Monday, March 13, 2017

Truest statement of the week

We have entered a condition of constitutional crisis that requires a full-throated response from the American people. I have repeatedly warned about the dangers of the Patriot Act and its successive iterations, the execrable national security letters that turn every FBI agent into a star chamberlain, the dangers of fear-based security policies eroding our republic.

We have crossed the threshold of a cowardly new world, and it’s time we tell the government and the corporations who have intruded to stop it. 

-- Dennis Kucinich, "New WikiLeaks reveal proof we are sliding down the slippery slope toward totalitarianism" (FOX NEWS).

Truest statement of the week II

When Donald Trump charged that President Obama wiretapped the Republican campaign in the weeks after the November election, the bulk of corporate media chose to treat the allegation as another example of Trump’s “alternative facts.” They trotted out folks like Ben Rhodes, a former deputy National Security Advisor to Obama, who dismissed the charge as ridiculous. "No President can order a wiretap,” Rhodes huffed.
This may be technically true, but it’s an objective lie. Presidents can cause anybody to be spied upon, simply by indicating a desire to see it happen. In 1963, the Kennedy brothers -- formally acting through Bobby Kennedy’s office as Attorney General -- gave FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover permission to tap Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s phones and bug his home and offices. Hoover’s goal, according to a 2008 CNN “Black in America” report, was to “neutralize King as an effective Negro leader.” The Bureau didn’t find evidence that King was under “communist influence,” but did discover “embarrassing details about King's sex life,” which the FBI used to encourage King to kill himself. When he declined to take his own life, someone else did the job.
Technically, neither Robert nor John Kennedy ordered the FBI to spy on MLK. But that’s immaterial; Hoover had reason to believe that the Kennedy brothers wanted King bugged. Hoover offered his clandestine services to the White House, and “went fishing” for any dirt he could get. By the end of 1969, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark and scores of other Black Panthers had joined Dr. King in martyrs’ graves, and many more were consigned to social death in an American gulag that would expand more than ten-fold over the next four decades -- proof that those of us who used to greet each other innumerable times a day with “Power to the people – Death to the fascist pigs!” were correct in our analysis of the forces at work.
Today, the covert capabilities of the National Security State have grown beyond J. Edgar Hoover’s (and the Kennedy brothers’) wildest dreams. Not just Americans, but every human being on Earth with an electronic device is being spied upon by the United States -- which is absolutely logical, given the imperial claim to “exceptional” (supra-legal) prerogatives over its global dominion. Back in 2013, when asked by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden if the NSA collected “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans,” James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, replied, under oath: “No sir, It does not.”

Clapper kept his job, despite having committed perjury on prime time television -- proof, in the court of common sense, that his boss, President Obama, was both fully aware and approved of the NSA’s surveillance of Americans and homo sapiens in general.

-- Glen Ford, "Corporate Media Counting Cadence to Fascism" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A Monday.

First up, 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?

Dennis Kucinich gets a truest.
As does Glen Ford.
It matters . . . when we think it's ISIS.
Ava and C.I. take on another paint-by-number bad TV show.
Jim takes on March Madness.
His album drops this week.
What we listened to.
Mike and the gang pick the week's highlights.

See you next week.


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

Editorial: US using chemical weapons

Remember last week?


Chemical weapons had been used in Iraq.

And the question was: Did the Islamic State use them?

That's no longer the question.

Iraq's UN envoy: No evidence ISIL used chemical weapons

To recap: The press cares when they think the Islamic State might have used chemical weapons.

But when it becomes apparent that it was the US that used chemical weapons?

Not so much.

Not at all.

