Sunday, November 18, 2012
Dona: Radio talk? Last week, on Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, Cindy spoke with Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford and World Can't Wait's Debra Sweet. It was an important broadcast and we thought we'd roundtable on it. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Participating our roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava, and me, Dona; 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; Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Ruth of Ruth's Report; 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. Isaiah, how about you set us up with an overview of the broadcast?
Isaiah: Sure. The broadcast is kind of a conversation. Kind of because Glen Ford went first with Cindy instead of Glen, Cindy and Debra Sweet all talking together. He had another engagement so the first half of the show was him and Cindy with Debra listening and the second half was Debra and Cindy. The show was taped two days after the presidential election. The topic was that and how we resist imperialism. They also took questions -- both e-mailed and from people on the line during the taping.
Dona: Okay, thank you. Betty, you had a problem with one aspect and wanted to address that.
Betty: It bothered me that Debra Sweet talked about everyone and Glen Ford reduced himself to Black America. Even when asked questions about all Americans. I felt that this was kind of stupid for a number of reasons including if I'm a PBS host and we're going to talk about the economy and I need some guests I don't need to book Glen because he can only talk about Black America. There are many guests, including Black guests, that I could book instead who can can speak on many topics. I felt Glen Ford limited himself.
Marcia: I felt that too. I'm glad you said it. I know C.I. covered the broadcast with an excerpt and chose to go with Debra Sweet only and not Debra and Glen or just Glen. I wondered what that was about so I made a point to stream. After listening, I felt like that was why C.I. went with the excerpt she did. Am I right?
C.I.: I'm not saying Glen Ford was right or wrong or neutral or whatever to speak as he did. But I needed an excerpt for the snapshot and I needed it to be one that would interest the largest number of readers so that they would hopefully listen if they hadn't. And if they weren't going to listen -- and some don't want to and some aren't able to -- I needed a section that said the most about America after the election.
Betty: And that's what I'm talking about. This is just like the PBS host scenario I was talking about. C.I.'s got to find something to include. Many of the statements Glen made applied to all of America but he repeatedly insisted upon applying it just to Black America. I think he limited himself. Cedric?
Cedric: I think his hope or goal was to talk about what he knew and he felt he knew Black America best. Also true, his outlet is Black Agenda Report and that might be a way to plug it. But I do get your point, Betty, and I do agree with you. That's not to say that he didn't make some important comments in his half but it is to note that he should have bone for more than just one section of the country.
Dona: What's one point that stood out to you, Cedric?
Cedric: I thought, sadly, he was right about Black America that can't see beyond bi-racial Barack being 'Black' and they ignore everything else. I was going to say "forgive" everything else. But "forgive" would indicate awareness that something is going wrong and the bulk of Black America lives in denial.
Dona: How would you back that up to someone that said they wanted a number?
Cedric: I would say Barack got 92% of the Black vote. With all of his programs that hurt Black America and his refusal to address the issues that are most pressing to the Black community -- incarceration, poverty, unemployment, etc. -- 92% is a huge figure. I wonder where the other 8% went? Did they go for a Republican? That's fine if they did but I'm just wondering did they go Republican, did they go third party, did they leave the presidential section blank and not vote there?
Ann: That would be interesting to know because I've heard, e-mails, from a large number of African-American Greens. There are like fifty in my area with a large number being family members. So it was interesting to realize how many African-American Greens there are. That doesn't mean they voted Green. Jill Stein wasn't a nominee that brought the Green Party together. Especially in the final weeks when she became increasingly divisive. She ran a lousy campaign. So they may have voted some other way. Some may have taken the "Mitt Romney for the block" and, if so, good for them. Equally true, some may have deluded themselves that Barack was 'Black' and voted for him.
Dona: Alright. Deluded and denial. That's time to move over to Ruth because she told me before we started that she wanted to talk about a radio moment that shocked her and the host was deluded.
Ruth: Right. This is not Cindy Sheehan, by the way. I am leaving her broadcast because the election was on another show, discussed on another show, as well. I was just in shock. The show was Law and Disorder Radio and the person was Michael Ratner. At an end of listing various things Barack Obama is doing as president that we should object to, Mr. Ratner makes a statement about how it was okay to vote for him. What? No, it is not. And it is that embarrassing attidue that is responsible for the sorry state of the country. If Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, cannot call out voting for someone shredding the Constitution, then Michael Ratner needs to go into retirement immediately. He has nothing to offer except being a little chicken and we have enough of those. So get in a chicken coop or find your spine, Mr. Ratner.
Dona: Did he really say that?
Ava: Yes, he did. C.I. and I were listening because she was trying to include it in a snapshot this week. So we were listening and we got to that part, which was before any guest or speech started, and C.I. looked at me and said, "What the f**?" And I said, "I heard it too." Then it was, "Well, there's nothing to highlight there." I agree with Ruth, it was embarrassing. But that's happened many times before on that show. It's amazing that some of us can stand up and others are chicken s**t. I expect a lot better from Michael Ratner. After four years, you'd think they'd be able to call Barack out. Instead, more garbage.
