Sunday, September 06, 2009


Jess: This is our news and mailbag roundtable. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava and me, Jess, 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), Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz), Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends. Jim, Dona and Ty of Third are taking the weekend off. As are others who usually participate. This is Third so one of us had to be moderator. Since Ava and C.I. take the notes for this rush transcript piece, it's difficult for them to moderate. That question came in the last time I moderated a roundtable -- for the last Christmas edition, I believe. So before anyone writes in to ask, that's why. Illustration is by Betty's kids. Okay, first topic is, not surprisingly, President Barack Obama and the internet. Reader Carol wrote in to complain about what she sees as very little criticism online of Obama. Ava and C.I. worked the e-mail account Saturday evening and they e-mailed Carol to get her to be more specific if she could. She replied that a number of sites that she used to stand by and visit are now just useless to her. "I'm not talking about BuzzFlash and the other garbage I gave up in 2008," she writes, "I'm talking about the sites that got me through 2008 but now are just impossible to read. It's not one site, it's many. They either ignore Obama or seem eager to get on board with him in recent months despite the fact that people are finally waking up to the truth about him."

Mike: I'll jump in first. It's a holiday week so that might be partly why Carol is noticing what she is. It's also true that a number of sites turned August into a holiday month. There are, I'm sure Carol's speaking of PUMA sites, PUMA sites where it's very obvious that the bloggers aren't overly informed politically. Whether it's misidentifying the outlets they're quoting or failing to grasp that the arguments they're advancing are right wing, there's a lot to be disappointed in. I don't think -- I'll try to put it like this. I know there are topics I can't cover at my site because I am not informed enough to write about them. I know my weaknesses. Others happily type away convinced that they know everything about the economy and the employment rate and the exchange on the pound. I understand what Carol's saying because when I read a post like that and quickly gather that I actually know more than the person writing, it is very disappointing. In terms of Barack, it's gone from a lot of them phoning it in to a lot of them not even bothering to call.

Betty: I would so strongly agree with that. Hillary is 44 is probably the only one that comes to mind, for me, of the sites that hasn't waivered. I'm talking about outside the community and I'm sure that's what Carol means. Hillary is 44 posts three to four times a week and you never fail to grasp where they stand. Why is that? I think they have purpose. I see a lot of floundering online.

Stan: I think that's a good way to put it. Floundering. You keep expecting them to get it together and they never do. After awhile, you just stop checking in with them. And there's this effort on the part of many of them, this panic, about health care. Barack's not promising anything to cheer on. So his plan goes down. Boo-hoo. It's not my dance. There is nothing in that insurance company bailout for the American people. It deserves to fail and I laugh at all those ridiculous bloggers who try to convince you that their blog posts and your phone calls are going to force something to happen.

Elaine: Exactly. All the phone calls don't make a bit of difference. Remember in 2007 when we were supposed to flood the lines to get the Dems, who controlled both houses of Congress, to cut off funding for the illegal war? Repeatedly, they voted over and over to continue the Iraq War.

Wally: Okay, and I agree with Elaine, but the Democratic Party's argument is: Where ya going go?

Trina: Many places. You can go to an independent or a third party candidate. You can go to a Republican candidate as a protest vote. You can simply not vote. But if the Democrats in office have collectively demonstrated anything in the last years it is that the voters owe them no loyalty.

Elaine: Or the voters owe the elected the same loyalty they've shown the voters: None.

Jess: As a Green Party member, let me state very clearly: Do not come to my party. My party is pathetic on the national level and determined to never be anything other than a rinky-dink, minor player. Every week, if not every day, the website for the national party should be calling out Barack's non-stop sellout to Big Business, sellouts of our civil liberties, his continuation of the illegal wars. They do not do that. They don't do it because the national leadership is bulls**t, is cowardly, is craven and needs to be kicked out of the party. Until that happens, the Green Party is nothing but a joke.

