Sunday, August 02, 2015

Truest statement of the week

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lost his bid to become Turkey’s supreme leader in last month’s elections. So he’s taken the country to war to increase his popularity and improve his chances of victory in snap elections in November.
Turkish bombers continued to pound Kurdish positions in Northern Iraq early Thursday after killing an estimated 100 Kurds a day earlier. Erdogan broke off peace talks with the Kurdish militias and launched this latest assault after failing to win enough seats in Parliament to change the constitution. The ambitious Erdogan needed 330 deputies to make sweeping changes to the constitution that would give the president unlimited executive power making Erdogan de facto emperor of Turkey. His plan was frustrated by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) that won an unprecedented 13 percent of the vote. The HDP is determined to prevent Erdogan from realizing his dream of becoming Turkey’s imperial sultan . The current war against the Kurds in Syria and Iraq is designed to whip up nationalist sentiment in order to put Erdogan “over the top” in elections that could come as early as this Fall.

-- Mike Whitney, "Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader" (CounterPunch).

Truest statement of the week II

While President Obama and the Democrats seek to distance themselves from proposals to privatize Medicare, Ryan and Bush only openly express what many Democrats are thinking. The Obama administration, with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) leading the charge, is working to gut Medicare and transform it into a poverty program with barebones coverage for the majority of working class and middle class seniors.
In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the ACA would reduce Medicare spending by $716 billion from 2013 to 2022. Under the first four years of the ACA, home health care under Medicare is being cut by 14 percent, including $60 million in 2015 and $350 million in 2016. While doing nothing to rein in the outrageous charges by pharmaceutical companies for cancer and other life-saving drugs, the Obama administration’s proposed 2016 budget includes $126 billion in cuts from what Medicare will pay for these drugs.

In what constitutes a historic attack on the program, Obama hailed as a “bipartisan achievement” passage of a bill in April that expands means testing for Medicare and establishes a new payment system in which doctors will be rewarded for cutting costs, while being punished for the volume and frequency of the health care services they provide.

-- Kate Randall, "Fifty years on: Medicare under assault" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Yet another Sunday.

First, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

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),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

That's what we came up with.  See you next week.


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

Editorial: Iraq protests

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi got it.

"Early warning sign" is what he dubbed Saturday's protests in Iraq.

It's a shame the press didn't get it.

The New York Times did it's usual lousy coverage of protests.

Saturday's "Iraq snapshot," however, focused on the protests.

التظاهرات الشعبية ضد الفساد الحكومي والفاسدين الذين حكموا وسرقوا باسم الدين وزعموا اتباع آل البيت في حكمهم .

Haider's right that the protests are an early warning.

And they're a warning to him as much as to anyone.

Installed by the White House last year, Haider's supposed to serve the interests of Barack Obama.

But doing that will ensure continued protests.

So does the puppet cut the strings or not?

Having shown no spine in the last 12 months, we don't see Haider sticking up for the Iraqi people.

We also don't see the press giving two s**ts whether he does or not or about what happens to the Iraqi people.

TV: The Clown Departs

Johnny was the hall monitor.

It wasn't a high demand or glamour position.

All it really required was that you be fair and tell the truth.

Last week came confirmation that Johnny wasn't up to the task, that he'd played favorites.


Yes, Johnny is Jon Stewart.

Stewart takes his tired act off Comedy Central finally this week and does so after reports leave his integrity in tatters.

On Media Buzz (Fox News) today, host Howard Kurtz and guest David Zurawik attempted to discuss the revelations of a POLITICO report which revealed Stewart had long taken dictation for the White House.

They failed, however, because they couldn't stop yammering about his two secret meetings with US President Barack Obama.

Those meet-ups were rewards for doing as instructed and you had to wonder if either Howard or David had actually read the POLITICO report which detailed how various people in the White House spent considerable time over the years ensuring, via e-mail and phone calls, that Jon Stewart -- and his Daily Show -- were enlisted in Barack's defense nightly.

Jon Stewart has never been an honest broker.

He played the village idiot once Barack got into office as he upped the mugging and mincing to make himself the fourth stooge.

In contrast, he simmered like an outraged adult when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.

Again, Jon Stewart has never been an honest broker.

This year, he attempted to call out disgraced reporter Judith Miller for her pre-war coverage of Iraq.

As the knuckle draggers in his cult applauded, sentinent adults grasped that he'd repeatedly had Colin Powell on the same show and fawned over Colin The Blot.

The Blot because he lied to the United Nations as he argued for war on Iraq.

Jon tried to score points via Judith Miller and that's only all the sadder (Miller is clearly a deeply disturbed person who can't even pretend to be rationale these days) when you realize that last week he chatted and grinned with 'historian' Doris Kearns Goodwin.

It's a funny sort of outrage over dishonesty he has.

Miller, a lousy reporter, refused to be skeptical of insider sources and presented all their (false) claims as sourced and factual.

Kearns Goodwin, a longtime enabler in the truest sense of the word, was kicked off PBS' The NewsHour in 2002 when her mass plagiarism was exposed -- it would later turn out that she plagiarized in more than one book.

