Monday, June 04, 2018

Truest statement of the week

Those familiar with Obama’s work to expand surveillance programs would not be surprised to learn Obama’s unhinged surveillance ultimately extended as far as using spies for brazenly political purposes. Obama’s administration spied on foreign heads of state, Congress, the press, and beyond; it seems logical he would go on to spy on the opposition party as he left office too, as criminal as it may be.
Fortunately, investigations have been ongoing and expanding since the initial revelation that Trump was wiretapped by Obama and his associates. These investigations encompass the extent to which Clinton cronies James Comey at the FBI and Loretta Lynch at the DOJ had knowledge of efforts made by federal agencies to unlawfully monitor communications of then-candidate Trump or his associates (1), leaks of classified information related to the unmasking of U.S. person identities incidentally collected by the intelligence community (2), and how senior officials within Obama’s administration — including Comey, Lynch, Rice, and Libya war architect Samantha Power — were involved in the “unmasking” of individuals on Trump’s campaign team, transition team, or both (3).

Truest statement of the week II

The “Russiagate” hysteria is only the latest reason to conclude that the Democratic Party is the greatest institutional impediment to creation of mass “resistance” to onrushing war and never-ending austerity under late-stage capitalism. Last week’s vote on the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019 showed, by the numbers, that any legislative “resistance” depends, not on Democratic victory in November of this year, or in 2020, or the cycle after that, but on the formation of an entirely new party. Only 59 Democrats  voted against the $717 billion Pentagon spending bill, whose passage guarantees, not only more war, but new waves of privatization and a painful spiral of doom for what’s left of the social safety net in the United States—an ultimate outcome that is fully understood by the perpetrators on both sides of the corporate duopoly.
The lopsided vote reveals that there really is no “left wing” of the Democratic Party, just a tiny, ill-defined faction that can be brushed aside even on “bright line” issues of war and peace, guns or butter, and social justice versus police repression. Since it is the Democratic half of the duopoly that claims the allegiance of the vast demographic consisting of virtually all the components of a “progressive” social base in the U.S. -- components representing large majorities of the American people and the near-totality of the Black population -- it is the Democrats that are to blame for the strangulation of the majority’s aspirations for a more just, equal, and peaceful society. Republican gerrymandering of legislative districts concentrates Democrat-leaning voters, but it is the Democratic Party that turns these voters’ progressive notions into mush and dust. Donald Trump didn’t make the Democrats betray the solid progressive majority of their constituents; Nancy Pelosi did, on behalf of the party’s masters on Wall Street. No rescue of “the people” is conceivable under budgets burdened with such military outlays, yet there is only token “resistance” to military spending from the Democrats, and even those that voted against the authorization still scream for war against the Russians, daily.

--  Glen Ford, "How the “Progressives” in the Black Caucus Have Shrunk to Almost Nothing" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Monday night.  And we're done.

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, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
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: The Hobby Lobby of journalists

Rukmini Callimachi claims she's a reporter but she took it upon herself to steal documents from Iraq.  She stole them, she then smuggled them out of the country.

When the growing outcry over cultural appropriation became too much, Rukmini announced that the documents would be "donated" to Iraq.  But, turns out, her decision only came after the Iraqi government informed THE NEW YORK TIMES that the papers needed to be returned immediately and that an apology was in order.

EXCLUSIVE: I've obtained a letter from Iraq's National Intelligence Service requesting that the returns the 15,000 "ISIS Files" illegally seized and smuggled out of by and her team. NYT said today that they plan to "donate" the files back to Iraq.

Rukmini is a thief -- she is the Hobby Lobby of journalists.

She stole important papers from Iraq.  She lied to take them out of the country.  She's lied ever since.  She has no ethics.

Each year, her theft will more and more well known and it will be the defining act of her career.

TV: Woah, Nellie!

ABC decided to pretend like they cared about humanity last week.  We laughed.  We laughed even harder when this Tweet appeared.

I wrote on the original "Roseanne" where we used to denounce nativism, racism & homophobia. Nauseating to see what she's become. Looking forward to continue not watching this show.

As Mike noted last week, we had already planned to tackle MODERN FAMILY.  The Tweet above by the show's executive producer only made us more determined to take on the alleged sitcom.

A few important points before we dive into MODERN FAMILY.

Last week, ABC took the axe to ROSEANNE because Roseanne Barr offered a Tweet that was supposed to be a joke.  Some found the Tweet racist.  Because Roseanne was raising a number of issues, she was trashed and fired.

