Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Truest statement of the week

Julian Assange sits in a London prison cell after experiencing what a UN Rapporteur described as torture. But the foreign minister publicly attacks the rapporteur and states that he will hand Assange over to a country that is seeking to criminalize journalists anywhere in the world. If the British want to go out into the streets they might consider doing so on Assange’s behalf.
The two nations are partners in crime. Both stay on the path of austerity and endless war. Anyone who challenges the system on either side of the Atlantic ocean is beaten down and slandered. The intelligence agencies of both countries are implicated in spying on Trump and other presidential candidates. Instead of protesting Trump the British need to protest their own MI6 in the fake Russiagate scandal and its role in subverting the 2016 elections. The British media, like their American counterparts, are either government assets or cynical institutions who go along to get along. Because of their collusion with the deep state both the British and American people are lied to and rendered powerless by deliberate misinformation.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "How To Protest Trump" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

Elizabeth Warren has been receiving more attention from the Democratic Party establishment of late. Warren has attempted to make up for her woeful confrontation with Trump around her proclaimed indigenous identity by releasing a flurry of policy proposals  on issues such as maternal mortality and student loan forgiveness. While Elizabeth Warren has voiced “strong support” for the Green New Deal, she recently tweeted a strange proposal that deviates from its principles. In mid-May, Warren announced that she would be introducing the Defense Climate Resiliency and Readiness Act to help the military become more “energy efficient.” As she stated on Twitter , “Climate change is real, it’s worsening by the day, and it’s undermining our military readiness. More and more, accomplishing the mission depends on our ability to continue operations in the face of floods, drought, wildfires, desertification, and extreme cold.”
Elizabeth Warren believes that strengthening the “effectiveness” of the U.S. military is consistent with the Green New Deal. Her bill doesn’t demand that the U.S. military be reduced in size or scale.Nor does it mention that the U.S. military is the world’s largest polluter  and user of oil and fossil fuels. Instead of turning the Green New Deal into concrete policy, Warren has placed her attention on renovating the one thousand U.S. military bases that exist domestically and abroad. The so-called “policy wonk” of the 2020 elections appears to be more concerned with creating “green” bombs than a “green economy.”
The U.S. drops a bomb on another nation every twelve minutes . It is no wonder that U.S. military, which serves as the armed body of the state responsible for protecting the interests of Wall Street, fossil fuel corporations, military contractors, and monopolies of all kinds, is treated as a trophy by all sections of the U.S. political class. The U.S. military embodies American exceptionalism claiming to spread democracy and freedom to lands near and far. Holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day are designed to remind Americans of all races and classes that the U.S. is exceptional because of its large military footprint. Instead of seeing this footprint as bombs, sanctions, or deadly raids, Democrat and Republican politicians alike believe that the U.S. military permanently signifies American greatness. 

-- Danny Haiphong, "Elizabeth Warren Wants Green Bombs, Not A Green New Deal" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Tuesday night.

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?

Margaret Kimberley gets another truest.
As does Danny Haiphong.
Mike said everything that needed to be said.
Ava and C.I. tackle streaming services and the greed.
Our take.
As requested by many, another roundtable.
So now even WSWS is going to ignore Tulsi?
They need to fix their pages.  THE BODYGUARD is not a Whitney Houston album and their claims that BILLBOARD classified it as such after Whitney's death does not bear out.
Mavis.  And Ben.
It really says it all.
What we listened to while writing.
Mike and the gang came up with this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: Shut up, Tammy!

Senator Tammy Duckworth is a War Hawk.  She wants the US to remain in Iraq and she doesn't call for benchmarks, conditions or progress.  Just stay -- stay a little bit longer.  Here's Mike's response:

Shut up, Tammy!

Tammy Duckworth is a tool of empire who exists to promote never-ending war.

Last month, I visited Iraq for the 1st time since an RPG exploded a Black hawk I was piloting, costing me my legs & nearly my life. While I don’t want one more American to shed a drop of blood on Iraqi soil, I saw why we can’t afford to disengage from Iraq or abandon our allies:

Which allies, Tammy?

The Shi'ite militias linked to Iran?

The Iraqi government that took these militias -- which were outlawed -- and made them part of the Iraqi military?

The Iraqi government that cannot control the militias?

