Episode 1 – Not Guilty No Way Podcast

Posted: January 16th, 2016 by Mirriam.

In this episode we test our new mic (Blue Yeti!) and the Audacity podcast editor that my friend, Mike Cernovich, recommended.  You get to meet me, Mirriam Seddiq and hear my melodious voice – maybe for the first time. Prepare yourself to be entranced by my siren song. You meet Katie and Steven and Justin. We talk about ourselves a bit and what the show will entail. It’s 33 minutes long so just enough for drive time. We’ve just been approved by itunes so it should go up in a day or two, but for now you can listen to it on soundcloud here.

 

NGNW Episode 1

 

 

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Have we come a long way, baby?

Posted: January 16th, 2016 by Mirriam.

Apparently, feminism is a dirty word. If someone calls you a feminist it means you are angry, hateful, believe that all men are rapists and hate being called pretty. This is just stupid. It’s like saying if you are a conservative you hate blacks, poor people and want everyone who is white to own a gun and everyone who is anything else to be excluded from the country.

Sometimes these things are true. But a lot of the time – MOST of the time, they aren’t.

Men who hate feminists, let me ask you something, who are the women with whom you associate every day. Let’s say, you are a criminal defense attorney. A guy. And you go to work and you see, you know. other criminal defense attorneys. Some of them might be women. And you talk to those women and you like them and you think they are funny and smart and strong and you’d probably even refer a case or two to them. Do you think that woman would not call herself a feminist?

How would a woman over the age of 40 even be a criminal defense lawyer if she wasn’t a feminist? Feminism is simply the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Is that something that people shouldn’t want? Isn’t that just being a decent human being? How would I even be here to write this blog and to say these things out loud and not be barefoot and pregnant making homemade granola (which I do, by the way) if not for feminism and my own belief in my own equality.

You know who hates feminists? Saudi Arabia. The Taliban. Southern Baptists.

I won the Women’s Studies Prize in College as well as the Minerva Prize for best scholarship. I wrote my senior thesis on the Hegelian Dialectic and Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. I wrote about how women in the muslim world, particularly mothers of daughters, perpetuate the patriarchy. After all, it isn’t men who perform cliterodectomies in Africa, it’s women. Oppression becomes systemic and ingrained in the culture and once we get people (women) to accept it, they will keep it alive and the men can stand back and appreciate it. This is just the truth. Maybe it sounds bad. But lots of truths do sound bad. But knowing it is the truth is a step in altering what we do and how we do it. That’s MY feminism. Don’t like female circumcision? Talk to the women who do it. Get them all to stand against it. A man won’t perform it. If no one agrees to do it then what?

That’s feminism.

There is no doubt that when I was coming up in the 80’s we were inundated with radical feminist thoughts. I read Andrea Dworkin. I spoke with Audre Lorde on the phone right before she died.  But that’s what kids do. They read and explore and think. No one wrote a hateful blog post about me trying to undo the fabric of american society because I was interested in an aspect of who I was, how I came to be, and what I could do to better my position in the world. In these times, no young woman can speak her mind about feminism or GASP rape, without being labeled in some horrendous way. It’s kids growing up, man. Give them a break.

Look guys, rape is real. It really and truly does happen and it happened on my college campus. I don’t think there is a fine line in rape. If a girl is passed out drunk or you roofie her then have sex with her, that’s rape. And, in my school it was covered up. That’s what you paid for. That was wrong. Rapes should have been reported to the police. They should have been investigated and prosecuted if warranted.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my college. I loved the ability to be drunk or high and get around without fear. I loved that security would follow you home if you were too drunk to walk a straight line but refused a ride. I loved that we were allowed to be young, stupid (rich and white) kids and make all the mistakes in the world and not have to face the horrible consequences of them. Most of my friends and acquaintances are incredibly successful now. And they did a bunch of really idiotic things in college. Most of them did not rape. In fact, I do not know of a single male who raped someone. I still don’t.*

There is rape. There is no rape culture. Sorry folks. It’s not true and it doesn’t exist. If it didn’t exist in the time before social media in my liberal arts school where one particular fraternity was called ‘date rape central’ it doesn’t exist now. There was no acceptance of this rape. You knew it, you pointed it out. Fair warning. No one accepts rape. The forcible taking of anything is not allowed in our society any longer. Not your money, not your car, not your sex.