Stan: Ruth, no offense, I'm so sick of Ratner and other Jews with their racial politics.
Ruth: None taken, I know what you mean.
Dona: Well talk about what you mean, Stan?
Stan: Ratner, Goodman and all the rest. There are far too many Jews on 'left' radio. There is no diversity at all. And certainly no diversity among the types of Jews that get on the air. They're all this ridiculous version of the Jewish father in Annie Hall. The mother's griping about their Black maid stealing from them and the father's making excuses like, "She's a colored woman from Harlem. Who else is she supposed to steal from?" I'm just so sick of the patronizing attitude of what I will call the Pacifica Jew.
Dona: Ruth is Jewish. She's not a Pacifica Jew. Ruth, what do you think about that?
Ruth: I agree with Stan. I hear Mr. Ratner make those ridiculous remarks, granting a pass he would never give Bully Boy Bush, and I am deeply aware that a certain type of Jew refuses to call out Mr. Obama due to skin tone. I am as sick of it as Stan is.
Dona: Alright. Debra Sweet was a guest for the second part. We haven't heard from Rebecca, Wally or Isaiah. Isaiah gave an overview but didn't offer his take, so I am including him on the list.
Wally: I'll start. I was glad that Debra didn't just note how little activism was taking place during these Barack years but also that although the activism was more when Bully Boy Bush was in power, it still wasn't enough.
Dona: It really wasn't. I think we should get her exact words about the Bush years and quote that sentence as a truest. It really is true. We should have been in the streets. We should be in the streets even more now. But it is amazing how much more we could have done.
Rebecca: But could we?
Dona; What do you mean?
Rebecca: When there was real activism, we covered it. We did interviews at the January 2007 protest in DC. That was it. That was the last of the big moments. There was important activism after. But that was the last big one. Do you remember that?
Isaiah: Right. It all got channeled into the elections. And also the Democrats were now in power so no one was going to call them out. That really was sort of the farewell stop of the activism. You had people speaking who immediately silenced themselves -- John Conyers, Susan Trash Sarandon -- and others. I'm being kind and saying "and others."
Rebecca: And remember they were using Cindy Sheehan. That's why Cindy got so much coverage. The activists covered her because they believed in what she was doing. But you had the Democratic Bloggers -- like Jude what's her face of Iddybud -- just outright lying about Cindy, from the start, to create a Democratic Party approved Cindy.
Dona: An example?
Rebecca: The most infamous one remains Jude writing that Cindy wasn't against the war or calling for an end to it with Camp Casey -- the original Camp Casey -- she just wanted to hear from Bully Boy Bush why her son Casey died. How stupid is Jude? Not stupid at all. So that makes her a whore. She lied and whored for the Democratic Party.
Wally: And a lot of people did. What bothered me about Glen Ford, not calling him a whore, is that I do agree we will likely see less activism. I don't want him to be a cheerleader. I want him to tell the truth and he did. But I do wonder how that kind of call impacts activism? I don't know. Debra talked about how Republicans and Democrats are both part of the National Security State. And I agree with her. And I think this is the problem. It's identified, now what? How do we accomplish anything against that? I don't know. Like Glen Ford, I'm not real optimistic.
Dona: Okay. Ava and C.I. are going to have to speak again. Having heard Wally, I know that's now needed because we will have readers who react as Wally's talking about. Wally, Kat, Ava and C.I. spend a large part of the year on the road speaking to various groups about the wars. Wally's actually in Florida until January. He's spending time with family. So he's not on the road. Ava and C.I. were on the road last week and the week before. What are you two seeing? Is there any reason to believe something might change?
Ava: I'll go first. I would assume that even those who could take four years of unconstitutional acts of Barack would include a significant number of people who could not take eight years of the same thing. So I have hope there. Call it 'the straw that breaks the camel's back' hypothesis. But I see people reaching their enough points and I see them forcing themselves to call out the actions of Barack.
Dona: Okay. C.I.?
C.I.: There will be no re-election for Barack in 2016. What that means is that insiders will begin to speak even mroe and the press will have even less reason to whore. To be clear, the press always whores for a president. Never before like they've done for Barack. Their efforts to bury news to protect him goes to their own hatred and fear of the country they live in and that's a topic too long to go into. But the press knows that they have a limited time to make their names and that kissing ass isn't going to mean they'll be front and center at the briefings following the 2016 election. So they need to make their names with actual work and not what access has provided. I see a number of people looking at, for instance, Jake Tapper of ABC News and realizing that he's made a name for himself in the last four years as a serious -- probably the most serious -- television journalist. I think they'll be some professional envy as well. So I do see more breaking away from the pack and, possibly by 2015, the pack will actually be the non ass-kissers.
Dona: Okay. Again, we're talking about Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and hopefully, there's something in the above that makes you want to check out the broadcast. This has been a rush transcript.