Tuesday, June 04, 2019


Jim: Roundtable time.  Remember our e-mail address is thethirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com.  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; and C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, her kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't):Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Okay, an e-mail about two wolves.  Naomi Wolf and Michael Wolff have new books coming out.  They have problems with the books, the authors do. 

C.I.: Do we know what Naomi's issue is?  If not, I'd prefer we leave her out of this.  If no one knows what's going on -- and I don't -- then I would prefer we leave her out.

Ava: I would agree with that.  And please note that C.I. and I have called Naomi out in pieces and we have praised her in articles.  We have no problem doing either.  But, I don't know what she's said to have done and I don't want to weigh in.

Jess: I'll weigh in on Michael Wolff.  The thing I have heard him slammed for is that he said he didn't need to call people for comments.  And I'm going to agree with him on that.  I'm no fan of Michael Wolff's but he is writing what he was told.  By a trusted source or sources.  I do not believe he is required to pick up the phone and, for example, call the White House and say, "My sources tell me Donald Trump insists upon eating yellow jello every day and I would like a response."  No.  Wolff has the source or sources telling him what they're telling him.  I do not believe he is required to get counterpoint responses.  He doesn't write those kind of books, he does not report that kind of journalism.  Some idiot -- like a David Corn but not him, David wrote to praise Ava and C.I.'s writing.  But someone of David's level of fame e-mailed and was all, "How dare you not reach out to me for a comment."  And why would we?  It makes no sense.  I support him on this completely.  Ava and C.I., for example, have friends at NETFLIX.  We don't need to contact the office of Reed Hastings and ask him for a response.  Michael has explosive items -- they may or may not be true -- and his alerting the White House to that would be nonsense.

Rebecca: I agree.  And I would argue that THE INTERCEPT could have protected their sources -- including Reality Winner -- if they had published what they had.  It would be a multi-day story.  After you publish the details of the expose, make day two be the official response.  I don't get this.  It's timid and cowardly and I feel that way when I watch a film on Watergate -- whether it's ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN or DICK -- and they start alerting people to what they're about to publish.  I haven't read Michael Wolff's book so, like Jess, I can't vouch for its accuracy or not.  But in terms of his argument about not needing clearance -- that's basically what you're asking for -- I agree with him.  He's a muckraker. 

Jim: Any other comments on Wolff?

Ty: I would just say that Wolff writes books that people want to read and stress that.  Meaning, we haven't read the book so I don't want us to be giving any negative perception on it.

Jim: Good point.  We've got a piece on impeachment, so we'll ignore that topic.  Dona, you had something.

Dona: Several e-mails came in regarding last week's edition.  To recap, one and only one article went up, Ava and C.I.'s "TV: It's show runners, not show ruiners."  Reality, we wanted to have a bit of a vacation.  We basically took off the Sunday before Memorial Day and planned to get back together on Memorial Day around noon to work on the edition.  That didn't happen for a variety of reasons -- prime among them would be just being lazy.  Now Ava and C.I. were not informed of any changes to the plan.  They got up around six or so to work out at C.I.'s and started discussing their piece then.  They then wrote it in long hand beginning in the sauna.  By 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning, they were done with their piece.  They kept waiting for us to write the rest of the edition.  We kept failing to do so.  I ended up e-mailing them on Thursday, Ava and C.I., and saying that if they wanted to publish it, go ahead.  We couldn't get our crap together. 

Jim: I did say that they could hold it until this edition but they knew they'd have this weekend so they knew it wouldn't mean a week off. 

Ty: Also true, it was time sensitive.  It had to go up Thursday morning, or they'd have to change the wording on a lot of it for it to make sense.

Dona: We got a number of e-mails and that's what happened. 

Jess: Let me note two things.  First off, Ruth's covered Richard Wolff in a post that she wrote earlier tonight, "Michael Wolff's new book getting a cold shoulder?"  Second, we are doing this roundtable Monday night at 11:00 pm PST.  I'm assuming the earliest this will go up will be Tuesday night.  Why?  We're doing a roundtable.  Ava and C.I. take notes in shorthand.  Though any could type from the notes, Ava and C.I. type the fastest and there's no way they're going to stay up past midnight, when we're done with this roundtable, typing up a rough transcript.

