Monday, December 30, 2019

Truest statement of the week

The impact of the policy of social plunder is seen in the deepening of a malignant social crisis in country after country. In the US, society is marching backwards, as the crying need for schools, hospitals, affordable housing, pensions, the rebuilding of decrepit roads, bridges, transportation, flood control, water and sewage, fire control and electricity grids is met with the official response: “There is no money.”
The result? Three straight years of declining life expectancy, record addiction and suicide rates, devastating wildfires and floods, electricity cut-offs by profiteering utility companies. And a climate crisis that cannot be addressed within the framework of a system dominated by a money-mad plutocracy.
Not a single serious social problem can be addressed under conditions where the ruling elite—through its bribed parties and politicians, aided by its pro-capitalist trade unions and backed up by its courts, police and troops—diverts resources from society to the accumulation of ever more luxurious yachts, mansions, private islands and personal jets.

Where social reform is impossible, social revolution is inevitable. The solution to the impasse is to be found in the growth of the class struggle. The movement of workers and youth all over the world—from mass strikes in France to strikes by autoworkers and teachers in the US, protests in Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, strikes and mass demonstrations in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and India—reveals the social force that can and will put an end to capitalism.

-- Barry Grey, "Billionaires’ wealth surged in 2019" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

The US and Saudi Arabia do naturally want to use the current revolution to try to push through their own agenda. America and Israel are engaged in a total war in the region against all areas under Iranian influence. America does not really have control over the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, but it exploits every event and every political development when it serves its interests. We only read anti-Iranian rhetoric in Western media. However, what we do not read in the press is that the protests are equally directed against the American presence and against the interference of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel.
Fortunately, there are social media that bring powerful stories and a human face to the struggle, in a way that has never been done before. There have been desperate attempts by the government to stop the spread of eyewitness accounts on social media by shutting down the internet. However, that did not work.
Banners on Tahrir Square read: “No to America, No to Erdogan, No to Iran, No to Barzani, No to Israeli NGOs”.
Iraqi poet, novelist, translator and scholar Sinan Antoon was born and raised in Baghdad and his most recent novel is entitled “The Book of Collateral Damage”. He said on November 26, “What is really important is the restoration of Iraqi identity and a new sense of Iraqi nationalism that transcends sectarian discourse institutionalized by the United States in 2003”.
“Iran has a lot of influence in Iraq and has infiltrated many of the institutions and supported many of the Iraqi militias, but all of that is a product of the US occupation and invasion of Iraq. While Iran is one of the targets of these demonstrators, it’s important to remember that many of the banners and posters on the Tahrir square say “no” to any foreign intervention. So they say no to Iran, no to Turkey, no to Israel, no to the United States.
But of course the mass media in the United States, because of their geopolitical interests and their continued interference in the region, write only about Iran, and no one denies that Iran supports many of the parties in Iraq financially and otherwise and infiltrates Iraqi society in so many ways. But there are all those other dimensions and, unfortunately, the regular media in the US and also in Europe are very short-sighted and only focus on the influence that Iran exerts on the Iraqi regime.
And that’s correct. But Iraqis want their country back and they want sovereignty and they are against all kinds of interventions. And the Iraqi state, since 2003, is very weak. We have Turkish troops in Iraq, in the north, we have American troops. The demonstrators are really aware of all this and they understand very well – at least based on what they say when they appear in the media – that the interests of Iraq and Iraqis come first and that sovereignty is very important. Of course it will not be taken back in one day, but they realize that the Iranian regime is not the only threat and not the only sponsor of certain forces in Iraq. ”
The Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, who became famous after throwing two shoes at Bush while shouting, “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog”, told Euronews that protesters are calling for the fall of the political regime. He also said that they do not want other countries to interfere in Iraq. “The government of the American occupation is rejected. This government has brought disaster to the country … today we want the fall of this political regime and the end of this government”, he explained. “We don’t hate Iran, we don’t hate Saudi Arabia, we don’t hate Turkey. But our message is simple: they must stop interfering with our country. The Iraqi people are a free people”, he said.

-- Dirk Adriaensens, "Iraq: The October Revolution of 2019 and the Iran-US Conflict" (GLOBAL RESEARCH).