But then that brings me to another novel concept. Why are women still so up in arms about sex. Haven’t we come a long way, baby?* * Here’s a radical thought. What if we didn’t treat sex as a precious thing women had that men wanted to take away. What if our vaginas really did not define us. Think about it. The reason why forcible sex is treated so differently is because of the patriarchy. Don’t fool yourselves. It’s not about female empowerment. It’s about protection and making sure we can continue to play the victim. Oh, poor me. Don’t take my sex because that is all I have to offer. That’s why it is a crime. So that your man wouldn’t have to have you after you were defiled by someone else. In some cultures, you were forced to marry your rapist. (In many, you still are.)

Your husband wouldn’t divorce you if someone stole your purse or you were carjacked. Or even if you were beaten to a bloody pulp in an alley behind your house. But man, if someone else put their penis in your vagina it is all over. You are ruined forevermore. That’s why we have rape laws. So when you run around thinking that this is to make you equal you fall right into the trap they’ve laid for you.

Some women believe death is better than rape. What sort of thinking is this? Would a rational person think it better to be dead than to be held hostage in your home for hours with your kids tied up and then emerge, you know, alive? Nope. That guy is super happy he and his kids are alive. Are they traumatized? Sure. Will they need therapy and some friends and family to help them get through it? Without a doubt. But will they never trust another human being again because their life was taken from them? I doubt it. But women believe that the trauma they experience in rape is greater than any other trauma anyone can ever experience. This is a societal construct. It’s what they want you to believe. Your sex defines you. And you’ve let it.

Stop getting jerked around by the powers that be. Stop making them let you believe you have no value other than your sexuality. If you don’t buy it, they can’t use it against you. If forcible sex is another bad act that bad people do and you acknowledge that, you stop being a victim. And in what universe does equal opportunity for men and women mean we get to continue to be protected because of our gender? Isn’t that exactly what we don’t want anymore?

Ladies, stop playing into it. You want equality, well, who defines equality? Right now, men do. And honestly, I don’t want to be a man. They have to wear pants all year long. They have hair everywhere, and they are required to lift heavy things. No thanks. I want to be a woman on my own terms. If you continue to believe rape is the worst thing that can happen to a woman then you are not a feminist.

You are a pawn in the game.

* Obviously, I mean in my personal life. I represent lots of men accused of sex crimes. Many of whom were factually innocent.

** This is the feminism I grew up with

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It’s too bad I can’t run for President

Posted: January 15th, 2016 by Mirriam.

I almost always vote. I mean, there have been a couple of mid-term elections or local ones I may have missed but generally speaking, I always vote. I mean, I am an American by choice. Well, not really my choice, but my parents chose it and I think they are pretty smart people and so if they chose for me to be an American then, dammit, I am going to be the best American I can be.

So I vote.

I answer polls too. I probably contribute to the 4 point margin of error. Someday I would like to get one of those Nielsen boxes to rate what I watch on tv. But I guess at this point I am too old, too brown and too female for the advertisers to really care about what I like to watch. And do they even have that anymore what with the Netflix and Hudu or Vudoo or whatever?

In case you lived under a rock with bad cell reception, there’s an election coming up IN ALMOST A YEAR. A year. And everyone is scrambling and has been for almost A YEAR to figure out who will be our new Commander In Chief. Our new master of the universe or the free world. A FUCKING YEAR.

Do you know how many things change in a year? People who had zero children in January could have one by the end of that year. A baby will learn to walk (unless it’s slow, in which case, patience, all kids develop at their own pace.) Your business could increase a thousandfold, or fail tragically. The Dow could drop and rise by hundreds of points in a day a hundred times over.

You could die.