The Iraqi government that targets Sunnis?  That targets Christians?  That targets Yazidis?  That targets every religious minority?  That targets Palestinians?


The same allies that extract forced confessions and that then sentence people to death based on those forced confessions?

I'm sorry, Tammy, those may be your allies, I don't see them as mine.

Tammy's preaching eternal war.  That's all she's capable of doing.

The idiots who elected her should be Idiots of the Week.

Tammy's so fond of telling how she was shot down.  And she was.  In Iraq.  She was in a foreign country, part of a foreign force that was not invited in.

It's called war.

And she has to go to the well over and over on that because that's what she does.  She hides behind it, thinks it makes her immune to criticism.

It does no such thing.

She chose to run for Congress.  Like John McCain before her, she is ripe for criticism.  And anyone who holds back because she fancies herself a war hero doesn't understand democracy, free speech.

That's aimed at the ridiculous Joe Biden who thinks he can police Americans right to speak as they see fit.  No, you can't Joe.  We'll criticize John McCain all we want.  We'll criticize Tammy Duckworth all we want.

Joe wants to be president but he doesn't even understand free speech.

Tell Wheezie Joe to go, just go.  We don't need him, we don't want him.

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

TV: Streaming greed

Money, money, money.  It's what TV has always been about.  And consumers are starting to grasp that yet again as you hear grumblings about having to pay X for NETFLIX and X for HULU and X for AMAZON.


As this complaining takes place, streaming services are beginning to solidify their identities.  For example, if you're featuring gratuitous nudity (oh, look closely, Chris Pine's peen!) or violence, the place to go is NETFLIX.  If you have a name or a once-upon-a-time name you go to HULU.  Which leaves us with AMAZON.

What is AMAZON?

Over the weekend, their latest offering, GOOD OMENS, made clear that AMAZON really is nothing but a live action version of MARVEL COMICS' WHAT IF? series.

Whatever their other faults, NETFLIX and HULU serve up new content that tells -- or tries to tell -- a story, not AMAZON.  With few exceptions (HOMECOMING and CRISIS IN SIX SCENES being two), AMAZON exists to promote concepts, not actual storytelling.

So you get a 'traditional family sitcom' that wanders what if the father discovered he was a woman (TRANSPARENT), what if a couple moves to Martha and fall for another man (I LOVE DICK), what if Nazis won the war (THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE), what if Sylvester Stallone movies never bombed (JACK RYAN) and so much more.

GOOD OMENS works as a concept, not as a series.  The wink-wink, in joke, oh, we are so hilarious attitude is both off putting and yawn inducing.  Who really wants to see an intellectual exercise carried out by mental midgets?

Time and again, AMAZON wastes money on this sort of crap and then whines that no one watches their garbage.  A narrative is not a conceit, it's a full blown story that can pull people into a story.  GOOD OMENS might have worked as high camp but even there, bad news, it wouldn't have found a large audience.

What audience will it find?

That's a question to ask and saying it's a co-production between AMAZON and BBC2 doesn't excuse anything?


We're referring to yet another ALPHA HOUSE for AMAZON.  For too long, all of their shows played like ALPHA HOUSE -- a piece of crap garbage that was noted for bad writing and bad casting -- bad casting that lacked any and all of diversity.

Look at the cast of GOOD OMENS.  In the first episode the nuns are killed off.  Some may point out that God is played by Frances McDormand but we'd point out that she's not playing God, she's just doing the narration.

What you have is a ton of White men.  David Tennant, Michael Sheen and Jon Hamm led the largely all White cast because what says 2019 more?

And what the world needs now?  No, Burt and Hal, not love, sweet love.  No, what the world needs now apparently is yet another end-of-times b.s. story.  And that's what GOOD OMENS is delivering -- not good tidings.  The snake from the Garden of Eden has morphed into Crowley (Tennant) and an angel who once guarded the Garden, Aziraphale (Sheen) walk into a bar -- no, that might build to actual humor.  These two just bump into each other from time to time over the years and have formed some sort of creepy understanding that's tossed to the wind when the rise of the birth of the child of Satan is upon us.

