Sunday, June 13, 2010

Truest statement of the week

If you haven't noticed, Obama is still holding prisoners down at Guantanamo Bay, even though he promised to have the place shut down by six months ago.

-- Matthew Rothschild, "Judge Sides with Guantanamo Detainee" (The Progressive).

Truest statement of the week II

Don't live in a glass house, old woman, cause no one wants to see you in the shower.

-- Mike breaking it down for Diane Rehm in "Idiot of the Week: Diane Rehm."

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday and along with Dallas, the following helped on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
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,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

It was a long, long Sunday. We are finally done. What did we come up with?
Matt Rothschild. This is the opening to a column you should really consider reading in full.
C.I. nominated Mike for this and who can argue. Read his entry for the context.

The illustration is by Betty's kids and we thank them. The editorial itself? We were on fumes. It is what it is.

This is the best piece of the edition. Ava and C.I. wrote this. It's really incredible. You have to pay attention and read it and please note that they left out so much because there just wasn't room. They says: Thank you to Andrea Mitchell who spoke out about Helen Thomas' strengths and her career highs and refused to define her by an off-hand remark or to join in the media kill and they note that there are a few (a small number) whom they could note in addition but Andrea Mitchell deserved special thanks.
Our MidEast roundtable. I (Jim) screwed it up. Even with C.I. cautioning me that I was bringing a point in too soon. Everyone else does a great job. Illustration is by Betty's kids.

We were done and posting the articles. We were just about to post Ava and C.I.'s article when Betty's oldest came over and said, "I don't see our drawing of Helen." Oops. We didn't see it either. We asked where it was and he brought us three drawings which we quickly uploaded to Flickr and figured out what to use two in (editorial and another piece). We had nothing for the Helen Thomas piece because we hadn't planned it. So we let the illustration do the talking and we paired it with Ann's comments. Kat and Betty's kids did this illustration.

This is where we used one of the illustrations. I like this article. One of the few that we wrote as a group that ended up being worth publishing.

Our second roundtable. Most of the group pieces were not working so I suggested we do two roundtables.

Mike, Elaine, Wally, Rebecca, Cedric, Ann, Marcia, Stan, Ruth, Kat and Betty wrote this and we thank them for it.

That's all we got. We'll see you next week. Woops. Andrea Mitchell Reports airs Monday through Friday in the afternoon (1:00 pm EST) on MSNBC. Ava and C.I. asked that that be added in.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Magical August


Get out the gladiolus and the poppies! That magical month of August will be here. Not soon or shortly but it will arrive. And how magical it will be!

"Combat" troops will leave Iraq, over 40,000 of them! And the Gulf Disaster will no longer include spewing oil!

Those are the claims anyway.

From those stupid enough to accept them as "good" deals.

In the real world, a lot of death and destruction will take place between now and the end of August. In the real world, Barack's yet again playing kick the can.

As Hillary Is 44 notes, not a lot of lefties living in the real world these days. Instead, they work overtime to ignore the Gulf Disaster and the Iraq War.

Admitting that neither has been solved (or ceased) by Barack would be admitting their Christ-child is not, in fact, the Messiah.

Beware of false prophets, many have warned but few have added the necessary end to that sentence: "and the fools who believe them."

August should prove most magical. The same way that Barack's closing of Guantanamo did, right?

And point out that Guantanamo remains open six months after Barack's promised deadline for closing it and be told you're hung up on details. Really? Like 4405? That's the number of US service members killed in the Iraq War. Or one-and-a-half million? That's the number of Iraqis killed in the Iraq War. 1.7 million gallons? That's how much oil may be spewing into the Gulf daily.

Media: Let's Kill Helen!


Last week, if you missed it, was when journalist Helen Thomas was served on a platter with many in the press crying out "I'll take a leg!" The press cannibalizes their own, especially if it happens to be someone who's ever actually stood for something. Radio women especially seemed determined to trash Helen and NPR worked really hard to achieve new lows.

"Joining me in the studio to talk about the week's top international stories on the Friday news roundup," Diane Rehm declared before listing her partners-in-crime, " Yochi Dreazen of The Wall St. Journal, Abderrahim Foukara of Al Jazeera and Roy Gutman of McClatchy Newspapers." The first thing you may have noticed was that they were all men. It's really something to see Diane Rehm, a woman who has benefited from NPR's attempts (long ago) to create an equal playing field, fail to strive towards equality herself -- a fact that NPR ombudsperson Alicia Shepard willfully ignores while pretending to care about calling out sexism. Oh, yes, dear readers, our story of the savagery and the lies will also include Alicia Shepard.

But forgoing equality, Diane served up CessPool Soup. Actually for two solid hours. Which is how, in the first hour, you got David Corn sneering that Carly Fiorina was a "Tea Party candidate" when, in fact, she wasn't. In that race (California GOP's nomination for US senator), the Tea Party candidate was Chuck DeVore and, in fact, Sarah Palin was criticized by more than a few for endorsing Fiorina and not DeVore. CessPool Soup is how you got Dayo Olopade making the ridiculous claim that Alvin Greene got 100,000 votes Tuesday because he was running as a Democrat. Is Dayo unaware that Greene was running in a, pay attention, Democratic Party primary? That would mean his opponent was . . . a Democrat. To hear her gas bag, you wouldn't know that. You'd assume that, in a general election, Greene won 100,000 votes and agree with Dayo that was due to his being 'the Democrat in the race.' (Allegations of corruption or deceit in that race were loudly ridiculed and dismissed by the panel.) Over and over, their ignorance and refusal to learn basic facts before speaking or to admit honestly "I don't have enough information to speak to that issue" ensured that listeners were left short changed and uninformed.

The first panel featured no reporter, it should be noted. It instead sported ideological mouthpieces who write columns -- joining David and Dayo was Byron York (and, of the three, only York appeared to have both feet planted firmly on the ground). So listeners may have wrongly expected that the second hour, featuring reporters, would provide information. But that was Diane's all male panel and each one appeared eager to grab onto their limp dicks in order to use the one-inchers to whack at Helen Thomas as if she were a pinata much to the delight of Diane Rehm.

Because not everyone lives inside the DC bubble, let's explain what Helen Thomas did. A rabbi, with his sons, was at the White House last month, holding a video camera and asked Helen if she would speak on camera for him? She graciously agreed. She shared her thoughts on the importance of journalism -- comments forever lost in the gas baggery that followed -- and then, asked about Israel, declared, as summarized by Richard Cohen (Washington Post), "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. . . . Go home. Poland. Germany. And America and everywhere else." A fuller version would be, "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not Germany, it's not Poland. . . . They should go home, to Poland, . . . Germany . . . and America . . . and elsewhere." Helen's comments will be dealt with elsewhere this edition. What we'll note of them right now is that ". . ." does not indicate Helen's struggling for words, it indicates the man is speaking. We note that because a number of people insist she should have thought her remarks through more clearly and they apparently didn't hear the man interrupting her, asking questions, leading her off topic. We're not accusing him of any hidden intent. We're noting it was a free flowing conversation and not a monologue Helen was delivering.

We'll further note, as Mike did Friday, that this wasn't an "international" story. Helen Thomas is an American citizen. The White House is in America. The rabbi was an American. The videotape surfacing was an American issue. Even her chief antagonist was an America: Ari Fleischer -- a name we had hoped not to hear of again until he was caught in a motel room with a dead 12-year-old male hooker.

So how did she become a topic?


Never forget that. Whores cheat. You saw that repeatedly last week. On Friday, Diane was the cheating whore who worked in the topic by hiding behind an e-mail. We asked our friend who works on the show: Was Iraq not a topic of the e-mails?

