Monday, September 10, 2018

Truest statement of the week

So the FBI and the CIA are A-OK so long as they’re helping the Democrats take down Trump instead of infiltrating the US press as “mockingbirds” or engineering the assassination of foreign and domestic leaders? Or taking down the Black Panther Party, the anti-Vietnam War Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Young Lords, radical feminists, and other groups that made up the New Left of the 1960s and 70s, or more recently, Black Lives Matter, “Black Identity Extremists,” Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and other whistleblowers?

-- Ann Garrison, “We Love the CIA!—Or How the Left Lost its Mind” (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

The death of Senator John McCain was an opportune moment for the corporate media and bipartisan establishment elite to tighten their grip on public opinion and simultaneously attack Donald Trump, the man they can’t trust to do their bidding. It wasn’t difficult to do. White supremacy and the doctrine of Manifest Destiny never lurk far from the surface. It is easy to turn a white man into a saint when he is famous for dropping bombs on Asians who turned the tables when they captured and tortured him.
But there was clearly more than the usual white nationalism going on. Donald Trump is also at the heart of this story. As president of the United States, he ought to be the de facto leader of the Republican Party. But he eschewed their tradition of winks and nudges directed at their base of white voters and instead went straight for the racist jugular in his 2016 presidential campaign. He speaks to the nativist “America first” instincts with an occasional nod to their loss of status in a hyper capitalist economy. The very things which make him popular with white people make him unpopular with an establishment fearful that he won’t make good on the neoliberal and imperialist consensus of the duopoly. They are stuck with a president who may not do what they want.
Trump’s presidency makes one thing very clear about this country. Any crime, including war crimes, can be disappeared if the perpetrator follows the rules of decorum. Donald Trump is the graceless, boorish man who sees no need for a filter. He has no charm, no personal traits that give him an out. His persona clearly shows why he would separate families seeking asylum or let the wealthy pay fewer taxes.
Other presidents put on a show of respectability. They couched their evil doing in terms of humanitarian need, even when they were killing people. They understood the importance of being liked on a personal basis in order to have their crimes diminished or forgotten in the court of public opinion.
Trump Derangement Syndrome is easily conjured up by a gullible population with no class identity or true political ideology. Politics is treated like a kind of religion where key players are considered good or bad. If they know how to behave in public they can be considered good. The rehabilitation of George W. Bush and John McCain proves that the bad guys can be transformed into good if someone comes along who is thought to be worse.

-- Margaret Kimberley, “Freedom Rider: John McCain, Trump Derangement, and False Black Consciousness” (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

 Hey --

Monday evening.  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?

Ann Garrison gets a truest.
Margaret Kimberley gets another truest.
Silence is the reason the Iraq War continues.
Ava and C.I. take a look at seasons two of ATYPICAL and IRON FIST.
Ava and C.I. also examine the lessons from the Moonves firing.
Our picks for Aretha's best recorded performances.
Another top ten list.
Repost from THE COMMON ILLS.
Continuing our coverage of community book coverage.

What we listened to.
There's more than Democrats and Republicans running for office.
Mike and the gang take a look at the week's best.


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

Editorial: The silence

Iraq?  What do you say?
We saw that David Hogg was in Canada and (rightly) complained that the Afghanistan War was 17 years old and still going.  But the Iraq War is 15 years old and still going.  And, yes, US service members are still dying.  On that, before we move on, back when Norman Solomon presented himself as anti-Iraq War.  Yes, younger readers, if you go back to 2006, Norman Solomon spoke and wrote of the Iraq War – now he did have a book to promote, so maybe that was why.  And back then he would speak of how it was wrong to cite the US deaths as a reason to be against the war because the death toll could drop and you would have built your whole case against war on something that no longer raised attention.
And he may be right – but we still have US troops dying in Iraq.
In addition, the Iraqi people are still dying in Iraq.  The number has to be two million by now but, don’t worry, no one will count it.   Once upon a time THE LANCET published a study and it was slammed.  Why? It followed the usual standards but that wasn’t good enough and no one wanted to admit that a million Iraqis had died.  Phyllis Bennis even refused to cite the study until Elaine called her out on it.
JUST FOREIGN POLICY pretended to care about Iraq and came up with a counter to measure the dead . . .

