Monday, September 14, 2015

Truest statement of the week

Sanders raises all kinds of interesting populist issues in his speeches, but he is seeking the nomination of a party that is the proven enemy of the working class and he has promised, citing the lesser-evil doctrine, that he will endorse the Democratic nominee whoever it happens to be. So we can see that progressives like Kaufman and Sanders are not really opposed to standing on principle. It’s just that they have replaced the principles of working class solidarity and telling the truth with the “principle” of lesser-evil politics. This approach has persisted for decades while the labor movement has suffered blow after blow. Borrowing from Sara[h] Palin we have to ask, “How’s that lesser-evily thing working for ya?”

-- Bruce Lesnick, "Sanders and Lesser-Evilism: Is There No Line You Will Not Cross?" (CounterPunch).

Truest statement of the week II

Clinton spoke on the eve the Senate vote that cleared the last obstacle to the nuclear deal reached by the US and five other powers with Iran, and much of the speech was devoted to defending the Iran deal, and elaborating on how a Hillary Clinton administration would enforce its provisions on Tehran.
This involved repeated assertions that the next administration must be prepared to use military force against Iran in the event the nuclear deal fails to achieve its objective of transforming Iran into a puppet state of Washington.
Clinton rebuffed the denunciations of the Iran deal by congressional Republican leaders, Republican presidential candidates, and former officials of the Bush administration like Vice President Richard Cheney. She criticized Cheney from the right, noting that Iran’s nuclear program advanced by leaps and bounds during the Bush administration, which was preoccupied with the war in Iraq.
She noted that the Obama administration had placed Iran under intense economic and military pressure to force the Tehran regime to come to the bargaining table and make substantial concessions on its nuclear program.

-- Patrick Martin, "Clinton pledges to outdo Obama in militarism" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --


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?

A first for Bruce Lesnick.
While Patrick Martin racks up yet another.
Speak it, make it come true.

Ava and C.I. look back at the many mistakes the networks keep making.

Ty responds to some e-mails.

Two proud parents.
What a dufus.

Yes, we do issue corrections when they are warranted.
What we listened to.
Martin O'Malley.
UK Socialist Worker.


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

Editorial: We dreamed . . .

We dreamed we saw . . .

Bully Boy Bush and Barack Obama marched before The Hague . . .

We dreamed we saw . . .

The Iraqi people -- not the US appointed puppets -- bearing witness

To all the damage the US government had done.

We dreamed we saw . . .

The faux peace activists who long ago forgot Iraq . . .

forced to explain why what supposedly mattered so dearly to them from 2003 thru 2006

suddenly no longer mattered.

We dreamed we saw  . . .

the bombs no longer dropped

the War Planes fly away

We dreamed we saw an armistice

We dreamed we saw an end.

TV: What the decade's demonstrated thus far

If the '10s have demonstrated anything TV wise, it's how little any one knows what they're doing.

For example, NBC stopped airing HEROES in February 2010 and, having nothing to really fill out their schedule since, they're bringing it back as HEROES REBORN on September 24th.

Or take Fox which ended 24 in May of 2010 only to bring it back as 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY in the spring and summer of 2013 and was seen as a hit.  Fox also took the axe to FRINGE -- which finished airing Januayr 18, 2013.  Their new series since haven't had the devoted following that FRINGE did.

The CW took an axe to NIKITA in December 2013.

For three full seasons, NIKITA delivered ratings that The CW doesn't see -- not even with the over praised and over promoted JANE THE VIRGIN.

Time and again, the '10s have seen fan favorites -- like HART OF DIXIE -- cancelled and the networks bring on new shows which deliver even smaller audiences than the ones they replaced.

ABC is freaking out over BLOOD AND OIL.

They took an axe to REVENGE failing to grasp that it was delivering an audience.


Against the CBS line up, this tired soap opera -- that ABC once tried to palm off on the USA Network which turned its nose at the show -- is supposed to pull in viewers and do so with Don Johnson in a lead role.

Multiple rewritten pilots, multiple show running changes and various reshoots have not reassured ABC.  Nor should ABC be reassured, they made a huge mistake in cancelling REVENGE.

person of interest

Which brings up to CBS and PERSON OF INTEREST.

The network's tired and stale NCIS offerings are getting shakier and shakier -- in fact, last season's PERSON OF INTEREST posted better numbers than NCIS: LOS ANGELES.

Yet, it's PERSON OF INTEREST that CBS is only bringing back for only 13 episodes amid rumors that this will be the show's last season.