It seemed strange to us since the day started, hours before Diane's program began broadcasting live, with the news that there was an attack on US soldiers in Iraq which left 2 dead and six wounded. Setting aside all the other news coming out of Iraq last week, that bombing attack should have insisted that Iraq was discussed. Somehow there was no time for Iraq as a topic on Diane's show. However, Helen Thomas, who apologized and resigned on Monday, was. Which is actually news? Which is international news?

We were told a large number of e-mails mentioned Iraq and there were only two that mentioned Helen Thomas. Guess Diane felt being bitchy was more important than covering a war. Well, whores have their own . . . Don't call it standards. Pricing guides. Gotta' move the merchandise, eh? Whores have their own pricing guides.

So hiding behind an e-mail (a minority e-mail), Diane launched yet another attack on Helen.

Yochi wanted to talk about the Israeli press and stated he would leave it to someone else to address the Arab press because he doesn't follow it. The obvious question for Yochi is why are you, a Wall St. Journal reporter covering the State Dept, following the Israeli press?

Because you care about international issues? Then shouldn't you also follow the Arab press? And, if you don't -- and he admitted he didn't -- does that go into the attacks you launch on Helen?

He insisted it wasn't a surprise, Helen's remarks, to the Israeli press, "In part because, with Helen Thomas, this was not the first that was anti-Israel, verging on anti-Semitic Her political biases have never really been in question and as time has passed and she's gotten older and as her role ["segued" is the word Yochi mispronounced] totally into that of a columnist rather than a reporter, her questions were always -- in the White House briefing room -- were always harshly anti-Israel."


Yochi, are you a damn liar or are you trying to tell us that the Iraq War was all about Israel? We seem to remember Helen asking Ari Fleischer February 26, 2003 why Bully Boy Bush was "going to bomb them?" And "them" was Iraqis. She continued, "I mean, how do you bomb people back to democracy? This is a question of conquest. They didn't ask to be 'liberated' by the United States."

If you need more than text -- and Yochi probably does -- click here for a series of video clips The New York Times posted last week of Helen asking questions and you'd have to be Yochi to watch them and claim that all Helen ever did was ask "harshly anti-Israel" questions at the White House press briefing.

Shame on that little liar Yochi. Shame on Diane Rehm, Roy Gutman and Abderrahim Foukara for refusing to correct Youchi's obvious lie.

Youchi wasn't done distorting reality, "Now the question of whether that ever verged over into anti-semitism is a different one and a difficult one to answer. But it was not a surprise. In the Israeli press it was not covered as 'Shock News Flash Helen Thomas may pose anti-Israel views.' But it was surprising all the same because of the Holocaust reference and the idea that people should go back to Poland or Germany which is a mainstay of some of the rhetoric you hear from [begins required Yochi slam on Iran]."

Really? And again, shame on Diane, Roy and Abderrahim. Yochi, as usual, lied. He lies to get his "Holocaust reference" in. Can't very well admit she noted America and elsewhere and still pimp that lie.

Some people are saying Helen needed to retire because she was 'old.' Diane turns 74 this year. After Friday's embarrassment maybe it's time for Diane to step down with grace?

If nothing else, maybe there would be a better chance of women being booked as guests if she left the airwaves? Not that we can ever expect Alicia Shepard to call her out. No, the NPR ombudsperson refuses to do her job.

Sometimes she manages to do even worse than that. Tuesday, she showed up on KPFA's The Morning Show to chat with 'Bomb the children of Pakistan' Aimee Allison. And each attempted to out whore the other.

For example, the segment kicked off with Helen's comments being played followed by a sigh from Aimee and then a long, drawn out "Well" filled with sadness. Typical crap from Aimee that should have everyone in the Bay Area screaming for KPFA to drop her already.

Alicia was lapping it up with all the zeal of Melissa Etheridge on a drunken Friday night. She rushed to insist, "Three years ago, I was on a book panel with her [Helen] and at that point she was quite critical of the Bush administration about the [Iraq] War in a way that an advocate would be and not a journa -- a straight up journalist would be."


Three years ago was 2007 and the country had long turned against the Iraq War. Only a cheap whore like Alicia Shepard, giving half-offs on cum facials, would bother to be offended by a journalist -- an opinion columnist in Helen's case -- expressing a sentiment in keeping with the majority of Americans.

Alicia continued her crazy, "And, yes, many people championed the fact that she was asking those questions but they were really not appropriate. And it's been known for maybe the last five or so years that there have been rules for White House reporters and then Helen Thomas rules. She has, in a way, gotten away with a lot that I can't imagine any other reporter would today."

The questions weren't appropriate?

So it's 'appropriate,' Alicia, for a president to bomb another country on false pretexts, it's just not appropriate to question him on it? Doesn't make for 'polite conversation,' is that it? Where the hell, airhead, do you get off thinking journalistic history demands that reporters be either 'appropriate' or 'respectable'? Alicia gave up her profession in order to practice another one, a much older one. And as we already noted, Whores Cheat.

"Well Helen has always enjoyed," Alicia began, "as I said, special treatment. She's always sat up in the front row. The president has always called on her no matter who it is."

Is she is an outright liar or just that stupid? Jack Shafer (Slate), no huge fan of Helen, noted March 12, 2003 how Bully Boy Bush "deliberately snubbed" Helen by refusing to call on her. "The president has always called on her," insisted Alicia, "no matter who it is." Want to try that again, Alicia? If it helps, you can stay on the clock while you do it.

She certainly stayed on the clock while lying repeatedly such as when she declared, "Her feelings about -- anti-Semitic feelings -- have been known. And many in the press corps -- or I would say -- those who watched the White House press corps have felt critical of her for I'm sorry, felt critical of their brethren for not challenging her more for letting Helen quote-unquote 'get away' with these anti-Semitic comments."

Aimee Allison's role was to challenge that. But Whores Cheat. So when Aimee finally got around to questioning whether or not Helen's comments were anti-Semitic, she pushed it off on callers who were calling in (though not heard on air) and disagreeing that the comments were anti-Semitic.

"There's no way of looking at it except if she was an advocate for [laughing] the Palestinians," Alicia snarked revealing her own hatred is targeting the Palestinians because there's nothing funnier to her than someone advocating on their behalf. "In the sense that there's just nothing that she said that could be looked at as respectable."

Is truth 'respectable,' Alicia? Because your remarks had little-to-no truth in them. After savaging Helen, mocking her and laughing at her, Alicia tossed it back to Aimee, "I mean, what was your take, Aimee? I was just shocked."

"Yeah. I guess," Aimee appalling agreed, refusing to stand up for Helen. "Just, at 89, why would she make the comments now? Has she been known to make those kind of comments in the past?"

There's a reason we're going slowly through this train wreck. And here comes your first pay off, Alicia responds, "I have not known that in terms of anti-semitism."


Alicia says she's not known of past remarks "in terms of anti-semitism."

The same woman who, mere minutes prior, was saying, "Her feelings about -- anti-Semitic feelings -- have been known. And many in the press corps -- or I would say -- those who watched the White House press corps have felt critical of her for I'm sorry, felt critical of their brethren for not challenging her more for letting Helen quote-unquote 'get away' with these anti-Semitic comments."

Which is it, Alicia, were these alleged feelings known or not? You're a referee at NPR and you can't even offer a consistent answer?

She wasn't sure about anti-Semitic statements (at this point in the interview) but, "I've certainly watched and seen her say things that were anti-war and anti the administration and then challenge them again in a way that you wouldn't see a reporter for CBS doing."

Oh my goodness, Helen's anti-war! Strip her of her American citizenship! Truly, that must be a huge offense to Alicia since she likens it to anti-semitism. Can you get more stupid than Alicia Shepard?

