Sunday, September 11, 2011


Jim: Roundtable time and if we miss something you wanted noted, our e-mail address is Participating in this 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.


Jim (Con't): Ava and C.I. will be typing this up, we thank them. We're just recording this and they'll type up the transcript from the recording. They're doing two TV pieces this week. If they finish in time, they'll be joining us for this roundtable.

Ty: First up, a question for Jess from the e-mails. Will e-mails wondering what Jess finds relaxing?

Jess: Honestly? Hmmm. I guess listening to some good music and making seven layer dip. I'm thinking of an evening last week. Slicing the avocados and green onions and tomatoes and mixing the refried beans and hot sauce and the sour cream and taco seasoning, it was just really relaxing.

Mike: Did you have on an album?

Jess: No, I was listening to a mix on the iPod. Some Zeppelin, some Morning Jacket, some Fiona Apple, some Ben Harper, it was a variety of artists.

Dona: Which reminds me of Elaine's "Sleight of Hand."

Elaine: Yeah, I was going to write about the Libyan War but ended up writing about music instead. Which is not to blow off the war but it is to write about something that matters as well. I think music's all we've got these days. I was writing about Carly Simon with a nod to Jack Johnson. I feel we've been let down by so many people -- those of us against the wars -- and I just feel like music is one of the few things that's tangible, that's real. I do understand what Jess is describing. Music can restore my sense of well being on a really bad day. Our supposed 'leaders'? Not so much. I also wrote about music because Trina and I were talking about it before we did our entries that night and she actually wrote about cooking and music "Okra Mix in the Kitchen."

Trina: And I understand what Jess is saying and agree and certainly agree with Elaine. And she's not saying worship Robert Plant or Tori Amos or whomever. She's saying we can trust in their music. And that there's damn little else you can trust in. Tom Hayden? What a whore. What a cheap whore. Leslie Cagan? That bitch is trying to ease back in and pretend like she didn't destroy the peace movement. I'm not in the mood for whores. They have done so much damage to the left.

Stan: You know what else does damage to the left? The bulls**t Doug Henwood thinks makes for radio. Barack Obama gave a speech Thursday night on jobs. Doug Henwood is an economist. Instead of his doing his damn job on Saturday's show, the little bitch thought we wanted another attack on What Republicans Are Really Like based upon what some turncoat has to say. Wake the F**K Up. I don't give a damn what some turncoat has to say. I don't care who they're a turncoat on. There's a world of difference between a whistle blower and a turncoat. I don't trust a Benedict Arnold. But we get to play "Oh, you're so great because you broke free of Republicans." Reality, do your damn job, Doug Henwood, or get the hell off the air. You're supposed to be doing a show based on economics. Instead of getting that, we got a turncoat and more about how Cracker Doug don't believe in no 9-11 conspiracy. Tight ass, shut the f**k up. Truly.

Marica: It's very rare Stan gets this mad.

Jim: Marcia's Stan's cousin, she should know. Stan, you are angry.

Stan: I am. Doug Henwood's an economist. Right now, Ava and C.I. are working on a piece about Barack's speech on the economy. They spent most of Friday night speaking to economic professors, calling friends who are CEOs, and I would hear them repeatedly say, "Walk me through this, I don't understand it." They busted their ass on research and they're not economists. Doug is one and the speech was major -- I think it was all b.s. -- and instead of doing his damn job, he's off on attacks on the Tea Party -- which he's done all along -- and he's attacking the 9-11 Truth Movement.

Jess: I'm with Stan. Doug Henwood needs to stop jerking off and do his damn job. If the president gives a speech on the economy and you're Doug Henwood, you're first priority is to address that. If you're not, you're just jerking off. And, sorry, Doug, I don't want to watch you jerk off.

Jim: I'll add that Ava and C.I. did not want to cover the speech. They made it very clear to me that with Bush, they only covered the Iraq War speeches. They didn't do the economy. I told them I thought we needed it. They agreed under pressure to me and I'm sorry that they had to do so much research. I should have known they would because that is their approach.

Mike: Yeah, they easily spent five hours Friday night alone on this. I mean C.I. did 15 minutes for the Iraq Study Group we have every Friday and she usually willing to go beyond that if people have questions or comments. But she didn't have the time because of the pre-work she and Ava had to do. So she did 15 minutes on Hadi al-Mehdi, the Iraqi journalist who was assassinated in his home Thursday, and she read from some of the e-mails she'd exchanged with Hadi.

