Clinton's candidacy is in the-- Resurrect Hillary business now.

No that's wrong. It is in the Screw Obama Anyway You Can business now.

A well-known blogger has created her own website to promote Hillary's candidacy--well, until the end of  August anyway. But by then the website will be up and running. Front page positions are available Yoohooo.

But while these voices are clamoring, Hillary is facing a silence as bleak as any she has ever known. So before we move along, this is for Hill:

Now, about mydd, the website  that provided a home to the famous blogger mentioned above after she famously marched out of dkos--well, gosh, it has been a big Hasta la Vista, Baby! I used to wonder why this blogger didn't care if she had 3 diaries on the rec list, all put there by her private army of backers on call to rec as requested? I guess because her commitment to mydd was temporary, a  soapbox that's all. Who cares if they were nice to you, and took you in when you marched away from the other guy?

Hell, for all I know mydd has said, `Hey, terrific. Go for it. More the merrier.' I guess that would be taking the high road.

And I do know by now that I should definitely throttle this tendency to think of  this place as a community. Don't lecture, me, ok?  I know it is silly. People come and people go. On any given day only a handful of people who have posted before will do so again. And I know that people who get banned come back under new names and then do the same creepy stuff all over again.

When I first came on this site, Seymour Glass was here and YellowDem. My next love was Undiesided.[These are just names that came off the top. My favorites might not be yours, so chill, ok?] I remember liking them--through their diaries-- a lot. And then I got to know so many other contributors, all Clinton supporters; they are mostly all gone now. And so many of them seem to hang out now at these these old pro-Clinton, now hate-Obama sites.

The truth is everywhere I look I see these people creating websites to tear down Barack Obama and promote Hillary Clinton's candidacy--still. They are also endorsing John McCain.  It actually looks like a huge cottage industry. And they promote each other. A happy family.

And then there are those of us who are doing as Hillary asked. We are supporting the Democratic nominee. There is no reputation to be made, no crusade and no drama. Just people playing by the rules, doing as Hillary requested and loving all she stands for-- still.

I read yesterday that Hillary is taking an extended vacation. She will return if necessary for crucial votes in the Senate, and party leaders are backing her on this. I also read somewhere that to be defeated in a close run for the nomination, or for the Presidency itself, creates a depression like no other.

Who doesn't remember when Al Gore grew a beard and wandered the world? Other  candidates like Gary Hart, who battered her endlessly during the primary campaign, have offered advice in Huffpo, no less. I'm sure she felt cared about by that one. But as was intended, I read it. And between Gore and Hart and McGovern, Ferraro, Mondale and Dole-- who have all written about it, there is no question that Losing the Big One is devastating. They all say that "It" is the Hardest Loss.

Of course Hillary didn't lose the Presidency. But you see, she did. The Democratic nominee will win the White House this year. You can take that to the bank. And she was campaigning for the nomination  for 18 months. It had to take an enormous toll. Acceptable if you win--a terrible burden when you do not. And then there is the pressure of such a campaign. As Ed Pilkington who traveled around the US interviewing failed Presidential candidates writes in the Guardian:

As I meet more members of this exclusive club I realise quite what an ordeal presidential candidates go through - they are subjected to afflictions that can reasonably be compared to torture: sensory overload; ritual humiliation; strangers invading your body space at all hours of day and night; disorientation; sleep deprivation.


I know people say she has faced up to hardship, disappointment and loss before. And so she has. But I cannot help but wonder how it feels to Hillary to see all these people who say they support her, ignoring her last request. Making a business out of defying her--all in her name.

Of course, maybe she doesn't see it at all. Who knows for sure?

What I do know is that Hillary is more than a candidate, more than an icon, and more than a political platform. She is also more than the candidate to back if you didn't and still don't  like Obama. Hillary is a person. When Emily Malcolm, founder of Emily's List, said recently  at a panel on sexism in the media that Hillary told her breathlessly in New Hampshire

Emily, I am the first woman to win a Presidential primary.
My heart ached like someone had slugged it--hard.  Because it was true, and no matter how many more primaries she went on to win, the media never, ever talked about it.

