Monday, January 28, 2019

Truest statement of the week

Corporate media absolutely won’t tell you this, but this year’s Los Angeles teachers strike is the latest chapter in the long running struggle against the privatization of public education in the US. With massive public support, 30,000 teachers have voted a settlement that increases their wages a little, brings back nurses, librarians and counselors to each and every one of the city’s 900 schools, caps class sizes and charter school expansion and more. Striking teachers managed to bring issues to the table that were supposed to be impossible to address, like the manipulation of school board real estate, school closings and charter policies to gentrify neighborhoods, among others.
[. . .]
For a generation now, privatizing the public schools has been the bipartisan project of America’s one percenters. Democrats and Republicans, Donald Trump and Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, celebrities like John Legend and Magic Johnson, conservative and liberal engines of corporate philanthropy including the Gates, Walton, Broad, Heritage, McArthur and other foundations, Fox News and CNN, black and white big city mayors, hucksters like Al Sharpton and Roland Martin, the lords of Silicon Valley, Amazon, and Mark Zuckerberg, the hedge fund boyz, and a gaggle of thousands of big and small time crooks of all colors and descriptions are in on the hustle. Glen Ford explained several years ago how a handful of right wing foundations spent a cool billion or more in the 1990s trying to create an astroturf “movement” for privatizing schools, first through vouchers, then as charter schools, peddling the proposition that getting poor children out of public schools was civil rights movement of the coming new century.

-- Bruce A. Dixon, "Some Early Lessons From The Los Angeles Teachers Strike" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

From the very beginning, the UTLA did everything to prevent a strike, dragging the negotiating process over 20 months, ignoring the 98 percent mandate to strike, and submitting to endless state mediation and fact-finding.
Facing increasing pressure from rank-and-file teachers, the UTLA was ultimately compelled to call a strike for January 10. Three days before, however, UTLA president Alex Caputo-Pearl announced the union was dropping the teachers’ most critical demands opposing the expansion of charter schools, unlimited standardized testing and other schemes used to privatize education. Caputo-Pearl tried to justify this capitulation by claiming the union had no choice but to accept LAUSD’s position that such issues were outside of collective bargaining.

Then the UTLA announced it was postponing the January 10 strike date to January 14. When it became clear the teachers’ commitment to fight had become even stronger, the UTLA called the walkout on January 14. Although there was widespread public support, it was clear the UTLA had no intention to wage the type of battle that teachers were demanding. Although it had not struck in 30 years, the union provided no benefits from its multi-million-dollar strike fund.

-- Alan Gilman, "How the UTLA orchestrated the betrayal of Los Angeles teachers" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Early Monday morning on the East Cost, here on the west, it's still Sunday.

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?

Bruce A. Dixon gets another truest.
Alan Gilman gets his first truest.
Why does Turkey keep bombing northern Iraq?
Ava and C.I. examine predictions and expectations in another hard hitting piece.
Yes, they did.
She needs to stop pretending she's the voice for MeToo when she can't call out Bryan Singer.

Rob wanted to talk.  Okay, we've got some topics.
Assault victims?  Anyone can be assaulted.

Goes to Margaret Kimberley.
We all loved Trina's post last week.
What we listened to while working on this edition.
From BAP.
From Senator Baldwin's office.
From Senator Murray's office.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: Enough, truly enough

When is it enough?  When is the Turkish government going to stop bombing northern Iraq?

Listen to this Kurdish woman’s scream as the Turkish jets bomb the area in Duhok province. Turkey is unleashing terror on the civilians in Shiladeza area as angry protesters attacked a Turkish base in response to the killing of four civilians by Turkish jets in the area on Jan 23

0:17 / 0:21


Following the death of four civilians, Kurds began protesting at a Turkish base in northern Iraq (Dohuk).  One protester was killed by the Turkish military and ten more were left injured.  AFP reports, "Iraq Sunday said it would summon the Turkish ambassador over the death of a Kurdish protester after Turkish troops opened fire on demonstrators in the country’s northwest."

Why are they still being allowed to bomb northern Iraq?