October 28th, Amnesty International issued the following:

The use of white phosphorus around the city of Mosul could pose a deadly risk to civilians fleeing the fighting in the coming days and weeks, Amnesty International said today.
 The organization received credible witness and photographic evidence of white phosphorus projectiles fired over an area north of the village of Karemlesh, about 20 kilometres east of Mosul. White phosphorus is an incendiary substance which burns at extremely high temperatures upon exposure to air.
“White phosphorus can cause horrific injuries, burning deep into the muscle and bone. It is possible that some of it will only partially burn and could then reignite weeks after being deployed,” said Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

“This means that civilians who flee the fighting around Mosul or residents returning to check on their homes in Karemlesh in the coming days or weeks would be at risk of serious harm even though there may be few visible warning signs.”
Karemlesh has been depopulated since the predominately Assyrian population fled the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) in August 2014, but white phosphorus poses a clear and present danger to civilians fleeing Mosul towards Erbil who may pass through the contaminated area.
“We are urging Iraqi and coalition forces never to use white phosphorus in the vicinity of civilians. Even if civilians are not present at the time of its use, due to the residual risks they should not use airburst white phosphorus munitions unless it is absolutely necessary to achieve military objectives which cannot be accomplished through safer means," said Donatella Rovera.

Photographs taken by a New York Times photographer on 20 October show white phosphorus munitions bursting near Karemlesh. Clashes between IS and Iraqi government forces were taking place in Hamdaniya (Qaraqosh), a few kilometres south of Karemlesh at the time.
The photographer told Amnesty International that he witnessed the same munitions being deployed at different times of the day, including four over a 15-minute period. It is not clear whether the projectiles were fired by Iraqi central government forces, Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), or forces belonging to members of the US-led coalition.
 The photographs show a dispersal pattern that appears consistent with the US-made 155-mm M825A1 projectile, which ejects 116 felt wedges containing white phosphorus over an area between 125 – 250 metres wide. Amnesty International documented its use in Gaza during Israel’s 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead.
White phosphorus is most often used to create a dense smoke screen that can obscure the movement of troops from enemy forces, and to mark targets for further attack, although it is not yet clear why it was used in this case. While its use for such purposes is not prohibited, extreme caution is warranted whenever it is deployed. It should never be used in the vicinity of civilians.

If buried by soil or water, white phosphorus wedges can be temporarily extinguished, but they spontaneously reignite if they are uncovered, presenting a serious hazard for unsuspecting civilians who may accidentally uncover them as they walk through the affected area. White phosphorus should never be used as an anti-personnel weapon.
“It is absolutely imperative that the forces using white phosphorus publicize details of areas potentially contaminated by the substance, to minimize the risk of accidental harm to civilians,” said Donatella Rovera.
“Such information is also crucial for medical professionals operating in Iraq so that they are aware of the kind of injuries they are treating. Tragically we witnessed people dying in Gaza because doctors were not aware that their patients’ burns were caused by white phosphorus and were thus not able to dispense the right treatment, resulting in the wounds deteriorating.”
Residents of Mosul and surrounding areas under the control of the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS), are facing huge risks as IS prevents them from leaving and they risk being caught in the cross fire as the battle to recapture the area continues. No effort should be spared to avoid exposing them to further risks.

Amnesty International has previously highlighted that white phosphorus is particularly prone to indiscriminate effects, and therefore its use in the vicinity of civilian concentrations constitutes an indiscriminate attack and can be a war crime.

Did it lead to some questioning on the part of the press?


The US government has admitted using Depleted Uranium in Syria and that hasn't resulted in much press interest either.

But for a brief moment, when it could be pinned on a terrorist group, suddenly the press was interested.

TV: The viewers get TAKEN


Maybe a better title would be TRICKED.



Liam Neeson starred in three films in the TAKEN franchise.

He skipped a TV installment.

Everyone should have skipped it.

In October of 2002, when Matt Damon hosted SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, there was a skit entitled "Hannibal Goes To College."  The premise was Hannibal Lecter in college, we meet him before he became the adult we all know.

What was a joke -- a good one -- has become a sad reality.

And it's never been sadder than with NBC's TAKEN.

Do we really need to see Liam Neeson's character as a man-child played by a really ugly guy?

This show is an embarrassment in every way possible.

Jennifer Beals is in the show.


This is a TV show that endorses torture and extraordinary rendition and all the things Jennifer Beals is supposed to be against.

