Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Truest statement of the week

This month the House and Senate passed the reconciled version of the 2019 Pentagon budget on to the White House. On TV and establishment media they call it a defense budget, but that’s branding too. The second world war which ended in 1945 killed 60 or 65 million people, after the first world war claimed 30 million only a generation earlier. This sort of gave war bad name. So in 1948 they changed the name of the US Department of War to the US Department of Defense. With the stroke of a pen, wealthy merchants of death as they were widely known, the war contractors, all became patriotic defense contractors. The US Secretary of War became the US Secretary of Defense, and the US war budget, by far the world’s largest, became the defense budget. And so it’s been for seven decades.
Early this month, the House and Senate passed the reconciled version of the US war budget to the president for signatgure. It’s the earliest in the budget cycle Congress has done a military budget since 1996 or 1997, when a Democrat in the White House and Democrats in Congress were anxious to assure Republicans that they were all on the same side.
They call this year’s atrocity the John McCain National Defense Authorization Act, worth a record $716 billion. This total doesn’t include the budget of the Afghan war, which lives somewhere else, or the budgets of several other known programs, and there are secret budgets for more or less secret programs as well. Nobody really doubts that actual US military spending has hovered around a trillion a year for several years now.
So how did the resistance perform? In the Senate the vote was 87 to 10, three not voting. Only 8 Democrats resisted. Among them Liz Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand. Dick Durbin of Illinois also voted against the Pentagon bill. This is purest theater, because Durbin since 2005 has been Democratic Whip in the Senate, the man responsible for lining up the votes of his fellow senators. If this meant anything to him, why did only 7 other Democrats vote with their supposed leader?

In the House the vote was 351 to 66, with 139 Democrats voting yes, 49 voting no, and 5 not voting. So the resistance was really the assistance, voting almost 2 to 1 to continue spending as much on US wars around the world as the next nine or ten countries put together.

-- Bruce A. Dixon, "When The Resistance Is Really The Assistance" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

Let’s begin in the realm of the fanciful.
Assume, for the sake of argument, that powerful, connected people in the intelligence community and in politics worried that a wildcard Trump presidency, unlike another Clinton or Bush, might expose a decade-plus of questionable practices. Disrupt long-established money channels. Reveal secret machinations that could arguably land some people in prison.
He would have to be marginalized at every turn. Strategies would encompass politics, the courts, opposition research and the media. He’d have to become mired in lawsuits, distracted by allegations, riddled with calls for impeachment, hounded by investigations. His election must be portrayed as the illegitimate result of a criminal or un-American conspiracy.
To accomplish this, bad actors in the intel community could step up use of surveillance tools as a weapon to look for dirt on Trump before his inauguration. They could rely on dubious political opposition research to secretly argue for wiretaps, plant one or more spies in the Trump campaign, then leak to the press a mix of true and false stories to create a sense of chaos.

-- Sharyl Attkisson, "What would the intelligence community's 'insurance policy' against Trump look like?" (THE HILL).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Tuesday 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?

Another truest for Bruce A. Dixon.
And Sharyl Attkisson gets a truest.
The ongoing Iraq War is not that complicated.
Ava and C.I. examine another angle of INSATIABLE.
A public menace.
Ava and C.I. again explain why it's CRAPAPEDIA.
And we're all thankful for that.
Continued book coverage in the community.
It's easy to be blinded by nostalgia.
What we listened to while writing this edition.
A press release from Senator Hirono.


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

Editorial: The basics

America is an oil company with an Army ... ask our victims in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, ... and all our future victims US conscience-challenged citizens don't give a crap about.


America is an oil company with an army?

It's a basic statement.  But we get so much distraction and disinformation daily that we often miss the basics.

As Joni Mitchell sings, "In every culture in decline, the watchful ones among the slaves, know all that is genuine will be scorned and conned and cast away" ("Dog Eat Dog").  Culture in decline, empire in decline.  In other falling empires, how long before the people caught on?  Did they believe the lies until the empire fell?

US troops have been in Iraq since March 2003.  They remain in Iraq. 

No, it is not about democracy.

Yes, this continued occupation is about oil.

