Monday, January 30, 2023


Jim:  I'd hoped this would be a roundtable.  It's not.  I'll explain why in a second but for a set up, Stevie Nicks' "Hard Advice" from her 24 KARAT GOLD album.




He gives such hard adviceHe says don't think twiceTurn off the radioIt was finished long agoGo write some real songsThis is all wrong



Jim (Con't): So what I wanted to do was to have a roundtable -- this one where I was moderating what might be a difficult discussion.  My ground rule was "no deletions."  We do roundtables all the time.  They are edited in that people often pull a statement that they made.  They don't think it sound right or that they mispoke or whatever.  C.I. and I are the only ones who've never pulled anything we've said prior to it going up at the website -- as far as I know.  So that rule had a number leery and unwilling to participate. Then the topic came up -- the conflict between THE VANGUARD and REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT NETWORK. At which point, Rebecca shocked me by saying, "Oh, hell no."  The others left agreed with her.  Why?  What's in it for us, Rebecca asked?  She noted that we would piss off one side or the other and why are we getting into this?  I thought the feature was dead and said I understood -- and I did understand the feelings.  I was surprised because C.I. asked about a half hour later what time we were doing this?  I hadn't realized that she hadn't walked with everyone else.  So this is a discussion piece with the two of us.  Ava's taking notes for this transcript piece, thank you, Ava.  So both shows are YOUTUBE programs.  Two people host THE VANGUARD and multiple people participate in segments for REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT NETWORK.  I should disclose that I follow THE VANGUARD more and that's because, first off, there's less content.  I can do about five episodes a week.  Three a day, as RBN tends to do, is going to take up too much time.  I work, I've got a wife, we've got a kid.  So I'm better equipped about THE VANGUARD since I pretty much see all their segments.  I do watch RBN but it's usually three times a week, if that.  

C.I.: I watch both.  Usually, if I watch it -- usually -- I will give it a thumbs up.  Usually because I do have issues with my blood sugar and if my vision's bad at the moment I end up -- as did on a Katie Halper video a year ago, hitting the wrong thumb and then trying to fix it. At THE COMMON ILLS, I post many videos -- some because of e-mails -- and that does not mean I am agreeing with everything they say or that I've even watched.  It just means the topic sounds interesting.  If I've given it a thumbs up, I've streamed at least five minutes of it.

Jim: So the two programs are in conflict with one another and that can be distressing for some.  There were e-mails last week about this, readers saying that they couldn't take the fighting.  

C.I.: How many e-mails and were they all of that opinion?

Jim: I read seven and Ty read three on this -- it wasn't a big topic.  Of those ten, eight were bothered by the fighting or "bickering' to use the term that popped up the most in the e-mails.

C.I.: Were you bothered?

Jim: No.  I enjoyed the hashing out on both sides.  That shouldn't be a surprise to readers of this site.  I'm always comfortable with people disagreeing with each other and debating.  

C.I.: So some feel a line was crossed?

Jim: Yeah.  They've been going back and forth, the two programs for some time.  I think THE VANGUARD probably pissed RBN off with their take on Jimmy Dore.

C.I.: Which is a take that's accurate.  It's a point Ann's made, Betty's made, I've made, I think all of us have made it which is that this "Black" news outlet focuses way too much on White Jimmy Dore.  It's valid.  Now that's not the critique that THE VANGUARD's making.

Jim: Right.  Their critique is that RBN is in the tank for Jimmy Dore and echoes anything he says.

C.I.: Which appears to be true.  But my point in my critiques on this: There are real issues that aren't being covered so why are you instead doing another segment on how someone said something that hurt Jimmy Dore's feelings?  The endless hype machine that RBN provides for Jimmy Dore is disgusting and it would be disgusting if it was for Chris Hedges.  I'm not calling out Jimmy Dore for RBN's worship of him but I am calling out RBN for it.  And I am specifically calling them out for their need to collectively use their people of color voice to prop up the White man.  There are many African-American thought leaders that they could shine a light on.  Instead, they too often turn their show into a fan club for White Jimmy.

Jim: You don't like Jimmy Dore.

