Thursday, August 29, 2019

Truest statement of the week

The establishment media has provided the vehicle by which this campaign has been waged. Outlets such as the Guardian, the New York Times, cable news channels, the ABC and tabloid media, have faithfully paired Julian Assange’s name and face with selected negative terms, concepts and emotions, over and over and over again, priming automatic unconscious negative emotional responses to Julian Assange.
This has served to foster emotional receptivity to demonising, misleading, counter-factual narratives on Julian Assange, along with narratives that rationalise and minimise his persecution, all of which have been woven from distortion, omission and outright fabrication. The scale of the censorship by omission, including media blackouts on critical pieces of information that undermine official narratives, has been staggering.

In the context of collective violence and atrocity, media that smear targets in this way function as instigators. Their role is to incite passive by-standing by creating what psychologists call an “atrocity generating situation.” In atrocity-generating situations, brutality is normalised and victims are demonised, dehumanised and debased, causing the public to morally and emotionally disengage from their abuse.

-- Lissa Johnson, "Clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson: They are trying to break Assange 'physically and psychologically'" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

Joe Biden’s political career is an exemplar of the price the Democratic Party paid as the Right slid into the dark reaches of the political spectrum.
As overt racism faded in polite society after the 1960s, those committed to beating back the advance of civil rights found proxy issues to dog whistle a racist tune: crime, drugs, welfare and busing. They found a willing partner in a 30-year-old freshman senator: Biden.
Biden hailed from Delaware, whose culture and borders straddled the Mason-Dixon line and whose political and economic life was dominated for decades by the Du Pont family that had helped jumpstart the rebellion against the New Deal. (As Biden would later assure a Republican Rotary Club in South Carolina in advance of his 2008 presidential run, Delaware, a slave state, had only “fought beside the North. … because we couldn’t figure out how to get to the South.”)
As conflict over court-ordered busing roiled his home state, Biden led a crusade against the civil rights measure, later boasting that he made it politically acceptable for other liberals to oppose it. He built alliances with Republican racists like Sen. Jesse Helms (N.C.) and Sen. Strom Thurmond (S.C.), the record-holder for longest filibuster in history, a 24-hour attempt to stall the Civil Rights Act of 1957. During the Reagan administration, Biden, Helms and Thurmond would help usher in an era of mass incarceration, working together to establish racist crack cocaine sentencing guidelines and harsh mandatory minimum drug sentences.
Biden also led the way on budget-slashing: In 1984, with Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Nancy Kassebaum (Kan.), Biden put forward a budget “freeze” that cut deficits by $100 billion more than Reagan proposed and eliminated scheduled increases to Social Security and Medicare. Biden also ranked among the sizable number of Democrats who gave their stamp of approval to signature Reagan victories like increased military spending, privatization and lower taxes for the rich.

-- Branko Maretic, "Joe Biden and the Disastrous History of Bipartisanship:  Biden wants to bring the parties together. But for 50 years, that's meant the Right winning every time" (IN THESE TIMES).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Thursday 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?

On "Dona's reply," I (Jim) need to take some blame.  I do these notes and give credit from time to time.  I don't think I've noted in years that Dona's responsible for the look and that she spends a lot of time going through our illustrations to try to match images to piece. 


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

Editorial: The same never-ending response to the same never-ending war

Iraq. Iraq. Iraq.  If only our presidential candidates weren't such Jan Bradys and could actually address this never ending war.  But they're so desperately pursuing George Glass that they have time for little else.  Meanwhile Iraq continues to flounder.  It's the same issues that have always been present.  The US government keeps installing leaders.  These leaders do not represent the Iraqi people so they are not seen as legitimate.  An illegitimate government is not a government that takes root.