A number of issues?  We have no idea if George Soros collaborated with the Nazis but we have long rejected George Soros from the left.  He has blood money.  He should be in prison for how he's destabilized other countries and their currency (the UK, Thailand, etc.).  We would not have had to comment on him ever if we didn't get attacked for taking money from him.

We never took money from him.  He gave funds to MEDIA CHANNEL or whatever Danny Schechter's website was.

A piece we wrote was posted there ("Friendly Faces Aren't Who We Meet").  The article first appeared here because it was written for this site.  It was reposted by Danny at his site without our knowledge or our permission.  Despite knowing us and often e-mailing us, he didn't even tell us that he had reposted it.  We only found out after the fact when all these e-mails started coming in insisting that we were on George Soros' payroll.  We are not and have never been.  He got rich by making others lose money.  We do not applaud him, we do not engage with him.  He has destroyed lives and he has blood on his hands.

We believe in open source, we're aware our pieces are reposted everywhere -- especially in the UK.  That's fine.

It wasn't fine in MEDIA CHANNEL's case only because we got attacked for their funding.  People thought we approved of George Soros.  We do not.  He's tacky and disgusting as only loud, new money can be.  But out real objection to him is how he made his money.  He destabilized the currencies of other countries.  That's not okay with us.

It is okay with many others apparently.  And we think when Roseanne attacks George for whatever reasons, it makes a lot of other thieves nervous that they'll also get exposed.

She'd already exposed, the same day, Chelsea Clinton's little nightmare.

The press has spent a lot of time celebrating Chelsea.  They've detailed her pregnancies, her poorly written books, you name it.  Every facet of her failed adulthood has been fawned over and detailed included that outrageous wedding at a time when America was still in the Great Recession.

What they didn't detail was the reality about Chelsea's father-in-law.  Roseanne noted it last week and, strange, Amanda Marcotte and other liars (Amanda, the well known racist who stole a woman of color's speech and also had illustrations in her 2008 book of a White woman being repeatedly under threat by African-males in the jungle) missed it in all of theirTweets.


In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraudmail fraud, and wire fraud. Mezvinsky, who had been working as an attorney at the time, was funneling embezzled and fraudulently obtained money to West African con men after falling victim to an online advance-fee scam.[14] In the waning days of the Clinton presidency, before the indictment was handed down, Mezvinsky's wife wrote personally to President Clinton requesting a pardon for her husband. Clinton declined.[15] Nearly $10 million was involved in the crimes. Shortly after Mezvinsky's indictment, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but the judge at his trial disallowed a mental illness defense.[6]
He entered prison in February 2003, and served his time at Federal Prison Camp, Eglin.[16] Marjorie Margolies requested a pardon for Mezvinsky in the waning days of the Clinton administration but it was not acted upon.[17] Mezvinsky, Federal Bureau of Prisons # 55040-066, was released in April 2008, after 5 years.[18] He remained on federal probation until 2011, and as of 2010 still owed $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.[19]

How does the press miss that?

He's a criminal.  31 counts of felony charges -- that's what he admitted to.  How does the press miss that?

More importantly, he's an idiot.

The press should have a field day.  He basically fell for the oldest and most ridiculous e-mail scam.

They didn't miss it, they just didn't want to report it.

It should have been a hilarious side note to their coverage of Chelsea's wedding.

Instead, they buried it.

Roseanne put it out to millions.  She's a 'loose cannon' -- who knows what she might reveal next.

So she was silenced.

We're not saying the Tweet couldn't be seen as racist.  A) We understand some could genuinely see it as racism.  We don't because we're not fundamentalists.  We believe in evolution and Darwin and the missing link so we're not insulted.  We also agree with Stan ("I was just saying someone looked like an ape today") that many people, regardless of color, do look like apes or chimps -- including, as Stan cited, Ryan Gosling who is White.  B) We believe there's no way to see the Tweet -- racist or not -- but as an attempted joke.  We didn't think it was funny but we aren't fans of THE PLANET OF THE APES and might be missing something.  C) We are saying that it was used an excuse to get rid of a woman who was telling some uncomfortable truths about Chelsea and shining a spotlight on George Soros.

We're almost ready for MODERN FAMILY but first Danny Zuker's claim to have written for ROSEANNE?  One episode.  And he co-wrote it.  With Michael Borkow.  In that episode, he wasn't tackling any high minded issue -- unless you consider geriatric nudists to be a pressing issue.

But he can lie, can't he?