TV: Another take on INSATIABLE

There are many stories about NETFLIX's new series INSATIABLE.  There's the story about how it resulted in a petition calling for NETFLIX not to release it.  There's the story about how it's the worst reviewed series of 2018.  So many stories.

For us, the most interesting story about INSATIABLE is Alyssa Milano.

When the petition came out, noting how offensive the show was for fat shaming, the aging Twitter 'activist' doubled down and insisted that the show was amazing and it was wonderful and, if people would just wait for the series to air, well, they would see that.

a new illst

Well all 12 episodes were released last Friday and the show was judged offensive and lacking in humor, insight or anything of value.  In fact, Linda Holmes (NPR) probably summed it up best:

Let me assure you: It is not satire. Insatiable is satire in the same way someone who screams profanities out a car window is a spoken-word poet. Satire requires a point of view; this has none. It generally requires some feel for humor, however dark; this has none. It requires a mastery of tone; this has none. It requires a sense that the actors are all part of the same project; this has none.

Despite receiving the sort of reviews that can be career destroying, we marveled over Alyssa's gift of self-absorbtion and her efforts to power through, offering one Tweet after another throughout the weekend.

To quote REALITY BITES, your bravado is embarrassing.

But what was even more embarrassing was all her promotional appearances last week.

She is not the star of INSATIABLE.  She's not even a co-lead.  She plays a minor character who appears in nine of the tweleve episodes.

A minor character, but damned if she didn't commandeer the press tour as though she were still young and dewey and that star of this show geared towards teenagers -- Joan Crawford trying to steal focus and thunder at a CACTUS FLOWER party was less obsessed.

It was almost as though even Alyssa realized her career's last shot at life ended in 2006 when CHARMED was cancelled.

CHARMED.  As the reviews for INSATIABLE started rolling in -- one bad review after another, Alyssa had to do something, anything, to grab attention yet again.  So suddenly, there she was on the Saturday news cycle, insisting yet again how wronged she was that THE CW had ignored her in starting the reboot of CHARMED.

Can't we get real on her ass?  And while we're at it, on Holly Marie Combs' ass too?

Those women who keep whining that they should have been involved?


Who the hell are they?

Two self-obsessed actress who can't find meaningful work.  Yes, Holly can act and, no, Alyssa cannot act -- but that's not really the issue, is it?

Constance M. Burge.

For any tired of listening to Holly and Alyssa whine about how unfair THE CW has been to them-them-always-them, those are words to toss back at them.

Despite both actress pretending they created CHARMED, Constance M. Burge created the show.  She's the woman they never name.  She's the woman that they couldn't stand by.  Constance is the woman forced out of the show by the harasser and sleaze Brad Kern.  She created the show and Holly and Alyssa couldn't stand by her back then.  After she was forced out, Holly and Alyssa ended up as producers for four years.  Yet somehow they never noticed Brad Kern harassing women on the set of the show.  They took their checks but failed to do their job as producers which is to ensure a safe work environment.

They really are deluded.

They were two actresses for hire.  They weren't owed a damn thing.  When Drew Barrymore was developing CHARLIE'S ANGELS as a film project, she didn't owe anything to Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith or Kate Jackson.  Where do Alyssa and Holly get off thinking they're owed anything?  They were paid -- well paid -- for acting on CHARMED.  They cashed their checks.  They did not create the series, that was Constance Burge.

Why would you ask two middle-aged actresses for input in a reboot of CHARMED?

Holly's really good about climbing on the cross and whining about 'ageism.'  Where was that concern during the last four years of CHARMED when she was a producer?  What regular character -- middle aged character -- did producers Holly and Alyssa add to the show?

Answer: None.

More to the point, it's 2018 and the White, White ways of Alyssa Milano did not result in diverse casting on CHARMED.

Dorian Gregory was the only African-American among the regular cast and producers Alyssa and Hope both were okay when he was written off after season seven.  Not only were they okay with it, they felt no pressure to add anyone of color.  No boyfriend who lasted more than one episode on the show as ever a man of color.  When casting new female regular characters they went with the likes of Kaley Cucoco.  Four four seasons, Holly and Alyssa were given a production credit on each episode but they never did anything with it.  No diverse cast was created and no safe work environment was created.

