Monday, October 22, 2018

Truest statement of the week

In 2017, the top one percent of US wage earners received their highest paychecks ever, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
Based on newly released data from the Social Security Administration, the EPI shows that the top one percent of the population saw their paychecks increase by 3.7 percent in 2017—a rate nearly quadruple the bottom 90 percent of the population. The growth was driven by the top 0.1 percent, which includes many CEOs and corporate executives, whose pay increased eight percent and averaged $2,757,000 last year.
The EPI report is only the latest exposure of the gaping inequality between the vast majority of the population and the modern-day aristocracy that rules over them.
The EPI shows that the bottom 90 percent of wage earners increased their pay by 22.2 percent between 1979 and 2017. Today, this bottom 90 percent makes an average of just $36,182 a year, which is eaten up by the cost of housing and the growing burden of education, health care and retirement.
Meanwhile, the top one percent has increased its wages by 157 percent during this same period, a rate seven times faster than the other group. This top segment makes an average of $718,766 a year.

-- Gabriel Black, "Record high income in 2017 for top one percent of wage earners in US" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

Albury is not the first source to have been burned by poor journalistic practices and source protection methods at The Intercept. Just nine months ago, Reality Leigh Winner, a now 26-year-old federal contractor, was arrested for allegedly leaking a classified NSA document to The Intercept that was related to an investigation of an alleged Russian military intelligence hacking operation targeting the U.S. Ever since her initial arrest, Winner has been held in pre-trial detention and has been denied bail. She faces up to 10 years in prison under the Espionage Act and her trial is set to begin in October of this year.
While The Intercept has long maintained that it was unaware that Winner was the source of the document, FBI documents have shown that negligence helped lead federal investigators straight to Winner.The Intercept’s scanned images of the intelligence report that Winner leaked contained tracking dots – a type of watermark – that, according to Rob Graham of the Errata Security blog, showed “exactly when and where documents, any document, is printed.” These dots make it easy to identify a printer’s serial number as well as the date and time a document was printed. As Graham noted, “Because the NSA logs all printing jobs on its printers, it can use this to match up precisely who printed the document.”
In addition, and perhaps most concerning of all, the FBI warrant also notes that the reporter in question – who is unnamed in the document – contacted a government contractor with whom he had a prior relationship and revealed where the documents had been postmarked from – Winner’s home of Augusta, Georgia – along with Winner’s work location. He also sent unedited images of the documents that contained the tracking dot security markings that allowed the document to be traced to Winner.

-- Whitney Webb, "Bad Track Record Gets Worse as New Whistleblower Outed by The Intercept" (MINT PRESS NEWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Early Monday morning except on the west coast (where we are -- where it's still Sunday).  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?

New truest voice.
And a second new truest voice.
In the end, that's what it it's about and what the DC March on the Pentagon was about.
Ava and C.I. take on ABC's latest bomb.
We doubt it.
Continued tracking of the book coverage in the community.
Our picks.
Remember this?
We don't know but we're not calling what's being described assault.
What we listened to while writing this edition.


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

Editorial: What can you do?

Like many, we wonder why KPFA exists anymore.  It was supposed to be about anti-war and to be about promoting voices that were not heard elsewhere.  But despite many of us gathering in the Bay Area on Sunday to stand for peace, we were no where to be found on KPFA's Sunday evening news.  Please note, they did have time to cover the re-release of THE WAR AT HOME.  That Vietnam-era film is coming back and you can spend your money -- CONSUMERISM! -- and buy tickets.  But they couldn't even tie this into what Bay Area residents were doing earlier that day.

SPUTNIK wasn't in the Bay Area but they were in DC covering the main event, the Women's March on the Pentagon.  And Alex Rubinstein spoke with Cindy Sheehan.

Alex Rubinstein: Is the march primarily addressing US wars overseas as a women's issue?  