I know it  is hard to be a standard bearer for a cause, and icons can be lonely. She certainly became my hero.  I have never been so proud of being a woman as I was when watched Hillary Clinton in those 22 debates. Would I have liked more of that--you betcha. Would I have loved to see a woman put her female's hand on the  Bible and swear to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic--God yes. I think I would have liked this as much as many African Americans will like it when Barack Obama puts his hand on the bible on  January 20,  because he will. I do not think he can lose. [I am not saying, by the way, that I won't like it when that happens. What I am saying is for many African Americans it will be exceedingly, and then exceedinly again, Special.]

I also wish with all my heart now that Hillary would be his Vice President. I expect that is not to be either. Either way  I am doing my best to support the nominee. And in the meantime I think about Hill. I look at all the people who I used to think of as my friends who are bashing Barack and promoting her still. And when I read about her extended vacation, I think, `they are not helping her.' They don't really care about her. She isn't a person to them. She is a business, a cause, a means to drive traffic to a  website. She is a claim to fame.

But Hillary is bigger than they are, and she cares about the well being of this country as much as anyone I have ever seen on the public stage. Hillary inspires me now, no less than she did throughout the entie campaign, because  unlike so many of her so-called supporters, she will do the right thing. And then she will go private, as she already has done, away from the clamor and cameras, to a lonely beach somewhere or maybe into the privacy of her own home. Alone--or not. But certainly with God. And with her beating heart safely tucked away, out of reach from all those who would sell it for their own advancement.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Propagandist Is Dead, Long Live Propaganda!!

crossposted at mydd
by linfar, Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 01:21:01 PM EST

The untimely death of Tim Russert, an event hailed far and wide as a tragedy not just for him but for NBC, for his family and for the nation, aroused in me an opposite reaction.

The outpouring of praise and adulation for the host of Sunday morning's Meet the Press, dumbfounded me.  If others were shocked by his death, I was equally shocked by the around the clock panegyric to his father, his son and his Catholicism-- his adulation of the Pope, his patriotism and his good guy persona.

The fact is Tim Russert, longtime head of NBC's Washington Bureau, was the quintessential non-reporter. And there was no journalist more implicated in disseminating the Bush administration's propaganda about Iraq.

More like a Brave New World version of a journalist, than the real deal, Russert was America's leading  exponent of entertainment  vs information. His  famous `gotcha' style--wherein each Sunday his  viewers waited for his punch, jab and  pounce on  that show's guest--came to homes every Sunday for more than a decade, but no one mentioned on the occasion of his death that show's journalistic contributions to  the public good. That he was good, no one doubted. But his work was not evaluated.

I suppose that is because after 4,000 deaths, and a totally discredited intervention that the American people have resoundingly rejected, no one wants to remember how he promoted the Iraq war. And no one wants to admit how his much vaunted journalistic integrity  went sailing out the window after he revealed without a quiver of distress at the Scooter Libby trial  he had cooperated with the FBI in revealing his source. Finally, there was no media personality on the public stage who was  closer  or more fawning  towards the Bush-Cheney White House than Tim Russert.  

President Bush's swift outpouring of sympathy at Russert' untimely death, if contrasted with his Katrina comments, were a marvel of timely consideration.

As a former news reporter for the Associated Press I remember when  reporters actually believed we had a responsibility to ensure "the people's right to know."  And I remember when they considered it part of their job description to remain objective. So when Walter Cronkite at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago said, "Bunch of thugs down there," referring to the Andy Frain ushers who were assaulting both the  protestors and the delegates, this remark in itself was newsworthy.   When Cronkite made that comment I was on the floor of the convention sending stories back to CNS of Los Angeles and striving to  emulate my heroes: I.F. Stone, Art Buchwald, Edward R. Murrow, Sander Vanocour, Oriana Fallaci, and Norman Mailer for "Armies of the Night" and "Miami and the Siege of Chicago."

