Monday, February 13, 2017

Truest statement of the week

Democratic Senate leader Charles Schumer shed tears for stranded refugees but fully supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq, one of the nations targeted by the travel ban. Schumer is also one of the key spokespersons for Israel’s occupation of Palestine and endless massacres in Gaza. Cory Booker is an opportunist and a corporate hooker who also quickly stepped into that spotlight. Elizabeth Warren may ask tough questions at confirmation hearings, but invariable votes to approve Trump’s nominees. They and their colleagues can always be counted on to approve of American imperialism.
The debacle that brought Trump to the presidency has been moving in slow motion for years. It was just a matter of time before the Democrats would lose this office as they had done with the House, the Senate, and most state legislatures. They have no desire to move away from their corporate sugar daddies, instead preferring to devolve into pretense, which was obvious to the voters who wouldn’t stand with Hillary Clinton.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: 'Resist Trump, Resist the Democrats'" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

Sen. Cory Booker is a mercenary in that war. He entered politics as an advocate of public funding for private schools, two of which he operated in Newark, New Jersey. While a first-term city councilman, Booker became deeply entangled with the most right-wing corporate sugar daddies (and mommas) of the private school vouchers “movement” -- actually, a billionaires club encompassing many of the main funders of the Hard Right in the U.S. (See “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree,” The Black Commentator, April 5, 2002.) Booker’s rise to national prominence has been funded and promoted by these same right-wing networks, to whom he remains loyal. From 2004 to 2008, Booker sat with Betsy DeVos on the board of the Alliance for School Choice, a pro-charter and school vouchers outfit founded by John Walton, one of the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune. Hakeem Jeffries, a Black congressman from Brooklyn, is a protégé of Booker and fellow supporter of tax credits for private schools. In the wake of Obama’s eight-year crusade on behalf of charters, much of the Congressional Black Caucus is now amenable to various privatization schemes.
In their zeal to confront and delegitimize Donald Trump, the Democrats primp and posture as if in genuine opposition to President Cheeto’s governance-by-billionaires. But, charter school privatization, like U.S. wars, is a project of both wings of the ruling class duopoly. When you scorn DeVos, you must also curse Obama, and reject Booker -- or you are no better than Trump.

-- Glen Ford, "DeVos, Obama, Booker, Trump – All Enemies of Public Education" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A Monday.

Let's 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.

What did we come up with:

Margaret Kimberley gets another truest.
As does Glen Ford.
THE NEW YORK TIMES is the problem.  
Ava and C.I. examine a new NETFLIX program.
It all started decades ago.
Yourself -- trust yourself.
What we listened to while writing.
Press release from September 11th Advocates.
I.F. Stone piece.


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

Editorial: There's a new Judith Miller in town

Maybe you've met her?

The new Judith Miller at THE NEW YORK TIMES?

Regarding the "failing" New York Times.

That's her.

She's in Iraq.

In Mosul.

She's an embed.

In bed with the Iraqi military.

And she traipse around with them.

And then brags on them.

While ignoring events that don't fit her predetermined framework.

Like what MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reported:

Grim footage has emerged from eastern Mosul, supposedly “liberated” from [the Islamic State] control late last month,showing members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and men who appeared to be from the Shia-dominated Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) paramilitary organisation executing unarmed men in the streets.
The footage shows armed Shia militants, who are fighting under the banner of Iraq, dragging a bound and clearly terrified man through the streets. The militants are heard abusing the man, and can be clearly seen beating him as they drag him to his death.
The victim is then placed at gunpoint by two other unarmed men in front of a row of houses, before about a dozen Shia jihadists fighting with the PMF and Iraqi soldiers open fire and gun them down in cold blood.
Even after the men have been shot and are clearly dead, the Iraqi soldiers and Shia militants continue to taunt and curse them, and occasionally other soldiers would walk over to the dead men and beginning firing at their corpses at point blank range. They would also stamp on the heads of the unarmed men, which is a deep sign of disrespect in Arab culture.
“Sadly, we have become accustomed to seeing such violence against people who are likely civilians,” Ahmad Al-Mahmoud, an analyst with the London-based Iraq monitoring group Foreign Relations Bureau of Iraq (FRB), told MEMO. “Even if they are ISIS, they should be tried in transparent and just courts, not shot dead in the middle of the street,” Al-Mahmoud said, using another acronym for the [Islamic State] extremist organisation.

Didn't fit with her bragging on the unit she was embedded with.

So she ignored it.

And all these years later, we're stuck with yet another western journalist who goes to Iraq and completely ignores the Iraqi people to write war porn yet again.