Though Bully Boy Bush overlooked this reality repeatedly while he occupied the Oval Office, by 2012, President Barack Obama realized Nouri al-Maliki was a problem, not a benefit.  When Nouri called after the November 2012 election to congratulate Barack on re-election, Barack refused to speak to him and had the call redirected to Vice President Joe Biden.  In 2010, Barack had trusted his advisors who argued that it was better to stay with Nouri.  Background: In 2010, Iraqis went to the polls.  Conventional wisdom was that Nouri would win re-election as prime minister and win by a large margin.  That did not happen.  For background, this is from the December 1, 2010 "Iraq snapshot:"

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. November 10th a power sharing deal resulted in the Parliament meeting for the second time and voting in a Speaker. And then Iraqiya felt double crossed on the deal and the bulk of their members stormed out of the Parliament. David Ignatius (Washington Post) explains, "The fragility of the coalition was dramatically obvious Thursday as members of the Iraqiya party, which represents Sunnis, walked out of Parliament, claiming that they were already being double-crossed by Maliki. Iraqi politics is always an exercise in brinkmanship, and the compromises unfortunately remain of the save-your-neck variety, rather than reflecting a deeper accord. " After that, Jalal Talabani was voted President of Iraq. Talabani then named Nouri as the prime minister-delegate. If Nouri can meet the conditions outlined in Article 76 of the Constitution (basically nominate ministers for each council and have Parliament vote to approve each one with a minimum of 163 votes each time and to vote for his council program) within thirty days, he becomes the prime minister. If not, Talabani must name another prime minister-delegate. . In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister-delegate. It took eight months and two days to name Nouri as prime minister-delegate. His first go-round, on April 22, 2006, his thirty day limit kicked in. May 20, 2006, he announced his cabinet -- sort of. Sort of because he didn't nominate a Minister of Defense, a Minister of Interior and a Minister of a Natioanl Security. This was accomplished, John F. Burns wrote in "For Some, a Last, Best Hope for U.S. Efforts in Iraq" (New York Times), only with "muscular" assistance from the Bush White House. Nouri declared he would be the Interior Ministry temporarily. Temporarily lasted until June 8, 2006. This was when the US was able to strong-arm, when they'd knocked out the other choice for prime minister (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) to install puppet Nouri and when they had over 100,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. Nouri had no competition. That's very different from today. The Constitution is very clear and it is doubtful his opponents -- including within his own alliance -- will look the other way if he can't fill all the posts in 30 days. As Leila Fadel (Washington Post) observes, "With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) points out, "Maliki now has 30 days to decide on cabinet posts - some of which will likely go to Iraqiya - and put together a full government. His governing coalition owes part of its existence to followers of hard-line cleric Muqtada al Sadr, leading Sunnis and others to believe that his government will be indebted to Iran." The stalemate ends when the country has a prime minister. It is now eight months, twenty-four days and counting. Thursday November 25th, Nouri was finally 'officially' named prime minister-designate. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) explained, "In 30 days, he is to present his cabinet to parliament or lose the nomination." Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) added, "Even if Mr. Maliki meets the 30-day deadline in late December -- which is not a certainty, given the chronic disregard for legal deadlines in Iraqi politics -- the country will have spent more than nine months under a caretaker government without a functioning legislature. Many of Iraq's most critical needs -- from basic services to investment -- have remained unaddressed throughout the impasse." Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera) offered, "He has an extremely difficult task ahead of him, these next 30 days are going to be a very tough sell for all of these parties that all want something very important in this government. It took a record eight months to actually come up with this coalition, but now what al-Maliki has to do is put all those people in the competing positions that backed him into slots in the government and he has a month to day that from today."

It's the same circus every election.  It never moves forward.

They never follow the Iraqi Constitution.

They just do whatever they want and the people see this.

Right now, provincial elections will be held shortly and all indicators are that voting will be down in those elections.

Why vote?

When your vote is overturned by the US government, why vote?

When your 'representatives' don't represent you, why vote?

The Iraqi people are not vested in the Iraqi government because it neither represents nor serves them and that's been the reality of every government since the US-led invasion of 2003.

Nothing's changed.  They move the figure head around but the government still doesn't serve the people.  And yet the US taxpayer is still forking over millions.  In fact, two weeks ago, it was announced that the US taxpayer had 'gifted' $730 million more for this year.

We know the government's corrupt.  We know the money's not going to the people.  We know Iraq is one of the worst ranked countries by Transparency International.  But we keep tossing money out and the question is why?  And why do we continue to use US troops in Iraq?  In 2007, the Democratic-led Congress insisted upon benchmarks being met for continued US deployment in Iraq.

Guess what?

Those benchmarks were never met.  All these years later.  It's time for US troops to come home.  They are not police.  They are not government builders.  They are trained for combat and their mission should be closed.