Tim Russert, for me, is am embarrassment to the history of journalism in America. Despite having aided and abetted the Iraq war propaganda he not only never hosted a single Iraq war veteran, he condemned as unpatriotic the showing of our military dead on Nightline in 2004.

Russert, in my opinion, was a purveyor of political porn who promoted  sensation over substance. Change, growth and the ability to rethink an issue by American politicians was routinely  portrayed as dishonesty.  And God help the politician who had a long career in politics or a long public record. Russert excelled at researching every nuance and every change as if these were proof of malfeasance and dissembling. Unfortunately, he never turned this propensity on his friends in the Bush Administration.

Madeline Zane writes:

The biggest hit parade of Bush administration lies -- Cheney's claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met an Iraq official in Prague, Rice's claim that the smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud -- all happened across the desk from Tim Russert on Meet the Press. Those lies were that much more dangerous because they were broadcast, without being questioned, on a show with an inexplicable reputation for hard-headed journalism.

In fact, during the Scooter Libby trial, Cheney's former communications director testified that Meet the Press was their best forum for giving interviews because they were allowed to control their own message without being questioned.

The fact is the misinformation never stopped.

On the May 20 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) suggested without challenge from host Tim Russert that the alleged plot by six men to carry out an armed attack on the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey represents proof that if the United States withdraws forces from Iraq, terrorists "don't plan to stop in Baghdad. They are coming here as soon as they can get here." However, as Media Matters for America has documented, the assertion that terrorists will "com[e] here" following a U.S. troop withdrawal is widely challenged by experts.

This is from Corrente:

In a way, Russert's deliberate distortion in Wednesday's debate made Hillary look better to most of us, and not only because of her blanket rejection of torture as some kind of acceptable post-9/11 American norm; when Russert sprang his trap, announcing that the scenario she'd just rejected had been offered up by her husband and our former President, Bill Clinton, her quick witted response - "He isn't the one standing here" - was her best moment of the evening.

So far, though, not many people seem to have realized that Russert's characterization of Clinton's Meet The Press comments, circa, Sept of 2006, was essentially a lie.


And no  one ever  seemed to be bothered by Russert's hobnobbing with those he wrote about and interviewed.  In December 2003, Tim Russert partied along with William Safire at Donald Rumsfeld's `winter mixer' and then "On Sunday's Today" December 14, 2003, he spoke with NBC's Campbell Brown:

I actually had the opportunity to see the secretary of Defense last night, and they were in an extremely festive holiday mood beyond their normal demeanors...I saw the director of CIA, Tenet, and said, "You know, I had the strangest dream last night that Saddam Hussein was taken captive," which I actually had on--on Friday night. He looked at me in this poker face and said, "Happy holidays.

One month later, in January, 2004, Sam Husseini, Communications Director, Institute for Public Accuracy, sent Russert a fax pointing out some egregious errors Russert had circulated  about weapons inspectors in Iraq. Russert never admitted receiving it. On the occasion of Russert's death, Husseini wrote:

The survivors of those killed in the U.S.'s war in Iraq since the 2003 invasion cannot simply blame Bush. Under the guise of "tough journalism" Russert and others disseminated lies and built the case for invasion even before Bush got to the White House.

In an article titled, "How Russert Helped Plant the Seeds for the Iraq War" Husseini included these salient points:

December 19, 1999: With Al Gore as guest, Tim Russert says on Meet the Press: "One year ago Saddam Hussein threw out all the inspectors who could find his chemical or nuclear capability." Russert asks Gore what he's going to do about this.

Soon afterward: Sam Husseini leaves a message on Russert's answering machine, and speaks to two of his assistants, telling them the inspectors were withdrawn by the UN at the request of the United States.

January 2, 2000: With Madeleine Albright as guest, Tim Russert repeats the error on Meet the Press: "One year ago, the inspectors were told, `Get out,' by Saddam Hussein." Russert asks Albright what she's going to do about this.