She's so bad, it may not be fair to call her the new Judith Miller.

It's highly possible that even Judith had more integrity than Rukmini.

TV: The rescue puppy

Joel and Sheila are trying to sell a house, they're realtors -- like Phil Dunphy on MODERN FAMILY. But Phil's never made like Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST and puked pea green all over a room.

Sheila does.

It's SANTA CLARITA DIET and it's something akin to THE ADAMS FAMILY or THE MUNSTERS in that it's a sitcom with a horror slant.


Sheila and Joel are a married couple played by Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant.

They have a daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) and their home is bordered by one couple where the husband Rick (Richard T. Jones) is a cop and the wife Alondra (Joy Osmanski) wants to follow John Legend around on tour and another couple where the husband Dan (Ricardo Chavira) is a deputy and Lisa (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) is having an affair (with Ryan Hansen's Bob while she's also having some sort of a sexual vibe with Natalie Morales' Anne).  Deputy Dan hates his step-son Eric (Skyler Gisondo) so, even before the horror aspect gets heavy, you've got quite a set up.

But it does get heavy.

As heavy as Nathan Fillion whose alleged hotness left the building long before FIREFLY.

He's as unbelievable here as a hot character as he is on MODERN FAMILY on the arm of Sarah Hyland's Haley.

Thankfully, he shows up and then disappears in the first episode.

He's Gary, the guy who steals the home Sheila and Joel are trying to sell while also trying to come on to Sheila in a bar.

Sheila's been having some problems.

In a bit of a funk, she wishes she was bolder, like Jennifer Lawrence with her latest hair cut.

She doesn't cut her hair but, after throwing up, she does realize that something has changed.

She has no heart beat, as Joel and Abby confirm, plus she can poke herself with nail scissors and not feel pain and her 'blood,' as it is, is solid and not fluid.

She's also hungry for meat, raw meat.

Eric's the one who figures out that Sheila is a zombie.

And when Gary shows up after the bar incident, in Sheila's backyard, and won't stop coming onto her and begins threatening her, she takes a bite.

And then another.

She will eat a great deal of him, even his "tiny balls."

She'll stop only when Joel discovers her eating him.

They'll rush to bury the rest of Gary in the desert -- and be discovered by Eric and Abby.

The one good thing here, they agree, is that Gary knows nobody, he's new to town, he's got no family, he's the perfect prey if you're going to eat a human.

But Sheila can't eat humans, right?

And she's got to work on the impulse control.

Especially with the suspicious Deputy Dan next door.  (Police officer Rick's much more laid back and can be found playing guitars with Joel while the two smoke pot.)

If the above doesn't seem like a lot of laughs, (a) you haven't watched the ten episodes that make up season one and (b) you've apparently missed the bulk of Drew Barrymore's career.

Maybe because she was so good and so natural in comedy films like MUSIC AND LYRICS, THE WEDDING SINGER, NEVER BEEN KISSED, CHARLIE'S ANGELS, CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE,  FEVER PITCH, 50 FIRST DATES and BLENDED her gifts have been so underrated?

Drew's perfect.

A bigger surprise?

So is Timothy Olyphant.

In fact, he's so perfect, it's unbelievable.

He's the puppy in the pound you want to take home.

He's the man that turns you into Geena Davis in THELMA & LOUISE begging like a puppy to let the  hottie in the car.

Timothy is hilarious just saying "WOW!" loudly.

He and Drew are hilarious together arguing.

They're hilarious, and sexy, when she wants him to go down on her again and he's complaining that his jaw's still sore from last time and she's telling him that he should stop talking.

Timothy does drama very well.  He was the finest dramatic actor on TV with JUSTIFIED.

And he did bits of comedy in that role and was funny in bits of GO and in his one scene in FIRST WIVES CLUB.

But none of that prepares you for how funny he is in SANTA CLARITA DIET.

Ty tell us that news of season two of STRANGER THINGS not debuting until next Halloween has resulted in many e-mails from readers saying they're on the verge of dumping NETFLIX.  SANTA CLARITA DIET isn't STRANGER THINGS but it's still a strong reason to pay for a few more months of NETFLIX.

Save the taxpayers, end the global bases

greeted by CDR Martinez at Yokota AB. Meets with military spouses and service members before taking off for Tokyo

So much waste in the US government.

One way to save money?

End the US military bases around the world.

In September of 2015, David Vine (THE NATION) noted:

With the US military having withdrawn many of its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, most Americans would be forgiven for being unaware that hundreds of US bases and hundreds of thousands of US troops still encircle the globe. Although few know it, the United States garrisons the planet unlike any country in history, and the evidence is on view from Honduras to Oman, Japan to Germany, Singapore to Djibouti.