Others may not be able to, but she surely can. And did. No reporter for CBS would get away with that, Alicia wanted to insist. And she follows that up by telling Aimee that age can't be to blame because "Dan Schorr" is 91 and he works for NPR.

He does, she's right.

But he doesn't work for CBS, does he?

Nor can he.

Yeah, we'll go there.

Daniel Schorr was fired from CBS. He and his supporters (who funded a year long travel circuit for Danny after his firing) insisted he was fired for doing his job. That is and was a lie. Daniel Schorr was not fired for being a defender of freedom.

Most people are aware of the Church Committee which investigated governmental abuses. The Pike Committee came immediately after, doing the same sort of work, and they wrote a report. They then decided not to issue it. Schorr, in his capacity as a CBS reporter, had a copy of the report. CBS was weighing whether or not to report on the now killed report. Schorr has often (not always) maintained that a decision was made to kill the report and that's why he acted. That's not true. Either he's lying or he was out of the loop. CBS was still deciding. Schorr took the report to The Village Voice which published it.

That could have been the end of it for CBS News because they retained their copy (Schorr had photocopied it and given the photocopies to the weekly). There was an internal investigation at CBS to determine whether or not someone at CBS leaked the report to The Village Voice. Had Schorr kept his mouth shut, the investigation would have been as half-assed as every other internal investigation CBS News conducts. But Schorr couldn't keep his mouth shut.

This is why he was fired, this is why he will never work for CBS again. When asked, as all who had access to the report were, if he had given it to anyone, Schorr didn't stick to "no comment" or a lie that he didn't do anything.

No, instead Schorr chose to finger Lesley Stahl. Schorr told the investigators that The Village Voice published the report (which they knew) and Lesley was dating Aaron Latham (who worked for The Voice) so it was most likely that Lesley Stahl handed over the report to the weekly.

Schorr was not fired for leaking the report. He was fired for lying and for trying to blame someone he knew was innocent.

Think for just a moment what could have happened if Schorr had gotten away with that: Lesley Stahl's career would have been over -- at least at CBS though probably no other network would touch her if they feared she'd take their stories elsewhere. Aaron Latham (a notable journalist in his own right) would have been outraged that Lesley lost her job because she was dating him. Knowing Aaron, he would have made it his life's purpose to find out who falsely accused Lesley and prove that liar wrong. If he'd been successful, it might have been a messy media moment and then life would have continued. If not? Most likely, Lesley would try to move on from it and Aaron would want to remain in the role of protector/enforcer. Meaning it wouldn't have just effected her professional life, which was bad enough, if would have changed her entire life. Lesley and Aaron married years ago and have had one of the few enduring marriages in the journalistic community. Lesley could have lost everything as a result of Daniel Schorr's lies. He was prepared to destroy someone professionally and personally.

And this is whom Alicia holds up as a model?

One more thing, Alicia, "Dan Schorr's almost, I think, 92 at NPR and still on the air" -- No, idiot, he's 93. He'll be 94 in August and his longevity is proof that NPR loves snitches and rats.

And liars. Alicia (who 'hopes' Helen doesn't die soon) declared, "She's basically saying that the Jews should go back to Germany where they clearly were never welcome so that does not seem in any way anything but anti-Semitic." It's cute how she pretends like all Helen said was "Germany." It's cute too how Aimee Allison doesn't correct on that. When you get two Whores on microphones, they're too busy calculating their wages to offer up anything factual or worth hearing.

On things worth hearing, Iraq did surface briefly and accidentally on Diane Rehms's show Friday. Yochi's usual and expected attacks on Iran resulted in Ashraf calling in to correct Yohci's incessant lies. In the process, Ashraf declared, "I think that, for all the reporters, they should be more responsible because what happened in Iraq was because of the reporters. Misinformation and stirring just to get the rage up. "

You just knew Yochi wasn't having any of it. He stopped digging around his asshole with his own tongue long enough to exclaim, "I think all of us who work for a somewhat beleaguered industry would wish that the media was as powerful as to have caused a war. [Roy Gutman is heard guffawing if you listen closely. Shame on him.] There were deep flaws in the reporting pre-war in Iraq. To say that the media caused the war is, I think, a stretch."

First off, Yochi, the economy sucks for nearly everyone, it's a recession, you idiot. Second, the media lied, the media is responsible for helping Bush sell the illegal war. That Roy Gutman's fat ass could be heard chortling on air was disgusting since Roy worked for Knight-Ridder which was the only outlet that refused to play megaphone and actually and consistently do reporting. Shame on you, Roy Gutman. You damn well know better.

But in Yochi's rush to lie (speaking even faster than usual), you see why Helen was served up. It wasn't about what she said. If it was about what she said, Alicia and Yochi and all the rest wouldn't have to lie and could actually quote her. Helen was killed by the press. By little whores like Ann Compton (the years weren't kind so she had to move to radio and now she's allegedly holding onto her laughable marriage with her fingernails -- listen closely for the RRRRIPPPP!), Yochi and Alicia and so, so many more. And it was because she did what they didn't. She questioned, she called out. She did what they wouldn't. Alicia castigates Helen for being anti-war -- failing to grasp just what that says about Alicia Shepard.

And what it says about Helen and what it says about the others in the press corps. As if to remind and underscore the real reason her peers attacked her all last week, Vice magazine published Steve LaFreniere's interview with Helen:

Vice: When I watched you at press conferences during the George W. Bush years, you seemed pretty disgusted with your fellow journalists.

Helen Thomas:
In the run-up to the Iraq War, no one asked for proof of weapons of mass destruction. It was very, very clear that President Bush wanted to go to war at any cost. And he would not go back to the UN and allow them three more months to look and see if it was really true. We went to war on lies. I think 9-11 was definitely used to terrorize the people away from taking any stand against the government, because they felt it was a real crisis and I guess they--halfway at least--believed the government. Using terrorists is a very effective propaganda weapon.

[Vice:] Is it just me or did the mainstream press seem particularly flabby after 9-11?

[Helen Thomas:] They were afraid of not being considered real patriots, and I’m sure the big communications corporations got orders from on high. So they played ball.

[Vice:] In your decades at the White House have you witnessed this kind of complacency before?

[Helen Thomas:] Well, the Watergate scandal was the turning point in the White House in modern times. We took all the [Nixon administration's] denials, and when they turned out to be absolutely wrong, when it turned out to be disinformation, it made reporters much more wary in that brief interval that followed. But of course 9-11 made everyone into a prime citizen again, and afraid to ask. The Pentagon was also very effective in propagandizing, as was the State Department, as was the White House. So, again, I think that journalists became afraid to be called unpatriotic if they didn’t support a war, even one that was obviously not true.

That's why it was time to kill Helen. She stood as an exception, she stood as proof that you could challenge, you could question, you didn't just have to nod along and waste everyone's time asking about White House pets and other nonsense. Helen Thomas was a reporter before she was a columnist. It says a great deal about the state of the press today that it was necessary for her peers to professionally kill her off.


Jim: This is the MidEast roundtable. We have two roundtables this edition and this one's focusing on the Middle East. Our e-mail address is Participating 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; 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: First up, Helen Thomas. Helen Thomas is a journalist who started her career as a reporter. In DC, she wrote radio copy and then eventually ended up working for the wire service UPI. She was a reporter in those days. In 2000, she left UPI and became a columnist with the Hearst syndicate. She started her career during WWII. Last week, her long career came to end when she was forced to 'retire' as a result of -- Well as a result of what? I mean that's the first issue.

Elaine: As C.I. pointed out Tuesday, Helen's peers did her in.

Jim: Okay. And I agree with that. But why? Anybody other than Ava and C.I. who've already written on this topic for this edition.

