Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Political roundtable

Jim: Two roundtables this edition -- with this one focused on politics. Our e-mail address is thethirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com.  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Trina: I love how Ava and C.I. work women into these  TV articles and reviews.  So many people try to copy then -- including some at COUNTERPUNCH -- and they don't get it because (a) they're promoting men and (b) the songs don't work for their writing.  Ava and C.I. know what they're doing.

Elaine: Susie Mandrake doesn't have a clue.  A friend showed me her site on Saturday.  She's got all these video clips.  Of men.  She said, "Isn't she supposed to be a feminist?"  I had no idea.  I don't know the woman.  Her site made clear that I didn't want to know her.  It's really sad when a woman has a site and doesn't use it to help other women.

Dona: Okay, I'm busting in on that.  Absolutely.  I love what Elaine just said and it echoes the best compliments we get for this site -- from readers, from friends, from family.  We have been a female positive site.  We have made a difference. We have treated women as people.  If it's Condi Rice, we didn't hold back because she was a woman.  If it's a woman who is leading but not getting credit, we've noted her.  We've done articles highlighting the music of women.  We've made a point to include women not treat them as an afterthought.

Elaine: You know I agree with you on that.

Dona: And we've all worked so hard on that -- that's Elaine, that's Jim, that's Ty, that's everyone.  But let's be honest.  Go back to the first edition.  And I'm proud of it.  But the best parts aren't just Ava and C.I.'s one liners.  The best parts are the issues Ava and C.I. would raise in group writing.  It was like an awakening.  Forget woke, it was an awakening.  It was a master class and I'm so happy with what we have done in the 12 years online.  I really am.

Betty: I agree so much and support that so much.   I have a real problem with sites that don't note women.  I try to include Cynthia McKinney at least once a week.  I think it's important to be proactive.

Ty: Which was Betty and my big term to shorthand Ava and C.I. We'd be writing a piece on some issue, marriage equality, for example.  They'd be like, why are we begging?  It's equality, it's marriage equality, let's write from a position of strength and not be on the defensive.  And I think that helped us as people and as writers.  I know it helped me.  I'm gay and I'm not going to apologize for it or beg you for 'tolerance.'  I have all the same rights and feelings as anyone else.  I'm going to stand and demand I'm treated with the same respect anyone else would have.  Proactive was how Betty and I shorthanded it.

Betty: And we are a diverse group which I think has helped us take on stories and issues and do something that added to the conversation.

Marcia: And we'll stop to offer support and be understanding.  In 2008, I wanted Hillary Clinton to be president.  I started my site for that reason.  I used vacation days to campaign for her.  And when it didn't happen and supposed feminists tried to sheepherd us, I was very angry, not just hurt but angry.  And I wrote a very angry post.  And used very angry terms.  And I e-mailed it to C.I. before I posted it.  She called me back and said, you expressed yourself very well.  I get what you're saying.  If someone's offended that's on them.  And that meant so much because I crossed so many lines in that post but I knew people had my back.

Jim: Let's move to politics quickly, Marcia you wanted Hillary to be president in 2008.  You did not in 2016.  So, to repeat The Debra Messings, you must be sexist.

Marcia: Yeah, me, the African-American lesbian, I'm sexist.  No.  I broke with Hillary while she was Secretary of State.  Ruth did as well.  And she wasn't the same candidate.  She could no longer pretend that Iraq was some sort of variation.  It was her character.  As her call for attacks on Syria and Libya demonstrated.  But there was so much more that was different.  Ruth?

Ruth: She was entitled.  Everything was wrong about her second campaign.  First off, it was about her.  It was as though, having lost in 2008's primaries to Barack Obama's personality campaign, she thought that was the answer.  But she didn't have that magnetic personality.  It was not going to work.  What worked in 2008 was she was going to fight for us, fight for everyone.  And I believe if she had run that kind of campaign in 2016, she could have won.  Because Hillary Clinton can fight.  Instead, she ran an empty campaign.  I was not pleased that she became Secretary of State.  I wanted her to stay out of the administration and run as a challenger in 2012.  But I supported her and assumed my state would document all her great work as Secretary of State.  And for awhile, I could document her travels.  But then I would be in some hearing with Ava, C.I., Wally and Kat and I would be shocked by how uncooperative the State Department was being with Congress.  And this was when the House was Democratically controlled.  This was stalling and stonewalling Gary Ackerman -- a Democrat.  I do not know how many hearings I sat in where he said getting information from Clinton's State Department was like a Jewish wedding where you say you are going to leave now but you never do.  And Clinton's State Department would say they would turn something over and then in the next House committee hearing they would have again refused to turn it over.