The series started off interesting enough revolving around John Reese (Jim Caviezel) recruited by Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) who invented The Machine which identifies people who are either in danger or are a danger.  Season one saw them assisted by Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson) and Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman).  Season one involved police corruption, among other plots, and government spying.  The spying only got more intense as did the espionage and counter-espionage.  The cast saw many additions including Shaw (Sarah Shahi) and Root (Amy Acker).

It's become one of the most intense and riveting shows on TV and CBS feels the answer is to usher it to the cancellation bin.

And this as WGN's adding the series in heavy rotation and Netflix streams increasing both awareness of the show and its popularity?

Again, the '10s have only demonstrated repeatedly that the networks keep killing off shows with audiences and replacing them with series that have even smaller audiences.  They fail to appreciate what they have and, as a result, they're losing more viewers each season.

Ty's Corner


 We've been doing this now for over ten years -- having kicked off this site in January 2015.

Last week's "Black Talk" proved hugely popular.

We'll be following that up in the near future.

The main reason we did that roundtable?

Readers love roundtables but when everyone sits down for these it goes on too long.

Way too long.

By limiting the participation to those who are African-American or Black, we were able to stay more focused.

Even so, some readers wish we'd covered the issue of the prison population and charter schools in the roundtable.

These are topics we'll try to cover next time.

Where are our pieces on comic books?

Or our magazine reviews?

We've been doing this for ten years.

We lose interest in some topics or feel we've done them to death and need to move on.

For example, I love the collages we did from 2005 thru 2008.

I thought they were funny.

But their time passed with Bully Boy Bush leaving DC.

We try to add new things as the years pile up.

If only to keep ourselves interested, we try to add new things.

Of the things that we've ended, this summer's decision to end the summer read edition remains the most objected to.

Will we reconsider it?

I doubt it.

It was becoming a major headache.

In addition, we had to carve out a weekend where we hoped there was little news since it's a summer read edition.

The other big objection?

The not published on Sunday.

First off, we're west coast now so go by Pacific time.

Second off, there are times when people are just tired.

We're all tired.

No one expected to do this for ten years.

So each week, we put out what we can and it is what it is.

Our e-mail address is

Tweet of the week

is the product of a unholy marriage between the Saudi dynasty & the empire of chaos USA                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Idiot of the week: Demetria Lucas D'Oyley

Even before you read her writing, you know THE ROOT's Demetria Lucas D'Oyley is a strange one with the right and left side of her face not matching up.

And maybe it's the ugly girl syndrome that has her ripping into Vanessa Williams?

Demetrios is in a tail spin, her head up her ass and still sniffing, over the fact that the Miss America pageant issued an apology to Vanessa Williams Sunday night.

Demetrios wants you to know -- as she scratches her crotch -- that there's nothing racist about what happened in 1984 when the pageant stripped Vanessa of her crown.

Her proof?

First runner up was African-American too!

Well that proves it!

Even though it was the first time that ever happened.  (Hasn't happened since.)

Even though over 60 years of the competition had not seen one African-American woman win and, in fact, for the first 35 years, they weren't even allowed to compete.

Miss American winners also don't usually face death threats.

But during her reign, Vanessa Williams received death threats non-stop.

Vanessa posed for some nude photographs that were supposed to be art and supposed to be private.

Demetrios apparently stroked her phantom cock with one hand while waving her Church Lady finger on the other.

This was all about race and gender.

Vanessa didn't resign, she was forced to resign.

If a White Miss America had been the victim -- even then -- that Vanessa was, the whole country would (still) know the name of the sleeze bag who sold the private photos.

But as an African-American woman, there was no sympathy for her exposed body because, pay attention Demetrios, US society has never seen the bodies of African-American woman as belonging to those women.

Setting aside Demetrios' refusal to read the racist cues throughout the narrative, there's also her factual errors.

Spot her error:

When I think of Williams, I don’t think “scandal!” I think of her hit single “Saved the Best for Last,” or her acting roles in Soul Food and Ugly Betty. Perhaps that’s a generational thing.

"Saved The Best For Last"?

WTF is that idiot talking about?

Vanessa Williams' number one pop hit is "Save The Best For Last."

Not "Saved."

Does no one check this fool's writing before it gets published?

Clearly not.

Spot the error:

 There was allegedly some question about whether she would apologize to the Miss America Organization for embarrassing the organization or if the organization would instead apologize to Williams for asking her to resign 32 years ago. The organization ultimately apologized.

It's 2015.  32 years ago would be?  1983.

Vanessa was forced to resign July 23, 1984.