January 21, 2000: Sam Husseini writes a letter to Russert, again laying out the facts, and requests a correction.

January 22, 2000-March 19, 2003: Russert never corrects his error.

March 19, 2003-present: Hundreds of thousands of people die in Iraq War. Russert dies, not in Iraq War. Official Washington weeps copious tears for Russert and his Extraordinary Journalistic Standards.

This lie about the inspectors echoed through much of the political-media system around the time Russert told it, and helped set the stage for the invasion after 9/11 -- and it was a predecessor of the lie that Bush has repeatedly stated since 2003 that he invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein did not allow the inspectors into Iraq.

Russert not only aided and abetted Bush and Co on Iraq, his errors and bias in other areas were legion. Rather than help his audience become better informed he kept them misinformed, often refusing to provide  the very information needed to understand the actions of our government. And no better example of this bias can be noted than that of his so-called reportage on the Clintons.

And this predates his behavior in the now infamous MSNBC debate on Oct. 30, 2007, about which the next day Taylor Marsh wrote:

There were 52 questions asked last night; 25 had to do with either Hillary or Bill Clinton, including very personal insinuations, with 22 of the 25 being abjectly hostile.

Tim Russert asked 26 questions; 14 were to Clinton, with 5 directly targeting her personally...

In contrast, Barack Obama got asked what he would do about air travel; whether there was life beyond earth; and the question on which all Americans' safety depends, What are you going to dress as on Halloween? When the air travel question drooled out of Russert's mouth I thought I'd accidentally hit the remote to the Travel channel. But Russert's softballs to Obama when compared to Clinton were nakedly obvious to anyone paying attention. When you couple Russert's penchant for his all boys pannels on "Meet the Press," there's only one conclusion to draw...

But one of the most telling moments was when Tim Russert held up a document and asked Clinton about National Archives documents:

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, I'd like to follow up because, in terms of your experience as first lady, in order to give the American people an opportunity to make a judgment about your experience, would you allow the National Archives to release the documents about your communications with the president, the advice you gave, because, as you well know, President Clinton has asked the National Archives not to do anything until 2012?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, actually, Tim, the Archives is moving as rapidly as the Archives moves. There's about 20 million pieces of paper there and they are moving, and they are releasing as they do their process. And I am fully in favor of that. Now, all of the records, as far as I know, about what we did with health care, those are already available. Others are becoming available. And I think that, you know, the Archives will continue to move as rapidly as the circumstances and processes demand.

MR. RUSSERT: But there was a letter written by President Clinton specifically asking that any communication between you and the president not be made available to the public until 2012. Would you lift that ban? SEN. CLINTON: Well, that's not my decision to make. And I don't believe that any president or first lady has. But certainly we'll move as quickly as our circumstances and the processes of the National Archives permits.

If you saw Russert hold up that document you likely thought it came within the last year. Seeing Russert's  chubby red face all flushed with excitement, in fact, you might have even gotten the impression that the document he held had just come through in a faxmachine, specifically for the debate. Oh, how important the theatrics of the moment,especially when moderator turns into "Meet the Press" attack dog.

After spending time on the phone today with a source very familiar with archive procedures, the truth of the matter is quite different. The letter Russert held up was from 1994. It's also standard operating procedures for all presidents.

The document was from 1994!! The whole episode as based on a phony issue and Tim Russert led the smear. But it was great box office. People talked about it for days.

I am not going  to belabor Russert's well-known anti-Clinton bias, his gotcha-gambit-style replayed endlessly on Sunday morning's as if this were real journalism, and his responsibility for the Iraq War along with his uncritical and pandering to the  Bush Cheney Whitehouse.

What I am going to say is that when we assert that the mainstream media is a problem, Russert was a glaring example. He was not one of the `good guys' in both the way he created headlines and then conducted his witchunts for ratings. He was not accurate so many times they are beyond counting, and he was not an honest media broker. Russert way too often grandstanded for maximum audience impact regardless of where the truth might lie.