But within a year, they were bored and stopped updating it.
The outrage over the illegal war peters out . . . over boredom.  So much for a movement.
Some still care and have always cared – Cindy Sheehan, Justin Raimondo, to name two people.  But most didn’t.  Worse, some have insisted the war is over.
It’s not.  The US government continues to keep US troops on the ground in Iraq to occupy the country.  It installs puppet governments – no, Patrick Cockburn can’t tell you about that, but did he ever really tell you anything about Iraq that actually mattered?  Nope.
The Iraq War continues and people are dying because of it, lives are being destroyed and it’s a country of widows and orphans. 
What do you say to that?

If you’re Norman Solomon, Amy Goodman, Raed Jarrar, Phyllis Bennis, Anthony Arnove, Sharon Smith, Naomi Klein, etc, you don’t say anything.

MEDIA: NETFLIX's throwing away money model

NETFLIX, is anyone steering the streaming service?  They pay out a lot of money to worthless people like Susan Rice.  Susan Rice is an expert on entertainment how?  Because she repeated false talking points about Benghazi on four different networks all on the same morning?  Seriously, you’re just throwing money away when you hire someone like that.


Throwing money away appears to be the NETFLIX method of non-operation.  We say that because NETFLIX offered so damn little over the summer (as we noted in “TV: Those summer offerings”).  And then, boom, we get the second season of  OZARK and the second season of ATYPICAL and the second season of IRON FIST in a 14 day period.  Any of these shows would have been welcome in the long summer drought NETFLIX went through.
Let’s start with IRON FIST.  If you missed it, the critical consensus is that this season is worth watching.
Thank you, Water Cooler Set.
But, thing is, the show was worth watching in season one.
And it was watched.  The first season of IRON FIST is NETFLIX’s most streamed MARVEL program.
So maybe the Water Cooler Set is correcting course due to the intense popularity of the show?
We’d like to think so but reading about how much Finn Jones has “matured” and how he is “darker” and all the other junk we’re back to our original hunch: Homophobia.  Fear of softness.  Equating softness with gay.  There’s a lot of ‘macho’ in The Water Cooler Set – including among the women. 
Season one saw Finn with longer (and blonder) hair.  And he was barefoot.  And he was na├»ve.  And it seems that was off putting.  Did we mention young Iron Fist?  Because as a child, his hair was very long.  Not too long for real life but much longer than TV and movies give us – even when boys are growing up on an island or with Peter Pan. 
The softness is gone and that appears to be the main reason that suddenly the critics who trashed season one are embracing season two.  The Water Cooler Set runs as a pack and their ‘critiques’ has been so harmful.  We think FAMILY GUY nailed it  in last season’s debut episode “Emmy Winning Episode” – and we’d say that even if we hadn’t made many of the same critiques over the last years.  The main point is that entertaining is not a needed ingredient for The Water Cooler Set.  They applaud garbage.  They attack reflexively.  They confuse having their egos stroked and their minds soothed with entertainment.  THE GOOD FIGHT is a poor attempt at a Socratic dialogue – it’s even worse as entertainment.
ATYPICAL.  A lot of critics failed it.  Guess what?  That includes us.
As Jim noted in his "A note to our readers" of August 13, 2017:

Ava and C.I. thought they were writing a review of Jennifer Jason Leigh's new NETFLIX series.  But they had a sidebar in it.  They ditched everything else but kept the sidebar and developed it into a completely different media commentary.

And we never got back to it.
Now the show has its second season on NETFLIX so let’s make time for it.
Why would Jennifer Jason Leigh, one of the greatest actresses of her generation, want to play a mom in a TV drama?
Maybe because it’s a complex role that needs an actress with real depth to make it work?  Jennifer can be anything but, as BACKDRAFT demonstrated, bland.  If there’s nothing to play, there’s nothing to play.  She needs meaty roles that she can dig into and explore.  Elsa Gardner is the perfect role for her and she plays it to perfection.  It’s a highly skilled and evolving performance and it’s the equivalent of an ivy plant constantly sprouting and growing.  In a fair world, she’d be Emmy nominated.  But in a fair world, so many – including us – would not have let her down when season one aired.  In season two, she’s even greater.
And the whole cast is doing a strong job.  Michael Rapaport can be funny, no argument.  But who would have thought he could pull off wounded (Leigh’s cheated on him with a bartender).  A strong addition this season is Casey Wilson as the high school guidance counselor.  It could be a rote role but she brings so much to the role – our favorite moment is when she meets with Leigh and Rapaport to discuss their autistic son (Keir Gilchrist) and gets the information dumped on her that Leigh has had an affair and she attempts to refocus before finally saying “There’s the bell.”  And the awkwardness as they wait a second or two before the bell actually goes off.