So Demetrios is butt ugly, she doesn't know basic song titles and she can't add and subtract.

Vanessa lost the title in 1984.

The pageant leaked news to the press in order to force her to resign.

They leaked rumors as well.

Yes, they owe her an apology.

And giving her that apology was the smartest thing they could do because truth is Vanessa Williams remains the only Miss America that ever really mattered or amounted to anything.


Last week, we offered "Pay To Play: The Hillary Clinton Story" decrying the fact that to enter Hillary Clinton's campaign website, you not only had to provide an e-mail address, you had to provide a donation.

The Clinton campaign maintains that was a glitch and not a permanent feature.

So we are issuing a correction noting that this was a glitch at the website.

We're issuing it for two reasons:

A) You can now enter her campaign site without donating.

B) C.I. personally knows the person with the campaign who contacted us and feels the person is always forthright.

We're doing a correction in this week's edition because that's what most people will read -- this week's edition.  We will also add this to the bottom of the feature from last week.

This edition's playlist






3) Dusty Springfield's REPUTATION.

4) Donny Hathaway's EXTENSION OF A MAN.

5) Teena Marie's LADY T.

6) Luther Vandross' GIVE ME THE REASON.

7) Marvin Gaye's I WANT YOU.

8) Queen's LIVE KILLERS.

9) Janis Joplin's PEARL.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Gummy Bears and $1.74

Reader Janine asked that we note this from the Martin O'Malley campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination:

Gummy Bears and $1.74

Yesterday I tried something different: I tried to make an honest buck on Wall Street.

No surprise, I didn’t raise a ton. Maybe it’s because Wall Street executives and folks in the financial district spend millions of dollars each election cycle, and the money usually goes straight to the top—not to grassroots campaigns like mine.

(That’s okay with me, I’m not running for them.)

Maybe it’s because these guys know I’m the only candidate who will hold them accountable for reckless behavior and institute real, substantive reforms on Wall Street.

Either way, donate to my campaign today and show Wall Street we can do better. We will elect a candidate who will hold them accountable. We’ll do better than gummy bears.

Pitch in $1 today to support this grassroots campaign, and we can all stand up to the bullies on Wall Street together.

Thanks for your support. Rock on –

Martin O’Malley

Why is Leon Trotsky relevant today?

Repost from the UK Socialist Worker:

Why is Leon Trotsky relevant today?

On the 75th anniversary of the assassination of the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, Sue Caldwell asks if his ideas can help activists fighting for another world today

Lenin and Trotsky with soldiers in Pertrograd, 1921
Lenin and Trotsky with soldiers in Pertrograd, 1921

Austerity, war and oppression  are radicalising thousands of people who want a different society.
But it has also thrown open a debate about how we fight for it.

Do we need a revolution or can we reform capitalism? Would a revolution inevitably end with the horrors of 20th century Russia? Is it possible to trust the “reformist” Labour Party and trade union leaders, and can revolutionaries work with them?

The Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky took on all of these questions. But he wasn’t just an intellectual.

Trotsky was a revolutionary activist whose writings addressed political questions that were thrown up during struggles of the early 20th century.

He fought the most feared forces of the Tsar, Russia’s dictator, until the 1917 Russian Revolution. In the civil war that followed, Trotsky led the Red Army to victory.

He argued for socialist revolution and was willing to challenge orthodox theory to further that fight.

The common belief among Marxists was that socialist revolution could only happen in the Western developed countries.

More backward countries, such as Russia, would need a “bourgeois revolution” first so capitalism could develop.

This would replace the Tsar with a parliamentary democracy and allow capitalist firms to flourish and push out the old feudal ways. Only then would Russia be ready for socialist revolution.


Trotsky argued against this and developed his “theory of permanent revolution”.

He insisted that Russia couldn’t be seen in isolation from global capitalism.

Russian capitalist firms were late to develop, but they had learned and copied from their more
advanced rivals.

He called this “uneven and combined development”. While the Russian peasantry was bigger than the working class, thousands of workers toiled in giant factories in Moscow and Petrograd. 

This meant that those workers had enormous power. The peasantry was atomised and difficult to organise. Workers, said Trotsky, were the only force that could bring down the Tsar.

But having tasted their power, workers wouldn’t want to give it up. This meant that they could take the revolution further and form a socialist government, based on workers’ councils.

The two revolutions of 1917 proved Trotsky’s thoery.The Tsar was overthrown and replaced by a government in February.

