Monday, July 15, 2019

Truest statement of the week

But when Russiagate is the issue it is the Democrats who are the worst liars. They are the ones who have damaged their electorate, the media and international relationships in their effort to excuse the debacle of their own making. Russiagate is a scheme meant to give them popular support without doing anything the public want them to do.
The deification of Mueller should come to an end after he testifies under oath. He has waffled between saying that Russia interfered but not with the help of Americans, but perhaps there is proof of obstruction, but he can’t indict a sitting president, but maybe Congress can impeach him anyway. That nonsense is an indication that as the saying goes, he’s got nothing. 
All the drama is needless because Trump has left a vast trail of impeachable offenses in the wake of his career. He was a corrupt businessman and has personally profited from his presidency. There are many roads that can lead to the same result but that is not what Democrats want to do.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: Time For Russiagate To End" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

These were the conditions and atmosphere that gave birth to Epstein’s assembly line of sexual abuse and degeneracy, and later safeguarded it.
The financier counted among his friends many prominent figures, based on his ability to make more than a few of them tons of cash. To what extent Epstein might have entangled some of his powerful acquaintances in his sex activities and perhaps had a hold on them is unknown, but ill-gotten gains and “friendship” alone may not explain the extent to which very high-placed people protected Epstein.
And it was a bipartisan affair. Prior to Acosta’s resignation Friday, congressional Democrats postured as defenders of Epstein’s alleged victims and called for the labor secretary to step down. But Epstein had extensive ties to Clinton and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a Democrat, and was a generous contributor to primarily Democratic Party candidates, including John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, Richard Gephardt and Joseph Lieberman.

-- David Walsh, "The case of Jeffrey Epstein and the depravity of America’s financial elite" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Sunday night here on the west coast.

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.
David Walsh gets a truest.
A poll has interesting results -- some in the press ignore half of the results.
Ava and C.I. take on everything.  This is a wide ranging piece that covers Aziz Ansari, Clara The Idiot Jeffrey, Adam Devine, Mayor Pete and so much more.  An epic piece.
It really is getting out of control.
And we need her in the debates.
Ty takes on stupidity and racism in this column.
Clara is so stupid she can't even figure out where she stands on a new toy.
Oh, Joe, go away.
Sean Ono-Lennon.
What we listened to while writing.
Green Party coverage.
Green Party coverage.
US House Rep. Susan Davis' office issued this press release.
Green Party coverage.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

That's what we got.  See you next time.


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

Editorial: Why do only some opinions matter to the press

Mad Cow disease is a frightening thing.

"Veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan are no more supportive of those engagements than those who did not serve in these wars. And views do not differ based on rank or combat experience."

There's Rachel, hiding behind the military again.

Yes, veterans were surveyed and that was one part of the story.  Only one part.

What was the other part of that story?  Oh, yeah, 62% of American adults say the Iraq War has not been worth it,  59% of adults say the Afghanistan War has not been worth it, and 58% say the war on Syria hasn't been worth it.

  1. Share of U.S. veterans and American public saying these post-9/11 wars were not worth fighting: Iraq ▪️Military veterans 64% ▪️All adults 62% Afghanistan ▪️Military veterans 58% ▪️All adults 59%

Which is the bigger number, do you know?

It's the category of American adults.  That category is larger than the category of American veterans.

These findings are important -- all of them.

Majorities of U.S. veterans, public say the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting

Mad Cow Disease wasn't the only one missing the full story.

  1. Most Veterans Say Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Weren't Worth It: Pew Report |

It's amazing how little attention is ever given to the views of the American people by the press that supposedly represents and reports to them.

TV: R-e-s-p-o-n-s-i-b-i-l-i-t-y

Aziz Ansari has a new NETFLIX special, Scarlett Johansson made a comment about actors being able to play anyone and NETFLIX just started airing a CW series.  It's all related -- even Clara Jeffrey's ignorance of historical critiques made by gay writers.


Some are referring to Aziz's new special RIGHT NOW as a comeback.  Comeback from what?  He alludes to it at the start of the special saying that the events have made him think and that he's sorry if he caused any pain and . . .

It's all too little for some.

For those who missed it, Aziz is guilty of a bad date.

Ashleigh Banfield was right when she called out this nonsense long ago.

A woman who has gone by the name Grace was out on a date with one man and saw Aziz.  She apparently didn't have respect for herself or her date because she hit on Aziz.  This led to a date with Aziz.  She was a pissy little bitch who felt the need to share how she didn't like the wine he paid for on the date.  She went home with him -- though that apparently was a pressure move -- she felt she had to.  Apparently all the diners at the eatery were threatening to re-enact the gang-rape from THE ACCUSED if Grace didn't go home with Aziz?

