Monday, December 18, 2017

Truest statement of the week

Unfortunately, Coates’ allegiance to Obama has produced an impoverished understanding of black history. He reveals this when he writes: “Ossie Davis famously eulogized Malcolm X as ‘our living, Black manhood’ and ‘our own Black shining prince.’ Only one man today could bear those twin honorifics: Barack Obama.”
This gross misunderstanding of who Malcolm X was – the greatest prophetic voice against the American Empire – and who Barack Obama is – the first black head of the American Empire – speaks volumes about Coates’ neoliberal view of the world.

Coates praises Obama as a “deeply moral human being” while remaining silent on the 563 drone strikes, the assassination of US citizens with no trial, the 26,171 bombs dropped on five Muslim-majority countries in 2016 and the 550 Palestinian children killed with US supported planes in 51 days, etc. He calls Obama “one of the greatest presidents in American history,” who for “eight years ... walked on ice and never fell.”

-- Cornel West, "Ta-Nehisi Coates is the neoliberal face of the Black freedom struggle" (GUARDIAN).

Truest statement of the week II

As much as the U.S. mainstream media has mocked the idea that an American “deep state” exists and that it has maneuvered to remove Trump from office, the text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal how two high-ranking members of the government’s intelligence/legal bureaucracy saw their role as protecting the United States from an election that might elevate to the presidency someone as unfit as Trump.
In one Aug. 6, 2016 text exchange, Page told Strzok: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.” At the end of that text, she sent Strzok a link to a David Brooks column in The New York Times, which concludes with the clarion call: “There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame.”
Apparently after reading that stirring advice, Strzok replied, “And of course I’ll try and approach it that way. I just know it will be tough at times. I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps.”
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, criticized Strzok’s boast that “I can protect our country at many levels.” Jordan said: “this guy thought he was super-agent James Bond at the FBI [deciding] there’s no way we can let the American people make Donald Trump the next president.”
In the text messages, Strzok also expressed visceral contempt for working-class Trump voters, for instance, writing on Aug. 26, 2016, “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support. … it’s scary real down here.”
Another text message suggested that other senior government officials – alarmed at the possibility of a Trump presidency – joined the discussion. In an apparent reference to an August 2016 meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Strzok wrote to Page on Aug. 15, 2016, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.”
Strzok added, “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event that you die before you’re 40.”
It’s unclear what strategy these FBI officials were contemplating to ensure Trump’s defeat, but the comments mesh with what an intelligence source told me after the 2016 election, that there was a plan among senior Obama administration officials to use the allegations about Russian meddling to block Trump’s momentum with the voters and — if elected — to persuade members of the Electoral College to deny Trump a majority of votes and thus throw the selection of a new president into the House of Representatives under the rules of the Twelfth Amendment.

The scheme involved having some Democratic electors vote for former Secretary of State Colin Powell (which did happen), making him the third-place vote-getter in the Electoral College and thus eligible for selection by the House. But the plan fizzled when enough of Trump’s electors stayed loyal to their candidate to officially make him President.

-- Robert Parry, "The foundering Russia-gate scandal" (CONSORTIUM NEWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

It's early Monday morning.

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.

And what did we come up with?

See you next week.


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

Editorial: Say it with song

As the year winds down, the Iraq War continues.  It hits the 15 year mark in March.

Whose plan?

And when?

Media: Dialogue

Dialogue.  It's no easy task as one delusional fool after another attempting to write comedy for a single-camera sitcom has learned repeatedly in the last two decades.  Without the live audience, a lot of 'jokes' have fallen flat much to the surprise of many.

See CAR POOLERS, THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW and THE PAUL REISER SHOW for examples of really unfunny, single-camera, so-called sitcoms.

You need the interaction.

You need the feedback and the process.

And you need it for public dialogue as well.

A thought that's been on our mind for some time but especially surfaced when Matt Damon made remarks about gender violence (let's go with that term, it's more accurate):

The "Bourne Identity" actor, in a tone-deaf new interview, contends the sexual misconduct scandals plaguing Hollywood shouldn't all be equated. "There's a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?" Damon said in a new interview with ABC News' Peter Travers. "Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn't be conflated, right?"

And this:

 Damon did not address either of the Afflecks in the ABC interview, but said he speaks to his friends when accusations against them emerged.

Well since you asked, here are some choice thoughts from Matt Damon on the reckoning currently dismantling Hollywood one bad man at a time. In an interview with Peter Travers, Damon, who previously claimed he didn’t know about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct but then admitted Ben Affleck told him what allegedly happened to Gwyneth Paltrow, now says the consequences for such behavior should fit the crime. And, to his mind, not all such crimes are equal. “I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior,” he begins. “And we’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

Among those immediately going after Matt Damon?

Actress Alyssa Milano.  

