Monday, March 20, 2023


Jim: Roundtable time again. .  Remember our e-mail address is and  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; 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. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.




Jim (Con't): Okay. Let's start with an e-mail. Ty?

Ty: Corbin e-mails wanting to know why anyone hasn't called out Alice Walker for being a TERF?

Rebecca: Is she? I didn't know.

Betty: I know nothing.

Jim: Anybody? C.I.?

C.I.: She wrote something on her website. I didn't take it to be TERF but I didn't read the whole thing. I jumped in mid-point, I think. [No, turns out I read it all -- click here to read for yourself.]  "She defended JK Rowling!!!!!" She defended a writer's right to say something. Alice isn't pro-censorship -- remember THE COLOR PURPLE has been banned multiple times and in multiple places. She shared her opinion that -- this is going back a bit. I saw her express concern that those not yet adult might be better off waiting for surgery if they want to transition. That's not my belief. But that is a belief that I understand. Some were bothered, recently, when I stated that if one of my children were underage (they are not) and wanted to have that surgery I would say first we go into therapy. Not because they're crazy or insane but because this is a big decision and I would want explored. if my child still wanted it, I'd support it 100% and not "Let's wait until you're 18, okay?" If they wanted it right now, absolutely, if we'd done therapy, absolutely. Alice is a WIF -- Writer Inclusionary Feminist. If you don't know Alice, maybe you don't get that. THE COLOR PURPLE has been banned in many places. Alice doesn't support censorship. She supports other authors being able to speak. Some people seem to be reading more into it than what Alice wrote and where she stands. She was very clear that she supports any 18 or older transitioning if that's who they are. I didn't see anything that was anti-trans. Maybe I missed it. If so, by all means let us know. If Alice is a TERF, I will call her out. So, please, let me know.

Jim: I don't think anyone had even heard that allegation. Okay, now we were asked about Matt Taibbi and why we didn't even highlight what C.I. wrote at THE COMMON ILLS last week if we didn't want to write our own thing? Our plan was to do that. But the plans fell through and the whole edition is nothing but Ava and C.I.'s "" which, for the record did deal with Taibbi's Congressional testimony. We will reprint C.I.'s Iraq snapshot report this edition on the hearing and we'll also reproduce Taibbi's opening statement to the Committee. Now Raul e-mails asking, "Is the pandemic over? What do you'll think?"

Trina: No. Sorry if that upsets someone. COVID cases continue. It's not over. Not trying to depress anyone, just being honest. And Joe Biden pretending that it is? Harmful in so many ways. You've got people who think it is and that's bad. You've got people who will have to start paying towards student loans again because he's declared it over. You've got people who are going to lose SNAP benefits because it is supposedly over. No. It should not have been declared over. The CDC's weekly total of new cases was just 149,995. No, it's not over. I wish it were but it's not.

Cedric: A large number of our church members over 60 just got it in the last two weeks.

Ann: That's true.

Kat: To build on Trina's point about Joe's messaging and statements leaving people thinking it's over and that being bad -- absolutely. There are people with low resistance that might need to still mask up but are not doing so because the president declared the pandemic over. I wouldn't have made it like Congress' 2002 Authorization For Military Force on Iraq -- letting it run on forever -- but I would've kept the emergency powers for a bit longer. Maybe another year.

Jim: On the 20th anniversary, Congress wants credit for yet again talking about ending those powers.

Jess; They do. For talking. Not for doing. For talking.

Dona: It's rolling towards a vote in the Senate. Maybe. No rush after all, let's just pretend that it's normal -- apparently.

Betty: What I really hate is that some are pointing to brave Barbara Lee. There's nothing brave about her. She refused to hold Barack accountable for the Iraq War or the Afghanistan War. She's a fake and a phony. Now, as she wants to be in the Senate, she's preening and posing for the press. Hey, Fake and Shake, we aren't that stupid.

Jim: Kat, table your comment I know you're about to make for just a moment. Iraq, anyone else on Iraq before I hand the floor to Kat?

Wally: Yeah, I'll jump in. I'm sick of the press and the liars in the press. We still have US troops on the ground in Iraq -- one just died in Iraq back in December. The war is not over and people need to stop pretending that it is. It is now the US' longest, ongoing war. Treat it as such.

Ruth: I --

Wally: Sorry, Ruth, give me one more moment, please. I could list 30 people and outlets who perpetuate that lie. I will instead give credit to Amy Goodman for her DEMOCRACY NOW! report that noted that reality.

Ruth: Good points. I just cannot believe that we are still sending troops to Iraq. I am appalled. It took years and years for opposition to the Vietnam War to read the level that opposition to the Iraq War was in 2006 but it still goes on. It is impossible and we have been lied to and distracted. By the government and by so-called leaders.

Marcia: I'll build on what C.I. was saying in last week's the gina & krista round-robin, how can anyone claim that the war was a success? The government is corrupt and has been over and over. The Iraqi people live in misery. They need jobs, they need a government that represents them. Protesters get hunted by security forces. This is not a stable government nor a representative one. And then you've got the toxic burnpits that the US left there and the other environmental pollution that's caused all these birth defects. Women's rights have been destroyed. How is it a success? By no measure is it a success.