In a piece of crap review at ROLLING STONE, Maria Fontoura can't stop harping on poor Grace.  Is she watching Grace's special or Aziz's special?

Grace went home with Aziz -- as she had always planned to, please understand, that's what was behind her stepping out on her date to hit on Aziz in the first place.  She pursued that want.

They got to his place and he wanted sex.  She says she didn't.  She didn't make that clear and she let Aziz perform oral sex on her more than once and she also went down on him.

She left without any complaints or objections.

Aziz thought they'd had a nice date.

She decides after that she was forced and coerced.

See, Grace, like Ado Annie Carnes in the musical OKLAHOMA, is just a gal who can't say no.


And at what point does personal responsibility come in to play.

Are we now expecting people to be mind readers?  And even if Aziz had been, would that have prevented anything?  We doubt it because this woman Grace doesn't appear to have ever known what she wanted.

It all honestly reminds us of William Little.  The 18-year-old, off the clock, was at his place of work.  He encountered Kevin Spacey.  He told the actor he was 21.  He flirted -- yes, he did -- with Kevin which resulted in Kevin flirting back and buying him multiple drinks.

Stop here.  Little Willie and his mother keep telling this part of the story to tell you how awful Kevin was.  Kevin bought drinks for a 21-year-old.  Will admits he lied about his age.  Now the fact that his place of employment served him?  That's an issue.  They knew he wasn't 21.  But Mommy Little -- a failed TV personality desperate for attention -- has never once griped about that.

Back to the encounter.  the flirting goes on and on with the stakes rising -- as often happens when alcohol is involved.  Throughout, Little Willie is texting.  He's texting a woman he calls his girlfriend -- as he's flirting with Kevin.  And he's texting others.  At one point, Kevin puts his hands on Little Willie's tiny willie and this has been the worst thing that has ever happened in the world and we must all stop what we are doing because a penis was touched.

Ask any woman who's been to a concert or waited tables and chances are a groping will not be a rare event.  Does that make it right?  No.  But find us the woman who has made this a traumatic event the way Mommy and Mommy's Boy Will have.

First off, if you're offended, you slap him. That's what most girls and women would do if they knew who the groper was (as opposed to being groped in a crowd and having no idea which person groped them).

Did Will slap or punch or even walk away?


This is a crowded place,  room full of adults, and Will's not able to strike back, ask for help or even leave.

Two words.

Personal responsibility.

As Marcia has repeatedly argued -- and it seems even more true now that Will Little has taken the Fifth -- refusing to answer questions to avoid incriminating one's self -- before the judge -- the whole thing plays out like a young man who wanted to experiment and play with a celebrity and then had a gay panic attack after the fact.

Buyer's remorse?  It probably does exist in relationships -- that would account for the high divorce rates; however, it's not a waiver for personal responsibility.

Like Will, Grace had every chance to say no, every opportunity to leave.  She chose not to do so.

She feels bad the morning after?

Good.  Learn from it.

Learn that no does mean no -- but for it to mean that, it needs to be said.

She never vocalized it, and her body never said it by pushing him away.

She gave consent and then afterwards wants to play like she was injured by Aziz.  The person who injured her, the person who victimized her was Grace herself.  If these actions weren't things she wants to do, she has only herself to blame and she should take it as a learning experience and work on saying "No" as well as on knowing what she wants from a date before she goes out.

Aziz, despite looking shell shocked (and we don't like the new hair style, by the way) has delivered a funny special.

Unless you're writing for THE NEW YORKER in which case, oh, well, Doreen St. Felix has never really liked him before either.

What was the point of that crap?  The special I wish Aziz had made -- or better yet, the special I wish another comedian had done for him?

To get how strange Doreen's piece is, you need to grasp that she even holds Aziz responsible for the actions of Tom Haverford:

I hadn’t previously thought deeply about the cultural presence of Ansari, because his body of entertainment had not invited me to do so. He specialized in increasing the banal pleasure of the crowd. On “Parks and Recreation,” as Tom, he encouraged you to “treat yourself.”

What is that supposed to mean?

She's slamming Aziz for the way the character was written?  Hate to shock Doreen but, of the 125 episodes of PARKS AND RECREATION episodes, Aziz wrote zero.  Fault him for his acting but if you found PARKS AND RECREATION was about "increasing the banal pleasure of the crowd," that's not a critique of Aziz, it's a critique of writers of the series.

Does Doreen know how to critique?  Does she know anything?

Is she really just offended that Aziz is calling out the more-woke-than-thou pose?

Over at ROLLING STONE, Maria seems to be offended over that.  She's going through a check list and, at one point, she's bring up Louis CK.