Of all the things one might put on his tombstone: Good father, devout Catholic, and loving son--  if one were to be honest and refer to his professional life-- one might add as someone did in a comment on a blog :

And I still hate Hillary!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

McCain and Fiorina Hunting Clinton's Base

by Linfar cross posted at clintonistasforobama and mydd

John McCain today hosted a nationwide telephone forum in tandem with Carly Fiorinia, his ambassador to women. This forum is the latest effort by  his campaign in their full court press to lure former supporters of Hillary Clinton.

According to today's Boston Globe:

John McCain is aggressively targeting former supporters of Hillary Clinton, hoping to capitalize on their dissatisfaction with presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama and anger over how Clinton was treated during the Democratic primaries.

More from the Globe:

On Thursday night, Fiorina spoke to dozens of disgruntled Clinton supporters in Columbus, Ohio, and   next week she plans to visit a number of battleground states to speak to women voters.

The campaign is betting that even women who favor abortion rights may be willing to accept a difference of opinion on that issue if they like what they hear McCain saying on broader issues such as national security, the economy, and healthcare.

Barack Obama is also planning to court those same voters.  NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund will soon be raising awareness among women voters about McCain's long record of opposing abortion rights.

According to the Globe report:

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which is running a $10 million grass-roots campaign to recruit 1 million voters for Obama in battleground states, today will kick off a weeklong series of more than 400 house parties across the country. Yesterday the group unveiled an Internet ad highlighting McCain's record on abortion rights and other health issues that it plans to send to 3.5 million of its supporters and the antiwar group, urging each recipient to forward the ad to five people.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said yesterday that even the most disaffected Clinton supporters are unlikely to defect to McCain, whose views on abortion and other reproductive health issues are diametrically opposed to Clinton's and Obama's. McCain favors overturning Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, then working to reduce the number of abortions and eventually end them.

But the McCain campaign thinks otherwise.

Women are not single-issue voters," said Crystal Benton, a campaign spokeswoman. "The issues we're hearing from them that matter most are economic prosperity, national security, and choice and portability in healthcare, which puts Senator John McCain in position to fight for each one of their votes."

After a town hall meeting in New Jersey yesterday, McCain repeated his effusive praise for Clinton and acknowledged he had "a lot of work to do " to reach female voters.

"I believe that women all over America need to be assured that I will do everything in my power to continue the progress that has been made in equal opportunity in America, and that means an emphasis on education, that means service to country, and it means providing the same job security that all Americans deserve," he told reporters.

Polls released this week showed the candidates with mixed results among women. In a Gallup tracking poll conducted June 5-9, Obama increased his lead over McCain among women from 5 percentage points to 13 percentage points since Clinton conceded a week ago. But an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey showed that while Clinton led McCain by 14 percentage points among suburban women, Obama trailed by 6 percentage points.

Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh of the Dewey Square Group in Boston said the Obama camp should be concerned about the state of the women's vote after a primary that dismayed many Clinton supporters. McCain does not need a majority of women to win the election, she noted, he just has to chip away at Obama's share of the women's vote. Women typically make up a majority of voters in presidential elections.

"I think in this case, there are several threats - Hillary Clinton supporters who may go to support John McCain; Hillary Clinton supporters who may not vote at all, and Hillary Clinton supporters who do nothing between now and November except cast a vote," she said. "Any combination of these things is something to worry about if you are Barack Obama."

This week, several prominent female Clinton supporters issued clarion calls for unity. Ellen Malcolm, president of EMILY's List, which funds female candidates who support abortion rights, presided over a conference call in which she called McCain "out of touch" with women's lives.

At the group's annual luncheon both she and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright urged women to get behind Obama.

And many Clinton supporters, angry and defiant, are not being swayed.

Women for Fair Politics, a group of Clinton supporters in Ohio angry about what they saw as pervasive sexism in the primary campaign and determined to "never let it happen again," hosted Fiorina Thursday night. Two of the group's cofounders, businesswoman Cynthia Ruccia and real estate agent Marilu Sochor, said yesterday that they planned to vote for McCain this fall, even though they were both longtime Democratic activists and strongly in favor of abortion rights.