We've asked that question repeatedly and there's still no answer.

The Baghdad-based government says Turkey's actions are a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.  So why do these bombings keep happening.

TV: Predictions and expectations that went up in flames

As 1999 began, a popular psychic was advising everyone that they should join her in immediately moving to Colorado.  Why?  When 1999 ended, she would explain, the world would turn upside down -- the south pole would now be north and the north pole would now be south and, somehow according to her, the only safe place in the US -- no, in all of North America -- would be the mountains of Colorado.

Everyone else would perish.

The calendar reads 2019 and, as we look around the country, most of us did not move to the mountains of Colorado and, yet, we are still alive.

That's the thing about predictions, they don't have to come true.


We think of that moment a lot lately because so many spend so much time trying to scare everyone.

It helps that a number of us are predisposed to be scared and to hate -- call those expectations.  And they certainly explain what happened recently when a Native American (who is not a Vietnam veteran despite his claiming so and allowing the media to repeatedly falsely call him that) decided the way for a mature adult of 61 to conduct himself was by marching up to a group of high school kids, stopping in front of one and banging his drum loudly.  The children did not hit him, did not spit on him, did not do really anything.  But a 'smirk' was detected and, oh, our goodness, how awful if, indeed, a smirk had taken place.

It's moments like these that really explain why the phrase "Grow the hell up" was invented.

As a longer version of the video was found -- and other videos of the incident from different perspectives -- some people who jumped to conclusions had the good sense to apologize.  We applaud, for example, Jamie Lee Curtis who did so early on.

But common sense apparently has to be rationed because, as late as the middle of last week, there was Savannah Guthrie teaching us that she needs a lot of work and lot of help parenting her own two children.  She opened her interview with the child in question, Nick Sandmann, asking him if he felt he owed the 61-year-old (Nathan Phillips) an apology?  She really had no action too offer for him to apologize for.  But she wanted an apology.

Strangely, the next day, she interviewed Nathan Philips -- the grown ass adult -- and didn't ask him if he owed anyone an apology.

Nathan's ever-changing story sometimes includes that he saw tensions between two groups -- the high school kids and a radical, right-wing hate group of adults (the Black Hebrew Israelites).  He maintains that to ease tensions, he marched into the high school kids.  He has also maintained in some interviews that he saw the kids harassing the Black Hebrew Israelites which really questions his sanity -- a group of adults screaming insults at the kids -- racist insults, homophobic insults and the kids chanting their school cheers -- and Nathan's heart went out to the homophobic racists.

For whatever reason,  Nathan's marching into the high school kids.

How does that make sense?

More to the point, what right does the buttinsky have to go up to either group?

However, if you are going up to one, you should be going up to the adults.

Parents, unless they're Savannah Guthrie or some other trashy parent more eager to start their third marriage than to parent, are going to object to you -- a strange adult -- marching up to their child and getting in their child's face.

And, guess what, they're right to object.  You don't want some adult shoving their face into your kid's face.  (Ann and Stan both made this point very well last week.)

Nathan feels disrespected.  Put a pin in that one!  Nathan feels disrespected because there he was loudly singing/chanting a song (that the kids didn't know and that was not in English) and pounding his drum in their faces and what did he want?  A standing ovation?  Blood?  Urine?  Sperm?  What exactly would have pleased Nathan?

Nothing.  Not one damn thing would have pleased him because he wasn't trying to communicate anything.  He was trying to create a media moment which is why he had his people -- not kids who would naturally be playing with their phones -- recording his confrontation.

He wanted a media moment because that's all he ever wants.  He's an attention whore, as Elaine rightly pointed out early last week.  His whole life has been about attention whoring and making a name for himself which made his and Savannah's tut-tutting over Nick's family hiring a p.r. firm so hilarious.

Nick became the face of hatred to too many who are too easily triggered.  Of course, his family hired help, they were smart to do so.

What were Nathan's supporters doing?

Because from where we sit, they were attempting to clone David Horowitz.  David is a person, he's got as much reason to live as anyone else.  He used to be a leftist.  We'd say he was a valuable asset to the left.  He's now on the right-wing.  Why?  Among other reasons, stuff like what went down with Nick.