Now don't think ROSEMARY'S BABY.  There's no Ira Levin or Roman Polanski around to shape this story -- because there is no story.  There's no innocent Rosemary, there's no coven of witches plotting to get her pregnant by Satan.  There's no one really.  The whole thing plays out like one blackout sketch after another written by the highly fey who strive for droll but can't even manage faux wit.

Wit, like intelligence, also escapes Julianna Margulies.  The actress recently crashed and burned in AMC's highly promoted DIETLAND.  That show failed in a single season and it also failed to ever deliver a million viewers an episode -- even when you factored in DVR viewers watching after the fact.

Julianna was coming off her seven seasons of THE GOOD WIFE.  Yes, that show had gotten long in the tooth and people were tired of it by the final season, but she could deliver at least seven million viewers most weeks. If she'd been delivering that at the start, she never would have been paid $180,000 an episode.  That per episode rate was built on delivering 13 million viewers early on.

Yes, she had been a star on the ensemble ER but she followed that with CANTERBURY'S LAW -- a single-season show that we were among the few to enjoy.  She then did THE GOOD WIFE.  This year, she starred in the six-episode mini-series THE HOT ZONE and delivered at least a million viewers almost every episode.  That's not really an argument to pay her $180,000 an episode.

Why is that an issue?

Because she's made it one.  Julianna's been grabbing headlines for THE GOOD FIGHT -- the spin-off of THE GOOD WIFE which airs on CBS ALL ACCESS -- CBS' streaming service.  (As we told you in 2009, "CBS doesn't like broadcasting online for free.")  CBS ALL ACCESS has nearly five million subscribers.  Last fall they announced they had 8 million; however, the footnote on that was the fact that the number also included those streaming SHOWTIME.

Five million subscribers.  And THE GOOD FIGHT isn't even the service's biggest show -- that would be STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and two more STAR TREK's are planned -- STAR TREK: PICARD (set to air later this year) and STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS.

THE GOOD FIGHT features some of Julianna's old co-stars and there's been talk that Julianne might pop up on the show.  She's now explained that's not happening.  Not until they agree to pay her $180,000 an episode.

Now greed is certainly not new to the entertainment industry.  By the seventies, Steve McQueen was demanding a million non-refundable dollars just to read a script for a role he was being offered.  Julianna's trying to package her greed as empowerment.

Women, she insists, are always screwed over financially.  She has her rate -- $180,000 an episode -- and CBS ALL ACCESS should meet that or it's sexism.

Is it?  Is it really?

THE GOOD FIGHT wanted to do a three episode arc with her character Alicia.  It's not a program that airs on CBS (the first season will air on CBS this summer).  It airs on the smaller CBS ALL ACCESS and it really needs an audience -- which is why they were trying to get Julianna to appear.  It's the first show CBS ALL ACCESS offered.  And that's the only reason it's still on.  The hope is that once STAR TREK: PICARD finds an audience they can quietly cancel THE GOOD FIGHT next spring after it completes season four.

The audience for it was small to begin with and has only grown smaller.  Media attention gives the impression that people are watching but the actual numbers demonstrate that the show started off small and has gotten smaller.  DIETLAND?  Julianna's bomb?  It's lowest rated episode still got more viewers than THE GOOD FIGHT.

Julianna insists it's not about greed.  If it was about greed, she'd be asking for $500,000 -- what a man would have gotten.

Pause here.

She's trying to sell her greed as empowerment -- she's doing this for women, she's so noble, it has nothing to do with anything but helping women! -- but she's not asking for what a man in the same situation would be getting?  How does that make sense?

More to the point, she's insisting she knows a man would get this.


She knows George Clooney got it.  She knows when George came on one episode of ER, the one where Carol is leaving, he got $500,000 for his scene with her.  That was season six when ER was one of TV's biggest programs and delivered over 16 million viewers every week.  That was in 2000 when he was coming off THE PERFECT STORM and was wrongly seen as a movie star.  (He's a leading man.  He's never carried a movie at the box office.  He's a leading man, an overpaid leading man.)  George got $500,000 to play Doug, the former lead on ER, for a cameo to give Carol's character a happy ending.