Truest statement of the week III

Rarely does the world get a true look inside the corrupt world of Western oligarchs and the brazen manipulations they use to enhance their fortunes at the expense of the public good. The following comes from correspondence of the Hungarian-born billionaire, now naturalized American speculator, George Soros. The hacker group CyberBerkut has published online letters allegedly written by Soros that reveal him not only as puppet master of the US-backed Ukraine regime. They also reveal his machinations with the US Government and the officials of the European Union in a scheme where, if he succeeds, he could win billions in the plunder of Ukraine assets. All, of course, would be at the expense of Ukrainian citizens and of EU taxpayers.
What the three hacked documents reveal is a degree of behind-the-scene manipulation of the most minute details of the Kiev regime by the New York billionaire.
In the longest memo, dated March 15, 2015 and marked “Confidential” Soros outlines a detailed map of actions for the Ukraine regime. Titled, “A short and medium term comprehensive strategy for the new Ukraine,” the memo from Soros calls for steps to “restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement.” To do the restoring, Soros blithely notes that “General Wesley Clark, Polish General Skrzypczak and a few specialists under the auspices of the Atlantic Council [emphasis added—f.w.e.] will advise President Poroshenko how to restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement.”
Soros also calls for supplying lethal arms to Ukraine and secretly training Ukrainian army personnel in Romania to avoid direct NATO presence in Ukraine. The Atlantic Council is a leading Washington pro-NATO think tank.
Notably, Wesley Clark is also a business associate of Soros in BNK Petroleum which does business in Poland.

Clark, some might recall, was the mentally-unstable NATO General in charge of the 1999 bombing of Serbia who ordered NATO soldiers to fire on Russian soldiers guarding the Pristina International Airport. The Russians were there as a part of an agreed joint NATO–Russia peacekeeping operation supposed to police Kosovo. The British Commander, General Mike Jackson refused Clark, retorting, “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you.” Now Clark apparently decided to come out of retirement for the chance to go at Russia directly.

-- F. William Engdahl, "An American Oligarch's Dirty Tale of Corruption" (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Monday 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?

Barry Grey gets a truest.
So does Dirk Adriaensens.
Both have had truests before but this is the first truest for F. William Engdahl.
In the US, we can apparently pay attention to everything except the ongoing Iraq War and the Iraqi people who refuse to continue to suffer.
Ava and C.I. tackle just about everything in this piece.
Kat carried this idea over.  She was planning to write a review about these two albums but realized there was no time.  We were glad to cover the subject matter.
Martin and THE GUARDIAN should be ashamed of themselves.
The worst product we've ever tasted.
Don't forget they're War Criminals -- War Criminals don't take holidays.
What we listened to while writing.
We just love this song.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: Americans need to pay attention

At least 490 people have been killed in protests across since October

So why doesn't this get serious attention?  Other things, as C.I. noted Sunday night, out of Iraq get much more attention.  But ongoing protests, protests that have lasted for months, and ongoing attacks on the protesters, also going on for months, doesn't get much coverage.

Dirk Adriaensens' "Iraq: The October Revolution of 2019 and the Iran-US Conflict" (GLOBAL RESEARCH) is an amazing piece of journalism.  Sadly, it's also pretty much a lone piece of journalism.  Think of all the garbage in the last weeks that the so-called left has churned out on Donald Trump's Tweets or their embarrassing defense of refusing to do their job and name the leaker, think of all that garbage and grasp that Jake Johnson and others could have covered Iraq.  Could have, but didn't.

Time and again, Iraq is the topic no one wants to address.  Time and again, nonsense and faux outrage steal attention from real issues.

This is appalling.

It is especially appalling in the US since it was our government that started the (ongoing) Iraq War.

TV: Truth and special -- two terms tossed around too easily

Four eagerly awaited comedy specials debuted on NETFLIX this month: Michelle Wolf's JOKE SHOW, John Mulaney's JOHN MULANEY AND THE SACK LUNCH BUNCH, Tiffany Hadish's BLAK MITZVAH and Jack Whitehall's JACK WHITEHALL: CHRISTMAS WITH MY FATHER.


Going in, we were nervous about one special (John Mulaney's), not worried at all about two (Jack Whitehall and Tiffany Hadish's) and unsure about Michelle Wolf's special.

Let's start with Michelle, no need to wonder, she delivers.  And then some.  What people forget about revolutionary comics Richard Pryor and Lily Tomlin is that their comedy performances were full acts.  They started somewhere and, by the end, you realized you'd been taken on a planned journey.  This wasn't here's-a-joke-different-joke-new-joke-nother-joke hahas that had nothing to do with one another.

Michelle pulls off the Pryor-Tomlin model.  Her special's about something and it makes you laugh.  Huge laughs.  John also worried us.  He's been on a winning streak since 2012.  Could he continue it?  Yes, he could and he does.  There are so many reasons this special with the Sack Lunch Bunch shouldn't work but it does.  It's hilarious.  We weren't expecting groundbreaking from Jack Whitehall, just laughs.  We figured it would be a variation of his NETFLIX series TRAVELS WITH MY FATHER but with a holiday theme.  And that's exactly what it is.  It's funny, as expected.

So three successes, praise for NETFLIX.  Too bad it couldn't be four.

Tiffany Hadish is who we should have worried about.