Then another revolution in October, led by Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik party, brought the working class to power.
Trotsky in 1937
Trotsky in 1937

During the revolution Trotsky led the St Petersburg workers’ council and was also the key organiser of the October insurrection. 

He writes brilliantly about these events in his book The History of the Russian Revolution, a treasure trove of revolutionary strategy and tactics. 

Trotsky’s theory is still important today. Capitalism has spread across the globe, but there are still more backward societies.

During the Arab Spring most people argued that the revolutions could replace the dictatorships with liberal democracies. 

Revolutionary socialists rightly argued that Egypt’s large working class would be the decisive force in bringing down the dictator Hosni Mubarak.

But it didn’t have to end there. Through bringing down Mubarak, there was potential for workers to take the revolution further in a socialist direction.

Trotsky also understood that the success of the Russian Revolution was tied to it spreading across Europe.

He was a leading figure in the Communist International, which brought together new Communist parties across the world fighting for revolution.

But the revolutions in Europe, namely in Germany, failed because there wasn’t a large enough independent revolutionary leadership.

The majority of workers in Western Europe looked to mass reformist parties to bring change through parliament.

Trotsky developed a wealth of strategy and tactics to help revolutionary parties grow when the majority of workers still look to “reformism”.

His most important contribution was the “united front”.

Revolutionaries have got to organise independently of reformists to be effective.

But in order to win workers to revolutionary ideas, revolutionaries also have to fight alongside reformists in day to day struggles. 

He argued that “any party which mechanically counterposes itself to this need of the working class for unity in action will unfailingly be condemned in the minds of the workers”.

Nowhere was the need for the united front more urgent than to face the rise of the Nazis in Germany.

Trotsky berated the German Communist Party (KPD) for its complacency. He warned that “should fascism come to power it will ride over your skulls and spines like a terrific tank”.

Trotsky argued that the fascists wanted to crush both reformist and revolutionary organisations.

But the KPD had become a tool of Stalin’s imperialist foreign policy and followed its twists and turns. Stalin partly feared that a revolution in Germany would expose his counter-revolution in

The Communists denounced the Labour-type Social Democrats as “social fascists” and refused to unite with them against Hitler.

While the KPD refused to work with workers who looked to the Social Democrats, it still had significant influence in the working class.

Trotsky’s allies were in tiny and isolated organisations.

Fortunately activists fighting fascism today—from Greece to Britain—have put the lessons from Trotsky’s writings into practice.

In Britain we’ve managed to hold back the fascists.

In the 1970s and 1990s the Anti Nazi League first pushed back the National Front and then the
British National Party (BNP). More recently, Unite Against Fascism has humilitated the BNP and the English Defence League (EDL).

This was done by revolutionaries working in a united front with reformists from the Labour Party, Muslim groups and many others.


Trotsky’s writings on the united front aren’t just useful when it comes to fighting fascism. His writings on the General Strike of 1926 in Britain grapple with how revolutionaries should deal with the Labour Party and trade union leaders.

Their betrayals meant the strike went down to defeat—and the Communist Party mistakenly argued
for power to be handed to the TUC rather than workers.

Trotsky argued against the treachery of the Labour Party and union leaders and for “the ruthless exposure of the reformists’ illusions”.

It’s never easy to get the correct balance right between working with and against reformists and their leaders.

Revolutionaries have to stand with them to defend working class organisation against the bosses and fascists.

But it’s also crucial that revolutionaries argue against them sowing illusions in reformism and build a revolutionary alternative.

For example, we welcome left reformist parties such as Syriza, Podemos and the momentum around the Jeremy Corbyn campaign.

These can push politics to the left. But only the working class has the power to transform society.
Revolutionaries today should build on Trotsky’s work—but we should also challenge orthodoxy.
Trotsky had many strengths but also some serious weaknesses.

He lambasted Stalin as the “gravedigger of the revolution”.Yet he continued to believe that the Soviet Union was still a workers’ state, but with a parasitic clique on top that workers had to topple. 

When Eastern Europe fell under the Soviet Union’s domination, many of Trotsky’s followers argued those states were also workers’ states with the same parasitic cliques.

But there had never been a succesful workers’ revolution in Eastern Europe. If Trotsky’s followers were right then socialism wasn’t necessarily about workers freeing themselves through a revolution.
In fact, Russia had become a “state capitalist” regime, with a ruling class that exploited workers just like bosses do.

Trotsky didn’t live to see this situation develop. But we can still use and develop the insights in his writings to further the struggle for socialism today.

The need for working class revolution to change society is as necessary today as it was in Trotsky’s day.

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