Monday, September 28, 2015

Truest statement of the week

On 23 September, Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations, insisted that the Russian veto power in the Security Council was endangering its legitimacy. Russia had vetoed four Security Council resolutions on Syria. Understandably, the US rabid dogs of war are straining at the chain to which international law constrains them. How dare Russia oppose US plans for regime change in Syria and impede a further blood bath to achieve it?

An indefatigable humanitarian warmonger, Power resents Russia’s opposition to a resolution to bomb the hell out of “atrocities” in Syria, without specifying that the main “atrocity” in her government’s eyes is President Assad.

-- Luciana Bohne, "License to Kill" (Information Clearing House).

Truest statement of the week II

In their joint press conference, Obama declared that in “candid discussions” he had “conveyed to President Xi [Jinping] our significant concerns over land reclamation, construction and the militarisation of disputed areas” and reiterated that the US “will continue to sail, fly and operate anywhere that international law allows.” While acknowledging that the US had no claims, Obama declared that “we just want to make sure that the rules of the road are upheld.”
In reality, the Obama administration has deliberately raised the political temperature in the longstanding territorial disputes in the South China Sea by encouraging rival claimants, in particular the Philippines and Vietnam, to adopt a more aggressive stance against China. US objections to Chinese land reclamation do not extend to its South East Asian neighbours with which Washington is seeking to strengthen military ties.

-- Peter Symonds, "A tense visit by Chinese president to the White House" (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 truest from Luciana Bohne.
Peter Symonds gets another truest.
Journalism is supposed to provide a public service -- so why doesn't it?

Ava and C.I. take a look at what fall TV means for actresses.

Bully Boy Bush hid the coffins, Barack hides the numbers. 
What we listened to.
He really needs to find the background.  Really.

ACLU reprint.
Reader noted.
Reader noted.
Reader noted.


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

Editorial: There ought to be a law

Earlier this month,  RT reported, "Over 53,000 flights, 6700 strikes, and nearly $4 billion dollars later, Operation Inherent Resolve has yet to achieve any of its objectives."

For those who don't know, Operation Inherent Resolve is the supposed fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.




There ought to be a rule, a law even, that the media has to cover where the money goes.

All last week, you saw them cover where the Pope went.

They called it journalism.

And maybe if they write for the religious pages, it passed for that.

But Pope speaks ____ and ____ number of people turn out?

Not reporting.

Bulletins, possibly.

Needing to be reprinted in the fanzines, to be sure.

But not reporting.

When the US government spends $4 billion on something -- on anything -- in just over 12 months, it ought to be front page news, it ought to be lead the broadcast news.

Because journalism is supposed to be about following what happens and what matters and demanding transparency.

$4 billion US tax payer dollars have been wasted on Operation Inherent Failure and the press can't snap out of their craven ways long enough to cover what's taking place.

TV: Women's declining fortunes

It's not a good time for women on TV.

Maybe it'll get better?

But right now, it's not a good time.


This month has demonstrated, for instance, that African-American women cannot be funny.

Or, at least,  not in the eyes of the Emmys anyway.

Only days ago, Anglo White actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her fourth Best Actress in a Comedy Emmy for VEEP which is in its fourth season.

So one actress has given the best comedic performance four years in a row?


Tracee Ellis Ross, star of BLACKISH, can't even get nominated.

But Julia can win four Emmys for playing the same character in the same series four years in a row?

This isn't a competition, it's a Ku Klux Klan convention.

And let's stop pretending that Viola Davis' win means a damn thing.

Viola stars in a TV show that White people love.  She plays a respectable part.

She didn't deserve the award but it fits in with "pedigree" and "breeding."

Taraji P. Henson didn't have that in the role of Cookie on EMPIRE.

It's the same crap that lets the highly untalented Michael Learned grab numerous Emmys as well as the one-note (and homophobic) Tyne Daly to grab multiple awards.

Joan Collins and Debbie Allen blew both Daly and Learned out of the water but they never got the award because their acting took place on television series that could not be described as "pastel," "genteel" or dull.

A brava performance that would be applauded by the Academy Awards tends to frighten the judges -- yes, they have panels for the crap-ass Emmys because they don't trust either democracy or the industry -- who rule who gets an award and who doesn't.

So Viola Davis' powerful attorney and college professor was always going to win over recently released convict Cookie.