A year later, John Glaser argued in TIME:

U.S. leaders often argue that bases are the centerpiece of a liberal, rules-based world order. They claim that bases in Europe protect European allies from Russia, bases in the Middle East ensure the free flow of oil and contain Iranian influence, and bases in Asia defend our Asian allies from a rising China and an unstable North Korea. But s tationing 80,000 troops at 350 installations in Europe is not directly related to securing Americans’ physical safety. The same goes for the more than 154,000 active-duty personnel based throughout Asia. And the argument that maintaining a forward-deployed military posture in the Middle East protects the free flow of oil is supported by pitifully sparse empirical evidence.

Professor Jules Dufour (GLOBAL RESEARCH) notes, "In Europe, there are 116,000 US military personnel including 75,603 who are stationed in Germany."

How did it end up this way?

Some wrongly assume this was always the position of the United States, that it must have been decided somewhere around 1776.

That's not true.

For years, American leaders prided themselves on not being the world's busybody.

The decision to keep bases permanently?

July 6, 1945, AP reported on the proposal to do just that:

A senate committee held out the possibility today of this country maintaining permanent military bases on the European continent.
A report of the senate's war investigating committee said that proper utilization of 370 United States air bases together with other war installations in Europe may hold the answer to "our future security and the prosperity of our international commerce."
Added the report:
"It may be desirable for the army and navy to maintain bases at some points in the European theater.
"And now, while we are still in a good bargaining position, negotiations could be engaged in with the countries involved for the rights to maintain them.  Our international air commerce will find many of the airfields built for war air transport indispensable to any network of international air routes."

It was part of the war machine.

It's time it ended.

Don't think if would effect the budget?

In January of 2015, the US Defense Dept. issued a statement which opened:

The Department of Defense announced today the consolidation of some U.S. infrastructure in Europe, including the return of 15 sites to their host nations. These actions, taken as part of the European Infrastructure Consolidation (EIC) process, will save the U.S. government approximately $500 million annually. The DoD also announced the first F-35 basing in Europe at RAF Lakenheath, UK, which will bring new opportunities for collaboration between the U.S. and UK air forces.

A small move like that would save half a billion a year.

And notice there was no increased threat to the US as a result.

Tweet of the week (domestic)

, , and the Play America for Suckers:

We all had a finger on the trigger


November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Legendary investigate journalist I.F. Stone wrote in "The Dange in Canonizing Kennedy As An Apostle of Peace" (I.F. STONE'S BI-WEEKLY, DECEMBER 9, 1963):

Let us ask ourselves honest questions. How many Americans have not assumed -- with approval --that the CIA was probably trying to find a way to assassinate Castro? How many would not applaud if the CIA succeeded? How many applauded when Lumumba was killed in the Congo, because they assumed that he was dangerously neutralist or perhaps pro-Communist? Have we not become conditioned to the notion that we should have a secret agency of government --  the CIA -- with secret funds, to wield the dagger beneath the cloak against leaders we dislike ? Even some of our best young liberal intellectuals can see nothing wrong in this picture except that the "operational" functions of CIA should be kept separate from its intelligence evaluations! How many of us -- on the Left now -- did not welcome the assassination of Diem and his brother Nhu in South Vietnam? We all reach for the dagger, or the gun, in our thinking when it suits our political view to do so. We all believe the end justifies the means. We all favor murder, when it reaches our own hated opponents. In this sense we share the guilt with Oswald and Ruby and the rightist crackpots. Where the right to kill is so universally accepted, we should not be surprised if our young President was slain. It is not just the ease in obtaining guns, it is the ease in obtaining excuses, that fosters assassination. This is more urgently in need of examination than who pulled the trigger. In this sense, as in that multi-lateral nuclear monstrosity we are trying to sell Europe, we all had a finger on the trigger.

The influential and legendary self-published newsletter, ran from 1953 to 1971.

THE WEBSITE OF I.F. STONE has made the issues of I.F. STONE'S WEEKLY available online.

You can search by topic or edition.

Long before Anne Sexton wrote, "I will eat you slowly with kisses even though the killer in you has gotten out," long before Mick Jagger "shouted out 'Who killed the Kennedys?' when after all it was you and me," and long before the Smashing Pumpkins sang "The killer in you is the killer in me," I.F. Stone declared "we all had a finger on the trigger."

Tweet of the week (international)

To all these liberals outraged at Trump banning refugees: Where the f[**]k were you when Obama was dropping bombs on their homelands?