In her outrage, she Tweeted, "There are different stages of cancer.  Some more treatable than others.  But it's still cancer."

We couldn't imagine anything more stupid.

Her response is to argue different stages?  Like Matt's own "spectrum of behavior"?

Did she not grasp she was in agreement with him?

We don't like Matt.

We think he's Mickey Rooney in the 21st century. 

Short, needy and not all that talented.

We also think he believes he's smarter than he is.

But anyone who would come away from Howard Zinn's A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES (he is a fanatic for the book and, at one time, tried to get it made into a four hour mini-series but instead whittled footage down to less than two hours and released it as a low grossing documentary) and embrace the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is a stooge and a fool.

Which is why he gets into so much trouble when he feels the need to weigh in on diversity (he's against it -- his remarks seemed to say).  

In fairness, his diversity remarks were misunderstood -- because of how poorly he spoke on the topic.  

And his basic remarks on gender violence last week were misunderstood because of how poorly he spoke.

He stated he could work with Louis CK because he doesn't believe CK would again masturbate in front of women.

We question that belief.

But Matt's allowed to work with whomever he wants.

Pink and Beyonce both self-present as feminists but that didn't stop either from working with Eminem on his new album -- despite Eminem's long history of homophobia and sexism.

If we're going to be mad at Matt, let's be made at Pink and Beyonce who give a stamp of female approval to the many homophobic and sexist songs of Eminem.

Isn't that what Dylan Farrow wants?

She whined this month at the #MeToo movement for leaving her out.

We believe it's the court assigned medical professionals who left her out.  You know, the ones who concluded she hadn't been molested?

Maybe she should sue Yale?

Instead, insisting she's triggered by every film Woody Allen releases (and not realizing how tin-foil-hat that makes her sound), she attacks every actor who appears in Allen's films.

Whether it's Diane Keaton or Justin Timberlake.

People making films with Woody have nothing to do with whatever did or didn't happen to Dylan.

Again, the court assigned doctors to investigate her case and they concluded Dylan had not been molested.

Oh, was that not the dialogue we're supposed to have?

Did we stray from the script?

Guess what, that's allowed.

Because this is a national dialogue.

And we're allowed to disagree.

We're allowed to also wonder about a lack of pattern.  

In the cases of Louis CK, Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Matt Lauer, Russell Simmons and others, there is a pattern with multiple victims.

Back to Matt Damon.

Minnie Driver responded to his remarks.  As one of his exes and as someone taking part in the dialogue, we weren't surprised she did.  We enjoyed her remarks.  

Except for one.

We don't like Matt, but we're giving him the benefit of the doubt.  We do like Minnie and we're giving her the benefit of the doubt as well.

We don't think, if she'd thought through her remarks a little more, that she would have stated "I feel that’s what women need of men in this moment. They need men to lean on and not question [. . .] Men can rally and they can support, but I don’t think its appropriate, per se, for men to have an opinion about how women should be metabolising abuse. Ever."



Even if it's Anthony Edwards or Corey Feldman or any of the men who have also been abused?

They're not allowed to question?

They're not allowed to comment?


Everyone needs to comment.

Rose McGowan frustrates a lot of people because she's angry.

We're okay with angry.

And we cut her a lot of slack because she's earned it, in our opinion.

Rose is upset with Meryl Streep and others planning to 'protest' by wearing black to the Golden Globes.

This is a silent protest and silence is the last thing the movement needs, Rose is correct.

Equally true, Meryl was silent for far too long.

But Meryl can participate in the dialogue.

And should.

Anyone can and anyone should.

Because that is how we figure out where we stand in this country.

A dialogue in the public square.

A back and forth.

That is at the root of democracy.

And Matt Damon can participate.

Anyone can.

And Matt can be called out, we can be called out, Minnie can be called out, Rose can be called out . . .

This is a topic that's taken root in our society and victimized so many -- women and men -- because it's been hidden.

Get it out in the open.

A dialogue is how we increase our understanding and it how we work to come to a resolution.

Both are needed on the topic of gender violence.

Hey, Stevie and Paul, we could use another song

Remember this song?

Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney on "Ebony and Ivory" ("live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my keyboard, oh Lord, why don't we?")?

It's a song we thought of with the news of Miss Iraq being chased out of her own country after posing for a selfie with Miss Israel.

  1. A "peace" selfie Miss Iraq took with Miss Israel at the Miss Universe pageant has put her family's lives in danger
  2. Remember how Miss Iraq and Miss Israel posed together to model coexistence at the Miss Universe pageant? Well, Miss Iraq's family was just forced to flee Iraq due to death threats. She has nonetheless refused to take down the photo.
  3. Family of Miss Iraq flee country after photo posted with Miss Israel

Miss Iraq took a selfie with Miss Israel, and now she’s in hiding

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