But, oh, how the two actresses whine that CHARMED is being rebooted without their involvement or input.  Again, Constance M. Burge created the show, not Holly, not Alyssa.

Again, we have to quote REALITY BITES, your bravado is amazing.

INSATIABLE is a hideous show that's been rightly panned by every critics.  But for us, the take away really is that a desperate woman who has never studied her craft and still performs like a child actress really will do anything to be in front of the public -- even for a few minutes more.

David Brock is a public danger

THE HUNTING OF A PRESIDENT.  Anybody remember that?  We were appalled by what was done to Bill Clinton.  Mostly, we were appalled – and still are – by the fact that there was an organized plan to take down a sitting president.    An organized plan – aka a conspiracy.
Though the BBC can report on the efforts – the conspiracy -- to take down FDR, the American press has largely played dumb all these years.  (It is playing, right?)  One exception?  NPR.

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. In 1933, Senator Henry D. Hatfield, a Republican from West Virginia, wrote a letter to a friend complaining about President Franklin Roosevelt.
SALLY DENTON: (Reading) This is despotism, this is tyranny, this is the annihilation of liberty. The ordinary American is thus reduced to the status of a robot. The president has not merely signed the death warrant of capitalism but has ordained the mutilation of the Constitution, unless the friends of liberty, regardless of party, band themselves together to regain their lost freedom.
RAZ: When Sally Denton came across that letter, it sounded amazingly contemporary. So she dug further and came across a whole series of attacks and even plots against FDR. She's written about it in a new book called "The Plots Against the President," and the story begins just weeks before Roosevelt's inauguration in 1933. It was one of the darkest moments of the Depression and many people in America were calling for a dictator to get the country back on track.
DENTON: Unemployment is skyrocketing. The country is rocking precariously economically in all ways. And it's hard for us today to realize that in 1933 the country was reeling. There were suggestions that capitalism was not working, that democracy was not working. Various intellectuals, and I mean not crackpots, were really considering the possibility of fascism, of communism, of socialism, of Nazism. The whole country was in play.
RAZ: We often hear about the times just before President Kennedy was killed and how he was really vilified by his opponents. And some people suggest that that is what led to his assassination, that climate. You describe an almost similar climate in the early 1930s, 1933, that surrounded Roosevelt. Talk about some of the people who were sort of vitriolically opposed to him and what they said about him.
DENTON: As I was writing this book, sometimes I felt like I could close my eyes and just transpose, you know, modern day vitriol to what was happening. There was a sense that Roosevelt was radically changing the relationship between the government and the governed, and there was great fear about that in many quarters, both the right and the left.
So you had these enemies like Father Coughlin on the right who was concerned that he was becoming a communist, a tool of Jewish monied interests, then Huey Long on the left who felt that he wasn't going far enough to redistribute the wealth. And then you had, you know, right wing reactionary veteran's organizations. You had Wall Street interests.
RAZ: It's interesting because there was really genuinely a conspiracy at a certain point to overthrow the Roosevelt administration, to replace it with a kind of a crypto-fascist movement, and this was - the people behind it were mostly financiers, bankers, part of a group called The American Liberty League. Who were they?
DENTON: Well, they were some of the wealthiest people in America. I think the handful of people that were really behind the Liberty League controlled assets worth more than $40 billion.
RAZ: They thought he was a socialist or even worse.
DENTON: They thought he was a socialist, I don't know. A lot of times, it was unclear whether or not they were able to even distinguish between what a socialist was or a communist or - there was just this sense that he was upsetting the status quo.
RAZ: These bankers were behind something that became known as the Wall Street Putsch. What was their plan?
DENTON: They thought that they could convince Roosevelt - because he was of their class, the patrician class, they thought that they could convince Roosevelt to relinquish power to basically a fascist, military-type government. It was a cockamamie concept. And the fact that it even got as far as it did is pretty shocking.
RAZ: How far did it get?
DENTON: It got far enough so that they had at least $3 million invested and claimed to have up to $300 million at the ready. They appealed to a general, a retired general, to lead it. And had he been a different kind of person, it might have gone a lot further. But he saw it as treason and reported it to Congress.
That was a conspiracy.  It was also the t-word.  We don’t like to toss the word around lightly.  It’s a serious term and, if found guilty of treason, you can be put to death.  The organized efforts to take down Bill Clinton strike us the same way.