Jon, last week, didn't bring that topic up.

He never brought any topics of note up, for the most part.

He fawned through one 'celebrity' interview after another.

They were beyond shallow and few had the guts to note reality:  Stewart rarely appeared to be listening as he hunched over waiting to utter his pre-written funny.

He was a lousy interviewer.

Possibly because he'd taken a sacred cow to task, David Zurawik felt the need to say something nice -- anything -- in his Baltimore Sun column?  He offered this:

But Stewart, in addition to turning young adults on to the political process, did something even more significant: He taught a mass audience to think of politics as prime-time entertainment on a nightly basis.
Some might say thinking of politics as entertainment is a bad thing — another instance of TV dumbing down the culture. But I don't think anyone, even his harshest critic, would accuse Stewart of dumbing down anything.

Zurawik is a media critic worth reading -- even when his opinions are flawed.

The quote above is flawed thinking.

Jon did dumb down politics and discourse and he did so regularly.

He was dishonest repeatedly.

We remember, for example, his attacking a bad press conference Bully Boy Bush held.

We attacked many of them ourselves.

But when we tried to be funny in this space, we didn't try to lie.

Jon 'opened' with the press conference being part of May sweeps.

It was his attempt to get a ha-ha.

But the press conference took place before May sweeps.

It took place, in fact, in April.

Even with a team of writers, he was unable to get an honest joke out of it so he lied.

This is dumbing down.

And you can see it in Rachel Maddow's hideous MSNBC show which is not about new or anything really but what Jon did on The Daily Show and what Lizz Winstead tried to do with Air America Radio.

None of this is news.

And you can't tell truths using lies as building blocks.

Jon Stewart's influence is felt throughout MSNBC's failed programming, where various self-infatuated hosts smugly go for 'jokes' and 'amusements' while pretending to be news anchors.

It's not a legacy worth bragging about but it's all he has, all these years later, other than a guest shot on The Nanny and ending up on the cutting room floor for First Wives Club.  This week, the hairy, wind-up doll of basic cable departs and not a minute too soon.



Reader Bill H e-mailed to ask if Ava and C.I. know Joe Concha at Mediaite?


His August 2nd article, however, appears to indicate Joe knows Ava and C.I.'s work -- specifically "TV: The train wreck known as MSNBC."

Of that piece, reader Jo'el e-mailed to say that she didn't think Ava and C.I. were particular fans of Cenk Uygur?

No, they're not but they believe in credit where credit is due and argue Cenk's show was more in keeping with the supposed goals of a news outlet than anything Rachel Maddow churned out.

Brenda K e-mails to note that she is supporting Hillary Clinton and wants to know if we were sincere about posting a reader's endorsement of a candidate "whether you support them or not?"

Yes, and, Brenda, if you'd bothered to write one of Hillary, it would be posted this edition.

But you didn't, did you?

Several readers e-mailed to ask where our summer fiction edition was?

You know what?

We tried it and we failed.

That's this summer.

We tried it and it failed.

We failed.

The notion of doing one?

We're burying it.

We had one piece that was worth it and we may float it at some point this summer but the reality is our summer read ended in 2014.

We retired our collages when Bully Boy Bush left the White House.

We've retired other features as well.

The summer fiction edition is now one of those retired pieces of the past.

Reader Meagan wants to know when Ava and C.I. will return to covering entertainment programming?

Meagan writes, "I've enjoyed the media reporting they've done this summer and it's important and needed but, honestly, I'm one of the Nick Lachey fans they pissed off years ago with 'TV: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey Reporting for Duty' -- a piece I now love, by the way."

Jose Z is among those noting that some of the community sites -- and even this -- appear in low production mode.

What's up?

Blame it on the summer heat.

Blame it on 10 years plus for many of us.

In the words of John Lennon, we're all doing what we can.

Which is not enough for reader Raymond who states, "If you 'forget' or refuse to do a 'This edition's playlist' again, you've lost me."

We do have one this edition.

From The TESR Test Kitchen

"I really think you could cover more healthy foods, foods that don't taste like bacon," e-mailed reader Sierenna.

For you, we'll try once.

Yogurt, it's not just a cry for Gurt to pay attention.

Yoplait, the most heavily advertised of all yogurts is forever trying out new flavors.


Currently, they're offering "LIMITED EDITION" flavor Rainbow Sherbert.

It's not a bad taste . . .

. . . it's just not anything that tastes like sherbert -- rainbow flavor or any flavor.

We prefer the fruit flavors -- cherry, lemon, etc.

And we rate this non-flavor "LIMITED EDITION" flavor a failure.

This edition's playlist



1) Rickie Lee Jones' The Other Side of Desire.

2) Harry Belafonte's Harry Belafonte Sings The Blues.

3) The Mamas & The Papas' Deliver.

4)  Aretha Franklin's Aretha Sings The Great Diva Classics.

5) Diana Ross' Swept Away.

6) Laura Nyro's Christmas and the Beads of Sweat.

7)  Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines.

8) Chrissie Hynde's Stockholm.

 9) Carly Simon's Coming Around Again.

10) Sam Smith's The Lonely Hour.

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