Whoopi Goldberg.  Never a great actress, she blames the NAACP in LA for her failure to win the Academy Award for THE COLOR PURPLE and, we guess, she blames them for her failure to ever again deliver a first-rate dramatic performance.  What Whoopi did achieve was a film career.  Not a leading lady career, only Diana Ross did that for years until the emergence of Halle Berry. 

 But Whoopi carved out her place in film and ended up in over 70 features -- live action and animated. If you're not grasping how big of an accomplishment that is, look at Cicely Tyson.  She's been making films since 1956 and her 26h feature film comes out in 2020.

Diana and Cicely had to deal with extreme racism.  Whoopi had to deal with racism as well but she also made the choice to create a career for herself and, as a result, she's not going to be disappeared as long as films are aired or streamed or whatever.  Kids films, art films (THE PLAYER is a classic), whatever's being shown, there's a good chance Whoopi will be in it.  Her filmography isn't a film festival, it's a film channel all its own. 

Tiffany may be pursuing that model -- or maybe she's creating her own model.  All we know is that she's appeared in 16 films since the start of 2017 -- and has two more films to be released next year (LIKE A BOSS and BAD TRIP).  We are fans of her work.

BLACK MITZVAH?  We could have done without it.

At one point, we almost bailed and turned it off; however, we thought, "This has got to get better."


No, it doesn't.

If this had been a live special, we might be more forgiving.

But it's not live.

So to include production errors and mishaps isn't acceptable.

That you're having microphone problems as you record your show?

You fix those.

Ask Barbra Streisand.

Did she coast through COLOR ME BARBRA?  No, she worked her ass off.  And the much praised, recorded special, gave no indication that she'd started filming the Philadelphia Museum of Art section at 6:00 pm and did not finish filming there until after ten the following morning.

Viewers got an incredible special.  They weren't bored with Barbra complaining on camera that two of the cameras had broken down, that the lighting cues were wrong, that this or that needed to be fixed.  They saw a tight and brilliant special that would go on to be nominated for five Emmy Awards.  Barbra said, promoting the special, "One thing I love about doing a TV show is that with a few snips of the tpae we can do tricks and on screen it looks like magic."

More than a few snips are required to make Tiffany's special something special.  The whole problems she was having with her microphone should have been snipped.  It's not interesting.  It's not funny.  It's not even worth a blooper reel.

This is Tiffany's second stand up special and she's coasting?

If Barbra had coasted through her second TV special, COLOR ME BARBRA, she might not have the career or legacy she has today.

BLACK MITZVAH is bad, really bad.  It's disappointing.  It's beneath her and it certainly doesn't qualify for content you pay for.

We wish we didn't have to say that.  We love Tiffany.  But we love the truth more.

And December's really shaped up into a truth month.

We've seen THE WASHINGTON POST's "At War With The Truth" telling some of the truths about the war in Afghanistan, we've seen  Dirk Adriaensens' "Iraq: The October Revolution of 2019 and the Iran-US Conflict" (GLOBAL RESEARCH),  WIKILEAKS posted the documents proving there was no chemical attack by the Syrian government on its own people despite the claims/lies the US media pimped, and there was Erik Wemple's piece for THE WASHINGTON POST about Rachel Maddow, MSNBC talk show host:

When small bits of news arose in favor of the dossier, the franchise MSNBC host pumped air into them. At least some of her many fans surely came away from her broadcasts thinking the dossier was a serious piece of investigative research, not the flimflam, quick-twitch game of telephone outlined in the Horowitz report. She seemed to be rooting for the document.
And when large bits of news arose against the dossier, Maddow found other topics more compelling.
She was there for the bunkings, absent for the debunkings — a pattern of misleading and dishonest asymmetry.

Maddow has trafficked in lies and innuendo -- so much so that she's currently involved in a court case for defamation where her attorney is insisting that "literally" in the following sentence is hyperbole: "In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda."

Rachel's not a journalist, she's a talk show host.  Really, she's a demagogue.

Erik Wemple served up a 'have you no sense of decency, sir' moment to our 21st century Joseph McCarthy and, with any luck, this is the beginning of the end of Rachel Maddow.  She was never a journalist.  She was never accurate.  Even on UNFILTERED on AIR AMERICA RADIO, she repeatedly lied.  She'd find an article at THE WASHINGTON POST -- that someone had passed on to her -- from a few days or weeks before and she'd go on the air with it insisting that THE POST had just published it.  It was too much for her to be honest about something as basic as the publication date.

She's a hustler, an ugly faced hustler who has lied repeatedly to a small but rabid group of viewers.

Truth matters.  Hopefully, Erik Wemple's truth will have a strong impact.

But we can't control that, none of us can.  All that we can do is tell our truth and hope that the word reverberates.