TV: When entertainment doesn't measure up

So much goes wrong when it comes to entertainment -- unsatisfying endings, non-surprise twists and ho-hum reactions despite all the drama.  But enough about Miley Cyrus' love life.  This is also true of the entertainment streamed, broadcast and whatever else.


NETFLIX has released season two of MINDHUNTER and has the show improved any?

No, not at all.

Which is very frustrating when you consider how talented the main cast is.  Jonathan Groff continues to amaze as Holden, for example, and Holt McCallany continues his Brian Dennehy impression in the role of Bill.  The real disappointment remains Anna Torv.  There's nothing wrong with her performance.  There is something very wrong with the way the writing doles out such tiny portions of her character Helen.

Midway through season one, Helen became part of the Bill and Holden's team and not just the professor they consulted from time to time.  This should have meant Helen was part of the main story but that didn't happen.  Torv, who was so excellent as Olivia on FRINGE and so great in SECRET CITY, nails every minute she's given, but she's given so few.

In the 70s and early 80s (the time is marked by music and TV which is frequently wrong -- the film HARPER VALLEY PTA being watched on a rabbit ear TV, for example, was  over a year too soon), a scientist working for the FBI who is a semi-open lesbian?  That's rather striking and could make for unique stories -- certainly much more unique than Bill's pathetic and stereotypical wife who nags, whines and mainly constricts as people around her don't embrace her precious little son.  In fact, that entire storyline was a text book case in predictability.

Precious won't talk to Bill or look at him.  Wife nags Bill constantly.  Then the babysitter finds a photo of a person -- a dead person -- with a bat up their rear.  It's from a case Bill is working on.  How-how-how!!! Did Precious get the photo?  And, more important because plot purposes always take precedence in bad writing, how will this effect him?

Forget the old nature or nurture argument.  This bad seed is all about Monkey-see-Monkey-do.  So he goes with some older kids to pick on another kid and that kid ends up dead and Precious has the idea to attach him to the cross because -- well -- bad writing.  Just as surely as you saw that coming the minute you learned Precious had the photo, you know that nagging wife will move off with Precious without informing Bill.  No, boys and girls, those aren't spoilers, nothing that predictable could ever qualify as a spoiler.

It's a shame because McCallany deserves better, the viewers deserve better and wasting all that time on that hoary story certainly prevented Anna Torv from getting more airtime.

But let's go back to that middle one -- the viewers deserve better.  They certainly do but, equally true, the show lacks suspense in the main story because they are 'fact based.'  It's a true story.  On three different campuses, we asked if anyone was watching season two of MINDHUNTERS.  Those who were?  They did the same thing we did.  When a character, Wayne Williams, was stopped by the police having thought to have tossed a body off the bridge, we GOOGLEd to see if that was the Atlanta killer. No one we spoke to waited to see the story play out.

So it's the personal stories of the characters that can offer drama and suspense.  And those are the stories that should.  Holden's storylines have.  They need to work harder to bring Helen in more because Anna Torv isn't only a gifted actress, she's also a calling card -- she draws an audience.  And FOX, so desperate to reboot something, anything, somehow overlooked FRINGE thereby explaining why they are always an also run.

Speaking of missing the point, TCM.  It's August -- summer under the stars or whatever they call it.  Each day is devoted to a star.


Each day is devoted to an actor, let's try that.

Dustin Hoffman was one of the choices.  Dustin is extremely gifted and we'd be willing to argue that his performance in TOOTISE -- playing Michael Dorsey pretending to be Dorothy Michaels playing hospital administrator Emily Kimberly -- is the finest any male actor delivered in the 20th century.  But star?  Maybe briefly at the end of the sixties due to THE GRADUATE.  But Dustin was part of the whole anti-star crowd and he remains an actor's actor -- a great actor -- not a star.

AGATHA paired him with Vanessa Redgrave -- a star -- and it was featured on his day.  It's a curious film but it does pull you in the same could not be said about many of his offerings.

Ruth Hussey (known today primarily for her supporting role in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY) is another one who is an actor but not really a star.  Not that a supporting actor or character actor couldn't be a star.  TCM celebrated Walter Brennan and he was a solid choice.  They didn't celebrate Thelma Ritter but she would be an example of a character actor who was a drawing card.

