Sunday, February 05, 2012


Jim: Jorje e-mails, "Only one roundtable so far this year? Are you doing away with them? They are my second favorite feature!" His first favorite feature? Ava and C.I.'s TV pieces. No, Jorje, we're not doing away with roundtables. We've almost done one twice in the last four weeks but just not had the time. But since you wrote, our e-mail address is, we're making sure we do one this edition. 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); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; and Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts. Betty's kids did the illustration, Ava and C.I. are taking notes and you are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Reader Isabelle is very concerned about the November presidential election. She writes, "I'm supporting Jill Stein, who I hope will get the nomination of the Green Party, but I've not seen the Green Party make enough noise, let alone call Obama out, in the last months to suggest that even if Jill gets the nomination that she'll be able to make a case without being undercut by the Green Party. Does that make sense?" Isabelle probably knows this already but Jess and Ann are Greens. We'll let them grab this one and start with Jess.

Jess: I only know Jill Stein's campaign. Roseanne is also running but has stated she believes Stein will get the nomination and that she -- Roseanne -- will cease her campaign when that happens. I think Roseanne's running both to raise issues and to get the Greens some press -- which they need. So this could lay the groundwork for a serious Green run for the presidency. And we might need to bring Trina and Mike -- Trina for sure -- into this because Stein ran twice to be the governor of Trina's state. But back to Isabelle's e-mail, I do understand her fears. It's getting very hard to respect the Green Party. In election years, there members take to pathetic programs like Democracy Now to encourage people to vote for the Democrat and in non-election years the national headquarters refuses to call out Democrats. Their track record with regards to Barack is appalling suggesting that the Green Party membership must approve of all the decisions Barack has made -- including his appalling handling of the Gulf Oil Disaster. Ann?

Ann: I agree with Jess' observations regarding the Green Party national leadership being the biggest problem for a viable third party in the United States. They have consistently undercut any serious challenge to the Democratic Party time and time again. As for candidates, I also only know of Jill Stein and Roseanne. Anyone else?

C.I.: It's likely there are or will be more but one who is running again is Kent Mesplay. He ran for the nomination in 2008.

Jim: Are you sure? I'm at the Green Party website and I see a post congratulating Stein and Roseanne ---

C.I.: Mesplay announced he was running for the nomination last spring. Dallas hunts down all the links for these roundtables -- and for a great deal else in each edition -- and we thank him for that. If he needs help hunting down the Mesplay links, I'll find them, but Mesplay did declare last spring.

Jim: Yeah, you're right, if you scroll through the website, you finally can find something on that. Ann, back to you.

Ann: I would love to see a real campaign. I would love to see the Green Party call out Barack with as much outrage as they showed Bush. If they could do that, they could emerge as a viable alternative, even if they only got a small percentage of the vote. But 2008 was a year that a lot of the left looked to the Green Party and what they saw did not inspire them. I know from conversations with so many Democrats in real time as well as from e-mails to my site, that a lot of Democrats were eager to move over to the Green Party, especially after July 4, 2008 when Barack began to publicly back away from his "I will get the troops out! As soon as I'm sworn in! I will start withdrawal!" But what they found was a v.p. candidate they considered frighteningly unaware and also one unaware that she wasn't the v.p. on the Democratic Party ticket. I attended one of Rosa Clemente's rare appearances and she spent as much time vouching for the goodness of Barack Obama as in making the case for the McKinney-Clemente ticket, leaving me to wonder if Cynthia McKinney was wasting public appearances doing the same?

Jim: There's no Democratic challenger to Saint Barack so we've got nothing to cover that way. Ava and C.I. have been critiquing NPR's primary and caucus results live coverage. We've not really done election pieces otherwise this year. We can look for something from Jill Stein to run this edition --

Ava: If we do, we need to grab a photo of her to use as well. She's faceless to a lot of people because she's shut out by the media. If we're noting her campaign we need to note it with a photo.