"It doesn't matter to me if we have all the great things the Democrats can offer if it's OK to go ahead and denigrate 51 percent of the country," Ruccia said in a telephone interview. "Sexism is neither Democratic nor Republican, and it needs to stop."

Sochor said she was also outraged at how Obama had, in her view, alienated key components of the Democratic base during the primary season by not campaigning much in Appalachian states such as West Virginia and Kentucky and by characterizing small-town Pennsylvanian voters as apt to "cling to guns or religion" because they were "bitter" about their circumstances.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thinking About The Whole

cross posted at clintonistasforobama

My Mom, who is 88 years old, has Alzheimer's, and I am her caretaker. No one else is going to do this for her. My Dad died 10 years ago, and I am an only child. I rarely write about how trapped I feel by my situation, and I actually spend a lot of time in denial; but its 4 am and in this quiet, pre-dawn hour I not pretending.

So come with me for a second down the rabbit hole--this will get political, I promise...

I live in Southern California and there are two primary "helping" organizations, the Alzheimer's Association and the Southern Caregivers Resource Center. I became acquainted with the Alzheimer's Association through a "support" group I attended in my community.

This group meets across town  for two hours on Thursday afternoons in a residential care facility for the elderly.  It is "facilitated" by a middle aged MSW with a perpetual smile and well modulated voice who oozes concern, but not enough to control the group so that the experience of attending it is like being plunged into an out-of-control kindergarten class.

Each Thursday I would show up to find 4 long dining room tables arranged into a rectangle, boxes of cookies and candies placed on them and chairs for about 20 people. And  I quickly learned that there is no more needy, desperate, anxious and slightly crazed population in America today than those who caretake their spouses or parents who have dementia. And with each passing week I  came away from my "support" meeting not knowing who was "crazier" the helpers or the helpees.

Every meeting was a kind of free-for-all. Structure was frowned upon:

Those who are needy or in crisis"-- self- identified-- please take all the time you need.

And the rest of us then got to listen to the circular reasoning of the damned as they attempted to both cope with and describe the creeping madness in their loved one. I have heard stories of loved ones jumping out of moving cars; throwing keys in the toilet; pausing their vehicle in the middle of the railroad tracks to look at a map.  One particularly determined fellow  liked to run down the street naked and did so more than once. I listened in awe to the story of the  plumber who came to  believe he was a day trader and spent his life savings on the internet. I also listened to the angry and paranoid tirades directed at caretakers on a daily basis; to the accusations of abuse prompting interventions by Adult Protective Services; and lastly to the stories of  the perpetual neglect and mistreatment of love ones, called LO's, which is the standard of care in way too many residential facilities.

Meetings were like torture sessions. Within 10 minutes of whatever particular recitation might be in progress I was ready to respond. With 15 minutes my patience had huge fissures and I was putting candy in my mouth as a pacifier. At 20 minutes it was all I could do not to leap up and scream, "Enough!" At 25 minutes I began counting the number of people in the room, anywhere from nine to 18 and realizing "their" time was evaporating. I sometimes left these meetings and only 5 people out of 20 had spoken.

I also soon realized that I was leaving more stressed than when I had arrived.

It wasn't that I didn't learn useful things, I did. But I could not adjust to the refusal of both the leader and the group to think `about the whole.' The idea that the leader's job is to  think about the good of the entire group is now hopelessly outdated. I know this because I have now tested several different "support" groups and they all work the same way. So in each case the talkative dominate, the quiet ones eat candy and commiserate with them, some people get "their" turn by interjecting their own story into someone else's recitation, and no one thinks about the whole--or even thinks that they should.

I went to another meeting yesterday. And when it was over I whispered to the woman sitting beside me

Are you ok? Did you get to say what you needed?

She shook her head no. And I felt bad for her, but I was more chagrined than she was.