Elaine: And that's not by accident. A lot of time went into pulling Socialists like Medea Benjamin into 'leadership.' Her entire purpose within the Green Party was to subvert the party and ensure that it never saw any electoral success. The whole point was to derail the Green Party after 2000 and ensure that it never threatened the Democratic Party again. Which is why Ralph Nader will not run on the national party's ticket.

Jess: Blake e-mailed to ask what, in retrospect, we think explains Barack in the White House?

Marcia: Hero worship. An immaturity among us. We refuse to stand up for ourselves and are growing dangerously like the USSR and other oppressive regimes in that we want a figure to worship. People were not interested in what Barack stood for, they were not interested in exploring what he had done or not done in Chicago. They were only eager to fall in love. So the ones who should have been offering critiques, who should have been pouring through the records, took a pass.

Ruth: I would agree with Marcia and I would point out how embarrassing it is that those same voices now want to pretend like 2008 never took place. They offered non-stop testimonials to Barack Obama and now that he has been revealed to be what we long warned about, the same Cult of St. Barack followers want to act as if they never went around lying for him and ripping apart others to build him up. I would add to Marcia's logic: He was not a Clinton. For many, that really was the deciding factor.

Jess: You're talking about pundits and leaders, right?

Ruth: Yes, so is Marcia. We are not talking about We The People. Hillary Clinton got more votes from We The People. The delegate system was rigged in so many ways. Texas recently had a legal victory for those objecting to the 'two-step' because Hillary won the primary and Barack Obama won the fraudulent caucus. The whole thing was rigged. And, no, we will never forget what took place.

Rebecca: If I could just bring up something I blogged on a few times following the election, I do believe there was voter fraud in the count for the national election. I am not questioning that Barack won -- any Democrat would have won. I am also not questioning the totals for John McCain. But I wrote about how the totals didn't seem correct when it came to Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney's run and I stand by that. I don't believe write-in voters were counted and, in many states, to vote for Cynthia or Ralph meant you had to write-in. I don't think those ballots were properly counted. Would it have changed the results of the election? No. But I do not believe the totals. I believe I noticed it first with my own state but we have a ton of community members in Texas and the Texas vote doesn't seem accurate. Again, I'm referring to write-in votes. I am not saying it would change the outcome of the election.

Jess: So would you say it was intentional fraud?

Rebecca: I believe it was laziness and ignorance. Laziness in that, "It's a write-in, it doesn't matter."

Kat: I think Rebecca's correct. I do believe that write-ins were treated dismissively. I don't believe the totals were at all accurate for Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader. But I also think that in 2012, you'll think they were way off because, by 2012, you'll find a ton of people claiming they voted for Ralph or Cynthia because as bad as Barack looks right now, grasp that we've got three more years and four months of him.

Jess: Layla e-mails to say, "Barack Obama is under constant death threats and you're critiques do not help him." Response?

C.I.: Let me. A) Barack's 'death threats' have always been inflated. B) No one here wants him to die in office. We're all fully aware that would turn him into a martyr. It would have done the same with Bully Boy Bush if he'd died in office. We want Barack to serve out his term and for the American people to see what a backstabber he is. C) In America, we have the right to critique our leaders -- who work for us -- and when we fail to use that right, we weaken it.

Ava: Support with everything C.I. just said. I will further add that under Bully Boy Bush, the left and 'left' would regularly decry the Secret Service following up on leads -- including some very laughable 'threats'. With Barack in the White House, the same Matthew Rothschilds that once decried, for example, the Secret Service visiting a man who allegedly made a threat at a gym, rush to accept every threat as legitimate. The 'Baracks In Danger' motif was started in 2007 by the campaign. Michelle Obama echoed it most publicly back then. But it was a little strategy that was supposed to make people rush to his aid. If threats are up -- and if they're credible -- his campaign -- and David Axlerod specifically -- will have to take the blame for that. But no one here wants him to die in office. We don't want to turn the Corporatist War Hawk into a martyr.