Nick is White and Catholic and took part in a protest against abortion.  For that reason, a lot of lefties on social media rushed to condemn him over the encounter with Nathan Phillips.

Nathan is a Native American.  That's about all he is.  But that trumped everything Nick had -- including the fact that a stranger -- an adult -- shouldn't harass a child -- the phrase "stranger danger" exists for a reason as THE ATLANTIC's expose on Bryan Singer made clear.

David has always stated -- and we have no reason to doubt him -- that blind allegiance is what drove him from the left -- particularly what he saw as blind allegiance to the Black Panthers over Betty Van Patter who was murdered.  Not only does David believe that she was murdered by some members of the Black Panthers, he also carries guilt over bringing the two together.

The United States is a country where all are supposed to be equal.

David saw a left too enthralled with 'sacred cows' to speak out against murderers.

We're not saying he's right, we're not saying he's wrong.  We're saying that's what he saw and why he left the left.

And we're saying things like the attacks on Nick back up David's beliefs, give validity to those beliefs.

Is that, Alyssa Milano, what you want to be doing?

Supposedly, Alyssa Milano wants Donald Trump defeated in 2020.  So why is she doing her best -- while pretending to be THE voice of the Democratic Party -- to trash so many potential voters?

Alyssa jumped to conclusions about Nick and she's never apologized.  In fact, she's doubled down on her hatred and declared MAGA hats to be the equivalent of KKK hoods.  (MAGA, for those who don't know, stands for Make America Great Again -- a Trump slogan.  If you don't know that, don't feel bad, it was sometime in 2017 that we learned what it was.  It's the sort of nonsense that the Alyssas obsess over.)

Let's say that Nick was a smart ass kid who had flipped Nathan off.  So what?  Who gives a damn?  He's a kid.

But he didn't flip Nathan off.  Even so, the Alyssa stormed in to condemn him wearing their best Carrie Nations grimaces.

If you're not someone rising everyone morning desperate for your latest injection of hate via social media, you looked at what took place in wonderment.  Why did a kid looking at a grown man who was invading his personal space prompt so much hatred and vitriol?

Because so many social media users began their morning yoga with sacred cow pose.

From that vantage point, Nick was pure evil.

And when confronted with reality via longer videos and videos from other angles, many remained in sacred cow pose.

That includes Elie Mystal though, in fairness, when you're as morbidly obese as Elie is, you have to slowly ease out of any position due to your substantial girth.

Elie showed up at THE NATION to basically insist, so what if I was wrong, "Black children don't have Nick Sandmann's rights!"  What rights are those, Elie?

And more to the point, when we argue for universal rights, we're not saying strip rights from these people because another group doesn't have them.  We're arguing that universal rights apply universally to all.

How is that difficult to understand?

What Elie's preaching isn't equality, it's not justice, it's some sort of mob mentality vengeance.

And he's an adult -- 40-years-old -- who was paid by THE NATION to write that garbage.

It's a big, long, titty-baby whine.

B-b-b-but he's talking about Trayvon!

We don't believe Trayvon was shot while he was standing with his fellow students on a school field trip.  Find us the child of color who lives up to the straw man argument that Elie's created and we'll go along with it.  Until then, he's trying to compare apples and oranges.

He really needs to get a damn grip but, having been saddled with the name Elie, we'll assume he's been overcompensating for many decades.

And that's before you add in how Elie's father was kicked out of public office for lying and how he got five years probation and was ordered to pay over $84,000 in restitution.  About the only way Elie's life could be worse right now would be if his father had given him the middle name of "Mae."

Let's deal with that field trip.  The kids were in DC for the March for Life.  We're pro-choice.  The government has no right dictating any American's reproductive choices, that's our position.  Are we appalled that some children are pro-life?  No, we're not.  We were among those telling people to back off Justin Bieber when he was a kid and espousing pro-life views.  Does Justin, now that he's an adult, still believe those views?  We have no idea.  But we're really not concerned with what children say.