Jess: As a Green, I'll say that there was a big difference between the 2008 Hillary campaign and the 2016.  She acted as though she was owed.  She wasn't talking, in 2016, about fighting for you.  It was too much celebrity, as well.  I don't need some celebrity telling me how to vote.  Tell me who you are supporting?  Sure, that's fine.  Tell me who to vote for?  No.  Don't need it.  Don't need photos of Alyssa Milano with her hand grazing her panties.  Or her bosom photos.  I mean, isn't this the woman who had a fit when her photos from BIKINI went online?  And now she's all "I have to speak out for my children" while posting T&A photos at the top of her TWITTER feed?

Kat: As a general rule, when you've got nothing else as a celebrity, you tend to do cheesecake photos.  And she's got nothing else.  Let's face it.  Everything since CHARMED has failed.  She's played at feminism -- 'Dig me, I did a comic about a girl! With three men helping me!'  She's really never been about the sisterhood.  She thinks she can say ugly and mean things about Americans and then hide behind "I'm just expressing my opinion."  No, you're attacking the American people.  There's a difference.  She preaches hate and gets mad because people don't agree.

Cedric: And then pretends like they're the ones with the problem or that they are Donald Trump supporters.  We are a diverse group.  And everyone here knows how I voted.  I'm a lifelong Democrat and I did vote for Hillary.  I would have preferred to have voted for Bernie, but Hillary was the nominee and I voted for her.  So when I find Alyssa offensive in her Tweets, she needs to grasp that the problem is her.  I'm someone who voted for Hillary.  She needs to take a look at how she presents herself.

Jim: Dona's already passed me a note that we're going to do roundtables this edition.  And she thinks this needs to be its own roundtable on politics, just so we all know that we've switched to politics.  Okay, Cedric voted for Hillary.  I did too.  I was planning to vote for Jill Stein but, as all of you know, at the last minute, I went with Hillary.  It was knee jerk. I'm sure I'm not the only American who, in the end, couldn't vote for Stein because of their Democratic upbringing.  But Wally and Cedric, you held Hillary accountable in your humor posts.

Wally: Well we tried to find the humor in the run.  And if someone calls me a sexist, I'll laugh in their face.  I dropped out of college to campaign full time for Hillary in 2008.  I gave it everything I had.  Her campaign in 2016 did not speak to me at all.

Cedric: She was a lousy candidate in 2016.  It's like she can't learn from her mistakes.  But then again, she's unable to admit her mistakes.  She didn't learn from Iraq -- as evidenced by her support for bombing Libya and trying to get Barack to start a war with Syria.  She didn't learn from the mistakes of 2008.  She seemed to think "I am the woman you will use to smash the glass ceiling" was the campaign slogan we were waiting for.  It was not.  She was a better candidate in 2008.  And much more approachable.  Wally had several encounters with her in 2008.  I had two encounters.  When people would ask us, we'd say, in 2015 and 2016, "Yeah, campaign for her she's really someone who wants to meet people."  But she wasn't.

Kat: Not in 2016.  She was suddenly Bully Boy Bush "I must be home and in my bed by nightfall."  She was someone else in every way.  And that's why she didn't campaign in Wisconsin.  She made so many awful mistakes over and over.

Rebecca: I have never liked Hillary -- not even when C.I. and Hillary were tight back in the day.  I did like Bill personally.  But I always found Hillary fake and I'm referring to face to face events.  But in 2008, as she dug in deep, she shocked me.  She was a human punching bag but her response wasn't poor me, it was, "I am going to fight for you!"  And I believed her and I voted for her.  That Hillary could have won.  Instead of that fighter, we had some wanna be celebrity hanging out with celebrities and thinking she looked cool when all she did was look out of touch.

Betty: I voted for Jill Stein.  Gladly.  I'm glad that Cedric and Jim voted for Hillary last year.  I think that allows us to be more representative.  And it is scary to break with a pattern and so Cedric and Jim are great resources for that.  But I firmly believe we are going to have to break with the pattern.

Ann: I'm with Betty on this, absolutely.  We have to make it clear that we're not going to be herded into a big tent that doesn't address our issues.  We have to make it clear that if they want our votes, they have to win them.  One thing, talking about what THE COMMON ILLS and C.I. has done, one thing that's so different and so great is that we have this in our conversation now.  No one owns your vote.  That's a point C.I. made repeatedly year after year.  And it took time but now is part of our national discourse as it should be.  No one owns your vote.  Candidates have to earn it.

Ty: To stay on that, we also have the right not to vote.  If no one earns your vote, you don't have to vote in that race.  These are important points and I'm glad that we've stressed them here.  We've been as welcoming as we could and that's because Jess and Ann are lifelong Greens.  Betty's become a Green since moving to California.  And the point is, we're not a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party or the Green Party or for ISO or whatever.  We do what we do and we tell our truths.