Whine to someone else, sister.  We were calling out Louis CK when all the rest of you were either being silent or applauding him.  Such as in 2010 when we called out Terry Gross for her promotion and embrace of him.

That said, let's be really clear on something: Louis CK has every right to make a living.  If people want to pay to see his nonsense, they should.  We're not calling for a boycott.  We're not calling for him to be burned at the stake.

All we've ever really called for is some perspective which requires that NPR and others stop presenting him as enlightened and deep and all the other crap that people like Terry Gross used to offer before women complained that he was masturbating in front of them.

Again, though, let's have some personal responsibility.

For example, if you're not smart enough to know how to deal with a Louis masturbating in front of you, here are some suggestions.

1) Point and laugh.

2) Yell "Baby dick!" while pointing at him.

Unless he gets off on humiliation, that should do the trick.

There are many other moves you can try but we do worry about these sensitive flowers -- women who are able to go on the road on a comedy tour -- but who somehow have never learned how to do anything to save themselves.

And, let's be honest, women have been dealing with flashers for centuries now and, in terms of assault or what passes for it to some, a grown woman being flashed or seeing a man masturbate is not one of the great tragedies of life.

We're not saying it's a wonderful experience but we're making it very clear that both attempted rape and actual rape trump flashing any day.

Should we talk about the crazy woman?  Hasn't enough been said about her already?  Let's just note that if you're claiming Donald Trump, president of the United States, raped you and you want support, you probably shouldn't go on one network and say it wasn't rape and then go on another and say rape is sexy and then -- You know what?  You probably should just shut your damn mouth because no one is going to believe your ever changing story except for hyper-partisans.

And if rape survivors are wanting to stone you, we'd certainly understand their rage after you declared on CNN that rape is sexy.

Back to Aziz, we found his special funny and we did enjoy the talk of the outrage cycle and how it's comparable to a game of "progressive Candy Crush."  We found it focused and humorous and with a point of view.  By contrast, we like Adam Devine but we really didn't laugh the way we wanted to at his special.  BEST TIME OF OUR LIVES debuted last month on NETFLIX.

We thought it was kind of cheap the way he addressed race -- the joke was neither funny nor particularly insightful.  And we thought the special needed to be shaped because it wasn't cohesive and so much of it appeared to have been what men were doing in the nineties with stand up.  Adam is likable but a comedy act needs a little more work than he put into it.

NETFLIX is streaming THE CW's IN THE DARK.  This is a good time to bring up Scarlett Johansson who states she was misquoted and offered this clarification, "I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness. That is the point I was making, albeit didn’t come across that way. I recognize that in reality, there is a widespread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cis-gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to."

IN THE DARK is a show we avoided on THE CW.  Watching it this weekend, we agree it's an entertaining show.  Is that enough?

In many cases it is.  But the show revolves around a blind character -- Murphy played by Perry Mattfeld.  Murphy is blind, Mattfeld is not.

Why does this happen over and over?

Can a sighted person play a blind person?  Yes, they can.  But how often does the entertainment industry cast a blind person as a sighted person?  Never.  So if they don't even get to the front of line when it comes to casting a blind character, are they just confined to the back of the bus for all eternity?

We'd make the same point about gay males.  Why do straight men keep getting to play these roles and then being applauded for just how sensitive they are to have played these roles?  What out gay man is being cast as a straight man?  Don't say Neil Patrick Harris because he wasn't out when he was cast as Barney on HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.

Actors who are straight -- or at least not out of the closet -- can play straight men and gay men -- love scenes either way.  But we're not casting out gay actors in straight love scenes.

Scarlett is very talented.  We don't question that.  We don't question that her original statement was misconstrued.  We're glad she clarified her comments.

If she were to play a transgender character, we'd hope she'd be honest enough to say, "I need the money."  We're not going to stone her or call for her to be put to death if she plays a character that she really shouldn't have gotten the role for.  We will call out that casting and take part in a public dialogue; however, we've never been into dog piles and we're certainly not into public stonings.

One took place last week.  THE NEW REPUBLIC published Dale Peck's "My Mayor Pete Problem" about Pete Buttigieg who has a small but devoted following.  Dale's column was immediately denounced as homophobic -- strange since Dale himself is gay and has been out for his entire career.  We're not hugely impressed with Dale's writing.   He's like Elizabeth Wurtzel to us, someone who is intentionally provocative and then wants to act surprised when some people are outraged.

None of that justified the rage that flew his way last week.  Or THE NEW REPUBLIC's way?  They deserve everything they got.  They elected to publish an article and then, under pressure, they didn't just apologize for it, they pulled it off their website.

Apologize for it?  We don't think the article called for an apology but if the publication had just done that, who cares?  It's their opinion -- no matter how cowardly.

But to censor the article after the fact?