We never did a full review of MODERN FAMILY.

Mainly because we felt sorry for the cast -- they were so much better than the writing.

In the first seasons, Claire, Gloria and Cam were all home makers.

For someone pretending to be a Social Justice Warrior of TV, that might be surprising; however, SJW's don't usually produce and write for a show called STACKED -- named after a woman's tits.

And SJWs aren't generally sexist.

Danny's a full on sexist.

He's also a homophobe.

In the last seasons, Cam and Claire both got jobs -- sad that Claire's job was given to her by her father.  Her attempt at finding a job on her own was a disaster.

Cam's not a woman.

Except in Danny's eyes.  He's the woman of the Cam and Mitch marriage.

If this were part of a broader landscape, Cam might not be so objectionable as a character.

But he is objectionable, as out actor Noah Galvin pointed out before ABC and others rained down on him for telling some simple truths (including about Bryan Singer).

Cam is objectionable because on MODERN FAMILY, male gay always equals flaming nellie.

There are femmes in the gay community, no question.  And they have nothing to be ashamed of and should be themselves.

But they are not the only gays in the gay community.

For decades, media has portrayed all gays that way.  We noted that over ten years ago.  We've noted it repeatedly here and we've noted why it happened.

Hollywood needed gays to be seen as extreme flamers.

They had a lot of money invested in gay actors.  William Haines, Ramon Novarro and so many others.  These men were huge moneymakers in straight roles.  To ensure that they were seen as straight, Hollywood needed to identify all gays as nellies and did so with their 'pansy' portrayals (Edward Everett Horton, Franklin Pangborn, Eric Blore, Grady Sutton, Bobby Watson, etc.).

The system was created for that reason and it continued for decades in order to protect later closeted actors like Rock Hudson and so many others.

Mitch is not the butch to Cam's femme.  Mitch and Cam, being Zuker's homophobic idea of gay, compete for who can be the nelliest.

And despite MODERN FAMILY having other gay characters, the joke is always what a big nellie the gay man is regardless of who portrays him.  Nathan Lane plays Pepper as a . . . flouncing Nancy.  There's flaming Brett and his calf implants.  There's Brett and his home perm.  There's the catty comments Crispin makes about Brett's home perm.  And then there's Alex's 'boyfriend' of two episodes, gay Michael.  Flouncing, flouncing all around.

Again, there are femme gays, no one's denying that.  Nor is being a femme gay anything to be ashamed of.

But femme gay is all that MODERN FAMILY offers and the giggle is always supposed to come from just how femme they are.

Not everyone traffics in cheap laughs at broad stereotypes.  In 2011, we praised HAPPY ENDINGS for their revolutionary character Max.

In 9 seasons and 210 episodes, MODERN FAMILY has not grown one bit.  And cheap giggles at stereotypes is the very definition of homophobia.  In fact, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, with Phyllis' gay brother, was more advanced in its portrayal of gay men in 1973 ("My Brother's Keeper").  We are 45 years from the airing of that episode and MODERN FAMILY can't do any better?

That's disgusting.

WILL & GRACE, a comedy classic, has provided a wide variety of gay male characters.  When you consider how the show regularly depends upon the gayness of Cam and Mitch to get laughs, you realize just how disgusting Danny Zuker is.

He hates women -- look at Haley's careers.  She worked for a woman who was nothing but a golddigger (Vanessa Williams) and now she works for a woman played by Mira Sorvino who's taken to telling anyone who will listen that she's sending up Gwyneth Paltrow.

Gwenyth is many things -- some good and some bad -- but one thing she has never been and never will be is an airhead -- a stupid airhead.  But that's how Danny Zuker sees her.

And let's talk about the kids for a moment.  Lily, Haley, Luke, Alex and Manning.  All grown up.  Not one of them gay.

Is gay something awful and hideous?

Clearly, Danny thinks so.  Not one gay child in the extended family.

On MODERN FAMILY, gays are the outsiders.  They managed to adopt a 'foreign' baby in the first episode of the series and that's all they've managed.  A second child, that went up in smoke when Gloria became pregnant with a late life baby for herself and Jay.

Miracles happen . . . for straight people.  And those flaming gays keep handing America the giggles.

Nine seasons and 210 episodes?

America has a right to expect more.  Maybe before Danny Zuker points the finger at anyone else, he should examine his own actions because he's homophobic and sexist.  And don't get us started on the racism involved in this White show.  (Yes, Gloria is Anglo-Latinia which qualifies as White. Lily doesn't qualify and the jokes -- racist jokes -- about Asians never seem to stop.)  MODERN FAMILY has received way too much applause and way too little honest criticism.