Listen, do you even really think it matters who your president is? I know so many people who are so thrilled with our current POTUS. You know what? He may not be the worst president ever, but he certainly isn’t my favorite. He hasn’t done any of the things he promised. Gitmo is still open, healthcare is a mess with so many people paying increased premiums or losing great health plans they had before, and people are being deported in huge numbers. Civil liberties have been slashed and the trend will continue. He’s pardoned less people than turkeys and his call for an increase in clemency is a joke. There’s our constitutional law scholar for you. There’s our raised by a single mom black man for you. Oh please. Do not even start with me about how people don’t like him because he is a black man. I don’t like him because he generally has not given a shit about other black men. How do I know? Read this blog. You’ll see.

But you know what? This post isn’t about our POTUS. It’s about how it really doesn’t matter who it is. Truly. It’s a job for a figurehead. Like the Queen but with less bling and not as cute a hand wave.

Let’s walk through the ones I’ve been sort of paying attention to and give you my take.

Hilary Clinton

Well, we know she is probably going to get the Democratic party nod. I’ve never been a fan of hers. I mean, ever. Not in New York and not now. I think she is a panderer and a politician through and through. She’s also the original destroyer of healthcare. And, she’s never governed anything before. I didn’t think this mattered so much before Obama, but now I do.  I think that maybe because she is a woman she’d be better at multi-tasking (just the truth, guys, we are better at it.) But I don’t think she’s right for us. I know there are plenty of women out there who would be fantastic as our Supreme Leader. But it isn’t her. Although I do think she’s fun on twitter and I like that she tries to connect with ‘the people.’  Also, she is pro death penalty and really light on criminal justice reform, which are another two strikes against her.  These things matter to me.

Bernie Sanders

He is, in the words of a dear friend of mine, an ‘ideas man.’ He has great ideas. I mean, it would be awesome if we would be willing to pay a 55% tax and get everything paid for us by the government. I don’t know that I would mind that sort of socialism. I think right now we are pissed at paying taxes because we don’t feel we get much for it. I know as a small business owner I feel that way. Woot! I get to pay lots of taxes! And the more money I make without becoming a billionaire, the more I get to pay. And in exchange I get. . . yeah, that part is hard. But hey, it is what it is. What I would like to know about Bernie though is, how are we going to pay for all these programs? Is there a secret stash of money somewhere that we don’t know about? I know loads of people are unhappy about his pro-second amendment stance. But I like him for that. Wanting to take care of those on the margins of society and liking the right to bear arms are not mutually exclusive things. Also, he needs to not yell so much. It really isn’t in keeping with the look of POTUS. And if POTUS is a figurehead we need him to learn to settle down. He wouldn’t be terrible and I think he is pretty honest, which is strange in a politician. But I think if he gets nominated then we will really need a big get out the vote push on the dem side since he is a little bit way out there.

Martin O’Malley

I thought he’d get some play. But apparently he’s a no-go. He has governing experience and made some ok strides in Maryland, but has been fizzling out. And he’s super white and Irish and that isn’t really ‘in’ anymore.

Donald Trump

Truth – I’ve always been a fan of Donald Trump. He worked hard and didn’t take any bullshit. He pushed people to do better and be better. Which is why his current incarnation is such a disappointment. We stay at your casinos Donald. Stop being such a dickwad to us. I thought he’d lost his mind a couple of years ago when he started saying really outlandish things. And, it was about that time that someone said he might be running for president. I totally laughed it off I mean, maybe when he wasn’t such a nutjob, but when he became a loose cannon just saying whatever stuff came into his head? You know who the Donald reminds me of now? You ever hear the comedian David Cross do his bit about watching a redneck fight in a redneck bar? If you haven’t, listen to it here. That’s what Donald Trump is like. He may have some good ideas, but no one will listen to him because he sounds crazy. The good thing about Trump is that he is making people pay attention. But I wish he’d have made them pay attention a little closer to the primaries and not so early.

Ted Cruz

I know nothing about him. He looks like Brian Tannebaum. That’s all I know. I think at least one of his parents is foreign. That should make me like him but the twitter makes me think I probably wouldn’t like him. But who knows. He may evolve. After all, he has A WHOLE GOD DAMNED YEAR.