C.I.: No, I don't but that's not part of my critique.  My critique is that there have been weeks where RBN offered multiple segments defending Jimmy Dore but they couldn't address the war on reproductive rights or the war on the LGBTQ+ community.  A few weeks ago, one RBN host did a segment on trans persons and he stumbled but he was sincere and I shared that video because he was sincere and he was trying to address the topic.  Right after, Sabby and another RBN did a segment with him which was much better.  


Jim: I remember that, you defended ______ in the newsletter, the gina & krista round-robin, because some people thought ______ was being transphobic.


C.I.: This may violate your rules but if that name is left in, I'm out right now.  I kept that in the community newsletter because I don't want "transphobe" applied to his name.  I understand why some took it that way -- his comments on his solo segment.  But he was trying to deal honestly with the topic and he was speaking out of love, not out of hate.  Things that needed clarified were done in the second segment.  If someone's transphobic, I'm not covering for them.  But I'm not going to apply the term to anyone who's attempting to address the issue and not doing so in the exact wording that I would provide.  


Jim: No, we can pull the name.  Sorry.  That was my bad.  If I'd paid attention, I would've known you were not naming him for a reason.  By the way, if you have HBO MAX, consider streaming a documentary, HAXAN: WITCHCRAFT THROUGHOUT THE AGES.  It's a silent film.  Made in 1922, it's a Swedish documentary.  It's interesting to see, over the ages, how opinions evolved.  And we're all evolving works in progress.  So the conflicts between RBN and THE VANGUARD have been simmering for awhile now.  And last week, RBN insulted TV with a comment regarding ambulances that TV actually liked and said they might make it a ring tone.  But there were two issues -- two segments or clips -- that RBN did that TV took issue with.  One was a segment on Briahna Joy Gray where they called her a "bold face" liar.  TV felt that wasn't made, the critique, in good faith.  And I see their point.

C.I.: I see their point but I also see RBN's point.  Bring up the second segment because they're actually the same conflict.  I don't want to repeat myself on it, I think they can be dealt with in, to be Nate Bargatze -- who's new AMAZON comedy special debuts January 31st, in "one fell swoop."

Jim: Okay.  They had Marianne Williamson on -- RBN did -- and the whole thing went to crap with two hosts yelling at her and being rude.  TV called them out on that and it's led to more back and forth.  

C.I.: It's always going to lead to back and forth.  RBN is not about a candidate.  It is not trying to tell you who to vote for.  RBN is about raising issues.  At its best, that's what its about.  That is not what THE VANGUARD is about.  Zac said last week, before the RBN segment was aired, that he was trying to get votes for Marianne Williamson.  He's entitled to do whatever he wants, and good for him for not keeping it a secret.  

Jim: We agreed not to post any videos here -- just to give a link to both sites  -- so it didn't look like one group was being favored over the other.  However, I missed what you're talking about so I think we're going to have to provide that video here because if I didn't catch it, I'm sure others missed it as well.

[. . .]

Jim (Con't): And we are editing.  We're pulling a long section of back-and-forth.  I was on THE VANGUARD's YOUTUBE page looking for what C.I. was talking about and not finding it.  Wrongly, I told her she must be mistaken.  She responded.  And back and forth ensued.  She was right.  So I'll just note that we're pulling that because she was right and I should have called a time out while we were looking for it.  This is the video below and as C.I. told me, it's at 48 minutes in when Zac insists, "That's why we are making this suggestion to you that we get behind Marianne Williamson now" -- and I'm ending the quote there because Marianne does not have balls.  Let me quote one of my favorite writers on this topic, "There's enough macho b.s. in the world (largely coming out of the White House), I won't add to it by pushing some myth that strength is determined by what hangs out below the belt." You know who that was?




C.I.: No idea.  Good point, though.


Jim:  It's you -- from 2007.

C.I.: Anyway, there's nothing wrong with saying you're supporting Marianne or whomever. But it's a different view.  He's focused on electoral politics.  RBN is not.  RBN was wrong for the interview they did with Marianne Williamson.  The reason that they were wrong was because Sabby's relationship with Marianne got them the interview.  They created a huge problem for Sabby Sabs -- as THE VANGUARD rightly noted.  Other than that?  Was there a problem?  I can't comment on Jay.  I have no idea what he said.  He started yelling and screaming and I'm not going to take that.  I've called out many other men for the same thing -- including Farron Cousins of RING OF FIRE.  If you start yelling like that, I'm tuning you out -- a lot of women are.  You need to realize how you sound when you do that and that it is frightening.  If that's him expressing himself, so be it.  But understand that a lot of people -- especially women -- are going to tune you out.  A man so angry that he is spitting as he yells is not someone I'm going to listen to.  So I can't comment on what he said, I have no idea.  I didn't pay that close attention to it because of the yelling and I've blocked it from my mind.  