ATYPICAL is a real drama, a quality program.  Had NETFLIX released it in June or July, it probably would be getting a lot more attention.  Instead, it has to compete with IRON FIST and OZARK and may, yet again, get lost in the shuffle.  You can make sure that doesn’t happen if you stream the program because one episode will pull you in and one episode will have you telling everyone you know to catch it, AYTYPICAL is just that good.

The lessons from the Moonves moment (Ava and C.I.)

Leslie Moonves is gone.  Ding dong.

BREAKING: Leslie Moonves will depart as Chairman, President and CEO of CBS Corp, effective immediately. COO Joseph Ianniello will serve as President and acting CEO while the Board conducts a search for a permanent successor.

Sunday, Ronan Farrow filed another piece for THE NEW YORKER with six new women accusing Leslie Moonves of assault.  It was the last straw for a board that was in the process of easing Moonves out.  The week before had been discussions over his exit package – despite the fact that it was his package that got him in trouble in the first place.  Fortunately, some people (we’re not saying who) aware of the details leaked them to the press and CBS had a major backlash on their hands as outrage greeted the notion that someone accused of assault would get millions to leave.
Name another crime where payment like that would even be considered?
Moonves was a serial assaulter.  Would we have paid Son of Sam $100 million to stop killing people?  In what world should Moonves be paid to leave? 
He should be behind bars. 
As it stands now, CBS is donating $20 million to causes and, if Moonves is cleared in the investigation, Moonves may get some pay out.
The whole episode was an educational moment in many ways.
Like Kathy Griffin, we think it’s time to hold people accountable.  (Click here for Kathy’s thread on that.)  

People accountable.  Plural.
Ronan Farrow’s articles have noted it is a climate at CBS.  We agree.  Check the archives, we’ve noted the hostility to women at CBS for 14 years now.  If it’s too much to look for our past work, just reflect on CBS’ schedule this past season.  Matt le Blanc stars in a show called, naturally, MAN WITH A PLAN, WISDOM OF THE CROWD starred a man (and was allowed to die when accusations came out against him), CRIMINAL MINDS stars a man, INSTINCT starred Alan Cummings, NCIS LOS ANGELES starred men, KEVIN CAN WAIT starred Kevin James, ME, MYSELF & I starred Bobby Moynihan, 9JKL starred Mark Feuerstein, SCORPION starred Elyes Gabel, NCIS starred Mark Harmon, BULL starred Michael Weatherly, NCIS NEW ORLEANS starred Scott Bakula,  SEAL TEAM starred David Boreanaz, S.W.A.T. stars Shemar Moore, LIVING BIBLICALLY starred a man, RANSOM starred a man, YOUNG SHELDON stars Iain Armitage, MACGYVER stars a man while HAWAII FIVE-O stars two.
Women?  Women star or co-star in the following: MADAM SECRETARY, ELEMENTARY, CODE BLACK, THE BIG BANG THEORY, MOM and LIFE IN PIECES – and, to be clear, women are only the primary focus in MADAM SECRETARY and MOM.
Do you see the imbalance?
Do you wonder why we’re the only ones noting this year after year?  Or why we’re the only ones noting how CBS has actively worked to destroy their own hit shows starring women?
This is a cultural thing.  Lucille Ball may have built CBS but the network’s never celebrated women.
It’s a cultural mindset.
And Moonves leaving is not going to change the mindset.  It’s going to take a lot more.  Now if The Water Cooler Set could stop worshiping at The Holy Stalk Of All Things Penile (yes, Terry Gross, we do mean you), maybe they could join us in objecting.  Or are we going to be the only ones calling this out for another 14 years? (To be clear, we do not plan on doing this for another 14 years, so it would be really great if someone else could grab the baton.)
Back to Kathy.  She’s calling out Julie Chen and she’s right to do so. 
Julie Chen is married to Moonves.   She hooked up with him – well, let’s go to CRAPAPEDIA: “There, she met her future longtime boyfriend, television news editor Gary Donahue, though their relationship did not last.[22] She began dating Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Television, during his marriage to Nancy Wiesenfeld Moonves, and on April 22, 2003 (a week after Les Moonves signed a five-year multimillion-dollar contract with Viacom[23]) his wife filed for divorce in L.A. Superior Court citing irreconcilable differences.[24]