George Clooney returning to TV's top rated drama at a time when it appeared he was one of the biggest box office movie stars?  Of course he got $500,000.  There's a world of difference between that and bringing Julianna on the little watched GOOD FIGHT.  (For the record, Julianna does not know how much George got for the season fifteen return when he and Julianna showed up in "Old Times."  She thinks she knows and based her own request on that but he actually got much more than she did and much more than she thinks he got for that single episode.)

Julianna's friends Robert and Michelle King were hoping she would agree to the three-episode arc because they hoped her return would create interest in the show and allow it to have a season five.  But, for Julianna, it was all about the money.  She's so caught up in herself that she couldn't be bothered to help out people she swears are friends, she couldn't notice that THE GOOD FIGHT struggles to stay in production or that, after three seasons, the show has won zero awards.  Not just zero Emmys, the show has won zero awards.  And the only Emmy nominations?  Both were for music, not performances, not writing, not anything that drives a series.

Julianna's not the first to choose money over art.  But those who make the choice publicly?  Male or female, they tend to be brought down by the industry.

Which reminds us, Alyssa Milano.

The hacktress now grabs supporting roles -- like in INSATIABLE -- and then tries to present herself as the star.  As pathetic as a nearly-fifty-year-old woman trying to pretend she's the star of a series that focuses on a teenager in high school, more pathetic was her recent attack on Jon Voight.   She called the 80-year-old actor an "F-lister" because he praised US President Donald Trump.  F-lister?  Jon Voight has an Academy Award for his amazing performance in COMING HOME.  He's been nominated for an Academy Award four more times.  He's won four Golden Globes.  He's won a BAFTA.  He's been nominated for two Emmy awards.

If he's an F-lister what would that make Alyssa?  A Z-lister?  What acting award was she ever nominated for?  None.  Not one.  The Kid's Choice Awards aren't acting awards, Alyssa.

Jon Voight is 80-years-old and in the last three years has made five theatrical films and played the lead's father on RAY DONOVAN.

What's Alyssa done?

Well, for starters, in the last two weeks she's publicly whined that she was "disrespected" by the CHARMED reboot.  That would be the reboot, please remember, that finally found a lesbian in San Francisco.  Alyssa didn't just co-star in the series, she was a producer for the last four seasons and yet CHARMED never had a gay character -- not a lead, not a supporting, not a guest star.  Why was that, Alyssa?  When you constantly self-present as More Woke Than Thou, your refusal to offer gay characters on a show set in San Francisco begs an answer?

Maybe attacking Jon Voight lets her distract from that question?  We're not fans of Donald Trump and we've called out Jon Voight before (for comments about his children).  We've never pretended that he can't act or that he's F-list.  He's an 80-year-old man with a TV series and an active film career.

Alyssa Milano -- proof that envy always accompanies greed.

To impeach or not to impeach?

Democratic House members returning from recess this week must tackle another new dilemma over the results of the Russia investigation: what to do about Robert Mueller.
The outgoing Justice Department special counsel has said, in so many words, that he's said all he's got to say and that he does not want to appear in what would likely become a traffic-stopping set-piece hearing before a congressional committee.
Key chairmen on those committees want him to testify anyway, but they don't appear to agree how strongly to push for that. Intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was asked whether he'd be willing to issue a subpoena.
"That's a decision that will be above my pay grade," Schiff told NPR's Audie Cornish. "I think we're going to convene when we get back."

To impeach or not to impeach?  We think there are pressing issues the Congress should be addressing.  And we agree with Bob Somerby's point in "Should Donald J. Trump be impeached? :"

As a general matter, we're not real big on impeachment. In our view, the American system runs on elections, and in the last presidential election, roughly 63 million people voted for Donald J. Trump.

We didn't vote for Donald J. Trump. We regard him as disordered and dangerous, but we also respect the fact that many Others don't see him that way. 

It seems to us that Donald J. Trump may be mentally ill or cognitively impaired. But the "journalists" who propagandize us each day aren't willing to stage that discussion.

At any rate, 63 million people voted for Trump. Within the traditional American system, it would be a very serious act to overturn that election. 

And it would be very unlikely that removal from office would result from impeachment efforts.  Dan Conway, in "Fourteen Democratic presidential hopefuls campaign at California convention " (WSWS) reports on the Democratic function in San Francisco over the weekend and notes, "At the convention itself, Pelosi implied that Democrats should focus instead on winning the White House in 2020. She was joined over the weekend by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff who declared that impeachment proceedings were 'destined for failure' without Republican support in the Senate."  So what is the point?