Mike: Okay, I'll skip the reason they gave which is valid. Another reason is because the press was pushed to speak out against Helen. They'd be lumped in with her if they didn't draw a line so the cowards drew a line. In addition, many outlets have come under heavy criticism for their coverage of the flotilla attack and this was a way for them to show boat and say, "See, I don't just call out Israel, I call out Helen Thomas too!"

Jim: I think there's a lot of truth in what Mike just said. Okay, call her out for what?

Isaiah: In May, on the White House lawn, a rabbi asked her if he could interview her on camera and she agreed. The remarks that people cited were, "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not Germany, it's not Poland. . . . They should go home, to Poland, . . . Germany . . . and America . . . and elsewhere." Although most people stopped with Germany and a few more made it to Poland. It was very rare for the outlet to quote her all the way through.

Jim: Isaiah, intentionally or not?

Isaiah: Selectively quoting her? Intentional. There's no way it was an accident. It happened over and over with people condemning her and trying to wrongly say she was conjuring up another Holocaust.

Jim: Okay. C.I. and I had numerous conversations about this on the phone last week so I'm going to toss to her on Helen's comments. Also, she knows Helen. I think she's the only one of us who does although Wally, Kat and Ava have met and spoken to Helen.

C.I.: Elaine knows her from years back. But you're wanting me to say something, Jim, and I don't think this is where you actually want it in the transcript. Is it?

Jim: Yeah, I see your point, I screwed up. But go ahead.

C.I.: Okay. With no set up or intro. Just speaking for me, the only thing I would really think needed pointed out or clarified in Helen's remarks was not what everyone else was screaming. Helen's not anti-Jewish, she's not a hate mongerer. Her comments are not surprising and, if they shocked you, that goes to limited resources you've exposed yourself too.

Jim: C.I.'s trying to do my work for me. I'm sorry, I did set that up badly. Let me try again. C.I., you don't cover Israel a great deal. In part, you don't cover it because Iraq's the focus. From time to time, you will note certain things about Israel. You will ignore other things. Why is that?

C.I.: Because I think a lot of the talk is nonsense and crap. The Israelis and the Palestinains are at cross-purposes and, in the US, you have a group that wants to line up behind one camp and another group that wants to go with another. Each convinced the other's in the wrong, screaming and hissing at each other and missing the big picture. There is nothing that the government of Israel does that is shocking or surprising. There is nothing the Palestinians do -- including their defense and their attacks -- that is shocking or surprising. It's a very small space, tiny piece of land, now inhabited by two people with historical grievances and you better believe that conflict will be the norm. To listen to the discussions, you're often left with, on the left, the conclusion that Jews invaded Israel in the late 20th century. That's the impression the conversations give. Conversations that are as stupid and uninformed as the ones that moan: "Why does the US keep giving military aid to Israel?" That's a question? Only if you're uninformed. The US has always supported Israel. Why is that? Because it created Israel. And all the attacks on Israel or on the Palestinians ignore the fact that the US created the problem. They did so because they didn't want the Jewish people here. They could have, for example, said, "Here's Manhattan, take it. Make it a homeland." They didn't do that. The US, the empire builder, created Israel. It is a client-state. If you want to complain or discuss what goes on in that region, you better be willing to hold the US accountable because it was the US that declared the land to be Israel's. Declared occupied land to be Israel's. Everything that has taken place afterwards was completely predictable.

Rebecca: And I agree with that 100%. It's why I avoid certain people at my site. I will not quote them, I'm not interested in them. They're lying through their teeth and acting as though the situation just cropped up. Like Afghanistan just cropped up? Didn't we create the problem, under Jimmy Carter, with the hopes of dragging the Russians in? Yeah. And I'm not in the mood for these people like Medea Benjamin who scream and yell about Israel in one breath and then the next express bewilderment that the US would support Israel. The US birthed it, for goodness sake. How stupid are you, Medea Benjamin?

Jim: In this community, Israel's been covered the most by Rebecca and then Elaine. We've covered it here some. But we often take a pass. Jess, why don't you explain why that is.

Jess: Sure. Go to any site covering the floatilla and, if they allow comments, read through them. You will read the most hateful things, the most bigoted things in the world. That's what happens. It starts with a crazy ass like Marjorie Cohn running through the global village screaming 'Murderer!' and then everyone else knows it's open season. We're not interested in that. And, to be honest, we're a bit tired of it. This created problem has been going on for over sixty years now. It's absorbed tremendous time and attention. Guess what? When one side decides enough is enough it'll end. Not before then. There's pressure on the current White House to mediate. Barack needs to continue to avoid that role. It's one of the few things I grade him high on. That role is not going to work.

Jim: You really are tired of it.

Jess: I really am. I've seen that stupid, f**ked up region repeatedly take the peace movment's eye off Iraq. I've seen the obsession with it result in Amy Goodman covering it non-stop while ignoring BP or other worthy topics. I'm sick of it. I'm disgusted with it and I'm damn tired of Americans weighing in on the damn subject. I'm tired of people encouraging it -- on both sides -- with their claims that they are in the right. I'm just so sick of it. And mainly I'm sick of the dishonesty, the pretense that the actions are puzzling or the pretense that Jews just invaded the country and weren't given it by the US. I'm sick of every three months it being the story in the media. I'm sick of it. I've got my own life, we have our own problems to address. Quit supplying military 'aid' to the Israeli government.

Ty: And I agree with Jess. This is just a never-ending problem. The US created it when it presumed to have the right to give land. Until the two sides both want a peaceful solution, there will not be one. That's reality. And if you never got why C.I. said that if the Iraqis wanted to carve their country up into three parts, that was their business but that the US shouldn't, now you should get it. The US needs to stop trying to tell other people what to do. They 'created' Israel and all that's followed is years and years and decades and decades of violence. The last thing they need to do now is split up Iraq. Let the people in the region decide themselves.

Jim: Great discussion but it's really underscoring how C.I. was right about her comments coming later in the talk. Let's go back to Helen Thomas for a bit. Does anyone have a problem with what she said? No one? Ruth, you're Jewish.

Ruth: Jim, you are not.

Jim: Ruth's laughing, let me point out. No, I'm not. But you are, did you take offense to what she said?

Ruth: No, I did not. Palestine is occupied by Jews today. The Israeli government has encouraged Jews from out of Israel to come in. Why is that? Because population projection show Palestinians greatly outnumbering Jews in the near future. That is another aspect not being discussed. The Israeli government has gone nuts repeatedly in the last few years and I do believe, my opinion only, it is that population projection that has most spooked them. Helen Thomas was correct, the land is occupied. Go back to Poland, go back to Germany, go back to America and elsewhere. That is not controversial. It may be 'offensive' to those who work so very hard to pretend that, ever since Biblical times, Jews have lived in and controlled what is now Israel. That is not true.

Jim: Some say, "But 'get the hell out'"?

Ruth: Get the hell out is pretty clear. I did not take offense to it.

Jim: Some offered comparisons to African-Americans being told to get the hell out of the US.

Ruth: I have never heard that. Seriously, I have never heard anyone say, in real life or on TV or radio, to an African-American, "Go back to Africa!" I am sure someone has said but I have not heard it. I also do not think the two situations are at all similar. In the case of African-Americans, they did not choose to come to the US. They were brought to the US in chains. They were slaves. Were Ms. Thomas attempting to make a comparison to slavery, I would assume she would have said, "Go back to Egypt! Where you can be enslaved like you were for 430 years!" Israel is a place where Jews went following WWII after it was 'given' to them by the US. Helen Thomas was saying -- I believe, as I understand it, of the resettlment areas only -- leave, go back where you came from. That was not controversial to me at all. In fact, in my reading of her, I support what she said 100%.