Kat: And it was powerful and she was crying at the end, a lot of people were, and as she's walking off, she's on the phone with someone -- an economist or business person -- wiping her eyes and nose and immediately launching into questions on Barack's speech. I had no idea Doug Henwood ignored the speech, but now that I know he did, I share Stan's outrage. I mean Ava and C.I. knocked themselves out Friday night, they spent five hours doing calls on this topic and at least an hour after comparing notes and trying to rough out a basic approach to the topic. And Doug Henwood's an economist and he's taking a pass on the speech. What a little bitch.

Wally: Let me offer a critique on that, on the left response. There was very little. There was a bunch of praise. Ava and C.I. pointed this out Saturday on the plane ride back here, but it was all about style, the so-called left and their response. They didn't want to tackle the realities, the numbers involved. Or what consquences the plan would have -- especially for Medicare and Social Security. And so I share Stan and Kat's disgust with Doug Henwood. It was a chicken s**t move on his part to avoid the speech. And that takes us back to Elaine and Trina's point about how the voices of the left constantly betray us. They're too damn interested in being 'players' and not in providing information. What a bunch of losers. And how disappointing that Doug Henwood elected to become one of those losers.

Ann: I think a larger critique can be made about this being done on every topic. Reporters offer style critiques because it's easier than addressing the issues, addressing the issues requires actual work. Look at any debate, look at last week's GOP debate. Claims are made. Instead of addressing whether they're true or not or what effect they would have on the country, it becomes, "Did Ron Paul and Rick Perry throw down? Who came off better?" This is the pattern over and over. That's not excusing Doug Henwood, I'm sad he's decided to be part of the problem. But this is what happens repeatedly. And I'm also not saying that presentation doesn't matter. It could easily be half the critique and commentary. But no more than half. Instead it tends to be 100%.

Dona: And I agree with Ann that it is part of the equation, but they're not honest even when they're addressing presentation or style and if anyone doubts that they should think about the way Bully Boy Bush got graded by the commentariat. While it's true that he got worse and worse at speaking as he occupied the White House, this is the idiot who before the Supreme Court installed him in the White House couldn't even get "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" right. This is the man whose petty tirades were caught on an open mike when he and Dick Cheney were trashing reporter Adam Clymer. We could list hundreds of examples. The reality is that the commentariat was highly dishonest. So let's not pretend that when they obsess over presentation they're actually doing their job there either.

Betty: I'd agree with that and note that their 'observations' are never surprising -- meaning their 'observations' tend to fit the script that was written before a debate. They fawn over the front runner they love and they trash the ones they don't. They claim they're just providing observations and analysis but they're cherry picking to fit the narrative that they've already selected. And I would argue that if the speech is about the economy and you're an econimist, you've got no reason to grade presentation, you need to jump in and address the proposals themselves. If you don't, you're not doing your job. And the truth is most of them are not doing their jobs. And the failure of so much of the left to rise up against Barack's proposals that will harm Social Security and Medicare goes to the inability of the left to do their job.

Rebecca: It was decided in 2008 that Barack was more important than the people of Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Now the attempt to get The Great Failure four more years means that it's been decided he's also more important than those two groups plus Americans. He has failed to keep campaign promises, he has failed to lead, he has failed to improve the economy. His minions repeat the mantra of "Bush tax cuts!" and that only works (a) your first year in office and (b) when you don't extend those same tax cuts. When the Bush White House tried to blame Bill Clinton, my attitude was, "You wanted the job, do the job and stop your whining and blame games." Barack knew what he was getting into and should have come into office with a bold works program and other necessary things. And whether it was Paul Krugman or Dean Baker or this economist or that, on the left there was full agreement before Barack was sworn in that this was what was needed. He refused to listen. He refused to do what experts said was needed. That was the decision he made. The inability to improve the economy is a result of his actions and he needs to be held accountable.

Marcia: But he won't be and it will be another year of race baiting by a bunch of White people. I'm not letting my own race off, Blacks will race bait to advance Barack as well. But you'll notice Blacks aren't at The Progressive, Blacks don't host Democracy Now! or Flashpoints or this program or that program. It will be the same race baiting as 2008 from the same race baiters -- the same ones, by the way, who've refused to say one word about the targeting of Black Libyans by the so-called 'rebles' in the Libyan War.

Jim: And do you think it will work?

Marcia: No. I don't. I think you can only make charges for so long before people are bored with you. I think that trying that scheme again will end up backfiring and hurting Barack Obama's chances for re-election. Because here's reality -- he got elected the first time. When he was sworn in, polls were at 70% approval. Hope abounded. This same group of Americans suddenly became nasty, vile racists four years later? No, I don't think so.