More to the point, what would he be impeached for?

What is the high crime?  What is the misdemeanor? 

Robert Mueller spent millions investigating the ridiculous charge that Donald Trump had colluded with the Russian government to fix the American election.  Mueller found no proof of that.  Mueller has concluded his investigation.  Why are we screaming for impeachment? 

It's supposed to be some important issue, so tell us what issue we are screaming for impeachment over?

'He obstructed an investigation!'  He did?  That's not what Mueller found.  It's not even what he told reporters last week (see "The remarkable wages of true belief!").

It is June 2019.  In November 2020, the US will hold a presidential election.

Let's review the timing of the last impeachment.  October 5, 1998, the House Judiciary Committee votes to launch an impeachment inquiry. December 11, 1998 the House introduces Articles of Impeachment.  December 19, 1998, Clinton is impeached by the House.  January 7, 1999, the Senate trial begins.  February 7, 1999, the Senate ends their trial with votes to acquit and Bill Clinton is not removed from office.

When the House Judiciary Committee launches their inquiry, Bill Clinton's popularity reaches an all time high.

If the same pattern was followed (big "if," we'll get to it), that would be a five month event.  It could last until November which would give candidates for the president seven or so months (it's generally decided by June) to campaign. 

Now if Donald Trump experienced the same effect, a bump in approval, it would be advantageous to the GOP to make sure the thing stretched out.  So five months could easily turn to seven or eight -- as GOP lawmakers insisted on intense questioning.  Again, this would actually be done to make Donald more sympathetic and more popular ahead of the election.

There's another issue.  Politicians run towards the craven.  If, as many suspect is possible, an impeachment attempt makes Donald Trump more popular, which candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination rushes to be popular first?  Because if the people don't like it, someone's going to pull a Zell Miller, a Joe Lieberman, and call out their other Democrats.  Especially someone who has failed to break through, especially a 1%.  Will it be US House Rep. Seth Moulton?

Could be.  Could be any of them.  Mayor Pete might want to call out the whole proceedings.  Someone else might want to call out the way certain individuals conducted themselves. 

But since everyone except US House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard* has been screaming for impeachment, if it takes place and (a) proves unpopular and (b) does not result in the removal from office of Donald, candidates are going to need to assuage voters and to reassure that whatever went wrong was the fault of others not the fault of a candidate.

And everyone in the House will be up for re-election in 2020.  Unpopular impeachment means that Democrats risk losing control of the House (as Republicans lost control of the House after the Clinton impeachment).

That's a lot to risk.  So let's repeat, what is he being impeached for?  It better be something serious and something that goes beyond 'expanding' and 'extrapolating' on what you wish Robert Mueller had said -- even though he didn't say it.


*Please note that the conservative site TOWNHALL has a piece  in which they identify those calling for impeachment and list only US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard, Joe Biden, Bill de Blasio, Michael Bennett, Steve Bullock, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Eric Swalwell, Andrew Young, Marianne Williamson and John Delaney as not calling for it.  They state Bernie Sanders has called for it and quote him declaring, "This president must be held accountable, and I believe that the Judiciary Committee should begin impeachment inquiries.”


Jim: Roundtable time.  Remember our e-mail address is thethirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com.  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; and C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, her kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't):Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Okay, an e-mail about two wolves.  Naomi Wolf and Michael Wolff have new books coming out.  They have problems with the books, the authors do. 

C.I.: Do we know what Naomi's issue is?  If not, I'd prefer we leave her out of this.  If no one knows what's going on -- and I don't -- then I would prefer we leave her out.

Ava: I would agree with that.  And please note that C.I. and I have called Naomi out in pieces and we have praised her in articles.  We have no problem doing either.  But, I don't know what she's said to have done and I don't want to weigh in.