And while someone like Ann Sothern was a star in her day, Liv Ulmann was never a star in the United States.

For every Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and Errol Flynn -- actual stars -- TCM packed a lot of nonsense.  We could assist them by pointing out that Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Doris Day, Barbara Stanwyck, Judy Garland, Natalie Wood, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Diana Ross (to fill out a day, you could utilize her TV movies and we've noticed TCM has not been opposed to TV movies with some stars and/or they could utilize her concert films and or musical specials), Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Jack Nicholson and Goldie Hawn are stars.  Not one of them got a day of celebration.

But the one that stands out most to us?

Bob Hope.

Is it his politics?  We're anti-war as hell but we don't really care where Bob stood on the issue.  If he makes a funny movie, it's a funny movie.  And though you wouldn't know it to watch TCM but Bob has made a ton of funny movies.  MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE, MY FAVORITE BLOND, THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (or, as you may know it by the later rip off LIAR LIAR), THE CAT AND THE CANARY, BOY DID I GET A WRONG NUMBER and MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE - among others.

TCM loves to show THE FACTS OF LIFE -- with Lucille Ball -- and has done a solid job of rediscovering/reviving Bob's film with Katharine Hepburn (THE IRON PETTICOAT -- a NINOTCHKA remake).  But they honestly don't appear to grasp that Bob Hope was a star -- one of the biggest of his era.

They also seem to forget Alan Ladd was a star.  They did finally show THE GLASS KEY this year but it was for a day celebrating Brian Donlevy.  They don't know Alan Ladd was a star and they don't know Veronica Lake was a star but they're convinced never-was Donlevy was really something.  (He really, really wasn't.)

Will things get better?

We can always hope.  Encouraging signs, in the last 12 months, they were able to feature some live action DISNEY films including THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD.  That's a Kurt Russell film and he has a host of DISNEY classics.  And there's this upcoming Thursday, September 26th when they'll be offering some James Bond films (THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, LICENSE TO KILL, GOLDENEYE TOMORROW NEVER DIES and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH).  There's also the addition of Dave Karger and Alicia Malone as full time hosts.  A host needs to make you feel comfortable, like you're watching the movie with a friend and Dave and Alicia radiate warmth and joy.  If only they controlled the entertainment world right now, the box office might not be in a slump, viewers might not be waiting desperately for new programming and streaming services might truly satisfy.

The next Democratic debate


Houston is the location for the next Democratic Party presidential nominees debate.  It will take place in September.  Unlike June and July's debates, September will only have one debate -- not two -- and all qualifying candidates will be on the stage at the same time.  This go round, that will only be ten candidates.

We are down to twenty candidates still in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential debate.  Mike Gravel, Seth Moulton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Eric Swalwell, John Hickenlooper and Jay Inslee have all dropped out of the race.  The next debate will take place in Houston and only ten candidates have qualified for it: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Amy Klobouchar and Beto O'Roarke.

The ten that didn't qualify?  Many met the donations requirement that the DNC imposed but they failed to poll above 1% in four DNC approved polls.  Here are the ten who did not make it:

Author Marianne Williamson
•Billionaire Tom Steyer
•Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
•Sen. Michael Bennett
•Montana Governor Steve Bullock
•Rep. John Delaney
•Rep. Tim Ryan
•New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
•Former Rep. Joe Sestak
•Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam

Tulsi Gabbard?  You may hear her complaining.  She was in the previous two debates and never complained when, for example, Seth Moulton did not make the debate stage.  But now that she didn't make the cut, suddenly the rules are unfair and arbitrary.

That's really stupid.  It makes her both a cry baby and a hypocrite.  The rules?  She was fine with them when others were being hurt by them; however, now that it's her being hurt, suddenly it's unfair and something to whine to the press about.

Life is too short, Pat, so why waste precious time?


Pat Benatar had a promising career.  Then she turned it over to her husband.



And that's what people should be asking when they see the poster for her current tour (above).

Neil Giraldo is Pat's husband.  She's yet another woman who's refused to own her own strength and instead spends far too much time building up the fragile ego of her husband.