Jim: Good point. In 2011, I believe we've commented on Ron Paul's campaign. He's still running for the GOP nomination for president. And we can get to Elaine on that in a minute, but first I do want to toss to Trina. Dallas just i.m.ed me the following:

In "Roundtable," I noted I was voting for Jill Stein for governor. Just disclosing that. I came to the decision this weekend. I'll be voting in the mid-terms. I'm not sure if I'll vote for any other office. Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate. If you live in my state, please consider checking out her website. She may or may not be right for you, that's up to you to decide; however, I know she's gotten very little media coverage so you may not be familiar with her.

Jim (Con't): That's from October 25, 2010, Trina, your website. Your take on Jill Stein today?

Trina: I thought she had a great platform and made great efforts to reach people. She was on the Green-Rainbow Party ticket, which is the Green Party in my state but they're a lot more fiery and spirited than the national leaders. She got something like 1.5% of the votes. Besides write-ins, she was also competing against incumbent governor Deval Patrick, Republican Charlie Baker and independent Tim Cahill. The bulk of the votes went to Patrick and Baker -- I think Patrick got 48% and Baker got 42. I thought she ran a strong campaign. She had no surrogates coming into the state the way both Patrick and Baker did. She was the sole woman in the race and repeatedly ignored by The Boston Globe and other outlets who could have used that as a hook but weren't interested. I agree that Roseanne entering the race stands a strong chance of reminding Americans that the Green Party exists and that they are choosing a presidential nominee. So good for Roseanne. I could vote for Jill Stein very easily. She's not yet the nominee of the Green Party, however, so I'll just say I am endorsing her for the nomination.

Jim: Okay. And Roseanne's announcement was covered by Ruth in "Running?" and Kat in "What doesn't kill us is making us stronger." Any thoughts?

Ruth: I do not know Jill Stein. If Trina is endorsing her, that speaks well for Ms. Stein because Trina is no push-over. But, honestly, I would love to see Roseanne get the nomination. Can you imagine her onstage at a debate in October with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, for example? Or Newt Gingrich? Roseanne could tear which ever men were onstage a new one and she has already demonstrated that she is not afraid to call out Mr. Obama. And if she was shut out of the debates? Roseanne would know how to use the media if that happened and turn the shut out into an event.

Kat: I agree with Ruth on those points. In addition to raising attention for the Green Party, Huffington Post points out that Roseanne is also using the campaign to raise awareness on issues: "forgive all student loans, homeowner debt and credit card debt by "kicking out" the Federal Reserve; institute single-payer healthcare within 100 days of her inauguration; pursue those she calls 'financial terrorists'"; reconfigure American diets, shifting away from animal protein and toward protein from nuts (she owns a large macadamia nut farm in Hawaii); and fight for gay rights. Barr has also long been in favor of legalizing marijuana, and has said in the past that she'd abolish all taxes."

Jim: So you two are in disagreement with Trina?

Kat: No. As has been pointed out already, Roseanne intends to end her campaign in July when, she believes, Jill Stein will get the nomination. But we do think -- Ruth and I -- that if Roseanne wanted to really run, she'd make a great nominee.

Ruth: And I am sorry but after 2008, American women are owed a strong voice. After the non-stop attacks on the women of 2008 -- Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Cynthia McKinney -- it is time that we had a strong female voice running for that office who would state loudly and clearly, "You are not going to work out your Mommy issues on me, little boy."

Trina: Agreed.

Jim: Okay. Elaine, you've endorsed Ron Paul and noted you would support him if he got the GOP nomination. What's going on in his campaign?

Elaine: I was noting that not only was the media trying to discredit him but various 'celebs' were doing their part. I quoted a woman who just gave a speech insisting that reproductive rights are under threat and this election she is not tolerating it and blah, blah, blah. She's a movie actress better known for TV these days and a trashy film where she played a woman sleeping with her adult son. If I sound angry, I am. I am so sick of these women who look the other way for Barack but want to scream about reproductive rights for other politicians. And the president of the United States does not determine abortion except with regards to the global gag rule. Laws are passed by Congress and the Supreme Court will handle interpretations. "But the president appoints Supreme Court nominees!" Yes and they make sure that they're almost there -- on both sides of the aisle. Democrats never want to guarantee the life of reproductive rights and Republicans never want to kill it because they use it every eleciton cycle to prompt knee-jerk responses. I've lived through this long enough and fear tactics no longer work on me, so sorry.