Cindy Sheehan:  Women around the world are being occupied by US imperialist forces or countries that the US are supporting, [like] Israel and its genocide against Palestinians, in Gaza, particularly. We know that the United States is supporting Saudi Arabia and its absolute horrible, incomprehensible, destruction of Yemen where tens of thousands of of people are dying and millions are starving at this moment.
[. . .] 
We don't like Trump, but we don't like Trump for the same reason that we didn't like Obama and Bush. They are representative of the most evil, violent, racist and sexist [people] in [the US] empire, if not in history.  When Trump was first elected, my first thought was, ‘well, maybe the movement will be revitalized,' even though I feel that the movement was very hypocritical because they were against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan while Bush was president but not against those wars when Obama was president, or his destruction of Libya or further incursions into Africa, Syria, Somalia and not ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In DC on Sunday, many gathered to review where things stood.

2012 and 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein declared, "You know there's not a lot of democracy out there right now because they've got this new  McCarthyism thing going.  We've got another name for it.  We call it Maddowism after its latest cheerleader because this era of political opposition or I should say political  censorship and war mongering and the suppresion of political opposition is back big time."

Maddowism is a good description of the crap that's crept into KPFA.  Naming it is the first step to confronting it.

But what else do you do?

Some would say vote.

BLACK AGENDA REPORT's Bruce A. Dixon noted that in his district in Georgia you could vote for the Republican who was responsible for disenfranchising 100,000 or so people or you could vote for Lucy McBath who seemed confused about the office she was running for.

Bruce A. Dixon:  We caught Lucy McBath in a place of worship where she came trolling for votes recently and we asked her about the 800 military bases that the United States has around the world.  You know what she said to us?  Lucy?  Oh, oh, Lucy McBath is known for having, unfortunately -- not unfortunately, tragically, criminally, her son was gunned down in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012.  Anyway, we asked her about the 800 military bases and she told us, "Well, you know what, I'm going to have to study up on that."  That's what she told us.  You know, it would be one thing if that was a one-off. But, at BLACK AGENDA REPORT, we took a quick look at Democratic Party Congressional candidates supported by the three organizations that are giving aid to so-called progressive Democrats -- that would be Justice Democrats, A Brand New Congress and Our Revolution.  Those guys were responsible in large part for the success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York City and some other stuff.  Anyway, they've got about 30 Congressional candidates around the country.  22 of them have no positions whatsoever on foreign policy except for support of the state of Israel.  Now, damn, what does that tell us about our Democratic friends?  And not only are some of them our friends, for God's sake, some of them are our families, so let's be real, alright?  I'm not talking about the folks who draw a salary for doing this, I'm talking about the folks who actually have these choices put before them as voters and are not consulted before or after.  You see, that -- that's the problem.  We talk on the left about holding their feet to the fire, but in the real world, I'm afraid that, there ain't no real mechanism under the law for us to hold their feet to the fire.  If only there was.  We as a movement are going to have to come up with something new.  We're going to have to come up with something creative.  It's going to have to violate norms of conduct and the rule of law.  It's going to have to.  I don't know what it's going to look like.  I'm an old man. But I'm going to stick around a few more years to see what it looks like.

In the meantime? 

Organize, speak with your friends and neighbors.  Jill Stein recommended supporting 3 candidates for peace: Pat Elder (Maryland's 5th District), Diane Moxley (New Jersey's 7th District) and Madelyn Hoffman (New Jersey in the US Senate).  Find other candidates who are worth supporting but, most of all, start getting real about how we hold people's feet to the fire.

Our thoughts on the first step?  Don't take the blame.  Don't be the s**t eater for their crappy candidates that you can't support.  A Hillary loses?  Too damn bad.  But the problem is not the voters, the problem is the candidate.  Don't let them blame the voters.

Call out the media today.

KPFA is a joke.  KPFK is a bigger joke.  On Sunday's MIDDLE EAST IN FOCUS, they focused on how the Kavanaugh hearings were bringing Gitmo to the US.  That's got nothing to do with the Middle East.  But it did give us two blathering idiots proving just how useless they were and that they couldn't find Cuba on a map .  Thanks, gals!


TV: No cookie for THE ROOKIE

Many, many years ago Nathan Fillion and a sub-strata of womanhood entered into a devil's bargain that continues to this year: When they fawn over him, he won't marvel over the fact that, despite being homely, they somehow married and they'll pretend that he's not a mincing queen.  ABC's THE ROOKIE is the latest product of that bargain and it's just as painful as everything that's come before.