Ava: No way.  We are tired and we're actually speaking more this week than we normally do with more travel between each speaking gig.  This is a smaller roundtable but our day started at 5:00 am.  We met up to work out.  Then it was go to the airport and then it was speak, speak, speak all day.  We are both tired and when this roundtable is over, we will be going to sleep, not staying up to type up the roundtable.  If we're the ones typing it up, will work on it some while eating lunch Tuesday and probably later in the afternoon.

Jim: Thank you.  And thank you, Jess.  I've pulled up Ruth's post and would encourage anyone interested in the topic to check it out.  She's covering a lot of outlets.  Let's move to the topic of publisher Julian Assange and the persecution of him.  This community has defended him.  C.I. recently did a piece where -- in one of the Iraq snapshots -- she noted that she wasn't publishing any attacks on women who may or may not have been raped.  She stated she wasn't there, she didn't know what happened, that Julian had not been convicted of any crime and that this issue did not require resolving to stand up for Julian Assange.  Three e-mails came in from people outraged by this.  Many more came in -- mainly from women who support Julian -- who said that was a smart piece because there are those who attack Julian who pretend that it's because of a possible rape charge.  By removing that from the conversation, as C.I. did, it forces people to deal with whether or not the US government's actions are appropriate.  I agree with that take, by the way.  My father actually praised it and circulated C.I.'s comments to his peers -- he's a journalist -- and it did change the reaction.

Rebecca: As it should.  And it remove an issue that needed removing.  And, it's now a non-issue.  Read WSWS' "In legal victory for Assange, Swedish court rules against extradition" which just went up.  The Swedish issue is now dead. 

Dona: And it was important to draw that line. And some of his supporters -- the piggish ones -- couldn't draw that line because they'd already attacked the women publicly.  C.I. could and did draw the line, she has credibility on this issue.  She made clear -- and this was important -- that you can defend Julian from the US government and set aside the whole issue of Sweden because it does not apply at this time.

Rebecca: And per WSWS, will not apply again.

Jess: I've found the snapshot.  It's the April 4th snapshot.  I do believe it was influential.  I would like to make an addition comment on the responses, those e-mailing.  We need to know what you're talking about.  Please copy and paste a link if you're e-mailing to praise or complain.  I remembered the way C.I. wrote it and the other issues she brought in so I was able to Google it but it's a lot easier if you include the link. 

Ty: Which, in fairness, most of our readers do.  Especially those wanting to choose the highlight of the week.  And let's note that Rebecca's part of the roundtable.  No other non THIRD-ers are.  Why Rebecca?  It's 1:00 am where she is and others on the east coast. Rebecca wanted to participate anyway and we are happy to have her.

Jess: Agreed.  And I believe we are now moving on to Chelsea Manning, right, Ty?

Ty: Right.  Chelsea is a whistle-blower.  She served in Iraq and she rescued truth from deceit and made sure the world knew the truth.  She was targeted for this action under Barack Obama.  Eventually, he pardoned her. January 17, 2017, in the last days of his presidency.  Chelsea is again being persecuted.  The US government is trying to hang espionage charges on Julian Assange and they're trying to use Chelsea to do that.

C.I.: The espionage act is a despicable and much abused act.   It was used against Emma Goldman and Eugene V. Debs.  It's the reason that Katrina vanden Heuvel refused to support War Resisters or allow THE NATION to support them. Obstruction of military recruitment was the charge against Debs.  It's where the nonsense of yelling fire comes into play.  Do we have free speech in this country or not?  Per Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, we do not.  He found that we cannot yell fire in a crowded theater -- this was his response to the case of Schenck v. US -- and, no, the case was not about someone in a theater yelling fire.  The issue was that Charles T. Schenck and Elizabeth Baer were distributing literature that called for resistance to the draft.  It's a shameful and stupid ruling.  And the Espionage Act has been a blight on the Constitution.  It's a cowardly and shameful decision.  Many have rightly criticized it.  It's not surprising that this would now be used to go after a publisher.