Isaiah: And I honestly do believe that the race baiting worked in 2008. A lot of White guilt added up to votes for the blank slate. But Barack's not a blank slate this time. He will not have Republicans crossing over, he's obviously lost independents. And you can't lose them in the way he has and then somehow win them back. The independents are gone. He's losing Democrats and one of those stupid Airs at The Nation tried to insist that "progressive" Democrats are still with him. [For critiques of that, see "He leaves tax payers on the hook" and "THIS JUST IN! BARRY O CONTINUES TO FLOUNDER!" & "Ari Mebler tries to punk, get punked instead."] If true, and it's not, the reality is that it takes all Democrats to win and "progressive" Democrats isn't a third of the pie. And I honestly think that idiot for The Nation knew that but thought his article would 'stop the bleeding.' I think whores at The Nation and elsewhere are in a major panic because they've spent three years ridiculing and jeering the Republicans, after insisting that the 2008 election forever changed the map, only to slowly realize that a Republican just might win the 2012 election. They're in a panic. They're pissing their pants as Barack continues to poll in record lows, as Latino support drops to less than half, as even African-American support drops. 80% in one poll and that's 17% lower than in 2009. So, yeah, Barack's in real trouble and we get the whores pretending otherwise thinking that will stop people from talking about just how much trouble he's in.

Jim: Why stop the talking? Why try?

Rebecca: Using the things noted already, I'd say, I'm talking public releations here, the race baiting silenced a lot of criticism of Barack. And it created this wall where jokes couldn't be made about him -- American Dad did an episode where Republican Stan is basically drooling over him but when they did their Bush episode while Bush was in the White House, Hayley was able to rip him apart -- where criticism existed on the margins. And what they created was a public afraid to point out that the emperor wasn't wearing clothes. The polls indicate a scary reality for the likes of Ari Mebler and Ari Berman and all the other little whores because the people are not scared anymore to talk about Barack. They're not afraid saying he's doing a lousy job -- and he's doing a lousy job -- means they're racists. When this gets reported on, when a Congress member like Peter DeFazio out of Oregon -- and a progressive Democrat -- is repeatedly telling the press that his district's support for Barack has declined significantly, it encourages other honesty. And honesty is what kills Barack's re-election chances. Honesty means he's judged by what he did or didn't do. Not how he made a bunch of White writers feel warm inside. And that's why the Aris, the "Airs," show up with their crap. They're lying and they're lying. But they're whores. They whored in 2008 and now they're whoring again. They're not being honest, they're not being journalists, they're being Karl Rove and James Carville but those men were paid to lie when they were running campaigns. So the fear is that the no-criticism mandate they imposed is falling apart a year before the election and that has them running scared.

Jim: Alright. We'd planned to go another way with the roundtable and address e-mails, that didn't happen and that's okay. Dona slid me a note stating Ruth hasn't spoken. So Ruth, your thoughs on what's being discussed?

Ruth: Well we have talked about a number of things. Including the whoring for St. Barack, cooking and truth. So I would just note that when you try to deny the truth, it becomes like keeping a lid on a boiling pot. At some point, that lid is going to pop or the water is going to boil over or you are going to burn the pan. But you will not ever be able to deny what is happening forever. And that is the lesson the Cult of St. Barack should have learned long before 2012 was looming.

Jim: Thank you, Ruth. And Ava and C.I. have just joined us as we are winding down. Ava, you two wrote two TV pieces this week.

Ava: Yes. One is on Barack's speech and that was a pain in the ass to write. It was a pain in the ass to watch as well. We tried to address the economic proposals and we spent a lot of time on Friday and on Saturday asking people what his airy proposal meant. In addition, we addressed the speech itself in terms of the supposed style that had a number of idiots gushing. It was bad on proposals, it was bad on style and we document both in that piece.

Jim: C.I., you also wrote another piece.

C.I.: Leon Panetta was a major force in the news cycle on Tuesday as well as Wednesday and through the week as a result of an option -- one of many -- the White House is considering on Iraq. Tuesday, he taped an interview that aired later that day. And it got ignored. Probably due to the outlet. But that's what Ava and I cover in the other piece, how in that interview he floats a number of things including that veterans retirement benefits are on the table.

Jim: He specifically states veterans retirement benefits?

C.I.: Yes, he does. He says all things are on the table and specifically cites veterans retirement benefits. Besides pointing that out, we include a lengthy passage from his discussion on that topic.

Jim: Okay, so that's going to wrap up this roundtable. This is a rush transcript. Ava and C.I. didn't take notes this time but they did agree to type the whole thing up so we thank them for that.
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