Jim: The other guy was yelling too -- in the aftermath once Marianne had left the segment.

C.I.: No.  You're talking about Rome.  THE VANGUARD said that Rome didn't make any sense.  He made perfect sense to me.  He was upset and he was struggling but I followed every word he said.  He was loud but he was not out of control.  He was emotional but he was not out of control.  And he made perfect sense to me.  I don't know why anyone else had trouble following him.  He was noting that interconnected aspects of various imperial projects and tying it into Marianne Williamson's positions and her comments.  I don't expect someone who's already planning to vote for Marianne to embrace what Rome said, but it wasn't obscure or difficult to comprehend.

Jim: You know Marianne, by the way.

C.I.: I do.  I've known her for years.  I like her.  That doesn't mean she's above criticism.  I've called her out, for example, for her YOUTUBE segment about Afghanistan.  The US would be pulling out and Marianne had to do a video, just had to do it.  Okay, good.  But it was bad.  Because she doesn't get an Afghan to speak or an Afghan-American.  She goes to a US soldier who fought in Afghanistan.  I'm sorry, Marianne, what revelations were you expecting?  Do you really believe that combat in Afghanistan is teaching anyone about a country?  If so, you're as lunatic about the military as was Mad Maddie Albright.  Second off, why would you invite an armed invader of a foreign country on to give the first and last word on that foreign country?  That's appalling and it goes to some troubling comprehension on Marianne's part.  Now I like Marianne.  But that's reality.  

Jim: And you think that's how RBN sees it?

C.I.: I can't speak for RBN.  But I can say that I understood Rome's critique and I even understand Jay's rage.  

Jim: But you don't get THE VANGUARD's take on it?

C.I.: I didn't say that.  I believe I made clear that I understood where they were coming from.  The whole thing's Tim Burton's BATMAN RETURNS.  THE VANGUARD is Batman, upholding the system, trying to work within it.  RBN is Catwoman, looking around at a corrupt system and saying, "You make it so easy, don't you?  Always waiting for some Batman to save you."

Jim: So who's Penguin?

C.I.: Jimmy Dore, they even look alike.  Seriously though, it's two different visions of the country of politics.  And you can choose which ever one speaks to you if you feel you can only respond to one.  THE VANGUARD is willing to pin hopes on Marianne.  I have no idea why and I like Marianne.  But, no, I don't for one moment believe she'll run independently if the Democratic Party screws her over.  I think people were wrong to believe Bernie Sanders had a spine.  Now they're investing into someone they know even less and know even less about.  RBN's attitude is understandable.  Bernie screwed everyone over.  TV wants to argue that now we pour all that same energy into Marianne and RBN is arguing that we're not willing to be screwed over again.  TV thinks they can reform the Democratic Party, RBN scoffs at that.  And, historically, the facts there are on RBN's side.  Over and over, people have insisted that they'd take it over -- the Democratic Party -- and they never did.  They were compromised by it.  Tom Hayden's a perfect example but it's over and over and over.  Gloria Steinem would go off in tears in 1972 . . . to avoid calling out the Democratic Party.  These people do nothing and do nothing over and over.


C.I.: I don't believe I have to either/or it.  I believe that this is a conversation that needs to be had.  And, on this issue of we-will-change-the-party-from-within, sorry, it's nonsense.  It's been attempted over and over -- before THE VANGUARD guys were even born.  

Jim: Okay, she was asked about whether or not she would run independent if she ran for the 2024 Democratic Party's presidential nomination and the DNC did not treat her fairly. But was it a bold face lie?

C.I.: Third party, not independent.  But actually it is Actually, it was.  I know Marianne and I know how she hems and she's hemming there.  It's like the episode of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW where Mary, to cheer Ted and Murray up, says something like, 'What if I told you that Walter Cronkite caught yesterday's broadcast and --'  After Ted and Murray leave practically skipping, Lou confronts her on the lie and she responds, "I said what if."  And Marianne hemmed and hawed that maybe something might happen.  Now you can argue that she can't go concrete because doing so would mean the DNC would keep her off the stage -- if she didn't agree to support the eventual nominee.  She implied she would, she suggested, but she didn't say it.  And to be really clear on this whole issue, I do not support Zac on THE VANGUARD video above at 40 minutes when he starts rambling about 'what she really means.'  When you have to do that for a candidate, it's your first clue that they weren't concrete in their answers.  When you do that for a candidate, you're making clear that you're in the tank for the candidate.  Why are you speaking for them?  I loathed those who worshiped The Christ Child Barack Obama and their lies about what he means and their lies about "three dimensional chess" and all their attempts to cover for him, that whole Cult of St. Barack nonsense.  He ended up being an empty suit who did nothing to help We The People and I blame him for that but I also blame all the people who would excuse him and insist, "What he's really doing is . . ."  

Jim: No, you're right.  I didn't get that when I watched.  You're right.  If we're going to deal in facts -- and that's what THE VANGUARD was saying they were doing -- you don't then offer predictions of what Marianne's going to do in 2024.  You don't know what she's going to do and you really shouldn't whore yourself out on the limb like that.  You had to remind of 2008 for me to get the point, sorry.  But I do get your point.

C.I.: Marianne Williamson is an ink blot and both TV and RBN are interpreting the ink blot.  They're doing so based on their beliefs and their lived lives.  THE VANGUARD believes in the system, they are Batman.  RBN is Catwoman, they know the system's screwed and they know they can be disposed of and killed at any moment -- pushed out an open window like Selena was or shot in the park for being a kid playing with a toy gun.  Of the two groups, I'd say THE VANGUARD is being gullible. But, again, as Ava and I always say, "We don't fall in love with politicians -- we're not that pathetic."

Jim: To offer some negative on THE VANGUARD, they do -- or Zac does -- fall in love with politicians.  In the video above, he credits Bernie Sanders with Medicare For All.  That's insane.  Nurses have been at the forefront of that battle.  We started here in 2005 and I had to be educated about the topic.  I was a kid in a college.  This was long before Bernie ran in 2016 or in 2020.  He grabbed a popular idea and ran on it.  Don't pretend that he did anything else.  I do not get why a movement built by millions -- mainly nurses -- is being credited to Bernie Sanders by Zac.  So that's my negative criticism. Again, a huge fan of the show.

C.I.: And there's no reason you have to apologize for that.  As I noted, Zac was upfront with his audience that he's supporting Marianne.  This isn't Melissa Harris Lieface Lacewell Perry working on Barack's campaign for over a year and then going on NPR, PBS and PACIFICA pretending she's got no dog in the hunt and is just making independent analysis -- that always insults and finds lacking everyone but Barack.   What she did was unethical -- and Princeton agreed which is why they didn't keep her on -- what Zac's doing is above board.  He can support whomever he wants and he's got enough honesty and character to not try to hide it.  And, again, there isn't one view.  Or even one view we should consumer.  More voices, not less.  And there's certainly room for both REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT and THE VANGUARD.  It doesn't have to be either/or.  If one or both speaks to you, great, stream 'em.

Jim: Okay, let me be -- 


C.I.: Hold on, before you wind down.  We have to put in a video for REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT NETWORK since we did one for THE VANGUARD.


Jim: They are  in the video of THE VANGUARD.


C.I.: That's not their video.  Clips are shown while THE VANGUARD interprets them.  They deserve to have their own voice recognized and not be interpreted through an outlet that doesn't like them.


Jim: Okay, solid point.  Let's put in the one where they're talking about David Sirota.



 Jim: Again, let me be appreciative -- a recent e-mail insisted that I wrap things up too quickly and dismiss who makes the last comment.  So let me say thank you, C.I., for doing this.  I believed in this feature and was sad when I thought it was killed due to lack of participation.  It'll probably irritate some people but I'm fine with that. And let me say thank you to Ava for taking down a transcript of this discussion. Reminder, the best e-mail address to reach at us is and this is a rush transcript.

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