Jess: "Mrs. Obama" -- no, it is not Michelle Obama or anyone related to Barack Obama -- e-mailed to say, "You are all just the most hateful people in the world. Barack has promised to end the Iraq War. He has promised to deliver health care for all. He has promised to restore the rule of law. You give him credit for nothing. "

C.I.: Again, let me jump in. He's promised, Mrs. Obama? He's promised? Promises are what a candidate does. When you move into the office you were elected to, you're supposed to provide action, not more promises.

Stan: I would just add that we do refer to him as "President." This community never referred to Bush with that title.

Jess: Jerry e-mails wanting to know "which left gasbag you feel did the most damage in 2008?"

Wally: Just one? That's going to be hard.

Jess: How about we go around in a circle? Wally, Kat, Betty, Ava, C.I., Rebecca and I are all in California. Trina, Ruth, Mike, Elaine, Stan and Marcia are participating via phone from Trina's. Trina, how about you start and everyone on your end go and then we'll jump in?

Trina: Okay. I feel bad because I know Elaine's probably planning on saying him but Howard Zinn. When he endorsed Barack Obama, that was just monumnetally disgusting. It was betrayal of everything he was supposed to stand for and only drove home that he no longer stands for anything other than turning "A People's" into a brand. I keep waiting for his "A People's History Of Undergarments" line at Victoria's Secret. After everyone basically recoiled at his craven nature, he quickly insisted he was withdrawing his endorsement and was instead endorsing Cynthia McKinney. But he didn't really endorse her and, since the election, he either says he endorsed Barack or, if an interviewer says it, he doesn't correct. Coward Zinn is my choice.

Ruth: Trina went with someone for the latter half of 2008, I am going to go with the first half. I would say FAIR. In terms of its own website, in terms of its radio program, it behaved disgracefully. As Ava and C.I. documented, throughout 2008, they ignored sexism until the end of May when the primaries were ending and then they noted that Hillary had been called a bitch on CNN. One sentence. Then they were off to poor Barack which had been their weekly lament every week in 2008. I lost so much respect for them and I feel they are garbage, they are unethical and they really exposed themselves in 2008.

Marcia: I have to go with Amy Goodman. Long before I ever had my own site, I was known in the community as a huge Democracy Now! fan. "Democracy Now!, always worth watching, as Marcia says," would pop up at The Common Ills over and over. And I did say that back in 2004 and 2005. And then came 2008 and we saw her do all the things that she so long condemned others for. Oh, look, we're in New Hampshire and our guest is Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell. Amy told us that. She refused to tell us that the professor presented as objective had already been campaigning for Barack for over six months. Little stunts like that. Constant lying. Constant whoring. Amy Goodman's trash, I despise her and can't believe I ever used to wake up eager to catch her hideous show.

Stan: For me it was Greg Palast. Watching him rip apart Hillary Clinton over and over and never take on Barack? It just proved what a whore those beggars of Panhandle Media are. Greg Palast was on Air America Radio last month whining about Barack. But forgetting to point out that it was whores like himself that sold Barack to begin with. I bought two of his books. I'm done with him. His 'keen eye' arrives on Barack way too late.

Elaine: I think everybody's had great answers. I'm going to go with Alexander Cockburn and CounterPunch. Alex would love to pretend in 2009 that he was a critical voice. He wasn't. He didn't just run the garbage of others, he regularly tongue bathed Barack during the primaries. It may have been due to his demented hatred for Hillary. But he did tongue bathe Barack. For those wondering, that did not happen with John Kerry. In 2008, even Alex wanted to whore it. Or maybe you just had to to be a member of the Cockburn family?

Mike: For me, it's Socialist Worker. US. I thought throughout 2008 that there was no difference between their garbage and what I'd find in American Progress. Here's a hint to "Socialist" Worker: If you're a Socialist, you aren't happy with a great liberal Democrat and you're certainly not thrilled with a Corporatist War Hawk like Barack.