Rebecca: And I will add that I remember when abortion was illegal. Women still had them. They were more expensive but they were also more available than they are today when they're legal. I know people will beg to differ but that's the reality. Threats and violence against abortion providers have helped to make abortion -- still legal -- hardly available in most areas in the US. In 2003, the National Abortion Federation found that 88% of the counties in the United States offered no abortion services. That means only 13% did. When it was illegal it was a lot more plentiful and some were inexpensive, such as the ones provided by the group Jane in the sixties. I'm pro-choice, we all are here. I'm pro-abortion. If a woman wants one, she should have one. And that includes a "girl." If you're pregnant, you're a woman. I don't care if you're 12-years-old. Regardless of whether you have an abortion or give birth or miscarry, your life has changed. That's reality.

Jim: When you say that only 13% have access, what's the point you're making?

Rebecca: That reproductive rights and abortion have been used to hold women hostage. The Democratic Party won't fight for those rights and won't try to increase them. But they will steadily chip away at them while claiming that they are the party for women. And yet we are supposed to owe them are votes? I'm tired of the blackmail, as Elaine was saying. You can only force me to live in fear for so long. And if abortion is made illegal? Oh well. Women of generations before me and my generation and generations immediately after fought for reproductive rights, fought for abortion to be legal. If young women today are too busy wetting their panties over Barack to give a damn about abortion, that's on them. I'm not going to spend my life fighting for a procedure that is not appreciated by those most likely to have it. Let it be taken away. Make the little 3rd waviers get off their candy asses and work for something beyond their Girls Gone Wild Trash Culture.

Marcia: I'm a lesbian. The only way I'm going to end up pregnant is rape. If I were raped, I'd have an abortion. And that would be true if it was a legal procedure or not. I agree with Rebecca that a group of younger women -- not all, we're talking about a very distinct group -- have walked away from abortion rights. Except when there's an election and they want to beat up on a Republican. Barack Obama is an embarrassment when it comes to reproductive rights. And when I think of all the women who whored for that bastard, I realize that my life is much better without the musings of Naomi Wolf and her ilk.

Jim: So you're saying that abortion doesn't matter in an election?

Marcia: That's not what I'm saying, that's not what Rebecca's saying. With Congressional votes, reproductive rights will be very important to our votes. But, as Elaine's pointed out, the president of the United States really doesn't do a great deal on the subject. And seeing Dems appoint centrists when the Court needs leftists is not enough to make me give a damn about the Court. If the Court overturned Roe v. Wade, this is Rebecca's point, it might force a number of women who refused to vote their own interests in the 2008 primary to suddenly realize what it's like to be a second-class citizen.

Rebecca: Right because given a strong defender of women's rights and of reproductive rights, idiots like Naomi Wolfe insisted Barack and Hillary were just the same on the issue -- that was a lie -- and that Barack was who they were supporting. Naomi Wolf's an idiot. And thank you, Marcia, for clearing up what we are discussing. Marcia's right, we will place importance on the issue in terms of Congressional races, not in terms of presidents. The only one who really a damn thing about reproduction and women's reproductive rights was Hillary Clinton and, despite receiving the most votes, the nomination was stolen from her.

Jim: Okay. Isaiah, Wally and Cedric, probably more than any two others in the community, you cover politics. Trina's focus is the economy. Stan's is entertainment. Mike and Elaine are more human rights bloggers. Rebecca does a grab bag as does Betty. Marcia and Ruth cover LGBT topics as well as Solyndra and John Edwards. Ann's covering public radio. Kat's primarily music. And, of course, C.I. focuses on Iraq. But the three of you do humor and politics is where you go to for that. Starting with Isaiah, there's no cartoon so far of someone running for the GOP nomination. Why is that?

Isaiah: In 2008, the field was wide open. Bush had to leave. So there were Democrats and Republicans. I grabbed a lot of them then. But I never did Mike Gravel -- whom Elaine endorsed in the primary. I'm not sure if I did a Bill Richards comic either. On the Republican side, I never did a Mitt Romney. I think I got all the rest of them. But I'm looking for a key moment to capture. And so that's what I'm going by. If I wanted to be lazy and stupid, I could do a cartoon about Mitt Romney and how ridiculous it was that he said he's not worried about the poor. And I could lie and leave it at that as so many did -- including Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me in their Saturday broadcast. But I don't set out to lie so that won't be the moment. There's a comic I want to do that I probably should have done two comics back. But I may do that. It would be about Barack. When Bush was in the White House, he was the main topic. It's the same as with Barack today.

