Monday, September 02, 2019

Truest statement of the week

Jeffery Epstein and Jay-Z are not the same, but they have the same class interests. These interests have been the subject of much debate in recent weeks, with Epstein’s reported death and Jay-Z’s lucrative collaboration with the National Football League (NFL) dominating headlines. Epstein’s supposed suicide in a Manhattan cell served as a catalyst for heightened suspicions about foul play and whether his connections to prominent ruling elites such as the Clinton family, Donald Trump, and Israeli intelligence rendered him vulnerable to murder. Jay-Z’s deal with the NFL inserted Colin Kaepernick’s protest of racist policing back into the political conversation. What isn’t being talked about is how Epstein and Jay-Z are much more than mere “bad actors.” They are representatives of the billionaire ruling class responsible for much of the misery that exists on this planet.

-- Danny Haiphong, "Jeffery Epstein, Jay-Z, and the Miserable World Created by the Billionaire Ruling Class" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

If BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon had not passed away in June, he would be having a field day with Monday’s New York Times article  describing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s assiduous “courting” of big-wig Democrats, assuring them of her rock-hard loyalty to the party, in supposed contrast to Bernie Sanders’ call  for “a mass movement, a political revolution in this country.” The Times makes a convincing case that Warren – now in a three-way tie  with Sanders and Joe Biden, according to a new Monmouth Poll – is craftily courting the super-delegates that will cast decisive votes on the second ballot of a brokered convention. Bruce would call it the barking of rival sheep dogs, both of whom are committed to keeping left-leaning voters safely within the Democratic herd.
If the Democratic contest were really about determining which candidate was best-suited to defeat Donald Trump and send a Democratic majority to the Senate, Sanders would be the nominee by acclamation. He and Biden are the only Democrats that polls show beating Trump  – but Biden is melting like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz, and will soon be nothing more than a puddle of gaffes, lies and smirks on the pavement of history. Warren wants to convince the party’s gate-keepers that, despite her numerous “plans” to curb corporate power and her recent “I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All ” declaration, she can be trusted to put the party’s cohesion first. 

-- Glen Ford, "Is Warren Talented Enough to Betray the People as Masterfully as Obama?" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week III

Taking these four elements together, we begin to see a reasonably clear picture of the economic mechanics of the American empire. Imperial power backstops cheap imports and the ability to run endless budget and trade deficits. Various countries absolutely have been brutally subjugated to protect the profits of American businesses over the years. Others have been trapped in debt peonage by U.S.-backed IMF austerity programs, while the grinding poverty of the Global South effectively protects America’s disproportionate share of world resources.
But here’s the main point: The downsides, even for Americans, are far more numerous. American prosperity—by which I mean the standard of living of typical Americans—in no way depends on this empire, and the broad American public is in no way the major beneficiary of the system it promulgates. Instead, it is run in the interests of a tiny class of business executives, investors, and military contractors. The American people are routinely victimized by the same ruthless bankers and pharmaceutical executives running riot in the Global South.
And this leads to an important political conclusion. It would be very possible to reform the world economic structure to allow poorer countries to build up their prosperity without truly harming the broad American public. Above all, the U.S. economy would have to be become drastically more efficient—which should be possible given technological developments. Carbon- and pollution-spewing coal and natural gas power plants could be replaced with renewables (which are now price-competitive with fossil fuels) and nuclear power. Gas-guzzling SUVs could be replaced with smaller electric cars. Heating and cooling for buildings could be made drastically more efficient with electric heat pumps and improved insulation. And all without sacrificing growth—one model suggests a green U.S. economy could be 158 percent larger by 2050.

-- Ryan Cooper, "The Empire Strikes Out: How American empire is a net drain -- even for Americans." (DEMOCRACY).

A note to our readers

Hey --


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?

Danny Haiphong gets another truest.
As does Glen Ford.
Ryan Cooper gets a truest.
The losing war goes on forever.
Ava and C.I. take on the talk shows who try to pretend they are something more than that.
You liked it so we're bringing it back for a second round.
Only Bernie's addressing this serious issue.
Jimmy Dore.--
FEMINISTING is no more?
Someday . . . 
Should they stay or should they go?
What we listened to while writing this edition.
Green Party.
Green Party.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: How much longer?

ISIS was never defeated.  The press keeps insisting that ISIS is staging a comeback but it was never defeated.  Ali al-Sarraf (THE ARAB WEEKLY) observes:

Is there something more revealing of the nature of the Iraqi regime than the Islamic State?
Everybody is saying the Islamic State (ISIS) is “making a comeback.” ISIS had never left in the first place and it was not defeated. The mechanisms responsible for producing it have continued to spin without interruption.
Despite the collapse of ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliphate, no one dared say that a definitive victory was achieved over this organisation. There was no official announcement to that effect and the field commanders could still smell the presence of the enemy even though they did not see it or dared track it.
Wherever ISIS went, there was devastation. That’s hardly surprising and would not have changed anything coming from an organisation whose strategy is based on destruction.
Similarly, as long as there existed militias created and supported by Iran for the purpose of sustaining corruption and desolation, it was only natural that there would be militias that do not find it difficult or fearful to produce devastation everywhere.

The ISIS “production machine” has never ceased operating. All that the war on ISIS did was to destroy some of the “goods” that came out of the production line.

ISIS was not defeated.  All those bombings, all the destruction and it accomplished nothing.  Well, nothing worth praising.  Mosul was destroyed in the bombings.  And today?

Osama Bin Javaid (AL JAZEERA) reports:

Two years after ISIL was evicted from Mosul, the city still struggles with electricity, water, healthcare and other basic services and reintegrating close to half a million people has been a slow bureaucratic challenge with thousands having lost identification papers and other important documents during the war.
People in the city are saying that it will take a lot of effort to rebuild Mosul, and they will need international support, too.
With the totality of the destruction, many have tried to rebuild, given up and left, but still others are determined to stay.

The Iraq War, nearly 17 years later, has still not been won.  It never will be.  How many more lives and how much more money will be wasted to continue this never-ending war that accomplishes nothing?

TV: Cable 'news' just got even worse

They are not news programs.  They are talk shows.  At best, they are public affairs programs.  They are not news shows.


The confusion appears to come from all over.  Amy Goodman's DEMOCRACY NOW!, aka the sinkhole all PACIFICA dollars went into, is wrongly called a news program.  It is not.  FREE SPEECH RADIO NEWS, while it was broadcasting, was a news program.  It featured reporting as well as headlines.  All Amy offers is headlines.  Then she does sit-down interviews.  Every now and then -- especially if she has a speaking appearance -- she'll hit the road and pretend that yet another sit down interview (but this one done on location) makes DEMOCRACY NOW! a news program.  It doesn't.

There's nothing wrong with being a talk show.

Just don't try to inflate it into more than it is.

Cable "news" is not news.  CNN used to do breaking news regularly.  Every now and then, it still does.  But mainly, it's just the home of talk shows.  MSNBC has never really tried to be more than a talk show network -- even when they were sending Ashleigh Banfield all around the globe for A REGION IN CONFLICT, she was still basically hosting a talk show.

Last week, a talk show host revealed just how what they do is not about news.

What happened was this, Hedda Hopper 'reported' that MGM production chief Dore Schary was not to be trusted and that the studio could be considered "Metro-Goldwyn-Moscow."  Dore and the studio threatened to sue and Dore also got an apology from Norman Chandler, the publisher of THE LOS ANGELES TIMES.  Hedda was forced to issue a public apology.

Huh?  That's not what happened?  Sure seemed like it to us.

Lawrence O'Donnell went on the air with a single-sourced story that he repeated as valid and as factual.  The story was of course anti-Donald Trump.  MSNBC has destroyed its ratings and reputation as it turned itself into the Captain Ahab of the 21st century.  This voyage, this week, was always the one that was going to take the president down.

The talk show host told his audience that, according to someone he knew who saw Deutsche Bank records, Russian oligarchs were co-signers on Donald Trump's loan applications.

The story imploded immediately.

It never happened.  Legal action was threatened and Lawrence Tweeted that he would be apologizing on his next show.  On that episode, he declared, "Last night on this show, I discussed information that wasn't ready for reporting.  I repeated statements a single source told me about the president's finances and loan documents with Deutshe Bank saying 'if true,' as I discussed the information, was simply not good enough.  I did not go through the rigorous verification and standards process here at MSNBC before repeating what I heard from my source.  Had it gone through that process, I would not have been permitted to report it.  I should not have said it on air or posted it on Twitter.  I was wrong to do so."

David Bauder (AP) explained:

When he initially reported on the supposed co-signing of the loans on Tuesday, O'Donnell said "that would explain, it seems to me, every kind word that Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and Vladimir Putin, if true, and I stress the 'if true' part of this." 
 The episode exhibited a stunning lack of rigor for a news organization. In a letter to Susan Weiner, NBC Universal's general counsel, and Daniel Kummer, the company's senior vice president for litigation, Harder called O'Donnell's statements "false and defamatory, and extremely damaging."

Bauder also observed that the incident "shows the inherent tension in the business model of building programming on news networks that are not necessarily run by journalists."

Lawrence isn't a journalist, he's a gossip maven like Hedda Hopper -- not even an independent gossip columnist like Sheila Graham or Dorothy Kilgallen, but a controlled one like Hedda doing the bidding of the studios (or, in Lawrence's case, the DNC).

At THE WASHINGTON POST, Eric Wemple got to the point:

With his repeated “if true” caveats, O’Donnell was mocking the core idea of journalism — which is to say, the verification of stray tips and rumors. Reporters and TV hosts mess up all the time, broadcasting scoops that turn out to be flimsy or just plain untrue. The mistakes stem from poor execution, misunderstandings, uncooperative subjects, stupidity, groupthink — and any number of other considerations that fall short of warranting disciplinary action. Here, the catastrophe appears to flow from one man’s conclusion that having Russian oligarchs on Trump loan documents is a story that’s too good to check. When we asked an MSNBC spokesperson whether O’Donnell did indeed check with someone in the Trump orbit before his report, we received another decline-to-comment response.
Is such a fellow fit to host an MSNBC program?

"If true" has been a pattern for MSNBC as have implosions.  Shane Ryan (PASTE) points out, "Rachel Maddow has done the exact same thing, on a lesser but more persistent scale, and it’s not confined to MSNBC—Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept documented the ten most embarrassing media failures on Trump-Russia."  Journalist Aaron Mate now does a program at THE GRAYZONE entitled PUSH BACK.  On a recent episode, he provided a walk through of the nonsense MSNBC regularly passes off as 'information' and 'news:'

AARON MATÉ: When it comes to the Trump-Russia story, the idea of “a rigorous verification and standards process” at MSNBC is a joke. The bulk of this network’s output for more than two years has been innuendo and conspiracy theories about a non-existent Trump-Russia plot and a massive Russia interference campaign. This also was not the first time that MSNBC has used the ‘if true’ caveat to put something on air. Take the time Lawrence O’Donnell himself speculated that Vladimir Putin orchestrated a chemical weapons attack in Syria to distract the media from his ties to Donald Trump. 

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: If Vladimir Putin, if, if, if Vladimir Putin masterminded the last week in Syria, he has gotten everything he could have asked for…. Go ahead. Do a small chemical attack. Nothing – nothing like the big ones you’ve done in the past. Just big enough to attract media attention so that my friend in the White House will see it on TV. And then Donald Trump can fire some missiles at Syria that will do no real damage, and then the American news media will change the subject from Russian influence in the Trump campaign and the Trump transition and the Trump White House. It’s perfect. 

 AARON MATÉ: By the way that was in April 2017 — more than two years ago. Fast forward to say, July 2018, when MSNBC’s Chris Hayes brought on liberal writer Jonathan Chait to ponder if Donald Trump has been a Russian military intelligence asset since 1987. 

CHRIS HAYES: In a new cover story for New York Magazine, Writer Jonathan Chait argues we have not allowed ourselves to consider the full range of possibilities. Chait lays out what could be considered the worst-case scenario for Trump-Russia collusion, that Donald Trump has been a Russian intelligence asset since 1987. 

 AARON MATÉ: Then there’s Rachel Maddow. I don’t know, take your pick. How about, Putin may use the pee tape and other kompromat to force Trump into withdrawing US troops near Russia. 

RACHEL MADDOW: And here’s the question. Is the new president going to take those troops out? After all the speculation, after all the worry, we are actually about to find out if Russia maybe has something on the new president? We’re about to find out if the new president of our country is going to do what Russia wants once he’s commander-in-chief of the U.S. military starting noon on Friday. What is he going to do with those deployments? 

 AARON MATÉ: Trump didn’t withdraw those troops. How about also, Vladimir Putin got Trump to hire Paul Manafort as his campaign manager. 

RACHEL MADDOW: I mean, take the view from Moscow. If you know a guy who needs a presidential campaign manager, how about our friend Paul? Right? From the Russian’s point of view, who would be the better choice to run Donald Trump’s presidential campaign? From our perspective in the United States, Paul Manafort made no sense. Who’s he? From the Russian perspective, he’d be the obvious choice. 

AARON MATÉ: Speaking of hiring decisions, there was also Vladimir Putin getting Trump to hire Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. 

RACHEL MADDOW: Rex Tillerson – who Donald Trump had never met, had never had anything to do with before, had never laid eyes on before. How did Rex Tillerson get that job? He must have come very highly recommended – by someone. [MSNBC screen shows Putin with Tillerson]. 

AARON MATÉ: By the way, when Trump later fired Rex Tillerson, Maddow blamed that on Putin as well. So you get the picture. Lawrence O’Donnell’s story was not MSNBC’s first glaring error. Before this one, there was just no accountability for them. But the biggest problem here is not that these stories are embarrassing the cable news hosts and pundits who promote them. The Trump- Russia conspiracy theory has degraded journalism, and seriously undermining the actual resistance to Donald Trump.

Aaron's just providing an overview and that's already an indictment.  There is no news on MSNBC.  There are no standards. But talk show hosts think they can get away with pretending to be journalists  "and," as the Shangri-Las once said, "that's called sad."

So you think you know the classics

Forget fourth graders, are you smarter than a liberal arts major?  Test your knowledge this go round and find out.


Yes, you liked it, so it's back.  Below you will find the opening paragraph or paragraphs to six classic books.  Can you identify them?

Wait, we'll make it easier for you.

After the six excerpts, there are eight possible books that the six can be from.

Can you match them up?


1) Brrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiinng!
An alarm clock clanged in the dark and silent room.  A bed spring creaked.  A woman's voice sang out impatiently: 
"Bigger, shut that thing off!"
A surly grunt sounded above the tinny ring of metal. Naked feet swished dryly across the planks in the wooden floor and the clang ceased abruptly.

2) At five o'clock that morning reveille was sounded, as usual, by the blows of a hammer on a length of rail hanging up near the staff quarters.  The intermittent sounds barely penetrated the windowpanes on which the frost lay two fingers thick, and they ended almost as soon as they'd begun.  It was cold outside, and the campguard was reluctant to go on beating out the reveille for long.

3) Mrs. Thomas Beresford shifted her position on the divan and looked gloomily out of the window of the flat.  The prospect was not an extended one, consisting solely of a small block of flats on the other side of the road.  Mrs. Beresford sighed and then yawned.
"I wish," she said, "something would happen."

4) Vienna was the city of statues.  They were as numerous as the people who walked the streets.  They stood on the top of the highest towers, lay down on stone tombs, sat on horesback, kneeled, prayed, fought animals and wars, danced, drank wine and read books made of stone.  They adorned cornices like the figureheads of old ships.  They stood in the heart of fountains glistening with water as if they had just been born.  They sat under trees in the parks summer and winter.  Some wore costumes of other periods, and some no clothes at all.  Men, women, children, kings, dwarfs, gargoyles, unicorns, lions, clowns, heroes, wise men, prophets, angels, saints and soldiers preserved for Vienna an illusion of eternity.
As a child Renate could see them from her bedroom window.  At night, when the white muslin curtains fluttered out like ballooning wedding dresses, she heard them whispering like figures which had been petrified by a spell during the day and came alive only at night.  Their silence by day taught her to read their frozen lips as one reads the messages of deaf mutes.  On rainy days their granite eye sockets shed tears mixed with soot.
Renate would never allow anyone to tell her the history of the statues, or to identify them.  This would have situated them in the past.  She was convinced that people did not die, they became statues.  they were people under a spell and if she were watchful enough they would tell her who they were and how they lived now.

5) You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.  I arrived her yesterday; and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare, and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.

6) The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the tress of the garden there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

7) In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

8) 1801 -- I have just returned from a visit to my landlord -- the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.  This is beautiful country! In all of Englad, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society.  A perfect misanthropist's Heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us.  A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.

9) Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
"Out to the hoghouse," replied Mr.s Arable.  "Some pigs were born last night."
"I don't see why he needs an ax," continued Fern, who was only eight.
"Well," said her mother, "one of the pigs is a runt.  It's very small and weak, and it will never amount to anything.  So your father has decided to do away with it."
"Do away with it?" Shrieked Fern.  "You mean kill it?  Just because it's smaller than the others?"
Mrs. Arable put a pticher of cream o the table.  "Don't yell Fern!" she said. "Your father is right.  The pig would probably die anyway."
Fern pushed a chair out of the way and ran outdoors.  The grass was wet and the earth smelled of springtime.  Fern's sneakers were sopping by the time she caught up with her father.

10) Day One
Maybe I shouldn't have given the guy who pumped my stomach my phone number, but who cares?  My life is over anyway.  Besides, what was I supposed to do?  He came up to my room and gave me that dumb stuffed animal that looks like a thumb, and there I was lying in bed twelve hours after an overdose.  I wasn't feeling my most attractive.  I'd thrown up scallops and Percodan on him the night before in the emergency room.  I thought that it would be impolite to refuse to give him my number.  He probably won't call, anyway.  No one will ever call me again.

Ten works cited are:




E) Anais Nin's COLLAGES.


G) Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN.

H) Agatha Christie's PARTNERS IN CRIME.


J) Richard Wright's NATIVE SON.

K) F. Scott Fitzgerald's THE GREAT GATSBY.

So how did you do?

Not sure?

Need to check or maybe to cheat?

Fine, the key is below.

1) J
2) I
3) H
4) E
5) G
6) F

Drugs and Bernie Sanders

At DEMOCRACY, Ryan Cooper notes:

That brings me to the third and most obvious cases of imperial economic power—direct foreign intervention on behalf of business, where the state’s military or diplomatic power is used to protect American companies overseas. Many of these go way back in time, from the “banana republics” of the United Fruit Company backed by American military power in the early twentieth century (“I was a gangster for capitalism,” wrote U.S. Major General Smedley Butler), to the 20-year occupation of Haiti to protect a U.S. sugar company. Today, this is more likely to take a form like presidents pushing slanted trade deals to protect the profits of U.S. pharmaceutical, entertainment, and financial companies.
Take the drug industry. President Bill Clinton badly worsened the developing AIDS epidemic in southern Africa by attempting to stymie South African President Nelson Mandela’s plan to import cheap drugs from non-U.S. countries. President Obama consistently pushed to limit access to cheap generic drugs for poor countries, particularly through provisions in the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership, leading to multiple acrimonious disputes with Doctors Without Borders, among others. The obvious motivation was to jack up profits for American drug firms.
These cases unarguably constitute economic imperialism, reflecting the fact that business elites have tremendous influence over the machinery of the American state. But only a small fraction of the population works in those industries—and an even smaller group of investors and executives collect most of the profits.
Those high drug prices have been disastrous for Americans as well. As of 2015, the United States spends some $1,443 per person on prescription drugs—over twice what France spends, and nearly three times what the Netherlands spends—entirely because of this corporate profiteering.
After years of steep price hikes on insulin—a century-old medication—diabetic Americans are routinely bankrupted by drug costs, and some have died. And it’s not just insulin. The EpiPen cost about $76 in 2001 but after Mylan Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to the technology in 2007 it jacked up the price; by 2016 it cost $634 for a pack of two.

Yes, drugs are big business and the US government works for Big Pharma and not for the American people.

Who's campaign has hit on this issue?

Only one: Senator Bernie Sanders.

The inventors of insulin sold the patent for $1. A vial costs $6 to make. Drugmakers sell it for $300 a vial in the United States. That level of greed is scandalous, it is outrageous, and when we win it is going to end.

The greed is scandalous and it needs to stop.

Know what else is scandalous?

America is becoming an episode of LIFE ACCORDING TO JIM.  A bad episode?  All the episodes of that show are bad.  But in one episode, Jim Belushi's character buys drugs for animals to give to the family because he's let the insurance lap and doesn't want anyone to know.


Dona checks everyone's phones from time to time.  We're all snapping things that might be of interest.  She goes through them every few weeks and saves whatever photos we might be able to use here.  This one comes from Ava's phone and she took it at a WALMART -- she doesn't remember which state they were in.


WALMART's pharmacy advertises that they have pet insulin and can sell it for $24.88 a vial.

Do you really think WALMART believes pet owners are buying it for their pets?

No, they know better.

It's all wink-wink and pretend that Big Pharma isn't screwing everyone of us.

Bernie's so far the only one running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination who grasps that and is willing to fight for We The People.

Video of the week

The ever shrinking internet

The internet gets smaller and smaller.

We're not talking about the increased restrictions on the medium that was supposed to be a freewheeling exchange in the public square.  But, yes, there is that.  No, we're talking about the large numbers of sites that keep shutting down.

Delilah Boyd and her site A SCRIVNER'S LAMENT are sorely missed.  Anne Zook's PEEVISH . . . I'M JUST SAYING is also missed.  Centrists needing to be fed DNC talking points passed off as personal opinion no doubt miss Jude Nagurney Camwell's IDDYBUD and Chris D. Andersen's INTERESTING TIMES.  Jude was infamously non-anti-war.  Remember she's the one who told readers that Cindy Sheehan's Camp Casey wasn't about ending the war, Cindy just wanted an answer to her question.  Yes, Jude was that far up the DNC's ass.  Like many loser women, she was a John Edwards cheerleader in 2008.  But there is worse -- for example, the always undemocratic and authoritarian Latoya Peterson.  She is not missed nor is her blog RACIALICIOUS.


Remember her?  She's stopped blogging, thankfully, and found another tit to suck off of -- she's at the intersection of hip-hop and AI these days.  Artificial intelligence?  That may be the closest to actual intelligence that Latoya ever gets.  Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Hermetically sealed 'independent' media,"  back in 2010, detailed the snit fit she got into when Marc Steiner and Normal Solomon expressed the option of someone challenging Barack Obama -- a primary challenge -- in 2012.  That, Latoya insisted, was "tantamount to a betrayal."  As Ava and C.I. reported:

After Norman's agreed with Steiner, Latoya is pronouncing the idea "tantamount to a betrayal." What? Yes, according to Latoya, if Barack is challenged, it would be a betrayal. At this point, she once again wanted to speak for Latino voters. It was a thread that just didn't die throughout the broadcast which should have been billed as For Latino Voters Who We Won't Allow To Speak For Themselves. It would be a betrayal "disappointing us," she said including Latinos in her 'us,' and "you need to give this man a chance!"

While David Swanson tried not to look at anyone and awkwardly sat in silence, Norman had the good sense to challenge her, "Well where is the betrayal? Are you saying he betrayed us or we're betraying him if we don't give him a second term on a silver platter?"

"I don't think we should give him a second term on a silver platter," insisted Latoya -- apparently eyeing plastic trays at the Dollar General instead. "I think we need to hold him more accountable. But I think if White progressives were to say, 'Okay now we're going to chuck this Black guy, we're going to get somebody else in, we're going to find an Edwards that doesn't have a scandal . . .'"

She never came up for air and we don't serve in her court so we'll cut fat mouth off right there to inject some reality. No one had identified a potential candidate -- not as male or female, and certainly not the race, How telling that Latoya automatically assumed it would be a White man. And how stupid is she? Edwards' run for the presidency wasn't brought down by a sex scandal. That scandal was covered up and only exploded long after he'd shut down his campaign. In fact, if he hadn't hid out in a hotel bathroom, he probably could have gotten away with the scandal. (Edwards, while married to Elizabeth Edwards, had multiple affairs. One such affair produced a child.)

Norman would point out that the candidate could be an African-American. To which Latoya wanted to insist, "We could take Rosa Clemente seriously." We could.

We suppose we could.

In 2008, we certainly did. Check the archives. Rosa Clemente was named as Cynthia McKinney's running mate July 9, 2008. Basically four months later, the 2008 election was held. That's approximately 16 weeks in which she could have been covered as a candidate. This site publishes weekly. Check our archives and you get approximately 40 results, the bulk of that during the period when she ran. If only 16 articles had appeared mentioning, we still would have done a strong job covering her run -- especially since everyone writing for this site except for us declared for Ralph Nader in the election. This wasn't a McKinney-Clemente site.

"We could take Rosa Clemente seriously," Latoya Peterson insisted. But we did. We already did.

By contrast -- you knew there'd be a "by contrast," didn't you -- Racialicious?

Latoya Peterson's site has about five articles. Three of which mentioned Rosa during the time she was running for office. Well two. One of the three mentions was actually in a comment to an article by Latoya -- an article that didn't mention Rosa. Well one. See both September articles that show up in the search? Latoya didn't write about Rosa. People leaving comments did.

November 3, 2008, Latoya writes, "It's the day before November 4th [Election Day], and it occurs to me that we have not provided much coverage to other candidates outside of Obama." She claims that "my lack of posting does not mean that I have not been paying attention" to Cynthia and Rosa. But she calls Rosa "Afro-Latina" and Rosa rejected "Latina." We wrote about that during the 2008 campaign. So obviously, if Latoya didn't know that she wasn't paying attention. She appears to have written her only article solely because Women's Media Center did a piece on the campaign. (Finally did a piece on the campaign. We actively campaigned offline to get WMC to do a piece on the historic campaign. It required a lot of screaming and the threat that we'd do more pieces like this one online if Cynthia's run wasn't covered.)

"We could take Rosa Clemente seriously," said Latoya -- apparently unaware how many of us already had.

Latoya, by contrast, refused to take Rosa seriously.

Don't push your blame off anyone else, Latoya, you own up to it.

But owning up would require growing up and that's why we have to talk about how tokenism is hurting the left. Norman -- and only Norman -- tried to fight back against Latoya's idea that Barack must be handed a second term and her lunatic assertion that Barack not getting a second term would be a betrayal. As he pointed out, "The people being foreclosed, they don't care what race the president is, the people in Afghanistan who are dying don't care what the race of the president is."

Latoya was having none of it, insisting, "It's not just about the race of the president on its face. It's a lot of the symbolism. It's about reciprocation. It's about feeling like Black people who are part of a political president. It's about little Black kids being able to touch Obama's head and say, 'My president has hair like me.'" And on and on she continued.

We don't need it. If her maturity level is such that the nation need suffer two terms of Barack Obama so that some mythical child can touch his head, that's on her and her stupidity and her immaturity. She sounded so much like Cokie Roberts in the late nineties insisting Bill Clinton must resign "for the children."

Barack's not even Black, he's bi-racial. Will Latoya tell those mythical Black children rushing up to touch Barack on the head -- that is a racist image Latoya's promoting -- that Barack's mother was White? Will doing so make it hard for these mythical children? Is that why we have to lie? As part of some grand social engineering scheme?

2008 was the year the crazy ran free which is why C.I. dubed it "2008: The Year Of Living Hormonally."  And it is when so much went wrong, but we'll come back to that.

Over the weekend, we were surprised to learn that FEMINSTING was no more.  There's been no announcement but how else to explain a daily site that hasn't published anything new in six months?

That's almost when they stopped Tweeting as well.  To be clear, they reTweet near daily.  But the last Tweet FEMINISTING bothered to write was months ago.

Joe Biden officially joins the presidential race today, after a long decorated career of promoting white supremacy and misogyny. Thread:

FEMINISTING closing shop is sad.  SHAKESVILLE?  Time to hoot and holler?

We didn't know the site or Melissa McEwan until 2008 when e-mail after e-mail began pouring in from African-American woman who had brief online encounters with Melissa.  Brief?  When she replies to your comment with an attack and bans you, that's brief.

Shakesville, it turned out, wasn't an online community, it was a city in northern Guyana.  A cult, in fact, with Melissa presiding.  And it became so obvious that a TUMBLR account sprung up just to document how abusive Melissa had become.

Joanna Mang (THE OUTLINE) traces the demise of SHAKESVILLE and zooms in on 2008:

But somewhere around the 2008 election, under the pressure of moderate popularity, Shakesville suffered the Internet equivalent of a collective psychotic break.
I suppose you could blame Barack Obama. Liberal bloggers of the aughts were first and foremost anti-war; we hated the Iraq invasion, we were discouraged by Bush’s re-election, we were queasy at the flag lapel pins and all that Lee Greenwood shit. Then two things happened: the financial markets crashed and a charismatic senator from Illinois dazzled us with new promises. Jacob Bacharach, who blogged at Who Is Ioz? during that time (and is also a current Outline contributing writer), recently told me he believes Obama “successfully co-opted the liberal heart of the anti-war/anti-Bush coalition and incorporated it into his movement.”
At some point in Obama’s first term, it became clear that the war in Afghanistan would not end; Guantanamo would not close; the Bush Administration would not pay for torturing prisoners. Air strikes in Libya and Yemen and drone program expansion confirmed that Obama would wage war with fewer combat troops, but he would wage it nonetheless. Distracted by domestic concerns, a large part of the online left gave up. Progressive blogging slumped as readers moved on to Facebook and Twitter. At Shakesville, the sea change was punctuated by some serious internecine drama.
In early 2007 McEwan was hired, along with Amanda Marcotte, who was running the liberal blog Pandagon, to blog for the John Edwards presidential campaign. Both were soon forced to quit after Catholic activist Bill Donahue called them bigots and lobbied for their removal . The incident made national news and McEwan achieved what I assume was dizzying notoriety, not least because it attracted a wider variety of troll to her blog and inbox. According to former Shakesville contributor Litbrit, when McEwan tried to move the blog to a new domain, it was subjected to DDOS attacks. She was doxxed and reported that she received rape threats. It is perhaps unsurprising that an air of paranoia became increasingly palpable at Shakesville. (McEwan did not respond to an email requesting comment for this piece.)
In a November 5, 2008 post titled “Great Expectations,” McEwan praised Obama’s victory and urged optimism from the community. What resulted became known to former Shakers as the Great Meltdown.
It’s easy to assume that McEwan, Dr. Frankenstein-like, built a monster she could no longer control, but when I read through that thread now, I don’t see an over-abundance of negativity. I see, with the exception of a couple smartasses, people skeptical of the country’s ability to reform itself after eight years of jingoism and war, and a few PUMAs who thought the nomination was stolen from Hillary. The mods wouldn’t abide this, and all hell broke loose. In the comments, McEwan appeared exasperated, claiming to be “hanging on by a thread.” She threatened to quit blogging forever. Readers departed en masse. According to Google Trends, searches for “Shakesville,” which reached an all-time peak that September, had by December dipped by 50 percent. This is about the time I myself stopped reading the site entirely.
In June 2009, after a few comment thread blow-ups and several days without posts, the blog’s 14 contributors posted “‘All In’ Means ALL of Us,” a manifesto intended “to address what we see as an ongoing and extremely problematic pattern within our community.” The pattern was the rampant disrespect of McEwan. They called on Shakers to “bring your vocal, visible support to Melissa (and other contributors) when you see others disrespecting them” and pledge to respect her as “acknowledged leader.”
The result was, in Shakes-speak, a clusterfucktastrophe. The first comment, and most upvoted, got right to it: “Is this a blog or a freakin’ cult?” Many Shakers pledged to be All In and promised to participate more, but a significant number reported being turned off and insulted. Readers fled to other blogs and Facebook to vent and regroup. According to a screenshot sent to me by a former contributor who asked to remain anonymous, McEwan emailed contributors asking to be kept apprised of negative comments about her. But many offending Shakers never returned.

It's a shame that so many refuse to get honest about what took place in 2008.

A few people warned what was happening then and prior.  We'd noted that becoming David Brock was not the answer.  But that's who so many of us are now -- including Jane Mayer -- a hit man for a partisan reasons, a liar.  We didn't need to become David Brock to win elections but lying's always easier than doing the hard work required to show people a government that truly represents them.

The independent internet is fading.  Maybe it will come back to life?

We hope so..

But we survey the landscape today and it's depressing.

So many are gone.  Some walked away like Carolyn Kay (MAKE THEM ACCOUNTABLE) and some passed away (BARTCOP comes to mind).  A freewheeling internet meant that even a Melissa McEwen could have some value.

A Scrivner's Lament, Delilah Boyd

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