Bobby Jindal

I know he dropped out, but man, this guy is something else.  I think he is everything America is not. His desire to assimilate overwhelmed everything he came to the world with and that’s not who we are. Do I think everyone who is in America should speak English? Yup. Did I have a Christmas tree growing up in my muslim household? Yup. But I didn’t change my name and I am not ashamed of where I came from. Clearly, Jindal was one of those kids who wished his name was, um, Bobby. Don’t get me wrong, I used to wish my name was Jennifer or Tiffany (yes, it’s true. I LOVED the name Tiffany.) I thought my life would be so much more normal if I had a normal name a small nose and white skin. And you know, it’s true, it would be. But I am not small nosed and white but I love everything I bring to the table. And Bobby Jindal is a self-hating American. He should actually be disqualified from running for POTUS.

So there you have it. My rundown of the presidential contenders. To sum it up, they all suck.

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Voicemails are forever

Posted: November 2nd, 2015 by Mirriam.

So I am going to be honest here.

I advertise.

Yup, that’s right. I actually shell out money for people to know I exist and what it is I do. It’s true. It’s not major. I mean, I am not a superlawyer yet or anything like that, but I’ve got some money out there in the legal marketing world. There, I said it. Whew. If you stick with me, you will see why this is important. I promise it becomes relevant, eventually. Would I lie to you?

This blog, though, has never been a money maker. It isn’t for advertising. Never has been, never will be. That’s not to say this blog hasn’t helped me make money. I write things in here, people google me and then this stuff comes up and people think “oh, she is really a lawyer and has thoughts and thinks things and then, sometimes, writes about them.” So, while I don’t make money directly from here, it’s helped me snag a client or two.

And it’s helped me make friends and enemies. I don’t love making enemies. It feels a little uncomfortable and well, the nature of this business is antagonistic anyway, why make it worse by using yet another forum to pick fights? But sometimes, it can’t be helped. This might be one of those times.

I was on twitter today having a conversation of sorts with a couple of real blogging friends of mine.  I call them ‘real blogging friends’ not because they are real friends but because they have blogs that are real, meaning they are vibrant and updated more than once every three months. Keith, the real blogging friend, has turned his blog into something more and I am exceptionally proud of him. But that’s also not the point. The point is that I was chatting with him about twitter and how it is shallow, fine for what it is, but ultimately doesn’t cause change. I disagreed with him (black lives matter, anyone? Arab Spring?) but I got what he was saying. The blogs caused a ruckus. They made people talk and think and the blogs made waves. There was the Streisand Effect and the folks who wrote could actually get people to think about things differently. It was a great community.

Keith, during this twitter ‘conversation’ specifically talked about an individual who he called Zarrelli. I didn’t know anyone named Zarrelli and had no idea who he was talking about. Well, a quick google search of this name led me to none other than Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice. Scott wrote a blog post about this Zarrelli which is fairly interesting to those of us who are cautious about advertising. It explained the background of the Zarrelli dispute. It’s a good read.  But the best part of the blog is the voicemail this guy Zarrelli left wherein he tells Scott – one of the most prolific and popular bloggers in the legal world – that he can help him make his blog better. Yes, that is a real thing this Patrick Zarrelli said. He then goes on to talk about how his family are all high powered lawyers. And some other stuff that is truly mind blowingly moronic. It is. Well, it’s worth a listen.

You don’t believe me? Listen to it here.

So why does the confession of my advertising come into play with all of this? Well, if you go to Scott’s post you can see how all of this came about. A guy wants to make money. They guy happens to be a lawyer so he advertises and says some things that are bordering on ridiculous, someone calls him out on how ridiculous it is, and then his feelings get hurt and he hires that someone to make phone calls and harangue people to make them stop saying mean things about him.  I get it. Most people don’t like to have the world saying terrible things about them. It sucks. People’s feelings get hurt and they want to lash out and MAKE THOSE PEOPLE PAY. But you can’t ever really make anyone pay. That sort of I WILL SHOW YOU is a myth and is the stuff of fictional novels where the one who is wronged manages to exact revenge through some convoluted and complicated plot. The Zarrelli’s of the world can’t manage that kind of revenge because, well, you simply can’t control that other people think you (or your client) is a moron.

Let me take that back. You can control it to the degree that you can stop acting like a moron, or advise your client to do the same. But I am pretty sure that calling people with popular blogs and leaving (pretty hilarious) voice messages will do the trick.

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