Later as I drove home from San Diego feeling guilty because I do not believe in Alzheimer drugs and every facilitator of these groups "pushes" them--although they say they don't-- and thinking of the stories I had heard, and wondering when my Mom will reach the point that I can't cope alone anymore, I realized that more than anything else I  feel abandoned by the refusal of these agencies and these professional `helpers' to think about the good of the whole.

Their failure to be responsive to the needs of everyone around the table is like a metaphor to me for where we are in in our society.

What has happened to us? How can it become the fashion in professional "health care" situations to let the talkative people dominate a group, and let the quiet ones go unheeded? How can we profess to have a just society  if we are not responsible for others in a cooperative and responsible way? When did rule by the most aggressive and assertive--become the norm in supervised situations. I am appalled by it.

And I can be both aggressive and assertive, so I have no difficulty speaking up. Now that I know how the game is played I can grab my share of the time. But I think it is wrong.

I think stacking the rec list with your friends over and over is wrong.

I think fighting Obama's nomination is  wrong.

And I think all of these things are of a piece: rules that include  all the people around a table, sharing the rec list, accepting the will of the majority. It all involves thinking about the whole. Not just my piece of it, not just I'll get mine, not just

they do it, so why shouldn't we?

And so this brings me to the way many Hillary supporters are refusing to abide by the rules about the nomination. Yes, the caucus rules were sometimes rigged and/or manipulated. Any school kid could tell you that. Yes, the Obama team out-organized the Hillary team. Yes, there was sexism and a poisonous media environment with regard to Hill.  Pundits will be writing about it for years. Yes, the DNC favored one candidate over the other. So if  so much was wrong, why not protest the result?

Because that is not thinking About the Whole. It is not how you do a democracy. If you don't like the way the thing was done, you have to change the way things are done.

Hillary Clinton is a candidate I supported because I know she thinks "about the whole." She isn't going to let the assertive people run the table. She is looking out for the weak and the disenfranchised and the little guy who doesn't have a voice. She is working to make the rules more fair, more inclusive and a whole lot more responsive. Her supporters who are refusing to abide by the results of the primary are not doing that. And they are violating everything she stands for.

Hillary Clinton supports Barack Obama for President. She has asked her supporters to endorse him too. Refusing to do so is like talking for half an hour, everyone else in the room be damned.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Birth Certificate Will Not Show Virgin Birth!!

by linfar, Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:42:56 PM EST
cross-posted at and

This would be hilarious if it were not so sad. Hillary supporters have joined the GOP-backed madness swirling around Barack Obama's birth certificate. In their zeal to defeat Barack Obama Hillary supporters have become the latest dupes in a GOP rumor mill discrediting Barack Obama's birthplace--thus making him ineligible to be President.
According to the Online Journal, GOP dirty tricks operatives visited Kenya to dig up any useful "dirt" on Barack Obama, Jr., and his late Kenyan father Barack Obama, Sr. And now they say there is a "smoking gun." About Obama's birth certificate.
Oooooooh. Sounds ominous doesn't it??
Get a grip folks! What they found is a birth certificate from the Kenyan city of Mombasa registering the birth of Barack Obama, Jr., on August 4, 1961. However, the registration is a common practice in African countries whose citizens abroad have families with foreign nationals.
Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to his Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas, and Barack Obama, Sr., of Nyangoma-Kogelo, Kenya. Obama's parents were enrolled at the University of Hawaii. They divorced when Barack Obama was two years old.
Is it possible the GOP hopes to make the claim that Senator Obama is not eligible to become President of the United States because he was born in a foreign country, or, at the very least, plant the seed in the voters' minds that Obama is a foreigner even if the charge is false?
Of course, it is possible. And the fact that the state of Hawaii does not open birth records to the public has only fueled it. But what seems most deplorable to me is that in this latest effort to smear the presumptive Democratic Party nominee Hillary supporters are latching onto an obvious Republican smear.
Here's a little snarky take on the whole deal:
Top Ten Reasons Obama Won't Release His Birth Certificate
10. Despite the claims of his supporters, it was not technically a virgin birth.
9. Full name is Ayatollah Mubarack Hussein Obama-Khomeni bin Laden.
8. Actual birth date would reveal he's a Virgo, and those people are %#&*@! CRAZY.
7. Accidentally shredded it while going through his Rezko mortgage records.
6. Doesn't want NARAL to find out that his mom was pro-life.
5. Religion listed as "Muslim. Er, I mean Christian, yeah, that's the ticket! Christian!"
4. "You show the reporters the birth certificate, then they want to see the baby pictures, and after oohing and aahing for an hour, you're inviting them to stay for dinner, and... look, I've got a lot of stuff I need to get done, okay?"
3. Instead of being born at Leahi-Kai or Maluhia hospital, his mom picked Kokua Kalihi, and that place is just so ghetto.
2. His real father? Little Richard.
1. Can't he just eat his waffle?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