Jess: I'll weigh in on Michael Wolff.  The thing I have heard him slammed for is that he said he didn't need to call people for comments.  And I'm going to agree with him on that.  I'm no fan of Michael Wolff's but he is writing what he was told.  By a trusted source or sources.  I do not believe he is required to pick up the phone and, for example, call the White House and say, "My sources tell me Donald Trump insists upon eating yellow jello every day and I would like a response."  No.  Wolff has the source or sources telling him what they're telling him.  I do not believe he is required to get counterpoint responses.  He doesn't write those kind of books, he does not report that kind of journalism.  Some idiot -- like a David Corn but not him, David wrote to praise Ava and C.I.'s writing.  But someone of David's level of fame e-mailed and was all, "How dare you not reach out to me for a comment."  And why would we?  It makes no sense.  I support him on this completely.  Ava and C.I., for example, have friends at NETFLIX.  We don't need to contact the office of Reed Hastings and ask him for a response.  Michael has explosive items -- they may or may not be true -- and his alerting the White House to that would be nonsense.

Rebecca: I agree.  And I would argue that THE INTERCEPT could have protected their sources -- including Reality Winner -- if they had published what they had.  It would be a multi-day story.  After you publish the details of the expose, make day two be the official response.  I don't get this.  It's timid and cowardly and I feel that way when I watch a film on Watergate -- whether it's ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN or DICK -- and they start alerting people to what they're about to publish.  I haven't read Michael Wolff's book so, like Jess, I can't vouch for its accuracy or not.  But in terms of his argument about not needing clearance -- that's basically what you're asking for -- I agree with him.  He's a muckraker. 

Jim: Any other comments on Wolff?

Ty: I would just say that Wolff writes books that people want to read and stress that.  Meaning, we haven't read the book so I don't want us to be giving any negative perception on it.

Jim: Good point.  We've got a piece on impeachment, so we'll ignore that topic.  Dona, you had something.

Dona: Several e-mails came in regarding last week's edition.  To recap, one and only one article went up, Ava and C.I.'s "TV: It's show runners, not show ruiners."  Reality, we wanted to have a bit of a vacation.  We basically took off the Sunday before Memorial Day and planned to get back together on Memorial Day around noon to work on the edition.  That didn't happen for a variety of reasons -- prime among them would be just being lazy.  Now Ava and C.I. were not informed of any changes to the plan.  They got up around six or so to work out at C.I.'s and started discussing their piece then.  They then wrote it in long hand beginning in the sauna.  By 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning, they were done with their piece.  They kept waiting for us to write the rest of the edition.  We kept failing to do so.  I ended up e-mailing them on Thursday, Ava and C.I., and saying that if they wanted to publish it, go ahead.  We couldn't get our crap together. 

Jim: I did say that they could hold it until this edition but they knew they'd have this weekend so they knew it wouldn't mean a week off. 

Ty: Also true, it was time sensitive.  It had to go up Thursday morning, or they'd have to change the wording on a lot of it for it to make sense.

Dona: We got a number of e-mails and that's what happened. 

Jess: Let me note two things.  First off, Ruth's covered Richard Wolff in a post that she wrote earlier tonight, "Michael Wolff's new book getting a cold shoulder?"  Second, we are doing this roundtable Monday night at 11:00 pm PST.  I'm assuming the earliest this will go up will be Tuesday night.  Why?  We're doing a roundtable.  Ava and C.I. take notes in shorthand.  Though any could type from the notes, Ava and C.I. type the fastest and there's no way they're going to stay up past midnight, when we're done with this roundtable, typing up a rough transcript.

Ava: No way.  We are tired and we're actually speaking more this week than we normally do with more travel between each speaking gig.  This is a smaller roundtable but our day started at 5:00 am.  We met up to work out.  Then it was go to the airport and then it was speak, speak, speak all day.  We are both tired and when this roundtable is over, we will be going to sleep, not staying up to type up the roundtable.  If we're the ones typing it up, will work on it some while eating lunch Tuesday and probably later in the afternoon.

Jim: Thank you.  And thank you, Jess.  I've pulled up Ruth's post and would encourage anyone interested in the topic to check it out.  She's covering a lot of outlets.  Let's move to the topic of publisher Julian Assange and the persecution of him.  This community has defended him.  C.I. recently did a piece where -- in one of the Iraq snapshots -- she noted that she wasn't publishing any attacks on women who may or may not have been raped.  She stated she wasn't there, she didn't know what happened, that Julian had not been convicted of any crime and that this issue did not require resolving to stand up for Julian Assange.  Three e-mails came in from people outraged by this.  Many more came in -- mainly from women who support Julian -- who said that was a smart piece because there are those who attack Julian who pretend that it's because of a possible rape charge.  By removing that from the conversation, as C.I. did, it forces people to deal with whether or not the US government's actions are appropriate.  I agree with that take, by the way.  My father actually praised it and circulated C.I.'s comments to his peers -- he's a journalist -- and it did change the reaction.