By this point, Moonves had a decades long pattern of assaulting women.  Not every woman considered it an assault.  Some women saw it as an opportunity.  Sometimes, per THE NEW YORKER reports, he offered women a chance at employment or greater employment if they had sex with him.  Only Julie knows if she secured her success via sex with Moonves. 
But Julie was aware of many allegations against Moonves – assault – and was aware for years.  Kathy makes the point she tried to reach out to Julie and was rebuffed.  Kathy wasn’t the only one.  And Julie’s part of the problem. 
Her husband declared war on Janet Jackson, for example, and Julie used her position on THE TALK to trash Janet.  Julie was always on board.
So, no, she does not get a pass.
Lynda Carter? 
Who the hell knows why she chose to stick her nose in.  But when Illeana Douglas bravely came forward, Lynda, aka Blunder Woman, felt the need to call her a liar.  Yes, Lynda, that’s what your Tweet did.  And if there’s any karma, you’ll be back at a shack spooning your s**t again (don’t worry, Lynda knows exactly what we’re talking about – not all comments are public conversations).  Lynda’s not a bad person but she is old enough to know better than to stick her nose in on something like this.  If you weren’t there, you don’t know.
Lynda needs to take a hard look at what she thought she was accomplishing when she injected herself into the dialogue rushing to insist Moonves would never assault a woman.  Seriously, what did she think she was accomplishing?  Illeana’s a liar?  Is that what she thought she was accomplishing?
Illeana is known for her core honesty – that’s why we defended her and stood with her from the start (here and at THE COMMON ILLS).
But you’ll note that not everyone did.  No, we’re not talking about Lynda Carter.  We’re talking about all the self-appointed social moralists.
Take Alyssa Milano who as late as last month was still claiming credit for the hashtag #MeToo to PEOPLE magazine as she promoted the crapfest that was INSATIABLE.  She did not invent the hashtag.  She is appropriating the work of another woman, Tarana Burke.
Alyssa has repeatedly appropriated this woman’s work.  From time to time, when called out, she’ll give Tarana credit.  And then she goes back – as she did with PEOPLE last month – to pretending she created it.
Appropriation – also known as theft.
You’ve heard of the golden calf, Alyssa’s sort of the golden calf for CAA.  She’s a designated speaker for the agency and she’s married to an agent there.  CAA, for those who don’t know, has been knee deep in the assault against women for decades.
Rose McGowan has rightly questioned Alyssa’s so-called commitment to the cause.  Alyssa, for example, is still tight with  Harvey Weinstein’s now ex-wife and defends her.  Sorry, being the wife is not really an excuse.  Harvey’s behavior was widely known and, yes, the wife knew.
That should have been enough for people to catch on to Alyssa.  There’s also the fact that Alyssa was a producer of CHARMED during the last half of the show’s run.  And?  A man harassed women repeatedly.  Alyssa claims shock – shock!  It was her duty to know.  A producer needs to ensure that a set is a safe environment.  (That’s in all ways and manners and the producers of LETHAL WEAPON grasped that which is why they fired an actor.) 
And then we have Illeana stepping up.  And Alyssa doesn’t Tweet one word, not to support Illeana, not to note Ronan’s original article where Illeana and other women came forward to tell the truth about Moonves.  Yet she’s claiming to support women and pretending that she invented MeToo? 
Sara Gilbert did two Tweets to attack Roseanne Barr for what was Barr’s bad joke.  Sara did not note that Roseanne is not a racist (Roseanne is not a racist).  She just attacked her.  Funny thing, and Rosenne knows this, ABC never liked Sara.  Network execs felt she came off “lesbian.”  This was from the start.  She could have been fired at any moment if Roseanne hadn’t stood up for her.  The issue arose again when Sara was going to college in real life.  ABC wondered why they didn’t replace Sara Gilbert and get a non-lesbian actress.  The 90s were not a gay friendly atmosphere for ABC – they took an axe to ELLEN after putting warning messages ahead of every episode.  The easiest thing Roseanne could have done would have been to say, “Yeah, let’s fire her.”  Instead, she stood by Sara Gilbert.
How sad that Roseanne Tweets a bad joke and Sara rips her apart.  Leslie Moonves gets exposed for assaulting women and Sara’s response?  She stands with Julie and Leslie.  So tell a bad joke and Sara rips you apart, assault multiple women and Sara stands by you.
Why would anyone come out about being assaulted?
You are not believed.  You are not supported. 
Illeana tells the truth and the Alyssas and Saras and Lyndas attack.
Gals, you are a big part of the problem.  Shame on you. 
But Harvey Weinstein!
Harvey had his take down because the entertainment industry was done with him.  He was hideous and a pig.  But what did him in, what destroyed his support, was Harvey’s actions.  Not the assaults, but his actions with regards to others.
Did you watch the Oscars this year?  Some felt it was ‘boring.’  They couldn’t pinpoint anything (we covered the Academy Awards with “MEDIA: Male norms, Russia hate and lots of excuses -- it's the 90th Academy Awards”) because they weren’t talking about the actual ceremony.  What they were commenting on was actually the competition.  For the first time in forever, it was not a blood sport.  That’s what Harvey led each year.  Ron Howard, Kathryn Bigelow, so many others were ripped apart as part of his campaigns.  He paid people to attack films.  It was ugly and it had nothing to do with art.  He pissed off directors, he pissed off studios.  He had been doing that since the mid-90s.  It became a serious issue when he led the paid attack on A BEAUTIFUL MIND.   Each year, it got worse.  These little stunts eroded support for him year after year.  When reporters tried to report the truth in years past, they were blocked from doing so.  Because Harvey was persona non grata, the truth could finally be told.
We explained this in real time.  But people were convinced, they just knew, that everything had changed and suddenly women were supported.
And that is the lesson, the true lesson.
Illeana bravely comes forward and look at the response.  She’s attacked by some women.  She’s ignored by others.  Because Leslie still had support and power.  He assaulted women and was exposed for doing so and people like CAA’s Alyssa Milano were not rallying against him.  Because Leslie still had value to them.
Illeana was very brave and her actions demonstrate that one person can make a difference. 