It's not just that the soon to be 48-year-old Fillion looks far too haggard to pass for the 40-year-old John Nolan, it's also that he looks far too fat to be a police recruit.  There is a physical for the job, after all.

Throwing caution and common sense to the wind, Fillion's construction worker John packs up his bags and heads for LA to become a cop apparently because, unlike the revulsion the rest of the world felt, he found inspiration in the LAPD beating of Rodney King.

His character is part of a rookie class that includes Lucy Chen (Melissa O'Neil) and John is supposed to be deeply attracted to Lucy but the two have so little spark you're left wandering if he's really pursuing Lucy to get closer to her training officer Tim Bradford (Eric Winter).

A lot of bad screen time has been spent pairing Fillion with various actresses.  For example, MODERN FAMILY teamed him with the very appealing Sarah Hyland but despite Hyland's charm and talent, the twenty year age difference was apparent in every single scene and, since Fillion was attempting to do straight out comedy, he really turned up the mincing factor, managing in one episode to even out flounce Eric Stonestreet.

Speaking of MODERN FAMILY, this season saw the show runners respond to our criticms -- face to face as well as printed here -- about the true homophobic nature of the show.  Did we catch it, we were asked at the start of last week?   Yes, we did.  And we thanked them for it.

We thanked them for proving us right, they are homophobic.  We had ignored it in our last article because we were trying to be kind.  But since you asked . . .

Finally, one of the children on the show as asked if they were gay.  Finally, the possibility was raised.  The children on the show are Haley, Luke, Alex, Manny, Lily and Joe.  Manny had a new girlfriend no one had met and she was Canadian so adults Mitch, Cam and Jay were convinced he was gay.  They raised Gloria's suspicions.  She tried to repeatedly make it clear to Manny that it would be okay to be gay.  And she managed to be offensive in the process.

Mitch and Cam's "lifestyle."  It's a life, it's not a lifestyle.  Did no one on the set object?  We kind of picture Julie Bowden applauding the same way she did when they wrote Jay as homophobic over Mitch and Cam's wedding a few seasons ago.

MODERN FAMILY has done very little to earn its repuation as a gay friendly show.  It's appalling that the non-homophobic Gloria, in 2018, referred to what Mitch and Cam share as a "lifestyle" and not a life.

And, of course, Manny's not gay.  There really is a gal in Candad.  Breathe easy, America, it's just Mitch and Cam.  They're the only ones in the big, big family that are or ever will be gay.

Maybe it's this refusal to grow that explains why the show's audience continues to shrink.

Bad ratings?

Is there any other story for Channing Dungey's ABC?

No, there's not.

Which brings up back to THE ROOKIE.

Over five million dollars were spent promoting the debut of this series -- nearly a million in outside advertising and 4.4 million worth of advertising spots on ABC.  No other ABC show this season has gotten that kind of advertising push.

So expectations were high for the premiere last Tuesday night.  And then came reality.  CINEMA BLEND put it best, "Nathan Fillion's The Rookie Got Mediocore Ratings, But ABC Is Still Pumped."  Over five million dollars to promote it, the most promotion ABC gave any of its new shows this season, and mediocre is the result?

Everything Channing Dungey touches turns to crap and THE ROOKIE is just the latest example.  Sad for ABC but creative types keep a finger in the wind, can be superstitious, and the feeling is Channing's on a bad streak and it's going to take her down so it's better to make deals right now with other networks.

Is there a worse paper than USA TODAY?

Early Sunday morning, we grabbed USA TODAY's weekend edition and marveled over just how pathetic it is.  No other paper in the United States is this weak -- not even the PENNYSAVER which is nothing but classifieds plus a Find Cuppy game and five trivia questions.

It was pathetic.  The news section was six pages.  And we wondered why, even with publishing ahead of time, they weren't able to take actual news stories breaking on Thursday and expand their coverage of those stories to have actual news in the news section?

But then it got much worse when one of us noticed, "This isn't the weekend edition."


It was Wednesday's USA TODAY.

An actual day when they publish, supposedly, actual news.