A trip to DC?  Hey, what kid wouldn't want that.  Hate to break it to the many calling the boys sexist, but some of the kids who went on that field trip?  They don't have an opinion one way or another.  And there's probably at least one -- maybe more -- who supports abortion rights.  But when you're a kid, you aren't encouraged to go against the grain, not in the US.  You're encouraged to march right along with what you're being told to do.

So, put on your thinking caps, America, if you are on the fence about abortion rights and the whole world of Twitter condemns you, are you likely to explore your position or are you more apt to dig in deeper on being anti-abortion?

Do you see the problem here?  Kids don't know enough.  They don't have the experiences, they don't have the experience of making their own choices and being held solely responsible for them.  Nor should they, they are kids.  They are children preparing to step into an adult world.

They will make mistakes.  They will learn from those mistakes, hopefully.  Like all of us who are adults now, life will shape them, experiences will expand them.

Saying Nick is Judge Brett Kavanaugh?  That's child abuse.  How dare you?  Nick is not anyone but Nick right now.  If you bully him and attack him long enough, you're going to create a reaction in him.  It's not going to be a reaction that helps him or anyone else.  So what exactly is your point other than child abuse?

Again to those who keep insisting that Nick has "rights" that a child of color would not have, stop blaming him for that.  Start fighting for the rights of all children.  Your statements are offensive.  They are as offensive as the jokes about dead blond girls from the last decades.  Those jokes were offensive and hateful -- and we say that as two who made those jokes.  We made them without thinking, remarks like, "Oh, look the nation has to stop everything because another dead blond girl turned up."  It was around the time when the media was focusing on Natalee Holloway that we were confronted.  Yes, we were told, it was obvious that we were trying to bring up issues of race and representation and media focus.  But while that was obvious, it was also obvious that our remarks were distasteful and offensive.

They were that.  We thought we were just two bitches being funny mouthing off.  No, we weren't.  And we dropped that.  We apologize for it -- we've apologized for it before as well.

We were never trying to say that Natalee -- or any blond girl who disappeared before her -- was not worthy of coverage.  We were trying to underscore that the media zoomed in on one group of people while ignoring others -- those of color.

That's what we were trying to do and we were failing.  Our remarks did not target where we thought we were aiming.  Natalee was a victim.  And the problem was the media.  The problem wasn't they covered Natalee, it was that they never covered anyone who didn't look like Natalee.

That wasn't her fault.

Our remarks were tasteless and vulgar.  Anyone who got what we were trying to say already grasped the point about the media.  Had we chosen other words to make our points, we might have spoken to a lot more people.

So we failed at making the point we were trying to make and we insulted Natalee and a lot of others who didn't deserve it -- whose memories didn't deserve it.  We were wrong to do that.  Since that was pointed out, we've corrected our course and, again, we apologize.

It's a lesson we learned the hard way and it's one Elie Mae Mystal would do well to learn as well.  He's in a huff because NBC interviewed Nick.  So he attacks Nick.  The target is NBC, Elie.  The target should never be a child.  If, like us early on, you're rushing to make a point about the media, make your target the media, not the child.

Christina Marfice doesn't grasp that point -- but the self-proclaimed "Scary Mommy" doesn't grasp much of anything.

For example, she can -- as she did on January 23rd -- insist over and over that Nathan Phillips is a "war veteran" and a "Vietnam veteran" but that doesn't make it so.

He's not.  And the media worked really hard to cover for him when reality emerged.  They rushed to say that others had said it or that it was assumed.  Not that he had misled, mind you.  That wasn't in their original corrections.  Then the videos emerged of him claiming to be a Vietnam War veteran, talking about returning from Vietnam and so much morePhil Kerpen posted a series of videos where Nathan Phillips claims he served in Vietnam.

  1. Five times Nathan "I Never Said I Went to Vietnam" Phillips says he went to Vietnam:

He also, by the way, posted a video where Nathan claims a woman insulted him so he beat up her boyfriend -- maybe that's behavior Scary Mommy Christina should address?