One Helluva Fight!!! [Update]

cross posted at

It was a great fight:

I understand something today that I didn't last week. I am a Democrat. And I am going to fight to make this party better because I think the DNC showed unconscionable bias towards one candidate for President, and not the other.

And while I am on that subject--  Donna Brazille can kiss my white ass from now until November and it will not undo the harm she spewed as a pundit on CNN.

But I am not writing to rehash old wrongs. I am writing to say that although I know Hillary got screwed, here's Paul Krugman on the subject I will not ever support, endorse or in any way aid the election of John McCain. Because he is one nasty dude.

Now he wants to capitalize on the understandable ire women are feeling towards the Party. Ok. It's true. We are mad. But that doesn't make McCain the solution. Hillary has said over and over that he is a nice guy with all the wrong positions who would be a disaster for us. I Agree. From healthcare to the environment, from wire tapping citizens to the war in Iraq, from women's rights to a woman's right to choose, from gay rights to human rights, this guy is not on the side of the angels. The angles, maybe. But definitely not the angels.

I am still staggering from the narrow defeat of Hillary Clinton, but I am not stupid. And I do know where my bread is buttered. It is as a Democrat. There is a lot of post mortems and second guessing going on and I want to join anglachel--

 when she writes that she doesn't care if Michelle Obama did say whitey this and whitey that. Hell. I have said it, myself. I don't have any quarrel with the term  whitey. Rev. Wright is a different story because he is like a professional hater. Black liberation theology notwithstanding. And using racism to tar and feather white voters and gin up the AA vote is emphatically not ok with me.  

But the campaign is Over. It is time to move on. I am moving on and this is my first step.

I also want to say that this is a great article on Hillary's contribution to our political discourse called Seven Ways Hillary Changed Our Politics:  It is an excellent piece and I couldn't agree more.

So here's to Hillary Clinton-- the first woman to win nearly 18 million votes in a Democratic Party primary--and to her  concession speech and a united Democratic Party.

It was one hulluva goddamn fight!

PS--If you flame me in any way, your balls are gonna fall off and you are going to hell...

[update on the 'she's no good thread'in the comments: my reference to the Civil War is a nod to the bruised and deeply painful feelings held by both sides after the Civil War. The same could be said of this campaign. There is a serious effort underway to exploit those feelings and get Hillary supporters to back McCain. I believe, if this were to get off the ground, it would seriously derail the Democratic nominee. Anyone who wants to hold on to their bruised ego and sense of outrage in the face of this effort to hijack a huge block of democratic voters is welcome to do so. But you, my friend, are the one who is putting your ego before the best interests of the party. And just to set the record straight. I did not lie. I did not smear and I still think Obama's assertion of a relative at Aushwitz was [to me] amazingly stupid as it was so easily disproved. He can get the jewish vote without having an uncle [or whoever] liberate a death camp. I was outraged at the time. But I am not now. Obama fibbed stuff just like she did about Bosnia. Let's move on, shall we. Or not--you decide. But I do have to say that those who persist in slapping down the olive branch are suspicious to me. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by hanging onto past hurts. And believe me there are a ton--on both sides. Lin]

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