Rebecca: As it should.  And it remove an issue that needed removing.  And, it's now a non-issue.  Read WSWS' "In legal victory for Assange, Swedish court rules against extradition" which just went up.  The Swedish issue is now dead. 

Dona: And it was important to draw that line. And some of his supporters -- the piggish ones -- couldn't draw that line because they'd already attacked the women publicly.  C.I. could and did draw the line, she has credibility on this issue.  She made clear -- and this was important -- that you can defend Julian from the US government and set aside the whole issue of Sweden because it does not apply at this time.

Rebecca: And per WSWS, will not apply again.

Jess: I've found the snapshot.  It's the April 4th snapshot.  I do believe it was influential.  I would like to make an addition comment on the responses, those e-mailing.  We need to know what you're talking about.  Please copy and paste a link if you're e-mailing to praise or complain.  I remembered the way C.I. wrote it and the other issues she brought in so I was able to Google it but it's a lot easier if you include the link. 

Ty: Which, in fairness, most of our readers do.  Especially those wanting to choose the highlight of the week.  And let's note that Rebecca's part of the roundtable.  No other non THIRD-ers are.  Why Rebecca?  It's 1:00 am where she is and others on the east coast. Rebecca wanted to participate anyway and we are happy to have her.

Jess: Agreed.  And I believe we are now moving on to Chelsea Manning, right, Ty?

Ty: Right.  Chelsea is a whistle-blower.  She served in Iraq and she rescued truth from deceit and made sure the world knew the truth.  She was targeted for this action under Barack Obama.  Eventually, he pardoned her. January 17, 2017, in the last days of his presidency.  Chelsea is again being persecuted.  The US government is trying to hang espionage charges on Julian Assange and they're trying to use Chelsea to do that.

C.I.: The espionage act is a despicable and much abused act.   It was used against Emma Goldman and Eugene V. Debs.  It's the reason that Katrina vanden Heuvel refused to support War Resisters or allow THE NATION to support them. Obstruction of military recruitment was the charge against Debs.  It's where the nonsense of yelling fire comes into play.  Do we have free speech in this country or not?  Per Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, we do not.  He found that we cannot yell fire in a crowded theater -- this was his response to the case of Schenck v. US -- and, no, the case was not about someone in a theater yelling fire.  The issue was that Charles T. Schenck and Elizabeth Baer were distributing literature that called for resistance to the draft.  It's a shameful and stupid ruling.  And the Espionage Act has been a blight on the Constitution.  It's a cowardly and shameful decision.  Many have rightly criticized it.  It's not surprising that this would now be used to go after a publisher.

Dona: And Chelsea Manning was held by a grand jury.  She refused to give testimony.  I don't know what would happen if she cited the Fifth Amendment -- you know, the way the IRS official Lois Lerner did and was never punished or penalized for doing?  But while that grand jury was in session, she was behind bars.  When their term expired, she was released.  A new grand jury is now in session.  They are not only holding Chelsea behind bars, they are also imposing a daily financial penalty on her.  Chelsea is a political prisoner and we should all have the right to refuse a grand jury if we are indeed a democracy.

Ava: Let's note that there are only two candidates supporting Chelsea, US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard and former US Senator Mike Gravel.  Tulsi has also stated, to Joe Rogan, that she would drop the charges against Julian Assange.  We need leaders who support freedoms, not the paranoid crazies who try to curtail our freedoms and rights.

Jim: Elaine supported Mike Gravel in 2008 in the Democratic Party primary.  Will she be supporting him this go round?