But let’s be honest about what she was up against.


 Ronan’s original report included multiple women.  We focus on Illeana because we know her and because one of us – C.I. – had already heard from Martin Scorse about what Moonves had done before THE NEW YORKER article.

Aretha's top ten vocal performances

Ten best Aretha vocals
Aretha Franklin passed away and is sorely missed.  Here is our pick of her ten best vocals.
1)      “Don’t Play That Song”

2)      “Sweet Bitter Love”

3)      “Day Dreaming”

4)      “Sister From Texas”

5)      “Jumping Jack Flash”

6)      “Angel”

7)      “Until You Say You Love Me"

8)      “A Brand New Me”

9)      “A Rose Is Still A Rose”

10)   “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”


YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK, WHO’S ZOOMIN’ WHO and A ROSE IS STILL A ROSE are our picks for her finest albums.

Tweet of the week

Am I the only one concerned about some twenty-something, democratic party oriented, hip, liberal urban colonizer deciding what is "misinformation" and "fake news." They got us focused on antics of Trump while liberals solidify corporate totalitarianism.

10 best cookies

Where are the list pieces, asked Sue in an e-mail.  We’ll give you two this week.  This one is the top ten best types of cookies.
1)      Chocolate chip cookies
2)      Oatmeal raisin
3)      Peanut butter
4)      M&M
5)      Thin mints
6)      White chocolate macadamia
7)      Dark chocolate
8)      Snickerdoodles
9)      Strawberry Newtons

10)   Thumbprint cookies 

Violence strikes back against the endless occupation of Iraq

Reposting this from THE COMMON ILLS:

Protesters set fire to Iranian consulate in Basra, Iraq

0:19 / 1:07


Caught for years between the governments of Iran and the US, is anyone really surprised that missions of both countries would be targeted today?

The Iraqi people don't want to be occupied.

Of course, many idiots in the US don't grasp that.  They believe that Barack Obama ended the Iraq War.  Strange, however, US troops have continued to die in Iraq.

The troops are there to continue the occupation.

It's an occupation that hides behind puppets and the puppets aren't even smart enough to try to offer small appeasement to the people.  They're just greedy and grab everything they can while the people of Iraq suffer and do without.

The protests started in July and close to 100 protesters have been killed.  But the western media has largely ignored these deaths as well as the protests.  Attack the US and Iranian missions in Iraq and, suddenly, the western press is interested and suddenly violence has arrived.  AP shrieks:

Iraqi security forces deployed on the streets of Basra on Saturday, a day after protesters in the southern city stormed the Iranian consulate and torched government buildings in violence that rocked the oil-exporting Shiite heartland and sparked alarm across a conflict-weary country.
Masked troops in combat fatigues set up checkpoints and rode through the city center in black pickup trucks with heavy weapons mounted in the back. Security forces in Humvees deployed at intersections.

It's the third month of protests and protesters have been wounded in the hundreds and killed but only now is the western media concerned.

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