Henson's Cookie is a little too raw, a little too real, her emotions up front and visible.

Visibility and exposure describe Jaimie Alexander's Jane Doe on NBC's BLINDSPOT.

The nude scenes are 'necessary,' you understand, because she's been tattooed by someone with various clues.

The important clue on the series premiere was tatooed behind her ear which calls into question her repeated full body nudity throughout the pilot.

As does Sullivan Stapleton who co-stars as jagged teethed FBI agent Kurt Weller.and managed to be fully clothed throughout -- even late at night at his own residence.  Stapleton is, after all, the actor credited with saving the film 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE -- not via his acting but due to his various states of undress throughout the film.

Sullivan's so wrapped in clothes, you'd never even know he had chest hair were it not for the fact that it creeps up to his throat.

Creeping is what ABC's doing with Thursday night's ratings.

As they should be.

How many times last season did we warn that, following the mid-winter finales, SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER were suffering serious viewer erosion?

Did they listen?

No, they gave Shonda Rhimes a greenlight for another show.

Thursday proved us right.

In the press release ABC sent out, they pretended Shonda's three Thursday night show (which also includes the infirm GREY'S ANATOMY) were hits.

And, if you ignore the football broadcast on CBS, we guess you can call the three ABC shows 'winners.'  ("ABC Is the Dominant Non-Sports Net on Season Premier Thursday" insisted the network's press release.)

If you ignore the broadcast that won the most viewers, you probably can declare yourself the hit of the night.

If you ignore that . . . and a few other key details.

The season openers of Shonda Rhimes' melodramas are usually the best ratings for the season as viewers deprived of the potboilers all summer long rush in to feast.

But, strange thing, GREY'S ANATOMY was a little down and SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER were significantly down from their debuts last fall.

Strange -- only if you missed what we repeatedly documented last spring -- Shonda was running off her audience.

Rhimes needs to get her act together and probably letting her have a fourth hour of prime time looks like an even worse idea now as ABC wakes up to what they should have seen months ago: The house that Shonda built has a weak foundation.

Which is especially bad when you grasp that, outside of ABC's QUANTICO and Fox's SCREAM QUEENS, all the shows that haved debuted so far are male led.

Instead, the women are 'helpmates' and 'sidekicks' -- even on MINORITY REPORT where Meagan Good's Detective Lara Vega may carry the gun and have the police training but is secondary to pre-cog Dash (Stark Sands).

In fact, things are so bad this season for women on prime time that Marge's summation of her marriage Sunday night on THE SIMPSONS pretty much  also covered the status of women on TV,  "I know this marriage isn't perfect or even great.  But now I treasure the moments where it's just so-so. I'd kill for okay."

DoD hides the dead


For years now, the Defense Department has provided a total of the fallen -- those killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was a page at the DoD website.


When people visit the website now, they see this:


First they hid the returning coffins, now they hide the death toll itself.

Where is the transparency?

Where is the accountability?

Most of all, where is the outrage on the part of Americans?

This edition's playlist



1) Dizzy Gillespie and The Orchestra's ONE NIGHT IN WASHINGTON.

2) Mary Lou Williams' MY MAMA PINNED A ROSE ON ME.


4) Dakota Staton's SOFTLY.

5) Joni Mitchell's MINGUS.

6) Frank Sinatra's IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS.

7) Ornette Coleman's CRISIS.


9) Maxine Sullivan's CLOSE AS PAGES IN A BOOK.

10) Count Basie Big Band's MONTREUX '77.

Bill Clinton needs to learn to stand in the background

Former US President Bill Clinton was all over the news the last two days as he talked conspiracy theories about the alleged mistreatment of his wife Hillary.

Thing is, he needs to shut his mouth.

He's not a candidate.

He's not the president.

His wife is a candidate.

She is trying to become the president.


Bill needs to smile pretty and stand next to his woman.

That's all he needs to do.

He is not the candidate and he is not the campaign surrogate to go around snarling that the Republican Party and the media are

If he thinks his wife has any real shot at the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, he should be busying himself figuring out what cookie recipe he'll be tossing out when the other candidate's spouses are asked for them.

We get that Bill Clinton is sued to stomping in and taking control of the situation.

That's why he was called the Big Dawg.