Which brings us today.  Zack Haller has linked to a document by MEDIA MATTERS.  This is a document which, whether they realized it or not, documents an organized conspiracy to take down Donald Trump.
Let’s clarify terms here.  Reporters pursuing a story?  Not a conspiracy.  That’s true of, for example, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward pursuing the Watergate story.  Yes, Richard Nixon felt like it was they’re-out-to-get-me.  But the reality is that they were covering a story and investigating it.  Yes, it could damage him.  But that’s too damn bad.  His actions were being investigated.  His actions.  What he elected to do.  As for what happens, the chips fall where they may.
Reporters investigating a lead are not committing treason even if the results could oust a president.
Most of the time.
See, we’re coming back to what was done to Bill Clinton.  Anyone acting independently or on behalf of their news organization has nothing to worry about.
But there was ‘reporter’ (piece of human filth) David Brock.
He was not a reporter.  He was part of a conspiracy working to unseat Bill Clinton.  He was a well known liar (who should rot in hell for the way he lied about Anita Hill).  He should have been prosecuted along with the other media ‘elves’ who were part of a conspiracy to take down Bill Clinton.  

Instead, he's been allowed to bring his trashy ways over to the left.
And we’ve been the worse for it -- and day after day, he makes us even worse.
He was supposedly going to teach us how to fight.
We didn’t need the ridiculous David Brock to know how to fight.
All he’s taught is destructive deception.  He’s taught how to lie and how to cheat.  He plays dirty because he’s nothing but s**t.  He oozes around the left and we all get a little more disgusting and a little more dirty just by interacting with him.
 That document Zach Haller’s linked to?
It’s a plan to destroy a sitting president.
Now there is no reason for anyone – pro or anti-war – to support someone’s war.  There’s no reason to support someone’s EPA policy or whatever. 
But there’s a world of difference between that and what the document outlines.
It is a plan for every day to destroy a sitting president, every day to create an outrage.  It is a plan for those who are on the George Soros payroll – THE NATION, MOTHER JONES, etc – to gin up outrage day after damn day.
The document declares of one section (American Bridge): “American Bridge is the Democratic epicenter of opposition research and rapid response in presidential and Senate elections.  In the Trump era, there must be no ‘off years.’ American Bridge will sustain a nonstop campaign against Trump, his administration, and Republicans who enable him.”

"A nonstop campaign against" a sitting president.

Getting why we're bothered?  Getting why David Brock's actions cause us to raise our eyebrows?

This isn't journalism.

It is a conspiracy and it is prosectuable.

Why we call it CRAPAPEDIA (Ava and C.I.)

We call it CRAPAPEDIA for many reasons.  These include its sexist origins which found it trashing female artists for sexual affairs but acting as if multiple partners was just great when it came to men.  A woman could have four known affairs and it was slut shaming time at CRAPAPEDIA when it started.

Because some of us called it out -- and one female artist made it known she was about to sue -- CRAPAPEDIA backed off of that s**t.

But so much s**t still exists.

That's Natalie Cole.  The late Natalie Cole.

When she died (December 31, 2015), her obits were about her 70s pop hits and a Bruce Springsteen's hit in the late 80s, "Unforgettable" with her late father Nat King Cole and maybe "Miss You."

The problem with that was that it ignored Natalie's real career.  The idiots who wrote her up did so based on CRAPAPEDIA.

Even today, years later, that's still what you'll find.

You won't find any mention of "Dangerous" as a successful single.

But it was.  It made it to number sixteen on BILLBOARD's R&B charts.  That's a hit single.

It's not a hit single in the White, White, White world of CRAPAPEDIA.  But that's the world, please remember that called Michelle Phillips, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell and so many other women sluts because they weren't virgins.  That wasn't all that long ago.