Elaine: Even when pain in the asses don't like it.  IVAW?  We all supported them once upon a time.  They did some great things with their Winter Soldier.  But I will never forget the piece here that rightly noted a problem with one panel and then some woman starts threatening us -- an IVAW member -- we're going to change it or she's going to do this or that.  It was like, "Uh, no.  It's an article.  You don't like our viewpoint.  We're not really thrilled that you're comparing consensual dancing between a man and a woman to rape.  But then you had no victims of sexual assault for your sexual assault panel.  That was your problem, not our problem."  I will never forget that.

Jim: You did change one thing at your site.

Elaine: Yes, on an unrelated manner.  This woman wasn't IAVW.  I believe she was a psychologist like I am.  Her sister had just passed away and she was now responsible for her young niece.  None of that had anything to do with what I wrote.  But Mike and I were together and thinking of adopting -- which we did -- and I could relate to what she was saying.  I wouldn't care what's online about me but I could relate to the struggle she was facing offline.  And if changing two words in the piece I wrote would give her some peace offline -- even just maybe -- it was worth it to me.

Trina: I changed something for Adam Kokesh and it wasn't a problem.  I had no problem at all.  He had mentioned someone in a piece of writing and this person actually wasn't prepared to go public yet.  So when that request came in, we all changed it and did so willingly.  That was not a problem at all.  I happen to like Adam but I'm sure I've written things he didn't like -- I'm sharing opinions, it's a given.  If he saw something he didn't like, he didn't come crying.  He wasn't a David Cay Johnston.

Jim: Make sure we spell that whiners name right or he'll e-mail us.

Jess: Actually, I don't give a f**k if his name is spelled right.  He is one little bitch and I can't stand him.

Dona: The ones I really don't care for?  When Ava and C.I. took on the pig boys trying to defend Ike Turner, the e-mails that came in on that?  I did not like those Ike fans.  They endorsed spouse abuse in their e-mails.  But when I contacted them to ask about quoting, suddenly they weren't so big and brave.

Jim: And that's why my philosophy is, if you send it in to us, we can quote it.  If you don't want to be quoted, as so many don't, then say so.  Now there's David Corn who we'd never want to quote but he was quite the Ava and C.I. fan when they wrote "Katie was a cheerleader."

Rebecca: The only big complainers I've had would be the DLC-ers in the New Democrats.  They whined.  One whined about my making fun of his haircut and saying it looked like Mommy put a bowl over his head and cut it.  How dare I, he e-mailed, didn't I know that his mother died a year ago?  Nope.  And don't care.  You post a professional photo of yourself online, you need to choose a good one and get a decent haircut.  Sorry, I did public relations, had my own firm, not going to feel sorry for some corporate fool who doesn't know how to look professional.

Stan: But that's not really your worst.  Your worst was that friend of Bob Somerby's who was a stalker.

Rebecca: You are correct.  He was so creepy.  It was like one e-mail after another about how "I am her number one fan."  He felt like he could demand all this information on me from C.I.  And when C.I. told him to f**k off, he got really abusive.

Betty: It's been such an education to be online.  Like, as women, some of us are going to get abuse in e-mails.  And that's not the case with the guys.

Wally: Yeah, like Tom Hayden tries to be my best friend in an e-mail and gets ticked off when I point out that he's awful elitist because what he's commenting on was written by Cedric and myself and he didn't e-mail Cedric who is African-American, he just e-mailed the White guy.  He did not like that response.  And then he started getting louder and louder but not threatening.

Jim: And he stopped?

Wally: Yeah, when I e-mailed him, "You know we have met and we have spoken" and talked about C.I. and then he was like, "Oh, sorry, forget what I wrote."

Kat: Danny Schechter was another first rate whiner.

Jim: Yeah.  Big time.  He was always whining and e-mailing that he knew how bad Barack was but he couldn't write that because no one would read him.  Whine.  whine. Whine.  We called Barack out.  We don't worry about telling the truth.  We never worry about that.

Dona: Let's note that Michael Ratner is another who wrote us.  He never asked for corrections or for things to be altered.  He frequently would provide a book or two on a topic we'd written about.  I wish he'd been more vocal in opposing Barack publicly but in terms of our interaction in e-mails, he was a first-rate gentleman and very helpful.

Ty: But I am still stunned to this day by how many loud and proud voices went silent when Barack was in the White House.  Oh, they'd e-mail and say they knew this or that was wrong, but they wouldn't put his feet to the fire, they wouldn't hold him accountable.  It was something to see.

Jess: In a lot of ways, the reaction to Hillary in 2016, the revulsion, was in response to the ongoing wars and the ongoing spying and a Democratic base that refused to object.

Rebecca: Good point, Jess.  Absolutely.  I can see that right now as I look back.

Dona: Jess is very wise, a sage.  We need to wrap up so let's wrap up with that thought.

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