But he's now the spouse of a candidate and he needs to learn how to find his way to the background.

Every time he fails to do so, he reminds America that if Hillary's in the White House, we'll have four years of a spouse who can't shut their mouth and has to inject themselves into every story.

That's not the role for the First Lady or First Dude.

If Hillary is elected president, his role will be to dress pretty.

To talk pandas with the spouses of visiting leaders.

America will not go for 'two for one presidents' or 'vote Hillary get Bill too!'

There can be only one president.

Bill needs to be shown the background and let Hillary take the foreground.

DHS Is Not the Boss of My Library (Chuck McAndrew)

The ACLU offers Chuck McAndre's "DHS Is Not the Boss of My Library"

To kick off #BannedBooksWeek, an IT librarian from New Hampshire explains why anonymous web browsing is critical to free inquiry and intellectual freedom and why libraries should get behind Tor. 

It isn’t often that libraries make national news, but mine did recently when it became the first public library in the country to host a Tor relay. We first got some attention when we started the relay, but the story exploded after our local police department expressed concern about the project following an email to them from the Department of Homeland Security. The police department said that they wanted to make us aware of potential criminal activity on the Tor network, such as child pornography or even the possibility of communicating with ISIS.

When considering this project, our board of trustees had to decide whether or not hosting a relay like this was appropriate for a public library, especially in the face of the concerns of law enforcement. In the end, the decision was a resounding yes. Here was a chance to put into practice the values that we have always espoused. This project allowed us to take a concrete step to further the cause of intellectual freedom not just for our patrons, but for people all over the globe.

The belief that people cannot be trusted and must be supervised to ensure they don't step over the line is dangerous and wrong. It is this attitude that leads to mass surveillance, censorship, and the chilling of intellectual freedom. 

Tor is a powerful technology that protects the privacy of its users by helping to anonymize their web browsing. It does this by wrapping their traffic in layers of encryption and sending it to multiple relays within the Tor network before it exits to the intended website. The Tor network depends on volunteers to donate bandwidth in order to work.  By hosting a Tor relay, our library would be strengthening the network that Tor depends on. However, the real impact would come not from our library, but from all the others we hoped would follow after we showed that this was practical for libraries to do. There are about 1000 exit relays on the network right now. If 100 libraries across the country decide to host exit relays, then we have made a significant impact on the speed and reliability of the network.

But what about terrorists and child pornographers? There is no question that a miniscule subset of the population will misuse this technology, which is true of any technology. However, to do away with protections on intellectual freedom and privacy for the general population because of a few bad actors  is the very mindset we’re currently challenging by celebrating Banned Books Week. The belief that people cannot be trusted and must be supervised to ensure they don't step over the line is dangerous and wrong. It is this attitude that leads to mass surveillance, censorship, and the chilling of intellectual freedom. We, as a society, need to be aware of the trade offs that we are being ask to accept when we are told to accept these practices. I do not believe that this is a trade off that our society willing to accept. I know it isn't one that librarians are.

If anyone suggested that librarians should freely hand over what patrons have read, they would quickly find out how mistaken they were. Librarians are generally very nice people, but that doesn't mean we’re pushovers. We have risked jail time and successfully sued the federal government to protect patron privacy. In New Hampshire, where my library is located, privacy of patron records is protected by law. It is wonderful that we have all of these protections for patron records, but it isn't enough in today’s world.

Nowadays, most people access information online, even in libraries. This is why we protect our patrons through encryption and teach them good privacy practices. By using encrypted web connections (https), we ensure that people aren't listening in to what we are saying to websites. By using encrypted emails, we can put an envelope around our email so that only our intended recipient can read it. By using Tor, we ensure that we are free to access information and explore ideas without having our intellectual freedom stifled by government watchdogs, corporations, or any other busybodies.

The chilling effect that surveillance has on free inquiry is well documented. By advocating for the right to privacy online, librarians are, in fact, continuing the fight for intellectual freedom that they previously displayed when pressured to ban books. If you aren't free to examine and explore ideas, even unpopular or counter-cultural ones, without fear of repercussions, then you can't truly have well-informed opinions. As librarians we believe in the right of every person to educate themselves and to draw their own conclusions without fear of government meddling. Tor helps them do that.
Freedom, after all, depends on a well-informed citizenry who isn’t afraid to express itself, whether online or off.