The top story on the front page?  About how there is hope that the displaced Puerto Ricans in Florida could tilt the mid-term vote to either the Democratic or Republican party.  The middle of the page story?  The bust of an illegal after-hours party in Pennsylvania.  It gets worse.  The bust took place . . . last May.  Five months ago.  This passes for news?  The other front page article in USA TODAY's hard hitting coverage?  "1 in 88 quadrillion: So then there's a chance . . ." about winning the MegaMillions (on the day before, we should note).

Dear Pulitzer Committee, please don't overlook the brave investigative reporting of USA TODAY when next handing out awards!!!!

Page two?  Continues the Puerto Rican vote story.  For half the page.  The other half is a paid advertistement that's intended to look like a news article (to fool readers) and is entitled "Costly Joint-Pain Injections Replaced By New $2 pill."

Page three?  Two articles.  The first?  "Saudis 'denied any knowledge'" regarding the alleged murder of CIA-asset and WASHINGTON POST journalist (redundant?) Jamal Khashoggi and "Deth toll from storm rises in Florida's hardest-hit county."  (Yes, Florida makes both the front page and page three.)  Page four has two articles: "Mattis: Never discussed leaving job with Trump."  That 'report' seems to be one that requires no more than one sentence but they stretch is out for three colums while also managing to feature "Rare, polio-like diseaswe hitting more children, officials say."

Page five of the news section is their op-ed page (opinion columns, editorials and letters).  Page six?  Continues the ain't-no-acid-in-this-house house party article from page one.

That's what passes for news to USA TODAY.  Why does anyone bother to work for this paper?  Is there any pride in saying, "USA TODAY employs me!"?

This is the "flagship" of GANNET?  That's truly sad.  (And, in fairness, turns out that USA TODAY WEEKEND EXTRA actually had more news on its front page Sunday.)

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:


"When a book no longer pleases" -- Betty.


"Parker Posey's YOU'RE ON AN AIRPLANE" -- Mike.

"Sally Field IN PIECES" -- C.I. 

"Neil deGrasse Tyson and his superficial book" -- Betty.

"Alice Walker's The Chicken Chronicles" -- Marcia.

"The really bad book The Bridge" -- Ann.

"The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg" -- Trina. 

"T.J. Berry's Space Unicorn Blues" -- Marcia.  

"HELLO GORGEOUS by William Mann" -- Stan.


"Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Dawn of the Modern Woman Paperback" -- Ann.

"No one Peter Bogdanovich knows is ever gay" -- Marcia.

"Seymour Hersh meanders throughout REPORTER: A MEMOIR" -- C.I. 

"Dusty (by Karen Bartlett)" -- Marcia.

"Media critiques -- Nora Ephron's SCRIBBLE SCRABBLE" -- Mike.

"Judy Garland (the biographies)" -- Kat.


"UNCOMMON TYPES: Let's kill whomever taught Tom Hanks to type" -- Elaine.


"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.

10 best Alica Keys tracks

Here are picks for the top ten tracks by Alicia Keys.

1) "In Common"

2) "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart"

3) "Fallin'"

4) "No One"

5) "Blended Family (What We Do For Love)" (featuring A$AP Rocky)

6) "Another Way To Die" (with Jack White)

7) "That Girl Is On Fire"

8) "Kill Your Mama"

9) "If I Ain't Got You"

10) "Fire We Make" (with Maxwell).

2 years ago, REDACTED schooled CNN

Is Cory Booker being MeToo-ed?

cory booker

Cory Booker is a US Senator.  It's often said he plans to run for the presidency in 2020.  Is he being MeToo-ed?

Sexually Assaulted Me and why it won't matter to the movement.

For the record, we're not fans of Cory.  He's a neoliberal.  That said, read the story and tell us how this was harassment?

The man, as he tells his own story, fawned over Cory in a public meeting.  The man left early and went to a restroom.  Cory followed him.  Cory knocked and entered with the man providing no objection.  Cory groped the man's crotch -- with the man issuing no complaint.  Cory then grabbed the man's hand and put it on Cory's package with no objection.  Cory then pushed the man to his knees with no objection.  If the events, as described happened, it would appear to us to be a clumsy pass and nothing more.  "No" means "no."  But for it to mean "no," it has to be said -- either vocally or physically and, in this case, as described, it was never said.

Again, we don't know if the events took place or not.

If they did take place as the unnamed man describes, this doesn't strike us as an assault.

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