Jess: Okay, now we're left with those of us in California and I want us to start with Kat because I'm not sure she's spoken yet.

Kat: Sure. KPFA. No one individual. They all whored it. Except Bonnie Faulkner. Dennis Bernstein is demented on the subject of Hillary Clinton so he did pimp Barry O. But they all did. Aimee Allison, the Green who was going to mean that KPFA would show some real independence on air? Kool-Aid drinker who repeatedly disgraced herself on air. The New Yorker cover? Remember that 2008 faux controversy? Aimee 'moderated' a discussion on the New Yorker cover and she felt the need to tell listeners how offended and outraged she was by the cover. It was a parody for those who have forgotten. Aimee Allison represents all that is wrong with KPFA and she is far from alone. There is no independence at KFPA. And don't forget they repeatedly allowed pledged Barack delegate Norman Solomon to come on as an 'objective' voice and didn't feel the need to tell listeners the reality. Only after repeated phone calls did KPFA decide to get honest. And Aimee also hosted the alleged debate between Norman and some guy with PUMA where Aimee let Norman commandeer the segment and repeatedly cut the guy off. That's how she moderates a debate? That's damn embarrassing. That's pathetic. And never forget the 'debate' analysis that led Ava and C.I. to coin the term "Panhandle Media," where KPFA offered two hours of analysis of a Hillary and Barack debate but forgot to tell the listeners that all the 'experts' had publicly endorsed Barack before being booked for the show.

Wally: Betty's next to Kat but pointing to me to go ahead of her. This really is a difficult thing because there are so many. I think I'll go with Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive. He LIED to people. He led them to believe he was a Democrat as he cheered Barry O on. This year, Matty finally stepped out of the closet and admitted he was a Socialist. Readers of The Progressive should have known that all along. It's a political magazine. He was shredding Hillary to pieces over and over. Readers had a right to know this wasn't a Democratic critique. Matty knows that and he knew it then which is why he stayed in his closet. The Progressive is just the land of the nutty. You've got Ruth Conniff drooling about how she likes Joe Klein and Mike Huckabee and she never has a damn clue. Then you've got all the idiots like Matty and Coward Zinn and that ugly woman Babsie. The crazy idiot whose daughter now works for the administration -- a fact that Babsie's columns should disclose but do not -- and the daughter has advocated for the registration of journalists. That whole magazine's crap except Will Durst. I include Kate Clinton as crap because she never called out Barack's use of homophobia in 2008 and also because she thinks she's much cuter than she is. She'd do well to stop trying to be cute in print and try to write a column that actually matters. I'm from Florida originally -- meaning we know Larry King's bad columns. And Kate Clinton writes like a student of Larry King.

Rebecca: I think Betty wants to go last because she's pointing to me. For me, it's real easy: Robert Parry. Robert Parry spent how many years being a defender of Bill Clinton. Suddenly Hillary's running and Robert Parry's an anti-Clinton. He's tossing out one crazy theory after another and generally embarrassing himself. I know Sam Parry got into the whole FaceBook Barack craze early on. That's no excuse for what Robert Parry did. He destroyed his own work and revealed himself to be a joke. I will never visit Consortium again. I don't care if Robert Parry wrote a piece entitled "I was a cheap lying whore." No mea culpa will ever allow me to forgive him because when it mattered he whored. It's too late now for him to play mea culpa. The damage is done.

Jess: Dona works her ass off each roundtable trying to keep track of who's speaking and who isn't. Without her, I keep thinking we're missing someone. As Rebecca noted, Betty apparently wants to go last so I'll jump in. Robert Parry was a huge disappointment. But for me it was Robert Scheer. We do not link to Truthdig as a result of his 2008 antics. Those included his attacks on women. They also included his attacks on democracy -- he should have been embarrassed by what he said to Ralph on the 2007 Nation cruise, instead the Idiot Scheer thought it was something to post online. Robert Scheer's a man who should have retired a long time ago. A long time ago.