Jim: Okay, thanks, Ruth. Does anyone here not support her? Okay. So we're all in agreement. Ava and C.I. cover this in an article this week, cover the media's attack on Helen Thomas. I want to get everyone's reactions to what they heard and read this week. Ann, you got short changed in the other roundtable, so how about you grab this first?

Ann: Sure. Thank you. Okay, a number of people attacked Helen and I want to skip ahead of that for my answer. What I found offensive especially were the 'defenders' of Helen. The ones who defended her by attacking her or defended her while insisting her remarks were outrageous. Norman Lear, for example, is supposed to be Mr. Big Free Speech. And when South Park did all their b.s., there was Lear applauding it and encouraging it and vouching for it. But his defense of Helen Thomas this week? Where he called her remarks unforgiveable and he attacked her looks? He's pathetic. Go rot in hell already, Norman Lear. You're a hypocrite and you're of no use to anyone. William Rivers Pitt wrote a pathetic 'defense'. Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote a pathetic 'defense.' I couldn't believe it. So let me be really clear, I agree with what Helen Thomas said. You hate her? Then hate me too.

Jim: Okay but some people don't know what Helen Thomas actually said and some have been left with the impression that she was calling for or inviting another Holocaust.

Betty: I'm not responsible for people being stupid. If they're reading this, they've heard what she said that was supposedly controversial. They can make up their own minds but one thing they should grasp is that they were lied to by a number of people with axes to grind. People who left out America in the quote, for example, because they couldn't sell the lie that Helen wanted another Holocaust if they included America.

Cedric: Betty, I agree with you, but I also think they left out America intentionally because these type of people who refuse to see any wrong on the part of the Israeli government are also the type of people who refuse to let on that America created modern day Israel. They work overtime to blur the connection, the empire aspect.

Betty: Yeah, I can get on board with that point. The whole nature of the conversation is geared so that we blame Israel or Palestine and the one responsible is the US government that ensured these decades of political strife would take place by 'gifting' an occupied land.

Jim: Ava and C.I. conclude their article by noting Helen's honesty regarding Iraq especially embarrasses her peer group because it demonstrates that questions could have been asked but they refused to ask them.

Marcia: Yeah. It's like she won the track trophy and everyone else wanted it and every time they see her it's a reminder that she beat them and it just chews away at them. Professional jealousies, of course the press is plagued by them. How is that a surprise?

Jim: Is anyone going to ask about Iraq in the press conferences now?

Wally: White House press conferences? Probably not but, honestly, Jim, Helen really didn't ask about Iraq this year. I mean, I know that's the meme that's been put out. But it was like April before someone finally brought up Iraq in one of the White House daily briefings. I'm not trying to take anything away from her, I just think it bears noting that they've ignored -- the entire White House press corps -- Iraq. The media sold us the war and now they're done with it.

Jim: Anyone feel differently on that?

Mike: No. Wally's right. They sold it and now they're not only done with it, they want to insist they didn't sell it. I'm sick of the liars. I'm sick of Yochi Dreazen. I'm sick of them all. It's amazing how they weren't run out of the press for not doing their jobs but Helen Thomas had to retire last week. Simply amazing.

Kat: And nothing bothers them. Nothing is ever enough for them to break their silence. 2 US soldiers die in Iraq on Friday? No time to be bothered with it is the media's attitude. And let me be clear that CNN did cover it and that those with reporters still in Iraq -- New York Times, McClatchy, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post -- did cover it. That was pretty much it.

Stan: Well C.I. had a thing about how insulting this "Turn off the lights" pieces are and she's right but those pieces really show you what is really thought of Iraq and Iraqis. They don't matter, they're invisible, they don't exist. That is the attitude. When you can write that it's time to turn off the lights and act like your departure would mean the country was empty? That shows a lot more than they probably meant to.

Elaine: I wish we'd talked more about Iraq. I know Dona's going to call time any second. So I'll just note that the same day, Friday, that two US soldiers were killed, I was reading online, I think at The Washington Post, a column by a 12-year-old girl whose father was on his third deployment, this time to Afghanistan. How he'd been deployed repeatedly throughout her life. Her seven-year-old brother didn't really get it and when he was 2 or 3, he'd wander through the house at night calling "Daddy" while their father was serving in Iraq. I'm sorry I don't remember the name of the writer or for sure where I saw it.

C.I.: It was at The Washington Post. It's "When Daddy Goes To War" and Sophie Douquet is the young writer who wrote such a moving column.

Jim: Okay and on that note, Dona has called time so we need to close. This is a rush transcript.

National treasure

helen thomas

Helen Thomas was and remains a national treasure. No matter how much they try to cut her up and attack, they can't change reality. No matter how many lies they spread, they can't undue the truth.

As Ann says in "Roundtable," "So let me be really clear, I agree with what Helen Thomas said. You hate her? Then hate me too."


The grassroots lost big Tuesday . . . or at least the faux grassroots.

Two races make the point that you can't fake grassroots no matter how much Pacifica Radio, Democracy Now! and others whore for you and pretend you are grassroots. Back before he went completely nuts, back when he did NOW with Bill Moyers, Moyers used to take you inside a race to show you who was funding and driving it and, rightly, when that money and push came from outside the state, he would point out it wasn't 'grassroots.'

There are genuine grassroots efforts around the country and the spirit of those actual efforts is something we applaud. We don't applaud faux grassroots.

On Monday, Jim Dean could be heard on many Pacifica Radio outlets insisting, "Lt. Governor Halter is somebody to us that doesn't necessarily represent an ideological point of view as much as he represents a culture of activism, uh, that's going to fight against what I call the the culture of incumbency. We have great incumbents who behave like activists but we have others, like Blanche Lincoln, who basically go away for six years and take a lot of campaign money from big lobbyists, big business lobbyists, and those days are just over. If Obama's election was the beginning and not the end and we're going to realize real change, we've got to undue this culture."

Blanche Lincoln is one of Arkansas two US senators and she now runs for re-election having won her primary. Arkansas voter Jim Dean preferred Bill Halter and felt Hatler's views were in keeping with his own and that's certainly . . .


Jim Dean is the useless brother of the equally useless Howard Dean? Jim Dean lives in Connecticut? Jim Dean doesn't live in Arkansas?

Why the hell's he talking?

Let's go back to his comments.

"Lt. Governor Halter is somebody to us [. . .]"

"Us"? People from out of state?

Bob Somerby's the only one we've seen make the point that 'conservative' for one area may not be 'conservative' for another. He's made that point repeatedly when addressing criticisms of various representatives on the national stage. Jim Dean, of Connecticut, is unhappy with Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas? And?

Who cares. The issue is whether or not the people of Arkansas are unhappy with her and, as they demonstrated on Tuesday, Democrats in that state are okay with her performance or at least not impressed with Halter.

The drive to dump Blanche Lincoln was an out of area effort. It did not speak for Arkansas, it did not speak from Arkansas. If you ever doubted that, you only had to catch Connecticut Yankee Jim Dean on Pacifica Radio Monday (and Tuesday) 'explaining' why he wouldn't vote for a candidate that he couldn't have legally voted for if he'd wanted to.

In 2006, Ned Lamont staged an insurgent campaign in, of all places, Connecticut. He did an incredible job and he won the Democratic Party primary. He did that by speaking to the interests and needs of voters in Connecticut. This allowed him to defeat incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman then decided to run as an independent and he could have been easily picked off as such with a few comments of, "Connecticut said 'No' to Joe but he just won't take the point." Similar messages were floated on victory night by his statewide staff. They knew Lamont could deftly swat Lieberman away.

Too bad that, following Lamont's victory, all the usual national staff poured into the state and took over the campaign. Nationally, it was declared, Iraq wasn't a good issue to run on. Forget that Connecticut's mood on the illegal war had long been strongly against it, forget that running on that issue had helped Lamont draw a clear difference between himself and Lieberman. The issue must be dropped because state-outsiders said so. They saw a lot to 'fix.' And, to no one's surprise, when November 2006 rolled around, Ned Lamont went home a loser and Lieberman retained his seat in the Senate.

After Tuesday's election, the White House angered some activists and 'activists' by declaring that unions wasted millions of dollar trying to defeat Blanche Lincoln. We're not fans of the White House; however, they were correct. An out-of-state effort to oust Lincoln was not a grassroots effort and that's why it failed.

The other faux grassroots campaign was the one insisting Marcy Winograd should be the US House Rep. from California's thirty-sixth district. This was not Marcy's first run. Despite the lies she and Amy Goodman told last week on Democracy Now!, this was not her second time running against Jane Harman.

From SourceWatch's Winograd page:


2006 elections

Winograd challenged Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) in the June 6th 2007 California primary. Harman won the nomination.

2008 elections

Winograd was challenging incumbent Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) in the Democratic primary.[1]

Those are called facts. Lies are what Goody and Marcy served up on Democracy Now! last week:

AMY GOODMAN: And what is different between this campaign, Marcy Winograd, and the campaign that you ran four years ago?

MARCY WINOGRAD: Amy, last time that I ran, in 2006, I had just seen Jane Harman on Meet the Press attack [. . .]

Last time Marcy ran was 2008. Maybe she feels she looks less like a loser if she takes away one of those failed bids? Amy and Marcy weren't the only ones lying. PDA sent out an e-mail Wednesday morning announcing, "Despite an all-out effort by Progressive Democrats of America members and an energized grassroots campaign, Marcy Winograd was defeated in the California primary by eight-term incumbent Jane Harman, who represents the 36th congressional district in Los Angeles. This was Winograd’s second attempt to defeat Harman. " No, this was her third. And PDA wonders why they're seen as so damn pathetic?

Marcy had a lot of support . . . from outside District 36. For example, Norman Solomon was forever explaining in text and over the airwaves why everyone should support Marcy the way he did. Left out was the fact that he didn't vote for her.

Because Norman's two-faced?

We'll let someone else determine that and just note that as gerrymandered as California has sometimes been, residents of Inverness, California (or any surrounding area in Marin County) have never, ever voted in the same Congressional district race as western Los Angeles. Sidebar: It should be noted that Mr. Up With People Normy elects to live in an overwhelmingly White region (less than six percent of the population is non-White Anglo in Inverness).

Yeah, Norman was one of those 'grassroots' supporters who couldn't actually vote in the race he was insisting you vote for Marcy in. Marcy had a lot of those 'supporters.' They were, in fact, her base. As was more or less noted in the e-mail Winograd sent out on Wednesday, "I thank Progressive Democrats of America and its chapters for making thousands of calls and sending a field team to our door." Yes, PDA has many chapters all over the country (and even "Americans Abroad"). Marcy couldn't have done it without the help of those chapters -- plural. Those out-of-district-thirty-six chapters. She also thanked "Peace Action and Peace Action West" for all their help with "mailers and fabulous field organizers" -- again, out of district.

But what really took the cake was her let-them-eat-cake take on the actual voters of district 36:

I did not run to make Harman work harder. I ran to bring real reform to Congress: Jobs, not war. Your street, before Wall Street. These aren't just slogans--they are part of our hopes and dreams for America. Unfortunately, the majority of voters chose to maintain the status quo.

Hey, Marcy, we were never impressed with you but who knew you'd go out like Tricky Dick? "Unfortunately, the majority of voters chose to maintain the status quo," she huffs sounding a lot like Richard Nixon after he lost the 1962 California's governor's race: "You won't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference [. . .]"

Odds & Ends Roundtable

Jim: This is an odds & ends roundtable. We're doing two and this is the laid back and easy one covering various topics in e-mails. Our e-mail address is Participating 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; 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: Illustration. First issue. Randi e-mails to say that when she looks at the page, she sees, where the illustration should be, "Roundtable" on last week's "Roundtable." We did it wrong, she insists. No, we didn't. Hit refresh and you'll see the illustration. That's a computer issue and, for a change, has nothing to do with a mistake on our end.

Dona: Reader Clifton e-mailed to note that last week had a ton of typos and that we generally fix them on Mondays so what happened? What happened was Blogger/Blogspot was down for the bulk of the day Monday. You could read it. You could even log into your account. But when you attempted to edit, you'd get a message informing you that Blogger/Blogspot was down and they were working on the problem. We do not correct all typos. We do not catch all typos. Roundtables are a rush transcript. We don't correct them for typos. If someone's been misquoted -- often that means a word or two was left out -- someone will come in and fix it. Usually C.I. or myself. C.I. will get an e-mail saying that, for example, Betty's point is lost and did we, when typing, rush and forget a word or two? At which point, C.I. grabs the notes she and Ava take and looks for Betty's actual words and corrects them in the transcript. I do the same thing. If we have a factual error? Jameson e-mailed asking about that and I e-mailed back asking him if he had one that needed correcting but haven't heard from him yet. If we have a factual error that is caught by us or by a reader, we go in and we correct it and leave a note of when it was corrected. We give the reader credit if it was caught by a reader.

Jess: Why do we lean so heavily on Ava and C.I. so often? First, Ty distributed the questions we're answering right now. Second, you just don't know. Ava and C.I. did a media piece that we're seriously considering making the editorial. Doing so would require them writing a second piece. We're on the fence on that right now. We lean on them because they are our heavy hitters. They deliver. Everyone knows it. Every week, the bulk of the readers of this site are reading them, are enjoying them the most. It's not a source of pain or jealousy, we're thrilled to have them as a drawing card for the site. But they clicked as a writing team five years ago and they manage to reach so many people in ways that group writing or other pieces don't. They're very talented and we know we lean on them a great deal.

Jim: And that was from?

Jess: Melissa who's a community member.

Ava: Doug e-mailed to ask if C.I. and I ever get tired of doing TV and if we ever regret that the others aren't helping as they did the first few weeks when the TV pieces were a group project? Tired? No. Sick of it? Yes. It's a lot of work. For example, we're going to be reviewing cable this summer. That's fine. Except we're watching USA shows right now and TBS shows and some other shows. We're on the road -- C.I., Kat, Wally and myself -- most weeks speaking out against the Iraq War. So to suddenly have to watch discs, as we did last week, of seven episodes of this and six of that is just really a lot to be asking. Right now, we don't have a TV piece this week. We did radio. And that's fine. Except there was a show that we wanted to open with it needs to be canceled because there will never be a better episode than the one they just broadcast. And we want to praise that episode and celebrate the show. But we're pressed for time. There are also other shows we want to cover that we didn't have time for during the year. There's just a ton of stuff still to do so, in terms of a group project? No. We could never get Jim, for example, to agree to sit down and watch seven episodes of Justified. No. It's better that it's C.I. and I writing these.

C.I.: Lonnie wonders if we ever think, "Boy, were we wrong?" No. We can be wrong and I'm sure we were many times; however, the reality is that we don't read what we wrote. People can, it's been a few years since this was addressed, recite a few lines back to us from something we wrote here and we'll nod and say that's good but we won't know it's us.

Elaine: Let me jump in because I have covered this repeatedly at my site. Ava and C.I. have their own rhythm when they write together. If you quote a line or two, they won't know you're quoting them. If you go for a paragraph or two, they'll recognize the rhythm as their own and know you're quoting them. Sorry to jump in.