She should certainly address the lie on her website that claims Nathan's a Vietnam veteran because he's not.

It's strange, isn't it?  How he can -- and did -- lie for years.  And when not lying outright, he used wording to deliberately mislead.

But, hey, everybody, believe him now.  Lying about being a Vietnam veteran really isn't important, right?  Everyone does it, right?


Everyone does not do it.  It is not right.  It's a major character flaw and goes to whether or not anything Nathan Phillips says should be believed.

By Friday, Bill Maher had jumped in to attack Nick and the other kids.  Does Bill think he's taking on White privilege?  If so, he might try grasping that his whole career is White privilege.  He's an unattractive, White man who's not that funny to begin with.  Were he not White -- and a man -- COMEDY CENTRAL would never have given him a show, ABC would not have then picked up the show and, after ABC cancelled the show, HBO would not have given him a show.  It's not like there are any comics of color hosting weekly, hour long HBO programs.  So maybe if Bill's concerned about White privilege he should look in the mirror and not go after kids?  Maybe he should be asking his employers why their programming could be considered racist and why the only African-American hosting a program hosts a program about sports?

One could make a prediction that Bill won't hold HBO accountable based on the expectation that, being a useless ass, he's too timid and lazy for a bold move like that.

Those are expectations and predictions.  They aren't science.  Science speaks of likely outcomes and models based on theories.  And if you were looking for that last week, and not an endless attack on children, you could have checked out GORILLA RADIO where Dahr Jamail addressed the issue of climate change, the warming of the ocean and the scientifically expected outcome: a rise in sea levels.  What we're doing to our world?  That's something actually worthy of last week's anger and outrage.

SAG embraced homophobia

If you missed it . . .

'Bohemian Rhapsody' Star Rami Malek Wins SAG Acting Award

That's an award that's not going to age well.

It's not just because Rami Malek was directed by Bryan Singer in the film.  Bryan's predatory nature got attention (again) last week -- this time from THE ATLANTIC.

That doesn't help SAG.

Nor does Rami pretending that he never knew until last week that there were rumors and rumors and even more rumors that Bryan abused teenage boys.

His idiotic speeches, don't help him either.

Replying to 
I’m genuinely curious: what does Rami Malek have to lose by saying something marginally supportive of victims in even one of these speeches?

It's amazing how removed Rami comes off -- almost medically removed -- and what's with all those deep, dark bags under his eyes?

The reason that this award will look bad in retrospect is it hetero-washes Freddie Mercury.  This film -- and the performance -- already border on homophobic today.  In 20 years, it's going to be even more so.

Great job, SAG, how proud you must be.

From our December piece "More Hetero-Wash Films for Rami Malek:"

Rami Malek's 'success' in BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY means he'll go on to hetero-wash the lives of other noted gay men.

1) SHY BOY: THE PAUL LYNDE STORY Status: Completed

SHY BOY traces Paul's life and career starting with his 1956 guest appearance on THE MARTHA RAE SHOW.  Looking at Martha (Lena Dunham) from a distance, Paul exclaims to himself, "Kitten, I'm smitten."  But he's shy and unable to convey his feelings to Martha.  This shyness follows him throughout his career including on the set of BEWITCHED where he has more than cousinly feelings for Elizabeth Montgomery (played by Emma Stone).  Agnes Moorehead (Lea Delaria in a show stopping performance) pulls him aside and tells him there is trouble in Montgomery's marriage and that, "You're just the sort of rough neck stud our Lizzie needs.  Tell her, Paul!  Go work your manly magic on her!"  But even with such prompting, the tragically shy Paul is unable to pursue Elizabeth. Finally, on the set of TEMPERATURE'S RISING, Paul conveys his hots for Joan Van Ark (played by Sally Kirkland), "You got my temperature rising, doll!"  But Van Ark rebuffs him and quits the show to avoid him, sending him spiraling into a depression that is only broken when, on the set of THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES, Paul meets Fannie Flagg (Sarah Jessica Parker) and his shyness vanishes as the two move in together and Paul, with Fannie's loving strength, defeats his booze addiction.

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