Harry and Liam both release albums -- only one's a classic

One Direction, a British band, was an international phenomenon.  For us, the only song that ever registered was "Kiss You" with its echoes of the theme to THE BANANA SPLITS and Yes' "Owner Of A Lonely Heart." But they were huge.  Even in the US where they had five studio albums that each sold over a million copies.  They also notched thirteen singles on the US top forty.

Currently, the band is said to be on a hiatus.  Members have pursued solo careers.  Harry Styles released his second album FINE LINE this month.  Liam Payne released his first album LP1 this month.

My debut album is out now! So excited to share this with all of you! 🙌🏼


Listening to LP1, we missed the song from two years ago "Bedroom Floor."  We loved that song and thought, in 2017, that it might lead to a George Michael type career.  We were surprised when a prudish woman we knew took her daughter to Chicago to see Jojo Siwa on NICKELODEAN's SLIMEFEST tour in 2018.  We were surprised because Liam was part of that concert and we knew she'd hit the roof at little precious (her daughter) hearing "Bedroom Floor."

But as we listened, we were thrilled to discover that the two-year-old song was included on LP1.  That's good in terms of purchasing power, it's bad in terms of LP1.  The album isn't a true album, there's no mood to be set, no statement to be made.  It does make clear that Liam is a strong singer.  It also makes clear he's not a songwriter.  17 tracks, only four of which he gets a co-writing credit.  Did he earn any of those credits?  When a song like "Strip That Down" has Liam as one of among 18 songwriters, we seriously doubt it.

LP1 works better as a minor hit collection.  The strongest song you haven't already heard for months and years would be "All I Want (For Christmas)" which will probably remind you of Taylor Swift's "New Year's Day."


By contrast, Harry's delivered a real album.  FINE LINE is 12 strong tracks -- all of which Harry co-wrote.  The best song on the album is "Falling" which he wrote with Thomas Hull.  The other eleven, however, are rather amazing in their own way.  The album is an instant classic.

LP1 offers moments of pleasure while FINE LINE provides consistent pleasure and real adventure while LP1 offers a lot of frustration, a little pleasure and one big question: Why did Liam name his album LP1 after Joss Stone had already used the title for her 2011 release?

Martin Chulov and THE GUARDIAN can't stop selling war

Never forget that THE GUARDIAN pimped the Iraq War.  It was as bad as THE NEW YORK TIMES.  In the US, we complained about the US press ignoring The Downing Street Memo but, in the UK, THE GUARDIAN ignored it.

Keep that in mind if you read the paper's latest nonsense.  Martin Chulov offered "US isolationism leaves Middle East on edge as new decade dawns" on Sunday.

The first problem is that this opinion piece is presented as news.  It's not news.  Martin's offering his opinion.

The second problem is that yet again empire is endorsed.  We're not allowed to question it ever -- not at THE GUARDIAN -- but we are allowed to watch it be perpetuated.

The third big problem?  This is a UK paper.  The UK was part of the original 2003 invasion.  Why the hell is Martin, a British subject, obsessing over what the United States does?  Can't the UK step in?  We're not arguing that they -- or anyone -- should.

But Martin's arguing and, typical War Monger, he's arguing that someone else step up.

This garbage should never have been published but, if it had to be published, it should have been clearly labeled an opinion column.

From The TESR Test Kitchen


The TESR Test Kitchen has tried out a few bad products, even a few epic fails.  But we think we've now sampled the worst of all.

Do you like links?

Those of us who do were intrigued when Jim announced Friday that he had just tasted the worst links ever.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit Hot Links.

We sampled them on Sunday.  Jim was correct, this was truly the worst piece of meat we've ever tasted.

We grilled two, microwaved two, baked two in the oven and boiled two.

No matter how we cooked them, they were consistently awful.

Let's deal with the casing first.  What is it made of?  You try to chew through it with your teeth and most times you fail.  You have to grind your teeth through it.

Then there's the taste of the meat.  It's bad.

The only thing worse?

The after-taste.  Everyone of us got indigestion -- including Dona who thought she was having a heart attack because she'd never had heart burn before.

We strongly recommend against this product.


Christmas greetings for the War Criminals

As for the children of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and Mali though, Obama showered them with bombs.

  1. Merry Christmas to the war criminal couple who dropped depleted uranium on Yugoslavia, starved 500,000 Iraqi children to death, bombed back to the Stone Age, destroyed , and robbed the Haitian people for billions in earthquake aid money 🤗

  2. You dropped bombs on , , right as Syrian Christians were in the midst of their Christmas celebrations.

Don’t miss anything about the guy who destroyed , toppled Gaddafi, and turned the country with the highest Human Development Index in Africa into a war-torn, failed state now run by extremists who sell human beings in slave markets.

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