Maybe CRAPAPEDIA can move past their White, White, White world?

If they did, they'd realize that the woman called the new Aretha Franklin the seventies was always going to be more successful on the R&B charts.  Despite the myth that 1987's EVERLASTING was 'the' comeback for Natlie Cole, 1985's DANGEROUS was the comeback.

CRAPAPEDIA doesn't note "Dangerous" in the webpage for the album of the same name -- not that it reached number 16, not even that it was a single.  In fact, they only note one single:

Though the song "A Little Bit of Heaven" only reached number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100,[3] it was used as a recurring love theme for Eden Capwell and Cruz Castillo on the television soap opera Santa Barbara.[4][5]

Only reached number 81?

Well the whole world never revolved around pop music.  And on the soul charts, Natalie Cole took "A Little Bit of Heaven" much higher.

A Little Bit Of Heaven
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #28 on 9.14.1985

It and "Dangerous" are among her hits -- regardless of what pop radio chose to play.

In a better world, an obituary writer for USA TODAY, THE NEW YORK TIMES, VOX or what have you would know better than to treat CRAPAPEDIA as a definitive source -- especially when
writing an obituary for an artist of color.  But apparently we have to remind people yet again that
we call it -- and have called it since this site started -- CRAPAPEDIA and do so for good reason.

Natalie Cole charted 33 singles on BILLBOARD's R&B, Hip-Hop, Soul, Urban chart (the name has constantly changed) -- 26 times she made it into the top forty -- six of those times, she made it to number one.

Our Love
Natalie Cole
 Peaked at #1 on 1.21.1978

1 of 33
I've Got Love On My Mind
Natalie Cole
 Peaked at #1 on 2.26.1977

2 of 33
This Will Be
Natalie Cole
 Peaked at #1 on 10.4.1975

3 of 33
Miss You Like Crazy
Natalie Cole
 Peaked at #1 on 6.3.1989

4 of 33
Sophisticated Lady (She's A Different Lady)
Natalie Cole
 Peaked at #1 on 6.19.1976

5 of 33

Natalie Cole
 Peaked at #1 on 2.14.1976

6 of 33
Jump Start
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #2 on 8.22.1987

7 of 33
I Live For Your Love
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #4 on 12.26.1987

8 of 33
Annie Mae
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #6 on 6.24.1978

9 of 33
I Do
Natalie Cole (Duet With Freddie Jackson)
Peaked at #7 on 9.16.1989

10 of 33

 Gimme Some Time
Natalie Cole And Peabo Bryson
Peaked at #8 on 1.19.1980

11 of 33
Pink Cadillac
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #9 on 4.23.1988

12 of 33
Stand By
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #9 on 5.5.1979

13 of 33
Party Lights
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #9 on 8.6.1977

14 of 33
Over You
Ray Parker Jr. With Natalie Cole
Peaked at #10 on 2.13.1988

15 of 33
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #10 on 8.24.1991

16 of 33
Mr. Melody
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #10 on 10.23.1976

17 of 33
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #16 on 6.15.1985

18 of 33
What You Won't Do For Love
Natalie Cole And Peabo Bryson
Peaked at #16 on 3.29.1980

19 of 33
Someone That I Used To Love
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #21 on 7.19.1980

20 of 33

A Little Bit Of Heaven
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #28 on 9.14.1985

21 of 33
When I Fall In Love
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #31 on 8.27.1988

22 of 33
Nothin' But A Fool
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #34 on 11.7.1981

23 of 33
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #34 on 7.21.1979

24 of 33
You Were Right Girl
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #35 on 9.5.1981

25 of 33

Hold On
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #38 on 11.8.1980

26 of 33
Too Much Mister
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #45 on 9.3.1983

27 of 33
As A Matter Of Fact
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #52 on 11.4.1989

28 of 33
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #53 on 10.7.1978

29 of 33
Your Lonely Heart
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #59 on 11.10.1979

30 of 33

Take A Look
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #68 on 7.31.1993

31 of 33
Day Dreaming
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #77 on 10.21.2006

32 of 33
Say You Love Me
Natalie Cole
Peaked at #82 on 9.11.1999

33 of 33

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