Who can you trust?

Very few.

As investigative journalist Keith Harmon Snow points out.

Dear Friend: If you are reading the New York Times, you are contributing to your own mental illness. (Ditto The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Boston Globe {owned by the NYT}, & etc.) I'm sorry this is a hard fact, or suggestion, or information, to swallow, but it's true. For example, just look at who the advertisers are. These are not news delivery mechanisms they are advertising delivery mechanisms. The content is highly superfluous in many cases, and total bullshit in o...
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As the Iraq War made so very clear, never trust THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Just last week, Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) reminded, "The New York Times editorial board, a champion of charters, bemoaned that DeVos’ “appointment squanders an opportunity to advance public education research, experimentation and standards, to objectively compare traditional public school, charter school and voucher models in search of better options for public school students” – a devious way of saying that the Senate hearings exposed the slimy underbelly of the charter privatization project and the billionaires of both parties that have guided and sustained it."

Yep, that's our friendly paper on the 'left.'

It's corporate, don't take it personally.

They never take you personally, after all.

You're just another Rachel Corrie standing in their way, one they will mow down in mere minutes.

When they do, don't count on our human rights organizations to defend you.

As Rick Sterling (DISSIDENT VOICE) explains:

However, less well recognized, Amnesty International has also carried out faulty investigations contributing to bloody and disastrous actions. One prominent example is in Iraq, where AI “corroborated” the false story that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. The deception was planned and carried out in Washington DC to influence the public and Congress. A more recent example is from 2011 where false accusations were being made about Libya and its leader as Western and Gulf powers sought to overthrow the Gaddafi government. AI leaders joined the campaign claiming that Gaddafi was using “mercenaries” to threaten and kill peacefully protesting civilians. The propaganda was successful in muting criticism. Going far beyond a UN Security Council resolution to “protect civilians”, NATO launched sustained air attacks and toppled the Libyan government leading to chaos, violence and a flood of refugees. AI later refuted the “mercenary” accusations but the damage was done.
On 7 February Amnesty International released a new report titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison”. It has received huge uncritical review in mainstream and liberal media.
Like the Iraq/Kuwait incubator story and the Libyan ‘mercenary’ story, the “Human Slaughterhouse” report is coming at a critical time. The consequences of the AI report are to accuse and convict the Syrian government of horrible atrocities against civilians. AI explicitly calls for the international community to take “action”.


The claims in the Amnesty report are based on spurious and biased opposition accounts from outside of the country. The headline numbers of 5,000 to 13,000 are calculated on the base of unfounded hypotheticals. The report itself states that only 36 names of allegedly executed persons are known to Amnesty, less than the number of "witnesses" Amnesty claims to have interviewed. The high number of claimed execution together with the very low number of names is not plausible.
The report does not even meet the lowest mark of scientific or legal veracity. It is pure biased propaganda.

And forget Human Rights Watch which allowed Kenneth Roth to openly campaign for Hillary Clinton at his Twitter feed thereby exposing him as just another corporatist whore.

Maybe US Senator Bernie Sanders can save us?

Guess again.  As Kate Randall (WSWS) observes:

The hope is that popular illusions in Sanders that remain from his challenge to Hillary Clinton can be utilized to restore credibility to the Democrats following their electoral debacle. Sanders, who used his campaign to channel mass discontent behind Clinton, is himself fully onboard and highly conscious of his role.
There was nothing genuinely progressive in what Sanders had to propose for reforming the health care system or confronting the health insurance crisis faced by a majority of Americans. As for Cruz, he in turn insulted and patronized questioners from the audience, while dancing around issues as he spouted his pro-corporate, free-market agenda.
Sanders’ job was to allude to the excesses of the for-profit health care industry while offering only the vaguest palliatives as an alternative. After saying that if Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed, people with cancer, diabetes and other conditions will be charged more or denied coverage, he added, “That’s the function of private insurance.”
He failed to mention that Obamacare is based on and tailored to the interests of the private insurance companies. Its so-called “individual mandate” requires uninsured people to purchase coverage from for-profit insurers or pay a penalty. Sanders never questioned the ACA’s reliance on the private market during the debate.

Who can you trust?

Trust yourself and get the word out.

As Elaine pointed out:

It's all a step.

A footrace really.

Each year, more people wake up.

Each year, some of those people pass away.

Will we have enough people awake in time to make a difference?

It's a footrace.

But Izzy Stone mattered, Ida B. Wells, Ida Tarbell, George Seldes, etc.
They influenced people and the work of John Stauber has as well. 
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