Ty: Is there any sense -- this came from an e-mail reader Pete sent in -- that you don't want to influence the competition?

Isaiah: Probably. I don't like Newt Gingrich. I don't like him at all. That goes back to the 90s for me. And I'm aware of it. So if I did a comic on him, it would force me to do one on Romney. I'd have to be fair.

Ty: Do you like Romney?

Isaiah: I have no opinion of him, I don't think ill of him, I don't root for him.

Jim: Cedric and Wally?

Cedric: I can relate to a lot of what Isaiah said. For background, Wally and I do joint-posts. Wally was doing his site before me. Also true, Wally was doing humor posts from the start. I didn't do humor posts until the 2006 elections, a few months before. I was going to stop posting because I'm a Democrat and was volunteering on local candidates campaigns. I really didn't have time to continue posting the way I had. So Wally heard about it and called me up and said, "Let's write together." It was a way to help me keep posting while I worked on the campaigns and we've continued it because it's so much fun. Now Wally took on the White House every day. His site starts in 2005, right? And the focus was established as the White House. In 2008, when we were doing joint-posts, we began to focus on Barack. I'm talking before he was even the official nominee. And that was due to the Cult of Personality being created around him that is so similar to the one that had been around Bully Boy Bush all those years. It's an election year and we do cover the GOP. But our primary focus is Barack and one of the main reasons is so many won't go after Barack. Even after all this time, they won't go after him. They'll go to town on any other Democrat and all Republicans but they're too scared and chicken to go after Barack.

Jim: Wally?

Wally: Like Cedric said, where there is silence, we are. That's the only way to be. If you're part of the silence, why are you doing a blog? Why are you bothering to write anything? To be part of the go-along crowd? I can't imagine a greater waste of time. Ten years from now -- long after the community sites have all gone black -- I'll look back at this time and be proud that I didn't sell out. I'll remember that it wasn't easy because, especially at the start of 2009, there was so much hatred aimed at you if you wouldn't enlist in the Cult of St. Barack. And I'll remember that a lot of left 'leaders' were dirty whores. But that we did our part to stand up and stay true to the what we're supposed to stand for and believe in on the left. And like I said, I'll take pride in that.

Jim: Dona had an e-mail she wanted to note.

Dona: Calvin wrote us asking about Betty. And he noted she writes about her personal life at her site so he hoped it was okay to ask but she's "not leaving California, is she?" Meaning, moving back to Georgia.

Betty: Not anytime soon. By that I mean the next years. The kids love their schools. Uprooting them? It was hard in Georgia to uproot them. They had my parents and their aunts and uncles. And just the whole packing. But dealing with new friends and new schools is never easy. They've adjusted out here and, as I've noted before, there's no longer a division of my company in Atlanta. If I hadn't listened to my father and taken the promotion I was offered a few years back, I'd be in Georgia without a job right now. But the kids love it and it's where the job is. And let's not kid that I don't love it. The lowest it's been this week is 55 degrees I think. If I were in Georgia right now? I hate the cold, winters are not my season. So when I hear someone out here complaining about the cold, I try not to laugh at them. I try not to say, "Try putting up with days in the 30s and, worse, high 20s." My oldest son already told me, over the summer, that if I should try to move back to Georgia before he graduates high school, he'll just stay here, stay on at C.I.'s. And he's serious. This has become home for them. And that's because of C.I., Jess, Ty, Jim, Dona, Ava and Kat as well as their school friends. I can carry this response over to my site on Monday. Thank you, Calvin for the question.

Jim: And, Betty, where do you fall on the 2012 election currently?

Betty: Like Elaine, I will vote for Ron Paul if he gets the nomination. If he doesn't? I will probably give great consideration to Jill Stein's campaign. That said, I will also be willing to consider Mitt Romney if he gets the nomination. And let me be clear, I will vote for Ron Paul if he gets the GOP nomination. That's not in dispute. They will have my vote with Ron Paul. But if he doesn't get it, I will explore options and those include Jill Stein, Mitt Romney and simply not voting.

Jim: Could anyone else vote for Mitt Romney?

Mike: Yeah. I could vote for him with little trouble or concern. He was my state's governor. I remember him as that. I don't think he's all that controversial. Like Betty, I am not voting for Barack. No way, No how, nObama. But I could vote for Mitt Romney. Is he perfect? No. Could he beat Barack? Probably. And I do not believe we reward Bush's behavior. All Barack's done is continue it so I could never vote for Barack. He's a War Hawk and an opponent of the Constitution, whistleblowers and more.

Dona: Mike, I want to jump to your mother for a second. Trina, I was listening to Prarie Home Companion Saturday night while getting my daughter down for the night and Garrison Keillor made a point that sounded like Ava and C.I. He pointed out that for all the drama, the results of the 2012 presidential race would not be the end of the world and the country would survive, that, in all our lifetimes, we've already seen that demonstrated -- he was referring to Bush. And you wrote this last month, "Mitt was not the devil. Mitt was an okay governor. I don't plan voting for him for president but if he should win and if he's a president in the way he was a governor, a lot of this screaming and fretting is really stupid. He's to the right of me but he's not a monster." A lot of readers might think that Mike wasn't old enough to evaluate Romney. Was he in elementary school then?

Trina: Dona, I'm sorry. When do you think he was my governor?

Dona: I assumed before the 2000 Olympics.

Trina: Okay, yeah, no. Mitt Romney was elected governor in 2002, sworn in in 2003. Mike was in high school when Romney was governor. And for readers who don't know, I'm Mike's mother.

Dona: Wow, was I wrong. Sorry. But with all the talk of the Olympics in the national media, I assumed that was a post-governor position, that if he were governor after, they would have been exploring his record as governor. I guess I gave the press too much credit, my apologies. Okay, you didn't vote for him Trina, but you're basically saying, as Garrison Keiller did, that it's not the end of the world, the 2012 election, no matter how it goes, correct?

Trina: Yeah. Actually, I think it's more dangerous if Barack's re-elected. That's because there will be bi-partisan consent for what Bush did and what Barack did -- the two are twins. The leadership of both parties have already demonstrated bi-partisan consent but if the voters of the Democratic Party give Barack a second term then that means the rank-and-file of both parties also approves of illegal spying, illegal wars, Guantanamo prisoners and so much more.

Dona: Okay, back to you, Mike. Sorry, I thought you were a little kid when this all took place. You knew Romney as a governor. Is he a nightmare? What was the general attitude of high schoolers towards Romney?

Mike: My mother's written about one of the big problems we saw as a state. Like other states, our infrastructure is crumbling. Unlike others, we had a very real demonstration of that in 2006 when the Fort Point Channel Tunnel saw part of it's ceiling fall loose, land on a car and end up killing one person and injuring another. And that was when Mitt Romney was governor. He was said to be instrumental in ensuring that was repaired and repaired correctly. Now you asked about the reaction of my peer group and that was it. The reaction of Mom's group and the reaction of the press was different. There was a lot of blaming Romney -- and other politicians -- because they had taken political contributions from the contractor involved.

Dona: That's interesting. Trina, did the fallout last long?

Trina: When it appeared that the problem was being addressed -- and it was addressed -- most of the complaints vanished in the media.

Jim: Alright. Now we're going to turn to Ava and C.I. Taryn e-mailed to ask that you please cover the Nevada caucus coverage NPR offered.

Ava: Offered or will offer? In the e-mail.

Jim: It was sent Friday.

Ava: There was no coverage. On our local NPR, KQED, the pledge drive continued over the usual programming. We also phoned a friend with KPCC to ask if there was coverage of the Nevada caucus and they said no. That's fine with us.

C.I.: And we're pointing out here that we've made no promise to cover live coverage of every primary and caucus NPR does. Last week's schedule was crazy with speaking and attending Congressional hearings and other things but we did manage to listen to the Florida primary coverage -- and in part only because we hadn't put a statement up here that we had made no promise to cover all of them.

Jim: Okay. Dona's telling me it's past time. This is a rush transcript.
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