For an interactive infographic featuring classic books once banned inside the United States, click here.

Martin O'Malley on the issues

Reader Carter W. e-mailed that he is supporting Martin O'Malley's bid for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and he noted this video.


Martin O'Malley:  We need to talk about the things that will actually get wages to go up rather than down, the issues that people care about around their kitchen table like affordable college and how we make sure Social Security is strong and is there for the future, how we move America forward to a clean energy future, how we step up in the world and respond to the refugee crisis in Syria.  That's why we need to have debates.  Otherwise, our party is being defined by Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal and it's not good for our party and it's not good for our country.

Rand Paul Stands Up to the Status Quo

Reader Leonard insists "Rand Paul is the only chance at real change."  That's why Leonard's supporting Senator Rand Paul for the GOP presidential nomination.  He notes the following.


Rand Paul Stands Up to the Status Quo

WASHINGTON, D.C.-  Sen. Rand Paul today proved that he is the only candidate willing to stand up to the Washington Machine and put an end to its out-of-control spending. A vote for the FY 2016 Short-Term Continuing Resolution is a vote to continue on with status quo spending levels and place more debt on our children and grandchildren. 
Sen. Paul has led the charge against Planned Parenthood and introduced legislation to defund it. This Short-Term Continuing Resolution, however, does everything except resolve the problem-- it is a canard. This 'resolution' will add $400 billion in new debt over the full year and a $10 billion increase over the budget caps.
Sen. Paul has never voted for a continuing resolution or omnibus spending bill. Since taking office in 2010, he has vowed to vote against more government spending. He will vote no and will do so every time the Washington Machine tries to implement a big-spending Continuing Resolution with zero scrutiny, zero cuts, zero accountability and more debt. 
He is not afraid to stand alone in Washington as one of the only senators willing to fix our debt and end big government spending. Today, Sen. Paul will stand up to the status quo by opposing the Short-Term Continuing Resolution.

Hillary Clinton: I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform

Reader Sabina e-mailed that she is supporting Hillary Clinton and asked us to highlight the following:


Hillary Clinton: I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform

May 6, 2015

At a roundtable discussion at Rancho High School in North Las Vegas, Nevada, Hillary Clinton had a conversation with DREAMers about her commitment to fighting for them and their families—and to passing comprehensive immigration reform once and for all.

It is wonderful to be back in Nevada and at Rancho. I am delighted to be joined by a number of young people who are going to talk with me, and all of you, about their lives and their stories, particularly immigration. I want to acknowledge my friend and Congresswoman Dina Titus for being here, thank you. And it is Cinco De Mayo, so it’s an especially appropriate day to be having this conversation.

I want to begin by thanking everyone at Rancho High School for hosting us today. I am looking forward to hearing from each of our panel participants. I have wonderful memories from my time here in Nevada. I have gone door to door meeting with families not far from this school. I’ve met with a lot of culinary workers and other workers who keep the economy going strong. I accompanied a registered nurse on her 12-hour shift at St. Rose Dominican Hospital and then was very pleased to go back to her home and have dinner with her kids.

I know how hard hit Nevadans were by the Great Recession. This state in particular suffered some very tough blows. There was a much higher than average foreclosure rate, for example. A lot of people lost their jobs or their hours were cut dramatically, which made it more difficult for them to continue to make a good living.

We now see that this state is coming back from these tough economic times. Families have found a lot of different ways to make it work for them. We also saw people once again starting businesses, thinking about sending their kids to college, maybe doing some of those home repairs, maybe putting a little aside for retirement. But we’re not yet back on our feet.

We have certainly climbed out of the hole we were in, but now we have to do more than get by, we have to get ahead and stay ahead. And there are a lot of ways that we have to think about how we do that together. I think that it’s important to recognize that even with all the hard work and sacrifice that so many families made. In many ways, the deck is still stacked for those at the top. And I’m well aware that in Las Vegas, there’s nothing worse than a stacked deck. I want to reshuffle the deck.
I want to be a champion for hardworking Americans, I want to work across party lines, I want to work with the public and private sector, I want people to get back to the good old-fashioned American style of problem solving and setting us back on the right course.

Now to help reshuffle the deck, people have to do their part, they have to step up and take education seriously, they have to be willing to work hard.