C.I.: We'll recognize our style or rhythm or whatever. But we don't go back and read these things. So it's not like we're saying, "Oh, look, we're wrong here." I don't think we've been wrong on TV too often. That's because we know too many people and are able to pick up the phone -- and do -- to do our research in depth long before we write a word. The show Ava was mentioning that we wanted to review, we've already talked to a writer with the show, the producer of the show, an actress on the show, a guest star on the episode we loved and to a network exec. And we're not even writing the review yet. One thing that we do want to do is to review The Middle. That's an ABC sitcom, and I hope I got the name right, starring Patricia Heaton. Ava and I do not care for Patricia Heaton as an actress or a person as anyone going through the archives will quickly discover. But we really think she accomplished something with this show and think it's a show worth watching. Why didn't we weigh in sooner? Because we dislike Patricia, friends at ABC didn't push us to review it. All of our reviews since the fall have come from friends pushing us to do them for the most part. We tackled Cougar Town -- praising it -- as our first review because we knew it was in danger. Any show that we knew was in danger, we were willing to step up to the plate for. Which led a lot of friends to push their own shows and ask us to take a look at them. We trashed a show, what was that, Ava?

Ava: I don't even remember. I just remember that we kept saying no. And in the review we wrote, we noted that we tried to beg off. It was just like Dollhouse. We didn't care for it and we were clear about that but they just begged for a review and finally we did one and they weren't happy.

C.I.: Right. So near the end of May, a package arrives at the house and it's noting various ABC shows for the fall, overview stuff. And our friend's also included some episodes of a TV show, Patricia Heaton's show. And he jokes in his note that since it survived the cut -- it's been renewed -- we might want to review it. That's the first time we saw it.

Ava: And we were prepared for a disaster. It was a show we laughed at and found much to praise especially with regards to Patricia Heaton.

C.I.: So if we never get around to the review due to current events, for the record, Patricia Heaton is doing a fantastic and amazing job in The Middle.

Ty: Which brings me to the question I was sitting on. Becky e-mails to ask if Ava and C.I. have to work to be fair. She notes "The Genderquake Quakes Again (Ava and C.I.)" celebrates women's victories on Tuesday and doesn't attempt to say, "Oooh, you're gross because you're not from my party!" She says, "I found it to be a very encouraging and fair piece. Is that hard to do because I know you are all strong leftists?"

Ava: C.I.'s nodding to me. When we woke up Wednesday morning, we were looking at the headlines online and listening to NPR over the radio and no one was talking about the women. We found one AP article that one paper was carrying and that was it. To us, the women were the story. We wanted to do a piece that got that out into the discussion. We saw it as big news for women and we can remember being young girls so we didn't feel the need to screech and moan the way so many men on the left did. By that I mean, I can remember being a young teen, or maybe 12, and seeing some story on the TV about a woman accomplishing something in politics. I didn't know her party, I didn't care. I was 12 years old. What I cared about was a woman accomplished something and what it said to me was that I could as well. In 2008, women were savaged and C.I. and I are not going to waste our online voices by not celebrating women when we have the chance to.

Betty: There are other questions Ty has but I want to jump in here. I agree with Ava. I'm thinking about various female athletes that I saw growing up. I would know __ was a track star or ___ played in the WNBA. I would know that a woman was doing it and that I could do it. I was an outstanding basketball player in school and that was, in large part, due to seeing women in sports. I didn't know what this woman did when she woke up in the morning or who she voted for or whether she wore this label or that label. I just knew she was out there doing something. And I love that Ava and C.I. celebrated women on Wednesday morning.

Jim: And it looks like we may get stuck on this because Kat and Dona are both wanting to speak and I'm sure others joining us by phone are as well. Ruth and Marcia, you reposted Ava and C.I.'s piece at your sites. Did you want to jump in?

Ruth: I will. Betty is so right. And I also think it says something to all women. Because we do go through periods of doubt -- often brought on by society and the roles they try to force into -- so to see some women winning really does mean something. It makes you -- or it made me -- smile.

Jim: And the fact that a lot of the women were Republicans?

Ruth: I was happy for women. And hopeful that some Republican wins will encourage more Democratic women to run and win.

Jim: Marcia?

Marcia: Betty and Ruth get the point across. Sometimes it is just great to be able to say, "Yea! Team!" And, like Betty, I played sports in school. Some of the nastiness to Ava and C.I., drive-by e-mails to the public account of The Common Ills, really made me reflect on how my coaches always made us say "good game" to the other team and always congratulate them if they won. I guess good players differ today?

Jim: Okay, but these women, the Republican ones, people will argue are not good for women.

C.I.: Can I jump in? Okay, I heard that on Diane Rehm's show Friday so I want to jump in. I have my opinions of what is most pro-woman and what is not. They are my opinions and I will loudly advocate for them. That said, stepping back from my own beliefs and just looking at beliefs in general, the women of the right do not advocate something because they think it's crazy or will harm people. They honestly believe in their beliefs. We disagree, the women of the right and myself. That's fine. But let's not say that their beliefs are anti-woman. That happened on Diane's show, the women's beliefs -- never identified and apparently in total -- were labeled as anti-woman. I'm not trying to pull a 'can't we all get along' here, I'm just noting that the reality is they hold their beliefs as firmly as I hold mine.

Jim: Okay, point taken. Some would argue that the Republican women who won primaries would hurt certain policies -- abortion, equal wages, etc. -- if elected.

Rebecca: How would they hurt equal wages? Jim, I'm not trying to put you on the spot. I saw the same cable show you did where that was presented as 'truth.' But I didn't buy it then and don't know. The two women in California, Meg Whitman and the other one, how do we know they'd be against equal pay? Wouldn't two women who've worked be more likely to support equal pay? So until we get some sort of proof that they've backed wage discrimination in the past, I don't buy that. In terms of abortion, I don't vote in California so I'm not following the governor's race or their Senate one, but, yeah, they could harm abortion rights if elected to the Senate or appointed to the Supreme Court. But I don't know that that's reason not to vote for them. I say that as a strong supporter of abortion rights, by the way. And I say it because, the Republican women who are opposed to abortion chip away at it. But if the Democrats -- all of them -- would get off their asses and go beyond maintaining the limited abortion rights we have to advancing them, the chipping wouldn't matter. Instead, abortion rights have grown stagnant and they're this piece of marble that Republicans chip away at and Dems in office don't even care.

Kat: And, if I could build on what Rebecca's saying, yeah, Democrats should be carrying things further. And that's also true of these wins for Republican women. Dems have taken women for granted in one election cycle after another which is how we end up with a sexist president and a DNC chair that hates abortion and wants to overturn it. I'm glad Republican women were Tuesday's story. I hope it forces the Democrats to compete for votes because they've treated women like s**t for too damn long.

Cedric: If I can jump in, I agree with Kat. Let's remember that their 2004 convention? They planned their speakers and no woman was to speak in prime time. They were forced into letting Hillary speak when the outrage became too much to ignore. But this is the Democratic Party and they were going to hold a convention and not let a woman speak in prime time. Don't deny that they've taken women for granted. That's before you get into how they stole Hillary's nomination and gave it to Barack.

Mike: If we're going to stay with this topic, I think it's worth noting that Ava and C.I. were congratulating five women on their wins and three were Republicans and two were Democrats. To read, and I have, some of the trash that was e-mailed on that article, it's pretty obvious most people don't read or count too well.

Jim: What did you think of Ava and C.I.'s article, Mike?