Dona: It's so depressing. I want to name a few people who walked away and who whored and whatever else, people I will never, ever trust again. The list would include: Norman Solomon, Leslie Cagan, Medea Benjamen, Christian Parenti -- who, by the way, looks fatter and fatter when he wears a turtle neck on THE KATIE HALPER SHOW, Alice Walker, -- in fact, just put down anyone who campaigned for Barack Obama because they made a point to do nothing for Iraq -- that's Laura Flanders especially -- because when Barack refused to bring all US troops home, they didn't want to call out their precious baby boy. They're disgusting.

Elaine: I saw people sell out many times in my life before but never the way they sold out in 2008. And let's be clear that the Democrats never expected to retake both houses of Congress in 2006. When that happened and they had the power to end the war, they chose not to because they wanted to use opposition to the Iraq War to also gain the White House. Put Nancy Pelosi on that list Dona just gave. And don't forget how she humiliated John Conyers or that he was right, Bully Boy Bush needed to be impeached.

Cedric: Amen.

Dallas: Can I speak for a second?

Jim: Sure. Dallas helps us on every edition. Always has. I'm surprised because you don't usually want to speak.

Dallas: Don't want to now but I do want to point out that it was the end of 2005 or 2006 when C.I. noted that she was tired and ready to stop participating online but would go on for a bit more because she knew the Iraq War wasn't going to end in the next few years. And we were kind of shocked, all of us? 'What do you mean? Our numbers are getting bigger and bigger! Of course, the war's about to end.' I was wrong, we were all wrong.

Jim: A very good point. I was wrong too. C.I. was right. Rebecca, did you think she was right when she said that?

Rebecca: When she immediately said it, no. And then I thought, how long I have I known her? When she speaks like that, she's right. So within a minute of her declaration, I was in agreement. But prior to that, I did think that the war would be ended.

Jim: Kat, I'm not forgetting you. Give me a second more. Why does this war continue to drag on?

Stan: I'd say there are a number of reasons. First, we're fossil fuel dependent and Iraq is oil rich. Second, they lowered fatalities -- US fatalities -- and so that took some of the interest away.

Cedric: Jumping in for one second, Stan. Tom Hayden was right about that, by the way. He got pissy about something Wally and I wrote and Wally told him, when he complained to take it up with both of us. After that, we exchanged several e-mails and Tom stressed that if they could manage the fatalities, get them lower, then many Americans would lose interest. He was right about that so I wanted to give him credit. I could list many things he was wrong about but tossing back to Stan.

Stan: Third, US news is 'cheap' and near non-existent. As C.I.'s pointed out, the only withdrawal was after the November 2008 elections when US news outlets rushed to withdraw. ABC farmed out coverage to BBC NEWS, for example. So you've got an economic motive to stay, you've got fatalities decreased on the US side and you've got a news media that can't be bothered with actual reporting and instead sits in front of cameras jaw boning and repeating what the government said while calling that 'reporting.'

Isaiah: I would add the defocusing on groups supposedly against the Iraq War. There's United For Peace and Justice which closed shop the day after Barack was elected president and called that a victory.

Mike: It was not. He continued the war. He thought he could make it better -- hubris -- and more effective. He wasn't anti-war, he wasn't even anti-the Iraq War. He was all about plunder and colonialism and some people grasped that from the start.

Isaiah: Exactly. And then there was CodeStink. Not only did they attack John Edwards and Hillary Clinton to clear the field for Barack, they also dropped one Iraq action after another. Can someone please explain to me how you get thousands to agree to go without food as protest and then you call off your Iraq action -- remember they were going to go meet with Iraqi politicians and present a plan?? -- because you need to rush off to take up Palestine -- the cause that everyone else is already working on at that moment.

Mike: That was so disgusting. It was disgusting in real time. But Isaiah just brought up an important point that I don't think we've made before. We've talked about how CodeStink was a hitchicker on the highway of causes. But, yeah, they were supposed to be presenting some sort of plan. They called that off and they never, ever returned to it. What a failure on their part. I'm freshly disgusted by them all over again.

Ava: And who would have thought that was possible? Could they get more craven. Jodi Evans, the head of the organization, dispatched them to go after John Edwards and Hillary Clinton, to heckle them at campaign stops -- they called it 'birddogging' -- but they never did that to Barack. And, of course, after the election was over, we'd all find out that Jodi was also a big bundler for Barack's campaign. A detail they should have disclosed but they never tell the truth. She pledged to raise $50,000 for Barack. That should have been disclosed every time CodeStink got press for calling out John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. It was deceptive not to do so. I have no respect for CodeStink and find it hilarious that these days they try to pretend that they are feminist when they started out with men and women and now bury that reality. They're so fake. And Susan 'Medea' Benjamin does need to retire. If she did, CodeStink might actually be able progress and hold people accountable.

Marcia: Instead, it's just a group used to get attention for Medea.

Jim: Okay, now I'm going to Kat who I know wants to talk about Barbara Lee.

Kat: Yes. She's a fake ass. But even if you can't see that, can you not grasp that we don't need her 76 year old ass in the US Senate. Dianne Feinstein should have retired long ago but has refused to do so. Barbara Boxer -- who was a much better senator than Dianne -- retired from the Senate at 77. But we're supposed to elect 76 year old Barbara Lee, who would be 77 whens he's sworn in, to an 8 year term? No, she's too damn old.

Jim: And on that note, we're going to wrap up. As always this is a rush transcript. Thank you to Ava and C.I. for taking notes -- and typing this up, I'm sure.

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