Is really worth selling her soul to star in such a crappy show that paints the CIA in such an approving light?

She really ought to be ashamed of herself and that's saying a lot considering this is the actress who became famous for playing a dancer in FLASHDANCE -- despite the fact that her dancing was dubbed.

She was beautiful and she's still beautiful.

It's just a shame that she hasn't grown as an artist or a person all these years later.

Curious 'acting choices' like discussing strategy while putting her hair up in a meeting?

Maybe even she's having difficulty selling this crap?

We can hope.

The crap is led by Clive Standen who may be the most offensive thing of all.

An ugly man at 35 is given the lead in this show.


And they didn't even try to make him over.

Make no mistake, he has no sex appeal.

He has the kind of boxy face that screams "supporting actor."

He also has a boxy body.

Even wearing just a towel, there's nothing at all interesting about him.

But he gets cast in a lead role?

The 35-year-old plays the character like a 11-year-old.

He's an embarrassment playing a man because he seems like such an unsure and insecure boy.

Though the events in the TAKEN films are supposed to be off in the future, he's already supposed to have been a Green Beret but you don't buy that he could even earn a Bobcat Badge in the Cub Scouts.

Jennifer is gorgeous, probably more so today than back in the 80s.

And you damn well better believe that she wouldn't be cast in any thing if she wasn't.

Clive Standen is just more proof that the worst actor in the ugliest body can still land a lead part but a woman has to be gorgeous and talented to even get a supporting role in a piece of a trash TV show.

Jim's World


March Madness.

The Big Dance.

What's the point?

When I was in college (now a decade ago), I was all over March Madness.

And I would get mad when certain points or issues were raised.

Now days?

Now days I see the points that escaped me when I was younger.

Take the University of Kansas' Jayhawks.

Why are they even competing?

If they're not going to openly discipline their players, why are they allowed to take part?

How are they living up to what's expected from the NCAA?

It's not just supposed to be what you do on the field but what you do off as well.


That's Frank Mason III.  He's the Jayhawk of the week (male) at the university's website.

While there could be a lot worse picks, is he really the best?

According to police reports, he's a witness (one of five basketball players) to a December 17th even at McCarthy Hall.  What event?  Supposedly the rape of a 16-year-old girl.

As a witness, maybe he tried to stop the rape?

Or maybe he's a witness to avoid charges?

We don't know because the University of Kansas does not operate in the open.

We do know that there are many issues with the basketball team.

January 30th, Mike Coppinger (USA TODAY) reported:

Kansas University guard Lagerald Vick likely committed domestic violence against a female student multiple times in 2015, a school investigation found.

The Kansas City Star reported Monday that Vick was accused of punching the student in the arm several times and kicking her in the face. KU's Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access investigated the alleged incident from late December 2015 into January 2016. KU recommended two years of school probation for Vick.

Vick's problems with the law don't end there.

Laura Bauer and Mara Rose Williams (KANSAS CITY STAR) reported last month:

Two University of Kansas men’s basketball players are persons of interest in a Lawrence police investigation into the vandalism of a car in early December, multiple sources have told The Kansas City Star.
The players of interest in the case are Josh Jackson and Lagerald Vick. Investigators have recently interviewed several people who witnessed the reported crime, which occurred in the early morning hours of Dec. 9 outside a bar. A police report categorizes the $2,991 in damage to the car as a felony.

Read more here


Don't really get how the Jayhawks are being allowed to compete with these players 'of interest.'

Don't really get how this helps sports one bit.

Tweet of the week

The new fragrance that has taken the liberal world by storm!

Video of the week

Conor Oberst's "A Little Uncanny."

This edition's playlist




4) Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.

5) Pretenders' ALONE.



 This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Iraq snapshot" -- most requested highlight from last week by readers of this site.

"Everyone gets a car!" -- Isaiah takes on Oprah.

 "Robert Osborne" -- Stan notes a passing.

"CCR gets even more stupid" -- Mike calls it out.

  "Hillary's Shoe Response" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"KONG: SKULL ISLAND" -- Stan goes to the movies.

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