Rebecca: Elaine puts a lot of thought into who she supports.  Mike Gravel is someone that she and C.I. know very well -- I know him but not as well.  She went with Howard Dean in 2004 and that was a contrary opinion when she started backing him -- he had just declared.  She based that on his record, her support for him, as a governor and on her face-to-face encounter with him.  This was a rare moment where she and C.I. were in direct conflict because C.I. backed John Kerry and did so early on -- she's known John for years.  But most of the time, Elaine and C.I. are on the same page.  In 2003 or 2004, for example, they were going to support the hot new candidate, a bi-racial man -- as he billed himself back then -- who wanted to be in the Senate.  Maybe you've heard of him: Barack Obama.  They went to a big money fundraiser ready to open their check books only to have the 'anti-war' candidate tell them that we were in Iraq now so there was no point in talking about ending the war.  C.I. asked him directly what he had just said and Barack repeated it.  At the point, Elain and C.I. turned and left.  Barack lost their support at that moment and never got it back.  As for today, I know she's open to Mike, to Tulsi, to Marianne Williamson and to Bernie currently.  She will not vote for Joe Biden.  She made that clear when he gave that award to Bully Boy Bush last year.  Joe Biden is dead to her.  If he is the nominee, she will either not vote in that race or vote for an independent or third party candidate.

Jim: Jess, you're a Green.  Who are you backing or leaning towards?

Jess: Right now, it would be Dario Hunter.  Honestly, the coverage at THE COMMON ILLS is what's kept me aware of his campaign.  I think all the Green candidates need to work harder at building an online presence.

C.I.: If you are a candidate or a political party, e-mail common_ills@yahoo.com with your press releases and I will note it at THE COMMON ILLS.  That does not have to be someone I am voting for.  If you are  a candidate, whether people plan to vote for you or not, they should be aware that you exist and are running.  When the Iraqi elections take place, we often get press releases from Moqtada al-Sadr's party.  We noted those.  Just send it in and it will go up, maybe not immediately, but it will go up. 

Jess: After Dario?  No one currently.  I like, in the Democratic race, Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard and could easily vote for them.

Jim:  Why aren't they more organized, the Green Party?

Dona: Well there is the money issue.  They're not taking corporate money.  In addition, with limited time and resources, they a trying to press the flesh and do face to face with as many people as possible.  That's probably their primary focus.  Bu say something here.  This site is not part of a circle jerk.  I am a Democrat, yes.  But I am not proud of the fact that we are not doing more for the Green Party.  So, from this edition forward, anything C.I. does on the Green Party will be reposted here whenever we post.  Jess is a Green.  Ann is a Green.  I know Betty is a Green statewide, not  I do want us to do our part to highlight party.

Jim: Okay, on that note, let's go ahead and wrap up the roundtable.

WSWS, why?

Read Dan Conway's "Fourteen Democratic presidential hopefuls campaign at California convention " at WSWS and mainly wonder why?  Specifically, is WSWS the corporate media?  No, it's not.  So why did they ignore Tulsi Gabbard?  She is against the forever wars.  She was at the convention.  She doesn't get a mention.


CRAPAPEDIA steps in it again

Remember, kids, it's CRAPAPEDIA.  They make up s**t all the time.  Take this about Carole King's TAPESTRY:

Tapestry was number one on the Billboard 200 for 15 consecutive weeks,[15] and held the record for most weeks at number one by a female solo artist for over 20 years until surpassed by Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album in 1993, which spent 20 weeks at number one.[16]


No Whitney did not surpass Carole's record, not with THE BODYGUARD.  That is not a Whitney Houston album.  Whitney performs six of the songs on the album but seven more are performed by others.

In no known universe would that qualify as a solo album.  Whitney has not beaten Carole's record because Carole's record still stands.

THE BODYGUARD soundtrack is a soundtrack by various artists.  It is not a solo album.  CRAPAPEDIA needs to correct their glaring error.  And hiding behind "BILLBOARD retroactively reclassified the album" doesn't change anything -- especially since it can't be proven.  (Click here for a list at BILLBOARD of every Whitney Houston album -- you won't find the soundtrack to THE BODYGUARD listed because it's not a Whitney album, it's an album by "Various Artists.")

Video of the Week

Mavis Staple and Ben Harper perform "We Get By, " the title track from her new album.

Tweet of the week

Just your daily reminder that faces up to 175 years in jail for exposing a US air crew shooting down Iraqi civilians. Meanwhile, those who invaded on a pack of lies, are still out there planning new wars against and .

0:06 / 2:20


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