Neil getting his name on the poster is the biggest laugh he's provided since we read his vainty post at WIKIPEDIA.  No other guitarist or producer works so hard to steal credit from the artist.  But that's Neil.  He didn't accomplish much with his life so he tries to ride Pat's name to glory.

Pat Benatar is a name that sells tickets.  Her pretense that Neil does is just appalling.

The Female Stars

As a follow up to "The Male Stars," we offer the ten biggest female stars of the 20th century.  These are actresses in film and they are being judged on star power.

true confession

1) Marilyn Monroe.

2) Carole Lombard.

3) Bette Davis.

4) Natalie Wood.

5) Goldie Hawn.

6) Doris Day.

7) Diana Ross.

8) Mae West.

9) Michelle Pfeiffer.

10) Jane Fonda.

Tweet of the week

The issue is how do they get away with it. Liberals have nerve to talk about how ignorant Trump supporters are supposed to be.

Dona's reply


Two editions ago, Jim and Ty wrote pieces and it was noted that I'd hoped to write a piece but didn't.  This prompted an e-mail:

As a woman, you should know that it is important to use your voice.  You allowed two men to speak by themselves and provided no female alternative.  I don't understand how you could do that and, in sisterhood, I ask you to seriously reconsider what you owe us.

Well, thanks, dear, but I don't owe you anything.

In addition, my contribution to this site has been (a) short pieces and (b) visuals.  I contributed with visuals on that edition (as well as writing on the group writing pieces) and I contributed by finding the best Tweet for that edition's "Tweet of the week."

This edition?

I've spent four hours going through various cell phones we have to look and see if there were any photos worth selecting for visuals.  After that, I determined whether they worked as photos.  If so, did I need to go in and sharpen the images.  If they didn't work as photos, would they be good source materials for sketches or for paintings?  We worked two of them into paintings (one is at the top of this piece).

One of the photos I hope will lead to a piece this edition.  May not.  But it's the same topic as the Tweet I selected two editions back and we weren't aware we had any sort of photo.

Jess and I work on editing of the written pieces.  (Jess also didn't do an individual piece two editions ago but he wasn't accused of forgetting what he "owed" anyone.)

Every edition, there is a media piece.  That is written by Ava and C.I.  Sometimes, that is the only piece that is not a group writing piece.

We are all -- the women and the men who work on this site -- feminists.

That should be obvious by our output.  If it's not, maybe you need to do some serious work on yourself.  I'd love to go into that with you but I've got to go a website to look through public domain photos and that'll probably take and hour and a half and may or may not produce anything we can use for a feature this edition.

This edition's playlist


1) Taylor Swift's  LOVER.

2) Tanya Tucker's WHILE I'M LIVING.

3) Sam Smith's THE THRILL OF IT ALL.

4) Judy Garland's ALONE.

5) James Blake's ASSUME FORM.

6) Dionne Warwick's SHE'S BACK.

7)  Chaka Khan's HELLO HAPPINESS.

8)  Cat PowersWANDERER.

9)  Mavis StaplesWE GET BY.

10)  Mavis Staples' LIVE IN LONDON.

Some Tweets from the Green Party

  • Four Pillars Youth T-Shirt - We belong to the party for the future let's share the 4 pillars that unite Greens around the world. Super soft from recycled materials made w/ our Green values in mind. 100% Cotton, union printed in the US.
  • Photographs from the 2019 Annual National Meeting held in Salem, Massachusetts can now be viewed on our Flickr album
  • The Green Pages The Newspaper of the Green Party of the United States
  • The GPUS National Committee has announced the election of four co-chairs and secretary Trahern Crews and Kristin Combs were newly elected co-chairs, joining Gloria Mattera & Tony Ndege, both re-elected to a second term. David Gerry was elected secretary
  • Congratulations! Detroit will be hosting next year’s Presidential Nominating Convention in July.
  • This year’s Telethon will feature live interviews and videos with candidates discussing issues that matter to you! Coming Thu. Sep 19th!
  • Photographs from the 2019 Annual National Meeting held in Salem, Massachusetts can now be viewed on our Flickr album
  • "Help us keep the ice in Iceland," says Katrin Jakobsdottir, Left-Green Prime Minister of Iceland. "Climate change is melting glaciers worldwide. Only we can stop it."
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