Does no one stand up for the freedom of the press?  Do we not get that freedom of the press includes freedom to offend?

First off, if you missed the article (we did) when it was at THE NEW REPUBLIC, it's not really gone.  You can read it here. And you should if only to fight back against censorship.

Mayor Pete is not above criticism.  Or "Mary Pete" -- Mary Pete is the equivalent phrase to an Uncle Tom.

Dale's criticism is this:

All this makes Mary Pete different from every other left-leaning neoliberal in exactly zero ways. Because let’s face it. The only thing that distinguishes the mayor of South Bend from all those other well-educated reasonably intelligent white dudes who wanna be president is what he does with his dick (and possibly his ass, although I get a definite top-by-default vibe from him, which is to say that I bet he thinks about getting fucked but he’s too uptight to do it). So let’s dish the dish, homos. You know and I know that Mary Pete is a gay teenager. He’s a fifteen-year-old boy in a Chicago bus station wondering if it’s a good idea to go home with a fifty-year-old man so that he’ll finally understand what he is. He’s been out for, what, all of four years, and if I understand the narrative, he married the first guy he dated. And we all know what happens when gay people don’t get a real adolescence because they spent theirs in the closet: they go through it after they come out. And because they’re adults with their own incomes and no parents to rein them in they do it on steroids (often literally). If Shortest Way Home (I mean really, can you think of a more treacly title?) makes one thing clear, Mary Pete was never a teenager. But you can’t run away from that forever. Either it comes out or it eats you up inside. It can be fun, it can be messy, it can be tragic, it can be progenitive, transformative, ecstatic, or banal, but the last thing I want in the White House is a gay man staring down 40 who suddenly realizes he didn’t get to have all the fun his straight peers did when they were teenagers. I’m not saying I don’t want him to shave his chest or do Molly or try being the lucky Pierre (the timing’s trickier than it looks, but it can be fun when you work it out). These are rites of passage for a lot of gay men, and it fuels many aspects of gay culture. But like I said, I don’t want it in the White House. I want a man whose mind is on his job, not what could have been—or what he thinks he can still get away with.

Know something?  He's right.  America should be asking how mature Pete is.  Four years ago he was in the closet?  He's married the first guy he's been with?

As we've noted back when Chaz Bono was Chastity, she should have shut her damn mouth.  As we noted after she became Chaz, he really should have shut his mouth.

He'd accomplished nothing in his life other than being forced out of the closet when he presented himself as the voice of gay America and condemned -- in print and on TV -- Ellen DeGeneres' comedy show ELLEN.  Chaz (then known as Chastity) said ELLEN was too gay -- said it to print publications, said it on THE TONIGHT SHOW.  Confronted by Anne Heche, Bono tried to plead being misunderstood.

The only misunderstanding was Bono think that because she'd finally announced she was a lesbian and because she was Cher's daughter, she'd accomplished something with her life and had insight to share.

Her insight, if you've forgotten, was that Mel Gibson had no prejudice and that he was always nice to her -- even after she came out.

Chaz needed some living under the belt before self-presenting as an expert on anything.

If Dale Peck has correctly portrayed Mayor Pete, Dale's right, we need to ask if Pete is ready.

That's not homophobia. His article is in the grand tradition of gay critiques pioneered by Larry Kramer, Michael Musto, Vito Russo, Andrea Dworkin, Doug Ireland, and others.  How do you miss that? 

Maybe because you belong to the dominant culture and never bothered to learn about others?

The incredibly tiresome, totally out-of-proportion, kind of attacks that a subsection of the left practices on people it finds insufficiently radical are self-defeating to the changes they claim to want. Latest entry, that TNR Mayor Pete piece.

Look, it's the muddled, middle of the road mind of Clara Jeffery.

Wait, she wants to share more stupidity.

If you think someone's not radical enough for you, fine. You're entitled to your opinion, though your attacks don't need to be so asymetrical to the offense. But not gay enough? Not Black enough? Not Latino enough? idk, stfu.

Isn't MOTHER JONES today built upon slamming everyone that doesn't agree with them -- right or left?  Maybe it's Clara that needs to shut the f**k up?  And maybe before she next Tweets about her "headmaster," she might grasp that she's led a life few do and has lacked the curiosity to go beyond her own bubble.  She could start by reading critiques from liberation writers -- including Black Liberation writers like Margaret Kimberley and Glen Ford.

Clara's ignorance is what allows her to attack Dale Peck and to sport her ignorance of gay critiques.

What she proves, yet again, is she real strong when making her own point but not very good at listening to others or at grasping that the world she knows is not the world everyone lives in.  Now she doesn't have to be aware, but if she'd take a little more responsibility, she might be a better critic.  Again, it all comes down to personal responsibility.

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