Mike: I liked it. I remember a lot of conversations when I read it. I remember Ava and C.I. pointing out that, in 1984, Democratic women expected all women to be happy for Geraldine Ferraro -- even if they weren't going to vote for her -- because she was making news and history. And yet, that same courtesy wasn't extended to Sarah Palin. And what I saw and heard after Tuesday night was a replay of that. The women were savaged and attacked -- usually by women -- and there was no one coming forward to find any moments of pride in it. I'm thrilled that Ava and C.I. wrote the article. One thing I don't think people understood -- because they don't read too well -- was that Ava and C.I. were not endorsing any of the women in the piece.

Wally: Good point. And people did miss that. Ava or C.I. would be reading the e-mails out loud to us, the drive-bys, and it would be, "How dare you endorse . . ." No one's endorsed. First off, Ava and C.I. only endorse in races they can vote in. They can't endorse Blanche Lincoln, they don't vote in Arkansas. They can't endorse Jane Harman, we live in Nancy Pelosi's district.* They can't endorse whomever won in Nevada to match up against Harry Reid. That left the governor's race and the senate race. Second, they made clear that they would vote Jerry Brown in November for governor and they made clear that if voting were held today the Green Party candidate would get their vote for US Senator. People missed that completely. Including the idiot C.I. replied to in "The Whistle Blower and the Idiot." That man was accusing Ava and C.I. of "myopic gender" vision and the reality was that, in the piece itself, every time they're voting -- I'm laughing, sorry -- every time they're talking about who they are voting for, it's a man.

Ava: Wally is correct and he was present when we were writing it and pointing that out to each other.

Wally: Right. They were like, "Is this defeating the article itself?" But they only commented on races they would vote in. And that's pretty much what we all do now. Ruth's voting for Richard Blumenthal, she's endorsed him, he's running in her state. That's what we do. But it was just so funny to see them accused of "myopic gender" vision on a piece where the only candidate they endorse is a man. Jerry Brown's the only one they said they'd vote for in November.

Jim: I missed that. You're right, Wally, and I realize that now. But reading it, that flew over my head. Did you catch it because you were there when they were writing it?

Wally: Yeah. The piece itself was written really quickly. But they took time to debate leaving in the Brown endorsement. They were talking to each other and saying, "Well this isn't coming off as 'she's not the right woman!', is it?" They spent more time on that discussion than on writing it.

Jim: And they came down where?

Wally: They came down, as they note in the piece, as "We've known Jerry for years. We share belief systems."

Kat: Did Gavin win? I absentee voted and I never heard and never even thought to ask.

C.I.: Of course he won.

Jim: I liked that, especially the tone. We all voted for Gavin Newsom on the West coast. He won the Democratic Party nomination for Lt. Governor.

Jess: I didn't vote for him.

Jim: Correction, all those voting in the Democratic Party primary in California voted for him*: Dona, Ty, Kat, Ava and C.I. Jess and Betty didn't vote in the Democratic Party primary. They are Greens. Okay, I've got two questions left. We drew names on these two. The first will go to Isaiah and Stan and the second was to go to Ann and C.I. But since C.I.'s already spoken, we'll just stick with Ann. First up, Keelan wants to know, "How has the ongoing and illegal Iraq War changed your life?"

Isaiah: Well for one thing, I don't really have time for the 'fun' stuff I used to. By that I mean, if I'm talking with friends, I want and expect some of that to be Iraq. What, in 2000, I would've used to talk basketball teams, for example, is time I now use for Iraq. And there are things -- like watching basketball -- that I just don't do anymore because it just seems to frivilous in a time of war. I'm not picking on anyone who does -- and certainly any US service member who follows it, should -- but I'm saying that normally, right now I'd just be coming up for air after months of non-stop basketball talk and watching and going to games and all of that. And I haven't done that since the Iraq War broke out. It just strikes me as really silly. That's just one example but I could give many more. Stan?

Stan: Wow. I wish I had something like that to say. Mainly the way it's changed my life is I know longer trust people I don't know personally. If, for example, Jim tells me, "I'm going to call you tomorrow night," I know Jim's going to call me or have a good reason for not doing so. I trust Jim. I know him. But politicians? The Dems told me in 2006 if they had one house of Congress the war would be over. We gave them two and it didn't end. It still hasn't ended. It's made me realize just how craven politicians are, just how willing to lie they are, just how they have no ethics and it's opened my eyes in ways I'm glad for and in ways I'm sad for. But there's no going back. It's kind of like Thelma & Lousie at the end of the movie, you either turn yourself or go off the cliff.

Jim: Good answers. Both of them. Okay, Ann, this may be embarrassing for you, I hope not. Dina wants to know, this was asked of all of us, actually, "If you could sleep with one movie star -- dead or alive -- who would it be?"

Ann: And I'm the only one stuck answering this one.

C.I.: My name was picked and I'll go ahead and answer so Ann doesn't have to be embarrassed. Dead: Lew Ayers. In Holiday, especially, he was something to lay your eyes on. Alive? Mark Ruffalo's pretty hot.

Ann: Thank you! I am so glad I'm not the only one answering this question. I'm not worried, before anyone wonders, what Cedric's reaction will be. He's not going to care. And I already know his answer --

Cedric: Lela Rochon.

Ann: I knew that. But I was squeamish because I get a lot of e-mails from people who, at worst, are judgmental and, at best, have high expecations for me. I'm not joking, I'm constantly graded in e-mails on what I did or didn't do here.

Jim: To repeat, Ann didn't volunteer for this question. We put everyone's name in a bowl and picked out two names for Dina's question and two names for Keelan's question. They weren't told what the questions were. They first heard them when I read them off in this roundtable. Ann, your answer?

Ann: I don't do well with surprise questions and time limits but the name that's coming to mind right now is Terrence Howard.

Jim: Alright then. This is a rush transcript and this was our odds & ends roundtable.

*Ty note added: 6-14-10. Wally confused people with his remarks. To explain, C.I.'s home is in the Bay Area. A number of us live there including myself (Jim, Dona, Ava, Jess, Betty, Wally, and my boyfriend). Wally lives there but he retains his Florida voting registration. He did not vote Tuesday in California's primary because he votes out of Florida. Hope that clears up any confusion.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"I Hate The War" -- Most requested highlight by readers of this site.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Working It For BP" -- Isaiah's hugely popular comic.

"Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- Congressional reporting from C.I.

"Nostalgic Bully" -- Isaiah dips into the archives for this one.

"The Genderquake Quakes Again (Ava and C.I.)" -- Ava and C.I. on Tuesday's elections.

"Tomato Soup in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a very easy recipe that anyone can cook.

"Some keep working the plantation" -- Betty's highly popular post about the enablers.

"How much does Jerry Lewis hate women" -- Stan's Friday night movie post.

"Idiot of the Week: Diane Rehm" & "Idiot of the Week: Center For Media & Democracy" -- a week so full of stupidity that there were two Idiots of the Week.

"Breaks just like a little girl" & "THIS JUST IN! NO FAN MAIL!" -- Poor Barry O!

"Are we all Maureen Dowd?," "fact-free on npr," "The Roxy," "Talk Of The Nation works it for BP," "Gulf Disaster and Taking Aim," "White House plays at being in charge," "The Gulf Disaster," "Isaiah, BP, Janis, Grace, Ava and C.I." -- radio commentary in the community and . . . .

"The message sent to the world" & "All hail the US president" -- Ruth and Kat on who's running things and how.

"Racist Katrina vanden Heuvel" -- Katty-van-van wanted to play shocked by Helen Thomas but meanwhile, Katty-van-van was making racist comments on TV.

"Barack's such a little girl" & "THIS JUST IN! THE DIVA IS A BITCH!" -- Little Barry's planning to kick some ass? Really?

"Heck of a job, Harry" -- Marcia explains Harry's minuses.
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