Dona: And Chelsea Manning was held by a grand jury.  She refused to give testimony.  I don't know what would happen if she cited the Fifth Amendment -- you know, the way the IRS official Lois Lerner did and was never punished or penalized for doing?  But while that grand jury was in session, she was behind bars.  When their term expired, she was released.  A new grand jury is now in session.  They are not only holding Chelsea behind bars, they are also imposing a daily financial penalty on her.  Chelsea is a political prisoner and we should all have the right to refuse a grand jury if we are indeed a democracy.

Ava: Let's note that there are only two candidates supporting Chelsea, US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard and former US Senator Mike Gravel.  Tulsi has also stated, to Joe Rogan, that she would drop the charges against Julian Assange.  We need leaders who support freedoms, not the paranoid crazies who try to curtail our freedoms and rights.

Jim: Elaine supported Mike Gravel in 2008 in the Democratic Party primary.  Will she be supporting him this go round?

Rebecca: Elaine puts a lot of thought into who she supports.  Mike Gravel is someone that she and C.I. know very well -- I know him but not as well.  She went with Howard Dean in 2004 and that was a contrary opinion when she started backing him -- he had just declared.  She based that on his record, her support for him, as a governor and on her face-to-face encounter with him.  This was a rare moment where she and C.I. were in direct conflict because C.I. backed John Kerry and did so early on -- she's known John for years.  But most of the time, Elaine and C.I. are on the same page.  In 2003 or 2004, for example, they were going to support the hot new candidate, a bi-racial man -- as he billed himself back then -- who wanted to be in the Senate.  Maybe you've heard of him: Barack Obama.  They went to a big money fundraiser ready to open their check books only to have the 'anti-war' candidate tell them that we were in Iraq now so there was no point in talking about ending the war.  C.I. asked him directly what he had just said and Barack repeated it.  At the point, Elain and C.I. turned and left.  Barack lost their support at that moment and never got it back.  As for today, I know she's open to Mike, to Tulsi, to Marianne Williamson and to Bernie currently.  She will not vote for Joe Biden.  She made that clear when he gave that award to Bully Boy Bush last year.  Joe Biden is dead to her.  If he is the nominee, she will either not vote in that race or vote for an independent or third party candidate.

Jim: Jess, you're a Green.  Who are you backing or leaning towards?

Jess: Right now, it would be Dario Hunter.  Honestly, the coverage at THE COMMON ILLS is what's kept me aware of his campaign.  I think all the Green candidates need to work harder at building an online presence.

C.I.: If you are a candidate or a political party, e-mail common_ills@yahoo.com with your press releases and I will note it at THE COMMON ILLS.  That does not have to be someone I am voting for.  If you are  a candidate, whether people plan to vote for you or not, they should be aware that you exist and are running.  When the Iraqi elections take place, we often get press releases from Moqtada al-Sadr's party.  We noted those.  Just send it in and it will go up, maybe not immediately, but it will go up. 

Jess: After Dario?  No one currently.  I like, in the Democratic race, Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard and could easily vote for them.

Jim:  Why aren't they more organized, the Green Party?

Dona: Well there is the money issue.  They're not taking corporate money.  In addition, with limited time and resources, they a trying to press the flesh and do face to face with as many people as possible.  That's probably their primary focus.  Bu say something here.  This site is not part of a circle jerk.  I am a Democrat, yes.  But I am not proud of the fact that we are not doing more for the Green Party.  So, from this edition forward, anything C.I. does on the Green Party will be reposted here whenever we post.  Jess is a Green.  Ann is a Green.  I know Betty is a Green statewide, not  I do want us to do our part to highlight party.

Jim: Okay, on that note, let's go ahead and wrap up the roundtable.

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