Puerto Rico (Ava)

Ava filled in at Trina's website last week to weigh in on Puerto Rico.

 Puerto Rico (Ava)

Ava, here.  I asked Trina if I could fill in because I’m really ticked off.
I keep seeing headlines like CNN “Puerto Rico will be an enduring stain on Trump’s presidency.” 
Excuse me.  Do most of you read that and nod your heads?
I can’t imagine all of you do.  Because I’m sure some of you aren’t xenophobes. 
I’m also sure that some of you who don’t get my rage right now don’t get it because the media doesn’t tell the f-ing truth. 
My rage?
I don’t care what Donald Trump does in 2017 and 2018 to Puerto Rico.
It could never be as bad as what the US has done to it for decades. 
It is a colony.  It has no rights.  It is subjugated and it’s long past the time that independence for Puerto Rico became a reality.  The hurricane issue?  That’s a speeding ticket compared to what the US government has done and continues to do.  It’s a speeding ticket compared to  a serial killer on a spree. 
I’m not calling for Puerto Rico to be a state.  Clearly the noses in the air don’t believe it’s good enough for statehood.  Nor should it want to be after the way the US has treated it.  I am calling for independence.  And I’m not the only one making that call.
If you are new to this issue – again, that’s not your fault, the media does a lousy job – here’s a pretty centrist view  from priss-pot Jon Lee Anderson’s NEW YORKER article:
For Puerto Ricans, the episode was a reminder, on top of Trump’s foot-dragging and generally dismissive response to the disaster, that they were second-class citizens.
In Utuado, a rural community in the epicenter of the island and the site of some of Maria’s worst ravages, I spoke with a local man, Pedro J. López, who had lost his home in a mudslide caused by the hurricane. He was busy trying to put his family’s life back together—he had two daughters and a diabetic wife—and he made it plain that he was doing so with pride, and was not waiting for any handouts. But he also told me that he had heard about Trump’s visit, and he wondered aloud whether the American President expected Puerto Ricans to use those paper towels to wipe “our asses or our tears?”
Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States is an unequal one, and it has over the years brought about many humiliations for Puerto Ricans—who are U.S. citizens but who cannot vote for President if they live on the island, and have limited representation in Congress. Yet in modern times, most American Presidents have taken pains to be respectful of the island and its status. Not so with Trump. San Juan’s outspoken mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, who repeatedly tangled with the President on Twitter and through the media in the immediate aftermath of the storm, told me that he was “a man with a big mouth” who “lacked empathy.” But she hoped that the political fallout from Hurricane Maria would provide an opportunity to finally redefine Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States, which, she said, “needs to be dignified. It has to change.”
It’s time for independence. 
Jon Lee Anderson a priss pot?  I spoke with him once – he is prissy – and complimented him about an article and he stood there denying it.  I went over to C.I. who was also at the gathering and asked, “Am I crazy?” No.  She said he did the same thing with the “night letter” when he was on Laura Flanders radio show.  He had written about the night letter and it’s effects and Laura had asked him about it and he had asked her what she was talking about.  Priss pot has no idea what he has typed.
Back to Puerto Rico, don’t buy into the hype.  The real issue is independence and any American who says “poor Puerto Rico” about the hurricane and the deaths that resulted but says nothing about the need for independence.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Read a book?


Readers have e-mailed us asking for more book coverage at community sites.  We've passed this request on.

So far, the book coverage includes:

"Anne Sexton: THE COMPLETE POEMS" -- C.I.

"Charlotte Chandler's MARLENE" -- Elaine.

"A sexist woman writes She's a Rebel and distorts music history" -- Ann.

"barbara ehrenreich's 'natural causes'" -- Rebecca. 

"Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook" -- Trina.


"Blackfish City" -- Marcia.

"THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES by Alice Walker" -- Ruth.

"Harry Belafonte" -- Mike.

"THE SAME RIVER TWICE (Alice Walker)" -- Isaiah.

"Dancing with Demons: The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfield" -- Marcia.

"Good for Jimmy Stewart, bad for readers" -- Stan.

"Conversations with Toni Morrison" -- Marcia.

"Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream" -- Ann.

"He Ran All The Way" -- Trina.

And we'll also note Ann's "How a book store could stay alive in today's economy" about the book business.

We'll try to update this feature regularly.
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