My father was a small-business man, and when I say that, he was a really small-business man. A couple day workers, my mom, my brothers, and I. But he understood that hard work was the way forward in the United States, and he made a good living, and I will forever be grateful for that.
Because when families are strong, America is strong, and I am convinced having fought for families going all the way back to my days in law school and ever since, there is nothing is more important.
Now in this campaign I think we have to wage and win four big fights. One is to build the economy of tomorrow, and not yesterday, and that means we have to be really focused on what is going to help prepare young people, and we have to start early. Education is the key, but education in the first years of life is essential because now we know that brain development has formed really by the time a child is three or four.

So we have to do more to make sure that every single child has the best chance to do well in school, to get ahead, to chart his or her own future, to live up to his or her own God-given potential. It is also essential that we strengthen families and communities and that means that we have to finally and once and for all fix our immigration system—this is a family issue, its an economic issue too, but it is at heart a family issue. If we claim we are for family, then we have to pull together and resolve the outstanding issues around our broken immigration system.

The American people support comprehensive immigration reform not just because it’s the right thing to do—and it is—but because it will strengthen families, strengthen our economy, and strengthen our country. That’s why we can't wait any longer, we can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship.

Now, this is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side. Make no mistake: Today not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship. Not one. When they talk about “legal status,” that’s code for “second-class status.”

And we should never forget that this debate is about people who, and you’re going to meet some of them in a second, people who work hard, who love this country, who pay taxes to it and want nothing more than to build better lives for themselves and their children.

We’re talking about the young people here at this table. They’re DREAMers in much more than name. They are kids that any parent would be proud of. I don’t understand how anyone could look at these kids and think we should break up more families or turn away more hard workers with talent.

So I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for you and for families across our country. I will fight to stop partisan attacks on the executive actions that would put DREAMers—including many with us today—at risk of deportation.

And, if Congress refuses to act, as President I will do everything possible under the law to go even further. There are more people—like many parents of DREAMers and others with deep ties and contributions to our communities—who deserve a chance to stay. I’ll fight for them too.

The law currently allows for sympathetic cases to be reviewed, but right now most of these cases have no way to get a real hearing. Therefore we should put in place a simple, straightforward, and accessible way for parents of DREAMers and others with a history of service and contribution to their communities to make their case and be eligible for the same deferred action as their children.

But that’s just the beginning. There’s much more to do to expand and enhance protections for families and communities. To reform immigration enforcement and detention practices so they’re more humane, more targeted, and more effective. And to keep building the pressure and support for comprehensive reform.

On a personal basis, the first time I ever met anyone who was in our country and working I was about 12 years old, as I recall, and through my church was recruited along with some of the other girls in my Sunday school class to serve as babysitters on Saturday for the small children so that the older children could join their parents in the fields. Because, believe it or not, when I was growing up in Chicago, it was farm fields as far as the eye can see. The immigrant workers would come up through Texas, up through the Midwest, up to Chicago, and then through Michigan, and we were asked to help out.

And I remember going out to the camp where the families lived and taking care of the little kids while kids my age were our doing really hard work.

And what stuck in my mind was how at the end of the day, there was a long road at the end of the camp that went out to a dirt road in the middle of the field.

And the bus that had the workers from the field on it that came back in around 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon, stopped and let the workers off and all these little kids started running down that path to go see their parents and were scooped up by these really really tired people.

And I watched this and just thought, they’re just like me and my brothers when my dad comes home from work and we go out there to see him when he comes back from his day of doing what he has to do to support us. I’ve never gotten that experience or that image out of my mind.

And so for me this is about what kind of people we all are and what kind of country we all have. I am absolutely convinced this is in our economic interest, in the interest of our values, and it’s even in the interest of our long-term security as a nation.

So you know where I stand and there can be no question about it because I will do everything I can as President and during this campaign to make this case.

Now I know there are people who disagree with me, and I want them to have a conversation with me.

The facts are really clear, we know how much people who are working hard contribute to our economy both in what they buy and what they pay in taxes. In fact, in New York, which I know a little bit about because I represented it for eight years and I live there now, our undocumented workers in New York pay more in taxes that some of the biggest corporations in New York. So I’m ready to have this conversation with anyone anywhere.

And now let me turn to those who are living this story I want you to meet them and to talk with them.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }