Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Truest statement of the week

Corbyn provides us with a cautionary tale. Sanders will be cheated out of the Democratic Party nomination not just because super delegates will vote against him. The media either disappear him with the “Bernie blackout” or give access only to his detractors. Over and over again Americans are told that they can’t have free college or health care or anything else they need and want. Eventually even supporters will question their decisions out of fear of seeing another Donald Trump election. If they are told often enough that what they want is impossible or bad for the Democrats they will reject it.  
 If Americans are going to make connections with the British elections they must talk about the assault on democracy from the billionaires and their willing minions. They must plan for the inevitable character assassination of anyone who threatens the elites and their established order.  If any connection with U.S. politics seems farfetched, consider that an Integrity Initiative operative  “volunteered” for Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016. The connections are international, and the elites in one country are fast friends with those in another. The politicians of Corbyn and Sanders ilk will always face an uphill battle. Denying this reality means that the scoundrels will stay in control in the U.S., the U.K. and the whole world.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: Propaganda and the Defeat of Jeremy Corbyn" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

Last week 188 House Democrats joined the Republican caucus and passed the sweeping $738 billion military spending bill or 2020 NDAA. It includes funding for the Space Force as a sixth armed service and increases the Pentagon budget by $22 billion. Most House Democrats backed this obscene giveaway to the President after his ungodly $1.5 trilion tax cut and after his administration introduced three proposals that would cut about 2.2 million U.S. households, or almost 4 million people, from the food stamp program, while also reducing benefits for another 3.1 million households. He has also proposed Social Security changes that could end disability benefits for hundreds of thousands, yet the Democrats are silent.
In passing the NDAA the House Democrats agreed to keep Guantanamo Bay open, remove the bipartisan amendment to stop the war in Yemen and the bipartisan amendment to stop an unauthorized, offensive war against Iran. Only 41 Democrats voted against the NDAA.  The “Squad” and Barbara Lee did not while most of the CBC voted in favor of it (as usual). Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, hailed the measure as "the most progressive defense bill we have passed in decades."

Finally, Democrats proudly announced that they passed the USMCA, the revision of the NAFTA trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which had been stalled on Capitol Hill. We are still awaiting the final analysis on this, but it looks like American labor looses and big pharma wins, again.

-- Wilmer J. Leon III, "Democrats as “Liberal”? No, Neo-Liberal Capitulation" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Wednesday morning.

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, 
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?


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

Editorial: Safa al-Sarray

From the October 25th snapshot:

In addition, Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports, "Iraqi police fired live shots into the air as well as rubber bullets and dozens of tear gas canisters on Friday to disperse thousands of protesters on the streets of Baghdad, sending young demonstrators running for cover and enveloping a main bridge in the capital with thick white smoke. One protester was killed and dozens were injured in the first hours of the protest, security officials said."

The cost of freedom is always high, but Iraqis have always paid it. I’m sorry for the horrible video but this is the democracy USA brought to Iraq a protester been shot in head with tear gas canisters




The first one killed is said to have been hit with a tear canister.  The video above is supposed to be of that protester after he was hit.

Of the man above, novelist Sinan Antoon (NEW YORK TIMES) notes:

I did know Safa al-Sarray, a 26-year-old aspiring poet and amateur artist, very well. He wrote to me nine years ago on social media about one of my novels. We kept corresponding. I loved his wit and sense of humor, and his insightful posts about life and politics in Iraq.

Safa was a precocious, passionate young man and a voracious reader, particularly of poetry. He grew up in a large working-class family in Baghdad. His father had died when he was quite young. He worked hard — three days a week as a construction worker and porter while studying at the University of Technology in Baghdad — to make ends meet and to support his family.

If that's not enough to wake the world up to the struggle for freedom in Iraq, what is?

TV: The end of MARVEL on TV

Friday, HULU dumped season three of RUNAWAYS -- all ten episodes. The third season is the final season and only one series is left from MARVEL TV: MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD.


That show has aired on ABC and the seventh season debuts next year, the seventh and final season.  MARVEL TV has often been a mess and it has often been glorious.  All of that could be found in AGENTS OF SHIELD.

The show revolved around Clark Gregg and that was its biggest mistake.  Playing a woman's stunted, ex-husband on a sitcom?  Gregg can handle that.  The lead in an action series?  No.  His character Phil Coulson did appear in various IRON MAN and Avengers related films, yes.  But he was usually comic relief.  Making him the lead in the ABC series was like casting Kevin James in the role.

It never worked.

When something did work, it got cast off the show.  Brett Dalton was the earliest example.  Popular as Ward (and later as Hive), they wrote him off the show when they should have pulled mincing Clark Gregg.  Dalton was perfect for an action show while Gregg always seemed to be on the verge of hurling confetti in the air

Nick Blood, Adrianne Palicki and Luke Mitchell were all perfect for leads on an action show.  Naturally, they were all let go after season three.   Mitchell had already played the lead in an action show (THE TOMORROW PEOPLE) and would go on to act in another (BLINDSPOT).  Blood and Palicki were supposed to be spun-off into their own ABC show.  ABC took a pass on that but somehow there was no effort to restore Blood and Palicki to AGENTS OF SHIELD (though Blood would be brought back for a guest spot).  Dichen Lachman would join the show.  The actress known for her work on THE DOLLHOUSE, BEING HUMAN, LAST RESORT, THE 100, THE LAST SHIP, SUPERGIRL, ALTERED CARBON and ANIMAL KINGDOM would only last nine episodes on MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD.

 Still Clark Gregg remained mincing around in a lead role episode after episode.  It was as though the 24 reboot had decided to replace Kiefer Sutherland with Tony Randall.  Fussbudget Felix is all Gregg has offered and will ever offer.

Yet while one strong performer after another was let go from the show and others who remained were underutilized, Clark Gregg remained the lead.  Stop wondering why the show never took off in the ratings and why it lost viewers with each passing season.  How bad has it gotten?

Season six that aired this year resulted in MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD being the 158th most watched show on broadcast TV -- on prime time broadcast TV.   Only three shows had fewer viewers: PARADISE HOTEL, RANSOM and THE ALEC BALDWIN SHOW.  Grasp what a failure the show has been.  Grasp also that the only thing more ridiculous than Clark Gregg playing the team lead on an action show would be his also playing, as he did in season six, a character named "Sarge."  Only in Key West, only in Key West.

Time and again, the talents of Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley and Jeff Ward were wasted so that Clark Gregg could again try to prove that he could play a man of action. He couldn't.  He didn't.  He should have been fired in season one instead of kept around destroy the show season after season.

After that, NETFLIX could only be an improvement -- and it was.  Charlie Cox was the right actor to lead the show DAREDEVIL and that series was followed by JESSICA JONES, LUKE CAGE, IRON FIST and the teaming of all four in THE DEFENDERS.  DAREDEVIL and JESSICA JONES ran for three seasons each, LUKE CAGE and IRON FIST for two and THE DEFENDERS for one.  That's eleven seasons in all.  An argument can be made that all but IRON FIST had their strongest work in season one (IRON FIST got stronger in season two).  But even in later seasons, an episode of JESSICA JONES or DAREDEVIL provided more kick and excitement than any full season of MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD ever managed.

The shows got the axe and it was said -- a lie -- that NETFLIX had to cancel them because ABC-DISNEY-FOX-MARVEL-DC had created DC+ and they did not want their shows airing on NETFLIX anymore.  We called that a lie in real time and it was a lie.  NETFLIX had the rights to the show.  Even now, DISNEY+ can't do the shows -- not as they were done on NETFLIX.  Though they own the rights to the characters, they don't have the rights to those portrayals that were created for NETFLIX.

NETFLIX had a pissy fit over ABC's plans to create DISNEY+ and axed the shows.  They insisted that this was the new model, that three seasons were the standard and blah blah blah.  No, that's not going to be the new standard.  Especially not when a 'season' lasts ten episodes.  Ten years from now, are people really going to be paying money to stream these short-run shows?

NETFLIX made a huge mistake in cancelling those shows.  As long as they were in production, NETFLIX had the characters tied up and unavailable for DISNEY+.  The shows provided the streaming service with serious cred.  Now they offer laughable shows that make THE TICK appear riveting -- and these superhero shows (like THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY) aren't supposed to be funny.

CLOAK AND DAGGER, LEGION and THE GIFTED were three other MARVEL TV productions.  THE GIFTED aired on FOX and struggled from the beginning but lost half its audience in season two.  The struggle was only surprising if you thought the comic world needed a show anchored by parents, not super heroes. It was also a show that spent way too much time focused on the fey teen boy and repeatedly undercut the strength of the teenage female.  FX's LEGION was far more successful.  It was possibly even stronger than the NETFLIX shows.  It certainly had the best visuals.  Three seasons, however, found the ratings sinking with each season.  CLOAK AND DAGGER aired on ABC's FREEFORM and, in terms of ratings, suffered the least erosion in viewers of the three.

The two lead characters, Tyrone (Aubrey Joseph) and Tandy (Olivia Holt), show up on the third and final season of RUNAWAYS and that's good because the show comes dangerously close to being THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS on an action tear in its third season.

The powerless Alex (Rhenzy Feliz) is back as is the active (but also powerless) Chase (Gregg Sulkin).  The other members of the superhero team are Nico (Lyrica Okano), Karolina (Virginia Gardner), Gert (Ariela Barer) and Molly (Allegra Acosta).  All four women have super powers but, again, the men have none.  And season's three is also when Alex begins living up to his comic book outcome (he's a villain).  Tyrone is sorely needed.  (Especially since Alex has been the show's only African-American male lead.)  Olivia and Tyrone are sorely needed for characterizations as well.  Outside of Nico, does anyone mature in the three seasons of this show?  Molly's still as embarrassing as she was in season one.

Embarrassing also describes season three.  With a strong start and a new villain (Elizabeth Hurley as Morgan le Fay), the show seems on track.  But just when everything comes together, the ride comes to a screeching halt and, while the viewer suffers from whiplash, suddenly we're time traveling.  And then?  And then we're time traveling to the past.

Supposedly, we get a happy ending.  If you'll leave out the fact that Alex is now going down the path of evil -- as Tyrone and Tandy observed, supposedly the show gave everyone a happy ending.

But it really didn't and you have to be stupid to think that it did.  The show runners are stupid, they're talking about the happy ending to the press.  They also knew there was a good chance this would be the show's last season but failed to tie up loose ends.

Right before the show gives viewers whiplash, Gert dies.  Evil Alex goes back in time to kill everyone.  Future Chase takes everyone else -- present RUNAWAYS -- back in time to that moment.  Future Chase knocks out past Chase to take his place.  He manages to do what Gert did that got her killed.  He also gets killed and dies in Gert's arms.  Then past Chase walks down the stairs completely unaware of what happened.

So past Gert and past Chase are together again.  But if future Chase died then, by the laws of entertainment time travel, that means he dies at some point in the future. Or the past.  Since he went back to the past and died.  He dies somewhere and there's about a three year period that all this takes place in so, no, there's no real happy ending for Gert and Chase.

December 10th, DEADLINE reported that MARVEL TV was being shut down.  Maybe if the NETFLIX shows were still in production, it would seem like more of a loss.  Instead, even with -- or maybe especially with -- the final season of RUNAWAYS, it seems as though the closing was always preordained.

JIm's World


WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS claimed the 'report' on MSNBC Saturday.  Crisis?

Really?  Because it didn't feel like it.

Which may go to many things but maybe chief among them is that the holiday period is  not a time to push an impeachment.  Good will toward men and all that, you know?

Didn't vote for Donald Trump.  That doesn't mean I support impeachment.  I don't support it.  Money may or may not have been threatened to be withheld from Ukraine?  That's the country that we installed Nazis in, remember?  And whether or not that country -- or any other -- receives money from the US isn't really an issue for me.  It certainly doesn't rise to impeachment level action.  It seems small and petty to try to impeach someone over something like that.

And, again, the season.

MSNBC is selling "CRISIS!" in the season but I'm not seeing it.  Are you?  It's like any other month since Trump has been president.  That translates often as, "We got nuts in complaining about something he's doing that Barack and others were doing before him."  Barack Obama earned the name Deporter In Chief and Donald Trump still hasn't broken Barack's records on deportations.  Remember when people were outraged and posting those photos of children in cages . . . until they found out that the photos were taken when Barack Obama was president?  A lot of the ginned up outrage is rather selective.

So, no, I'm not really seeing "CRISIS!" right now.  I wish I was seeing snow but I doubt that happens in California, right?  Maybe once every fifty years.

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They putting up reindeer
Singing songs of joy and peace

That's where I'm at right now, with Joni Mitchell and her song "River."  And thinking about the gifts we got for our kids.  And wishing we could have peace on earth.  I don't have a lot of time for MSNBC or creative and selective outrage.  I don't have a lot of time for nonsense and I don't believe anyone does this time of year.  Whomever thought that impeachment was a Christmas gift for America thought wrong.

5 Congressional Democrats the party needs to lose

no deal nancy

1) Nancy Pelosi.  The Speaker should have stepped aside long ago.  She's failed repeatedly.  She has blamed her inability to end the Iraq War on then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  It's always someone else's fault.  But under Nancy's (mis)leadership, US troops remain in Iraq, the PATRIOT Act keeps getting renewed, the taxpayer money continues to be gobbled up by defense industry fat cats, homelessness in the country isn't even an agenda item, go down the list.  She's aged out of her role and when Rahm Emanuel was having to rescue her in the middle of a 2006 press conference, it was obvious that she had cognitive issues -- they have only gotten worse.  Foe of Medicare For All -- but won't give up her personal health plan that the taxpayers foot the bill for.

2) Adam Schiff.  Does he ever tell the truth?  He tells one grand lie after another.  They implode.  And then he doesn't offer an apology, he just tells another big lie.  He's giving the party a very bad image.

3) Debbie Washerwoman Schultz.  The definition of a corrupt politician.  The IT scandal should have brought her down and, with any luck, it may yet do so.  Her actions as head of the DNC in 2015 and 2016 were unethical.  She's a gross embarrassment and the party cannot redeem her no matter how hard they try.  She is Nancy's good pal Corrine Brown days before the cops showed up to arrest Corrine.  (For those who missed it, Corrine's no longer in Congress, she's in prison.)

4) Al Lawson.  Never met a huge defense spending bill he couldn't support.  Also supports the war on Yemen.  Also demands that the US government continue to provide arms to the government of Saudi Arabia.  Domestically?  He supports (and votes for) warrantless spying on American citizens.

5) Tim Ryan.  Professional idiot.  Invokes 9/11 without even knowing who attacked.  (US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard had to educate him in the June Democratic Party presidential nominees debate.)  Only became pro-choice in 2015, after he realized he was going to be tossed out of office.  Never sure of what he's about to say and takes a moment or two after he's said it to register the words that just left his mouth.  A tool of corporate America (so much so, he even opposes a do-not-call list that would keep businesses from calling/bothering citizens).  Always looks like he just woke up from a wet dream.

Don't bother going to the laughable CREW website.  They haven't done their list of most corrupt members of Congress since Barack Obama was president.  These days, all they do is the White House, attack, attack, attack, while pretending that they're non-partisan.  Remember when the press used to bill them as "a non-partisan, Congressional watchdog"?  Yeah, us too.

Illustration is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "No Deal Nancy."



Our e-mail is or

Time to dip into the mailbag.  First up, Gretchen wonders if "you all hate GREASE.  You've noted many films over the years but GREASE really didn't get a single kind word."

Dona is a GREASE fanatic.  When she and Ava roomed together in college, Ava had to watch it with her "at least thirty times."  Though not as big a fan as Dona, Ava states she enjoys the musical as well and that her favorite character is Stockard Channing's Rizzo.  Dona's favorite is, of course, Sandy.  Dona married Jim and chose well because he's as passionate about GREASE as she is.  No one really dislikes the film but Gretchen is right that it's really not been noted here although we have frequently noted GREASE II.

Bradford wonders if we will ever go back to covering comic books?

We might.  We don't like to repeat ourselves.  Why did we stop?  It seemed like we were writing the same article over and over, for one thing.  For another, we covered WONDER WOMAN and were tired of idiots (Gloria Steinem being one) who didn't read the comic book getting their panties in a wad over the new creation myth that they'd come up with.  We miss covering BATWOMAN and we're glad that we covered her -- and got that copy autographed by  Greg Rucka.  We do watch the show and hope you do as well.  The comic book's strong visuals were made for a TV show or movie.

Streaming, wonders Josh, is it something we do on any of the disallowed streams?  Speaking only for me, Ty, I have seen the one that is being cracked down on right now. iStreamItAll played at my barbershop regularly.  So I did see some of the content on that.  Myself, I don't stream the illegal.  I remember Napstar and how that hideous Hillary Rosen was cracking down on everyone and fining people -- including Grandmas -- thousands of dollars over music.  With that as a formative moment in my young life, I have avoided anything I don't pay for with the exception of playing music videos on YOUTUBE.

Mel wonders if we are done doing periodical reviews?  Yes, we are.  Print is largely dead and certainly should be for the political periodicals we used to cover.  We also used to cover music periodicals.  Many of them have ceased publication.  We might need to start doing music sites reviews.  I don't know.

Carter wants to know who we're supporting?  Well we support Martin Scorsese in his battle for better films.  But I assume Carter means in terms of the Democratic Party primary.  Not everyone who participates in these would be classified as a Democrat.  For example, Jess and Ann were raised by Green parents and are Greens.  In terms of support in the Democratic Party primary, a number of us supported Tulsi Gabbard initially.  However, when she failed to challenge Joe Biden at the debate at the end of July, we were done with her.  Right now, if we're pulling for someone in the Democratic Party primary, we're pretty much willing to support either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.  In terms of the Green Party, those planning to vote in that primary are supporting Dario Hunter.  We're also noting Adam Kokesh's run for the Libertarian Party nomination.  We often note that party.  Equally true, we all have nothing but kind thoughts for Adam Kokesh.  We think he's a good guy and that he's stood strong.  I should also point out that we don't tell you who to vote for here.  We assume that you are smart enough to figure out who to vote for and don't need us to order you around.

Ginger e-mails to ask what's "the biggest lesson you've learned after 15 years online?"  We hit fifteen years next month.  I guess I'd say the biggest lesson is that you never know anything so don't kid yourself.  You're constantly learning.  C.I. has said something that always blows me away because she's so smart and informed.  She says she always approaches any discussion with the working principle that she's the least informed in the room.  I think that's a pretty smart attitude to have

This edition's playlist


1) Alicia Keys' HERE.

2) Sam Smith's THE THRILL OF IT ALL.

3) Dionne Warwick's SHE'S BACK.

4) Cat PowersWANDERER.

5) Jody Watley's THE MAKEOVER.

6) Tracy Chapman's GREATEST HITS.

7) Mavis Staples' LIVE IN LONDON.

8) Ben Harper's BOTH SIDES OF THE GUN.

9)  The Mamas and the Papas' THE PAPAS & THE MAMAS.

Some Tweets from Adam Kokesh

Adam Kokesh is seeking the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination.

  •  Pinned Tweet
    Voting for the duopoly is throwing your vote away. If you're just going to vote for another Republican or Democrat, you might as well stay home.
  •   Retweeted
    This interview with on the podcast "Decentralize Now!" really lays out his platform clearly.
  •   Retweeted
    Replying to 
    Senator Paul, since Trump was elected you have acted just like your colleagues, a political tool for oppression. Take a real stand against war like a genuine leader. I know a candidate who makes that stand.
  •   Retweeted
    Replying to 
    Only one candidate has called for a cease fire in the culture war.
  •   Retweeted
    Replying to 
    Localization solves this problem. Only one candidate understands that people in San Francisco should not be making decisions for people in San Antonio.
  •   Retweeted
    Replying to 
    You would not know how to live without stealing from the American people. I will choose a candidate who really proposes returning power back to the people.
  •   Retweeted
    My YouTube Suggestions Lockdown 23and1 Michael Sealey Dr Eric Berg Top 5
  •   Retweeted
    Please watch and share this brand new interview with !

  •   Retweeted
    In the archives, listening to 's coverage of the 2016 election. Episode #124 is a great interview between and about understanding freedom as a philosophy. Taking a break to listen to Freedom! book at
  • Is there a single elected Republican or Democrat in Congress who has not violated their oath to the Constitution? Why can't we just impeach both parties at the same time and get rid of all of them? Oh yeah! We can!
  •   Retweeted
    thanks for coming on!!!
  •   Retweeted
    Replying to   and 
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    Replying to   and 
    The big problem is that they are now trying to apply these regulations on open source devs as well. had a great comic when news of just came out. (can't find link so I remade it)
  •   Retweeted
    The demographics are changing in this country in such a way that Republicans will soon never win another major election. The only solution to this problem is secession. States must begin to chart their own destinies, otherwise the collapse of our society is imminent.
  • Are there any stray humans allowed in the US?

  •   Retweeted
    A wise man once said, “If they come for the guns, give them the bullets first!”
  • According to overwhelming evidence, most animals do not thrive in captivity. I subscribe to evidence-based science, logic, and reason, and I see nothing that makes me think that less freedom is good for humans either.
  •   Retweeted
    Replying to 
  •   Retweeted
    We've been sending press releases to the team for almost two years. Hopefully we'll get Adam booked for an interview now! Do you think any Alex Jones fans want to ?
  • Never sacrifice your principles. Not for money, not for power, not to pander to unprincipled people. The unprincipled life is not worth living.
  •   Retweeted
    NYT on Obamacare: "The law's drafters hoped that payments into the program would offset payments out. As it turned out, losses substantially outpaced gains. " Who could have seen that coming, besides every sane, sentient person?
  •   Retweeted
    Still one of the best Boris highlights. When he brought tea out to the media.
  • LNC Chair: It's time for Congress to tell the President, "You're Fired!" via
  •   Retweeted
    Replying to   and 
    Have you read the Art of the Deal? Trump doesn’t do a deal unless there’s welfare involved. If he can’t get tax payers money out of it, or socialize his losses, he doesn’t do the deal. The only “art” to it, is getting welfare from the people. Trump is a welfare queen.

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    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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