Ava: C.I. and I are going to say "The women of The Nation." While we were taking notes, I was also putting question marks in the margins and we finally decided on those. So we're doing a shared answer. That's Betsy Reed, the non-writer, who shows up to insist Hillary Clinton isn't a feminist. That was garbage and it was a GOP move actually. It's the sort of lie you expect from them.

C.I.: And it was the same ground Lying Laura Flanders went after. She's part of that crazy Cockburn family Elaine was talking about. What a pathetic excuse for a human being Laura is. For years, she did a radio show from this area and, back then, she was an out and proud lesbian. Then she moves to New York and hops in the closet. Not only does she hide in the closet -- talking about her cat on the air but never about her lover -- but she also refused to call out Barack for using homophobia in 2007, for putting homophobes on the road right before the general election or for the whole Rick Warren embrace. Laura Flanders is a disgusting joke and that was among the sad moments of 2008 for me. She's not a Democrat. I never would have thought she'd have whored it for a Democrat. But, hey, she lied to Air American Radio listeners on the night of the 2004 elections as she pretended she was in the same boat they were when, in fact, she did not vote for John Kerry. So she's just a repeated liar.

Ava: And then you had Katha the Feminist for Barack. Big girl Katha, big boned Katha, with those huge arms, took time off from her bad poetry to endorse Barack. What a proud moment for feminism, right? The first real chane of a woman president and there's 'feminist' Katha endorsing the man. How very typical. How very telling.

Jess: Okay, Betty, it's just you.

Betty: For me, it's White 'Lefties.' I loathe them. Whether it's Amy Goodman or some other Communist or Socialist gasbag, I loathe them. I loathe being treated as a prop for them to feel special. I loathe the way they repeatedly turn everything into race. And I loathe all their cries of racism. I hope that others in the Black community have paid attention and are grasping just how much we are used by people like Amy Goodman. It's not about us or helping us, it's about their attempts to destroy the system. We're just pawns they use. And I believe the real reason they are so quick to scream "racism!" at other Whites is due to the fact that even they know they're racists. Tim Wise, for example, raging racist.

Marcia: Amen.

Betty: And it takes tremendous racism to present yourself as the voice of the Black struggle when, like Tim Wise, you are a White man. And it's a sign of just how disgusting Panhandle Media is: They book Tim Wise. They let him self-present as an expert and they push that lie as well. Think about it, we can't even get on the air most days but, to discuss the State of Black America, KPFA and others will book White Tim Wise. It's disgusting. And they played their little race games all through 2008. Speaking of race game players, did anyone notice that Grannies For Peace didn't join Cindy on the Vineyard? Grannies For Peace, the original Barack Kool-Aid Drinkers of the Communist set. And they couldn't back up Cindy because that would have required calling out Barack. Who is bi-racial but the concept is lost on Whites.

Kat: Can I just back up Betty here? If Dean Lewis presents as an expert on women and KPFA was booking him to talk about women, we'd be offended. We should also be offended that White Tim Wise is booked as the voice of Black America.

Jess: Dean Lewis?

Kat: I was watching some Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis films earlier.

Jess: Okay. Anyone else want to comment on what Betty said?

Stan: Yeah. I agree with her and I think everyone here does. But especially with the Grannies For Peace, yeah. What, were they too busy thinking up more 'Sarah Palin is in bed' skits? Is that why they couldn't back up Cindy Sheehan? Forget going there, they didn't even issue an alert. They did nothing for her. But that's to be expected from those Barack worshippers. In terms of Betty's point about us being used, I also agree and I find it really amazing to listen to, for example, Amy Goodman who always seems to be on the lookout for some Black experience she can spin to benefit herself.

Jess: Okay, we're going to stop there. We worked through a huge number of e-mails for a roundtable. Thank you to Ava and C.I. who went through the e-mails to select potential ones. Our e-mail address is
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }